This weekend I’m making a group portrait of people who have no interest in seeing their names or faces on the internet. They aren’t on the run from the law or aren’t social deviants. They just want a nice portrait to hang on the wall of their organization. I love these people. These individuals have become my new favorite clients.
In this “exciting” age of sharing everything, tagging photos, and blogging, privacy is a commodity becoming more valuable in this age of constant over-sharing .
I realize the only way a wedding or portrait photographer can promote their business is by showing the work they do on as many different platforms as possible; but; there is such a thing as over-sharing. The trend where photographers publish client’s private ceremonies, name names and pretty much make the event a platform for their self-promotion isn’t very classy. The phrases “this couple is so awesome” and “can’t wait to see them get married” posting on social media isn’t fooling anyone. The truth is professional photographers perform an important service and are hired to do it. Contracts are signed, money exchanges hands, and work is done. Yes, photography is work. I love what I do but I also work very hard to support my business and family through professional efforts.
Yes, clients become friends over time. You can like the people you work for and say so, but show a little restraint. You’ll reap more dividends over time. I do show examples of the kind of work I do on my website, I just don’t name-names and “tell their story”.
As a general rule, I don’t share my work on social media unless the subjects are in the public eye already. Aside from the unfair usage rights I grant every time I post a photo to social media, it feels slimy and little like kiss and tell. Private commissions (weddings, family and children’s portraits) are a exactly that: private. What I offer clients is discretion and the opportunity to share their images on their terms instead of mine. I might be cutting off an amazing chance to get more portrait commissions by not plastering faces and names all over my pages and twitter feed, but I don’t care
You’ll never know who has commissioned a portrait from me unless you know that person. The work I do is unique and crafted. Not a whole lot of people can do what I do because what I do isn’t easy. My best advertising comes from satisfied customers who trust me.