It is said that people buy your 'why' not your what or how. Now if you haven't heard this before you're probably thinking, what the hell is he on about, surely they buy what you sell and how you sell it. I used to think that too, until I watched this video.
I've watched this a few times now and to be honest, I just couldn’t find my WHY. I came up with things like
- I love doing what I do
- To make money
- People say I'm good at it
- I like people's reaction when they see their images
- Now these are all good reasons for doing it, but why would anyone care about any of them; apart from, I'm good at it I guess, but they don't know that until after I've done it.
Over the last few months it has been playing on my mind that I didn't know WHY I'm a photographer. I've attended quite a few seminars and this 'WHY' seemed to keep coming up, but I didn't know WHY. I spoke to trainers and mentors about it, and they all said that although my reasons above were good ones, none of them are going to compel clients to want to engage me.
I looked at each of the genres of photography that I undertake and listed why I thought I did them, and each time I came up with the same answers. Then on day, while watching training videos, I watch lots of videos by top photographers trying to improve my techniques, I realised what my WHY was.
I want to create! Now I know that's sounds a bit obvious for someone who's in a creative business, but I want to help businesses 'Develop their image' (my new tag line by the way). That is my WHY! I want to create images for businesses that help them engage with clients. I want to show their clients how good they are, how good and trustworthy they are, I want to work with forward thinking businesses that value the time, effort and passion I put into every image I create. That is my WHY!
People have always described me as a commercial photographer. I don't know why as I used to do more social photography than anything, but I now know why. I think they have been seeing my WHY when I couldn't. They have seen my passion for commercial photography and helping businesses, when I couldn't. You see I thought I was a social photographer, and don't get me wrong I love doing weddings and portraits, and I give the same care and attention to their shoots as I do to all my clients, but my passion really is commercial. OK I'm starting to ramble a bit now, but that is because every time I start to talk about finally finding my WHY I get so very excited.
Since finding my WHY and starting to relax with it, I have found a new lease of life. I will still continue to do weddings and portraits if asked, but I will limit those to couples I connect with, and who really do want ME to do it. I have limited my wedding commitments to a maximum of 10 full day weddings over the last couple of years and will reduce this further over the next couple of years to 5, but I can assure anyone engaging me to shoot their wedding that it will be an amazing experience for us all.
So to the future. I have already explained WHY but not what it means for John Rose Photography Limited.
Well, I have already created a new commercial website, johnrose.photography which showcases some of the commercial photography I have been doing. In the next few months I will be moving premises. It's still at old Sarum and has free parking but I will now have a unit to myself. This will give me much more room as I will have the whole of the ground floor as studio space, which in turn will allow me to be more creative with how and what I shoot. It also has direct ground floor studio access which will allow for larger projects.
So the future for John Rose Photography is in the commercial world, with an occasional dip into the wedding and portrait markets. We will still shoot charity and commercial events but these will, in the main, be all inclusive pre-paid events with the images being supplied to the event organiser, or printed for guests on the night.
Our current school photography will be separated to become its own entity, although in the early days it is quite possible I will be doing a lot of the photography. As this part of the business grows I will bring in other photographers who have been trained by me to undertake the work in the manner I have always done.
Thank you for reading my ramble. Please do leave a comment, I am very interested to know what you feel about the proposed changes. If you have a question post it in the comments and I will answer it on here. If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you and your business create your message in images please do get in touch by clicking here, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01722 320500.