It's amazing how one phone call can really lift up your week. As I was sitting in my car the other day, heading toward a meeting of the Professional Photographers of Cape Cod, I got one such call.
But first a diversion.
My business plan is based on complex actuarial tables, some tea leaf readings conducted in a cozy little room above an antiques dealer and some wild guesses. The core principal, apart from charging an amount of money that reflects the true value and cost of services is that I shouldn't buy things until the business can actually afford them.
One problem with start-ups is that when they get that first jolt of funding they want to go wild and buy everything in sight. After all you need an office building, thre server farms and an old Pac-Man arcade cabinet right away. However, businesses aren't based so much on the ownership of tools but the creation of products and businesses that lose track of this run into trouble.
Photography is partly selling the invisible. It isn't just about getting some 8x10 photographs into the client's hands but creating relationships, and capturing moments that reveal emotion and story in away that few others can.
Like most photographers (male photographers it seems are especially prone to this) I have this incredible desire to own the latest and greatest equipment to support my business. What I actually own is a lot less impressive, so I rent (as I wait to hit milestones marked out by my accountant/astrologer that say it's right to buy that new body or lens).
This is where the phone call comes in, and where my blog starts to look more like shilling.
This weekend one of my college roommates is getting married. I agreed to cover the reception and get a pool of candids since while their friends and family might live in Massachusetts, the couple live deep in the heart of Texas (or Austin, I assume the stars are equally bright). So I put in an order with my regular rental place, Pro Photo Rental.
Yesterday, I got a call from their customer service representative Jared (with whom I've had plenty of communication about extensions, changes and even that time I sent back the wrong battery charger and kept theirs). There was bad news.
For weddings I rent Canon's 5D. It's a full-frame workhorse camera with great performance throughout its range, with great color and versatility that makes it a great fit for wedding work.
Most of their units were out and another client was late in returning their unit. So with some trepidation Jared asked me if it was all right to switch the 5D out for another unit, Canon's newer 5D mark II, which offers increased performance and the ability to shoot HD video.
Needless to say I'm excited, and really pleased at the level of customer service I've received from these guys. It's also very classy that they called and asked ahead of time. They have a lot of equipment available and the shipping is included in the cost of your rental so there is no sticker shock when you add it to your cart. So if you're looking to rent some gear, this is the place.