Advances in technology have changed many work spaces. The blogging buzz of the nineties and noughties had countless positioning themselves as writers. And now the onslaught of smartphones with computerized filters and multiple pixels have elevated the average citizen into an eager photographer. And you might notice phone manufacturers are paying more attention to the front-facing camera (#SelfieMania). But when you want quality shots for publications or special events, you still need a pro.
As a photographer, this works to your advantage because you can do things selfie sticks can’t. Whether you’re getting candid nature shots, documenting a wedding, or pointing your equipment at the news anchor, you’re doing valuable work. The trouble comes when it’s time to get paid. You’ll inevitably have that client who requests endless edits then haggles over the price they previously agreed to pay. And many well-known publications are notorious for not paying their bills on time.
Hold on to the merchandise
A smart move modern photographers make is to retain their leverage. You probably have an entire reel of photos, maybe even hundreds. A client may have asked for five photos, so you edit the best ten and send them over for clients to choose. You don’t want them to take their pics and run, so consider offering those ten in sub-optimal low-res. When they select their five, offer a blurred version first, or even a crisp one, but with your watermark splashed across the model.
It should be centrally placed, to ensure they can’t crop it out. Once payment is confirmed, you can send them clear, untainted copies. The customer may worry about getting their pictures in time. Especially if they planned to ‘put your check in the mail’. To get around that, sign up with merchant processors who offer instant verification and quick turnaround.
Agree on Ts & Cs
Once the client swipes their card or enters their payment details on your website, you’ll receive a notification immediately and you can release their photographic captives. Don’t just spring this new mobile payment method on your clients though. Have it all in writing, preferably on the same website where they’ll make their payment. And if you’re meeting the client in person, even better. Show them their selection on your phone, still in minimal resolution.
After everything is confirmed you can email them the photos they’ve selected. This credit card processing system saves you money and ensures you get paid. It minimizes cash flow problems, and reduces the risk of chasing down payments while also lugging around heavy and expensive photography equipment. All you need is your smartphone, secure cloud storage, and the right merchant processing partner.
For more information on credit card processing for your photography business, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.