Preparing for a Photoshoot
Welcome to day two of creative live today we're going to do we're going to shoot all day so we're going to be doing in studio shooting and they were going to go outside on cia shooting outside off you know, off camera flash and things like that so what I want to do to get started is really highlight we have models today, right? High school senior models we had to pick their outfits, talk to them about you know what to wear and get them through that whole process so what I want to understand is they don't just show up the day of the shoot and whatever they bring they bring there's actually remember what I said yesterday that experience begins with that first phone call so we have to we have a phone call that taylor had with one of the models yesterday but before we go there I won't introduce you guys to tailor it sounds like she's this phantom person behind the scenes and this is my wife so we work together so taylor come on out here. Welcome, welcome. All right, so this is this is tayl...
or and she's the better half of my business so taylor's the one behind the scenes uh handling client interactions customer service, scheduling appointments, wardrobe selection there is no way that I could do this on my own it's just it's not possible so tell the tell these guys a little bit about you know your phone call yesterday just given a high level then we'll play the call what is the goal off the phone call so the phone call typically happens about a week or two before the session and what this is it's just to kind of relieved their nerves and give them an idea of what to expect answer any questions that they have and so as soon as they book with us ice on them an email that gives him kind of a high level view of what to expect like bring this many outfits when you come of a fresh face have your hair done if you're not going to do the hair stylist just high level things like that so whenever I'm calling the senior I'm calling them just to kind of talk ideas on what outfits they have picked out so they might ask well what if I show up wearing I have no idea well just come comfortable you don't have to be dressed in any of your outfits make sure you bring everything on hangers that way it's not wrinkled make sure it's ironed make sure it's lint free and you can't bring too much stuff so we encourage them to bring as many clothes as they want we actually had one senior when we're working out of her home that filled up our entire basement which is like a thousand square feet full of clothes, hats, shoes, jewelry I mean, you couldn't even walk down there, but she had one of the best shoots just because we had so many options to pick from the outfits were spectacular, and so I encouraged them to bring a lot of stuff, and I'll help you pick out exactly what's going to look good in front of camera because you never know what's gonna look good and what isn't that's kind of our job. And so once they get their explained to them, I'll help you guys in, I'll help you get ready and set up for makeup, and then I'll walk you through the outfits that I picked out, uh, just to make sure you like everything because you do have input. This is all about you. We talk about their ideas if they have any locations in mind, or if they have hobbies, like if they're in dance or cheerleading, do you want to incorporate that into your shoot? Yeah. Okay. Let's, bring your cheerleading outfit. Well, it's possible? Yeah. Let's pause there because that's an important part. I think a lot of people looking our imagery on their like because I hear for tigers all over the place very well, you're lucky you have this in your backyard or that in your backyard. This doesn't happen magically, so when we go to these urban style shoot so we have, you know, one of our teams with a horse in a you know, in a field that's not by accident, we didn't just wake up that morning and so do you have a horse with you in the car like so these are things right that we're preparing for, right? So you want to prepare before the shoot to have the best possible shoot? Ultimately, everything we do is the end result is for the sale it's all about getting to the sale, so we don't want to let them make makeup selections wardrobe selections that are goingto impede the sails, right? So if you have a boy, for example, and he's going to show up with cargo shorts and three t shirts, you're gonna have a very difficult time getting a thousand two thousand dollars sale it's not gonna happen it's very, very difficult that's where planning ahead of time comes into into effect now what taylor will do with that is she'll take all these pieces of information the notes, if you will and she'll put them in their contact because there's no way I'm going to remember over the course of the entire star one hundred twenty something you know, kids and what they want, so as I'm going to eat, shoot I'm opening up my my calendar on my iphone and I'm looking at here the notes doesn't want to shoot in front of a train doesn't want what they don't want to do is as important as what they do want to do doesn't want to be in a chick train doesn't want anything with graffiti things along those lines help me inshore that I'm giving the kid and the parents the best possible experience so thinking about boys boys are a special breed just because they really don't care as much about pictures is girls so whenever I'm calling that shoot the week bef for I call the mom of the boy and I don't call the boy because they're not going to listen they're not goingto iron their clothes anything so it's important that come to have that conversation with the parent and not the boy in that instance that's actually a good point that you said iron okay so when you have to tell these kids to iron their clothes I know it sounds like common sense but they