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Getting the Proper Clients

Lesson 4 from: Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality

Tyler Wirken

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Lesson Info

4. Getting the Proper Clients

Lesson Info

Getting the Proper Clients

Now I think it's some everybody's everybody's kind of wondering like who you people are that I'm talking teoh right so I think I think we're gonna go through and kind of meet our studio audience I've always wanted to say that you know anyway so um make you first or last we'll go last right way we're gonna start over here and tell me tell us who you are where you're from what you're about yes uh my name's aaron choy I live here in seattle currently from san francisco originally I came here for medical school so I just graduated from basket your university here in seattle it's a naturopathic medical program but photography has always been part of my life and I didn't know until you said it I didn't realise I've always been shooting for me and whenever I see a shot like by accident sometimes it's like wow that's a moment reminds me of a story for my own life for about my family or friends so I just love capturing those kind of moments and I think there's a lot of connection between being ...

a doctor and photography at least for me it's it's about understanding the person not necessarily what's wrong with them but like what's their story and I just love like learning about people in their stories so hopefully today you know I shot my first wedding yesterday for friend yeah it was nerve racking but also really exciting. Um and you know, I saw where there was so much room for improvement in myself and you know, I like the way you shoot and I really would like to beam or intentional how are shoot and there's so many photos where it's just I look at it and I feel like kind of disgusted in my stomach and I'd like to be more consistent so I'm happy to be here happens to the best of this and and hopefully that feeling doesn't ever go away now that you do not want to hear that I know you don't want to hear that because you're like my first wedding it's of course I'm going to be disgusted right but no I mean like I I shot over three hundred plus weddings and I still have that feeling you know and and I kind of know it sucks but I'm kind of glad I do because then I know that at least I still care enough you know and I'm going to push myself to improve you know? So yeah that's great goal courage thanks yeah I'm glad you're here it's awesome thanks good. All right, I'm cheryl phinney uh I sorry um I'm just starting out as well and the wedding industry so I just wantedto come here and learn more especially about your style I'm really drawn to documentary photography yeah from louisiana way is I'm from louisiana my go you're here for locally like seattle but but yeah okay and then um and and you were just here visiting family right? And it kind of worked out that this yeah family works in tacoma so how many how many? How long have you been shooting? Um not very long mostly I shoot for myself. Yeah, but you have you have weddings for sure. So why did encourage you when he said when I said that I don't like what yeah, but they are great for certain things they just you know aren't good for everything ok? So yes thank you so much. Hi um how every ready my name's terry so brian win and I'm from san francisco and the bay area and I am a family and wedding photographer I start off with the family and have expanded into weddings and I'm loving it now I'm continuously growing and I think a lot about what you aren't already spoken about, tyler the first segment has really resonated you know about just trying to find your path and you know, it's constantly evolving and one thing especially like family photography I always tell the moms I'm like this is not for you you know this is a gift for your kids, you know, I remember that years ahead of me through that means like god, I always think about what's the purpose you know why why am I doing this? You know so yeah and you're so you sent sam cisco, right? Right? And, uh and so you're also shooting with ana. Is that right? Hooper burger? You shit! Madonna? Yeah, yeah, awesome loving it. I'm under her photo salon for a yearlong critique and just loving it. She's awesome she's diana hi back. Yeah he's a he's a he's a foundation person as well. And I've gotten to know her really well over the years and learned a ton from her one of the biggest things everyone from her when she's like I always think to myself what's the worst thing that's gonna happen am I going to die from this? And the answer is no then I'll do it alright that's also, you know so great. Thanks for being here. Thank you. Hi, my name is do us on wass thank you and I'm from seattle and I'm very new to wedding industry to like it just being like couple of months that I just launched my business not me and my wife were team business and but before that I said a lot of freelance so I did freelance for like near about four, five years shooting the events and restaurants and stuff like that, but I really want to get into a wedding business on dh yeah I'm very excited to learn about document to start and that's what I really love like capturing the moments then all those opposing pictures you know so here's hoping I can't wait newbies we got here the new reasons not a bad word I'm just simply saying it's like you know it's it's really exciting for me though because I know it sze fun to know that you know there's all the people who are always new to this and I'm hoping I'm hoping to kind of like slowly start to kind of change some perception of