I recently got a phone call from a photographer friend complaining that he just lost out on a job. One of his clients came to him asking if he shot video and he answered no. He went into a long fear based monologue about how this is happening to him more and more and that he was afraid that he would lose his clients to video shooters and worse yet, video shooters who would also start providing “his” clients with still images pulled from frame grabs from high end video cameras like the RED.
After he calmed down, I asked him “Why did you answer no when your client asked if you shot video?” He explained that he was an honest guy and that he would be doing a disservice to his client by pretending to be something that he wasn’t or that he couldn’t deliver. I told him quite simply that perhaps he could have provided that service to his client but that by sending his client away, he was not only doing himself a disservice but his client as well because “he” couldn’t fill their need. Then I explained the notion of forming partnerships.
Video is made for collaboration and partnerships because there are so many facets to it – shooting – sound – post production etc. So why can’t a still photographer create partnerships or virtual production companies and work with a team of colleagues to serve a client’s many needs? It’s a win win – you keep your client in house and your client can work within a comfort zone that you’ve already established with them. You become the producer which for the most part, many still photographers are already.
Look around – virtual companies are being set up in all types of businesses – partnerships that are not confined to the traditional bricks and mortar setting – but rather created on a need basis. I’ve recently worked with virtual PR firms and ad agencies where the art director may reside in Colorado, the client in NYC and the account exec in California. Or they all might be in the same geographic location – but just not in the same confined “space”.
So before you say no – think about likely and unlikely partnerships you can form. Anything is possible which in turn can become profitable.