Conspicuous Consumption

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Forum Pro • Posts: 10,819
Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Jacques Cornell wrote:


Most clients know the difference a wood-fired oven makes to the taste of the food. Most don't know the (often negligible) difference between a larger format and a smaller one, or an expensive lens and a cheaper one.

Apparently, you know more about cooking than I do.   I can guess as to the difference that a wood fired oven makes, but I have no practical experience or first hand knowledge.

I remember the old film days.  Potential clients knew very little about cameras, but they "knew" that they should hire a photographer that used medium format, and not a low end guy using 35mm.   They didn't know what the difference was, only that medium format resulted in "better" picture.


Personally, I would regard any promotion extolling the virtues of expensive gear as a red flag. It would cause me to wonder if the photog has any tools in his problem-solving kit other than a credit card. I know veteran pros much better than me who shoot with modest gear and regularly produce work that blows the doors off almost all of what I see around here, winning international awards in the process. I'd hire them in a nanosecond over some guy with the latest and greatest.

I agree that it would be a challenge to base your primary marketing on the gear you use. However, that's not the same as including your gear in your marketing.

I guess what I'm saying is not that one shouldn't discuss gear at all. But, an excessive focus or reliance on that as a marketing tool is likely to eclipse what most clients really care about, which is the effectiveness of their images. I've chosen not to say anything about my gear in my marketing, even when I was shooting Canon 1-series. But, if I were to bring it up, I'd mention what my gear lets me do, not what it is.

I agree that an excessive focus on gear may not be the most successful strategy, unless you have nothing else going for you.

Now, If your gear gives you unique, or unusual  abilities, then that might be something to promote a little bit.

In my case, it's high pixel counts.  For some people it will be high quality drone shots.  For others it might be gear to do high quality time lapse images that span days, weeks, or months.  As consumers generally don't understand gear, it helps to mention the gear, and then explain why they want a photographer with that gear.

I think my bottom line is that most clients (particularly consumers) don't have a good eye for what makes a good photograph.  In terms of whether or not they like your images, they will be more influenced by how you present your work (and the accompanying story) than by the work itself.

In terms of repeat business, I believe your personality is more important than the quality of your work.  Given two competent photographers, clients generally pick the one they like better or is easier to work with. Even if the other photographer produces a slightly better result.

 Michael Fryd's gear list:Michael Fryd's gear list
Nikon Coolpix AW130 Canon EOS D60 Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 5DS Canon EOS 5D Mark IV +15 more
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