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The Real Kids Event System

Lesson 10 of 23

Planning the Event

Lori Nordstrom

The Real Kids Event System

Lori Nordstrom

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Lesson Info

10. Planning the Event

Lesson Info

Planning the Event

This is something that I carry around with me if I'm talking to someone who is not my typical right client studio client that target client I'm going toe prop plugged them into the real kids program and so this is called the studio today and schedule your session or portrait event so it kind of gives them both of those options a marketing card that is just just tell us a little bit about the real kids events they're all very simple um I do have all the printed pieces here you guys on the audience have all the printed pieces are students here but like I said yesterday don't feel like you have to invest in all the printed pieces right away do one thing to start at another piece and another piece as you go even if you do one set of pieces per event they're inexpensive if you do it that way because you're gonna order sets of twenty five or two sets of twenty five from the lab and then you'll have extras after each event so this is a block card. This actually is not a printed piece this is ...

something that we have just a little the logo template ready to go and drop an image in from each one of our sessions so that after the real kids events we can upload to the block obviously everything's been ordered because we do the sales right there otherwise, on a normal session I do not believe in sneak peeks putting anything out before and janice's home going what uh and the reason is is because I do want to meet with my clients one on one I want teo give them that personal experience of their order appointment walked them through the process and if we're forgiving them sneak peeks they kind of over it, you know? And usually if we're doing a sneak peek it's going to be our favorite image and so if we blew the experience of showing them for the first time our favorite image in person and getting that reaction from them and that's kind of a spoiler almost instead of a sneak, so uh same thing with the regular sessions in the studio they are going to go on the block on the website on facebook you know, whatever after the order's been placed so here part of the system is we come home as we're pulling images for an order folder? Well, we're also pulling a favorite image that has been ordered that's going to go on the block and this is that block card and then what we do with this to help our clients market us is we go ahead and send them an email with this this image on it with a link to the blogged that says your child has been featured on lauren or some studios blogged and then they're going to forward this on to their their mailing list and that's what happens oftentimes is somebody just blasted out to all and you know that's great marketing for you that doesn't cost you anything. So whether it's you know for an event for a regular session or whatever it is give your clients away two very easily shot you out to talk about you we want to give them that power with just that newsletter in a link this is a certificate of authenticity this is something that we just print and have stuck on the back of all the prince all the prints that we do are hard mounted from the lab and um I have some I forgot to bring them in here they're out there but they they just get stuck to the back. I do sign these this's the only place I sign a print I used to sign the the front of my prince way back in the day because that's what I was told I was supposed to do as a hardest and I ruined a lot of prints. I don't have nice handwriting so now we sign the back and it's still kind of gives him that feeling of a piece of art because we've given them the certificate of authenticity so this is just a sticker and we peel it off, stick it back to the back of a print sign and date it and it says this is an original original work created by lorry north from studio has been printed on professional paper mounted, bonded and treated with a protective uv coating for lifelong durability all by professional laboratory laboratory experts I can't say that either today can get it all out uh and then laurie north from studio is proud to hold the copyright of this images that forth by the united states copyright law please enjoy enjoy this custom original portrait created just for you so it's all very you know wordy and whatever so you know but they gives that client kind of ah, you know it's a justification for the money that they just spent so that's something that we put on the back of everything um notice on these I don't have this branded with real kids I just have it branded with lori nordstrom studio and the reason for that is because I don't want to have two million sets of everything that I'm doing. I've got real kids rial seniors lauren are so studio they're all under the lorry north from studio brand our first year collection is called brand new you know everything sir significantly separately brandon but it all comes back together under lauren or some studio so anything that we're using on all pieces across the board were going to just brand laurie nordstrom studio in north from photo dot com this is an email header that again it's just a template obviously simple template but you can just drop an image in each time change it up usually when I'm sending out an e mail if it's going out to the entire ten families that are coming for an event or if it's you know whatever I try to gear it towards whoever it's going teo so if lisa who is our host for the event that we gonna be shooting here if I'm sending it out out an e