Integrating Animal Photography into your Business

Lesson 27 of 31

Final Image Presentation

 

Integrating Animal Photography into your Business

Lesson 27 of 31

Final Image Presentation

 

Lesson Info

Final Image Presentation

Commission portraits, online image gallery. I wanna take a second I think to pull up my Lightroom just to show you a few of the images from our session first before I go onto the online gallery. So I'm gonna step back to my laptop. So, sometimes I have, I don't know, a few hundred images from a session. That's typically what my volume is. And I take them into Lightroom. I import them. And for these images that we did with the Gamon family, I take them in, and then... You can find a method that works for you, in terms of the editing. And there are lots of awesome classes and ways, ways to navigate, learn through, learn about Lightroom and how to navigate your way through the editing process, but I'll just tell you what I do. So, I'll go through the images kind of quickly and I might hit like a flag and say, "Yes, yes, yes it's a keeper." I try to do that quickly. And then once I've picked kind of a general grouping, I'll go back through there and I'll check. I'll compare them, so I migh...

t put. I'll pull the images and I might pull three up together. I'll look back and forth, which one? And I'll try to narrow it down as quickly as possible. We'll go through the image gallery later to show you each image that I kept. But here as I'm going through the images, I'm trying to say, you know, I wanna choose images from each section. So we had a little bit of moment, we had some moments with John, with John by the windows, we had some with Meg by the window. So, I'm trying to get a feel for each different scenario. And once I've kind of made a general selection, I'm gonna go back in and I'm gonna check focus. So, that's something I do after I've kind of narrow down to my choices. I'll go in and I'll check focus. So I may narrow down on a first run. 300 images to maybe or 75 images, and get them down that way. And that seems to be a good culling process for me. And then once I've done that, I will go through and check the focus, pull out ones that didn't work technically and try not to lament about it, like, "Oh, I really wanted that one to work. "I didn't quite get it." Just try to really do it quickly. I'll set a timer to do that. I generally find that my editing time kind of matches my shooting time, minus the light setup. So, that tends to be what it takes me. By I way overanalyze sometimes. So it depends on the day that I could kind of wishy washy about things, and it could take me a little bit longer than I like. So I go through here, and then I'm gonna... So once I'm happy on a technical level, making those editing decisions, like, "Am I happy? "If they order this image, would I be okay with that?" Kinda going through that with my head. Do I feel like I have variety from each... Do I have representation of each section as much as I want to? Sometimes I don't have to show the representations. I might have shot in a certain area and none of them worked out. I don't necessarily have to show that just because I was there. And if I client does ask me about that, there are some that didn't make the cut, I'd be willing to show a couple of images from there if they ask. But I'm not just gonna throw images into the gallery that are not up to my standards, unless really prompted. Sometimes I'll do... I do black and white versions. It's kind of obvious, I'm a color gal. I prefer color, but I do appreciate black and white and a lot of clients do as well. So I do include a couple of options for each scene in black and white. So it's a preview and I can say, "I will show you anything in black in white "that I've given you in color. "That's an option that's available to you. "So just ask me if that's something you wanna do." Otherwise I'm duplicating every image I'm showing them, and I'm making them look at twice as many images, even though some of them are duplicates. So, I typically number. Once I've edit it down to between... I kind of promise about 25 images. That feels to me like a reasonable number, given the amount of time that I allocate to the shoot. It's my goal to get it down to 25 images. Now, that's pretty rare for me to get it down to 25, but what it does do for me, this gives me the opportunity to kind of over deliver for my client. So if their expectation is 25 images and I show them 40, that's great, versus, "I'm gonna give you 50 images," and I end up giving them 20, then they feel like they're missing out. So, that seems to work for me. It's been something I've gone through, gone over. Over the years, I've kinda gone back and forth about the right number, and you need to determine what that right number is for you based on how you shoot. But I feel like anything between 25 and for my commission clients. And sometimes I will go over and I typically regret it. It's kind of a reasonable number of images to go through without them feeling completely overwhelmed. So, much more than that, they feel pretty overwhelmed. So, some of these images, like the studio ones, they were a little bit bright, and that was something because we were moving so fast. I realized it was kind of a little bit hot on those. So what I'm gonna do is kind of global adjustment. So, for my clients I say, "I'm gonna edit these down to the top 25 or so images, "and I'm gonna make global adjustments to them, "so you can see them. "I'm gonna adjust color and contrast "and just get it ready for you to look at. "I don't retouch individual images until you order them." That's just how I work. So, I'm gonna be making... So, last night I was working on getting these image together and just tweaking it a little bit on a small level. So I take it into the develop module, and I will adjust them on a basic level. I would make sure that the white balance is where I want it. So