Imagine going to your favorite restaurant. After a delightful meal, it’s customary in the US to leave a gratuity. In fact, it might be insulting if you do not leave a tip!

din tai fung

Conversely, imagine going to your best friend’s house. After a delightful meal, you pat your belly and compliment the host for a spectacular spread. Next, pull out your purse or wallet and leave a gratuity. How do you think the host will feel?

Awkwaaaard. Yet, it’s perfectly fine if we offered wine or flowers for our host, right?

Why are similar dining scenarios yielding different results? Behavioral researcher, Dan Ariely, calls these situations market norms and social norms, respectively.

More importantly, how do we apply this strategy into our businesses?

(tiny excerpt from Chapter 8 of Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers)

Wearing Different Hats

Everything boils down to wearing the two aforementioned types of hats – social and market hats. Each are quite fashionable in their own scenarios. However, if worn incorrectly, it’s as awkward as wearing pajamas to a cocktail party.

Below are some photography situations in their respective categories.

Social Norms
Sharing photos during consultation
Dialoging via social media
Shooting clients
Delivering goods
Market Norms
Discussing pricing
Signing contracts
Issuing invoices
Collecting balances


This is where husband and wife teams become handy. Each can specialize (not exclusively though) in fashioning a certain hat. Take the restaurant The Melting Pot for example.

the melting pot receipt

The restaurant has two different people for each task. One person strictly handles all of the relationship-building. The other person’s job is to take care of the money part.

I know that having two people in a boutique business can be difficult. I’m not saying it’s not possible to wear both hats … just don’t:

  1. wear both hats at the same time or
  2. wear the wrong hat for respective situations.

Sharing Hats

While I am afraid of sharing hats in fear of lice, I do encourage sharing of this post if you found it beneficial (via social media buttons below).

We all have a list of favorite restaurants. Comment one!


Lawrence Chan

P.S. Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers is near the finish line. Everything is done except for the cover … any ideas what it’ll look like? I cannot wait for the end of October, so that I could pick a copy up at Barnes & Noble!

P.P.S. A lovely comment I received from Nick Coleman about my pricing e-book! Thanks, Nick! And keep rocking!

Read more about this e-book HERE.

Or …

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