Family Portraits


Family Portraits


Lesson Info

What Makes You Special?

I want to hear from you three about how you felt yesterday when I know he said a little bit about it but I want to hear the three things that when you left yesterday you were like this is going to stick with me forever the top three things that you know are now ingrained into your mind that will always be a part of what you do no good I'll start yesterday was hard I know that I'm going to definitely study posing families I work primarily with kids and I kind of do more lifestyle so I let them do what they want for the most part eh so I definitely have a lot of studying there to dio but in regards to some of the things that have really stuck with me as the nose on the glass and getting everybody up to the same level cause I love those nice sharp images and everybody with nice bright sparkly sharp eyes on dh then also we get back what we give so if we're comfortable with our clients and they're going to be comfortable with us because they can see it they can feel it just little kids pick...

up on all sorts of little signals and if we're nervous the kids are going to act that way too so we give what we we give we get what we get and then it's about the connections I can get so focused on all the actual technical stuff but it's really about connecting with the family and seeing how the kids just adored you and they wanted to go home with you so maybe wantto cabby was like mom can I visit michele in arizona I want to stay in our house so funny and it's like hugging me all like mom really can I do it mom can I stay there next summer and like you're welcome to come any time yeah so that's definitely those were like the three major thing that I'm gonna be taking back besides doing a lot of studying on posing good yeah yesterday was incredibly helpful just seeing the way you interacted with the family I think some of the big things were again the confidence just having confidence in what you're doing and projecting that to the the clients and then the way you interacted with them you never said smile or say cheese to get those silly smiles but just asking him if he was married or telling him not to smile or guessing what they had for breakfast or it's all the little ways you were interacting with them and not not patronizing little kids but just really having fun interacting with them and they really opened up to you and gave you these awesome smiles and got so comfortable with you and so that was that was really great to see and then um I think also just you kept reiterating the importance of good glass and it was really neat just to see because I don't yet have great camera equipment to see the difference that a really nice lens makes to think instead of you know going out and buying a kind of good lens to save up for a really good lens because it does make a difference yeah um on another side note if you can't afford them yet um wrentham there's lots of great rental companies now where you can rent uh lens for like a weekend if you have two or three shoots on a weekend go ahead and rent the lens until you can save up and buy it buy it so you know if you and especially lends you might want to just play with that you haven't used before um oh are ridiculously silly lens like you know two hundred two point oh I just have fun with that see what it does so but yeah thank you for me I would say I'm now going to be looking at locations differently I mean this is a gorgeous house and the lawn and the water and the background is beautiful and I probably would have gone to that from my posing positions and not really thought about those little ugly corridors and stuff that through your lens looked amazing yeah the lighting the background it was just really eye opening to see that not always go for the obvious joy and that it's important to remember and I want you to get to your other points as well but most people will see the pretty places first but I look for the light first where's the direction of light where am I gonna have light and then where's color texture depth so if you look out at the backyard visually toe I it's beautifully like oh it's a great view but from camera perspective it's not going to be a great background it's not going to offer us all of those things that make for a pretty background so the other two things I would say that the number of of combinations imposing that you can get just in one location with some simple changes you can get entirely different pictures without moving from from the particular location that you're in that was really helpful and then also the timing limitations for the different kid ages right that was really helpful because I think I didn't wasn't is tuned into how short of it attention spans some of the little guys would have and I think taking breaks is such a great idea absolutely yeah you can't force a two three or four year old to pull themselves together eleven year old twelve year old eighteen year old they're getting tired but they'll pull themselves together they have a much greater awareness and control of their emotions as opposed to two three or four year old so when you're starting to lose that age just let it go give him a break because it's probably been about two to three to four to five minutes and they just need a release they need to go do something else and then they'll come back and they'll be fine like noodles you know she wasn't she was melting down but we could pull her up and then we need to give her a break and then she need to go away again and so um yeah it was it was a good day I loved it um all right so today you're gonna have to like really dig deep right and um it's gonna be a little bit time consuming but I really want you guys here