these images ended up being a little bit cool. I shot everything in the studio and everything on location in the cloudy white balance setting. And sometimes that means I'm a little bit warm, and in some situations it can kinda throw it off if I'm using studio lights versus natural light, and that's what happens. So, I warm these up a little bit, and took down the exposure just a little bit. So I'm just tweaking my exposure. My goal is to obviously get it right in camera. There are moments where I'm like, "Okay, I'll fix that later." but it's not a go-to for me. I wanna try to get it right in camera as much as possible. So, I check my focus and I do the exposure. I typically do a color balance adjustment, a white balance adjustment. I might do a little bit with the clarity here. But as you can see, there's really not that much that I've done to the image. I did do a little bit of a vignette. Well, what I love are these, these graduated filters. So I will do that to kind of... My objective is to keep the viewer's eye on where I want them to look. So however I can do that on a global adjustment level, I will do that. And I do that with each image if I feel like it needs it, before I show the client. I feel like I'm presenting a really good sense of what they will be getting if they ordered it. So if the image needs a little bit of shadow, some of these were a little bit dark so I had to pull up the shadows just a little bit. I also like the, this little kind of dodge and burn tool. It can work just for the purposes of sharing the images with the client initially. These are not my final images, and they don't need to be, I don't need to retouch eye boogies off dogs. There's none of that going in there. I let that go for later. So it's pretty basic in terms of the development, the development aspect. Any questions on the Lightroom process on my... No? Do you ever... How much do you allow the clients to... Does anybody ever say to you, "Wait, I would like to see that one "in a different post-processing manner, or mood, "or black and white for this one."? Do you drive all of that? Or do you ever have clients that want you to change it? I sometimes ask people if they... People ask me if the want black and white images, and I will process black and white for them. Typically, I know that before the shoot. I say, "Hey, this is who I am. "You probably know because you've seen my images "on my website, "but I typically like color. "if you prefer black and white, "I'm happy to show you lots of options in black and white." I recently had a client that really love black and white so I showed her a lot more options in black and white, and that's fine. As far as the post-processing, I don't honestly love spending time on my computer. Stylistically, it's not something that I love. I appreciate a lot of the post processing that people are doing on the computer, but it's just not my style. It's not my aesthetic and what I feel like my strength is. So, I don't put those types of images out there as a promotion. And if somebody were to ask me to really stylize an image, I would probably just recommend. I would do what I could for them, absolutely, but if it were way out of what I normally do or even know how to do for example, I would probably encourage them to buy the digital license to the image, and play with it on their own. But it's not something I typically run into. Great, any questions? Yeah, grab a mic. Are you someone who typically goes through and gets rid of image that you do not like, as in ones that are completely rejected, like you delete them off your hard drive? In terms of backing up and everything? Well, I know there are a lot of photographers who, they won't do that because hard drive space is cheap these days, but I tend to get rid of the ones that I know ARE just completely, I'm never ever gonna se them because the focus is just, you know, rubbish, and they're not worth saving. There are ones that might be worst saving. I'll leave those, but I will go through. Just so it's a cleaner gallery to look at if I've got rid of just a few more. So, are you somebody who gets rid of... Well, I started to create a process where I backup all of my images initially, and without deleting or without even looking at them. I back them all up. I have an onsite storage and then a cloud storage, so I double back them up off site and onsite. And then I will go through them before they backed up to my onsite back up system I will delete files from there. Yes, I will delete it because it can get to be a lot of images that you're dealing with. But in terms of what the client sees, they're only gonna see the top pics. So on the second round, you've gone and... Yeah, after I've backed everything up, and I've gone through these images, and maybe I didn't select 100 of them, those images will get trashed and I will back up these images. Because I've noticed that the flagged... Yeah, these are the flagged ones. For these purposes-- And they were sent. Yeahs, so the no filter ones. This was from all the shoots that we did. There's some even images that I didn't keep, but I haven't trashed them yet. In my home regular office environment, I would probably dump them at some point. But yeah, you gotta come up with a system that works for you. I think that it's important to backup your work, right? I try to make sure it's backed up before I delete it from my card or my computer so I'm kind of kind of stickler about that. Question for you on... We don't really see it in your work because you do have a consistent style and look and feel, and you don't overly process. What do you say to somebody whose images when they're giving them to a client might have a little bit different look and feel variety of process and styles? Do you think that they should have a consistent look in terms of when they are color versus sort of giving the client a variety of things? I know when I was starting, I was kinda