Considerations for a Photograph
So here are my rules, these are the things that I want you to consider, and rules I'm obviously talking about breaking rules. But these are the things that are kinda like deal breakers for me in a photograph that I think is meaningful, that I think has all of the elements that I like. Close, closer. You've probably noticed in all of my photos, my families are like on top of each other right? I know, it's not for everybody, but it's what I do. I want there to be no light between my subjects. That's my rule for that. So, if i get them close and I see that there's light between mom and dad I'll get them closer. I'll say put your hips closer. I want squeezing and just umpf emotion right? So, (laughs) this guy, I didn't notice his face until just now. I want them close, so the closer the better. It just yields connection, okay. Again, just same example. Close, they're so close, that dad was like wrap up your babies, let's do it. Yes, even the teenagers. This is a 14 and a 16 year old and we...
're hugging. People say how do you do this with teenagers, exactly the same, I have the same strategies for teenagers. Yes, I make the teenagers hug their mom. And luckily, the people that come to me have amazing teenagers that are lovey-dovey like this. I'm telling you, you're gonna attract these kinda people that are like yeah this is my family, this is our dynamic, I want this. So, if they're not touching, they need to be interacting. So, if I have a family together and they're not close. I want this, I want a genuine interaction happening. And I will orchestrate that by like here we're looking for boogers. We're looking for boogers in our sister's nose. So, I'm gonna orchestrate interactions that's what I want. If they're not real comfortable with touching we're gonna do something to make them interact. Like this one, they're not quite as close as I would like them but those parents are 100% engaged with this child. They're interacting, they're in a lil bit of a you know they're having a moment here. Same thing, they're not touching, well they sorta are but there's this interaction happening. They're playing with this rock and I think they were maybe gonna throw them in the water. So, this was a time when we were sorta taking a break. They're not touching but they're interacting, they're engaging in an activity together. Again, interacting, they're all part of this. They're all holding onto that leash, the little guy's holding onto the dog. There's just interaction happening even though they're not close. Okay, so somebody was asking me about eye contact earlier and I don't think that all eye contact is created equal. You can have somebody looking at you and it's false, it's like they're not there right? The eye contact has to be intense for me, I'd rather they not be looking at me. So, when I and I'm a sucker for, I do take picture of kids smiling, I promise. But I love intense photos of children, because I think children are intense. (clears throat) and there's so many sides to them and it's fun to capture that. But, if they're not giving me this kind of eye contact. Like if they're not looking through my lens, like there isn't a lens between us. Then I ask them not to look at me at all. And so sometimes, they're looking at you and it's falling flat, so ask them not to look at you. Just it's gonna be a totally different photograph and it's going to be more meaningful rather than having that flat eye contact. Same here, they were having a hard time with good eye contact so we stopped looking at me. Again, these parents were like, the kids were nailin' it. The parents were like, it was just like really stiff it wasn't happening, I was like don't look at me, I'm boring, that's what I'll say, look at your beautiful children and then you get this. So intense eye contact or no contact at all.
[Woman with white jacket] Do you ever have to reschedule? Is it ever a bust? Where like Johnny just loses his mind and it's not happening?
That has literally never happened for me and I don't know why, I don't know if that's just luck or that's just because I have amazing clients. But, I think and I don't know if this is true and I'm gonna go rogue and say it but I think it's because I educate my clients so well. I couldn't put everything on the welcome site, my welcome sites meaty. But I also talk about, like I said, I talk about their kids, I say make sure that they've had a snack before the session. Don't ever bribe your child, let's make this, I say let's make this a really great family experience. Talk about maybe going out to dinner and getting shakes afterward or you know rather than a reward this is like something that we're doing together that's meaningful. I think that's why they come back every year too. But, I haven't ever had that happen. I am good with kids, I think that I have, I think that also I'm very much in control and so it's like the teacher factor. They're like okay this is like my teacher, I'm not gonna misbehave but of course I've had kids throw fits, but we just wait it out. It's usually just a little couple minutes and I never make them do something they really don't want to. So, I'm pretty flexible with the kiddos.
That question that you sent out to your newly booked clients, you know tell me about your family. It seems like that's the doorway that starts all of this and what the example you read was so perfect.
And obviously that was a really extreme example.
Okay are they always that forthcoming? Can you get what you need from that?
Or do you end up having to prompt anymore? I'm just asking you that one question?
That's a good question so that one is extreme, which is why I wanted to show it to you but, they do seem to usually be pretty forthcoming. And I think that the reason being, is that, they want, they're investing a good amount of money, and they are investing their time. Like I said, that is our most valuable currency right? They're gonna give me this Saturday night on a weekend and so they want me to know who their family is and I say you know tell me about your family so I can best serve you. And so they usually wanna tell me, but even if all they say is Johnny hates having his picture taken. Leo is a little bit shy. This one's gonna be really active and I feel like I'm gonna look horrible on this photo day. Done, now I know. That was like, (imitates crossing off list) but just a couple of things even if they're not as forthcoming as Stella was. You do just those little nuggets of information are give you an idea of how to work with the family. Yes.