and you guys at home to sit down piece of paper so if you're at home and you're just kind of running around in the background listening this is the time what if really pay attention get your notebook get a pen get somewhere quiet maybe and just write down what makes you special whether that's in just generally in life in your relationships in your work whatever it is like what do you bring to the table that special for you I know this is a hard question and I don't want to go silent on you so I'll continue to talk but you've got to write down some things that make you special um anything you know sense of humor um you make the best chocolate chip cookies which you could serve to your clients when they come in the door because you make the best cookies you know um what makes your work special that kind of thing so if I was to ask each of you and causes a really dig down deep question what makes me special why are people going to choose me over someone else because most people think a lot of people think in terms of price well if I'm cheaper they'll come to me and it's so not true you know unless you're dealing with a specific price driven customer base maybe that's true but this is an emotional product it's a service it's something way deeper than just a price driven item there's levels of work there's levels of connective ity there's so many different things built into being a professional and you know getting a good price for what you do what makes you special what what's going to command that price so aaron what what makes you special how do you differentiate yourself ah it's the hardest question I'll ask you all day it's tough nobody wants to think of themselves that way nobody wants to be like you know I'm really special because you know I'm really special because I'm really special because right down I'm really special because say it but that is really hard question um having a hard time coming not with anything maybe because I'm a good listener okay that's good that's going to be great in consultation time when you're sitting with mom and she wants tell her story about her kids you're gonna be able to hear that connect with it take it all in and then use it when you're doing your session right cause you're you're a good listener you goingto retain that information so yeah it's awesome lisa I don't think I showed it yesterday but I think I can project confidence you do absolutely hook yeah yeah so your confidence and your work in your personality okay kristen and I would say I connect with people I'm in a safe place for them on guy one of the best comments I've ever received is somebody said that they could hear the laughter in my photographs and I thought that's exactly what I want to capture so that's that's a tagline and you have you can hear the laughter in my images you should be able to say that to people why our clients buying from you are they buying from you because like you're the best does the average consumer really know the difference between average good and phenomenal photography not really right and we think they do because his photographers we look around like oh that work is awful oh I do better work than that you know why aren't they coming to me I'm a better photographer in most cases that's how we feel well why is that studio down the street making so much money and why is he driving a really nice car when their work isn't even that good we kind of get all like it works not that good it's not about the work I mean it isthe right it's a byproduct you work needs to be good but why are they getting maybe more business than you are there's got to be marketing right the way they sell wave the position themselves in the market it could be a price to a certain degree maybe you don't want that clientele I mean that's a really important thing toe identify when you first start your business as well identify what your client iss we can't be all things to all people and if you're a people pleaser you want to be all things to all people and if you feel like if you can't make everyone happy you're not making anyone happy that's a problem I know for me there are people who are not my client and that's ok I'm okay with that you know um you have to be okay with that too you know you can't please everyone or you can't we can let's face it we all can't photograph everyone in our area so you have to identify who you want as a client what you connect with what your favorite thing to do is what you feel most passionate about you know there's some studios that do everything they do weddings they do commercial they do and that's great and they may have different people in those places if you're a small studio owner you work independently you may really want to decide what you want to focus on and make that your priority and maybe you still do other things but not where your main focus is and then who has remained client like we talked about the other day my ideal client is families with children ages eight and older because they're more established families they've been in there home longer mom and dad generally tend to have a little bit more disposable income because they're not dealing with babies and it's a new family you know they're a little bit more established in their careers mom is a little bit older she wants to look good she doesn't want a lifestyle type photography because that's not what I do and there's lots of people my area who do it it's beautiful it's great it's not what I do if you want a classic traditional beautiful pot's portrait you're gonna come to me if you want a candid lifestyle and that's okay I get it it's not what I do I'm not gonna try to do that because it's not what I like it's not what I my personal preferences so if you know like someone