will show up with kids with clothes in a laundry hamper and there you'll pull one thing out and it's it's a rag they cannot wear that if they wear that you're not removing those wrinkles from the shot and now trying convince mom on a sixteen twenty four with something that just looks like a rag the first objection she's going to raise is what well, I don't like that outfit because it's wrinkled that what that means to you is that entire outfit has now been nixed right from consideration of purchasing images just because life is what it is you guys have a steamer in your studio we do not if they show up wrinkled than just doesn't get used doesn't get used because I do not want to sit there now now we're steaming it right and it is what it is is what it is, what it is and if you bring life that can help you and we well we try to do you know, prevent by prepping so that that becomes very, very important to the conversation you know what I do want to pause here? I don't know if this makes sense guys, but ah lot of you out there probably husband, wife teams and you're working together with your spouse so I want to spend a few minutes kind of talking about our relationship in real life, you know, it's not for those of you any of you guys here working with you yes so two of you right? It's it's a challenge uh, working with your spouse I think I mean, I'm I'm not uh you know, I know it's hard to believe, but I'm not the easiest person to work with, right? So why don't you say all right but the reality is working together can be it presents its challenges, and but it does present ah lot of upside to so I can tell you the positive of working together, we get to spend every day of our life working together. I don't get up in the morning and go sit in an hour of rush hour traffic, then come home for an hour, get held late at the office, everything we do, we get to do together, traveling together and enjoying the upside of life. You know, the negative part is when there's a challenge within the business, sometimes that can spill over into your personal life, right? It becomes personal, and I would say, and I want you to speak to this, we that's the one thing I think we're pretty good about it, separating business from personally, it took a lot of work at first way had never worked that close together once we started our studio, and so it was a big learning process. There was a lot of heads butting in the beginning, because one, you're starting a studio to your starting a studio together, which is a really stressful and so as the years have gone on, we've worked on our communication, which not only helps their business, but hopes our personal relationship is, well. So if you can take your business relationship or personal relationship to the next level just by communication and working on it it's going to help the other one? Yeah. No, no doubt perfect example. Can you imagine? Teller? I started when I was seventeen. Eighteen years old. Taylor started photography about four and a half years ago. And now she's. Ah, great shooter. She shoots it photographs around weddings, clients love her work. She's got a great portfolio, but can you imagine when we started out having to be critiqued by me every wedding I came back. It was not a good conversation because what would end up happening is I would point out to our beach. Okay, composition your horrible you cut this person's fingers off next picture next week. So what ends up happening is that I had to learn a cz well, I had to grow. What ends up happening is all she's hearing from me is noise. All she's hearing the tower is what she's doing wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong this is wrong but continuous improvement you analyze you really do spend time on what we do wrong so that we can improve next time round. That is very difficult for artists to process, so you'll find that if you work for me and under me we have those high five moments right? We have those moments were like yes nailed it high five and then it's like okay what we do wrong so we'll only spend two or three minutes talking about what we did write and then probably seven to ten minutes talking about what we did wrong so you've gotta wrap your head around that's not personal that doesn't mean you're horrible a life that doesn't mean you're ah horrible photographer it just means you're committed to continuous improvement so high five all right so let's play that conversation that audio conversation from with the senior clark hi joe this is taylor cinque otto how are you? I find thank you. How are you doing doing good. Thank you so much for getting back to me. All right, so I just wanted to go over with you what to expect tomorrow and see if you guys have any questions on outfits how many did you plan on bringing? Well, three email indicated ten alright it's and is then kendra is also a dancer so she's going to be bringing her, um practice outset with her point I love it. Yes, and then she'll bringing prom dresses well and all those all the perfect yeah, like my email says we won't necessarily use all the outfits but it's just good to have a variety to choose from because you never know what's gonna look good in front of a certain backdrop so once you guys get here for hair and makeup all kind of spread all your different outfits out and kind of go through and pick which ones I think are gonna look best but based on the locations that we have and then I'll review that with you guys before we get started so if you want to switch it up you can and it's going to be a mix of indoor and outdoor shots well I believe there is so we're going to be starting off indoors and then going to some locations outside you don't know how excited kendra's oh is also beyond yourself a little fund so it's a lot of fade yes oh definitely come prepared wear comfy