Photographers, show your colours!

May 7, 2022

Over the years, I've realized the importance of engaging a professional photographer for personal events. Since I've been an avid photographer over the past two decades, I would rather not delegate this task, but I know better now. 

I was turning 40 last month and I wanted to throw an intimate party to celebrate it with close friends and family. I was looking to hire a pro camera man, and since I did not have a photographer in my network, I posted this on the neighbourhood FB group:

Facebook post in the neighbourhood group

Lo and behold I started getting responses, way too many to my surprise! It seemed like everyone has a photographer at their disposal these days. And these well-meaning people vouched for their artist, and were happy to make the introductions.

The next task was to identify the photographer for the event. I was excited about the process, but within moments I realized that this won't be easy. I had to select a photographer from the sea of homogeneity. Not only did their websites look bizarrely similar, they all had identical expertise. Each photographer did all sorts of event photography - candid weddings, corporate conferences, family get-togethers in the park, music festivals in the bush,etc.  

I, very quickly went from feeling excited to overwhelmed to disappointed, and this would be my user journey map. Finally, I shortlisted a couple of photographers and had a quick chat with them. Eventually I decided to go with Alex, who by the way did not have a proper website!  

My reasons for commissioning Alex:

  1. Alex was very transparent with pricing. He maybe not be the cheapest, but definitely quite affordable. Besides pricing, there wasn't any other differentiator here at least for me.
  2. I loved how responsive Alex was with communication throughout the process. And I didn't have to fill a contact form or wait for his quote. Everything happened instantly, via FB messenger.
  3. His FB display picture stood out! It was a very documentary style image, which spoke to me of course. I guess this is super random to say, but apparently that's how humans make decisions.

Working with Alex was great, super friendly and fun personality. He cracked everyone up, while taking the group shot he said "If I could handle drunk Russian weddings, this group shot is nothing" in his distinctive Russian accent. And the pictures turned out great 🙂

During the party, some friends pointed out that Alex resembles Ben Affleck from Argo. I've seen Argo multiple times and it is one of my all time favorite films, and yes the similarity was uncanny. In fact, a friend of mine still refers to Alex as Argo. The marketer in me thought, if Alex had a website this could be such a great way to differentiate. Here is how I imagine it to look like:

Argo inspired hero section for Alex's website

Why do this?

It pays when you stand out.

A quote from my favorite marketing book - Better is not better. Different is better. Different is where you stand out within an instant, within the marketing millisecond. This resonates with another favorite book, Alchemy: The surprising power of ideas that don't make sense.

According to Mike Michalowicz, Different always works, and we must "do different to get noticed". So my request to all the photographers out there, please show your personality and aim to stand apart. Thanks.

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