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Chromatek Newsletter No 108 25th October 1990

PROBLEM CUSTOMERS
Every problem you have after the initial contact be traced back to the initial contact.

In other words, you told them something or did something that was not clear to them in their mind.

This can be avoided by giving them full details of what is expected.

If you are selling promotion sittings, when they make the booking or come in for the free booking consolation they should receive a folder covering all of the points that you need them to know before the sitting, along with how the order is going to be taken and approximately how long it takes for the previews and the finished photographs.

Also included should be a profile on you and your studio written by a P.R. person that makes you look like the Second Kash of Ottowa.

This is what I call reinforcing. It is something that rein­forces to the client that they have chosen the right photographer, that they are going to get value for money, and that they are in actual fact lucky to be able to be photographed by you, the photographer.

When it comes to taking the order, again everything should be written down, including any special deals, any special framing, any special pricing, because the minute you don't write something there, your client will have a different interpretation on what you have told them than what you meant.

I am also a believer that with every contact with the client, you should be writing down little notes on your client card so that you have something to look at before your next contact which will put you in touch with what you have said to them in the past, and in actual fact you will almost be able to carry on the conversation from where you left off last time.

This of course will impress your client and make you appear to be extremely professional, which really, is this not part and partial of what the whole exercise is about?

I would also like to see at each contact with your client a thank you card going out, first of all thanking them for the booking and giving them the details about the sitting.

Second, a thank-you card thanking them for coming in for the photograph and again giving them details as to when the previews will be ready and perhaps the last newslet­ter put out by the studio.

Then a thank-you card for when they place the order, telling them the care and attention that is going to be going into the order and approximately when it will be finished, noting if it is a longer amount of time, that because of the extensive Art Work they are wanting, it may take a fraction longer than normal.

Finally a thank-you card when they have picked up their final order with a questionnaire as to how did you and the studio do?

This last is one of the most important things, because from this you get comments that you can use to publicize to other clients.

I would also possibly include with this, a sheet for them to list other people that may be interested in photography, or alternatively, this can be done at the time they place the order or pick up the order and could be done in your studio.

Perhaps you offer a bonus of "X" number of Christmas Cards if they fill in this list now.

Two most important things:
1.  References that you can use for other clients
2. A list of other people who may be in the position of wanting photographs and so from this one promotion which originally brought them in, you can multiply the one client on through to 100's.

I might say something like this:
"Thank you very much for your order Mrs Smith, and this is going to be ready in about "X" weeks time.

We will of course contact you for this and now I have a special gift for you should you wish to participate.

We have a sheet here that, if you wish, you can fill in the names of some of your friends that may be interested in photography by my Studio. "If you do this, we as a thank you, give you X Christmas Cards and envelopes that you can use for your special friends at Christmas." You then shut up and pass the list over.

That's the raw bones on it, refine it into something that you can use and you feel comfortable with, but for goodness sake start getting recommendations of new clients and start getting how did we do forms, so you can use quotations for future clients.

Chromatek Newsletter No 109 11th January 1991

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
There is a large number of our clients that have all of the weddings that they can handle, others are really feeling the pinch and blaming the economy.

Below is an article that came from my American bank, I would suggest you read it at least twice.

BUSINESS CYCLES: 1909 AND 1990
"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." That's one of the first lessons of physics. It is also the premise of an old and insightful book about business cycles written in 1909 by Roger W. Babson.
The book reminds us that recessions start when people lose their jobs and begin to tighten their belts. (Shades of 1901) When consumers begin to spend less, busi­nesses also scale back.

Because both business and employees are concerned about maintaining their customers and their jobs, service begins to improve and people begin to save, Babson emphasized.

Over time, he said, products and services improve and savings accumulate.

Consequently, people who have been able to retain their jobs during a slow economy find themselves able to buy better products for less money. Finally, they begin to spend again and the economy flourishes, boosting employment and personal income.

The point of all this: It seems we are currently in an economic down turn. After eight years of prosperity, prices as well are our national debt got out of whack.

But we believe that Babson's theories are as accurate today as they were at the turn of the century. The down turn will inevitably become a strong foundation for a period of prosperity.

The difficult part is the wait.

I think there is some interesting meat there!

Some Photographers are reporting that it does not seem to matter what they offer, the people are just not booking.

Perhaps this American Photographer who writes what follows has some of the answers:-

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THE WOW SHOT
Everybody wants one.
Every wedding, should have one (preferably more)
But not everybody gets one.
What is it?
It's the "Wow shot."

