How to Conduct a First Client Meeting
So, this lesson we're going to be talking about how to conduct a first client meeting and/or interview. Now, I book most of my clients by way of online. They will approach me by way of my blog, or by my website, and then we talk about that. And then, some clients would like to either meet face-to-face: and this can happen in person, or it can happen over the phone, or it can happen over Skype. But in all of those situations, I follow the same pattern. Now, 10 years ago, if you were to ask and say if I ever could picture myself having a one-on-one meeting with a client who could potentially be like, almost a virtual stranger, I probably would've laughed. I would say "that would never happen," because in a million years, I would never say that I would ever come to a point to where I'm comfortable because mostly I defer to um... being awkward. I get very uncomfortable in silences with people that I don't know, and I have a tendency to fill these long gaps of silenc...
e with just me talking, and then I just talk, and then I'm just like "okay, am I a big talker? "Because boy can I talk. "Speaking of talking, did you know "that the average rate a person can talk "is about like, 60 to 70 words a minute? "But I think I go over that by like, 35." This is me. (audience laughing) So I knew that the things that I could do during a client meeting could potentially really hurt me. Now, I find myself having client meetings about two times a month. I have a really high booking rate. Not because I think I'm like, amazing, but because the stuff that I have put up online, there is so much information about what I put out on my business that if you contact me, there is a really good chance that you're choosing between myself and one, maybe two, other photographers. My booking, I know, just average, that my booking probability ranges between 33 and 55 percent. It's very geeky of me to know these things, but I do, and I do that because I am so intentional with the things that I put out online, that if you like me online, there's a chance that you're going to like me in person. Now, my very first client meetings, when I started about 10 years ago, were very very difficult. I didn't know what I should be talking about, so instead of just listening to the things they had to say, I deferred to stuff I thought they wanted. Oh, the conferences I would go to. Oh, this is my new camera. And oh, I invested in this great new flash. And they're just like "...Okay." I thought that's what people wanted to know, and so I ended up monopolizing the course of our conversation, and so then, we would leave the meeting, I would be like "I did most of the talking, and I don't "really know much about the client." And I didn't like the way that it made me feel, and I've come a long way since then. So I wanna talk about the things that I have learned as a byproduct of my mistakes. What I learned was that brides did not want to be listened to: they wanted to be heard. And that's a difference. 'Cause if you're just processing what people are saying, and be like "okay, okay," and you're always thinking about the next thing, what you want to do is you want to hear what they're saying in between the lines. They didn't want to hear about awards or memberships to photo organizations that you belong to. While that's nice, it's not the reason why they're going to book you. "Oh, so you're a member of WPPI? Done." Like no, they don't even know. You could actually say "I'm a part of like, "XYZ Photo Organization" and they'd be like... They don't know the difference: the things that we value have very little value for our clients. So based on my personal experience, I wanted to create meetings about the client, less about me. Now I can talk about me if that is what the client wants, but what I've discovered is that most clients want to talk about themselves. It's just a fact. They're excited about their day, they have a lot of things to say to you; so I've learned the best advice is keep your mouth shut initially. So what does a prospective client meeting look like? Well, a prospective client meeting... In the beginning, I used to be like, so nervous, and each meeting would look different, and I didn't know how to find a way to get in front of it. And then I slowly realized that there was a pattern to every meeting if I stayed in control from the beginning. So if I was able to connect the dots, if I was able to answer all their questions as part of a conversation, instead of saying "so, my style is fun, fresh, and editorial. "I average about 100 images an hour." It doesn't feel natural, so the thing that I needed to do is pull out who they are first before I get into perspectives. So a client meeting: how does this happen? Well, the first thing I want to do is I want to put my clients at ease. Putting them at ease means I have to meet them on a middle ground, something that we all connect with; and in Southern California, the thing that we all connect with regardless of our age, race, gender, socioeconomic status is traffic. So if they're meeting me, and they meet me at the studio, I'm like "hey, how was traffic? "Did you guys come up the 5 or the 405?" And in California, I didn't realize that what we do is we say "the 5;" and out here, people say "well, Highway 147." It's like no, we just say "the." Because that's how pretentious we are in California. So it's like "hey, did you come up the "or did you come up the 405, how was traffic? "Omigosh, isn't it just a disaster at four o'clock?" So we're walking into the room, we're putting them at ease. I'm gonna talk about how their wedding planning is faring, how that's going for them. I'm going to talk about making my clients comfortable. I meet my clients in a studio, and there's various places for them to sit. I give them the option. "Do you guys like to sit on the couch? "We could sit at the table. "What works best for you?" So I'm empowering them with decisions. So I'm putting them at ease, and then empowering them with a decision. The first question I ask: "How did you guys meet?" Now, it's not enough for me to say-- for them to say "oh, we met in college." I must ask all of the questions to help build out a story. Because what happens is, after people get engaged, people are always like "oh, how did you meet? "How did you engage?" And it's natural for people to come up with a canned answer. "We met at college, he passed by, "I was riding a bike and he said 'whoa, that's amazing,' "and then boom, we started dating." But I'm like, okay, if that was the story that was given to me, "what was your reaction when you saw him?" And then she'll say "well, you know, I just thought "it was a little bit weird." And then he usually, if he's there with her, he'll be like "hey, what are you talking about? "You're like, you saw me, and then it was "like boom, like you're in love." And so then to get them conveying ideas about their personal, intimate lives really brings down the barriers immediately to the wedding. What I want to do is ask how wedding planning is faring. Now I ask with intention because yes, I want to know how wedding planning is faring, but it's really important for me to get the details, because the details are going to help me become a better fit for what they want. One thing that's also very important is the couple will probably like you already if they're meeting with you. So if she tells me how wedding planning is going, and she's like "oh, I'm debating between a florist," or "oh, I met this florist," I can then say "oh, that's fantastic: I've worked with that florist too." Or if I haven't worked with that florist, I'm like, I can say "oh, I follow her on Instagram. "Don't you just love those "pink blush peonies that she does? "Those bouquets are just amazing." Like, so you want to just try to say that "we share similarities, I see you, do you need any help?" You know, anything that I can do to be of service. So the girl, someone, will say "you know, we just decided "we need a wedding coordinator." And then my first thought is "great, do you need "a day of, a month of, or do you wanna start planning now?" Then I come back, I'm like "let me e-mail you three recommendations." So I want to find ways to service her, because the more that she trusts me, the higher probability that she's going to book me. Now, when I talk about trust, people say "Okay, that's great, how do I get somebody "to trust me within the first 10 minutes, "15 minutes of them meeting me?" Let's talk about ways that we can build trust at a client meeting. We can build trust by working at the venue before. So if somebody comes in and says "Oh, I'm getting married at "the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills." I can say "I have shot at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills." Okay, but maybe that doesn't apply to you. Working, moving on: working with other vendors. "Oh hey, I have worked with that vendor," or "hey, I follow that vendor on Instagram: "they do really great work." Or "we went to an industry mixer a couple weeks ago, "and I had a chance to talk with her: she's really nice." Anything to create similarities and connections. You can create trust by working with a mutual friend. If