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Lesson 3 from: The Creative Newborn Photography Studio

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

3. Pre-Consultations

Lesson Info


I want to touch on the pre consultation because it's really key to getting the art it also helps put some parameters on your creativity to make things not quite so overwhelming when you go into the shoot the worst thing is to not have any idea what the client wants you don't have any idea what their personal stylist I mean look at all of you today you're all dressed differently you all have a personal aesthetic that you love so do I I'm gonna photograph each and every one of your sessions totally differently will it stay within my my my personal artist vision style yes it will but the colors will change the textures will change if you have a clean lines modern home with furniture like this everywhere I'm going to photograph that session way differently than if you bought everything in anthropology or love into dante kes or have a louis the fourteenth home I mean that's the world different old guild you know I'm saying so that you need to know these things about your client so that they...

set some parameters on your cravat creativity because sometimes having too many options is incredibly overwhelming okay so let's try to narrow it down why are they so important how did they help you in the session what questions are we going to ask what are your goals in the pre console the pros and cons of doing one in person versus doing one on the phone okay that's kind of what we're going to talk about her in the next few minutes do you really need to do one just okay and I know it's it's some people are very shy about this and they on off I want to talk about this stuff but there's ah huge reason why you do a pre consultation and that one of the biggest reason is it endears the client to you it develops this relationship and this courtship that's going to last the entire life of them being a client at your studio and this is what setting the ground rules for that and setting that foundation it is like the first date okay you've got to make a good impression and you gotta let this family know that they mean the world to you and you want to do everything in your power to create amazing art for them just by saying that you guys here like a back sounds fun doesn't it you kind of made your mind like oh that would be need to have somebody do that for me to create what I love okay but what with an artist whom you respect and admire I mean think about the great artists out there that I mean if I could stand kordech is one of my favorite painters on dh she's um you know a contemporary artist she does a studying portrait's of children they're so ethereal and moody and delicious I try to emulate her work a lot in my own and if I had the chance to have her paint my son I seriously I don't yeah I can't talk okay I love her that much and if she's talked to me about it and said to me okay I want to know more about you who you are what's your son like nova that would make me in dear to the process even more went it I mean oh my god I am emotionally invested in this and being emotionally invested is what you want your client to be emotionally invested in the process of making portrait's and to do that you need to do a pre consultation the pre consultation implies that they are commissioning you what is commission mean you don't know what just come on raise your hand you can do it shy audience we gotta get you rolling here yeah hire somebody to do something costume for you right to do something that's uniquely for you I commission you to be make a piece of clothing for me I'm going to commission you to build a home for me it's my specifications it's of me it's for me no one else is gonna have it right it's a unique one of a kind the client is commissioning you to create art you know what this does does this mean it means they're kind of spend money okay it means they're going to spend money so if they're commissioning you to create art and you want to go through this process there's commitment occurring there too isn't there okay so it establishes the relationship it sets the ground rules and it guides the client in the direction that the sale will go okay they come in and they say I mean I've I do a lot of these composite works mostly for personal work I haven't had too many commissions for this stuff yet because it starts at five grand for a small piece I mean thirst forty hours a photo shop working that okay it's it's a lot of work and I'm also not brilliantly quick at it yet so it takes a long time to do but it sits in my studio and people constantly asked me about it and they want to know how much it isthe oh it starts at five thousand for a single commission and it depends on the number of hours that go into the peace et cetera et cetera okay I have had paintings commissioned okay and it's really cool because the client understands they're committing to a piece of art it's just like if I went to stanford kordic and wanted her to do my son I would have to say I'm commissioning you to create this for me I want you to put the time and I'm gonna pay you for it okay rather than the mindset right now of mostly board photographers is oh they call oh I need my baby shot it's that time their newborn I don't wanna miss it okay great what time can come in quick oh don't you love the images were by him I mean that's just setting yourself up for failure right there there has to be this pre conversation in order to get to the sale at the very end okay so pre consultations get those creative killers out of the way obviously things like clothing now a new word photography for me it's not such a big deal all I really have to worry about is the siblings and the dad because I usually wrapped the mom and fabric and you'll see all that happen tomorrow we're going to parent a parent and baby poses so really I'm more worried if we're doing an on location session than you have different or if I'm doing a commission now this woman here was simply wrapped in a piece of brown