Mutual Respect

24th February 2016

So I had an enquiry in January from a fairly large, well-known company (who I’ll not name) who were interested in developing a relationship with an architectural photographer, with the possibility of 3-4 sites a month that would need photographing. Great, I thought, right up my street.

I sent a quote, and heard nothing back. I followed up a week or so later, and couldn’t get hold of the person. After a couple of weeks she called and we pencilled in a meeting for the following Wednesday – she’d get back to me with times. I heard nothing, and followed up by e-mail and phone, and couldn’t get hold of her until after the following Wednesday. She apologised, and we arranged a time for the next Wednesday. On that day, an hour or so before the meeting, I had a text checking I’d got the e-mail that morning abort cancelling. I hadn’t. Genuinely apologetic (by text), and I’m putting that one down to some unknown e-mail problem (though really, cancelling at such short notice, you make sure you get hold of the person by phone, right?). She said she’d call the next day. She never did.

A few days later I had an enquiry about a little job the following Thursday and was I available. I said yes, depending on the time. I never heard back, and followed up again by e-mail, with again no response. I called the day before, and she apologised and said she’d been out of the office, and the work was not going ahead now.

I have reason to believe the person in question is quite junior, and inexperienced, but even so this is obviously very frustrating. I’m a professional, and have been in business for 14 years. I have many clients who I work for regularly, with whom I’ve developed a level of what I would call mutual respect. Even some quite large companies (would you believe it) understand that just because I’m a sole-trader doesn’t mean I can be treated badly. They understand that because it’s just me, my time is very precious and needs to be managed very carefully. Those are the clients I enjoy working for the most, and that I’m sure get the best out of me.

Now, this is more than just a rant. Two questions:

1 – Should I say anything to this person? Unless she’s on another planet, she’ll surely have some understanding that she’s messed me around. Is it worth saying anything? Would it scupper my chances of working for the company, who are, of course, far more than just her. They remain a client that I’d like to work for, in theory.

2 – Should I write off this lead completely? On the one hand, business folk will tell you that some clients aren’t worth the hassle. They demand too much in one way or another, and it’s a false economy to think you’re better off working for them despite that. Move on, and work with others who are have more respect. As I’ve been in business so long, I do have the luxury of knowing something else is round the corner. On the other hand, will I be missing out on a great new client? Perhaps once I’m past this person, I’ll deal with other people? When do you let it go?

Yes, I wanted to get this off my chest, but opinions on this would be genuinely welcome, as it’s something I’ve always been unsure about. The customer may not always be right, but they’re always the customer, as I’ve heard someone say recently. But you have a choice first about whether they even become your customer.

Fellowship portfolio

12th January 2016

For those of you who are interested, here are the 25 images that I submitted as my successful Fellowship application at the BIPP…

FBIPP Portfolio

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Fellowship of the BIPP!

26th November 2015

I’m absolutely over the moon to have successfully applied for my Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photography this week. The process involved the submission of a portfolio of 25 images, plus the collation of a large body of supporting evidence from my work as an architectural photographer over the past ten years. This included examples of my work in use, books, magazine articles, sample briefs from clients, awards and all sorts of other documents that show just how damn¬†professional and talented I am (cough cough)!

Fellowship level requires a demonstration of unique style and approach to the subject matter, and for that reason I decided to base my panel of images around my range of Deconstructions. I’ve been working on these for a couple of years, and whilst fundamentally architectural in nature, they are aimed at the fine art market. My Fellowship was therefore awarded in the category of Visual Arts, which I couldn’t be happier about. I’ve always approached my commissions with the view to creating portfolios for clients that go beyond mere documentation and include images that present architecture as works of art. This is a great vindication of that approach.


BIPP qualified logo FBIPP White

Fine art gallery of architectural prints

20th November 2015

Fine art prints for sale at North East Exposure

Judging the RICS photography competition

20th November 2015

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have just announced their second infrastructure photography competition, with a £2000 prize of photography equipment for the winner. Find out more here.

I’m honoured to have been selected as one of 7 judges, and the only photographer on the panel. So get entering, and remember I’m not eligible to enter so that’s got to help your chances…! Deadline is 19th February 2016.