Dealing with People

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Jeatley, May 16, 2012.

  1. Jeatley
    Offline

    Jeatley New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Iberia, La
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +9 / 0
    Ok here is the deal. I have been shooting for almost 10 years and in the last 3 I have been slowly and steadily trying to build a business. My name is getting around and things are looking great. About once every two weeks I get a message like this.

    "Hey Jeff, I see you are a photographer and was wondering If you could help me with something? I just bought a Nikon 5100 and when on auto mode outside the flash will not come on however I find that it is needed outside fairly often in certain shades or even with the sun, sometimes my subjects face will come out dark. I've looked through the Manual and played with the camera but I'm not sure what to do. Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!"

    They are all asking for help. This is a woman I went to high school with but even then we were not even friends. It is not that I mind them asking and it is a great complement.

    I would just love to know how others handle this situation. I have offered to do a class with either 1 person or 3 at the most. I offered it to a couple people and the questions stop. no one is interested in paying for lessons or my knowledge. Not like I know it all but I can teach all the basics. I would love to do it but can't afford to do it for free. What do you think?


    As I was typing this I received another msg

    "I absolutely love your work !!! Did you go to school for photography? Wow, I wish when I finish school that my work is half as good as yours. I use a Canon Rebel XS with interchangeable lenses. I enrolled at UL in continuing education classes in every class that they have because I just love taking pictures. Could you give me some pointers if you don't mind? I really want to start a business after I'm done with school. Thanks so much.... Oh, by the way, Brandon is my sister's son."



  2. 12sndsgood
    Offline

    12sndsgood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,338
    Likes Received:
    360
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    indianapolis
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +361 / 0
    Maybe put something on your site saying due to the large volume of emails your receiving that you felt that the need was there for a class on the basics, and then spell out a class with price and when anyone sends you an email reply with a link to your classes? It doesnt look like these people would be client's so I wouldn't see it as you losing customers. though I could be wrong.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. imagemaker46
    Offline

    imagemaker46 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    1,214
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1,217 / 0
    It's a tough call, you don't want to put these people off, word can get around if you're rude to them. If you have the time, maybe a quick answer back, a thank you for compliments, but keep the message brief. I like the class idea that 12sndgood mentioned, if you feel confident in helping out some people, it would be a good way to help generate some future business, or just make a few friends, can never have too many of those. Good luck with it.
    • Like Like x 4
  4. Derrel
    Online

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    28,517
    Likes Received:
    9,824
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    USA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +9,879 / 1
    Excellent comments imagemaker46.

    It never hurts to help out. Good will and a favorable impression are very valuable things to build up. Providing an answer, or even providing a link to a web page that deals with the problem, reinforces the impression that YOU ARE THE EXPERT. You help a person out, and you build a positive impression. When somebody says, "You know, I got this new Nikon and couldn't figure out how to ___________, but I e-mailed Jeff and he knew exactly how to fix it," that's a good thing. Like strawberries and asparagus....you plant the crop..and it's not ready for quite a looooong time...but one day it is!
    • Like Like x 2
  5. rub
    Offline

    rub New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Messages:
    932
    Likes Received:
    210
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +210 / 0
    When people message be looking for a quick tip or solution to a problem, I will give it to them, if I have it, or direct them to a site that may have the answer for them. When people approach me and want tips on more in depth things, or with any type of business questions I usually invite them out for coffee. That way I get to know a bit about the up and comers (often they are going to be starting their "business" soon) and I tell them a few tips or tricks, or I lend them a book or two. Most times that gets me free coffee, a new friend, a free assistant for a couple shoot and some good will.

    As much as this is a business, in this town I really try to bring the photographers TOGETHER so we can work together and support each other.
    • Like Like x 4
  6. Jeatley
    Offline

    Jeatley New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Iberia, La
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +9 / 0
    I love all the answers... This is how I wish all photographers were. Willing to help. In this town, the so said EXPERTS won't talk to you. I have moved along with almost no local help. When photographers find out that I am a photographer too they shut down. Everything is trade secrets, even to the shoes they wear. There is a long story to that comment.

    I am going to offer the basic class again and see if they are interested. I still plan to answer the questions! I have answered all of them before from many others.

    My Wife tends to think I answer too much I guess.

    One other question. I did have a potential client call me about 5 times over a 6 month period trying to set up a session. It always came down to "I will come by your shop and pay the deposit." Well she never did and always face booked me or called me later to say why she could not make it. Well after 5 attempts to book the session she stopped calling. Christmas last year came and I noticed on Facebook she posted she got a new camera. Then the call came in about 3 weeks later, "Can we go shoot some time and you can teach me to shoot as good as you?" I grit my teeth and offered her the same basic class and she said... OH I thought we could just go play around. WOW THAT ONE BUGGED ME.

    What would ya'll have done with that one?
    Could I have handled her any better? Different?
  7. 12sndsgood
    Offline

    12sndsgood Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,338
    Likes Received:
    360
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    indianapolis
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +361 / 0
    If you want to help out which is great, Maybe look at offering up a low cost and then mention that X amount will be given to a local charity. this will give people more initiative to come out to a class. it gets you helping people out and it helps out a charity. The first class I took was this way and it gave me more desire to go just to help out a cause. This gives you a chance to network with those that are trying to learn or come up. It puts you in a place that others in your area are not in. I know myself personally if someone came to me with a job, and it is something I dont feel qualified to do, or are a bit uncomfortable doing I would pass it on to someone I know who had those qualities. Granted other people may not do that but that's just me.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. imagemaker46
    Offline

    imagemaker46 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    1,214
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1,217 / 0
    I know a lot of photographers around the world, and some tend to be pretty moody a lot of the time, I'm one on occation, and some days on this forum it's obvious. I try and share as much of my experience with the majority of people that ask. There are few trade secrets, but some photographers like to keep what little knowledge they have as a way of appearing better than they really are. I have little time for people that pretend to understand what it is like working as a photographer, especially the ones that start to lecture. I have run into too many over the years.

