As I’ve continued to take jobs and photograph various individuals, I’ve begun to notice something intriguing. Something that would seem obvious enough, and yet continues to puzzle and amaze me.
It would seem that there is a direct correlation between my attempts to build a relationship with my client and the level of achievement we both feel after a shoot. It seems that the more time I take to get to know the person I’m shooting (i.e. asking them questions, commenting on their achievements, carrying on a conversation and actually putting the camera down for a few minutes so that they can see my face), the more comfortable both of us become. A connection, a common bond, seems to form between us, and all of a sudden, our ability to relate to each other jumps to a whole new level; our respect and concern for each other reaches a new height, and things progress at a far greater level than I could ever have imagined.
And it’s not like it’s a difficult thing to do, but often it’s the farthest thing from my mind at the time. After all, I’ve got photos to take, portfolios to build, money to make…
But what are the few minutes that I take to build a relationship with my client really worth? Isn’t a relationship with another individual one of the best investments I can make? Am I downplaying the importance of friendship and putting too much emphasis on business?
Now to some people, this may be an observation unworthy of mention; but I firmly believe that the more time you take to establish a connection with the person you’re working with, the easier it will be to labor with them. This is a co-effort, you’re working together as a team. Building relationships through this process is crucial to getting results that both of you will be happy with.
So many people see business relations as a necessary evil and go about establishing connections only out of self-interest and with an attitude of impersonality and hesitance. They’re not out to build friendships, they’re out to make money. Genuine concern for their fellow man is counter-intuitive to their line of thinking; they are too caught up in their own problems, concerns, doubts, and fears to be pondering the lives of others.
But truly, what is life really all about? Is it not to build relationships? To show yourself a friend to those who are in need? To make an impact in the lives of others?
Business relationships are just an extension of what we do on a personal level on a daily basis. There should be no distinction. The people we work with are just as important as the ones we hang out with. I think this is an important perspective for us all to have; it will affect the way we treat others for the rest of our lives.
This is an area that we all need to grow in. True concern and appreciation for the lives of other people is a difficult thing to develop. It’s something that will take some work, but the rewards of it’s institution will far exceed our greatest dreams.