somebody says "oh, I saw you "tag this person on Facebook," and my question is "Oh how fantastic, how do you know them? "That's so great: they're such wonderful people." We're connecting by way of that. And I think I might have mentioned this in a previous lesson is finding commonalities that are outside of the wedding world. One of those things could be "oh, we went to the same college." You might have gone entirely different years, had never crossed paths, but by way that you went to the University of Seattle, all of a sudden, you're just like "go Cougs," right? You have like, this thing, right? Cougs? Did I just totally ruin that up? Just kidding. I totally slayed it, I did, I totally did. Now you guys are like "that's it, we're done." (audience laughing) Either way, you guys have become-- obviously, I didn't go to that school. You guys would never hire me. (audience laughing) Another thing too is, anything that you could put out and create commonalities is, if you did not shoot at their venue, if you did not know any of their vendors, if you did not be, if you were not referred by a friend, if you did not go to the same college, find similarities that are outside of that. Talk about dogs. Talk about movies. Talk about anything that you can create a conversation outside of the wedding world so they can see more of your personality. Now, at this point in the meeting, I have not said a single word about myself. This is like, 15, 20 minutes of them just talking, them kinda creating the relationship between us, which is great. Now, what I want to do in my meeting is, I want to keep it short, and I want to keep it short so that I can get a pulse: "where do you wanna go with this meeting? "Where do you wanna go with this meeting?" 'Cause the last, the biggest mistakes that I learned is me just going on, and me just going on, and they were just tired of me. So how to keep it short: I explain what an engagement session looks like, because I say the first time that we would interact with each other would be by way of an engagement session. I tell them how to find the right location, I tell them how many images they might expect from that session, and I tell them how long the shoot lasts. Those are my three main touchpoints. If they ask any questions, more questions about it, then great: if not, I'm going to move on, because interest hasn't peaked for them quite yet. Secondly, I explain how the wedding day unfolds for us, how many hours I'll be: most of my collect-- all my collections include eight hours of coverage. If they would like to hire me for more, they absolutely can, at an additional hourly rate. I talk about my approach: this is when I'm talking about my photographic style. I want them to have fun, I want natural photos, I want to be carefree, and I want them to feel like their photos can grace the pages of a magazine. You will hear me say that a lot throughout the 30-day course. I will tell them how many images they should expect on a wedding day, and if a client has a question, this is the time that she will ask. And if she still does not have any questions, I'm going to move forward in the meeting. But usually, in one of these two sections, my clients have meetings, and then they get back to talking. Thirdly, I explain J.D.'s role. J.D. is my husband, J.D. is my second shooter, and J.D. is my business partner. Actually, I should say J.D. is my husband, J.D.'s my business partner, J.D. is my second shooter. That is the order. And I do think, too, and this might rub a few people the wrong way, but I think it is a competitive advantage to be shooting with your spouse. And I'm not gonna shy away from that. Before, I used to say like, "oh no." But it is: it is impressive to prospective clients. So because I know it's a competitive advantage, I absolutely will use it as a competitive advantage. I talk about what it means, and you're going to see it in the footage that we are about to show you. You're going to see how that actually unfolds. And it resonates, 'cause I always use the same example. Oh well, you know, you can be at a party, and you could look at your significant other, and just give him or her like, the look, and then it's like "oh, gotta go, she's hungry." You know, like "we gotta go, she's tired." Like, that look is what you know, we have that on the wedding day. You'll see, as we shoot the Knot wedding. J.D. and I don't have earpieces, but we look at each other, and then he knows "Oh, gotta grab my second roll." Like, this is the kind of conversations that we're having. Lastly, you wanna keep talking about yourself to a minimum. This is like, a big fundamental tie... changer because you want to prove yourself as an artist and a creative, and talk about how great you are, but figure out what the client wants to know, and then only talk about that. Remember, it is her day: you are just there to document it. Now this brings us back to seeing what it would look like for a real client meeting. This is what we're gonna go into right now. Now here is the backstory to this meeting that I need to explain: I met with Kathryn and Corey. Kathryn's coordinator, Jayme, reached out to me and she asked if I could meet with Kathryn and Corey in regards to their meet, in regards to their wedding, that will be in August of this year at St. Regis Monarch Beach. Around the same time, CreativeLive asked me if it would be possible to record a real client meeting, and my answer was "no." My answer was like, "you guys are straight trippin'," but just "yeah, no: that's just not gonna happen." And then... I guess, over time, I started realizing how valuable it could be: not just to a CreativeLive audience, but to myself. A couple years ago, we came to CreativeLive, and we did a course called Restart, and it changed a lot of people's businesses. It fundamentally changed the trajectory of what they were doing: and one of the things that I threw out on our three willing participants as we reformed their business was I filmed them having a client interview, and I literally threw them to the wolves. I'm like (claps) "go." Well, karma... (audience laughing) 'Cause doing this was so disconcerting. One thing that I wanna point out is that I am naturally awkward. I get it. But when they had the cameras and lights set up in my studio, I can't tell you-- I feel like I had an out of body experience. I like, I felt like I was in my body, having a meeting, and I was outside of my body being like, "Shake it up, stop acting so stupid, find your words!" And at the end of it, I talked to the producer, and I told her "we had only corresponded twice, "Kathryn, the bride and I. "We had only corresponded twice before this meeting. "I didn't know what I was getting into. "Was I as pathetic as I felt?" And she's like "Jasmine, don't worry about it. "The greater good is that people are going to learn." So having said that, I panicked about the outcome, right? Because how embarrassing to be like "let me show you "how to conduct a client meeting," and then they don't book, right? So this is the risk that we're running as we go into recording these types of things. We're gonna give you a sneak peek. Not a sneak peek-- we're gonna give you a real look at what this meeting looks like, so bear with all the lovely awkwardness that transpired. When CreativeLive suggested the idea of filming me during a client consultation, my first reaction was "no way." There's something I find extremely uncomfortable about having my conversations with prospective clients filmed. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it might be helpful. Sure, to photographers watching, but more so to give me a unique perspective of seeing what's working and what needs improvement. Before a prospective client arrives to the studio, I want to create an environment that they feel comfortable in. I set music, light a candle, and create a space that feels professional yet personal. Prior to their arrival, I review their names, their wedding date, and their wedding location. Not only does it act as a refresher, I'm able to organize full wedding galleries to showcase my work. For example, today I'm meeting with Kathryn and Corey, and they're getting married in August at the St. Regis Monarch Beach. Throughout the course of our consultation, I'll be answering their questions: but in case they'd like to see a sample of my work, I'll be able to showcase a real wedding at their wedding venue, as seen through my lens. If they're getting married at a venue I've never seen before, I'll simply choose two sample galleries and have them ready to showcase should our conversation lead to it. Once I have everything ready, I sit back and hope for the best. Here goes nothing. (footsteps clacking) Hi guys!
Nice to meet you!
Nice to meet you, hi!
Thanks so much for coming in.
Hi, nice to finally meet you.
Of course, yeah.
I've just started. Make yourself at home. Make yourself at home, please. Ah, thank you guys so much for meeting.
Omigosh, we're so excited.
I am so excited to meet you guys. I mean, we've just kind of briefly, like, kind of introduced each other by way of e-mail, but I hear great things. All right, guys, I'm excited, I'm excited.
We are too. (Kathryn giggles)
Thank you for meeting me in the afternoon.
