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Educating Clients about Dog Days

Lesson 7 from: Pets and People Photography

Vicki Taufer

Educating Clients about Dog Days

Lesson 7 from: Pets and People Photography

Vicki Taufer

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Lesson Info

7. Educating Clients about Dog Days

Next Lesson: Dog Days Q&A


Class Trailer

Day 1


The V Gallery Evolution


Selling the Experience


Why Pets?


You and Your Clients


Pet Photography Intro Q&A


Creating a Market: Dog Days of Summer


Educating Clients about Dog Days


Lesson Info

Educating Clients about Dog Days

How did the clients of you in order their images? I want to show you a few things they do still come to the studio, we set that up ahead of time. This is I call sales of really educating the client, um, and I love it because I think that we can get stuck in this mode of just thinking people, I know what we want them to get and, like, they should just know, but they don't know, like if you're sitting here looking to be staying put, yeah, great. You're selling while portrait's my clients don't buy anything berger and eight by ten like I would have some key questions I'd ask you, like, are you showing bigger than eight by ten? You know, in your in your space. My biggest question, though, is are you projecting? If you're not rejecting its very difficult to sell big? I'm not saying if you project thirty forty, all your kinds of ryan, thirty forties, but the clients that come in that maybe thought they were gonna get eleven by fourteen if all their senior thirty forties, they might buy twent...