shoes and it's like a model experience for a day firebreaks yeah perfect well we look forward to seeing you guys this weekend doctor all right bye. Great phone call so I want to highlight a few things that I heard in that phone call and hopefully you did as well noticed yesterday we spoke about something very important the experience starts on that phone call did you did you get taylor's energy on the call? Did you hear her? She was excited in her voice so that excitements carried over to the climb right? You can't have a phone call where you're like hey this is taylor yeah you're going to shoot with us cool yeah bring clothes right you can't you can't do that and I naturally have a monotone voice I'm very much an introvert which sounds kind of the show pony so show pony you make it seem like I'm for sale or something for ten thousand for ten thousand years I knew I was gonna pay for that comment yesterday so and so it's important to have some inflection in your voice when you hop on a phone call I actually have a background in customer service I'm used to having that kind of energetic uh voice over the phone it's worked for me it doesn't come natural so don't worry if it's not natural for you you can work on it just smile when you talk it really helps yeah well and be aware of it right? I think we all have those moments where maybe we're having a bad day maybe there's something else going on in the background when you get on that phone call to the client they don't know what's going on behind the scenes right sir to the client they have to be your mindset has to be nothing else matters but this phone call with a client right now and if you get on the phone and have that mindset they're gonna be excited and what did mom say? What was one of the things she said you have no idea how excited she is taylor that then shared in that excitement with her right she's like oh that's also mommy you know we're gonna have a great time it's gonna be a lot of fun that's not fake that's genuine that's what we are we want them to be excited can you imagine if you have kids coming into your studio and they don't care about their pictures that's no fun for anyone so that experience absolutely starts on the initial call so does that make sense to everybody did her dialogue makes sense questions here I want to point out that you notice that I walked her through what to expect and so we do that with every part of our business so I told her okay you're gonna come in I'm gonna set up your outfits I'm going to go through them pictures pick out what I like and then review it with you so that way they feel comfortable they know exactly what's gonna happen and we do that with their sales to so before we start sale session we explain the process okay we're going to do this this and this so that way they can relax and they know the order in the process right that that's true because the biggest a point of contention I think for clients is when they don't know the unknown is always what confuses them and gets them frustrated so it's better to give your client's mohr information around your process unless right, you know the process because you do it every day, you do it, a couple, you know, for us, we do it several hundred times a year, but from their perspective, they have no idea what's going on. So great great point, john question no, I just that was going to be my question. Do you guys send them something out as a kind of midway? What to expect, what to wear that in person or a couple weeks at you? Send him an email. So what happens is when they call to book their session, the moment they book, I send them template email that we have that it explains to them exactly what to expect. Bring ten outfits come at this time uh, come with a fresh face, no moisturizer washer here the night before. Make sure you bring accessories that go with your sports or hobbies like prime cheerleading, so it gives them a cz much information is possible to prepare them so they can go shopping and do whatever they need to do beforehand. But then that called a week or two weeks before just takes it to the next level. It's really to address any questions that they haven't talk about specific ideas let's, pause it for a second, the key here is understanding that you can't run your business via email you understand that, right? I mean, there has to be this personal interaction. We can't sit here and say, right, you're saying one of your strengths and relatability to people and being able to connect with people, and we're selling an experience well, if the only experience they're having with your business is via email, that is not a very good experience. However, that doesn't mean we don't using now, but it's email in conjunction with a conversation that helps so here's everything you need and I'm going to follow up with you on a phone call now. Taylor has a phone call, some of what she was asking. Is there anything she's into what is she into? Not what taylor's doing right here is fishing she's fishing for ideas. So if the parent says, well and this I'm gonna share true story, right? In the beginning of our business, I was I would actually take some of these phone calls. Well, I had a mom calling and she said to me, well, you know, I don't understand all the hoopla to understand what we have to pay so much money for, to have her senior pictures done. She's already had pictures taken and she's like, but all her friends have come to you and she wants to come to you. So the mom had no experience with us so I had some um have you checked out our website to see what our work is and what we're all about just like no well, what do I do? Do I hang up the phone at this point or do I keep going right? So I kept going well mom, you know, tell me a little bit about your daughter well she's into music really what does she