like, "Oh, this looks cool, this looks cool." Yeah, as you're presenting them to a client, should they be unified in processing look and feel? I think the more cohesive you can make your body of work to present to a client, the better, because it is easy for them to get overwhelmed. So, I think if you're playing with styles and some different post-processing things that you wanna try to do more of, that could be something where you do, I would say be consistent as much as you can. And at the end, maybe put a couple of alternatives in there and say, "Hey, I don't know if you like these, "but I was trying to style and playing it out. "And so if you wanna see more images like that, "I'd be happy to do that." Now keep in mind, that's more of your time of going back in and processing and playing around with those images. That could also be something that you offer as part of your final product. You can say, "If you would like this look, "this is an offer. "I can offer this to you "if you wanna print like this, "then I can do that." But I think the more cohesive you can make your images and the body of work, the better. Great. Question from Jean-Pierre Lemonnier. You mentioned yesterday that you would get rid of unwanted items like a wire, or something else in the background in post-processing. Do you do that often and are you cropping down images often, or do you take those images into Photoshop and work on them there? So that was like two questions, right? Sorry, it was. It's okay. I got you. So, am I retouching unwanted items frequently? The answer is I'll move as much as I can on a location on a set keeping in mind what I'll be saving in terms of time later. So I'll do what I can on set. Yesterday when we were in the studio there was a cable in the background. I knew that it was there, but I didn't feel like it was worth the time to move it at that point, and I was like, "I will take that out later." There are some things like that that just happen. I kind of assess the situation and make a adjustment on is it a big issue for me later, is it something I can fix now quickly. So, for example, if there's a dog's ear that's flopped back and I don't want it that way. We had that in one of the images with Grant. I don't mind that it was like that for that image where the ear was flopped kind of inside out. That's kind of a big adjustment for me. I mean I would have to copy and paste the ear, which is not a big deal, but it's just more work for me. And if I feel like in the moment that the dog's temperament allowing for it, I'll fix the ear or have an assistant or the pet parent and say, "Can you fix his ear?" I'll make those kinds of adjustments as much as possible within the situation, but sometimes it's not worth it. It's not worth me fussing with the collar or cleaning his eyes, those kinds of things. They can wait till later, and I can fix later. Outlets and things like that, sometimes I have a frame and a composition I like and I know there's an electrical outlet. I retouch those things all the time out of my images just to clean it up and to keep the composition clean and keep the viewer's eye on what I want them to look at. I do clean up my images from distractions. What was the second part of your question? It was do you do that in Photoshop? Yes, yes. Then the second part of the you kind of was do you stay true to what you shot in camera or do you crop images? Full frame versus cropping. I really shoot what I see in frame. I tend to be a full frame shooter, so there's a lot of intention behind what I'm choosing to kind of keep in my image or edit out. And that sometimes becomes difficult for me. It's not always the best decision. So if somebody order's an eight by 10, my image might be really beautiful, everything is considered in my framing, because I have pretty tight framing in terms of the considerations that I make. And then so I'd have to tell a client, "If you want this size print, wall print, "you're gonna have to crop it." And so, sometimes that's an issue and sometimes it's not, but I feel like it's too much. It's annoying to me. I feel like it's not the right word, annoying, but it's hindering to me to have to think about, "Are they gonna want eight by 10? "What if they get a 10 by..." I wanna see how I see and then do the other stuff later if at all possible. That is not always possible, but my goal is to try to keep things in the frame how I want it, but I'm not against cropping later. If you need to crop, and I have cropped some things where you're shooting fast. There's so many things and you're like, "I don't even know that was there. "How did I not see that?" So that happens to me all the time. And I was talking to you guys earlier about how, I don't know, there must be something off with my equilibrium because a lot of images end up being a little bit crooked. So, maybe I need to go to the chiropractor or something. I don't know, so I'm constantly adjusting my alignment for some reason. It's something I gotta work on, but yeah. Great, than you. Sure. The next I'm gonna show you, so once I've gathered these images, and I've done that in Lightroom and I'm gonna export them, and I'm gonna share them online in an online image gallery with my clients. This has been a thing for me for a long time, figuring out what to do after the session in terms of the client. So, I use to show them the images during the ordering appointment. And so we would have a in-person sales meeting. They would come to the meeting and we would show it on a screen. They would play it, I would have music, and then I would say, "Okay, we're ready to place your order." And that worked really well for some, but then what I was noticing after a long period of time of doing this was that people weren't really ready to make the decisions, or they didn't bring their significant other or whoever was there to support them in the final decision-making process. And I found myself rescheduling