Why are clients hiring someone other than me?

Wellness Center [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, ISO 560, Ä/2.2, 1/100]
If you are like most photographers we like to question why people/company who know us will hire someone else to do a photography job. When I get together with other photographers you can feel the disappointment when they have their clients hiring someone other than them these days for some jobs if not all the jobs.

Wellness Center [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 8000, Ä/5.3, 1/500]
Everyone feels like at some point you have earned the right, but this isn’t really true.

We need to remind ourselves what a privilege it is to do any work.

privilege is a special advantage not enjoyed by everyone. If you’re very snooty, you probably don’t allow just anyone the privilege of being your friend. Privilege comes from Latin privilegium, meaning a law for just one person, and means a benefit enjoyed by an individual or group beyond what’s available to others.

Wellness Center [NIKON D5, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 8000, Ä/5, 1/500]
Once you have accepted the fact that you are asked to do a job the better you will be in executing it for the client.

Skip Johnson [NIKON D5, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, Ä/4, 1/200]
I must remind myself I am a service for my clients and they have many other choices they can make. What this does in my head is make me realize I am there to win them over every time I do something for them.

Be a friend you’d want to have. …
Make them feel good. …
Find the good in them. …
Put in the work to keep the friendship. …
Don’t badmouth others or gossip excessively. …
Don’t take it personally if not everyone wants to be friends.

The very hardest thing in that list of things we have all heard is that last one that everyone doesn’t want to be your friend.

Almost Maine performed by Roswell High School Theater [NIKON D750, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 2200, Ä/4, 1/80]
Intellectually I understand that I am just not going to be good friends with everyone.

We have all seen the overlapping of circles that show the intersections of interests between groups and people. If the other photographer has more overlapping interests with the client than you then it is easier to accept that you lost a job due to the other person having something more in common with the client.

Jane Yandel [NIKON D4, 85.0 mm f/1.8, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/400]
What you need to keep the competition away is barriers. Now if for example your specialty in photography is underwater photography you have cut your competition down by just creating a barrier.

Your competition needs to be an expert diver, buy special camera gear and market to your clients to even compete with you.

Well today there are many more people than 20 years ago that are competing in that space. This is true for extreme sports photographers. Once TV started covering these sports there has been a spike in the participation. Basically twenty-five years ago there were a handful of rock climbing photographers and today there are hundreds, if not thousands competing with each other.

Recycling Cup – Peachtree at Collier FSR [NIKON D4, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/2.8, 1/40]
There’s a brutal truth in life that some people refuse to accept–you have no control over many of the things that happen in life.

Recognize that sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective. Work on your portfolio and marketing materials.

To have the most influence, focus on changing your behavior. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself.

[NIKON D4, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 400, ƒ/6.3, 1/100]
You might be thinking, “I can’t allow my business to fail,” you don’t take the time to ask yourself, “What would I do if my business failed?” Acknowledging that you can handle the worst case scenario can help you put your energy into more productive exercises. Basically you may need a “Plan B”.

If you are actively solving a problem, such as trying to find ways to increase your chances of success, keep working on solutions. If however, you’re wasting your time deliberating, change to a new thought. Acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive and get up and go do something for a few minutes to get your brain focused on something more productive.

Your lifestyle can be adding undue stress. Exercising, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep are just a few key things you need to do to take care of yourself.

[X-E2, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 2500, ƒ/3.2, 1/100]
The hardest part of living life with these issues is getting a healthy perspective. I recommend the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Talking with friends and asking them to be honest with you can help as well. Don’t just complain, seek to understand what you can do and what you have no control over.

There is a reason Amazing Grace is sung so much around the world. Take those words to heart.

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home,
And grace will lead us home

Amazing grace, How Sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
Was blind, but now I see.

Leave a Reply