like acid tate chiffon type stuff and there was clamped back on her back with a home depot clamp I mean that's all I wass is a two dollar client from home depot so and she was shot in studio and obviously I put her on a different a different environment thiss little girl here just wore the dress that herman for after the session was shot I think two weeks ago and the little girl has her new there's three daughters three siblings and they finally had their baby boy and that's going a little baby boy and his sister and she was just brought in her little brown dress that mom had brought for the session I mean that was that was it okay so getting creative killers out of the way is highly important I mean for me I'm a neutral girl I love neutral colors I'm out neutral with that kind of soft color tone in it like emily shirt I'm just jonesing over right now because it's that soft pink beautiful and like stevens grey is very it gives me good feelings look gray neutrals are my love so any I tend to stick towards neutral so I don't want parents to come in with hot pink on I don't want parents to come in laced in makeup the worst thing is when unless you're doing a concept shoot of course but for a natural newborn street when mom comes in is done up to the nines with red lipstick and her little baby's naked and natural it just looks really weird okay just doesn't quite look right so we got to get all that stuff out of the way alan did you have a question just with the pre consult for your fine art images which would you say asked them what kind of background they want and everything like it's just going to chill do they give you created rain good question no I'm not good enough yet to do that I would ask them like one of my clients wants me to go to the netherlands and they're moving to the netherlands and they want me to go to the netherlands and photograph their families more of family I did their newborn and now he's ten months old and they want to do a family session and composite them into the netherlands castles and do kind of a fairy tale theme but but that's all we said and I would run with that that leaves the world open for me to have some flexibility in my technical ability you know my technical ability is good but it's not like richard started man I mean richards a friend and I've learned most of what I've learned from him and he's amazing and he could do anything that you asked him to dio I can't I'm not at that level yet so I would ask that the that the client give me a little bit give me a concept or idea and then let me have a little free rein and if they didn't like it I mean what do you say I mean I honestly I don't I haven't come across that yet so but if that did happen I might ask what they don't like about it then go back and try to make some changes and things like that and that has happened with paintings like the client's coming ono the hair's too much can you tone that down love it of course it's easier to do with paintings than it is with but as long as you keep your layers and you're doing things not destructively which I then do what I say not what I do right anyway no and I'm going to teach you my process but I guess my whole point is with all this is that you don't have to be that technically proficient to do it I richard beat the snot out of me one day verbally when he said julia just sit down and do it for pete's sake for two I have wanted to create composites for two years I took three of richard's classes before I finally entered print comp with the composite in the master artist category I was so scared to do a composite thinking that my technical school skills sucked who was on my shoulder george yeah that I was paralyzed and he said to me juliet you know this s h I t it was just sit down and do it get off yourself and do it and it took competition looming two weeks out for me to finally sit down and do one um and that's the result okay so mike is it a mess yes do you if you look to the layers you think I was crazy I mean it's just all over the place and there's things everywhere and I mean in fact I was going to show it to you guys so probably clean up before I show it but do you see my point I mean you don't have to be technically that proficient to start creating and to create good beautiful art I'm not that good at follow shop I'm very just shove it together how it needs to go together and make it work you know I'm not like kelby you know scott kelby or matt you know they do everything perfectly there's no way my process is a little messy but I want you to be comfortable with the fact that your process can be messy it's okay just create just do it like richard would tell you okay so the pre consultation really does help the courtship to create the marriage topics product style decor personality pricing and expectations those air the topics that you should cover in the pre consultation ok I also asked my clients like if siblings air coming in who are joining the newborn I'll ask them about you know what the with the sibling loves my kid right now is into cars and cumba and superman and you know so I want to know those things that can connect with that little boy or little girl does she love frozen I mean like frozen is the big movie out right now let it go let it mean that song just goes in my head like crazy but I know it because the kids know it and when I start belting out let it go in the middle of a session all of a sudden that little girl's love presents of an ice castle you know and lights her up okay so those kinds of things when you can connect with children it's helpful information toe have so you need to talk to your parents about that and simply images or some of the hardest to dio as you all know it can be quite challenging so when you ask about product in the pre consultation asked what their goals are it's when the first questions the client calls me on the phone and they want image is one of the first thing I asked him well where your goals for your session I mean tiffany and sarah have heard me ask that question so many times they're probably like a broken record look him over