Business

Work with clients: 8 rules of Dmitriy Fedotov

Sign a contract, take a deposit, be tactful and reject the job offer if your tastes don't match - these are recommendations of photographer Dmitriy Fedotov

BUSINESS

Work with clients: 8 rules of Dmitriy Fedotov

Sign a contract, take a deposit, be tactful and reject the job offer if your tastes don’t match — these are recommendations of photographer Dmitriy Fedotov.

In the series of materials “Work with Clients” Bird In Flight invites professional photographers of various specialties to share the principles they follow in their work. In this issue — rules of Dmitriy Fedotov, a wedding photographer from Moscow.

Dmitriy Fedotov, 27 years old

Based in Moscow. Recipient of numerous awards and a winner of several contests organized by the International Union of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP). In 2013 he was in the top ten best wedding photographers, according to the Wedding Photography Select Association.
Wedding photography is a calling

People who shoot weddings exclusively for income break the market, ruin the mood of the newlyweds and don’t do what wedding photography is meant to do: preserve a piece of happiness from one of the most important days of every family’s life. If all you want to do is make some dough — try doing it in another field.

If your tastes don’t match — simply say “no” to the job offer

I have my own point of view when it comes to what wedding photography should be like. If I don’t understand what the client expects, then, regardless of what I do, they won’t receive the full range of emotions from the end result. In such case, I’m better off rejecting the job offer, or recommending another photographer who will do exactly what they expect him to do. There is a false opinion out there that we have a high competition among us. Actually there are only a few good photographers, and each of them specializes in a very narrow field. That’s why, when a client enters this field, we try to help him find a photographer who can completely satisfy his expectations.

Get to know the newlyweds

You can establish emotional connection during the first meeting. When we meet, I learn about the couple, of their likes and dislikes, and about what they absolutely do not want. Wedding photography isn’t intended to target a huge audience — it’s made for a certain person who pays for it. It’s their personal memories. Therefore the results must match that person’s interests – and not some trend or common knowledge about wedding photos.

We discuss relatives — perhaps, they haven’t seen somebody in a while, or someone is of very old age, and they would definitely like to have them photographed. We talk about the couple’s relationship, going back to when and how those two met.

Make it clear to the client what he pays for

Be prepared for the fact that folks within the post-Soviet space do not understand the meaning of the wedding photos. They would rather invite ten more guests than pay for a quality photo session. For instance, in the US wedding photographers charge $5,000+, and no one questions them on the price. My buddy Joe Buissink, a photographer, hit the nail on the head when he said: “Everything that seems important during a wedding is important indeed. You’ll devour the wedding cake, the wedding dress will go back into the closet. And it will turn out that the pictures were the most important of all. In a few years, only photos will be able to bring back the memories of that day.”


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Sign a contract and read it out loud

Practically each and every one of my weddings was done with signing a contract. Make sure to include a paragraph where it says that, besides the photo shoot, the client relies on the photographer when it comes to choosing images and their retouching. This is a simple protection from those who think they know it all. But we live in the reality where a contract can’t 100 per cent protect us from everything – this formalization of what we settle for is advisory but not almighty. Still, if you speak to your client clearly, and have them hear you out and agree to your terms – and if they sign under all of the above, you will be much better protected.

Take a 100 per cent deposit

It makes your communication with the client much easier. When a person already paid, they are much more content. And the photographer is more content too, because after the wedding he doesn’t have to bother the newlyweds with reminders that he needs to get paid.

Be tactful

Unpredictable events during weddings always allow for interesting photoshoot. However, there is a line that should never be crossed. Even if I have the opportunity to take an unbelievably cool photo, I will refrain if I can tell that it will make people uncomfortable.

Print out a photo album

Diskettes are the thing of the past, compact-discs get damaged too easily, and no one really knows what the culprit of the flash drives will be, — so a quality album will not only make the newlyweds happy, but also their children, grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. You can go the way of digital, but in the end the physical album is your best shot to present the fruit of your work and make it last for a very long time.


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