do? What? Well, she plays the violin really no, mom, I don't know I've got this idea for for a shot with her violin well she's already had a picture with her violent done okay, well, mom just hear me out here. You know, I've got an idea in my head maybe you like it if it sucks, just tell me so we'll move on I said I've got this vision of your daughter standing on the top of a hill in a wide open field okay, playing the violin in a white dress do you have a white dress? No, but I can get one, right? So what happened here? I changed the conversation the conversation went from she was calling me about price I converted that conversation from price to vision and now all of a sudden cheating she wasn't asking me anymore what it calls she was just trying to figure out where she was going to get a white dress from that's key now I made that conversion sheet she sees what we're doing his art we get that picture I've told this story before we got that picture we had on top of bail she's playing the violin winds blowing it's just awesome panoramic picture I showed mom in the back of the camera she was giddy in the back of the camera they came into the studio to see their image images right two weeks later on the tv screen in our studio we have this image up we didn't amazing at it on it she was giddy. She said to me sound I never forgot our conversation on the phone where I told you I had this picture so I brought a copy of the picture that we got with her holding the violin what do you think it was? It was her standing there a bus shot holding her violin like this so so when I asked mom, do you have a picture of a violin? She said yes. If I had given up on that conversation or not asked a little bit about the kid tell me about your daughter she would have opted for this first this wide panoramic open field blue sky beautiful shot that they have forever and so the part there is the important part in all this is the conversation cannot be an email it's a human touch that will take it to the next level, so the more they're invested in the shoot, the more they're going to invest their dollars with you. So when we do destination shoots like in new york or chicago, we actually had the seniors come over with their outfits before we even leave and we go into big detail about where we're going to shoot. All right? I don't like this top you need to go buy another one, so we'll have this one on one meeting that way, they don't have to pack so many clothes when they travel, and because of that, our sales for destination shoots are huge, which allows us to pay for our own airfare, own travel and offer this to all of our clients at no additional cost that's kind of key on do you have a question? But that's key when we do these destination shoes again, it's all about the experience, we have them come over like taylor said, and they bring all their outfits, then we will have kids, I'll say, you know, I know we're going to go toe grand central station in new york, and I just have this vision of you in a red dress in the middle of grand central station uh, can you pick up a red dress? They will actually go shopping, go into the dressing room they'll come out mom will take a picture of him in the red dress and texted to either taylor or myself this one no, this one no yes bingo soul so now from the client's perspective we've been involved every step of the way and they are vested in this photo shoot again it's a little piece of time uh but a huge huge return on investment for both decline in ourselves yes it's just slightly off topic but you mentioned again and it was a conversation that we had at dinner last night is how do you determine where you shoot in chicago and new york? Clearly you're not there on dh you weren't there the first time you went there. I mean, if you've gone there ten times now that's easy but I don't know if we could take thirty seconds off topic and just discuss how you guys figured out the first time you went to chicago where you were going to shoot with senior that's kind of my job. So I do re kon work before we go to a city if we've never been to a city and we have a shoot there, I'm like google in a way, so I'll senior pictures in austin or portrait locations in austin and I'm looking at images uh online and looking at ok that locations really cool it says welcome tto austin on this brick wall where is that now? I go into detail okay trying to find the address for that spot then I'll compile a document that has pictures of each location and the address of each location and the distance from that location to the next one so that you're not wasting an hour of time driving across town and that way when sal has that photo shoot he's got this with him he knows exactly where he's going how far it is so that way you can plan out his chute? Yeah, we call it way call it the football right? So teller gives me the football and that's got its a packet basically of information and in that packet of information look, guys, I mean, I know what times it seems like I've got it all together but the truth is behind the scenes she's not kidding dude it's like dance monkey dance because a t end of the day it's just if you are asking me to lie, coordinate time shoots, deliver balls I have no clue. I am I know what I want vision wise, but I'm the one shooting doing my thing but there is she is handling all this stuff behind the scenes, so I have no idea I want into clients seriously in a grocery store or like, we're so excited for our shooting I'm like, who are you I don't know who are you right? So all that stuff I don't know until I'm looking at the appointment and when that happened, she gives me that packet of information I opened up that pack in football and in there is where you're going google mapped out point a point b point saying now when I get there now that's my I