the wedding industry and and kind of change how this stuff is done for for people's was kind of fun so we'll see cool thanks man all right hey I'm david connor I'm from missoula montana I'm photographing weddings I'm originally from anacortes washington which is north of here on our behalf but I'm transition to montana so booking weddings in both places this's my first full year in business I did five weddings last year just report folio and then fourteen this year I have a few more to go the world booked so that's good cause making money off of them strictly wedding photography not doing anything else I want to make sure that I'm really good at that before I expand into anything else I lived in japan for five years and I studied a lot I watched tana creative live horses from there knowing all along that I want to do wedding photography when it came back so I felt like I had a pretty good at least in my head everything was gonna work perfectly and everything is on track right business plan was perfect and so far it's going really well so you sounds like it yeah produce good work and people come and just they have a good business sense and that also helps so and I've been shifting more towards documentary this year I did a mentor ship with kristen alicia stewart from abby photography in canada a few weeks ago and that it was really helpful and especially for my last wedding which hopefully we get critiqued later on so yeah yeah we'll see right it is in the pudding you mean awesome guys I I truly appreciate you taking the time to be here and it's uh it's funny you know so far good group you know alright awesome so okay, so we are going to the gym we're gonna move on to segment dose right? And basically so we're going to start talking about like this is a little bit of a um how I do what I do but it still goes into kind of the y you know it has two we have tio it starts, it starts to get in the right people that are on board with this stuff right? And so I'm hoping you guys if I stand out it kind of blocks you little it doesn't okay I'm sitting here because of that but I kind of like sitting but I'll move a little bit but anyway so so I think I think I think you know getting the proper clients is just like what we said he's like you know you show what you want you shoot would you want to show what you want you get the right clients right and the idea is that you know you just you just want them to love you right like these girls love the band not me they loved the band anyway so but you know it's so so so you know how do I get how do I do this how does it work I am going to tell you right now that I am not a marketing guru you said business sense I have some but not enough at times you know? So I'm all I've done is I've taken that lesson and I've tried teo just catapulted into uh the extreme of showing and shooting what I want and it's working my clients are amazing they totally get it they're totally onboard and it makes all the difference in the world because if you don't if you guys are on the same page client and photographer totally fighting a battle that is never going to be one by anybody you know and you're gonna have to probably, um bow down on the on the battle because it is at their all their money you know and then you're not gonna be happy so this is pretty awesome I got this this was a ah a comment left on our block a long time ago and I loved it and it really summed everything up and it says you know, I love how your style is consistent but never predictable and always fulfilled and I'm like it's perfect totally sums it up and I wish I could remember who said that cause I would buy him a cookie or something but um that's it right like I look at my work and my weddings and I'm like I'm like yeah well that looks kind of like the last wedding you know, which I guess is good, right? I mean I've always said that I don't go toe um mcdonald's and want them tio artistically interpret my cheeseburger right? I want I want the consistency that they that they you know that I know they have and that my people want the consistency that they know they hired me for but the best part is it's never predictable and it's always fulfilling and it's like that's totally what I'm looking for andi I was so happy to get that because like okay, you know what? Something something might be working here this actually might be on the right track, so um creative live has done lots for me over the last few months also forced me to get off my butt and change a lot of stuff and so you know, nothing like it's almost like having a you have parties at your house so that way it forced you to clean the house you know, it's kind of the same thing right? And so we about three years ago way we decided to kind of like almost like, go off the deep end with our website and like just be like we're going to do a website that like you have to like, really work hard to find the photos on right? You have to read everything and understand our style in our approach and our philosophy and because I was you know, quite frankly I was really sick and tired of spending two and a half hours in console to with people trying to convince them that this style is the way to go, right? And so we changed our website and that really, really helped our our meetings and the and the and the clients were getting like they came in and sat down and he'd be like, oh, yeah, yeah, you totally get right um but the website wasn't really easy to navigate it wasn't you guys probably saw it it wasn't easy to navigate and you couldn't look at on ipads it was a real mess at the time and so I'm like hey creative lives coming up maybe shoot a new website and that was like two months ago right and