y, twenty fours like you typically khun up sell, I'd say at least a size by projection, and I have a story I'll share because, um, it's proof like it proves my point with this, but I actually have a photographer that I photographed she came down and had a family photograph out of town, so I threw the images online, which is like I'm fine with that I typically try to walk through with that client, but sometimes we get people traveling and that's our option to do things, so I like to still due a phone order with them so I could talk to him and during the session I point out all the things that I'm going to be talking to them about, and I tried to do that pre sell well, in this case it was a photographer, so I was probably a little lazy and I just assumed, like wolf tarver nose like, you know what I mean, they know what they want I know what sizes or what, and later on they came to a workshop and one of they're images I had taken in the show and so it was big on the screen and they came up to me like if I had seen it like that big, I totally would have gotten it bigger, like so this is like a tyre for that like nose, so I'm thinking, how do we expect our clients to just look at a tiny proof on their phone or, you know, on a computer screen or if all we're showing them our eight by tens in our studio like you can't like you can't expect them to like oh yeah I'm gonna spend a couple thousand dollars on these you know, big prints on my wall like that's just a really difficult cell like if I'm gonna go out and buy a really expensive couch or furniture like I want to touch it, I want to see it I want to you know feel it before I would make that investment so again I think that's just it's educating them if you think about what you're doing in sales is educating the client and I actually think you're doing a disservice like I don't wanna be offensive but I actually think it's doing your client a disservice to not do that because they still may walk away spend that to me is the worst thing that could happen in my studio because the prices are expensive enough like they could still spend a chunk of money get home and be like, well that's not big enough like that's not what I thought I was getting you know, if I haven't educated them so maybe they spent a thousand and they would have been no problems spending you know, another five hundred to get the actual size and part they wanted, but if I didn't educate them if I didn't show them, you know it's really on me at that point like it's not them it's not them trying to not order from you it's not you know we tried it I feel like people tend to put that on the client when it's really on us to be that professional um a couple of things so this is my old sales in which I just adored and loved but in our lifestyle change and downsizing I had to give it up and I love my new sales room but the one thing I still like to show even though this isn't my current sales room something that we did that just is phenomenal and I love is this back wall we kind of built in this like ledge that's highlighted with products but that's actually the farthest thing from the client's when you're in that room so the concept or idea behind that is for me and all I could talk about was like the way I tried to sell in the studio but for me I'm trying to sell the while portrait's first like I can mark those up the most I make my most money on those products are great I love um that'll boost our sales but they need to be out on just doing products I can't mark them up typically as much so sell the prince then sell the products my sales room set up that way you're saying in this couch it's comfy you're seeing everything huge you're selling the prince your sound, the prince but there's, this little light over here, you know, the whole time you're in the sale, you know you're gonna be going over there some point and it's all these cool products and albums and many accordion books and fun things like that sitting down this ledge that once you've nailed down and locked in the prince, then you can go and address those things. So it's just kind of set up in the way that I want to sell and have my business model, you know, set up to sell, and it actually is nice because it keeps little fingers off him because before this it was like that would decide stuff everywhere, and I have so many pets and kids coming through the studio, although I say it's ideal to not have, you know, the children at the order, an appointment, there are times that they are there, so that was just kind of a nice way. Everything else is in an armoire like I don't need to show someone thirty albums, I want someone, but in the arm or hand way are ten others, so once a client's committed, they want to do an album, I could bring him all kinds of options. But if you're not going to buy an album, why do I need to overload like you kill the sail when you overload, give too many options so, like, focus on what's most important and then go from there? This is my new sales room, um, basically it's shot from the direction of where the screen is, like, so, like, we're the screen and the clients that they're in the computers off to the left. So I definitely it's a lot smaller. It was, but it's been working well, I mean, the key thing that's important is that you projecting, like that's, really the most important thing, so my clients are coming in and they're seeing while portrait's larger than what, um, they're going to potentially by so it works very well, and we used a pro select to sell um, I will tomorrow we actually have a sale section before lunch tomorrow that will go more into specifics on pricing and sales, a couple of fun, just little things, these air. Not like if you do this, you're not gonna make a million dollars kind of thing, but it's part of the experience that's? Why, sure. So one of the things that we do with all our clients is we have these templates called title slides. There's some of the products that we sell but we also just have a whole stock of them like in house that we use we have special ones we use for pets that all we do is we were editing their images we pick one of our favorites pop it in there put the name and when the