That's awesome, that's great. What do you guys do?
I wanna do the luxury--
I'm in the film industry, so I do a lot of work from home. Like, covers on scripts and stuff. And we also started our own like, kind of business on skin care and health and wellness.
It's all work from home.
Okay, so that's why the skin is looking good, and the hair is looking amazing? 'Cause I notice these things. That's good! Thank you so much for being here. I totally, totally appreciate it. So, before we get into the meeting, because we don't know each other all that well, I'd love to hear a little bit more about you guys. Like, ideally, like how you guys met. That's always a fun story.
We met, um... Gosh, it's like, what, three and a half years ago now?
On New Year's. Through mutual friends, and then we were just friends for a couple years, 'cause we were both in relationships when we first met. But um, yeah, we've been friends for a couple years, and then we kind of linked up again about a year and a half ago? Almost two years ago now, and--
Like just randomly, you guys like, happened to be at the same--
My best friend is one of his best friends, so we like, kind of--
That's how we--
We got back in touch again, and started talking, and then it was just like, from there, it just kind of took off: it was really easy.
And both of you guys, both kind of fell for each other at the same time, like just--
It was just really--
The first time I saw her, I had to like, keep my distance, 'cause she had (laughs) a boyfriend, and I had a girlfriend. I was like "I gotta be good, here."
And so then, years later, you guys just reconnected, and then you guys knew, like, the timing was right? That's awesome. That's awesome: so what'd you guys do for your first date?
We, this is a funny story, because we always talk about this, like, "was that our first date, or..."
One of those, but... The first date we had, we like, we were with a couple friends, but the first time on our own, we know this restaurant in Elliot, and we go there all the time now. It's an Italian restaurant on Melrose, called Franco. And we went there, it was our first date, and like, our first real date, and the guy that was working there was like "omigosh, you two." He was like, "You guys are gonna get married." And like instantly, and he was like, telling us all this stuff: he's like "you guys are gonna work, "I can just see it." And like all--
And this very first date, so we were both kinda like "Oh, thanks?" (laughs)
Wow, you need to go back and give him a big tip.
Oh, like, he was right. (laughs) That's amazing.
We went back and told him, and he was like "Oh, well, we cater." (all laugh) I was like, "Oh, thanks."
Oh, that's really--
Yeah, it was really cool.
Really cool, that's amazing, that's good. I mean, I think that part of the reason why I ask, like, those things, I mean, they're super personal, but it really helps me understand like, your story, like if we have the opportunity like, to meet and be together for the engagement session, I really like knowing. Like, now I know about Franco. Now I know that you guys were friends for a long time. So it's like, when you guys get in front of the camera, it's just there just so you guys feel comfortable, enjoy it. Like, and it's less about what I want and more about simply like, documenting you guys hanging out, being together. You guys, Franco's in L.A.: where do you guys live?
We live in L.A..
Oh cool, whereabouts?
We live in hart-- like, do you know where the W is in Hollywood? Our apartment building's like, right attached to that.
Like, Sunset and Vine.
That's Sunset and Vine like, right in the middle.
So guys, have you guys thought about what you guys wanted to do for like, an engagement session? (Kathryn sighs)
You know, we were hopin'-- you could give us some ideas, you know? We love your work, we've seen everything, so.
You were the first person-- that, when we got engaged, we were on the train home from Paris.
And my sister texted me and was like "okay, "first things first: photographer, Jasmine Star. "Look it up now." First thing.
I was gonna ask, okay, so how did we find-- How did you guys find me?
My sister has been doing-- Well, sister, has been doing photography for a long, long long time, and she has like, four kids, so she doesn't really do it anymore. But she still like, watches stuff, and she had told me about you a long time ago, like, just like, looking at stuff, and then she was like, "Lookit, now!" I was like "okay," and then I looked at him and was like "okay," and she's like "but it's gonna be really hard for you to call her now." I was like "omigod."
When we got you, we were like "yes!"
I know, we were like, so excited, 'cause I told our planner, I was like, "I know it's a longshot, but like, "we would really like to at least try to reach out "to her and see if like, she's available." And when you were, I looked at him, and I was like "you're never gonna believe--" what I just got.
Like, "no way."
That is amazing. I'm so-- well, I'm just as excited. I mean, Jayme and I, we met in the industry a couple years ago, but our paths kind of have crossed at different times, and so when I got an e-mail, and she's like "I have an interested client," I was like "yes, absolutely." And this is amazing! I love hearing that. Okay, so now that I know you guys got engaged in Paris.
I know. (Jasmine laughs)
It's good, because I think when you go into the engagement session, I really want you guys to choose a location you guys feel comfortable. That's the only thing that I want: I don't have an agenda, I don't have any plans. So people do come to me and say "oh, what do you think?" And I'm more than willing to give feedback kinda based on what you guys do, who you guys are, but the best thing I would suggest: kinda go back and say, ask yourself "what do I do on the weekends? "where am I most feeling like, "comfortable and in love with my significant other?"
And then-- we kinda create like, a lifestyle editorial session around that.
So I've shot in empty movie theaters, I've shot in like, carnivals, theme parks, the beach. Like, people's homes: so whatever you guys want, like, we'll just base it off there.
So I'm gonna get into talking a little bit about the engagement session, but this is a sample album here, based on an engagement session. Now there's a lot of white space, but they decided to use it as a guest sign-in book.
So guests can actually--
Oh, that's awesome.
Sign around the photos, and kind of-- so I mean, it's definitely an option for you guys. An average engagement session for me is about an hour to an hour and a half. We'll kind of go to a place within L.A., Orange County, and we just spend this time together. So we, I expect nothing except for us to have a good time.
That's it: and in the process, I think it's good because I get to understand how you guys work together, like, in front of the camera. I get to figure out if you have a good-- some brides have good sides. They're like "oh, this is my good side."
Do you have one?
I don't know.
I don't think, okay, both sides are great.
I never know.
I think you're like--
People always say like "oh, that's my good side." I'm like "okay, I don't have--" Everyone always says that, and I'm like, "I don't know if I have a good side or not." (laughs)
Yeah, well, both sides are good. I don't have like, a good side either. So I'm just kind of like, but all of this stuff you find out like, at the engagement session. So by the time the wedding comes around, you're just chill. You're just really excited, just relaxed, and then the goal is to really trust that I'm gonna show up and do what I do, and then you guys can just totally enjoy the wedding day.
Yeah, sounds good.
I love these: they look awesome.
Yeah, they do.
Good. An average engagement session is about an hour to an hour and a half, and what a client will get will be around 55, 60 images from the session. They're all high resolution. You're able to print them, use them, show them in whatever capacity you would like. And it takes about two and a half weeks after the engagement shoot to actually kind of get in to sharing them and using them; but once you guys have them, they're totally and completely yours.
Okay, good. Are there any other questions in regards to the engagement session?
Um, no: so you just recommend us starting to think of places, looking around--
Get some ideas.
Jot some stuff down?
I think so: I think that that would be best. But if you guys are like, you guys are just kinda stuck, let me know: I mean, I'm very familiar shooting in L.A., and we can kind of find a place that is like a mesh of your personalities, like obviously, like you guys are impeccably dressed. Like, I'm like, wow! You guys look like you just walked off of like, a fashion shoot. So I think choosing a spot that highlights both like, this really put together, curated version. Also, something that's really comfortable for you guys.