control the spot, I control the location so she may have found in alley she may have found a sign, but how I photograph it that's totally up to me and I give everybody a great tip there's an application out there it's for your iphone it's called pocket scout this is a really cool app of you ever heard of this? Oh it's, an amazing up! So this is called pocket scout I think it's a tu ninety nine three ninety nine at what I love about this app it's made I think for photographers you go, you find a location let's just say you're driving around different cities, you're here, we're in seattle and you're like, oh that's, a cool sign you take a picture with it and it, uh old gps coordinate put it in your phone you can add notes this was shot at two pm shades on this wall, put a description now you come back to seattle and you go okay from where I am, where all my my shoot locations a mat pops up with pinpoints to show you where you are in relation to all the areas that you're interested in. So it's a great tool to keep track of all your favorite locations, even if you're just doing a drive by so that's pretty cool out question in the audience when you're first starting out because you said that you were only in photography for about four years now, how did you like it? I mean, did you just kind of give her books and you like, did she learn on her own? How did you get into it? And learn sounds very learns, very different than I do. So, uh, big surprise, I learned everything I know from cell from working hands on with him, I don't want from books, I actually tried reading a couple books like on flash and stuff, and I was more confused when I finished them when I started that I had a five minute conversation with sound like, well, it's, so simple it makes total sense. Yeah, so you gotta remember my background is microsoft, so I'm very technical learner microsoft's an interesting company we would go, you know, we'd have a big job to do, and they'd be like, okay, you're aah! Expert on this subject I'm like I don't even know what that is we shall that and they're like yeah, you need to learn it by the morning you have a client meeting like crap so they would give me a five hundred page technical manual I'd have to read this manual and process the information very quickly well that's not normal so that's how I learned so if you give me a book on lighting, I can read through that book and all that everything makes sense ah lot of people don't learn that way they learn hands on experience there's no right or wrong way but it's understanding your how you learn so to taylor's point I was like, okay, here's a book on line and figure it out and she's like what lighting ratio? Xabi what? So I would we sat there on off camera flash I just kind of walked her through it and we'll do this today, by the way, so we'll kind of break it down into english and that's how she figured it out so it was really we threw in head first to figure out how to do it and we don't turn her loose on clients that way you know, she started second shooting until she built up her confidence and now she shoots her own weddings it's funny because the first time if you work with your spouse I don't know if you're competitive or not we are pretty competitive internally so she'll book a wedding right where I'm open on a date so if a client calls us for a wedding or something like that will say well we're looking for a photographer on august fifth teller's schedule a meeting she'll have the meeting with the client and they know I'm open but they'll book taylor okay so taylor of course will call me and go yeah they booked me you were open so she loves you know it's that competitive spirit in between your spouse is good it's healthy right more questions it keeps it fun yeah definitely alive a question from shane in cars whiskey once you figure out what the senior is into in the phone call do you choose local scout the shoot locations or do you ever let the senior have input into that and she's watching from phoenix arizona nice I would say ninety percent of the time wait do not let the kid have input on location we'll ask very broad questions. So are you into urban are you into park and so they tell me they're into they want more of a park like setting I'm not looking for them to tell me what park to go to because right we all understand we've got lighting issues uh backdrop issues we see the world completely differently than our clients so you tell me you wanna park, I'll figure out the rest you tell me one urban I'll figure out the rest but what we do from time to time if the client has a force or they have a lake or a pond they want to go into or a pool I've had clients who were swimmers and they want to pull obviously they're gonna have a little bit more say in the location so I hope that helps. Okay, cool. Um question for taylor from natalie person when picking out outfits do you tend to have that outfit contrast the background or contrast colors good or would you rather have them blend in? Yeah it's kind of either way so I don't know where cell's gonna go before a shoot I might know he's going to st louis, which is I know from our experiences a lot of urban backgrounds, so brick walls, railroad tracks, abandoned warehouses, that type of thing but knowing that I just pick outfits that look good on them because I know one south seas thie outfits, then he's going to pick locations based on their outfits and what they're going to look good so it's the other way around taylor's making the decision on what outfits look good on on the child I'm making decisions based on what outfits taylor's laid out and then I'm picking a backdrop that will contrast the outfit, right. So if they're wearing red, I might go to a black background something to that effect. So it's the dog wagging taylor so tail wagging the dog something