The Portrait SessionNow that you've had a consultation and gotten to know your client, it's time to put all that knowledge to work. You've chosen the location, props, and a date and time. This is your second point of contact with the client. It's show time! Here's how to make the session a success:
1. Be on time. No, be early! You need to be at the location or have your studio set up long before the client arrives. This may seem like a no brainer but it's so very important we are going to talk about it anyway. There is nothing worse than getting an entire family ready for portraits and rushed out the door, only to arrive at the appointed location and have to wait for the photographer to get there and set up. I've been on both sides of that scenario. If you are working with children you have a small window of opportunity for cooperation. If they have to wait for you to get ready you have lost a good chunk of that window. So be ready, greet the client and the family with a relaxed smile.
2. Make everyone comfortable. Welcome the client quickly and with enthusiasm. Take a moment to greet everyone by name. They will be impressed that you already know who they are. You don't have to tell them that their mom already told you all about them! I like to get down to eye level with kids. They will respond well to you if you speak to them one on one for a moment. Let them know what you will be doing and assure them that they will never be away from their family. Find out what they think is silly so you can use it later to get those smiles. Funny nicknames for Dad work like a charm. Speaking of dads, they will reassurance too. As a general rule dads hate the portrait session. Let them know it will be quick and relatively painless.
3. Do good work. I know, duh! Just remember that you are in charge of the session. Don't let the client rush you. Do what you need to do to make sure it is done right.
4. Utilize flow posing and have a plan for the session. Remember that small window of cooperation as you plan the session. You should be done before the kids lose it or the parents are frustrated. Once you lose control it almost impossible to get it back. Know your location and posing so that you can move easily from place to place and finish in a timely manner. If you'd like a tutorial on flow posing click here. It's a great video by a wedding photographer but the concepts work for any specialty.
The goal of the portrait session is to provide the amazing photographs you sold the client in the consultation. Plan ahead and make good use of your time. Have fun and build new friendships. If you can accomplish this, the next time see the client will be a great success. The Sales Session is my favorite part. I know you are thinking it's because of the money, and I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a big part of it. But that's not the only reason. I'll tell you all about it next week!