saying well would how would you know do running on the you know and I'll do a little bit if we're on in a scene where we can get that but that's not my priority so and are you educating them how are you educating your client to understand who you are is an artist who you are is a business person what that means for you and why they should come to you as artists we we really feel a lot that well I take really pretty pictures so you should come to me and we get very emotionally tied up in our own work they give someone doesn't like our work that's like a personal like problem for us you know if a name brand soda they have people who don't like their soda they don't care they have plenty people do right you might like one soda over another soda or pop or whatever part of country cola pop soda I say soda or you know there's a girl who used to work for me a long time ago used to say grace gel amina was earning great italian woman she said that's why they make chocolate and vanilla right penella is not for everyone chocolates not for everyone some people like both great but you have to be okay with that you have to be okay knowing well not everyone is going to like my style or if someone doesn't like what I do it's not a personal attack because we really are so emotionally attached to our photographs they're like a little piece of us I call them my babies when when prince go home where I deliver prints to a client's home like oh I'm bringing my baby home like I've delivered like you know adopted child teo I'm giving my child away on dh it's so great to go to a client's house and see my work on the wall and know that that's his home and so yeah we do get emotionally attached to our work but we need to be almost more business minded than attached emotionally to the work some point we have to cut off the emotional attachment to please buy my pretty pictures two I'm going to sell you a really beautiful portrait session and I know it's worth it because I'm really good at this and my connection with you is this and my style is this and you're going we know this is what you want to really have to identify that what's your favorite thing to photograph market that the most you're an expert in that I like a little bit of niche marketing you know I primarily photograph families that's what I love becomes me with a baby all former of your baby it's not necessarily what I push anymore what I market for this is this hard stuff what are you selling what are you really selling are you selling an eight by ten isn't that the first question everyone asks when they call on the phone how much is an eight by ten do you really think that's what they want to know but how many people do this you know I'm gonna talk and like weird obscure numbers right so it's a dollar eight by ten is one dollar oh well the guy down the street fifty cents whoa what do you do with that well that's a little too high for me well that's because we asked we actually answered the wrong question when people call we've actually answered the wrong question you know what that's a great question thank you for calling um I'd be happy to give you pricing but before I do that I have a couple questions for you what kind of photography you interested in oh I'm interested in having my family photographed awesome how many people are in your family oh I have three children all that's great how old are they oh too is such a great age oh for what we love that o or tuo tu is a handful you know that right yeah ok great are you in the area where do you live you know that kind of thing all of a sudden you're asking questions and the idea of the price is eight by ten which wasn't really original question or do you sell digital files can I get my digital files is that really what they want maybe I have a hole I'm going to get into this digital file thing maybe a little bit later because I will go off on a crate easy tangent but um so what do you really selling for me I'm selling expertise I'm telling moms I know camera height I know composition I know facial angles you know how to make you look thinner I know which angles every face we're going to photograph best I know how to find the best locations I'm selling expertise you know and I say this like most hobbyist don't know this so I'm not saying hey listen your neighbor down the street who just picked up a camera like costco two weeks ago isn't any good and and say that what I'm saying is what makes me an expert is this so if you really want a professional these the things you're going to be looking for so I'm selling an expertise you know you're looking for a plastic surgeon no one price shops a plastic surgeon just saying no one goes for the cheapest guy you want the best you want the best guy who's recommended by the best people who uses the latest greatest technology who was first in his class because it's an expert because you don't want to mess up something experience we're selling the experience yesterday totally sold that experience victoria was an actual client and she came back to me in a week to see those images she is excited she is like she can't wait to come in she can't wait to see him some of the kids were like hey can we go with you and I'd be like no it please don't bring nine children to a sale session that's a big problem but it's the experience of mike dyer was such a great time was a blast she was so great with our kids I had a good time I totally felt comfortable with her so I'm selling her on the experience I still haven't sold a print yet my knowledge of people of my craft of locations in my area that's another thing status yes there's a lot of times I'm just plain old selling status you know we live in a status symbol uh designer driven society right and sometimes