Black People : advice for a white woman

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Chesney, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Chesney

    Chesney Member MEMBER

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    I am a white female in my 40s. I am a wedding photographer. In the last few months I have shot severals weddings for some very lovely women who happen to be black. I have so enjoyed working with these women and to be quite honest I would like to do more. I have not had the opportunity to get to know any women who happen to be black until now. I absolutely do not want to sound racial or improper. I am at a loss as whats ok to say and not to say. What I mean is that I have noticed some very interesting, positive and pleasant cultural differences. I would like to comment on them and ask questions but I am very afraid to offend. I would also like to know how to advertise specifically to attract more of these clients but again I do not want to offend by asking. I would also like to know what to do to suit my business to be more accommodating to african american women. I am generally very easy to get along with and pretty easy going. I try to be careful and considerate with my friends and clients. It would not offend me to be asked about something that I did simply because I am of a different race than someone else. But I don't know that others feel that way.

    I would appreciate any advice on these matters. I want to be respectful and friendly and I would truly like to know how to move forward in both personal and professional relationships.
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    In order to better aid you in your solicitation for advice, as a Black woman, I would need some more information from YOU.

    For example....

    (A) Since you have already, professionally, photographed African American women in their weddings, what advertising was it you already had in place which encouraged/prompted those Black women to choose YOUR photography service?

    (B) What, if any, effect do those detected "cultural differences" have upon your professional capacity as a photographer and advertising to Black women?

    OR are those "questions" you'd like to ask not related professionally but personally??.....or BOTH?

    (C) What personal or professional circumstances, to date, have prevented you "opportunities" in "getting to know any Black women?"
     
  3. Chesney

    Chesney Member MEMBER

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    Answers for Cherry Blossom

    Hi Cherry Blossom,

    The advertising I have in place is a website and word of mouth. With these particular women it would be my website.

    The effect the differences have on my business are.. the weddings of these women that I have shot have been very different from those of white clients. In the order which things are done, in their formality, in the ways things are done. For example, in general they are more respectful of the Bride and groom and their parents than my white clients. Like, at a white wedding, while the bride and groom are taking photographs back at the church, guests simply go on and begin eating. At the wedding of the black women that I have shot the guests wait until the bride and groom and their families arrive before any festivities begin. Why this makes a difference is because first, while I try to be as quick as I can, had I known that guests were waiting, I would have taken less time with say the bridal party and focused more on the bride and groom. Also as I am learning the difference in the way parents are treated I am concerned about unknowinly offending.

    As for personal questions or comments. I am speaking of compliments. Like.. I am a fairly reserved person. It is very hard for me to speak my mind. I would not want to stereo type but what I have noticed and admire about both my brides and many of the woman at the weddings is that they are very outspoken and spunky. If this were one of my friends I would laughingly cheer them on, however I wouldn't want to seem as though I am stero typing and offend.

    As to your last question, I wouldn't say anything has prevented me it has just simply been that I have not come across the situation where the opportunity has arisen. I live in a community that is mostly white. The women who I have as clients who are black are from surrounding communities.
     
  4. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    WOM, word of mouth......

    collaborate, find a partner:
    are there black wedding photographers in your area? i had a friend who shot weddings.
    at certain times he would get swamped and he would be desperate for help.
    if you could team with some black shooters that would be a way to get some insight.

    practice exposure:
    black ladies in white gowns are a bear to expose properly. skin or dress? flash or no?
    practice before you get there. learn HDR (high dynamic range) techniques in photoshop.
    (i am a photog, but i don't do weddings, hate em)

    speak up:
    upper and middle class black ladies have plenty of experience dealing with white women.
    they know you a lot better than you know them. talk to them.
    say what you want and somebody may take some time with you.
     
  5. Chesney

    Chesney Member MEMBER

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    Thank you for the excellent suggestion. Honestly I am unsure of whether or not there are other black photographers. I don't do very much socializing with any photographers in my area. The photographers I have met are very competitive and generally aren't willing to share business but it wouldn't hurt to seek them out.

    You are definately right about the exposure of black ladies in white gowns. I have spent alot of time learning this when I booked my first client. Of course I still have lots more to learn and I am always appreciate of any help with it.

    As to your last suggestion: Speak up: I guess that was my question to begin with. I am unsure as to how to do this in a way that doesn't sound offensive as I am not sure what is offensive. Is it ok to simply say, "as a white woman I would like to know to better serve black ladies?"
     
  6. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    How offensive is, upon hearing a female talk about she is engaged, walking up and saying, "My name is Chesney. Here is my card. I give excellent rates." ?

    If you are in an urban center, they have a black newspaper or radio station that caters to them.

    As far as offensive, treat them as a white client. You cant go wrong there.

    We also expect a 10% commission for this advice

    :em2300:







    :em0200:


















     
  7. Bootzey

    Bootzey Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brush up on Black Culture. It differs from white Culture. When I got married, the photographer was changing the film in his camera during the broom jumping ceremony. He had to ask one of the guests if that was significant. Since it was past, we had no pictures of it. We jumped again after the fact in the hallway outside, but it wasn't the same.
     
  8. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    sounds like a winner to me......and about that 10%
     
  9. Chesney

    Chesney Member MEMBER

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    Thanks! if it works how about a free sesion! :D
     
  10. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Well, Chesney, when it comes to business, there is a "universal truth" in that "word of mouth" advertising can make or break a business....So, in addition to your website, if those Black women you've already provided photography services for were pleased with your work and your package, then, they may, in turn, suggest your company to other Black women.

    Yes, culturally, Black people are very respectful of our Elders and the protocol of certain occasions such as weddings and funerals, etc...

    With that being said, as the wedding photographer, you work for the Bride and Groom, NOT THE WEDDING GUESTS....So, if they have to wait a bit longer in order to eat and dance, then too freakin' bad.


    I'm really not understanding what "compliments" you would want to give Black clients that would be considered "stereotyping" but not be insulting if those same compliments were given to your White clients. :?:

    Why do you feel so uncomfortable in this area?....Are the adjectives/descriptors "outspoken" and "spunky" stereotypes for Black women to YOU?
    :?:

    Well, as a White woman of over 40 years of age, your present situation of feeling like a "fish outta water" with Black women is because you have not, heretofore, pursued any opportunity to interact with Black women, neither personally nor professionally.

    However, now that you've smelled the scent of more money in a Black market, you suddenly want to ask other Black people what you should say/not say, do/not do, etc...

    Heretofore, you socialized and operated professionally, solely within the confines of your White community; but after having done the weddings of a couple of Black women, now you want to know how you can glean more business from the Black community.

    As a Black woman, I find that personally insulting.

     
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