so on and so on like on top of everything else I'm like it's almost like getting married getting a new house and humans were just like by like two puppies you know it's like just make it all happen at once so you know my team at working you know, we all just band together and pam and david are associate photographer and more importantly brandon and the coal perego there are they run our films division and now web development section and they just went and dove into it and I'm really happy with the new site we kind of it's the same idea and everything but it's it's it's a live it easy to navigate we've gone tio you know, kind of ah finally did an faa section so we can really explain everything that goes into our weddings and what we do you know because quite frankly you know it's I think that there is a market and a wonderful market for this but in all honesty I think the market is really small I think the reach is not we're not casting a big net, you know I only need twenty five people a year, right? So I don't need a big net you know, but I think I think I think nowadays it's like the amount of photographers that are out there in the amount of people that are searching, you know, I think we realize that it might be beneficial for us to put more information on our website than we had before, you know, but it's still the same idea, and so and so here's a couple little things like, you know, your personal photojournalists telling your story on the front page, you know, working for, you know, a collection of the tigris and filmmakers trained in journalism, you know, they experienced, you know, real life unfolding, you know, so basically, just trying to let people I understand exactly what we're about and what we value because it all starts there, obviously, that and referrals, of course, on dh, then I love our new testimonials, um, page, because we got, like, a testimonial videos, some of the videos I've actually made for this class we put up on there, which is really cool every time excited about and also something testimonies are hilarious, like, I love this one, right? So this is carrie, this is so fantastic, best testimony ever heard. As she says, when I struck a fake pose, tyler immediately put his camera down in defiance with a smiley face. It's true in tyler's philosophy toe let the day evolve naturally created zero stress on me and made for some impressive photos but like I love her honesty in that you know and I and I and I think you know it's it's it's just it's it's helping us stand out from a crowd you know I mean like there is a quite frankly you guys I do not envy you at all okay? And I'm just I'm not gonna like my teacher in college is giving me the rial right this is kind of it if I had to start a business right now I would not be in a good place because I do not have that business sense I do not have the twitter facebook shenanigans sense that really I'm actually a really horrible personal promoter but um you know it's just it takes so much there are so many photographers out there and there's so many people doing this and I think I think the only way that you can do that is yet yet yet to rise above it all you know and you got to stand out somehow um and how that is I you know I don't I don't know I don't know what's what's the best way for you right? Some of the people that I truly admire that have done this is jim kirsten for one kirsten lewis who was just on hear couey's ago her website is like furkan amazing like it's so awesome right and that's her mind like her mind is that what I'm not that way you know but she's got like all these photos of her like doing weird stuff that air fun facts about her you know and like I just it's like it's like it's like oh I can't eat any tropical fruit with seeds or something like that and it's like okay anybody but it's hilarious in it works you know my my uh very dear friend his name is sergio he's goes with sergio I know his last name but I don't think anybody else does what he's gotta say sergio but sergio the photographer right and he's a foundation guy and so I learned so much from him and he's you know it's so awesome like on his blogged he says like it has a quote and it says the best wedding photographer in the world and the quote is from sergio's mom right and like and the guy is the funniest man I know I literally fallen off of couches laughing so hard right I would show you now but it would hurt but and he also on his contact form he's he since changed it but you know a while back he had a questions contact form that said do you like the movie napoleon dynamite right and he's like everybody that answer's yes he pretty much books like it's just really amazing for that kind of stuff, you know? And so I just wish I was that creative with marketing like I'm just like horrible like stuff just never occurs to me like that brandon put a new thing on our contact form that says tell us something you love that's cool that's great you know? I mean, I just something and and I've learned so much this whole creative live process of like, you know, doing anything I'm going to get ready for this and my friend rachel look corneas and she she she's hurt her and her husband started shoot you on she's like the smartest there like the smartest people I know and she's like really teaching me how to like, be a better marketer and and you know how to like, make it conversational and not be so professional on websites, stuff like that that's just really cool, you know? So it's just kind of just I'm constantly learning that, but the bottom line is, you know, you got to stand out from the crowd and I think that that starts with becoming a specialist, right? I really really, really believe