You guys, if you have any questions this is your last opportunity. Go ahead and find a mic. I'm gonna start with the folks at home, and then we can go over to you. We have some questions that are about client expectations, and ties into sort of the workflow side. So in particular, have you ever had clients think that because their session did not go for four hours that they are missing out? As though they think that because you were done in two hours that they didn't get their money's worth?
No, that's why I say my sessions go from two to four hours. I give them a range, and I say my sessions go for two to four hours because I like to include lots of time for feeding and cuddling. And that's the beautiful thing about it. I send a what to expect video out to my clients, and it's... I do send them a PDF, but I also send them a video, and if anyone hasn't seen it, it's actually on my Facebook page. It's called "A What to Expect Guide for your Session". It's a beautiful video, created wi...
th Animoto, and it shows people what's included. It has slides that tell them that it's a newborn session with me and has the information in there, and it sets the tone. And when they read the PDF and it says I like to allow two to four hours. We're gonna, you know, we stop for cuddles, and we stop for feeding, all of those things. When your clients come to you for that expectation of, for example, 20 images, they know that it's gonna take two to four hours. Hopefully only two.
So just going back to the including 20 photos and shooting for 20 photos, of those, how many are those really close-up detail shots? Like, are you doing every single time fingers and toes, and lips, and eyelashes, and always including those?
So when it comes to those detail shots, I'm glad you actually mention this. I offer a birth announcement to my clients. It's a free gift. It's all about exceeding their expectations. I take about five close-up detail shots, and then I convert them all to black and white, and within one week of the shoot, I'll send them my Animoto slideshow, and it's got all the close up details, it's got beautiful... It's got all the words that the parents have told me during the session. I ask them, you know, all about all their birth details, the weight, and all of that kind of stuff. The time that they were born and the date. And on my Facebook page there's more of those videos as well, if anyone wants to see an example of those. But I include five images and then five text slides. Goes for about 30 seconds. Very, very short video that I give my client that they can then share. It's a great marketing tool. But I purposely shoot those close-up details, like the hands, the feet, not specifically for my client gallery, but they're getting it as a free gift in terms of a birth announcement. And I love that. I always tell them that I'm gonna do it, because when I'm filling out their client information, I'm getting all of those details of the birth, and they just love it. They share it with everyone, and it's so special. But yeah, I'm shooting my gallery, is for an album. If I'm gonna give them an album with all of their images in it, those 20 images, if for example there are an extra three images that are close-up detail shots that are gonna compliment the layout of that album, I'm gonna include them for them. That's not a big deal. I'm always gonna try and exceed my client expectations as opposed to under deliver. And it's getting all those little, tiny detail shots as well, just in case you have a baby that decides enough is enough, I'm not doing this, I'm having a bad day, and you don't get all of them. You can fill your gallery with those little detail shots.
Do you base your session workflow on what your clients want, or what they tell you they want? And does it change with each--
Yes, good question. When I created my session workflow, it was based on a few things. It was based on what poses I could do comfortably. What bed poses I knew the baby was going to be comfortable in, and looked comfortable. But when they come in and they say, or for example they have an iPhone, and they scroll through all the pictures that they've taken screen captures of, and they're like, "Oh, I want this, "I want this, I want this." I'll then explain to them, you know, we can try and get those, every baby's different. Is there a specific color tone that we can use, or if I can gauge something from that, and then I'll go about trying to incorporate some of those poses that they're showing me into the shoot. Don't get me wrong, clients do come in with some big expectations. I did have one client ask me if she can get a photograph of the baby smiling, so I said, I will see what I can do. You know, at this point in time, I do have to let her know that babies do smile, yes, due to sort of wind and things like that, and if I can capture it, I will. You need to sort of set that tone in terms of their expectations. But when I'm creating my session workflow, and we'll go back to it, in terms of those poses and setups, I need to know what I can do, obviously confidently and comfortably, and as quickly as possible in terms of transition. And when my clients contact me, when they've seen my website, all of the images are from those poses in my client galleries. They've seen them. That's what they're expecting. When I send them my pricing and information, it's a beautiful PDF filled with photos. All the photos that are in there, are the photos from my session workflow, so that's what they're expecting. And they book me because they love my work. I do get clients that book me that aren't necessarily all about my earthy tones and textures and things like that. They might want all white, that's fine. Because there's so many different reasons why a client will book you. Number one, because they do absolutely love your work. Number two, because you are very conveniently priced and located for them. Number three, because they've heard that you're the best and they have to have you. That's what I find when people are booking me. So they might not necessarily like my style, and they'll have their own agenda, that's fine. I've done 20 images all in white. It was a challenge, but I did it. But I find that most people, when they book me, they've seen the photos in my galleries. They've seen the photos in my pricing and information, and they're photos from my regular session flow, so that's what they're expecting to get. Occasionally you do get, you know, well I want this, and it might be a little bit more of a tricky setup. But that's okay, because you can just guide them through that process and say, right. Especially because if they come to you, actually I should say this, with photos from another photographer. How many of you have had that happen? Yeah, it happens all the time, right? What do you say? I say, "Oh my god, I love that photographer's work. "We can try and create something "similar to that if you like." If I say, "Oh, I don't really do that kind of work, "because, you know, that photographer is different to me" and we're a little bit negative, and a little bit down on it just because they're showing you another photographer's work, how do you think that's gonna make them feel? I always say, "Oh, I love that photographer's work. "I really admire them. "Let's try and create something similar." Because you know what I notice in those photos that they show me from other photographers? I don't notice the photographer. I notice the way that the baby is posed, and I might notice the colors and the textures of why my client has picked those images. So I've gotta read it that way. Why did my client like that image? Was it the pose, was the color, was it the texture? Talk to them, communicate to them about that process.
