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Portrait Client Q&A

Lesson 4 from: Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

4. Portrait Client Q&A

Lesson Info

Portrait Client Q&A

See what we got. DO you ever provide hair and makeup for clients? That is an excellent question. I do um, I don't really do hair and makeup myself. So I don't personally provide it to my clients. It is a really good upgrade, I know photographers who use it as an upsell. And then they pay the makeup artist themselves. And I know photographers that have makeup artists that they recommend. And so it really depends on how you want to do it. We're gonna go into a really specific pricing breakdown. And one of those things that you can do to upsell is to add hair and makeup to it. You definitely wanna have hair and makeup available, whether it be somebody that you can put them in touch with to do it or have someone that you work with regularly that you charge for and then you pay the makeup artist yourself. For the purposes of taxes and stuff, I like to keep that all separate, I just hook the client up with the makeup artists or a list of makeup artists that I recommend. I would recommend hav...

ing a list of makeup artists about, six or eight deep. Because if you have somebody good, they're gonna be busy a lot and I almost never get the first person on the list or the second person on the list. I've used all of the people, I see makeup artists, I see a different makeup artist every other shoot because they're always really busy, so make sure that you got a nice deep roster of makeup artists. From Kelly A. I have a packet, is it not a real packet? Is it a pretend thing? That outlines do's and don'ts for wardrobe and such. Is that enough to be considered a wardrobe consult? Yeah, absolutely, in this case. I would say that you don't necessarily have to have the client's come in or go to their office or have a meeting about wardrobe. But you definitely wanna have guidelines. But it's all gonna depend on what the client wants. You're gonna have to, um, manage those expectations ahead of time by providing them with a PDF or a pinterest board or whatever it is, that'll be perfectly acceptable for wardrobe. As little time as possible with the, this type of stuff. Efficiency is gonna be the key. We have a question here. So when you're putting together something for do's and don'ts, how do you professionally word the don'ts, like, don't wear this moo, you're gonna look terrible probably wouldn't come off in a good way. How do I word the do's and don'ts? Um, I focus more on the do's. Look, there's gonna be a certain amount of stuff that you just can't control. Like, no matter how many times you say, like, make sure that your clothes are clean and pressed, someone's gonna show up with a duffle bag full of wrinkled up clothes. I mean there's just, you just don't have that kind of control. But I would focus more on the do's than the don'ts. Although it would be really funny to include the don'ts. I think that would be pretty awesome, like, huge wardrobe fails. You know, if you think your client's really dumb and they just don't know how to dress professionally, one of the things that I do often is, I will reference articles on GQ, Vanity Fair, they are always publishing, you know, what business casual means, cuz people don't know what these things mean. I don't know what these things mean, that's why these magazines exist to tell us how to dress and what to buy and stuff like that. But I make it as easy as possible. Focus on the do's, not the don'ts. As we go into, um, the next couple of segments, what we're gonna do is, we're gonna talk about how to market, how to get the work in and what to charge for it. I'm gonna give you my pricing breakdown, and my actual prices, and the whole nine yards. So when you're saying this in like a holiday card, I know it seems like a simple question but like, what do you say, is it addressed to her or the company, is it coming from you Gary or your company? It would really depend, that's a good question. How do I those holiday cards? Typically it's something general, that we send out to everybody. Some of them you have a more personal relationship with the people. It's usually the smaller the company. I have some companies that have offices all over the country that I work for and, um, I have some companies that are local to where I live. And so, we're on a first name basis. And so it's a little bit different. So I kind of would say, just play it by ear as far as that's concerned. The point is you're making contact. You wanna get your name, and you wanna get your business and your brand in front of them to remind them that you exist. Because much like me, I cannot focus on anything unless it's on fire in front of me at that time. And so, companies have a lot of stuff going on. Everybody who works in an office has a lot of stuff going on, they've got emails, they've got meetings. And if something pops up every once in a while, they're gonna remember you. So that's, it's just another way to stay on the top of mind. I don't really care if they think the card is cute. I just want them to see my company name again and to see my face. Do you get me, cool. Okay, I have a question from the interwebs. Heather Beck says, do you ever trade services with headshot clients instead of charging a fee? Um, I try not to mix business like that too much. I will trade photographs with my neighbors. And I will do stuff for my friends, but when it comes to business, my philosophy is, and do what you wanna do, but I'll pay you for your job and you pay me for my job. You know? I have friends that do stuff for me, I have friends that I do stuff for. But for the most part, if you mix business a little too much, you're find that somebody's end up giving more than the other person. Does that make sense? Do you ever feel