Most of my assignments start with a call from the client (or Anh Stack or Ben Chapnick) with some information about the shoot and then a follow-up e-mail. I talk to a client, but hardly ever see the client.
Last week, the assignment location happened to be at a client’s office, and when we met it was like seeing an old friend. Then I realized — we are old friends!
It begins with a common mission — we both want to produce the best images for the project that a picture editor, art director, or public relations person is working on at that time. Over a series of projects, we come to respect each other as professionals and it’s no surprise that a good friendship develops. Clients change employers, sometimes occupations, and retire, but many stay in touch because of a friendship.
Some friends — clients — I have talked to on the phone for decades and have never met. I couldn’t tell you what they looked like, but they are my friends. There are many aspects of the business of being a professional photographer that I enjoy, and the fact that I meet great people who become good friends is one of things that I value the most.
I’m sure early-career photographers are wondering, “How can I build long-term relationships with clients like that?” My advice is simple: Do a great job, listen to the client and give the client the pictures he or she wants; friendships may or may not follow.
[tags]Dennis Brack, photography clients[/tags]