Pimp the work

I watched a live stream interview today from photographer Chase Jarvis, where he had some discussion with Creative Coach Allegra Wilde about photography portfolios, or The Book that photographers present to potential clients. The conversation was about photography, but some of the ideas have to do with other businesses too.

3 short takeways:

1. The subject of a photo is less important than the emotion or story that the photo provides the viewer.

We also hear this about other products and services; people don’t want to read a book so much as they want to be entertained; many people buy Apple products for the ‘cool factor’, not the tech specs. The bottom line is that we want people to react in a positive way to what we do, and a good story helps them do that.

2. If you are trying to shoot the kind of photos that are selling, how are you going to differentiate yourself from all the hundreds or thousands of others doing the same?

So true, especially when your product is approaching commodity status. These days we differentiate our products and services through our voice, or the personal touch we put on them. Shoot (or do) what you love and the money will follow (or so they say ;-).

3. Wilde suggests: How can creative work have a target market? Creative work is pretty much subjective work and you never know just who is going to like it. Better to shoot or write what you love and market the hell out of it. The right clients will find you.

This is an interesting contradiction to the usual marketing wisdom, but it could very well be true. Everyone won’t want, need or even like what you create, so your job is to find those that do and pamper them as much as you can. As Jarvis says: Shoot what you love; pimp the work; repeat.

Jarvis does some amazing things, and it’s worth following his work. Just a warning…you’ll wonder where he finds the energy to do all the stuff he does. Good stuff.

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