there they don't even know that I'm saying it they're like who she said that question again what do your goals for your session lose one cute picture dummy I'll say that what would you like to do with that image of johnny we'll go just sit on the family and friends where would you like to display an image when you're hiring a professional photographer and investing time and energy and finances into that I'd really like to know what your final goals are so that we really take this memory seriously oh I never thought about it I encourage you to think about it I want you to ask yourself this five ten fifteen years from now how do you want to see these images do you want to walk by them every day in your home do you want to be able to sit down on the couch with your little boy and sort through the images in an album do you want to give him that album when he's forty to give to his daughter how do you want to see these in your lifetime when you put it in that perspective all of a sudden the client goes rhythm I like this I guess I am spending a lot of money to do this I am hiring professional do this we should probably do it right okay so what are we shooting for when the client can communicate that to you and you can give them ideas now all of a sudden you're being commissioned for a product whether it be a simple album a simple linen finished print on the wall or a custom photoshopped painting however okay so once that verbal connection is made now all of a sudden there's a little of the commitment right to the product I always ask where they envision this piece especially if it's going to be displayed in the home because I want to shoot to that space if it's ah dark brown walls with deep rich cherry toned furniture accents of white and texture everywhere I'm going to shoot that session way differently than if she loves the red and gold and there's gold wallpaper on the walls okay I want to know the room the space I want to know it's lighting sources I want to know where this portrait's gonna hang I always have them take a picture for me and send it to me and oftentimes it's at the session there pulling out there I think we look at the nursery isn't cute awesome I can see the beddings that I know what the colors are I can start pulling in things from the session that I know we're going to look good in that space okay it's so important other thing it does is it gives you creative parameters color is a wonderful creative parameter if you say oh show me the nursery and there's you know purple orange and green and there you could be like yes those are my colors and all of a sudden that takes your session in a direction and you don't have to be like where do I start you don't have to look at the rainbow of scarves on your wall and go it gives you a place to go which is very comforting especially in the heat of a session when you're just starting out with newborns you want to do a good job and you're a little creatively blocked it'll send you the direction immediately okay what are your expectations were visions for the session this is a very important question and I really leave it open ended like that on purpose because I want the client to think about what they do expect out of okay think about that what is your vision for this class eboni what do you expect out of it oh uh so many things I know where to start yeah I know but you see what I'm saying it opens up your heart to think about what you want to get out of something and that's doing the same thing for the client when you ask them about their session to me kelly what do you want to get out of this class what's your vision your expectation for it but you have she was sure that you want to learn more about the fine art so you have a vision for what you hoped to achieve by spending all this money coming from or where you come from again louisiana toller your client consider the client has the same expectation for the session so you need to let them communicate that too if I didn't I mean you kind of all said in your e mails to me and in the communication I've been having with you on our facebook group and stuff like that what you hope to get out of it at least little tidbits here in there I need to know that so I can teach those things to you right so that I could make sure you leave with that goal achieved after spending all the money to come does that make sense your clients are exactly the same way you have got to ask them what their visions are in expectations are for the session that way they feel like their money in their efforts to teo commission you are valid we have questions let's faraway krista I have a good one from the internet please if you're open to it totally sun stream photography is asking how do you turn down a client who may not share your same vision or want something way outside of what you're offering or should you it's a good course sorry I'm interrupting it's a good question it's and it's there comes a point in your career where you go maybe you should see someone else I mean if someone comes to me like one thing I have a really hard time with is doing things that are not safe um I have a guy who wanted me to photograph a baby on harley davidson and that's just not something I'm willing to do okay it's it's not something that to me feels safe it's not my style okay it's not who I am as an artist there's a lot of things going on there and I turn him now I said no I'm sorry that's just not something that is you know part of what we do here maybe you should you know go somewhere else or look somewhere else and sometimes clients will bring in props like motorcycle helmet or something like that our baby's not gonna fit in there you know I'm sure you've been through that or they'll bring like some head band with a big old white flour on it and it's bigger than the baby's head you're just sitting here going did grandma make ah here sometimes you just have to say no and if there's a way to say no and if it's something like that work that's the full commission where somebody is saying you know oh I want this but I want you to put me in this environment say