Like, you know, we all have like the, I like to be in sweats, kind of feeling. So if we can kind of find a happy medium between like, really beautiful, high-end glamorous, and then just something you're comfortable and relaxed, I think would be good.
Cool, yeah, that'd be fun.
Sounds good, yeah.
Okay, cool. So the rest of the albums are here. If you'd like to look at them, that's totally fine. I'm just gonna kind of talk a little bit about what an average wedding day looks like. But before I do that, do you guys have any questions in regards to wedding photography? Like, I don't wanna yap on if you guys, okay.
I don't, I don't know. You're the one more into all that.
I mean, we've seen all your work. We love it, yeah, so I mean, not really.
Okay, good. Well, we'll kinda just go through anything as I start talking. Might have questions, you might just like bounce ideas off each other.
So we start the day-- I shoot with my husband, so we've been shooting-- Yeah, we've been shooting since the beginning of our business together, so it's great. So we're going into our 10th year, and I'm sure like, you guys have that like, communication where you guys are at a party or somewhere and you look across the room and be like "okay, it's time to go." And you don't have to say anything, right? So that happens to us, like, on a wedding day. Like, "okay, did you get that shot? Great. "Now you're moving Grandma." Like so, we speak through telepathy, so that's great on a wedding day. But prior to that, J.D., my husband, will be with the guys: and whatever the guys are doing, that's what he's documenting. So it's nothing posed, nothing like, the guys aren't like, shaking hands.
You can get the best images.
Yeah, absolutely. Guys just wanna have a good time on the wedding day, too. I'll be with the girls: I'll be shooting your details, girls, getting into your dress, with your mom, auntie, grandma, whoever's there, making sure that I'm getting candid photos, relaxed moments. But again, nothing is posed. We really wanna take like, a hands off, just lifestyle kind of enjoying the moment. There will be time for posed photos, but up until that point, really just want everybody relaxed.
I like that.
Go through the day. Okay, so that's kind of what you'll see through each album: each album will start off at the beginning of the day. Now, as far as albums go, you guys would choose the images that go into the album yourselves. So I'll kinda talk through like, the chronology of the day. So after I kind of document the details, J.D.'s with the guys, I'm with the girls, we then go into one of two options: we go into you guys seeing each other before the ceremony for the first look, or we would actually go into the ceremony itself. So before I get on too far from there, have you guys thought about the possibility of seeing each other before?
Yeah, I think we're gonna--
Yeah, I don't think-- we're gonna do that.
We're both a little bit more traditional.
I want it to be a complete surprise.
So do I.
That's great, that's totally totally okay. If at any other point in time you guys want to talk about what the options are, please feel free to let me know.
So then-- we kind of just walk through the day exactly as it comes out: guys hanging out, girls hanging out. Then you have that private moment with your parents if you'd like them there,
Before they walk you down the aisle, or your dad walks you down the aisle. And then we simply document the day as it unfolds. J.D. and I are shooting together at the same time: he's at one angle, I'm at the other, and we literally just are hands off. So if you're following, we're hands off most of the day up until the point where you guys are formally around for pictures. So hopefully, the goal is you guys just wouldn't really notice us, (stammers) throughout the day up until that point.
So, I think that's great because the St. Regis has so many beautiful spots, like. I mean, it's like a photographer's dream. So as long as the day and timeline works out for us, I would love to have you and the girls out on property, the guys would be tucked away. We'll get fun, just chill, bring some champagne along for the girls, you guys just hang out, get some photos. Girls get tucked away, the guys come out. Sometimes we'll hang out at the bar. They have a really pretty bar. Just the guys, just chillin' before the ceremony. So pretty just relaxed, and you guys enjoying.
How many bridesmaids-- do you have?
Omigosh, we have so many. We have 12.
Yeah, a lot.
Okay, so there is 12 on each side. So basically, you have an army. Okay. (laughs)
That's so funny: that's what everyone's been saying. I'm like, I like it. I have an army of bridesmaids.
That's fine, yes: you just need to embrace it. That's amazing. Oh, it's good! That's good. How many, and where are your bridesmaids, like how, what point of life? Are they coming mixed, childhood, high school?
Yes, all over. One, I have two maid of honors, maid and matron of honor. One's like, my best friend for like seven, eight years, and the other one's like, the one who's like my sister who told me about you originally.
Oh, so she's in the--
Oh, the pressure's on.
I better deliver a shoot! Okay, okay. (laughs)
And her kids are... little ones in the wedding. And then I have some friends actually coming over from the UK in the wedding, like my best friends-- 'Cause we lived over there: I lived over there for a while, then me and him lived over there again, like, for a little bit. So we have some friends coming from there, then I have friends coming from like, high school and childhood, and all that, yeah.
Cool, that's awesome.
The same with him.
All over, yep.
That is awesome, that's great, that's very cool. So have you thought about like, bridesmaid's dresses and all that? (Kathryn sighs) (Jasmine laughs)
It's been a struggle.
We've been looking.
Yeah, that part's so-- I didn't realize how hard it was.
Yeah, I know, and then you have 12 people that you have to make sure that you have to like "oh, this person "doesn't like off the shoulder, "this person doesn't like sweetheart."
I don't know how she's doing it.
They're all pretty easygoing: it's just... Finding something that's gonna look good on everybody.
Well, good luck with that.
I mean-- (laughs)
We need help with that too.
Yeah, if you guys need it. I could come in, I can come in, and then just kind of, just like lay the smackdown and be like "nope, no, too much attitude right here. "We need to bring it on down." (laughs)
Love it. Love that.
That's awesome, that's good. And I actually, we are very familiar and accustomed to working with large bridal parties, so. And even this bridal party was kind of just like a little bit, I think she had like 10.
So I mean, we-- And we're, we're good, we're gonna have a good time. We're gonna have a good time, this will be good.
Be awesome. So, after the ceremony, I think we would-- Have you talked about the possibility with Jayme about having an extended cocktail hour? The possibility, instead of--
I think we, that came up.
About, so we could do-- the photo shoot during that time, is that good?
I think so: like, we would have to do the photo shoot, the majority of the photos after the ceremony, but the light will be beautiful, and we'll have like, appetizers and drinks flowing, so everybody's like, happy. But I think that an hour is kind of a short amount of time to get you know, the large bridal party picture, all family pictures, and your pictures. So just kinda see it in the back of your mind. Extending it maybe 15, 20 minutes,
I think that that would be fantastic. Then you'd get everything that you guys want. That's good, that's great.
I love these pictures. They're so great.
Yeah, I know.
Have you guys thought about like, florists?
We've, that's our next big meeting, I think, on, coming on the first of April, and then we'll be talking about those then.
So who are your options right now? Do you know?
I'm like, ask-- (laughs)
I don't even remember, honestly. Um... what was the name of the one she mentioned?
It's totally, it's totally fine. Sometimes I just think about like, oh what, do the color palettes look, right? Like where, I'm already-- see, this is me. I'm a type A, yeah, I'm like okay, where the color scheme's gonna go, where we're gonna be on property, but yeah, it comes second.