I have a question about awake babies. I really struggle when the baby's awake, even though I wrap them really tight. They go cross-eyed. Doesn't always make for the best photo. Do you have any like tips and tricks to how to photograph those awake babies when they're not pulling the greatest facial expressions?
Trying to get that connection with the camera, trying to get those eyes to focus on it right into that lens, that can be tricky. But what I find is, if you wait long enough, I'm tall, I've got dark hair, and I use a black camera, babies eyes go to high contrasting things. So that's why they often will stare at the light, or stare at sort of a dark object in those first few weeks. They can't, they really struggle to focus and see what it is that they're looking for. That's why they're looking at things that are high contrasting. So I will come down into their view, and then I'll slowly kind of move back up to where they want them to be to get that eye contact. And you know what I love? The crazy expressions. I love doing a series of images where you've got the cross-eye, or the lips pursed, or the little squints, or the smirks, and things like that. You show those to your clients as bonus images, they're gonna love that because it's their baby. That's what their baby does. One of the clients, one of the models that came in here, they said something about their baby, so I made sure that I photographed it in one of the breaks when I was doing some more photographs for them. And when they say something, I'm onto it. If I ask my clients during as session, what was the first thing you noticed that was unique about your baby? Is there something, you know, something fun, something quirky. What is it? What is the first thing that you noticed, besides the fact that it's a boy or a girl? And you know, I've had people say, "Oh, they have like a little crinkle in their ear." I mean, I photograph that, because it might be the same as the dad's. If they have like a little funny toe, I'm gonna get that. If they have a little finger, it's their baby. That's what they want to remember. That's what makes their baby unique. So listening to what our clients are saying, if they say that baby always pulls faces, or that baby has dimples, I'm gonna look for those funny faces because that's what they're seeing. That's what they're reading from that baby.
Thank you, great question. A lot of people who are tuning in might be fairly new. They might be just starting, or getting into practicing all these things that they're gonna take away when they buy this class and go learn. But one of the things Louise Carter had asked is, do you ever refer to, or would you refer to, your session flow notes during a session, or would that appear unprofessional as if you don't really know what you're doing?
I think it's a plan that you have to have in your mind. Write it out, create a table, once you've written it you're gonna be stuck with it. If you've got a fake baby, go through that session workflow with your baby. You don't have to show anyone the photos. Get your camera angles right, use your fake baby, go through that process of, you know, your posing bag poses, the transitioning, and then go from there. And treat it like a real baby, time yourself, and then add on extra time for settling, comforting, feeding, things like that. Then your set to get a gauge of roughly how long your session should go for if, for example, that's a standard flow in your workflow. Then sort of think, "Oh, okay. "Well if the baby doesn't, you know, "why not do this, or the baby might be awake, "I might try these set of images with the baby wrapped." Practice with a fake baby, definitely, before you go onto working with a new baby. Because when we talk about that client experience and making them feel comfortable and confident, we have to know what we're doing. We have to look like we know what we're doing. I used to kinda get a shot and go, "Wow, that's awesome" and then I'd turn around and look at my shelf of props and go, "What will I do next? "Is there any other shot you want?" There's nothing worse than you asking your clients, "Oh, um, was there another particular pose that you liked?" Have a plan before you go into a shoot, and practice on a fake baby. I can't emphasize that enough, so that when you do go into that shoot, you know what your angles are going to be, you know what sort of light you're looking for based on the light on your fake baby, and how you're going to record it, and you're gonna know what to do. You're also gonna know how many images you're gonna get from that session. You can delete those photos. You don't have to edit them.
Any final, other questions? Alright, I think that's great. I mean the here's how, go forward, and use this class. So, thank you.
Yeah. You know, when it comes to that workflow, like we were doing in there before, those setups with those babies, they're coming from a room here at Creative Live. Where they've come in, they've rushed to get here, they are tired, they're sleep deprived like normal clients, they've got hormones running through their bodies, they've had caesarians like some women do, and they're just like our everyday clients. They're here in a holding room, they're undressing their baby, they're feeding their baby, they're in a new environment, they're anxious, the baby's being handled. I then get given the baby and we're diving straight into a complex setup, when I would normally do that sort of further on in my workflow if it's been requested by a client. So, you know, there's a lot of pressure on me to be able to get those shots, especially for my models that have come in here today. But I wanted to show those poses and show how to do them safely, because there's a lot of photographers out there that simply don't know, and that's okay. I never used to know. None of us used to know how some of those poses were created. It's not until you actually sit down and really look at something and go, right, okay, I can see how that baby might be propped up there, or I can see how they might be positioned here, and go through that process. But you have to be patient with yourself as a photographer. You put too many expectations on yourself, you're just gonna be... You're just gonna feel down. You're gonna feel defeated from a shoot when you shouldn't. You should be proud of the fact that you're being able to capture these beautiful images of someone's baby.