Monday, March 23, 2015

How to: Family Portraits

When I first thought about family portraits, I was really scared. It wasn't necessarily working with families, it was the thought that they may not like what I shot for them. I thought about what the clients must be thinking about. I worried they would think I didn't know what I was doing, but you know what? I decided to give my first 10 sessions away free!

Why? I needed practice. I wanted to make sure I could show clients what they were buying. I wanted it to be perfect.


Nothing is going to be perfect. But what happened, to my surprise, was that I got better, and through these sessions (and posting them to facebook), I had people reach out to me asking if I could do their family portraits. What a confidence boost, right?



How did I prep after the client said yes?

0) Client information: I make sure to put the client on my workflow checklist first and get their contact/mailing information. You can customize your workflow and use this template I made. 

1) Pinterest: Look for Pose ideas // Wardrobe ideas // Venue ideas // Prop ideas and make boards for your reference.

 I looked for all of the "pose" ideas I could. I don't like posing clients, but when you don't know what to do with them, its good to have ideas to refer back to. I LOVE using my iphone to open the Pinterest app and refer back to my board. It helps to show clients the pose before so they know exactly what to do.

2) Make a board for wardrobe ideas on pinterest and email it to your client.

3) Email the client other pertinent information, along with the address of the venue you chose and the date and time. Remember, lighting is always best on the golden hours of the day: 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset and this changes through the year and location of where you're shooting. I recommend googling this.



4) Day before:
  • Charge both batteries
  • Put all lenses in camera bag
  • Reformat at least 3 SD cards so they're empty and ready to use. 
  • Print all contract paperwork and put on clip-board
  • Print "Next Steps" paperwork for clients on what to expect when you're done with the session, i.e., when to expect their portraits, where to purchase re-prints, etc.


5) Day of:
  • Double check all gear is together and with you
  • Check that gear is working before you leave
  • Charge phone or tablet and have it on pinterest so you can get your board when you need it
  • Let clients know your shooting style. I typically let them know that if I'm quiet and not saying anything, its okay. They also know that means they are free to fix a stray hair, give a kiss, etc. I like to capture natural and non-posed candid moments. 
  • Ask the clients if they have any other poses or ideas before we go. Sometimes they see things on pinterest too!

6) After sending all of the portraits to the clients: Send a thank you card, hand-written, letting them know how much you appreciate that they chose you to capture such special moments in their lives. Also, let them know that if they refer you, and you get booked by their referral, they get some kind of free album or canvas. Word of mouth is how you get clients! Your clients are the ones who really get you business.


There are many more things you can do after... posting your work to social media, sending business cards and fliers to their friends, etc. These are just the nuts and bolts that I have put together for myself. Hopefully you'll find it useful as well!

- xo
Casi

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