Lisa Bellis, an art buyer at Abelson Taylor in Chicago recently reached out to us for a project for Hunter Freeman. She did so at a time when I was thinking about our next blog posts. While Lisa has been a big supporter of our group for sometime, I realized I did not know her as well as I would like. Therefore, I thought she would be a great candidate for our Solving Mysteries series.
I loved her answer for what photographers are doing lately to stand out from their competitors. The idea of the personal connection is a powerful one for us and one that that we preach to our group all of the time. It is of course one of the hardest to actually make happen but it continues to be one of the most effective tools a photographer has in his or her tool box (besides great work of course!).
Thank you Lisa for taking the time to share with us your thoughts.
How do you search for photography nowadays?
Pretty much every way possible; web, reference books (Workbook, etc.), publications, printed promos, word of mouth – I like to keep my options open. The one consistency here is that no matter what method I’m using, it has to be streamlined, user friendly, and well organized.
Where do you find inspiration?
Anywhere and anything outside of work. I like exploring and being outside. For the last year or so, I’ve been frequenting local county fairs and small town festivals throughout the Midwest. You’d be amazed at what you see in unexpected places.
What are you reading online?
Honestly? I don’t do much online reading – after being on the computer all day, the last thing I want to do is stare at the screen any longer. I do however love books (the old-fashioned printed kind). I still go to the library and check out books on a variety of subjects. Some of my favorites are history (particularly Russian), social policy, and green living, among others. (I promise I’m more fun than that list makes me sound!)
What are photographers doing lately to stand out from their competitors?
One thing I’ve noticed is that more photographers are reaching out directly via phone or an actual visit. You can’t overestimate the value of speaking to someone face to face, especially today when it’s possible to have entire relationships without ever meeting in person. The other thing that always works for me is branded, usable items. If it’s different than everything else I receive in the mail, AND I can use it elsewhere, I guarantee I’ll remember your name.
What does your client value most from a photographer? Does that differ from what you value? And, has that changed over the years?
I think it differs from one client to another. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work on a multitude of clients across various industries. The main thing is that clients prioritize differently. Some really want to put out award winning creative work, others may be more driven by a bottom line. Regardless of values though, the biggest change I see is time and money. We have substantially less of both for the vast majority of jobs. I understand that at the end of the day it’s just business, but in my mind, compromising quality and relationships for too long usually ends up being bad for business.
Thank you Lisa for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. We appreciate it!