by Jonathan Coleman Published 01/02/2014
A Note About the Usefulness of Awards as a Sales Aid
Generally your client won't care about your qualifications or awards - all they are interested in is that you can make them look good. That said, if you have one or more recognisable awards you can legitimately classify yourself as an 'award-winning photographer' which will add to your client's perception of value.
There is also the obvious benefit that going for awards will force you to improve technically, something which we should all strive for as professionals.
BUT this is a slow-burning, intangible benefit and so must not detract from the business of growing your business, whether you are just starting out or want to move up to the next level. If you have limited time, spend it on perfecting your marketing and sales and not submitting for awards. So not so much a business as a personal development tool, especially in the early stages of your business.
Note Regarding Copying Others' Work
Never be afraid to. Your resultant images will never be the same - your skill set is different - it will just help you to grow and, more importantly, move quickly to producing pictures that sell.
Also only ever copy from photographers who you know are running successful studios at least at a level you aspire to. There are a lot of lovely pictures out there by photographers who have no meaningful portrait business.
Post-Shoot Product Walk
This is where you take your clients, price list in hand, around the various options available to them. Listen and react to their comments making a mental note of any specific example sets that you should prepare, telling them that you are going to design a display just for them. See how this is all about selling - from first contact to final collection?
Post-Shoot Production for Viewing
We shoot Raw so process everything through Lightroom, discarding unwanted images but also cropping and doing a general enhancing to make sure the resultant images have the desired 'punch' when projected at the Viewing. Speed is of the essence here. We expect to complete each client in between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on whether a baby or a makeover (where a little bit of extra smoothing may be necessary). Remember, these images do not need to be perfect. Your clients will be looking for mood and expression and will miss faults that you will be correcting, anyway, on those they buy.
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