Category: Let's Be Candid | It's All Business
So, we’ve figured out the awesome location for your session. The next question asked is “What should we wear?” Ugh! It is fun for some and scary for others.
Here are some guidelines I will share with you, but there are no hard and fast rules. Pick a color palette or color combination. Your son has a plaid shirt that you love? Pick the colors from that shirt to pick out colors for everyone else. I usually tell people to avoid white shirts or black shirts for everyone; however I love the black, gray, white combination. Do you Love the color blue? How about everyone wears a different shade of blue? Navy, baby blue, white, blue and white stripe . . . and maybe a pop of some color? Whatever you decide, wear something that makes you feel good and you find comfortable in because it will show through in your pictures.
Need a little more help? I love Pinterest for clothing and color combinations. I have created a Pinterest Board to share with you with some clothing inspiration, you should check it out.
You probably think I am going to talk about real estate, but I am going to talk about picking the best location for a session done outdoors. A little bit ago, I had a client who told me she loved sun-drenched pictures. We picked a location and a time for the session. The start time of the session was a little bit later in the morning than I would prefer, but she said she loved sun-drenched pictures, so I wasn’t too concerned. Some of my favorite pictures in her gallery were the sun-drenched, soft and dreamy pictures. A few of them had a little bit of sun flare, too. She didn’t like those pictures at all. She even asked me to edit out the sun flare. I took a few lessons away from that session. It’s all about learning and improving, right?
This is hands down one of my favorite locations. When I started out years ago, I never ran into anyone at this location. But, the word is out and I see more and more photographers using this location. Can’t blame them. It has a little bit of everything.
Picking a location is one of the most important things when planning the session. If you pick a location because it has special meaning to you, you need to consider the time of day and the time of year you are doing your session to make the most of your session. There are some locations that I prefer to shoot in the morning and there are some locations that I prefer to shoot in the evening. There are some locations that make better Spring/Summer locations and some that make better Fall locations. Do you like wooded locations? How about an open field? Or, what about a playground because your kids just aren’t the kind of kids who like to sit still and are on the go? What about a place that has a pond or stream? Do you need to pick a location that works with your kid’s schedule? Do you prefer mornings or evenings? Ideally, outdoor sessions are best done within 2 hours of sunrise and 2 hours before sunset. Do you need a place with fewer distractions? I love shooting during the Fall, but that can also be tricky. I often will tell clients that even though a location may be picturesque, it doesn’t necessarily make it an ideal location for a portrait session. I know it sounds like a lot to consider, but I’ll do my best to help you pick the ideal spot.
Every once in a while I get an email or phone call from someone who wants to schedule a mini-session. They don’t need a lot of pictures or they don’t want to spend the money on a full session, but the problem is that you don’t really schedule a mini-session unless I am offering one. I can appreciate that not everyone needs a full session and I can appreciate a good bargain which is why I love a mini-session. Unlike a full session, a mini-session is planned by me (some for family portraits and some for a holiday) on specific dates and locations, and sometimes for a specific theme.
Bottom line . . . are you going to raise the price? The answer is no. I haven’t raised the price for 2 years and I am not ready to raise the price this year either. Not to get all business on you, but I do need to increase my bottom line and improve my efficiency. So, I have tweaked the mini-session that benefits everyone.
So, here it is-
The new mini-session is a 15 minute session and your images are available to you via digital download (usually 8-12 images). There are no more prints or products offered with a mini-session. It doesn’t really get more simple. Although one of my favorite parts of my business is the cute packaging, it just doesn’t make good business sense for a mini-session (all that money I spend on CDs and packaging and postage really add up). Also, with the new ordering website, you get your images that much faster and who wouldn’t want to get their images faster?! As an added bonus, there is more time to offer more mini-sessions and sessions, because last year I had to turn some people away and I don’t like to say no to anyone. So there you have it . . . the mini-session makeover.
One of the things I did when I started my business 5 years ago was a discount policy for clients who came back to me for future sessions and a discount for clients who referred new clients to me. Last year, I discounted over half of my sessions. So when I sat down to look at what was working for me, what wasn’t working for me and what I could make work better . . . I decided a new client loyalty and referral policy would work better for me. As a one woman show, it helps for me not to have to keep track of all those discounts. And, since I was taking away the client loyalty discount, because not everyone will win a free session, I opted not to do a price increase on most types of sessions.
But, I still want to show my appreciation to my clients (and future clients) so I still want to do something. For all those clients who refer a friend, your name is entered into a drawing for a free session; and, when you schedule your own session, your name is entered to win a free session.
I’ve read a lot of photography books over the years, and I also follow several different photography blogs. There is so much to learn about photography. And, learning photography is a process. It takes a lot of practice which is true of any profession or hobby. A lot of people enjoy taking pictures, and they want to take better pictures. Yet they don’t want to make it their profession, and they aren’t necessarily interested in making it a hobby. So, how do you take a better picture? You don’t need an expensive camera, because it won’t necessarily make your pictures any better without some knowledge of basic photography principles. An expensive stove won’t make a delicious meal without a recipe or some culinary skills, and an expensive pair of running shoes won’t help you win a marathon without lots of hard work and training. My advice for better pictures? Where do you start? Learn the basics of composition and take lots of pictures to practice, practice, practice. I think this makes all the difference in taking pictures. Then, if you want to take it to the next level, my advice is to read your manual to learn what all those settings on your camera, and learn to take pictures without using your flash. One of my favorite books is Mamarazzi by Stacy Wasmuth. This book is geared toward taking pictures of your children, but she covers everything from cameras, posing, lighting, location, composition, and so much more. She gives you the basics, and you can always do more reading and research on any one of the things that she covers in the book.