Yeah, I feel like for colors, it's gonna be very like-- I mean, our colors right now are like, white gold, and then like, either like, a blush and champagne color mixed in with it as well. So it'll be in that, yeah, a little.
Very very very cool. How did you find Jayme?
Through our, well, we found St. Regis first, originally, 'cause we've both been there so many times, and had so many good memories there.
Yeah, they recommended us.
So, and they recommended us to her, yeah.
Oh, very cool.
And then I had heard some other people had told me that as well. A couple of my friends that have gotten married had met with them, but didn't end up using them for whatever reason, or one reason or another. Yeah.
We walked in, and we're like, "done," we knew right away.
I love it, you guys. Did you guys just make your decision prior to like-- (laughs) That's amazing!
Look at this one.
We crashed that, though.
Yes, as the night progresses, the photos do get a little bit more crazy, funny. Yeah.
Our group of friends will definitely be the fun group.
And you know, I think this is great, because this kinda shows you that we take about, like, our normal coverage is about eight hours. And within the eight hours at the same venue, which is the situation for you guys: you have the ceremony and reception there. Eight hours is like, a great amount of time for us to get the photos that you guys want, so we kind of start the timeline from the ceremony start. So if you guys have like, a five p.m. ceremony, we would probably be staying until about nine or 10. So we'll kind of show up, we get an hour of prep photos, we put an hour for just bride-family photos and bridesmaids, and the same go for the guys.
We'll do both, like 30 minutes each. Go into the ceremony, and then, we don't usually need to stay till the end of the night unless you guys are gonna do something formal at the end. So about an hour to an hour and a half of dancing photos--
Is plenty. Like you know, anything after that, it really does get like, a little crazy.
A little too much. (laughs)
Trying to get the most complimentary photos.
Not sure you want to document all that. (laughs)
Exactly, exactly, exactly, exactly. So I mean, as you guys look through albums, all of like, the dancing photos were all captured within that like, hour to hour and a half time frame. So full coverage of the day is definitely great, but if you want to add hours, we totally, we totally can. So that's definitely, definitely an option for you guys too.
So, usually we shoot about 100 images an hour. So eight-hour wedding, at minimum, would yield around 800 images, but we don't stop shooting. So whatever is going on throughout the day, that's what you guys will get. So if we end up north more than that, that's great: a nice average for us is 800, though.
So we're looking about eight percent of what we capture on that wedding day will go into the album. So it's kind of great, so you guys would go through and you guys would choose your favorites. So you guys get to know exactly what's gonna go into it, and then I work with a graphic designer, and she focuses solely on wedding albums. So she and I, we'd work on them, we'd do the layout together. I follow the chronology of the day, we do family photos, things like that, and then we send you a draft. And then based on that draft, you guys can let us know what you like, what needs to be improved, or some brides just get it and say "this is what I want," and we're good to go. So that's kind of how it looks like.
Where's this one at?
That's at Pelican Hill.
Okay, cool, yeah.
I thought so.
So what drew you guys to get married down here in Orange County?
I grew up in Orange County for the most part, yeah. I was born in the Midwest, but I moved to Orange County when I was 10, and grew up in Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach-ish area, so. I actually had my 16th birthday party at St. Regis.
Wow, full circle, omigosh.
I didn't even remember until after we booked it, and then we were like walking around in one of the ballrooms one day and I like, kind of looked around and I was like, "Mom, is this where my birthday was?" And she's like "yeah, it was." I was like, "omigosh."
Oh, how sweet!
We stayed there a couple of times together as well and had a great time: just like "oh, we love this place."
Very cool. Who would've thought like, on your 16th birthday, you'd be marrying the man of your dreams!
In the same place.
Yeah! That's awesome, omigosh.
We love it.
So tell me about your 16th birthday. I mean, this is totally off track, but I'm like, tell me about-- Like, I did not have a birthday at the St. Regis when I was 16. That's pretty awesome.
I wanted to do like, something fun for my 16th birthday, and like, we were getting ready to move like, across country, 'cause I moved to North Carolina for a few months, and I thought it was gonna be a lot longer. So we kinda wanted it to be like, a fun, big birthday. So my mom and then our really good family friends, they planned it for me, and I just said like, "anywhere, like, don't care where it is, "like a fun ballroom," but our family has always does like, events there and stuff, so. We did it there, and it was so much fun. I had so many friends: it was crazy, but it was fun.
Wow, that sounds so much fun.
We loved it, we like, sectioned off one of the ballrooms, like really small, and we had like, a DJ and snacks.
And you know when you're 16, you just feel cool. I mean, "you are so cool," and this spot, no--
Looking back at the pictures just cracked me up.
Well, that's pretty awesome. I mean, Corey, what'd you do for your 16th birthday? Now, all of a sudden, I'm like--
I think I had like, a pool party. (Jasmine laughing)
You and I probably had similar parties. That's awesome, that is very very very very cool.
And we have like, pictures from it and stuff, 'cause when we moved, some family friends made a huge album for us, like, when we moved, and like, a bunch of pictures are in it: it was fun.
Very, you see, that's the gift. But obviously, I'm a photographer, so I'll say that. You know, like, that's the gift that lasts, I mean.
Yeah it is, it really is, though.
That's, I mean, how would you know what your hair looked like? I'm sure you had an awesome hairdo, though, then. (laughs)
Well, it depends.
I know, right?
What was awesome back then to now, I don't know.
Exactly, exactly. It looked good.
I liked it, I guess.
That's good, that's good. I mean, as far as like, other technicalities go, if you wanna know about our gear, and its-- We have backup gear: this is what we bring with us, we've never had issues with it like, falling apart or not working on a wedding day. We also have insurance, because we have worked at the St. Regis before, they do know that we have insurance. It's usually required for the venue, so we're fully covered in that respect. People wanna know how often like, the timeline, the turnaround is for the images. So the goal for us always is to get your images back three to four weeks after the wedding, but if we can get them back sooner, we will.
Like, we shot a wedding, and our clients are on their honeymoon, and I sent them the gallery when they were in Paris, and they were stoked,
Oh, that's awesome.
They were really stoked. So, you know, just for you guys to be able to relive your day, and not be waiting weeks after the wedding. That's like, always, like our top priority.
Do you guys have any questions up until this point?
We're just so excited to get started.
When would it be though, the engagement photos? Like, is that--
Great question. That's a good question. So, it totally depends on when you guys, on when you guys would like it. Some clients will do it about, you know, five to six weeks in advance, and then some people will do it five to six months in advance.
It doesn't matter to me, as long as our schedules, yeah, align. We will absolutely, positively, like.
What do you recommend, what do you think?
I like, I kind of like the four-month mark, because it'll give us time--
To prep the area.
Yeah, exactly, exactly. And it gets people excited: like, when you share your photos like, on Facebook, or your parents start using them, or if you guys wanted to use the save the date, image for the save the date, if you guys plan to go that route. Having them done earlier is always better, but again, there's not, I don't have a preference either way.
Yeah, I like that idea.
Okay, let's go with that.
