Photographer James Hodgins of Sudbury, Ontario has come up with a creative visual solution for a perennial marketing challenge: Convincing clients who think they can shoot their own photography that they will get better results if they hire a professional photographer.
“People are visual. When you start talking lights, they tune you out,” Hodgins says. One day it dawned on him to invite a client to tag along on a shoot with her own camera. “I said, ‘You take the picture you would have taken, and then I’ll take mine the way I would.”
And that’s how his Crappy vs. Snappy showcase was born. He dedicates a page on his Web site to side-by-side comparisons of his pictures and clients’ pictures, mostly of mining and industrial subjects. On a regular basis, Hodgins features Crappy vs. Snappy updates on his blog.
Hodgins says it is one of his most effective sales tools. “It’s all about educating the client. They get it.”
He has adapted the technique for all types of clients. When shooting business portraits, for instance, he’ll stand his subjects against a wall, and photograph them with a camera-mounted flash before photographing them in a studio setting with professional lighting. It makes a lasting impression on the subject, and Hodgins uses the before-and-after pictures to sell other clients on the difference.
“If every photographer did that, a lot more clients would understand the difference between picture by a professional and the average Joe,” Hodgins says.