appointments or following up on email, and that cost me a lot of time. And I think ultimately I feel like it cost me sales. So, I'm not saying that's not the way to go if you've got your business set up that way. But for me, that was my experience. So, it could change. Kind of the route that I'm taking now could absolutely change for me, but this is what I do now. You'll notice in the online image gallery that I'm gonna pop up is that there are a couple of images that are watermarked in the beginning. I will typically watermark my images when they go online, but I pulled the watermark off of most of them just for these purposes so we didn't have to get distracted by them. Let's see. So I'm gonna pull up this image gallery. Now there are different ways to... So what I'll do is I'll send the client this gallery, and they'll have a password. There are lots of ways you can do this. So, there are companies that actually host online galleries. You can pay for that. But I've done this through my blog, and I've kind of found a back route through WordPress, and use a ProPhoto blog template. So I create this as a page, kind of a hidden page on my blog. So, it's password protected. Because it's important for me to have my clients understand, feel like this is a private viewing of their images. It's not shared with everybody. So, it's got the main image here. And then what I do is I send this out after the session. Usually about a week after the session, I'm sharing this gallery with them. And they're welcome to share it with their family and friends, and I'm very... These are the images that we got from the shoot, so I wanted to share them with you just to show you, you got a little bit of a viewing of them. Now, is this solution to the web gallery absolutely perfect for me? No, but it's working right now and it's included in my blog expenses, so it's working for me and it helps with my workflow. So this is an opportunity for the client to really see the images, sit with them as opposed to having the expectation of them making those ordering decisions on the spot. One thing about having them ordering them on the spot is that they're very emotionally connected to the images. It's the first time that they've seen them. And so there's a lot of value to that, but I think people need to... These are investments that I'm asking them to make. I don't want anybody to have buyer's remorse, and I want them to feel like they're getting need and what they want. But I do not send them an image gallery online and ask them to place their order and email it to me, because I don' think I'll ever get the order. People's lives are busy, and so expecting people to kind of be disciplined enough to do that I think is too much. So, this is just their preview of the gallery, and then we're gonna meet in person. Usually this stays live for a week, and then I pull it down. So, that worked for me really well. And I really educate people in the process of the ordering. We'll go in some more of that a little bit later. So this is my image gallery. Does anybody have questions about the image gallery process? I tell people to take notes on them. You don't have to make a decision about what you want, but takes some notes. Write down the image numbers, maybe get some ideas, bring some questions for when I'm gonna meet with you. Do you often find that people have an easy time gong through these online? Do you get a lot of questions or do people actually do it? Do they go through it online? Yeah, versus waiting until they come and see you. No, they always see them. They're very excited to see the images, so they go through them online. And kind of the most common response which I'm hoping for is like, "I don't know how I'm gonna make a decision." Yes, that's a good problem for me to have because I want them to be overwhelmed in the sense that they're really happy with what they're getting and they feel like they have lots of choices. So, that's a really great response from my perspective, but yeah. Go ahead. I've been doing this, but I haven't do it for that short of a time. So, I don't know what to do about changing to doing it like that. I've been keeping it up longer so they can go be more indecisive I guess. Well, my kind of experience is that people wait till the last minute to do things anyway. So if I can say you have a week, they will probably look at it, some of them the night before. So, whether I had it a week or two weeks, all I'm doing at that point is just extending the ordering process. I don't think that brings value to me. So, I feel like a week is a reasonable amount of time. And if somebody says, "Hey, I'm going out of town." I'm gonna work with people. So I'll try to give them some leeway and we'll schedule things accordingly. Well, they're always really excited. They ask me, "Is it up?" So I assume that they're gonna look at it right away, and I don't let them order from it either. So I guess maybe it's a matter of me setting a clearer boundary, and that's what I'm doing by saying a week. Right? Yeah. I think setting the expectation, setting the boundary is saying, "Hey, this is up for a week. "This is your chance to preview it "before our ordering appointment. "You can ask me questions." A lot of them will look at the images, and then maybe look at them the night before. So yeah, I think setting boundaries is huge with clients. It's really supporting them in the process. So, they hire you to take images of their animals and their family. They called upon you to do that, and so you're there to play a supportive role in making sure that they complete the process. That's what they hired you to do. So, I feel like instead of being like setting boundaries in kind of like a harsh way around it, it's more like guiding them and supporting them in the process and kind of viewing it that way. So, yeah, it's something I grappled with over time, but I found the shorter time is definitely a better route.