Whatever you guys are most comfortable with, yeah, that's good. I'm excited, I'm very very very excited. One other thing too, I wanna kind of walk through the digital delivery of your images. So included in each collection, you get the digital, the hi-res digital images. So this is for you, it's as if the images, what we used to send would be like, a disc or USB. And so now, what I do is have all the images in online gallery, and they're backed up, they're stored in the cloud, so if you lose your USB or scratch your disc, we still have 'em. So this is great. So I kind of wanna walk you through, just very briefly. I'm gonna bring up a gallery from the St. Regis so that you can kind of understand what, like, a sample of what the day would look like, and I'm gonna pass this right over to you.
But this is gonna be the gallery. And then all you can just basically do is kinda scroll through the images as you guys see fit, and then you'll see the way that you would categorize your wedding images. Because if you guys were to get 800 images, it can be a little bit like, overwhelming.
So we break it up according to bride prep, groom prep, ceremony, and then the day from there. So if you guys want, I could pass this on over. You guys would kind of get an understanding of how this is, how this would work.
Your engagement photos would be the same way, and the best part is, is you simply click this button: and it's a download button, and all of the images will download to whatever device you're working on.
So it's great because--
It is simple, it is kinda just a cool way just for you guys to share, and the best part is that friends and family after. So if we're shooting during the cocktail hour, you know, and your grandparents are there, your friends are there, sorority sisters, we get those photos, and now you don't have to be like, sending them their photos: they can go on and get them themselves, they can download them themselves, they can share that to Facebook. So it's kinda great: now your mom, if she wants her like, Christmas card, she's not calling you anymore.
Just like, "log on."
Yeah, exactly, exactly, exactly.
Look at this one! Omigosh.
So this is um, that's kind of like, what it would look like. And definitely, I think it's good for you guys to kinda see what photos are at your wedding venue--
Yeah, it's very important.
I love it, those scare-- sisters, scare me. (Jasmine laughs)
No, but you know what, it's gonna be so exciting. Just take your time, enjoy, I mean--
I have my dad to thank, guys, so I'm just gonna like, cling on to him. I already told him "if you let me fall..."
No, no way, your dad would never let you fall. That's awesome. But it's such a great experience.
Yeah, we're really excited.
And to have that walk down those, that gorgeous staircase, like oh, that's amazing.
That's what I'm, I'm excited for it. It's really pretty, I love it. It's like, the most like, beautiful place ever-- Omigosh. (giggles)
That's so awesome. I love it.
Have you found a dress yet?
Ooh! Okay, that's good. That's great.
That I have down.
I mean, I don't wanna clump photography up into like, (stammers) like, you have your venue, you have your dress, you have a coordinator, you're like, talking to a photographer, great. I love the order of events.
I actually got two.
You have two dresses?
Shut up! Really? So you're doing a reception dress?
I don't know, I couldn't choose, so I was like, well...
Okay. (Jasmine laughs) I guess I'll do two.
I like that idea.
Is one more formal than the other? Okay, cool. Oh, that's good, that's good. So you guys can just dance the night away.
Yeah, I know.
I know, right? I was like, cut. (laughs)
He knows I have two because I can't like, stop talking about it, but that's all he knows.
It's so hard, I just walk out of the room.
But you need to get like, two suits. No, I'm just kidding, no. (laughs)
He's so used to knowing everything, so the fact that he doesn't know is like, driving him crazy.
It's like, the biggest secret ever.
He's like, "what?"
And he gets to like, he gets to like, look at you twice, like, in two entirely different ways, twice in one-- I mean, you're just in this emotional overload. I mean, that's amazing.
That's awesome. That's very cool, that's very very very cool. So, do you guys have any other questions right now? I wanna make sure that you guys leave feeling like we have, we answered, we got the questions that we want answered.
Just start thinking of places for the engagement photos, and a date, right? Then contacting you, yeah: simple.
How-- you come like, when we're getting ready, like, early in the day, right?
Definitely: I wanna make sure that you get photos of your dress looking brand new, pristine; of your shoes, un-scuffed, looking great. And just of your girls: like, if you have 12 people, these are all 12 women who've like, impacted your life in a different way, and it's great to have these formalized photos of everybody. But the ones that actually are the funniest, the ones that get shared the most, are the ones where everyone's just hanging out, just chillin'. The dan-- like, earlier in the day, getting ready, and the dancer photos, those are the ones that everyone's like, yeah, yeah.
That's what we're excited about, the real moments.
Exactly, exactly. And so, as things progress, like, feel free to e-mail me at any other point in time. If things do come up, if things-- like, any any questions you guys have, I wanna make sure that you guys feel pretty darn good about the decisions you guys are making, too.
Yeah, we're really, really excited: we can't wait. So excited!
Do we do an out-- like, an outfit change as well at the engagement?
Yeah, I think yeah, I think that's great. I think that one outfit change for a total of two outfits is always great. Anything beyond that, because we kinda take like 10, 15 minutes to change, they're kind of eating into like, really cool, beautiful daylight time that like, having, again, like I've mentioned, having an outfit where you feel like a little bit more dressy, and then one with a little bit more casual-ity, like, that'd be great.
I think I just made up that word, casual-ity. But, you know what, let's roll with it. We're just gonna go, (laughs) I think. Thanks, thanks for indulging me.
I wanted to see the family photos. I love it: I just don't know what to tell my mom to wear, that's why. But yeah.
Cute, awesome! I'm so excited!
Oh, good, good.
Yeah, they all look really good. Very excited, awesome. And because like, I cannot end like, a meeting without like, thanking you guys for just taking the time to meet with me, I have something for you guys to take on the road. So, I mean, that drive back to L.A. can be brutal, but we have something to sweeten it up, so. (laughs)
Aw, thank you.
Is it popcorn, or?
No, it's not popcorn, it's not popcorn, but it's something else, probably a little bit sweeter. Thank you guys.
I totally appreciate it.
We're really excited. Yeah, this is perfect.
Can't be more excited.
Yeah, I totally appreciate it. Awesome, thank you thank you thank you. Awesome. So, I'm a hugger. So, I mean, it's like (laughs).
Thank you, guys.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, thank you so much.
Yes, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
I can't wait.
All right, cool.
So the meeting is over, and I started to debrief with my producer, and she had the idea of maybe turning on the cameras to get like, a real behind the scenes look at how I feel, so what you guys are gonna see is the conversation that I'm having, and get some like, real time honest feedback about how I thought that meeting went. So, here we go. (giggles) I think I'm laughing 'cause I'm just like hm, yeah, I probably could've done a little better. But I mean, I don't know. I don't know what to think about it.
Of course you're gonna be self-deprecating. (Jasmine laughs) I thought it was great.
What don't you think went well? What did you think went well?
What do I think went well? They were fantastic. They were comfortable in their own skin. I felt like they knew what they wanted, they came in, and they said "we've done our homework, "and we like what we see." So for that, I was like, "great, I don't have to sell myself." That's like, the perfect scenario. What I thought didn't go so well was like, me being comfortable. I felt like, I felt like I realized how uncomfortable I looked throughout the whole thing. Like, I felt myself a couple of times during the, during the conversation where I was like "you're on camera: "you should probably not be so caught up." Because I mean, sometimes like, even when I knew they were looking at the albums, or they were talking, I was like "...uh-huh." (laughs) I just didn't feel comfortable. And I just, I'm glad that the cameras were there. I'm glad that they were okay with the cameras being there. But at the same time, I just wish that I could've just been more like myself. But at the same time, I know that that's very close to how a meeting runs for me. The duration of the meeting, you know, was about 35 minutes, 40 minutes. We talk about things, I like to let them talk a lot, which was great. But I just think that I wish I could've been more myself. But you know, at the end of the day, like, I'm awkward: I'm just gonna own it. (laughs)
I think they found it very endearing.
