On the Importance of a Photographer’s People Skills

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony NEX F3 review photos mermaid parade (10 of 10)ISO 200

There are times where I hear horror stories from other photographers who fail and are crushed by interactions with other people when it comes to their photography. What are these interactions? Appealing to editors, trying to get paying clients, asking someone to take a picture of them, collaborating with another photographer, wanting to learn from another photographer, etc. It’s devastating for sure, but it will only be disheartening if you look at it the same way and approach each situation in the same way.

Consider this: approach every single interaction about your photography like a job offer, but do this within reason.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you should be wearing a suit or something close to your Sunday best for each meeting. Indeed, when someone wants to work with a photographer, they want to work with a creative human being that can provide a service without issues. They aren’t looking to work with an investor that will make them more money, they aren’t wanting you to cook for them, they want a photographer. For the most part, tread on the side of business casual with a bit more casual though well kempt.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 15mm f2.8 event photography photos (4 of 13)

Then consider the fact that everyone in this world is literally out for themselves and not a single other human being. So when you’re approaching them about your photography, they essentially will want to know what they can get out of it. You’re going to need to prove to them that you’re the best candidate or that you can do a fantastic job.

So think about all this:

– What do you do that makes you better and stand out from other photographers at your price point?

– Do you know what you’re doing?

– Can you do the job and bring extra pizzaz to it?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes and that you have your own unique creative vision that can be sold and should be paid for, then congrats! You’re on your way to getting this gig. But at the same time you need to jump through their hoops and consider that maybe they’ve been lit on fire, too.

If you can find a way to provide value to the person and not completely screw yourself over, then you’ve got a win-win situation. All of this involves people skills, and most of the time you’ll be listening and internalizing more than anything else. Keep asking questions until you get a better idea of what they’re looking for.