clients come in that's what's up on the walls when they come in it's more personal you know it's that little extra touch that took very minimal effort didn't cost us very much at all to dio and so it's just a it's it's like said you're not gonna make a million bucks off of that but it's just a fun personal touch kind of thing so here's a couple of them and all of our stuff like this like obviously we that's the one thing when we talk about not reinventing the wheel all my employees know when it's really important to uh keep everything and layered psd files like anything we have herself we sound layer psd file because I want people to have access to do whatever they want with it but in our own our own work flow like my employees don't just design a christmas card flatten it it's done like no that better be saved in a layered file so then if we want to make something similar we can start not from scratch and make adjustments so same thing all these just could be you know, changed whether its colors and fonts sorry didn't realize somebody was in there I'll just you know I will go over I think we have time I'll go over a little bit of pricing will actually go into this a little more tomorrow we'll see kind of how questions go and stuff but this gives you we haven't done pricing yes you don't know my regular pricing so I will kind of refer back to this tomorrow but just so you can kind of see and you guys do have you should have that in there if you don't, I will email you copy otherwise um basically this sheet it's really plain it's really simple and this actually you conceive write a top order dame time so this is part of the workflow that I said it's really important these people are coming in they already have their order time scheduled that we could have all that filled out days before dog days of summer so when they come in they literally just take that it's filled out it's done there's no there's really nothing they have to do besides take this little paper so couple of things so they get there one five by seven we know that, um all of my prince typically it the studio I d'oh from white house and there on a styrene pebble texture, lustre spray I actually spend more on all the enhancements than the actual photograph itself for something like this and our limited editions that air price this way it's not mounted. We still just do the texture in the spray, but really the big expenses mounting it so we don't mounties, they could pay enough charge like if it's a client who's come in for other sessions and they're trying to match something. But these are on mounted prince, just so you know, when I clarify tomorrow with our regular price list, so, um, couple so like these, we don't really have packages and are priceless normally of so that's part of what a limited edition is and that's part of why it appeals to people, um, because sorry it that's why it appeals to people is because we don't really have packages. And so this is it one way they get these packages, we say collections one way that they can get really more value, more bang for their buck. So in case you can't read that, we basically have three classic gift prince of two poses for ninety nine dollars, and we'll go into this more tomorrow, but classic gift printed our studio as anything able tennis smaller because we don't do units, we don't say two of these equal one of these I'm a firm believer in it we change of this years ago and it's been awesome it's eliminated having to have packages at our studio normally and so people just get what they want it's more of allah card um, so anyway so that's a collection that most people get at least that so they said most people are spending um they've already paid us the fifty and then they're spending at least one hundred and then we had some other things people didn't some of these framed images for three, four hundred dollars this year um so you've got just the regular individual prints taken by, um the framed collage which I haven't image I'll show you a little bit later of that's from white house that's actually again that's a big thing for us to is we I used to do everything and we still do offer custom framing and we do framing and house we order the print we have multiple vendors that we use g w molding roma molding organic bloom uh wild survey like there's all kinds of frames we do and we will custom frame it and that's great, but for stuff like this is wonderful, his white house actually has you can order the prince picked the map, picked the frame and it comes done like ready to give to the client and for me again being sure on employees that is that's a big deal. So that's what? The frame hq lodges the many album is I have one here. I thought I had one here, you know? It might be we'll talk about it. I'll bring it up tomorrow. But you guys know the many accordions there, like little, many albums. I have a sample I can bring out tomorrow when we do sales. Um and so we had people do those this year, and the blessed frame image was justified by seven or eight by ten organic bloom frame, and it included the photograph, then all wall portrait swor ala cart and then we don't typically do a lot with bonuses, but for this kind of thing we did and that but hey, this is where we said to get their free web image, they had to spend over a hundred dollars set basically meant they had to buy one of the packages and then to receive a free regular session. So this was encouraging people to come in, not necessarily with their pets. But, you know, a different time in the year if they spent over four hundred dollars. And this also, if you look, we say six weeks are normal turn it up, turn on time, we actually tell people eight weeks that's part of the under promise over deliver I mean, there might be people were calling in three weeks four weeks uh this we said six weeks they're pretty easy because you'll see when jed does work flow how much retouching is a dog mean? You know I mean like an owner might be like can you take ten pounds off here and re touches it and whatever like the dogs like cute no matter what and so it's pretty quick pretty quick retouching time on those um so anyway, yeah we'll flip through that what was my