Article written by William Manning ©

Ok, lets admit it, we all have some EGO. After all, our photography is, well, pretty darn good. People need our work to sell their products and services. Without our talent these folks would go out of business, they would have no where to turn. WRONG.

I remember many years ago I approached a photo rep. I needed someone to help me in a career I was struggling to build. I remember his very first question, How old are you? I thought to myself, what a strange question to ask right out of the box. It didn’t take long to figure out he wasn’t going to work with me, but I would never had guessed it was my age. After all I was a young talented 30 year old with lots of years ahead of me to develop that talent. Needless to say, I wanted to know why he wouldn’t take me under his wing, but first my curiosity got the best of me on why my age was so important to ask as the first question of an interview. I asked and he answered.

His Reply

The rep kindly answered my question. Photographers in their twenties think their going to change the world, photographers in their thirties have an over inflated ego of themselves and photographers in their forties are interested in making money. I’m in business to make money and I only work with photographers who are like minded.

It took me years to understand his answer but I now understand it well. I ran into a client of mine this past week in a local bookstore and walked over to say hello and to say thanks for all the business he and his company gave me this past year. He went on to say, Bill, everyone in our firm enjoys working with you because you’re easy to work with, you listen to our needs and you deliver to us what we ask. He said this is becoming harder and harder to find as many photographers deliver to us what they want and are difficult to work with. When I hear him tell me photographers deliver what they want, what I’m really hearing is the photographer thinks he/she knows better that the client, in other words their ego is interfering with their business.

Ego is Confidence

It’s OK to have an ego, after all, an ego is confidence. If your going to do business as a photographer you better have confidence in your skills. It’s that inflated ego that gets you in trouble. Inflated egos can be obnoxious and it can lose you business. Here are seven tips that will help keep your ego in check:

• Don’t criticize your competition, especially with clients.
• Let your work speak for itself, don’t try to explain how or why you did something unless asked.
• Don’t think you should get every job you bid, of course you wanted the job but don’t be afraid to praise your competition.
• Do business because you love photography not because you want to beat someone else out of a job.
• Always take time to thank your clients for giving you an assignment after the work is complete. Let them know you appreciate them.
• Listen to your client and deliver to them what they ask. Don’t think you know better than they of their needs unless they ask you.
• You can be replaced. Nobody is so good that they can’t be replaced.

Keep in mind, your talent and a slick sales talk may get you your first job but its your personality and your ability to listen and deliver that will keep you in business. I wish you the very best with your photography and Keep Your EGO in Check.

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