tonia johnston photography | safety in the coffee shop

safety in the coffee shop

July 12, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

So, I’ve heard it a few times now…a photographer should not meet a client in a coffee shop! Why are we still doing business in coffee shops?

I almost started to feel bad about myself. OMG! I meet in coffee shops! Why AM I doing business in a coffee shop? Is that how I want people to perceive me? As doing business out of the local java dealer?

As I thought abut it, I realized that I am just going to go ahead and be a rebel on this one. I don’t know about anyone else out there but I like my initial meets to be in a public place! Not just for me, but for my clients as well.

I am 5’2. I don’t weigh much. I’ve been knocked over by the wind before. I have a husband and three kids who need me at home. Why on Earth would I put myself in a situation where I could possibly be hurt by someone I don’t know? Don’t get me wrong, I will poke you in your eyeball if you mess with me.

I want to make things as convenient as I possibly can but safety first. Let’s face it – we can interact all day long on FB, send each other numerous e-mails but we don’t truly know each other. When I am contacted and asked to do a session, I want to meet you in person…in public…for my safety. I want you to meet me…in public…for your sense of safety.

I know I’m not arriving to sessions with intentions to do harm to anyone. I’m not packing my trunk with torture devices. But you don’t know that about me. If you’ve contacted me out of the blue, I don’t know that you’re not some stalker or the next serial killer trying to hone their skills. So why not meet in a public place? We can sit and chat, get a feel for each other, see if any warning bells go off. Who knows, you may not even like me in person (not likely, but possible. I have that winning wit, remember?) and do you want me sitting in your house wishing I would get out? And if by some chance you are an axe murderer, do I really want you in the place where my family resides? Just my personal opinion but I think not.

I say keep the initial meets in the coffee shops! Keep the safety playing field level. Sit, relax and have a cup on me while we size each other up. If either one of us feels uncomfortable, we are free to run away if we want to. Let’s start our relationship in a relaxing environment with good conversation and laughter. When we end the meet not only will we both be on the same page but we will both be at ease with each other. Prior to our session. This means less nerves on session day. Less nerves means more wonderful images for you. More wonderful images for you means you’re happy. If you’re happy, I’m happy!

Safety and happiness? Sounds like a win-win to me. And to all starts with a meeting (gasp!) in a coffee shop!