As the first Dean of Portraiture for SCU, my good buddy, Matthew Jordan Smith brings a lot to the party. This is a "trifecta" this morning, with a new post, video and podcast. As he talks about in his podcast, success with any client is about relationship building. Anybody can get that first client, but the key to success is getting them to return whenever they need photographic support. It's about building top-of-mind awareness, so whenever a potential client thinks about their photographic needs, your name comes up first.
If Matthew isn't on your radar it's time! You'll find him on twitter and if you check out his gallery store, you'll find all kinds of videos to help you raise the bar on your skill set and a special private coaching opportunity only available to a handful of artists each month. Skip Cohen
This morning I woke up thinking about my up-coming photo shoot, which takes place tomorrow. The job is a fashion shoot with a new client, and I’m excited because it’s the second job with this client this month.
The ability to make a living, as a photographer requires being able to turn a first-time client into a repeat client. Your skill may get you the first job, but it takes more than just photographic talent to keep steady clients coming back. Here’s a list of the things I use to create the perfect photo shoot.
# 1 – Music
Music is first on my list of things to set the tone for the day. I spend hours making sure I have the right music playing as my clients walk into my space. My music is not the same throughout the day. I have music for the morning as I start the day, and then music specifically for the shoot. During lunch the music changes and the volume is lower. When we start to shoot again, the music volume goes up and music changes. Think about a movie and what makes you “feel” different throughout the movie. The music sets the tone for every scene of a movie, and I use music in the same manner on my photo shoots.
#2 – Food
I make sure great food is available to start the day. Great coffee, or tea, can do wonders for making people feel welcome as you start the day. I like to keep snacks around as well so people can grab something throughout the day. It’s the little things that count. A great dessert after lunch doesn’t hurt either!
# 3 – The Team
My team, (my assistants and interns) are a reflection of me, so I pay special attention to the people I allow on the set. The wrong person can destroy all your hard work, so choose your team wisely.
# 4 – The Extra Mile
To create the perfect photo shoot you must make sure your clients feel special and comfortable. They should enjoy the entire experience of the photo shoot, not just the shoot itself. I like to have flowers on set waiting for my clients with a special note that simple says, “Here’s to a great shoot”! It’s the small things that count and make your clients feel special.
# 5 – Invest In You
One of the best things I’ve done in my career to grow my photography business was hire a coach. Individual attention is a powerful tool to take you to the next level. I am proud to announce one-on-one Photography Coaching Sessions now available through Photography Help Store. The sessions are formulated to help you become a better photographer. I meet with my students five days a week, via Skype, for 30 minuets a day, so my students can be anywhere in the world. The course lasts one month, and by the end of it you will see, shoot, and edit your work in an entirely different manner. We will do research together, edit your photo’s together, you will do a photo shoot based on your new monthly goal and by the end of the month you will have a clear photographic vision and submit your work for possible publication in a magazine. The course is limited to only a two students a month so sign up early. This course will make you a better photographer and teach you to truly Dream Big!
Matthew Jordan Smith
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.