to that effect. So, yeah, that's. Great that's a great point. And what about when you're in the studio with background? Same thing in the studio. So in the studio, you know, we went through this this morning, we tell and I've already been coordinating on. Okay? What's the what outfit? Or was selecting first. Now I see her outfit. I select the color of the day background that's appropriate for the outfit. So they're popping off that good questions and a question from photo smart if I know you touch on this quickly, taylor, but do you include the parent on the prep calls? No, we talked about the boy, but typically not I usually just call the girl senior, but if it's the boy, can I talk to the mom? Usually the girls are the ones that know. Okay, I know I'm gonna do this shoe with this outfit with this bracelet, so they're totally into the dress. A part of it. So I'll just have that conversation with the girls, not the parents, thanks, all right, um, question from g haldeman dealing with females are they always shop around when you go on location and if not do you always bring an assistant? We always have an assistant cel shoots genesis and all this fine, but we encourage the parents to come along especially for the girls because the moms our have this ability to make them relax and it's an experience for the moms a swell so just like we were saying before the more invested you can get them in your shoot, the better the financial investments going be so if mom's there and experiencing this amazing shoot with sal and they're having a blast and they're doing all this crazy stuff the moms now invested emotionally and so when they come in to see the sales uh session they're like, oh my god, I remember when that happened or we'll get facebook messages right after a shoot from the mom and the daughter saying I can't believe what an amazing experience it was we had so much fun grandma came along too, so I think the more people you can get invested the better for your sales and experience yeah recent shoot we just had in new york city we had mom, grandma stur sister on dh then of course our actual senior so it was a blast I mean, here we are running through new york city, they rented a uh limo carl, a chaperon service and south puts grandma work. Don't let him fool you. Grandma's working. She'll be holding flashes or reflectors. So we get them involved as much as we can to make it fun. I'm grandma friend. They ever try to take over? Do you ever have parents trying to take over the shoot? That s o. Okay, this is the sal way, and you can do whatever you want, right? So the first, the first time they do it, I give him a little leeway. Okay, so I have parents who come in and they're like, oh, fix, fix her hair. Oh, do this. I'm like mom, you're give me a second. Here is not my first rodeo, you're you're making me a little crazy. Okay? I will actually say that to my mom, but you got to be able to see, right? You've got to be careful, right? His women you come across the wrong way, guys, you don't wanna come across the wrong way. I have ah, way of being able to say what's on my mind and they don't know what to make of it. They think it's funny, so yeah, so the first time that's kind of my shot over the bow and let you know you're making me crazy if you do it again I had a parent one time that would not stop. She was relentless on what she what she wanted and you know, mom standing off to the side so she's not seeing the world through my eyes she's seeing it off on the side, which is completely different. So we got to this point and I went up. I wanted to mom, I go here you go hinder my camera she's like, well what? No, mom, you want to take the picture so I'm gonna let you do it, take some pictures, go for mom, go for it, she's like, okay, I'm gonna shut up bingo, right? So I mean, you've got to get that message across and I see photographers all over the world. They struggle with that confidence of understanding that when you step and here's my philosophy when you step in front of my camera you're in my world. Now I own what's going on. I control my own destiny. If I let a parent control it or someone else control it now when I get back to the studio and I have the wrong image is what I say do I blame the parents so I go oh well I would have gotten better images if you had stayed out of my way no, I see it the opposite that's on use the photographer that's your world that's your domain when you when they step on your set you have to control it known it so without being a jerk about it absolutely one more question before I think then we could move on to the outfits from susan bartolini sally you say that you like the family to accompany this shoot or the mom of parents to family members ever ask you to take the photo of the senior with mom or a family shot and how do you handle that all the time? And I think that that money in my book there's again a lot of photographers I see they're like we charge you know, twenty five dollars extra per person what why would you charge anything extra put dude, I'll put anybody in that photograph that they want man break you've got a dog bring the dog you've got who's this homeless guy bring him will take it I don't care because at the end of the day the more people you're putting you're just creating more images that are salable for the client so especially when we do a destination type of location you brought you brought your sister, your grandmother, your mom why are they not all in at least one picture so that I can document and create a memorable moment for you? Will they buy that picture? Of course, they're going to buy that picture, so don't make it harder for them to purchase it by charging them, it seems petty. Make your money by running your business model the right way, not on nickel and dime, ing them on the wrong things.