I spent 24 years setting advertising strategies at the nation's largest advertising agency for some of the best known brands in America. So when I shoot, I know the strategic purpose of what I am doing. My work is exclusively focused on doing work that helps a business or organization make more money.
My reward is my client's reward. If their business inquiries are up; if more people traveled to their destination; if their room rates are higher and their vacancies lower; if their listing sold in two days; if their book made the Amazon Top 100 list in its first week; etc. I know how to move the needle for corporate clients, and that's all I do.
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My first thing is to interview them and find out their marketing strategy: What makes them stand out; what differentiates them from the competition; etc. Then I discuss what I believe we'll need to do for the shoot to address these objectives.
I spent 24 years at the largest advertising agency in America setting communications strategies for some of the best known brands in America.
It varies by job and by location. I have clients in 20 states and four countries. Shooting a house listing 20 minutes from my home is going to be very different than capturing the installation of a high-end commercial HVAC system for a university in Oregon.
I did this as a hobby during my advertising career and kept getting more and more phone calls, so I transitioned to this full time. Happily, much of my work I do now is with former clients and former employees.
About half are small businesses and the others are larger businesses.
I love working with my clients, and working well with THEIR clients as well. So if I'm shooting a house for a Realtor, I know that the homeowner will be raving about the Realtor for hiring me because I have such a good interaction with homeowners.
Talk to them to see if they "get" why you are requesting photos in the first place. If it's a business, it's way more than good lighting and some dramatic effect, which is good. It's what strategically you are trying to accomplish with the work.
I would also ask if they are working for themselves or another group or company. When you work for yourself you can give all your attention to your client. When you work for another company there is pressure to deliver work quickly and sometimes suboptimally.
They should ask themselves what the primary reason is for hiring a photographer -- the ultimate end-benefit. So rather than say, I want pictures of my house listing, it's I want my house to sell faster and for more money. Instead of, I want to show off the WiFi station in my laundromat, it's I want to show my superiority vs. other laundromats by illuminating all the areas where I have a demonstrable point of difference.