What's a "Wow shot.? It's easy to describe----it's the shots that your customers look at and, say "Wowl"

Sometimes it's "Wow, I really like that shot." Or, "Wow, that looks different." Or "Wow, I didn't think it would look like that." But in most cases, there's one common de­nominator-" Wow"

Think about it. The technology for producing a well-exposed, printable negative is so advanced now that there is little excuse for anyone with a business card calling himself a photographer not to get a great negative 95 % or more of the time. But, as always, it's what's on the film that counts. And it's the "Wow shot." that will separate you from your competitors.

The Wow" shots will enable you to command higher fees.

Our customers have told us many times that they have looked at the work of several photographers and decided upon us because the work of the other studios all looked pretty much the same.

It was very professional but also very bland.

Just this week one of our wedding couples told us they chose us because of some of the hold ideas they saw in our samples.

They had visited two other studios that were substantially less expensive than we were, but the other studios did not have photos strong enough to really grab their attention.

I think there's a real reason for this. I think it's because of the way that most people are taught wedding photogra­phy.

Most people who do wedding photography learn from other wedding photographers who have been doing it longer than they have. In many cases, they are not very skilled in the many difficult tasks that face a wedding photographer on every assignment such as group photos, close-up posing, portrait lighting, people relation skills, and candid photos. You get the idea.

So they learn to do weddings by using the "checklist" ap­proach. Bride and Groom at altar. Groom and best man look at watch. Bride and Groom kiss in limo. Now, it's true that there are certain shots that we are expected to get at every wedding. But that's not all we're expected to get. Uncle Harrv can do a perfectly acceptable job of taking the groom looking at his watch with his Nikon… what are they paying us for?

I'll give you my opinion of what I get paid for-I get paid to do "Wow" shots It's up to the pro to get all the ex­pected shots plus more. Let's get some ideas for those "Wow" shots.

Horizontal Composition-Most shots taken by pros at weddings, with the exception of group photos, are vertical. Try doing some of the photos of the ceremony, the couple, and even the bride or groom alone horizon­tally.

Many of my "Wow "shots are horizontal composition using the "rule of thirds."

Dramatic Posing just placing a couple in the right place for a good composition however, does not a dramatic photo make. If they're just there smiling at the camera, it' a routine photo. Try a light kiss their lips don't quite touch.

Do the bride alone with the sweep of her dress leading into the picture.

Do the groom alone in a dramatic masculine. Or put the subject in the center and make a dramatic square composition.

Juggle your head for ideas, look at magazines for ideas look at (Wedding Photographers International publishes winning wedding photos in The Rangefinder magazine).

Look at bridal magazines. Ask the couple! But do some­thing.

You have nothing to lose because you've already done the routine poses.

You have plenty to gain, earning the admiration and respect of your customers and the personal satisfaction or creating something from nothing (a blank piece of film) that brings joy for many years to other peoples lives and to yours.

Maybe you will gain the sale of a wall print, or a new price list and just maybe a whole new way of looking at yourself and what you do.

Instead of being merely a recorder of events, you are the creator of a series of images that will reflect the way you interpret this wedding day, the couple's feelings, and the events that take place.

Quite a responsibility, isn't it?

Dramatic Lighting-If you're going to have drama in a photo, everything must be dramatic.

The pose, the composition, the lighting, and the expression.

In most cases (I never say never), avoid head on, direct sunlight. There are exceptions, but try using some dramatic light.

Use rim-light (behind the subject), profile light (skim the face, dress, etc), and window light. Silhouette against the sky, church windows or doors. Very flat light can create a feeling of softness.

Use multiple lights. Use colored light from stained glass windows.

Use end of day light with dramatic skies. Study the light on people as you go through the wedding day and use it to create great photos.

Expression There's an old saying in photography "Expression sells pictures," or "ESP." While that's true, I'd like to change that to "Emotions sell pictures." Usually a "Wow" shot is not a big smile pose, but one that shows emotion.

It could convey romance, excitement, tenderness or more.

You may not even show the faces at all in some shots, such as a silhouette, but when you do, think carefully about what you are trying to show.

Match the expression to the mood.

I think by now you know what a "Wow" shot is. A few more ideas?

Use colored and graduated density filters.
Try extreme close-ups.
Make the couple a part of a dramatic setting you've found.
Try some different multiple exposures.
Just keep working your "mind's eye."

When your clients say "Wow" -you know you've succeeded.

Well that's a good few thoughts