And you did-- have a little bit of a moment off camera, even, after the camera shut down.
You wanna talk about that?
I think like, yes, I do. Like, once the cameras turned off, I just felt like, this, maybe it was a guard. I don't know, maybe I'm nervous about what photographers are gonna think about me, or what I'm gonna think about myself. Like, after I see like, it, I'm gonna look back and be like, "oh, why were you doing this? "Why did you say that?" I'm going to say those things. But I think that once the cameras turned off, and we just like, had a normal conversation where we were just like "oh, okay, like, let's just be us," it went really well. We talked about her bridesmaids' dresses, we talked about their proposal. I wish I would've talked about their proposal on camera! Like, he proposed in Paris: it was all kinds of romantic. But I think that once they got to see like, me, just me, and then just be them, we connected on such a deep way, and I felt really confident. (stammers) I feel really confident about booking the wedding and I feel really confident about shooting the wedding. So fingers crossed, but I think it's gonna go-- It's gonna be a good one.
Just like, as a photographer talking to a photographer, like, what things did you grab out of that meeting? Or was it more just to comfort them, entirely?
Most of the time, I think that the meetings are to comfort, or as-sahj my clients' perspective worries. Right? They come in, they really liked who they saw online. She did a lot of homework, she went to my website, she went to my blog, after a recommendation from a friend, which are always the best kind of recommendations. So I think in that regard, she felt confident. Most of the time, the meetings are simply just for my clients to show up and feel like, "great, the person online matches the person in person." And I think that that's the valuable thing for a wedding. Now for me, I understood they're very traditional. Like, she's grown up in the South, she's grown up in various places, and she has made her mind very clear. She does not wanna have a first look. And even though there's a part of me that's like, "yes you do, you really wanna see him before." 'Cause it's advantageous to a photographer. It's advantageous to photos. But I peeled back, I didn't push the subject, because she already had her mind made up. She has two wedding dresses, she has a wedding coordinator, she had her 16th birthday at the St. Regis, which is like, unreal: so it shows to me that she comes from a family of affluence, and she comes from a family, later on, the groom, or excuse me, Corey, the prospective groom had said "oh, her dad flew in to Paris on his jet." And I was just like "oh, okay," and then I just started realizing that the affair, their family, the wedding, is going to be a big to-do. And so, in that regard, it might be advantageous for me to maybe bring another photographer. If it's gonna be a black-tie affair, I need to wear a certain thing to the wedding. So the meeting for me was advantageous in that I understood more about who they were, and their day. Cool. So obviously, like I probably mentioned before, I can't watch this footage without cringing at some of the stuff that I said or how I interacted. But the bigger picture: I think in a few months, when I step away from actually being throughout this, I can look at it as a valuable tool to see on ways that I can improve, and furthermore, that other people can actually get a sneak peek into what I do, and yeah, those awkward moments. I am not always articulate, I am not always confident. And like, kind of just seeing the way that I prod out answers from my clients, I think that this meeting really showed how the clients can talk, and how we kinda talked-- how we brought personal elements to the surface, which was very valuable. The good thing, the good news is that Kathryn and Corey did book our services for the wedding, so we will be shooting their wedding this August at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, and I'm so excited. And now that you guys know the backstory, in the future, when I shoot their engagement session, I will be shooting their engagement session in the next like, month. And when you guys see them online, you guys will now know the backstory, and then you guys will be able to see as I ask them "how did you guys meet?" Oh, they met by way of a friend, but they were both in different relationships. I won't include that in the blog post. I'll say they met and then came back a while later, right? 'Cause you have to curate the story. They came back: after one date, the first date that they went on, too, their waiter came up to them and said "oh, are you guys together?" And they said "oh, this is our first date." He's like "you're gonna get married." So that, obviously, when they told me that part of the story, that's going in the blog post, right? These are the things that we're thinking about. These are the things that we want. You're gonna see how all of that comes to fruition. So let's move into your homework. I want you to make a list of your weaknesses in regards to your meetings. If you were to assess yourself, if you had meetings at Starbucks, and you were the person sitting next to yourself listening to your meeting, what could you do to get better? Then I want you to make a list of your strengths. Are you really good at making small talk? Great. Are you really good at elevating other people in a social arena, or in a social way? Great. Play to your strengths, and then strengthen your weaknesses. What I want you to do is to create a list of questions that you can ask prospective clients to get to know them better, 'cause sometimes, what I discovered was going to a meeting and not having a cachet of questions, I was like sometimes "Oh. Yeah. So." What you want to do is, the key is to get them talking more so you can listen how, listen to how you can cater to their needs. That is a sneak peek: the good news, they booked. I'll be really proud to share that, and on that note, we can go into questions and answers if you guys have any in relation-- Wow, this is great! (audience laughing) Let's start, let's start here. I'd love you, I'd love for you to get a mic, and then we're gonna give another mic to you right behind. That'd be great, thank you.
So, let's see. I am, I shoot by myself. Sometimes I have a second shooter. My husband is not available to shoot with me. Is there any way you could speak to that, or help me to see how it's an advantage?
Well, just... The nerd technical side of me is, J.D. is an amazing safety net to have. Should anything happen to my camera at the moment, even if I'm carrying a spare, that swap could take eight to 10 seconds. That swap could have to happen during the first kiss, during the first dance, as the dad walks her down the aisle, as the husband walks her down the aisle, moments that I might've missed with her and her mom. All of that stuff is in the back of my mind, knowing that if I have a second shooter who has my back and is shooting the same moment from a different angle, I feel okay knowing that if I messed up, somebody's there with me. On an ancillary note, you've been at weddings, and I'm just gonna be real: it's lonely. It's eight to 10 hours, and sometimes people make you feel like hired help. You're wearing flats, you feel frumpy, and you've got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, right? It is better to do all of that with somebody next to you who can be there with you identifying with it. You don't have to have a spouse, but if there's any possibility of you creating a network so that you can have the same consistent second shooter, or maybe a network of second shooters, so that when you talk to your clients, be like "I work with the same two girls at every wedding. "One of the two will be here, "we've established a relationship, "we trust each other, they know how I work." So it's the same spiel, you know. Having a consistent partner is the main thing. Whether or not that partner's your spouse or not, doesn't matter: but consistency is a selling point. Cool. Did I answer your question all the way?
Uh, I guess. I'm more comfortable shooting alone. I've done both: I have a lot of second shooters, friends who I can use if necessary, but I've found that I'm more confident and more relaxed by myself. So I see all the advantages, but I'm comfortable with the decision to sometimes shoot alone, although I know there have been occasions where the client has chosen someone else because they were a husband-and-wife team.
