When I first started photography, I started as most new photographers do. In the photography world, it’s called “shoot and burn.” My clients would say “I just want the digital files.” I didn’t know any better to do things differently. I would schedule a session, usually over the phone or email, meet my clients for about 45 minutes for their session and I’d go back to the studio to edit the session and send them a CD in the mail. My contact with my clients was minimal and honestly felt cold. There was no connection between myself and my clients. I didn’t get to know them as a couple, family, or individual. It was very impersonal. What was worse, I never heard from them again after the session. I didn’t know if they liked their portraits, loved or hated them.
Several years ago, I changed how I ran my business. I knew I wanted to offer more to my clients. It was from my own experience of having digital files and never printing them. I would post them to Facebook or Instagram and they lived only in the digital world.
I knew I needed to change how I conducted my business. Today, I meet most of my clients for a consultation before their session. We talk about their vision and goals for the session, what they want to do with their images, clothing ideas, location, and we talk about life. I get to know them a little and this warms us up for the session itself. During this consultation, NEVER ONCE have I heard “I just want the digitals so I can post them on Twitter and then throw them in a drawer afterwards.” Seriously people- these are your family memories!
About 2 weeks after their session, I now invite my clients back to the studio and this is where the magic happens. Together we watch a slide show of their images. This is my favorite part! Whether it’s a family session, a Kids Couture session, or a senior session, I am often seeing the tears in mom’s eyes. This is what makes it all worth it. This is not a rare occasion, this has become the norm and I absolutely love it.
Since I already know my clients goals of the session, I am able to help them to choose artwork for their walls, an album showcasing their favorite portraits of the session, or prints to share with family. My clients can even send me an iPhone image of a wall in their home and I can show them different images in different sizes to help them decide.
Yes, I offer digital files to my clients, but my goal is for your family and friends to see portraits on your walls and not just social media. My clients value the expertise I provide them in helping them to choose the art for their homes. The feeling that one gets when they are able to page through their album pages or touch the canvas print of their daughter is not much different than the smell of leather in your new car.
*Photo above is from a Kids Couture Session.