Alright great. Question from Jessica who you mentioned before that you don't care what your clients wear, but what if the families ask you what should we wear? What do you recommend?
So like I said on that welcome site, I do have a part where I talk about what to wear and there are some families that are really interested in what they're wearing. That's great, they should go to town. If that's their thing, like go for it. What I do on this part, is I say I don't I reassure them that my work has very little to do with what they're wearing. So that allows them to relax a little bit. Again, we're educating right? I say it doesn't matter, you don't have to go out. I do say on there, Mom this is you're time to be celebrated. So why don't you start with your outfit and build everyone else around. And I say coordinate don't match. And then I send them to a Pinterest board with some examples. So, usually that's enough, and they don't ask me anymore. And of course, you do have some like I said, that are like really worried about what they're gonna wear and they're gonna worry about what they're gonna wear that's their personality it's fine. But I try to reassure them and I really mean this that I don't really care what they wear. I know that some people really love to style their clients, that's part of their artistic vision. For me, it doesn't matter.
Awesome and again a lot of that information is included in the bonus materials so that you can adapt that to your own business and what you want to recommend to your clients. Okay so this is question from David as well as Philip, if you are a male photographer and I know you do a lot of open hugging and touching and kissing and all of that
I'm a touchy feely person
How would you approach that or does a male photographer need to be considered about that? (sighs quietly)
That's a good question. I've never had anyone ask me that before I so, I think that even, just because you're a man doesn't mean that you can't be emotional and touchy feely right? I mean I'm raising my son to be very emotional and touchy feely. So, I think that I mean I don't know if he's specifically asking like can he go in there and pose them? I think absolutely and maybe be a little bit more conscious about like mom feeling uncomfortable with that and say I'm just gonna touch your arm here to put you how I think that you should be that's gonna be really pleasing for this photograph. But, I think that yeah I think that you can still be touchy feely if you're a man right? And still pose and direct in the same way.
[Woman On Computer] Awesome, thank you. Do you ever use an assistant?
I have an assistant but not for photo shoots, yeah she does my, she runs my business stuff.
[Woman On Computer] Nice.
Just to, just to reiterate 'cause I think people are very impressed with your maintaining control, not giving your phone number out. (laughing) So Marsha says
You can't call me.
So you don't actually speak to them in person until that Monday before and then you're actually asking them to just text you.
Yeah I don't wanna talk on the phone, so I don't even wanna talk on the phone. My poor Mom I mean she like calls all the time, I'm like Mom I just can't. I'm just not a phone person, I don't have time. I've got like three people screaming at me constantly. So the phone is literally not possible. But, yeah you know I think that it's my business model. Maybe you are a phone person and that's how you want to communicate with your clients. I'm an online based business so all of the education and information that I'm providing is online. So, I think that is what they expect. It's kinda a natural progression into how the process has gone. They found me online. They are inquiring online. I'm emailing them. So, there's not really the expectation that we're gonna talk on the phone. It was never said that, that was gonna be something that we did. I again, they don't have a lot of questions. They don't have a reason to call me because I have answered all of them before they call or before the shoot. And on the week of the session date, like if they have questions it's usually very minimal and it's done via email actually. They really don't text me until the session day and they say "I'm here, I'm standing by whatever." and then we meet. So I'm a control freak I guess, you know I have to be efficient. I'm busy, I have a busy business so.
Awesome, thank you, and another question a couple of people were asking about building portfolios are you gonna talk about that later, in terms of when kinda get clients and such, but if you don't have if you're just starting out, you don't have a lot of images to use in your marketing how do you go about building your portfolio?
So our very own Chase Jarvis was just saying and I really agree with him actually and I love that I can talk about that because this is his company but he just posted an article where he said "Do it for free or do it full price." and I wholeheartedly believe in that, so if you're building your portfolio put some model calls out there and do some free sessions to build up that portfolio to a level that you think is enough. I think your portfolio should have 20 to 30 images in it. And then start bringing in clients from that portfolio so I think that, that's very true. We are gonna talk a little bit about pricing but there's no shame doing it free in the beginning when you're trying to figure this out and you're trying to make this, you know portfolio that is a little bit different than what you've been doing before. You know grab your friends, put a model call out, because people love free photo shoots. It is not hard to get models, put it on Facebook. Yeah and so that's what I would recommend, that's what I did in the beginning, I did, I photographed every family member I could get my hands on. Every friend, that's how I built my portfolio 10 years ago.