The work I do now is pretty specialized, I rarely venture outside of my area of expertise which is corporate commercial, architectural, lifestyle, and referral only weddings. Just about every week I get a phone call, email, or direct message asking if I could photograph a family event, small wedding, or some children’s photos. If I’m booked potential clients will say, “can you send one of your assistants? If not then whoever you refer needs to be reliable and deliver quality work as promised.” Referring clients in a photography situation is a sensitive issue for me and a huge “can of worms.”
Early on in my career I referred a photographer out to a client and that photographer, who was established, never delivered the images from the job. The client was pissed! Although the client did ultimately make the choice to go with that photographer I still felt responsible for the introduction. Since I knew the client personally I felt the impact of the referral more than if I didn’t know them. Today if that same client is doing an event they will call me 6 months out and pre-pay their booking; it was that bad of experience for them.
Unless I really know a photographer personally, I rarely refer photographers or video people out. The downside is not referring doesn’t help a qualified client who might really need a reliable photographer or video person.
This year I launched my Keith B Dixon Architectural brand and was looking for ways to expand the brands presence and reach and discovered smartshoot.com. The service made perfect sense because they handle everything and all I had to do was setup my profile, load some images, on bid on jobs; signing up was a no brainer and it's free, for now so sign up now while it's still in the beta phase.
As I thought more about the SmartShoot service they were the perfect solution to my referral fears. SmartShoot pre-screens all the freelancers, they provide the interface to the client so work is presented professionally, and they handle the delivery timelines and billing to the client. But here’s the great part; the client sets the budget for the job and then the photographers bid on it; it’s like the TV show “Shipping Wars on A&E.” SmartShoot, is definitely a smart move for a client who has a job because they can leverage their bid in the open, and great for the freelancer especially if you are just starting out, unsure on how to price, or measure your work for value or quality.
SmartShoot is a Win-Win!
Keith B Dixon is a Professional Freelance Photographer and Blogger who specializes in corporate event photography, executive portraits, and editorial assignment work in the health care, computer technology, biotech, and real estate. Keith’s work regularly published in various trade magazines, online ads, publications in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Nationally, and Internationally.