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"Award Winning" Photographer


14 Feb 2013 12:52PM
Success isn’t frowned on, but blowing your own trumpet must be done with tact, humour, or a tremendous sense of style. Straightforwardly declaring yourself an award-winning photographer is pompous and, worse, dull.

From my point of view, if a pro photographer doesn’t specify the name of the award, then mentioning ‘award’ does more harm than good: I know the award (assuming it exists at all) is nothing that would make me more likely to hire the photographer; in fact, contrariwise, I’m less likely to hire the photographer, since he just tried to con me with marketese.

But it does depend on the circumstances, to an extent. If you’re trying to sell a sophisticated service at a high price, you shouldn’t be advertising it with copy in an old-fashioned promotional tone. The world has moved on from that. You need something smart and savvy that doesn’t talk down to your smart and savvy customers.

If you’re selling 250-quid wedding packages with free DVDs, you’re aiming at people with much lower expectations, who’re more likely to tolerate a cheesy sales pitch in exchange for just getting some photos, any photos, for a low price.

My own rule is this: don’t assume your customers are fools. I know successful businesspeople don’t always have a high capacity for empathy (some do), but it still shocks me how many otherwise smart people truly believe they’re the only ones in the world who can spot marketese.

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14 Feb 2013 12:58PM

Quote:David Ward (a legend in landscapes)

Starts his website with. "I am not an award winning photographer"



He now seems to have won something, since he starts with ‘I’m a t-shirt winning professional landscape photographer’.

You see what I mean? He gently mocks this trend while actually saying something about himself (in part about his own character: there’s a clue there!). He then goes on to briefly explain his work, and finishes with quotes by other notables about him. Someone else’s words about you obviously hold more weight than any blather you could whip up yourself.

The key word is ‘notables’, though. My mum thinks I’m great, but I wouldn’t tell the world what she thinks about me on my website. No-one cares (except me! I care very much).
keithh e2
11 23.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
14 Feb 2013 1:01PM
To be honest, people who say to me "I know I'm good," can rarely then go on to impress me and whilst Award Winning should mean something it more often than not, does not.
fraser e2
10 631 14 Scotland
14 Feb 2013 1:14PM

Quote:
Meaning?

It just seems that if someone hasn't won an award, then they are meaningless. If you have, then why not use it to promote yourself?



I was just agreeing with your post and thought, as a Scot, you'd get the link. I agree with the promotional aspect and have no problems with the the use of awards as a promotional or sales tool.
Yet it seems to matter if a hotel or a restaurant has been awarded stars or some other kind of recognition. Or pretty much any other kind of business for that matter. Then of course there is the oscars, baftas, Emmys, Grammys, Brit awards etc. They all matter (to some degree) in their industry. Yet when it comes to photography, someone's success should be hidden and not mentioned? Obviously to some it doesn't matter, but it does to others
fraser e2
10 631 14 Scotland
14 Feb 2013 1:20PM

Quote:SuMy own rule is this: don’t assume your customers are fools. I know successful business people don’t always have a high capacity for empathy (some do), but it still shocks me how many otherwise smart people truly believe they’re the only ones in the world who can spot marketese.


Having worked in (another) profession for for over 30 years and ran my own business in that profession for the last 13 that's the last thing I would do or assume. However, I still see the attitude, from a lot of very smart people, that letters after a name are somehow more important than experience and a track record. My own rule is be true to yourself. If you value an award and it adds credibility, use it. If it is something that is meaningful only to you and could be seen as a cynical ploy, don't. There are no hard and fast rules, only common sense and individual cases.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
14 Feb 2013 1:37PM

Quote:Yet it seems to matter if a hotel or a restaurant has been awarded stars or some other kind of recognition. Or pretty much any other kind of business for that matter. Then of course there is the oscars, baftas, Emmys, Grammys, Brit awards etc. They all matter (to some degree) in their industry. Yet when it comes to photography, someone's success should be hidden and not mentioned? Obviously to some it doesn't matter, but it does to others


a restaurant would say "Michelin star winning"
a hotel would have a recognised "Star rating"
a grammy winning star was awarded by the Academy....

etc.

they tend not to say "award winning" restaurant - they get specific about which award it is.

If you look at Damian "The BIG Dog" McGillicuddy's website, the awards are listed - that's credible.



Quote: However, I still see the attitude, from a lot of very smart people, that letters after a name are somehow more important than experience and a track record


Not been my experience yet - but then again, you'd probably not know about the people who reject you due to lack of relevant letters. I don't tend to put my degrees after my name - not sure an MSc or MEng would really help get photography clients.... hmmm
fraser e2
10 631 14 Scotland
14 Feb 2013 2:03PM

Quote:Not been my experience yet - but then again, you'd probably not know about the people who reject you due to lack of relevant letters. I don't tend to put my degrees after my name - not sure an MSc or MEng would really help get photography clients.... hmmm


It can often be a specific requirement of a tender document.

I agree entirely that the nature of an award should be mentioned if you use it.
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
14 Feb 2013 2:25PM
My local District Council awards Hygiene Stars ( 0 to 5 ) to cafes/ pubs / restaurants and those with 5 stars certainly highlight that award in any newspaper advertisements / flyers

Those with 0 write letters to the local newspaper complaining that the inspection was unfair / in the middle of renovation work etc. etc. and that everything is worth a 5 star ! !
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
14 Feb 2013 2:29PM

Quote:My local District Council awards Hygiene Stars ( 0 to 5 ) to cafes/ pubs / restaurants and those with 5 stars certainly highlight that award in any newspaper advertisements / flyers

Those with 0 write letters to the local newspaper complaining that the inspection was unfair / in the middle of renovation work etc. etc. and that everything is worth a 5 star ! !



indeed - do they mention which award it is, or to they just say "award winning" ?
peted01 5 75 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 2:31PM
Interesting discussion, I am an award winning photographer, (The Picture Editors Guild) and yep I am proud of it and put it in my marketing. But, does it allow me to charge more money for my images, no of course not, after being in business for just over a year now I believe that the only important thing is the quality of your work not the awards or letters after your name.
I also found the same in corporate life (the telecomms industry) I have/had a string of letters after my name and all people were bothered about is can I do the job. Neither did it stop me being made redundant.
JJGEE 9 6.4k 18 England
14 Feb 2013 2:33PM

Quote:indeed - do they mention which award it is, or to they just say "award winning" ?


As it relates to Hygiene and awarded by the District Council they most certainly do mention for what the 5 stars award is for.

Quote:

a restaurant would say "Michelin star winning"
a hotel would have a recognised "Star rating"
a grammy winning star was awarded by the Academy....

etc.

they tend not to say "award winning" restaurant - they get specific about which award it is.

If you look at Damian "The BIG Dog" McGillicuddy's website, the awards are listed - that's credible.




Does Damian list his awards on his twitter profile? No, probably not. He's still an award winning photographer though.

Of course you should always be able to back up your claims, but if the industry recognises your work enough to award it, shouldn't your peers accept and recognise that too, rather than ignoring them?
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
14 Feb 2013 2:36PM

Quote:after being in business for just over a year now I believe that the only important thing is the quality of your work not the awards or letters after your name


agreed.... I'd add that the most important thing are the people who you know who are willing to recommend you, and then your proposition (what makes you different).
peted01 5 75 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 2:44PM
ade, yep spot on as well, all my work is coming from word of mouth and lots of networking. Journalism stuff is sold through an agency so no need to schmooze but all my local work is gained by making lots of contacts and the fact that they like your work. People are not buying if the work isnt good enough or they dont like your style.

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