There's more to it than taking photographs Part 5 - part 2 of 1 2 3

by Ron Pybus Published 01/06/2007

When people arrive at the studio for a sitting or viewing, greet them by name and welcome them into the appropriate room. Above all make them feel that you want them to be here and not just that they are one of many customers. If this is a photo session, talk to them about what they want - not what you are going to give them. Include the children as much as you can and consider everyone to be customers not just clients. If I am doing a family sitting show them a series of pictures covering different ages of children, different poses, different props and no props.

If I am talking to a customer about a portfolio I show them a range of photographs that can be taken and I lend them a cuttings book of images from a variety of sources to give them ideas before they actually come for the shoot. All my images are based on discussions with the customer, but so many photographers have a set range of pictures that they follow through, no matter what the customer really wants. I have been to several studios where babies are being photographed and the assistant is already preparing the props for shot three whilst the photographer is taking shot two - so much for spontaneity and meeting the needs of the customer.

Always have the studio ready for them before they are invited in. There is nothing worse than the photographer having to check lighting, find a new compact flash card or film whilst the customer is present and, above all, keep to appointment times. You made the appointment with them for a specific time, so keep to it if at all possible. Children become frustrated and tetchy if they are hanging around and that can set the whole family off. Sometimes it cannot be helped that you are running late, but you must apologise to them for the delay and provide them with an even betterservice than the 100% of yourself that you normally provide

When you have completed the sitting, check with them that you have taken all the group combinations that they want and then explain how the next part of the procedure proceeds - how do they see the photographs and how do they view the images. If you are going to show prints or project images, explain how this will work and how long they need to allow for the process. When this is clear to them, ensure that they have a price list, escort them to the exit and comment on looking forward to seeing them for the viewing or tell them who will be taking them through the viewing.

When they come for the viewing they should once again be welcomed and made to feel that they are the only customers. There is a whole long debate on how hard you sell and we will deal with that later in the series. Whatever system you use it should be clearly explained to them how it operates, how long it is likely to take and how they are able to pay. They should then be made appropriately comfortable. If for example it is a simple package sitting they are unlikely to take long in the selection process and there is no need to provide other than minimal seating. If they are viewing a major sitting where they are selecting from many prints and choosing albums, frames etc, they should have access to comfortable seating.

Prices should be clearly displayed so that they are in no doubt as to their financial commitment. Once the sale has been completed and arrangements have been made to collect the prints, they should once again be courteously shown off the premises.

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1st Published 01/06/2007
last update 06/11/2019 11:07:17

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