that and you know, and using that to your advantage another ex foundation guy, a really good friend is greg gibson he's out of d c greg is a pulitzer prize winning photojournalist and the nicest guy you'll ever know it's so funny it's like I remember we were at a workshop one time together attending it and I was like telling some story about on the newspaper how I shot a whole roll of air like no no film in the camera on an assignment you know, he's like, you know, that reminds me of the time I was shooting jackie onassis funeral I don't like dude like you literally can't ever tell stories in front of the guy, right? But but he's he's great and all over his website for his wedding work are pictures of him with like bill clinton and like all this stuff, you know what? It's like it's like I can guarantee you his clients when they at when people are like who's your wedding photographer the first thing out of their mouth is he's a pulitzer prize winning photojournalist and guarantee, you know, I mean it's because it everybody all these bright all they want to do is like having elevator pitch for you that like, you know, an elevator pitch is right you're supposed to tell somebody in an elevator between floors what you do you know, like like that that's all they want to do and they and they and they just want a cup up sellers show up there they're friends you know and be like and be like who you know, they want to be like for me, hopefully it's like it's, like, well, he's a crazy dude that all he does is, like, capture moments or something that, you know, or they do really great black and white, but they shoot with film or whatever, you know, but the problem is, is that everybody is trying to be a specialist or everybody is trying to rise above the rest. You've got a kind of kind of find who you are, you know, I'm a doctor, I believe that, you know, I approached my my photographer in the same way I do my doctors, you know, my practice, my doctor, I don't know wrong words, but I don't know your does that make sense, you know? And so you know it all for me, it does start with the website hundred percent and then it goes to the console, right? So how many you guys have local clients or they all liked you have df studio are in studio meetings or they are they on, like, phone or sky of whatever? Yeah, but you only have one was your friend way. Yeah, but, you know, you know, my market is ninety five percent of my clients live in my city, they're all local, right? And so I pretty much every console that I have and I I will not book somebody without having a phone conversation, a skype conversation or a meeting in the studio because I've learned that it is vital that we are make sure that we are all on the same page, right? And so I have to make that happen so I believe in having meeting's on your turf right? If you're doing meetings in person because, you know, a lot of people go to people's houses or they do it at starbucks or something like that, I think it's a total game changer when you're in charge, right? And when they walk in that front door and there in your place, right? If you go to their house, then they're in charge and it feels very odd to kind of get that meeting going in the right way. So here's, our studio couple couple images of our our our new studio, so people walk in, you know, and we're always like just I mean, like, like, constantly trying to make sure our message matches o r I mean, our image matches our message, right? So like, you know, everywhere they turn, I don't want to make sure that it's not confusing to them on the fact that, um I do like I used to do like everything I used to be the you know the jack of all trades right? Like I could shoot your wedding and that could shoot your kid's newborn pictures that I can shoot your kids, huh? Senior pictures the night you shoot your kid's wedding you know oh, and if you have a dog in there I bet I could figure that out too, right? And I just finally got to the point where I'm like um that's not that's not who I am that's not what I'm going to do a studio portrait all all the time in our studio and quite frankly I got really grumpy about him and and they used to make you no money for us and and they were easy and then they were fun and I love how much the family loved him and everything but I just know the more and more I teach this style and the more and more mentoring and then work stops I do the more and more my resolve just gets stronger and stronger. And so, like when there's like released something silly in front of my camera I'm just like I'm done I'm out I can't do this like I'm just right but when a moment again amazing moment real moment is happy I'm like I'm all I'm all about it so I finally just told pam my wife I'm like I can't do it anymore I can't I can't do the portrait I'm just going to just completely on ly weddings on the website and we usedto have weddings and because I do some documentary family sessions as well which I love doing those and those air on our site now they're not on our side at all and I know what I'm going to do I think I'm just going to maybe trying to inner sight but I'm like I've been talking about this for ten plus years that I'm like you know I really should just have one site for weddings and one side for portrait ce and I finally just did it and we're going to see what happens right but but but everywhere they go into our studio they you know they see it here's a here's a display love this quote by eddie adams um says cameras in the hands of photographers with hearts can capture love, hope passion change lives and make the world a better place and it only takes one five hundredth of a second love that quote right eddie