it was something totally against my moral standard I would just like I'm sorry that's not something that we really do here alright even admit that it's not in our expertise so you know that's not something that is in our expertise I would highly recommend going to so and so who khun khun you do a better job of you down down the street but you know and clients will for on the smaller scale implants bring in the white headband thing or whatever I shoot it just to say I did especially if it's sentimental if it's not sentimental we won't show it shoot it but if grandma did make it I'll shoot it and then I'll shoot my way and they always buy way because they quickly realised they don't see the vision they don't see it the visual literacy I was talking about you guys have that they don't but they do say it when they see the images they see the two dimensional surface and all the southern like oh yeah I guess that is bigger than the baby's head okay so sometimes you show them yeah ollie do you pre consultation and you say you know what would you like some of this and they say one anybody turn into five by sevens before they've even seen before you've even shot them they just say that's all I want I will say to them well we are custom fine art studio we specialize in fine art commissions we don't really offer gift prints we do offer digital thousand you're welcome to purchase digital files on ly ala carte here's our price list if that's the direction you'd like to go we certainly can help you but if you're only looking for gift prince then we're probably not the studio for you mary literally turned down but nowadays it's not eight by ten people want right they want the files so I am giving them the by ten I'm giving them the files not giving but you know selling them the files so the pricing is so that it's it's so I'm such a strategic pricer this is like I'm absolutely actually obsessed with pricing and the psychology of pricing and I love trying to get people to buy where I wanted to buy um and so allah card it looks cheap but then you realize what you can get if you just spend a couple hundred dollars more and people I have never actually had a client violet one and latest was murdered at his paternity sessions she bought a car but they never buy ala carte anymore because it's not a good deal it's not the best value in the in the studio so I make it an option but it's not a good deal so that's another strategy to do it as well okay so in the pre consultation obviously you take your clients through products etcetera etcetera I have gotten to the point now where we do a lot of free consultations just on the phone and there are advantages to doing them on the phone or in person if someone's commissioning me for a fine art piece you betcha it's in person but if they're just coming in for a newborn session then we will often times just do it on the phone a cz well as with a form they fell out online and then we kind of do a mini consultation when they come in while she's breastfeeding the baby before we go into the studio for the for the actual session so they are seeing it touching it feeling it hearing it I'll talk about that in the second but it's not necessarily all pre done so that you know you don't have to do it in person up front you know that takes a lot of time a lot of people think oh no I can't do that my sister doesn't do pre concerts at all in person she doesn't mom on the phone or with forms et cetera et cetera and it works out just fine so there are ways to do it without having have your client come in multiple times or drive from faraway etcetera etcetera okay so discuss clothing where will the session take place you know for those of you who are on location photographers who do newborns in the home you're definitely gonna want to talk about clothing and style and dick or a lot more if I was going to someone's home you bet your booties I want to know what the house looks like before I go into it I wanna know where were you know take pictures of every room to bedroom I want to see that light I want to see what the dead core looks like because how they're going to dress is going to be according to that deck or because that's my background and I gotta make it work right I mean if they're in a contemporary background and wearing something off the wall it's not gonna work right so it's a bit that's those are even more important for the newborn photographer who was on location is their style casual is their style formal is it a collected is that funky you know find out more more about them as faras personal style I was asked questions like what if you could if you won the lottery one hundred million bucks where would you go shopping where would you go shopping about your expensive but it's not have expensive things that's about you you what you love about your style like what stores do you love I don't shop I have four kids I shall for that tj maxx teo today max all the time all the time on joan where would you go for close what do you like a variety of different things I like and taylor I'm kind of more that clean line but isn't it funny how she says on taylor and immediately you haven't understanding of what her personal stylist that's branding baby think about what ann taylor has done to make you think of who they are and she all she has to say I love ann taylor and that tells me something about her okay so right away you have an immediate impression of what her personal stylist what about furniture heidi probably pottery barn so awesome yes what else my favorite is restoration hardware oh I love that place okay but I tell you I love restoration hardware and all of a sudden you have a vision of more about who I am and what I love right same thing in your client's ok what color schemes you drawn to cool warm neutral monochrome asked these questions of your clients okay so advise your clients for clothing on what works with the location if you're doing in studio you have some flexibility look at their hair color you know brunettes look better and things than lawns dio skin tone if they have real redskin they're going to