main goal for the event? Um basically it was that first year it was to see how many animals we could get in and I finally just had to say stop uh and to get back to give back to the um local charity um some better our clipboards we didn't talk about clipboards that's the other thing so um here's what the folders look like once everything's assembled in here where we put the the little cards and then we have the clipboards for people to just sign off on because you asked me do you want to get those um releases this's just a shot you'll see you'll see this week I will be using many of these things I went and bought at um target as well I did not find the telescoping feather duster if anybody has won our access to one bring it because that's actually like a really awesome awesome way to get it that's not even so much for pets, but when you have kids with pets or just kids, I can actually shoot and, like, tickle a kid at the same time. But it's a new guys called the tickle stick, so anyway, but I could not find a feather duster, but everything else I pretty much have so it's just squeakers and dog toys and treats. And I do I ask the owners a lot of owners will bring their own treats. I asked them, you know, is there a key like trigger word for your pad? Like went on a walk? Do you want, you know, like, sometimes it's just a matter like knocking on a wall? And they think somebody there, you know, sometimes they attacked me? Uh, I've plenty shots like that? Well, especially because all day I've been petting dogs and I've got, like, a little apron on with dog biscuits and squeakers, and now, gosh, my camera's gonna have a funny animal on top of it, like I definitely I'm a feeling we'll get attacked this weekend. So, um, just playfully not really attacked. I've only had one instant instance, and it was actually this dog days that we had a dog that nobody got attacked, but it was outside the closest closest I was nervous it was really the only time I've been nervous of like like almost needing like should we shot this session down kind of thing I was all nervous for the assistant who was helping me so we just kind of stood back and didn't didn't get real involved and we still got the shot and I got the dog out but um a little um dust busters they do have I have I'm trying think of the brand there's a great I think I got lows but a floor vacuum that's just battery powered that works great on wood floors on carpet it's super lice you can put it it's almost like a dustbuster on with a handle so you're not just like bunny down doing stuff you can put it on the couch is that's really great? Obviously we have napkins and we have like sprays and cleaners on and there's the little aprons dog bowls for water because you will see and I this will happen this weekend right now I come from illinois where it's been a hundred degrees for two weeks so I mean everybody's icon and pantin not just the dogs but you know, just that's kind of an issue you know, like an owner doesn't want like if they're dogs just chillin and cute like they don't want like this panting image sometimes it doesn't work like sometimes especially in this short time frame I tried at least get it where it's like a little bit and you know the tongues in the mouth but sometimes water helps helps with that but sometimes they're just a little bit anxious like the dog we photographed the other day had just went to the vet and the owner knew and said right away oh my gosh like aiken tell like my dog is thinking like it's getting a shot it's anxious on and we got great shots because we guard great images it was just that little extra effort because of that um you will see me and here we talk about coaches a lot I already told you on the couch fetish that is with animals that's with people the one thing I will tell you though with animals I do kind of pick and choose so my normal clients that come in for a normal session I don't really worry about it I'll just pick and choose whatever works for them but these quick sessions and like dogs can get a lot of control and they're just hopping on everything like I've had leather furniture get scratched up you know, just somebody just the slobber like some of the dog slobber so much that can leave some marks so I do go through and pick some of my rugs and my furniture that I turn the other way cover it with a backdrop or something to just not have it be accessible because a lot of this props or things that I use I'll put, you know, little making babies on you now and things and I just I or they're not real clean, herbal, like have a really expensive rug that I really don't know how you would like clean it if it really got soiled, you know, besides spot cleaning, so you'll see some of these couches and things like in my images more often and that's why? Because like, either they already are kind of messy or they're just they weren't great with the pets, with most pets like that's, a great color of a couch because that will work with the light dogs in the dark dogs, and you have to be thinking we're decorating clients, homes and a normal session where you have potentially, whether it's at the studio or ahead of time, some sort of pre console, you know, colors they might be wearing, you know how they want to decorate their home, you're not. We're not doing any of that with dog days, so I like having some of those neutral options. I have to tell you story, this this image comes with a story um, so this is my favorite couch, like this couch will never like this is my most requested thing at the studio by my clients, I've had it the longest. This is one of my first cultures that ever bought this was when cash flow is definitely like, at a minimum, and I people ask where I get all my stuff, I get it wherever it could be a goodwill I've got stuff out of dumpsters, um, state sales, and then I'll buy nice things, too, but I tell people, doesn't matter which direction you go with us, like, just make sure you're going to use it like it's, not worth it if you're not gonna use it, whether you spent five dollars or five hundred dollars, well, this is years ago, and I was at a crab sale, and I drove by, and I saw that mike that's, my couch, like, sat