5 Things That Make Photography Sessions Great That Have Nothing To Do With Photography
A great photographer will leave you with more than a set of great photos. A great photographer will have you buzzing and riding a high after a session. And, of course, immediately after a session, there's nothing to show for it yet. There aren't any photos, there aren't any prints, how is it that the session alone can leave such a positive imprint on your mind? Well, today's blog is just about that, how a great photographer session is actually largely not about the photography. Here are secrets to the trade for both clients and photographers alike. Enjoy.
Imagine, if you will, arriving inside your hometown barbershop. The swirled pole spinning slowly out front. The freshly swept linoleum floor under your feet as you step inside. The faint aroma of sandalwoods, lavenders, and Barbasol shaving cream fills the air. Your go-to barber waves you over and sits you in the chair, but something seems...off. He. Is. Not. In the mood. He definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed and he keeps speaking to you but you can tell from his eyes that his mind is elsewhere. Your heart rate increases, your breath begins to get heavy, and your palms start to sweat. Is this how you would like the start of your haircut to begin? Absolutely not.
The best thing a great photographer can do is WANT TO BE THERE. The enthusiasm of a photographer is most contagious energy to spread through a photo session. Imagine the photographer as the captain of the ship, he/she/they cannot do it alone but must steer the entire thing. A positive attitude and a demeanor that tells others they want to be there is key to setting the stage for a fantastic session.
Whether a photographer is working in-studio, on location, inside, or outside, the setting must be made to feel like home. The same way there is a panic to make homes organized and cleaned to entertain guests for social occasions, it is just as important (if not more important) to do the same for a client.
Depending on the type of session, there are many ways to add an appealing ambience to your location: music, snacks, refreshments, etc. Just like when entertaining guests, you want for your clients to enjoy themselves enough to want to visit again.
This may be the most difficult item on our list. Confidence is huge. As mentioned before, the photographer acts like the captain of a ship. You don't want a captain that has no idea what they are doing. You want someone who's large and in charge and leads the way so that a client does not have to. Of course, a client will explain what their needs are, but it is the photographer that has the know-how and experience to best navigate a session to meet those needs.
If a person has decided to be a professional photographer, it is understood by the client and implied that the photographer knows what they are doing. A photographer must lead a photo session like the lead of a dance. The photographer knows where things are going and may improvise for a better end product whilst holding the client's hand throughout the process.
4. Customer Service
Like any business that interacts with the public, customer service is paramount to success. It is not just important to have the skills to deliver the goods and services you advertise, you must also be willing and able to answer and clarify all questions and concerns a potential client has. Knowledge of what you are doing may seem like common sense to you but to a person outside of the profession it could be gibberish. Customer service is all about customer understanding. A customer must understand who their photographer is, what their session entails and includes, why their session is conducted the way it is, and how will it all end up. You catch more flies with honey as they say, so make sure to be your client's greatest asset and do so with a genuine smile on your face. These are people who want to work with you, if that's not enough reason to be happy, perhaps you're in the wrong industry.
It is most important that when consulting with clients, a photographer must be honest. If a task is unable to be completed the way a client has requested, rather than dread confessing this, figure out solutions and present them to a client. The worst thing a photographer can do is confidently say, "Yes," about something only to find themselves at a photo session unable to deliver. If the scale and scope of a project is not able to be managed, be honest. The photographer and client may come to a creative solution together or the client may have to seek assistance elsewhere. While it may seem silly to send clients away, it is more important that the caliber of a professional's work remain consistent and that the integrity of the client relationships remain intact. This is not to say a photographer should not be brave or daring in their professional pursuits, but be honest and do your homework. And if something is experimental, communicate this to your client. Clients want to know the truth so that they may prepare themselves for reality, they do not need to be protected by a photographer's uncertainty. Be honest and be upfront. Honesty, integrity, and transparency are vital to the photography brand's survival and to nurture long-lasting relationships with clients.