Your photography investment - Don't tolerate a bad photographer {Michael Tortorich}

November 24, 2012  •  1 Comment

Great photographs aren't always created in a studio. Interesting images call for interesting places. {Michael Tortorich Photography LLC - Baton Rouge, Louisiana}

Know what's out there

I follow lots of photographers through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I even Google search for local photography to see who or what I'm up against.

Every now and then, I'll see a message posted not unlike this one:

"I have been getting a lot of calls and unfortunately I will not be taking any more appointments until after the first of the year. Want to enjoy the holidays with my family! Truly sorry and I hope you understand!"

First, let me say that I completely understand a parent wanting to spend time with family. I get that.

To me, though, this is bad business. What if your mechanic said he wasn't taking any cars for another month? What if your doctor told you the next available appointment was after the first of the year? What if you called the police and they said they wouldn't be able to send out a Crown Victoria until at least a month?

The great thing about capitalism is the consumer's ability to fire on the spot. If you don't like the service you're getting, you don't have to patronize. If a restaurant has poor service and bad food, you can essentially fire everyone in there. You are free to choose. You may choose to never set foot in there again. And because restaurants are everywhere, you have a choice to bring your money anywhere you'd like.

This applies to photographers and photography services as well. There are lots of choices out there. Why tolerate someone who gets their foot in the door only to let the door slam shut simply because it's December?

I have a hunch that some get into photography because they assume it's easy money. They think that the time it takes to shoot a session is all there is to it. They figure they can set the camera to auto, snap a few frames, then quickly make a disk.

That's not the half of it. There are lots of little things that separate a bad photographer from a good photographer. Little things add up to make a big difference.

First and foremost, a photographer lives photography. They live for art. They live for creativity.

Soccer mom with a camera vs. full-time professional photographer

To me, there is nothing in the world more flattering than receiving an inquiry about my photography. It's exciting to work with others on bringing their visions to life.

I get phone calls from out of the blue all the time. It's common for area codes from around the country to pop up on my phone.

In striving to set my self apart, I focus on service when I receive an inquiry. In short, I want to accommodate clients - and potential clients - as much as I possibly can.

They want to set up a photo session in New Orleans City Park? I'm there. They want to change clothes five times? Sounds great. They're bringing their Shih Tzu Trixie? How adorable...can't wait to meet her. Oh, and they want it done at sunset (you will be stuck in traffic at some point). I'm there.

To me, the client always, always, always comes first.

It's all about service

A while back I noticed my dad would always answer his business phone with the words "Tortorich Wrecker Service." Of course, he could have shortened it to just "Tortorich Wrecker," or even just "Mike" would have been sufficient. He insists on putting emphasis on the "service" part.

Why? Virtually anyone can buy a truck, get a commercial license and go into business. There are lots of towing and wrecker services out there.

He understand that his business does well because of the service he provides. In a business known stereotypically for taking advantage of people, he never does. He treats people right...almost to a fault.

He's at the service of his customers because he knows it's the only way to thrive in business, especially in a place where everybody knows everybody.

Pay attention to details

Do a little homework when you are in the market for a photographer. This is an investment. No matter the particular moment in life (childhood, graduation, wedding, etc.), you want to get the most bang for your buck.

To insure you are choosing the best possible professional, take some time to look over their past work. This will indicate to you if they will be able to replicate the type of photography you would like to have.

How do you choose a stylist?

Think about why you chose a certain hair stylist over the droves of others. Is it entirely based on how your hair looks after, or does the experience have something to do with it as well?

Recently I went into a chain salon out of sheer convenience. Guys tend to do that sort of thing when it comes to their hair. If money were no object, I would literally cut my hair once a week. As it grows out, it just doesn't look the same. And it starts coming in around the neck, and just generally feels out of sorts.

I popped in, and in typical chain store fashion, no one acknowledged my existence. I didn't even get a, "We'll be with you in a minute..."

So I waited. And waited. And waited...

Finally, one of the 19-year-old stylists with nine different shades of hair got around to calling my name.

I waited for her to ask me how I was doing or something like that, but she never did. Not particularly interested in pushing an awkward conversation, I just let it pass.

So she strictly only talked to me when she needed to know something about my hair or to tell me it was time to pay her. I feel awkward just thinking about it, so imagine how it must have felt to live it.

Now, do you suppose I will ever go back there? Of course not. I'm wondering what possessed me to go there even once!

Next time, I won't let convenience and a snap judgment get the best of me. There are a few locals that I've patronized before, and they deserve my business.

It's not like I'm being charitable to the locals. I get way more bang from my buck from them.

I know they will ask me about "my mama and them." That sounds like nothing, but it is something relative to the lack of any conversation you get from the community college dropout reeking of Marlboro reds.

Like a good stylist, a good photographer brings energy.

Energy brings ideas. And ideas bring creativity.

These little details add up.

It's what separates the mommy photographers from the professional photographers.

I'm hoping you found this article helpful. If you are in search of a photographer, please feel free to look through my work. Below you will find a collection of links to aid you in your search.

Here's how to connect with me:

Michael Tortorich on Facebook - https:/​/​www.​facebook.​com/​tortorich
Michael Tortorich Photography on Facebook - https:/​/​www.​facebook.​com/​MichaelTortorichPhotographyLLC
Michael Tortorich on Twitter - https:/​/​twitter.​com/​MikeTortorich
Michael Tortorich on LinkedIn - http:/​/​www.​linkedin.​com/​pub/​michael-​tortorich/​22/​35a/​a61

To reach me directly, call or text me at 225-717-0762.


I agree. A camera does not make the photographer. Service is a big part, as is having the right equipment and knowledge to handle all situations, not just the shoot a million vacation pics with 2 or 3 lucky shots to show off
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Michael Tortorich Photography is based in south Louisiana.

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