Class Description

This course is fantastic. Norah is incredibly open and so easy to listen to and understand. The course is comprehensive from start to finish covering all aspects of a pet photography business. I especially loved watching the live shoots. Getting to see her process on location was priceless.
-Jo Wilkens

Pets play a large part of every household, be it the best friend or first “child.”  Yet capturing their personalities is often more difficult than just a click of the shutter.  Instructor Norah Levine’s photographs are often defined by her clean compositions and authentic moments shared by people and their pets.  Now you can join Norah as she shows you the basics of pet behavior and how to get animals comfortable with the camera.  After this class, you’ll be able to capture great images of pets AND learn how to to incorporate them into your family photography.   


In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to incorporate pets into your family photography.

  • Gain an understanding of animal behavior and key body language cues.

  • Build a business model that allows you to appeal to commercial, private and nonprofit markets.

Reviews

hollyferocious
 

Norah is really great and I learned a lot watching her. Even non-pet related things, like how she's continually trying to better herself were really inspiring to me. Since watching this, I've learned to take every shoot as a learning opportunity by evaluating what went right and what didn't, and thinking of what I can do next time to do better. I liked the way she showed interacting with animals in a way that doesn't stress them (well, depending on the animal there may be some level of stress anyway I guess...) too. Great class.

Chelsea Beauchamp
 

So inspiring! Great information on both family pet photography as a craft as well as the business side. Norah obviously knows what she's doing and has tons of experience, so it's a good chance to hear/see what it's really like to take this on as a specialty whether it's the focus of your work or one of many parts of your work. She focuses not just on the mechanics, but on the personal side of working with people and animals. You can tell she's passionate about what she does, too. It's only been one day of class and I already feel totally inspired!