mail for her then I'm gonna drop in an image of her kids and everyone so I will be doing an event where I don't have images of their kids and that's okay we'll just use this undamaged that I have in my portfolio but we want that available I'm also going to any personal communication that I have with the client after the event I want to drop in one of their kids as well because now I'm personalizing the email and what happens a lot of times is I'll actually have clients that'll emailed me back and say can I use this on the top of my e mails or can you send this to me so I can use it? I mean absolutely we're so happy to because it's got the website right on it so I want to get them again every single possible way that I can that they can shout us out just a thank you note I always have these printed we've got thank you notes that said on all the dust in the studio I want everybody to have the power to be able to write a thank you note at any time that they feel like you know, hey, I just want to give a shout out to this family um these kids whatever reason I love thank you know it's being written and so we put those into our workflow and want to have those available at all times and then this is our workflow envelope and we talked a little bit about workflow yesterday not a lot, but one of the things that I found in my studio on regular sessions on the sessions that we're doing on a day to day basis we have a super streamlined system in the studio and with a streamlined as we can possibly get it, I know we have eight to ten hours per client invested and that's a lot of time once you start to figure out, you know, as you break it down into ours and so with the real kids events, the time that we have invested is about half and the reason it even ends up to be that half is because I was still doing those personal consultation calls I'm still really planning with them along the way we've got half a session half a sale typically our sessions or an hour our sales are an hour, so with the events half an hour half an hour and then we've got another half an hour on the phone we've got a half an hour that we plan for packaging order placing all the good stuff that comes along with it and really and we'll talk about this more when we're talking about pricing tomorrow, but even when you're thinking about pricing, think about if you're considering an hourly rate wage, you know, think about all the time that we put into the investment of our businesses and our clients that don't even have to do with the physical client being in front of us. You know, there's a lot where we do social media, we come to workshops, we watch creative live we, you know, were invested in all these things were learning new software where you know the delivery of things if you're on location, you're driving places there's so much involved that is not ever we don't think through the placement of the profit at the end of the day, so think about that is you're going through and I'll walk you through those steps tomorrow, but what the workflow envelope does is with our with our workflow, we wantto have everything that we're going to do with this client from start to finish on the front of the workflow envelope so the real kids of that looks a little bit different than our studio workflow envelope but it's the same case in the studio work flow start to finish and then there's a place next to each part the workflow that gets to be checked off and initialed so as you bring on team members is your uh you know, other people are doing part of the work flow they can actually initial and you can pick up that envelope it anytime see what's been done and see who did it and I know for me even when I was doing things all on my own I needed a system like this because I would get to the place where especially if you're doing an event and you've got ten clients all in one day and then all of a sudden the next week somebody's calling you and asking you a question you're like, I don't know I don't know I don't where I am on that order, you know? And you get a few orders juggled in this in your business and oh, I don't I don't remember if I place that order. I don't remember if I talk to that person or what I talked to them about and in the beginning for sure you think every time I talk to somebody I'm invested in this I love these people I'm gonna remember everything they tell me and then a week later you're talking to on the phone what's that kid's name and you know what? What did they tell me last week? So I want to make sure I write everything down so we actually have this printed on eleven by fourteen I think is the size with the legal size on the loop, right? Um envelopes and I can take notes on the back I can put notes inside if I've got an email from somebody that might be something I need to come back to at some point I'm gonna print it I'm not going to go searching for it in my email box, I'm gonna print it and put it in their envelope so it's right there with their stuff all the time I also I'm going to put in this envelope as soon as the events over I'm pulling an order folder and I am archiving all the images and I've long past gotten past the days where we used to say, you know, everything that's ordered will be archived. Everything else is going to be gone and we actually used to say that and I got to the point where I'm not throwing those images away, I'm not trashing him, I can't tell somebody I'm gonna get rid of their images, so now if someone asked, I do tell them we're always gonna have them obviously that's not something that I'm going to just tell them if not ask because a lot of times it's that little stall it's that objection to, you know, making that final decision well, are you going to keep these? Maybe