adams we all know who eddie adams is execution in saigon picture from vietnam where therein we reason the streets kirsten talked about it yeah, right you know right the power of what that photo did and in that photo changed the world and how they viewed the war right? It also changed his life actually ruined his life and his opinion for making that picture but but I love that quote, you know and and I don't think he reads it first of all, I made the sticker too small something anybody can see it when they walk in but but you know, I don't know anybody reads it but uh but I think I think I think you know, I always want people to be to be on board with what we do um this is our viewing room um my my fancy chandelier that my dad and I built it's pretty cool, innit? Of course edison bulbs because that's it's cool now right? So but so we you know, when they first walk in way bringing into the studio and and you know, I know some people are always like, you know, I make like I make like, you know, fresh cookies, so the smell and all I don't do light stuff, right? I'm just like I'm doing good now just to get the meeting set up for when they show up quite frankly and so bring him in, I sit him down and close those doors bring the lights down, you know, and I and I start a slide show and I and I just, you know, I want them to have time to kind of settle in and I leave the room during the slide show because it's really weird to be sitting there being like wait that's pretty good in it, you know, it's it's really, really, really awkward anyway, so, you know my console ts you know, it's kind of changed all the time, you know, one thing that, you know, this is a huge thing for me is I consider it a job interview, right? Um and so I teach a lot of photographers and a lot of photographers, I asked him how they do their consulates and they say like, well, I asked him about them, you know? And I asked him how they met and how they got engaged, I was dying to hear how he proposed and all that kind of stuff, and quite frankly, I don't think that that's the way to go about it because if it was me and I just walked in and I'm trying to meet some photographer off this treats me like I did, you don't need it, you don't really care how I proposed really do you? You know? And because and and all my clients, I've kind of asked them that and they're like, yeah, it's kind of it's kind of glad you didn't ask me that. I tell them I go, I go, I'll find that stuff out when we get to know each other more, and we've become more friend it's you know and so I can because they sound like if you walked into a job interview would you sit there and just ask him about them the whole time no right because you're not going to sell yourself right? You know, so so I kind of like, you know I make it you know, I have some key points that I always hit on you know, but the bottom line is I'm just like I'm jumping into it right away and I'm like, you know, this is an I and I and I and I hit him hard and I you know, like I said earlier, you know, I tell them I go and I and I kind of sugar coated it a little bit but I tell us in every inn every consul I say I say it is going to sound bad because I'm talking to you about potentially shooting your wedding I go but I uh I don't I don't care about the wedding and then there was like e care with the cake I'm joking I don't but I know I know but but what I what what I say is you know I care about the people just like I said earlier I care about you and your story I go because every single solitary wedding is exactly the same that they are it's like, you know, they mean you might you might you know, have a scuba tank on to go down the aisle or whatever but it's still in the end the majority of them are the same start here we're gonna get dressed we're going teo get married we're going to say yes um we're gonna leave we're goingto get eight eat dinner we're gonna dance and they're gonna go home right in the center the outlines all the same so I tell them I go I go so so therefore I can't worry about the wedding I can't think about the wedding primarily right? Because on my worst day like I don't know maybe I'm my foot's broken I've actually shot a wedding with my shoulder I'm separated this shoulder all right and this one's like I already had surgery on this shoulder and I have to have it on this one but I I was in a bike accident on thursday before the wedding and this huge like road rash and my shoulder was mine early separated and I had to shoot the wedding rite they loved it, they loved every picture. I missed a crap load of things. On that day I couldn't get my camera empire in this right and and I'm like, I'm like, you know, on my worst day and that was huge for me because I know on my on my I know that I literally minus like losing the cards you're not going with there's one down here I know that I literally cannot screw up the wedding day but you can't like if I'm there and I'm president I'm taking pictures like I can't screwed up right? And so I tell them that I'm like oh my god my worst day I'm going to cover the wedding if I take a picture every ten minutes I'm gonna I'm gonna be able to get the wedding but that's not good enough for me, right it's not good enough for me anymore I need to dig deeper on I need to find the stories and I need to tell the you know, images that exemplify who you are as people and not who you are as bride and groom because as you are as a bridegroom is not who you are as people in my opinion right? Because e ever you know uh jim gaffigan the comedian you guys here to him, huh? Right pockets we're gonna run in mexico coming into your pocket. Yeah, many ways if you don't know it's so funny you