This morning I awoke to a somewhat frantic email from a local marketing manager. Another local photographer was scheduled to shoot headshots for the entire office and had just canceled…after another photographer canceled the day before. Less than two hours later I’m in the office, taking portraits. The shoot took about 30 minutes for 15 employees. Editing took less than two hours. It was a quick and easy gig. Even better, the company would like to consider hiring me for future event photography!

What’s my point? I have a few, actually:

  1. There is almost always someone willing to take your place, or your gig.
  2. Don’t cancel on a client without good reason and a sufficient amount of notice. Undercut yourself on the quote? Too bad. Do the shoot and learn your lesson.
  3. If you absolutely must cancel, recommend a replacement. Get to know your peers, join a Meetup group, etc. I have a list of a few photographers that I can contact if I have an emergency, need a second shooter, etc.
  4. Customer service matters! Even if you never see a particular client again, he/she is likely to know someone who may need a photographer down the road. Don’t let a poor experience in the present keep you from attracting a new client in the future.

This is pretty basic stuff for any business owner or service provider, but sometimes we need a reminder.