I'll order more later, we all know they're not going to order more later, so I can't tell them anymore that I'm not going to get rid of those images. However, I do want to make sure that I have prepared with them so that they're ready to place that order when the time comes, so order envelope allows them tio allow that my staff and myself to go through each step, make sure everything's done everything's initialed dating it is great as well. If you're not, you're just getting into a system he might wanna date things so that you can kind of track how long it takes you to get through in order, but we just I have everything there the notes on the side or is a place that I could just scribble things about the kids or something that maybe, you know, a frame that came back a certain way that I thought was going to look like something else, you know, that could be any any notes that we want to put there, so this is, um, it's and it's, not a template tent, kenna um but it is it just a print out of j peg that you can print when you order the course, so we'll have that. Okay, that was where I was supposed to end yesterday way didn't miss to my right. That wasn't he that okay, so does anybody have any questions about just the studio pieces? Collateral that we use now I raise good. I think there were a couple of just minor question. Okay, a question from karin t in montana are the stickers for the back of the photos archival. They are meant there on the back of the mounting, which is archival, so I don't worry about him. They're not going toe. Get to the print. Any other questions? Questions me on just one quick question. Do you put a when you're archiving? Do you put an actual dvd disk image in the envelope of that order? I do, yes, thank you. Did I not? Well, you were prepared to it, but I just wasn't sure exactly what we do. I think you're really track, but we burned the disc and put it in, and then I burn a second disk of the order when it's completely finished and back so every every single thing that we do if we deliver a slideshow, whatever, it's, all on one dvd so there's never less than two backups of anything that I do it's on the computer it's on a dvd it's I don't I don't take it off the card until it's in two places and I love that because it's faster if you're going through to find your that is I'm always searching hard drives and I have how many hundreds but if you have an actual dvd in the envelope yep. So organized and then what we do is we we delete all the raw files from each client once the order is delivered, we delete all the raw files from the computer the j peg stay there they don't take up a whole lot of room and that way when there is a re order or somebody calls it here later and if something happened to a print whatever, we were always able to replace it very quickly so that we have with the drove oh system back up and everything is archived there is well so we can we can get to that. But if something ever happened and we had a horrible crash or something, those dvd back ups are always there. So I always recommend keeping your backups at least on two different mediums because as we all know now you know your hard drives are not forever your computers are not forever we don't know if the dvds air forever you never know you know at one time we thought cassette tapes were really cool so so who knows so okay so before we move on to today I want to just hear from you guys but there is one more question or another ass see I said would you charge a client conditional feed to pull from the archive to encourage ordering at front I actually don't and I and that's one of those things to work if you have a problem with that but that's something any time you have any objection or any stall in your ordering process write it down and figure out how you're going to cover it before it comes up and so if I was continually having that issue then I would probably you know come up with us away since for me I can't say any more I'm gonna get rid of your images that he don't don't order um but I but I don't have a problem with it we do have a minimum reorder and so it's that's a little bit you know kind of takes care of that issue nobody's going to call me disorder a four by six so it's ah you know you could use that as it as something to you know absolutely you're welcome to re order at any time our minimum order is x it's a great thing and I don't even know what minus e don't even handle that part much anymore. All right, you guys. So what was something that you could throw out that was from yesterday? Yes, ernie um uh run your business like it's franchise that hit me pretty hard um meaning I have ernie superego dot com it's you know, sometimes I go wow, I have I'm a small business owner I have my own company but in my past, you know, cos I used to work for they will franchise there were franchise and so I thought about that and it just hit me like there's certain level of accountability that you have when if you run you're business like it's a franchise so because we have to have our own if we have to hold ourselves I have to hold myself accountable for the success and so that really hit that was that was a good point from a great it was big, strong okay, anybody else go ahead? I learned a whole lot yesterday it was a really fantastic day, but because photography is such an emotional thing with our clients and world is there's so much self doubt and whether we're pleasing the people that were working with usaid yesterday to trust your choices and trust yourself and be more of you and that's where your success comes from and I that really kind of hit home with me to just trust my instinct working with people like that we also I'll learned what our best side wass e