be a little different than olive you toned or you know ebony is going to look much better in different colors and bright jewel tones then m j will okay it's all different skin tone these are colors were working with this is given we can't change them so we gotta make the color harmony work together we're going to talk about design this afternoon and how that relates so but those questions you need to know so that you can properly make those decisions when it comes to designing the session home dick or what is the style of their home elegant contemporary rustic ask all these questions if you could shop for furniture anywhere where would you go what other colors in your home just because you wear pink doesn't mean you love pink in your house you got to ask those questions as well steve what's your favorite color poor steve I'm kind of put him on this final word earth tones they left their phones textures and that's not a color but yeah I'm drunk it tells me a lot about you just by hearing that if you had told me black and white that would have given me a little bit of a different spin right so you see all these questions help you as a photographer was it due for the client yeah I'm asking us all these questions about you I want to get to know you a little bit more I'm dating you right according to you who are you what do you love what do you do you're endearing myself to you and trying to find out people love to talk about themselves okay just know that from the fat from the start even though we all have our insecurities if I start asking about what you do what you love about your kids about your family how you fell in love you get married you're going to look site about the stuff that I want to know it correct I'm endearing myself to you what did you mean forgive me for a second steven I'm going to exclude you for a second anybody what tracy's here so that actually might work tracy what did he do to court you sorry it's too personal let me know I'm just thinking although bay back although she's sinking all the way back um he made a wonderful dinner for me right off the bat which I thought was really cool um and what did he ask you god have you guys been married uh twenty years twenty years and I got like two years they have a we have interests in common his family loved to go to the lake every year and they were very close family even though they were huge they were close yeah so um but they wanted to get to know you know they yeah they were and he wanted to know everything about you and everything about you was amazing wasn't it sure it still is but I've walked right into that one everything about her still amazing advice first so you guys still are enthralled with each other because you're getting to know ourselves on a deeper layer it's the same thing with your clients thank you so much um it's the same thing with your clients just on a professional level you want to date them and you know as women and I know the majority of my audience here is women we are used to the man asking I know unconventional rules I'm totally generally thing here but conventional rules we are used to the mankind of asking us about according us getting us to want to date them well we have to spin that and we're good communicators all of us okay we have to spin that and turn that to the client to the woman and be her friend okay and same thing with all the male for tigers out there as well you need to be this woman's friend okay and and make friends with her I want to know what lighting sources are in the room when we're talking about decor on dh what room of course that they want to place the portrait in personality these air important topics for the pre concert like I was saying earlier with the siblings especially I want to know what they love right now is a lightning queen you know is a disney is a dreamworks right now my son is into the crude's you know if you have no the crude's we'll talk about that more than a little bit but he drug has a very significant place in my my creative topic so who are we photographing is it lifestyle are posed on location or studio what unique characteristics do you guys have to have a little family handshake that you'll have to do that kind of thing especially family sessions and stuff like that with newborn it's more of a posed type of environment but are there any special needs or personality traits that I should know about you know some kids do the classic for the camera totally fake smile you've got to know that so you can avoid it because mom won't like that okay uh describe your vision for the session and what you most want to capture I asked my clients to to do that for me in the online questionnaire that I have um then I asked him if there's any images on our website or on facebook that they love are there any other third drawn to that we already have done

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Day 1 Segment 1 - Keynote
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Ratings and Reviews

Norma Martiri

Julia is amazing and has delivered a brilliant class here. Her wealth of knowledge and positive energy is inspiring to say the least. Julia is a brilliant teacher and I've learned so much. I am so grateful to Julia and to Creative Live for recording this and for the fact the I can rewatch over and over from the other side of the world. Thank you!!!!!!


Amazing course! I love it! I will for sure be re-watching it very soon. Julia is brilliant, honest, unselfish and just a great inspiration. This course definitely has given me the boost I needed to be true to my style. Thank you!


I've had the privilege of attending a few of Julia Kelleher's workshops and I love them. She's a great instructor with a cheerful disposition and a great sense of humor. Julia's photographic genius is like no other. This truly talented woman creates masterpieces out of her photos. It is really amazing to watch. I'm beginning to collect her workshops b/c for me attending her workshops is not enough. I have to own them so I may go over them again and again.

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