like that? It's like when you go out to dinner with a bunch of people and like, oh everybody just put cash in, we don't have to split the check up 15 ways, you know who gets screwed? Me, every time. I end up buying somebody dinner, you know. So if you do, a lot of trade work, I find that I end up doing somebody dinner. I'd rather give something away in order to make more money later on. Cuz you can give your services rather than trade your services, especially if it's a small business. I'm happy to spend money on small businesses. I had a, when we first started our business, I had a friend of mind I did some work for. And he said, how much do I owe you? I said, no man, don't worry about it, I'll do it for nothing. I said you're my friend and he said, no I wanna pay you because you're my friend and I wanna support your business. And I feel like that that's the attitude that I like to take with people. And if I expect that from other people, but on the other hand, bartering is always a good idea. You can always trade services if you want to, but I try to stay away from it. You pay me, I pay you and everybody's happy and then we have nothing to complain about. Okay, let's take that other question. Prophoto says, how do you suggest getting started in this genre if you don't have any of this work to show? Now we're gonna talk about working with your friends, okay? That's a great question, how do you get started? One of the first things, and this will come up in the next segment also, one of the first things I did was, I photographed every single person I know that would sit for me. So if you don't have a portfolio about this, we've all done this a little bit, we've all used friends for photo shoot. But I don't just necessarily take any of my buddies. I have a lot of friends that are deadbeats and who don't (laughs) who don't need a professional portrait. But what I would tell you to do is, everybody knows somebody who's a real estate agent, who's an attorney, who's in business, family members who are in business. We'll give you a little preview, what is one of the biggest things you can do on social media, Facebook specifically, to get a better reach, to get people to notice you? You change your profile picture. Do you ever notice when people change their profile picture, people pop up in your feed, you're like, I don't even know that person. And it tells you they've changed their profile picture. Okay, so that's a great way to start marketing. You're gonna build a portfolio, start marketing at the same time. But I would recommend that you wanna kind of use your time wisely and restrict it to people you know who also are in business. You wanna use their juice and their, um, their network to expand your business also. So you're giving your work away but you're also giving it away that could also return to you, does that make sense? So don't just get your brother who still lives in mom's basement to sit for you for your portrait, you know? Unless you wanna that as a personal project, that's fine. But we're talking about creating a portfolio to market your business with. So you can start with nothing, build a portfolio and expand your business at the exact same time. Let's take another question. Lauren Lang says, the majority of my clients approach me because the images are for a specific project or purpose. They wait to get photos taken until there is a need. What do you say to professionals who say they have no reason to have headshots taken? It's 2016, don't you love that as the answer, like it's 2016, we put a man on the moon or whatever. Um, yeah, there's two different types of work I get like this. There is need based incident appointment, which is like, I have an event coming up. We're gonna have all these people that work for our company, gonna be in the same place at the same time. Let's just get pictures done for everybody while we're there. Or, our convention is this month, let's go ahead and get pictures done for that. We have a, you know, a magazine article coming out, we need to get the partners photographed for this magazine article. I photographed the chief of surgery for one of the hospitals in Orlando because he had a profile in a magazine, in a local magazine. And so, those things are gonna be, you're filling a need. But we're talking specifically about trying to tell people who don't have that sort of urgent need why they need a headshot. And I would say that, there are, I could give a two day class on why you need a headshot or why you need a professional portrait. But the idea is that, people are making their buying decisions for very different reasons. And especially people coming up from younger generation, we almost over-research things, like, I don't even go out to dinner without my wife going on Yelp and looking at like 25 different restaurants, you know? I wouldn't hire a photographer or I wouldn't hire a plumber or an electrician unless I could go online and see who they were. And if you have a way to be able to understand a little bit more about a person or about a business and one of those things that communicates is a picture. You like to see who you're gonna be working with. If you wanna understand why somebody needs professional imagery, why someone needs branding images or a portrait or a headshot, you drive by a thousand of them a day on the road, billboards, signs, advertisements. From Nike to a local law firm, you have to put images in front of people. Why is there a gigantic screen next to me when I'm talking? Because we need visual aid, we need visual stimulation. And if the truth about marketing is that, if people like you, they'll hire you. Or if they think they're going to like you, they're going to hire you, right? So if you have pictures and you wanna sign your daughter up for ballet. And then you go online and you can't find pictures of the school, pictures of the