watching five minutes of the replay right alright, kristen you're gonna think that I was struck by the conversation that we had about the e meth and about how how you were saying that most photographers are we think that we're entrepreneurs and um but we're really not but I actually am because I have so many different projects and I actually was viewing that from a negative space before yesterday and thinking to myself, how am I supposed to streamline all of this? But you know, after we had that conversation I was like cannon approach this as these air all different product lines that I can provide under my brand and that really was just like a light bulb for me I'm like, okay, this is a good thing I have all of these diversified projects, but I can hold them under my company and I thought that was really valuable. Awesome. Levitt miley s so for me that I'm just a starting with photography and like being here and learning so much with everybody that has so much more experience and I work with with theresa a dissident for his body what do you say about dreaming now, it's exactly what's happening to me because I didn't have any clue that's going to work with photography and it's just I happen to be, you know in my life and it's just amazing so I'm I was very tought it was very thoughtful to to hear the dreaming like what you having why now I really appreciated all of your different ideas for marketing to other businesses and the displays and I'd always wonder you know how to make displays effective so I really appreciated that awesome okay great um laurie peanut says the biggest takeaway idea from yesterday was the birthday sessoms for kids I've always I've been wanting to do fund stylized birthday session so this was a good way great way to get in so and heart pick said my biggest ah ha moment was learning to structure your business to fit your life not to let your business rule your family life yeah all right often we will move on so today's the big day um we are we're down to two sessions today you guys instead of three but that's ok because we'll get to send spend more time with just running through the sales process at the end and we'll make good use of that time we've got two sessions with little kids two sets of little kids so that'll be fun we'll have some fun in here and, um lots of chaos, which I kind of like I always tell moms that you know if somebody tells me all the boys I just don't know, you know I'm like I like I'm naughty thickens the mom a lot of confidence coming into the session if I've calmed herders and I learned that from doing newborn sessions because there's so many things you have to tell a new mom you have to tell him your baby will cry your baby is going to pee I poop and puke on my stuff and it's all okay you know you've gotta warn them about these things because what happens is a new mom comes into the studio and the baby goes to the bathroom on stuff and she flips out and things of the heart fault because I didn't prepare her and so I had to learn you know to prepare for all those things and I tell them your baby's gonna cry and they're gonna cry a lot that's what babies do and it's okay I'm here to handle that for you and then what happens is if they get them in early enough like they're supposed to they don't cry it's a great session and then moms think I have the most perfect baby in the holes in our world you know lori said that they all cry all the time so it works out either way whether it's a cry baby or not and so I learned that that's kind of the same way to go into a session is to really talk about to mom about her kids and about their personalities and if she's telling me you know my daughter's stage five clinger you know I don't know how you're going to get her off of me, you know, we can talk that through and I can you know, let her know somethings that we're gonna work through and you know, the boys are not ears she's a brad or whatever I'm gonna tell her that's okay, I like that I like seeing those personalities and that's what I'm going to photograph you know, over here we've got little boys on swings and the little out take that's down here hold they had one of them had a dinosaur one of them had a teddy bear kind of those things that little boys and they didn't want to get rid of those during the session and so there those are things that I have to communicate to mom, you know it's so great to see them with those toys that they can't get rid of because that stage is going to be gone really soon and if I don't say that to mom, then she thinks oh, I can't believe they had the stupid dinosaur in the picture but if I can tell her what I'm seeing this is not gonna last forever then all of a sudden she's gotta have that image that's that's her baby with his favorite toy you know, and these these two little boys were crazy they were all over the place and the home where we did this event had the swing set in the jungle gym and they wanted to be on it constantly and so it was kind of one of those okay, show me a trick now let's do this let's you know we're back and forth but then within fifteen, twenty minutes you get these you know, the great expressions and the kids just being kids and that's really what it's all about and so communicating those things to mom this little girl she doesn't have a ton of hair on her face but even this much hair in her face with all the strands and stuff sometimes I'll have people that will ask me photographers that will say, why do you get rid of all that? No, no, no I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna tell mom I loved her messy hair in her face it was so great and it's just you know that is such a precious presses precious age said that she could just be a little girl I