on it, like I am not leaving like this is my couch, and I called my husband, who at the time was landscaping with his father's company, like you need to bring your truck over here, and for a grand sail, it wasn't cheap. I mean, it was it was a few hundred dollars still and he's not here to defend himself or anything, so I feel bad, tell his story, and he was not happy he showed up there there's no way, like we're going to spend, you know, two hundred fifty dollars on a couch from a garage sale and I was like, you just have to trust me like you have to trust me like I know it like this couch we have made so much money off of this couch and I thought about it to the point like I go through phases where I don't use it because I'm like, I've used it so much for so long or you know, I was gonna take that to my house I just want to use it as a couch I love it or I thought about turning it into a limited edition and be like yellow couch day or something and that's the only day I use it and then it's at my house the rest of the year but anyway, so I have someone call me this client called me and, um not for dog days. This actually was a normal just session and wanted their four dogs photographed, I go to get the couch out to photograph them and say, where'd you get that couch that's my mother in the west couch? I had bought it his garage sale like two or three years before and just like total by chance you're here he's in the studio and I'm bringing out his, you know, mother in law's couch to photograph his dogs on but anyway this goes though you can see and this works for children to I like to keep referring back to that this could be two kids into dogs this could be for kids this could be for dogs but you have the couch behind the arms on the side there's a containment factor there that works because as photographers were working with depth of field we're working with movement this was shot with some studio lights but again with when the light you have even more issues with movement turtle is one year yes someone brought their turtle I told you that that was just kind of fun turkeys um this actually client was one of my sales people for many years so she's a good friend and we did the turkey shoot and I was told I don't have that video to show but we actually recorded it was made my husband come with me and they did this whole like just another little cannon like uh, point to um like whole thing where they were telling me like how the turkey's gonna attack me and what to do when they attack me and like how we abort mission when they attacked me and I'm like gosh what are we doing? They didn't attack it was actually really fun uh but I do have a little video that shows my favorite but most annoying thing that I used that you guys will be buried sick of by the end of the weekend but it works I'm working my way fine uh anyway so I just kind of for fun um I do love photographing pets on location again going back to you could host the dog days of event dog days event somewhere else on location will be pretty difficult I feel like with the timeframe maybe involved I would just I would do it I would do in event outside maybe at a dog park er do something fun but I would make the time frames longer I think if I did that I wouldn't try to like contain it in one little one one little spot but maybe you spend the day at the dog park photographing you know, photographing people all day every half hour you know you could do something so um that's actually a little dude and I think in venice uh he just came walking on the corner by himself okay? I was just walking around with my camera um and that some of these air yeah clients but it's really no different honestly the way I shoot I very rarely um and I think you'll get that when you see what I'm saying I'm gonna try to shoot in every scenario possible but I mean really I'm most of what I do is in my studio in my studio I do have window light so I would say it's like maybe sixty percent whose window light? Forty percent. I'm using my strobes in my large since off boxes and when I go outdoors on location, in clients homes, typically I am just using available light and reflectors. I will take studio lights into somebody's home and that's just not that's, not my style like a ce faras what I show people template, acclimate call me and they want me to do that. I'll pretty much talk them into coming to the studio because I have some unless it's because like, what the turkeys or they want, you know, there's something meaningful to them specifically, they want the house. Of course I will go to their house. But if it's just more of a convenience factor and they want me just come to the house, I could do I feel like better work for them if they come to the studio. And like this, some of these locations, I actually wish I had a shot of this not shot with my camera, like just, like zoom back, because this literally is like a dump of an area right behind the studio by this back parking lot that it's like this dirty street. And if I didn't shoot at that angle, you saw there's like a drainage ditch and, you know, so it's just by using beginning created with your lenses like that's what the seventy two hundred so I'm eliminating a lot of stuff and getting at the lower angle you can actually make locations that maybe two clients just normal I wouldn't be beautiful that you can make them, um be beautiful and again just goingto just different park type locations will do so this is where this is now the stuff the time that this would be the kind of stop that we booked because we created the pet market you know now that look like cool yeah okay, I'm gonna get my pets voter thiss isn't dog days now this is like we've transition teo people calling the studio and wanting to have photographs with their dog or just upped their dog or you know that I will do things like this for it's not just everybody looking at the camera and yeah, we have a few minutes I'll just this would be like a pet priceless this is actually our little pet priceless template but for um just normal sessions if, like we created this we actually our clients we do have ordering off of now we went through a few phases over the five