I agree, I totally agree. So I don't know if it's a husband-and-wife thing necessarily that's the competitive advantage, but I do think a second shooter: competitive advantage. A consistent second shooter: a greater competitive advantage. And I'm going to step out on a limb, and I might rub you the wrong way, but you're coming here to get straight-up honesty. If you've had not-so-great, if you prefer working on your own, and you think it's a greater experience, I'm gonna venture to say it's because you haven't met the right second shooter. The minute you come across a good second shooter, you see your portfolio strengthen, you see the joy that they bring. If they offer you a cup of water on a hot day, if they're escorting grandma to make sure that she's there on the, in for family photos on the same way, she's a team player, you will never wanna shoot on your own after that. You just need to find the team player. Work hard at that: it'll be a competitive advantage, it will. Awesome, we're gonna go back.
So how do you remember everything when you meet with clients? I know when I meet with them, I ask them questions, and then like, I leave the appointment, and it's all I can do to remember their first name. (laughs) How do you keep track of everything, and do you have like, a system for that, or what do you do so that, when it comes time to blog, that you can write the whole story?
Great, now I saw the beginning, middle, and end. So I ask them the questions about how they met. But chances are, they may or may not book me. I might ask people questions, and they'll give me details, and then we don't end up booking, and so then I learn their story. But I will say that when you listen to something once, when you hear it again the second time, there's a higher likelihood of your remembering more of those details. So when we are walking through the engagement session, right? So if they book me, we talk about how they met, and we meet four months later. Chances are, I'm not really gonna remember all the details, right? So I'm just like "hey guys, can you remind me how you met?" And they said "oh, we met at college." And then I might remember "okay, college." And I was just like "remind me, so tell me, "who was interested in who again?" And we kinda go into it, and then you would be surprised how small, little triggers, be like "actually, he drove me home. "I was really kinda drunk after like, beer pong." And then I'll be like "yeah, like, "you guys stopped for tacos." And all of a sudden, this thing kind of happens, right? Between the two of you, between the three of you. And then when you go home, like, sometimes that night, I'll get back in the car and I'll send myself an e-mail. Like, "Emerson College, frat party, rings, "tacos," you know, "sunny day." And I just send that to myself. And that's gonna be the thing that I need to know. And on a wedding day, if I don't get a list of vendors, or the dress she wore, the shoes she wore. I do not wanna be on my phone ever in front of my clients on a wedding day. So if I am shooting her dress, and I don't know the designer, I'll look at the tag and then I might step outside and write, like, Badgley Mischka shoes, this wedding dress designer, this veil designer, and then I just e-mail myself, and then I'm good. So then I can put that in the blog post later. Great, so we have like, time for one or two more questions. We're gonna go to Tara, and then we will pass the mic back that way.
Jasmine, I'm wondering at what point are you talking to your clients, or potential clients, about your wedding packages? And, I mean, that couple definitely was interested in having you, but if you're not quite certain, you know, like, when they leave, do you know that they're going to book, or are they going home to decide--
Great question, and totally awkward. Like, I was trying to avoid that whole thing. Thanks for calling me out on that. Okay, so by the time the client wants to meet with me, they have everything at their fingertips. I have sent them my collection menu and I've sent them the contract. I do not wanna meet with a client and the first time they realize, "you charge how much?" It'll be a waste of their time, it'll be a waste of my time. Also, I send them the contract, because I don't want them at a later point in time to be like "oh well, we really don't want "our photos shared online." Like, I want you to know what my expectations are, I want you to know my prices before we actually, actually get to meeting. So when I know that they have their collection menu, which in this particular case, I knew they had the collection menu, and I was pre-qualified in that they could afford me, because they were meeting with me. That's the assumption, and that's generally, nine times, 9.5 times out of ten, the case. So if they come to me, I'm guessing that it's more of an opportunity for them to see "do we jive together? "Can you do what I want?" So there's no point in me at that point, because it does not play to my strengths to say "so have you guys talked about "what collections you guys are interested in? "Now, our fuller collection is this. "If you would like an album or "do you wanna do an engagement album this time?" I'm terrible at sales. Terrible. I only know how to sell the way that I like to be sold to, and I have a tendency to attract that same type of client. When I walk into a store, please don't sell to me. I know what I want, and you're gonna be distracting, and you might lose the sale because you're just talking too much. J.D., on the other hand, we go to a restaurant, and the server says "let me tell you about the specials." And J.D.'s like "yes, yes." If he orders a baked potato, "would you like bacon, chives, sour cream, butter?" Whatever else, like, crumbled bleu cheese, bacon fat, all of it: "yes, yes, that, that's what I want." He loves the art of being sold to. If I was attracting that type of client, if I felt like it was a strength, that'd be great. But it is not a strength, so I do not talk about it. I say "thank you guys so much: please let me know "how you guys are faring in decisions. "If I receive another client inquiry, "I will follow up with you, and now you have "the first right of refusal. "I hope we have the opportunity: let me know, e-mail me. "I will get back to you within 24 hours." I leave it at that. Now, there's a lot of photographers who love, and are good at the hard sell. "If you sign now, you get a 10 percent bonus." But I have never been the girl who's like, attracted to the "but wait, there's more," ever. So if I'm not attracted to it, I'm gonna guess that it will be, it will seem inauthentic, insincere, and make me look like a fraud. I would rather just say "you make your decision." I do not want, like, used-car like remorse. Like when you walk out with a car, and you're like "ugh." No. I don't want that: I'm already off to a bad, off to a bad start. Cool? We'll end with here, this question.
Thank you. So, I'm part of a husband-and-wife team as well, and so, do you bring J.D. with you to your client consultations, and like, does he interact?
He's probably off camera, being like... "Please don't give her any ideas." (laughs) No. I cut you off again. I just love cutting you off, it's ridiculous.
[Green-Tipped Hair] I like it--
Is that the, was that the full question? I wanna make sure that you ask the question in its entirety.
Do you bring him, and if you did, how would you incorporate a second person to like, get to know the bride and groom?
Very cool. If like, yes?
And when I have a second person with me, he often takes notes, like on, like, a notepad. I never take notes if it's just me, but is taking notes something you ever do in front of the bride, or if you had a second person, would you do that? You have a question, sorry.
Okay, okay: so no, J.D. does not come to meetings with me, and this is why we have made that decision. My brand is Jasmine Star: the brand is not Jasmine and J.D.. If the brand was Jasmine and J.D., I would want J.D. to come. I think in very strategic business ways. If I have J.D. at the meeting with me, when he says yes to a meeting, he says no to something else. If we can be at two different places, finding ways to generate income, that's what I would prefer. Or, completely transparent, if I go to a client meeting and he's there with me, the odds are that we're gonna go out to eat after. Or, just maybe, if I'm like "do you feel like "cooking dinner tonight? "'Cause I'll be at the meeting. "I could just come by, we'd have dinner together." If I'm at the meeting, and he's at home, finding ways to create more business or curate or take care of the business, and maybe make dinner in the process, it's a win for us from a business and personal perspective. If it was a husband-and-wife team, that might be different. No, I do not take notes. Personal preference: I don't have it, too. But there's nothing really that I would take notes about. Like, I ask them in advance: "where is your wedding, where is your reception, "how many guests will there be, "is there a wedding coordinator?" I have all these questions answered, so I would be just kind of trying to look official. "I'm just paying very close attention." So for me, it doesn't really work. On that note, thank you guys for the amazing questions. I appreciate you guys very much. (audience applauding)