    As far as the potential client that kept calling and then pulled the "can you teach me how to do your job" I would have said sure, I charge $50/hour when did you want to start. It's an honest offer, and puts the ball back in her court. Either way, she shouldn't be offended.
  9. c.cloudwalker
    Offline

    c.cloudwalker New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    404
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +404 / 0
    What business are you in? Shooting or teaching?

    I am a shooter and I see no reason to charge less then my hourly shooting rate to teach someone. So, even though I like this response best, I cannot agree with the amount.

    Honestly, if you are shooting for $50 an hour, you are probably not making any money. Why would you want to teach at the same rate and still make no money...?
  10. MReid
    Offline

    MReid New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Boise Id.
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +98 / 0
    I figure what goes round comes round.
    When I get an inquiry for info, requested in a proper tone, I hand it our freely, it builds good will and doesn't cost me a thing for a few minutes of my time.
    I am sure most of the help I provide is beyond the grasp of the people asking for it and goes in one eye and out the other, but still I offer it.

    When I was starting out I asked a lot of people for info, and some gave it freely some never responded. I am very thankful for those that shared.
  11. IByte
    Offline

    IByte Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,526
    Likes Received:
    494
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Ny
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +494 / 0
    You could bulk up the sessions to help them with the triangle for a total of $125.00 3 classes one hour each. That should put a damper on the moochers.
  12. imagemaker46
    Offline

    imagemaker46 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Messages:
    3,689
    Likes Received:
    1,214
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Canada
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1,217 / 0
    I just tossed out a figure, it's not what I would charge, but then how many of your average amateurs would be willing to drop $250 per hour?
  13. Sw1tchFX
    Offline

    Sw1tchFX New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    477
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +477 / 0
    Honestly, it would take about 10 minutes most to write up a response as to what's going on. I'd just throw out a general "try doing this" type of response. Doesn't take long, you don't blow them off, and you don't look like an ass either.
  14. Chris R
    Offline

    Chris R New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Pitman, NJ
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0
    Maybe setup a website with a Q&A section of sorts? You could make videos answering questions or something. It could be a very good way to get your name out there more.
  15. tirediron
    Offline

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    25,435
    Likes Received:
    6,197
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +6,228 / 0
    Send them a link to TPF! ;)
    • Like Like x 4
  16. bratkinson
    Offline

    bratkinson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,292
    Likes Received:
    238
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Western MA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +241 / 0
    Fortunately, I don't think I'll ever have to field those kinds of questions about photography.

    On the other hand, I get them regarding PCs, software, upgrades, what-a-abouts, could you... etc. Over the years, I've become less and less 'available' except to my closest friends and co-workers.

    The suggestion Sw1tchFX made of giving them a 10-minute answer what I have done numerous times about computer questions. Sometimes, "I don't know" is an adequate response, as well. When they ask about their new Nikon settings and you've shot nothing but Canon for years, you really -don't- know what menu setting screens are necessary for white balance, for example (assuming they even KNOW what WB means!).

    Questions like "why no flash on auto when outside on a sunny day?" can best be answered with a very brief description of the meter being 'fooled', etc. The trick is to put it into laymans terms and to keep it brief.

    It took me a long time, 40+ years ago, to understand what backlighting was, recognizing it, and how to handle it. I still fail to recognize it sometimes (I know...slow learner!) Over the phone, or, after the fact, online, I doubt anyone could be 'helped' with such a problem. So you risk having to spend hours explaining, or getting them even more 'lost'.

    Just 5-6 weeks ago, I was at church with my camera and tried to show in an impromptu 2 minute 'live lesson' to the teenage girl I sold my 30D to about backlighting. There was a perfect example of a posed picture I was going to take with their back to a wall of windows on a sunny day. I showed her what 'auto' would do, switching to Av, etc, and how to handle it. I think it all went right over her head. I guess that until she has a problem with it, it's not a problem. I'm not really sure she understands the triangle yet either.

    The downside is, after you've answered their first question, 30 seconds, or 2 weeks later, they have another, and another...or tell their friends that you're "available" for questions...

    Another option would be to 'put them off' for a couple hours, or days, before answering. I've had to do exactly that when I was busy doing my post processing on a project and had an absolute deadline that had to be met. Be sure to let them you why you can't answer them just now, but will a little later when you have the time. Hopefully, by making them wait a bit, it won't be a problem anymore, or, they've found someone else to help them.

    Lastly, be SURE to point them to TPF or other photography sites you frequent. There's a wealth of information for rookies and people like me who still make rookie mistakes!
    Last edited: May 17, 2012
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Jeatley
    Offline

    Jeatley New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Iberia, La
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +9 / 0
    Thanks guys. This has helped me a lot!
  18. Steve5D
    Offline

    Steve5D New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Messages:
    3,307
    Likes Received:
    1,263
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    St. Augustine, Florida
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1,263 / 0
    If someone contacts me asking for tips on how to use their Nikon, I say "Sorry, but I shoot Canon. I'm not at all familiar with Nikon stuff".

    If they ask me for tips on how to use their Canon, I say "Sorry, but I shoot Nikon. I'm not at all familiar with Canon stuff"...
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Jeatley
    Offline

    Jeatley New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New Iberia, La
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +9 / 0
    Talk about "kiss" LOL Thanks!
  20. Tony S
    Offline

    Tony S New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    2,094
    Likes Received:
    598
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Eatonville, Washington
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +598 / 0
    Tirediron beat me to it, send them a link to TPF so you can answer their questions here. ;)
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page