it's almost better to be the most expensive in your area even though that can be very scary and because you're the most expensive in your area doesn't mean you're doing the highest amount of sessions however when people in my area say I have a michelle celentano portrait it's kind of a big deal I hope no one in my area is watching this my clients but they do they know that you know on there and it is it's a good thing because I work hard they know my work is beautiful people tell me all time all how is that so and so's house the other day and I saw a portrait I knew was yours and they had him shell celentano portrait so it can be a status thing people with money you know one that status thing that's why they drive the designer cars and the high end cars that they drive right that's why they dress in high end clothes and you know two religions and miss me and that new york's drums and saks fifth avenue and all the top places because that's what they're used to sew you almost need to become a luxury item which in this economy is still very possible right I think so anyway customer service you know how do you take care of your client's I make mistakes sometimes fall down things really always make up for it you know I don't totally how perfect I don't run this perfect little studio I travel things get backed up sometimes I'm not always on target and when that happens like whatever I can do to make you happy that's customer service customer services and getting it right all the time customer services when you get it wrong you do whatever it takes to make it right whatever it takes how can I make this right I'm so sorry you know I've been out traveling and my world's been turned upside down I know that doesn't matter to you and I know this is a little bit late how can I make it up to you send a gift whatever it takes uh identity when people identify me with my work they done if I with a certain style of work they identified with a certain price point you know so what is your identity I still haven't sold a print yet I'm selling all this this is really important what is your brand and this is common for a lot of photographers to change their brand or their look quite frequently there's so much graphic design out now that's available and easy to use and we're so like a d d there like always cheese logo oh she's a color scheme oh you know it just changes the way we look well if you do that too much people but they had that can identify with you think about the last time tiffany changed a color or font in their name and logo they never do they never will think about all the identifiable brands you know mikey doesn't change their soup up every couple of months to like you know make it more modern looking it's been the same for thirty years right and so I always say look for a classic brand and a classic style that will hold up over time that will stand the test of time if it's modern and trendy it's not going to stand the test of time so I would like to go for that higher and look a little bit more elegant a little bit more timeless something that in ten years if I'm still using it will still hold up that makes sense I know it's so easy to go oh look at this creep background and these new cards and this poke it out background and let's change it up you know and you could make some minor changes but what was last time coke changed their fun never and we're so like eighty got change fonts isn't working right change fonts all the time you know talking about relationships I think I probably have driven this point home more than any picnic suijk relationships and the key thing is if people really like you they're going to do business with you you could be the best photographer in town and being a jackass and they're like I wouldn't want to work with that person you know so price shouldn't be an issue it's an issue if your marketing you know top and clientele and you have lauren clientele you know really genuinely can't afford you that's a big disconnect but this isn't your client and you shouldn't feel bad if they call and they go wow that's really too expensive I would never spend that kind of money but I've had interesting things happen I've had people come to me and say you know when I first heard about michelle and people were telling me what they spent on our portrait I said oh my gosh I would never spend that kind of money on portrait like there's no way and then for whatever reason years later they end up coming in either maybe through a gift certificate or some kind of promotion I've done through through my community and they're like I never would have thought it but I spent it and it's it turns around it's really weird so cause I do ah there's a local theater group in my area and they put on productions and I'm a theater kid you know we talked about this so I always give doing a session and you know a certain kind of package for them that they raise money people by the silent auction so those people will come in because in their mind they're getting like a great deal like either getting in a little bit last night normally would but then they end up spending money and they go you know I know why I know now why people spend that kind of money makes sense there's a real difference and that's what I love to hear

Class Description

Learn family photography from Michele Celentano! You'll learn how to pose and light groups, but to be a family photographer you also have to be a psychologist, director, sales manager, a marketing director and postproduction expert. Spending three days with Michele will help you find the style of family portraits that you love, learn how to create portraits that illustrate family relationships and learn how to work with people of all ages, from newborn to 99.