by Jonathan Coleman Published 01/02/2014
You are shooting EMOTION - That is What Your Client is Buying
Now, once you have taken those images, they need to be processed quickly and efficiently to a high standard, ready for the clients to pick their favourites (their Viewing), and then they need to be prepped for printing (their Order). Take overly long on these stages and it is really easy to end up working for less than the minimum wage! This article will focus on how we shoot to sell and then process the images to the right standards as quickly as possible. It is worth pointing out that this is not the only way to create and prepare your product for sale, it is just our way. We have evolved it over time and it hits all the key criteria. If you are already trading and have a different process that ticks all the boxes, stick with it.
The Shoot - Arrival
Remember, everything should be geared toward maximising the sale and a key part of that process, at this stage, is raising expectations. Whatever time the client's arrive, even if late, we always leave them to sit in our reception for five minutes, surrounded by large wall portraits, to allow them to adjust to what they are coming to.
With so much photography out there from Smartphones to professional, it is really important to help clients realise that this experience is going to be way beyond just taking a photograph.
The Pre-Shoot Talk
Firstly an icebreaker - you need to build rapport and relax your clients within five minutes. We have found that adults, virtually without exception, hate having their pictures taken, whilst small children generally don't care. There are good psychological reasons for this which need to be addressed up front, remedies suggested and so the pressure taken off. It is great to see the clients visibly relax at this point. We need all posing facades and fake smiles down if we are going to get real, emotive, images.
We also need to continue the process of raising expectations, so that clients start visualising where they might use their images. This is partly discussion, where you can ascertain and shoot to their tastes and partly having examples you can refer to. The back wall of our studio is covered in wall portraits to help in this process. It enables parents to browse the options whilst you are shooting their children - photographically, of course - and start to develop an emotional attachment to a particular style. Throughout the shoot I will be relating to examples on that wall, explaining how I am shooting to this or that style.
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