instructors, pictures of the dancers. But then you go to another website that's in the same town, right down the street, charges the same prices, and you've got pictures of this nice looking woman who's teaching kids how to dance and she owns the school. Are you gonna be more likely to connect with that or are you gonna be more likely to connect with the one that has no imagery, right? You certainly might end up with this person but in reality, you're gonna be more excited about it, you're gonna be more likely to work with that person. Now if you have a really punchable face, I would recommend not having pictures taken because you know, you have a punchable face. But generally what you wanna do is, you wanna try to express to people that, it's important to connect with your clients now, people look into things so much more than they used to. When my dad started his photography studio in down in South Florida, all you had to do was put an ad in the Yellow Pages and put a shingle out in front of your shop and then people would call, people would walk by, they would see you. But now there are so many choices for everything. How many photographers are in your town? How many real estate agents are in your town? How many of every type of everything is there to choose from? And if you can connect just a little bit more than the next person, you're gonna be able to make sales more effectively. And that's why you need images like this. And I shoot them all the time. Okay, any questions from you guys here? Go for it. Use that microphone. So how did you go from giving away your pictures, you know, taking pictures of your friends, to getting those pictures in front of corporate companies to say, hey, okay, you know pay me now. Yeah, absolutely, that's a great question. Um, because when you're doing pictures for like, we're talking about that portfolio building, those pictures are gonna be used in their LinkedIn profiles and their Facebook profiles, wherever people can put them online. I don't know whatever the psychology of it is, but people like to put pictures of themselves on the internet, mostly in a mirror in a bathroom. And I don't understand why. There's a toilet in the background of a lot of selfies, which is kind of upsetting. But, I take those images, if I shoot people that I know that are professionals, if they're friends of your parents or they're your in-laws or something, these are people who already have established networks in businesses or who you wanna concentrate on. And as they put those images out there and use them for promotion, if you make it part of the agreement with them that you're going to do them for free as long as they tag you or repost or mention you or use the photo with your company's logo or website on the bottom of it, you will be shocked by how much of an immediate response. I guarantee you, if you shoot 10 people that you know for free to build a portfolio for this type of work, and make this kind of agreement with them to do that, that they're gonna use it as their profile picture, that they're gonna mention you, that they're gonna put your website and stuff on it, or whatever, however it is that you agree with them, if you shoot 10 people, I'd be surprised if you don't start booking a job like within a week. You'll book your first pay job doing this type of stuff. Like it's just huge, but again, you wanna give very very smart, you wanna pick the people that you know that are connected, that use these forms of social media and marketing to put themselves out there. So you're gonna use their juice a little bit, you're gonna use their influence. Yes. So you're not taking it and emailing it to these corporate companies, office managers and saying hey do you need my services? Oh so you're talking about like cold marketing. No I don't like go through the internet and start sending my website to people. But just when you build your portfolio and get people to use those images, that is a great way to start building a business that if you have nothing like this already. If all you've ever photographed is babies and weddings, and you want to get into some of this work, fine, make a list, write it down, 10 people, okay? I got my old high school gym teacher now sells real estate. I know a guy who works at, you know, um Edward Jones financial, whoever it is, list them all out and then say, hey I'm starting a whatever business and I need to build a portfolio, I'd love for you to sit for me. And those people who already have a network will promote you and it's gonna start the ball rolling. There's no one marketing strategy that's going to build you a business out of nothing. There's no magic cure, there's no fix that's gonna say, if you do this, you're gonna have a business. But it's a killer way to get started. And so those people will start to find you by word of mouth and using a local network of people that you already know.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ten Tips for Professional Portraits
SEO Workbook
Posing Guide
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Gary is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Richard Blenkinsopp

I love Gary's straight teaching style, and appreciate him demonstrating with regular people, not models. This is the real life of a regular photographer! I wish Creative Live could show more from the photographers viewpoint, so that when he's posing and moving lights etc, we see exactly what he's changing, and can analyze why... not sure how they'd achieve this in a live environment though. Loved his going around to less than ideal locations and finding the place that works. My favourite course on Creative Live so far.


Gary makes taking editorial portraits look simple and fun. I want to start shooting heads! I love Creative live and Gary is really doing a great job. I got to buy the class next. Thank you.

Student Work