Cliche or not, many photographers aspire to greatness. You might even fall into that category…
While your photography skills might not be at a ‘pro’ level yet, there are a few things you can do to leave a lasting impression that you are here to stay.
In other words, if you’re going to act the part, you have to look the part too.
Now, I’m not saying that just because you follow the steps I outline below that you’ll suddenly be a professional photographer. To do that will take a lot of continued work on honing your craft, not to mention starting a business and sustaining it over the years.
But you have to start somewhere, and looking professional is certainly a good place to begin.
Let’s explore three things you can do that will leave a lasting, positive impression on potential clients.
Get an Impressive Business Card
You have to admit, when you meet someone and their business card flops around in the slightest breeze, that’s far from the kind of impression you want to leave.
You know the sort…
The edges are perforated. The paper is flimsy. It just feels cheap. It looks cheap too!
With my last company, I started getting my business cards from FactoryMart and selected a card made from frosty white plastic.
These things feel like a credit card, and 9 out of 10 times, they lead to an avalanche of compliments from the person receiving the card.
These cards aren’t cheap – I’ve paid from $0.89 to $1.57 for each one – but they are well worth the investment.
In fact, I’ve called people back from meeting them at a trade show and they would say something like, “You’re the guy with the nice plastic business card!”
You only get one chance at a first impression, and since business cards are a primary means of making that first impression, be sure your cards blow people away in a good way.
Get a Nice Camera Strap
I’m a car guy, so you going to get a car reference here…
Have you ever noticed how you take a stock car, and toss on a set of nice wheels, and just like that, the car looks ten times better?
Not a car person? How about this one…
You might have even noticed financial companies using ‘facelifts’ to illustrate how we perceive someone.
Have you seen this commercial showing a DJ who was given nothing more than a makeover and a suit? Just like that, the transformation (an illusion) from DJ to financial planner took place!
Well, you get the point. Simple dress ups to your camera like a professional camera strap can make a world of difference.
My Nikon D810 just got one such upgrade…
I had a Peak Design strap on my camera for nearly a year, and I have to say it was a nice strap. Then I saw this Italian, handmade leather (and believe me, this is great leather) strap made from a company called 4V Design.
Like the above example with the wheels on the car, or the DJ’s transformation to a financial planner, my camera also made an impressive visual transformation.
Here’s a couple of shots, what do you think?
Best of all, the looks of this strap aren’t the only improvement; this strap is comfortable too. That’s just a couple of must-have features to consider when looking for a camera strap, and believe me, this thing ticks all the boxes!
It looks great, it feels great…this strap from 4V Design gets a big, enthusiastic thumb’s up from me!
Be Well Groomed
If you know me, this is one I struggle with at times myself.
I’m usually somewhere between 5 o’clock shadow and just call me Bigfoot!
But when I have an important meeting, I’ll give a closer shave and with my attire, just look professional with a hint of edgy.
We all know what ‘works’ for each of us, so when you have an event or know you are going to be meeting potential clients or influential folks, get to what ‘works’ for you.
Have your nails trimmed, teeth brushed, shoes shined, clothes pressed, and hope you never have one of these days:
Even for you guys reading this, borrow your wife’s cover up and do your best to conceal!
Don’t try to wrench on it, either. What could happen is you pop it, then you have a huge crater that Apollo 13 could land in!
Bonus: Make Eye Contact
This one I see happen often…
You start chatting with someone, and they just can’t keep eye contact with you.
In a Psychology Today article published on December 10, 2014, and titled “The Secrets of Eye Contact, Revealed,” there’s a great bullet point I would like to quote:
“People who seek eye contact while speaking are regarded not only as exceptionally well-disposed by their targets, but also as more believable and earnest.”
If need be, spend some time in front of a mirror and role play with your facial expressions and eye contact so you can subconsciously avoid looking like a character from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho movie.