years of we had priceless just for pets and that does work and that might be what somebody wants to like that work we've transitioned it too, like just all our sessions are the same priceless unless it's a limited edition but this is really good if someone wanting to dupe some packages or some collections this might be really great way to start and jump into the market and you know I love because we play on the words like it's okay? You know you've got socks collections toto's collections fighters collection and whiskers collections and then we just went through and picked a few different things that um we thought worked well with the pet photography made a lot of people like doing the art cards that was actually where it was just blank on the inside and are website on the back and just an image of their dog on the fronts they've used a missile notecards um the other thing oh here this one is this one is an eclectic this is actually a g w molding frame but we do these with all our clients not just pet clients but he's actually been really popular with our clients and all it is general show you guys on saturday morning how we make thes um because some of them we actually do blended they're not actually like boxed out but it's easier when they're boxed out but we do some blended ones as well but it's just like a package feels like on here we had it for two hundred dollars and includes the frame and the image so you know you have that client was like, you know, there's a siri's of images that would look cute together we sell a lot of these for like, dad's desk office and I'm talking just other sessions to now kids and families that's what this is a good product for so, um uh c oh there's a you know what? There's jewelry that's little key chain and we have a couple different cos we've used for jewelry there's kimbrough hitori planet jill and then these air the white house many accordion albums that was actually somebody that ordered just this year from dog days a little mini accordion so holds like to paint how you laid out ten, eleven, twelve images and it ends up folding up to like wallet size I actually have that one is a sample here. Um if you guys want to look at it christmas cards are huge I'm sure you guys know I mean that's huge for every type of photography but yeah, we've had clients just do christmas cards. Yeah, only their pets sometimes it's the people with the pets uh the one thing I'll just give you my quick two cents on holiday cards your clients are paying for you to advertise, so make sure your websites on there doesn't have to be obnoxious it doesn't have to be like big and bold but you know, you could just see even on a couple of these images um how it's pretty small and subtle but they're sending these out they're paying for your advertising and I look at it as if somebody bought something that like people want that on there like they paid and invested good money for that like that's the logo that's the brand like they if they're going to spend that money I mean for some clients that's something they actually would what on there so it's really been a non issue that's just always on all our cards but I keep saying it because I can tell you one of the things I love it christmas time is going my friends houses in people's houses and I dig through all their cards and I'm shocked at how many cards air in there still that there's no, I have no idea, no idea who shot it like you know it's professional but just there's no way to know who shot it and just there's a very big mistake opportunity there. Uh oh this is an example of the frames from white house that I just I just did actually sold a couple of those from this past dog days so there was like one with four and like this one with three but again this is just most of what I do I sell wall portrait or I sell some of the smaller products. I don't do a lot with matting and framing. I tend to sell like one larger print, but with this, this is actually a great ad on because for me, this is a really great out adam's I don't have to do any work. I mean it's like it's done like justice, all money in my pocket, whereas before it was like, oh, my gosh, like to deal with framing and manning and somebody doing all of that? I was definitely more of a hassle, the fact that that comes done, it's wonderful, organic bloom we've just started to do some stuff with just some fun. I've booked the samples I brought up there's, some funding options, that's, the gallery rap, so somebody won. I know gallery wrapped the last break. Um, so you guys, I'm sure familiar with that. We do. I really like the metallic gallery wraps. I think most of the gallery wraps we have in our studio, we actually do with the metallic finish. When we talk about the relationship displays, I've kind of transitioned a lot of what I do in those displays I do, the gallery wraps uhm just because it's, they're lighter way to move around and you don't have that investment, the framing and we have a lot of frames that I mean, a lot of our displays do have frames, too. But we've just found over the years, I mean, it's, easier to damage. And these are actually pretty durable gallery ups. But it's, like hauling frames back. And for that, I mean, some of them get pretty beat up and start to look pretty rough because we're moving them around. If they weren't getting moved around, it wouldn't be a big deal to some other framing, oh, here's example of a couple more of the eclectic, so actually that's, the one that we had here.

Class Materials

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Keynote Slides
Keynote Slides Day 2

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This was a great topic. I tuned in thinking I wouldn't be interested, and then, wow, it was fabulous. So fabulous I'm holding an event in two weeks time to launch my own pet photography and raise food for local homeless animals. Thanks so much CL team!

Carolyn Himes

Vicki Taufer is Brilliant as a person and artist. What an honor to experience her for the last 3 days. Thank you to Jed for your expertise and reminder that technology can help us all have time to play more and enjoy life more! Thank you creativeLIVE notch!

Student Work