go look it up it's really hilarious anyway, so I just like I think I'm just going jim's with me to laugh at my jokes so that's what they pay before that's why I get the big bucks yeah, but he did it he did a recent segment on weddings and it was so fantastic, like, I have always told me, but I'm like, if you if you tried to explain a wedding to your kids, you're totally not gonna understand it. Like, what do you mean, you you cut the cake together? Yeah, it's, just if these were traditions, right? And I'm fine with the traditions and I love it, but like, you know, some of the things that happened at weddings are really weird, you know? And jim gaffigan is that this whole thing about, like, he's just like he's, like let's just pretend we have a kingdom for the day, you know, and he's like he's like, and then we're going to go on a totally unjustified vacation. It's really funny, but so just like, I just like that outlook on life, you know, like I that's the way I approached up in my life, you know? And I'm like, I'm like this doesn't make any sense, you know, like, like, you know, it's almost like, uh, so my wife is jewish stick with me, it's gonna make sense and and and people are always, like, so so you gonna convert? No, because I believe what I believe. You see the same thing will know you know and it's like it's like why does that why can't we be married and just be married and then the kids will kind of figure it out as they go you know it's like it's like what? Why not like I always question stuff like why am I doing this? Is this making any sense you know? And so therefore a lot of things that happen at weddings are not even out of the traditions but also like some of the things that people get hung up on you know, I just keep thinking I never I bride I had a bride freaking out one time because the bows on the back of the chair covers of the reception weren't tied in the proper boat like you're missing the entire point in my head I did go up to her say that right now but you know, in my head I'm like god this mission the point you know? And so I want people to understand that I want people to realize that and what's interesting is like after my consoles quite quite honestly peoples peoples procession of their wedding changes I can tell a little bit and then and then all of a sudden those those little those little things that that in the end you know you know don't really matter um kind of start to go away, you know, my happiest bride ever ever ever ever she had no idea what was gonna happen in the wedding right club owners want it right and it's like it's like you know it's just so funny because she picked the dress out and she just let her parents to the rest she was so happy all day long she walked out I remember her walking just like it's raining okay and then she's like well I get a ride in a cool car hey and she gets in the car he's like wait where we going you know and then she's like is awesome right and then and then and after the wedding and she's like oh I got an ice sculpture it's neat you know I mean like she just like because there's nothing to go wrong there was no expectation to break you know and I'm going to talk about this you know later but like I love it when things go wrong in a wedding I love it I pray for it right manageable things right yes so we have we have that question in the internet this is from terry dactyl what do you do it with things when things go wrong like a fight or not so precious moment how do you how do you shoot that I get excited I truly truly truly we do because it's breaking the expectation of this fabricated event right and it's really it's offering reality a chance to shine through right and I'm gonna talk about it in a couple of segments, are, well, I had to. Mercy was like, yeah, but but I, you know, I do my best to get in there and do it and document it, because in the end, I'm look, I'm I'm a documentary photographer, right? I can't just document the happy, I have a document, everything else would be a witness as to what happened that day, right? So that's a whole segment, we're going talk about, right, but but I kind of don't want diving into much right now. Is that cool? No, absolutely, yeah, well, give this grate cheese, so pterodactyl is going to fly back. Yeah, right.

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Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Tyler calls 'em like he sees'em. He gets it: capture the emotion, the expression, the feelings of a wedding without preoccupation with perfect posing, perfect lighting, perfect camera settings. An image of a father's expression seeing is daughter in her dress for the first time is far more important than trying to get it framed just right. Anticipate. Watch. Don't interrupt a moment. This is a great series to refocus on the true meaning of why we shoot weddings.

a Creativelive Student

Recommend but with one big caveat. This class is useful in terms of his approach and mindset. I found it really inspiring in that respect. It's worth watching if you want to broaden your mind and make your wedding photography more interesting. Don't bother with this class if you are looking to improve technically, Tyler isn't a great technician and most of the info he provides in that respect is garbage and outdated. He also comes across as very arrogant at times and he's not a great instructor.

Chethan Kumar

Tyler is not just an awesome wedding Photographer but a very good human being. Love the way he speaks, teaches and respect students and their work. I enjoyed each and every bit of this learning and learnt a lot. Thanks creative live and Tyler. Regards, Chethan Cks Photolab Melbourne|Australia

Student Work