• How did your business/company start, and what was the greatest challenge that you encountered along the way?
My business started as a fascination with photography at a very young age. I have enjoyed taking photos for as long as I can remember. I never considered the possibility of making a living as a photographer until I was approached by a well-known photographer in St. Thomas, who was impressed with the way I interacted with clients at the hotel I was working at during that time. He asked if I had an interest in photography and shortly after I was shooting weddings by his side. It wasn’t very long before I was booking weddings on my own. The biggest challenge for me was the realization that I was now not only a photographer but also an accountant, web designer, salesman, wedding director and a marketing expert. Taking photographs would consume a small fraction of my time with all the duties that come with running a business. Fortunately for me I love that aspect as well. If I didn’t it would be much easier to work for someone else and let him or her do all the legwork.
I would have to say the biggest challenge was relocating back to New Jersey and New York a few years ago. New York is the most competitive market in the world. I am happy to have had as much success as I have in such a short period of time. To have the ability to make a living as a photographer here is a great honor. Words can’t describe how happy I am doing what I love, where I love to be.
• How would you describe your usual clients in terms of status, needs, and level of satisfaction toward your services?
My clients vary greatly. Since relocating I have been very aggressive in my pricing in order to help get the business off the ground, reducing my rates by nearly half. Everyone that contacts me through Thumbtack has been getting the deal of a lifetime. I understand the value of word of mouth from each wedding I have the honor to shoot. I let the quality of my work speak for itself first, then work diligently to come up with a package that meets the clients’ need as well as the needs of my business. I rarely walk away from a potential client. I always try to match a competitor’s price. Sometimes I can, and others I can come close to. However, there are times when I will have to walk away.
These days, there are a lot of “weekend warriors” who have bought a nice camera and may know how to take a decent photo from time to time, so they assume they can make a few dollars on the side as a wedding photographer. There are many problems with this philosophy. Number one: they are probably doing this for the money first. This is a big red flag in my book. They are not paying the overhead it takes for me to get to the level of service I provide. There are a lot of costs that go into taking “a few photos” at a wedding in addition to experience that can only come from being a full time wedding and event photographer. If you have a budget, be honest and let me know. I will work with you. I understand there will always be someone willing to do it for less, but I can assure you if I am walking away you may really want to do your homework on the “photographer” you are considering. Go ahead and Google them. Ask yourself, are they a weekend warrior? Ask them. Do they have insurance? Are they an active member of the Professional Photographers of America? Can they provide recommendations? Are they willing to show you a full wedding that they’ve shot recently?
If you love my work I ask that you give me a chance to work with you to provide a package that satisfies your needs within your budget. I will strive for your five star ratings and complete satisfaction. No need to settle for less then amazing.
• What do you think is the most effective strategy to keep your customers happy and satisfied with your service?
Become friends. A good rapport is everything in this business. A great relationship will come through in the photos. I work hard to turn my clients into ambassadors for JGiordano Photography.
Stay in touch. I stay engaged at all times. I make myself available when called upon and answer all questions or concerns in a timely manner.
Going above and beyond. I have experience in event management and have assisted in setting up the venue when a group was running behind, even volunteering help in situations such as carrying in centerpieces from the car when seeing clients struggle. I do everything I can to help assure the clients’ success. I make that my business even before I’m hired. I let all potential customers know that even if they choose to go another direction, I am happy to assist should they have questions in any and all aspects of their event. If I don’t have the answer, I will find someone for them who does.
• What was your most favorite and successful project?
The very first wedding I shot stands out as my favorite experience. I was able to physically hand over the prints to the couple and they started crying right in front of me. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. I was floored. They were tears of joy and excitement. I had given them the ability to look back in time from a perspective neither had previously imagined. They both hugged me and thanked me profusely. It was that moment I knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life. Fortunately for me, I have been able to turn that passion into a living.
I have remained humbled by that experience and continue to strive for that level of satisfaction each and every event.
If you’re looking for high quality, professionalism, personality and exceptional service, you should consider JGiordano Photography.