Timing is everything. The news of the day yesterday, atleast for those of us stateside, was the passing of Farrah Fawcett. That is, until the King of Pop himself passed away. Immediately, Fawcett was eclipsed by the passing of Michael Jackson. As someone who has had a close family member pass away, I had a strong desire for the community to turn out in droves to honor my loved ones' passing. So too, no doubt, did Ryan want that for Farrah. Yet, the news of the day became that of Jackson.
What could this possibly have to do with the business of photography?
As I started with, timing is everything. In the above case, it was bad timing all around, however, the timing of Jackson's death will affect the celebration of Fawcett's life. In a corporate example, my long-time client, XM Satellite Radio, was scheduled to officially launch their service, if memory serves, on September 12, 2001. That, of course, got moved to later in the month, and it was a subdued launch. The other day, I was working with a client who was promoting a press conference/news event for a very worthy cause, however, the news media were immediately dispatched to cover the metrorail crash here in DC, so no media came.
Be sure that your contracts for services rendered have cancellation fees. If you were a photographer in LA photographing a VIP reception at UCLA Medical Center in LA for the hospitals' biggest donors and the Hospital board, and they cancelled the event because of the media horde and all the mourners outside, a cancellation fee should apply. It should apply especially if the client didn't tell you until close to the event start, and you had turned down multiple assignment requests from media outlets to cover the mourning (and become a part of the horde) because you knew you had another contractual commitment. Further, contemplate your own timing as you make plans for your business. Don't send e-mails to clients, for example, Saturday afternoon. They'll get lost in their inbox, and a lesser portion of them will get read than if you sent them Monday mid-morning, after prospective clients have cleared their inboxes.
Just as you would never send a non-time-sensitive e-mail to a photo editor at a daily newspaper when they are on deadline (usually between about 4pm and 6pm or so), or knowing that the weekly publications put their final issues to bed Tuesday evening so calling/emailing Tuesday afternoon will get you ignored, so too, paying attention to the news cycle as you time your activities is something very important to the longevity of your business. This isn't personal, it's just business.
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