mean, if I didn't say something to mom about that's her look yu she was sticking that tongue out like, you know, every thirty seconds that time oh yeah that's what I see you are going to love the images that we got because I just let her be her you know, if I didn't say that mom's going to see this image and she's going to go that tongue I wish you'd get it in her mouth you know oh our hairs in her face you know whatever but you can take somebody who is you know little girl with hair blowing across her face and the wind and never connecting with you during a session and go into back into the house or talking to mom's during the order appointment and you know feel like oh I just I don't know if I got the shot I don't know you know the wind was blowing her hair all over the place and she never really connected with me she was like in la la land the whole time you know I have that feeling or you can go into the house and say you're going to love what just happened outside she was doing her own thing loving life she forgot I was even there the wind is just blowing her hair beautifully and you are gonna love what we captured now mom has to have the portrait you know where five minutes ago if I wouldn't have said anything you should tell her hair's in her face she not even looking at the camera you know it's a total different perception of how we are seeing things and communicating things so that's part of working with the moms is really talking through what I'm seeing in their children and carrying that through into the order appointment by the time we get to the order appointment I have already, and the moms we have today, I haven't been able to have much communication with in fact, one of them I was sending an email to about three o'clock this morning, uh, that I had been able to communicate with, so hopefully she gets it before she gets here, but, um, but typically and these sessions, you know, it's the progression of host mom calls and makes that initial connection she sets the appointment she's planted the seeds. This is what laurie specializes in is while they corps, if asked she's going to say, you're probably gonna end up spending about a thousand dollars and that's ok for people to understand that the progression of pricing with this and what I've offered with these events has really changes well, and and I'll actually show you tomorrow, the actual price sheets and what that has looked like. But originally it was just just prince in the packages and a little album, storyboard or dad's desk like a little death strip with three images. We had couple framed options, but it wasn't all framed along with albums in the top package, the little albums. And so we went from that and did that for awhile and then I decided you know what? I really want to be able to frame stuff I was working with people enough on framing anyway after the events that this event is is so streamlined for taking care of everything on that day and I was having a lot of lead off on the back end of people saying hi, I think I would like to see framing what was causing the extra work on the end well so why not take care of it? They're so then I added frame this collect shin four so it still had the same package prices but we added on framing so they could make that choice so we did that for awhile and then what happened was I would have people that would be interested but they weren't making decisions that day because we weren't leading them through the process like our regular clients. So then the evolvement came that okay uh you know, if this is really what I want to sell, then why not show them finished just like we do with our regular clients? They can still be streamlined, they're going to choose from four different packages I do get one or two clients from almost every single event that want to take it a step further, so they've plugged into the cheaper session fifty dollars per kid they I know that they want to do something for their wall but they want to go up above and beyond they want me to custom design something for them if I can't do it before the event that's ok I know they're gonna justify that me spending the extra time on the back in because they're going to spend the money for to have a custom design the rest of the clients I probably have won every event that doesn't order a package the rest of them fall into that made karen category where they choose a package and so that's why now the involvement has come to we offer every package is a wall gripping and it comes framed they get a genny to one of these are a walk grouping so this is package a here it comes with three ten by tens they khun do any colors I'm pre choosing colors for them based on the walls that they sent me but we can change them if they want to almost always they see it done and I've chosen colors based on their decor style if I can't really tell I'm going to ask him you know the idea of earthy tones in here what's I can't really tell by the picture that you sent and then I'll design something for them again we can change it but that's package a along with two of the tabletop frames and prince and then package b is the three eight by twelves that air over here and those you can hang three vertical you can hang three horizontal stacked you can hang it like this there's a lot of different options and I'll be showing you in preview how I can move it around and kind of make it right for for the client package c is this grouping here with a sixteen my twenty and to ten my tens so again, lots different ways to arrange that we can stack the two ten my tent on the side and then package d is this this over here with the parisian frame sixteen by twenty four and three eight by eight set hang underneath or a lot of times they'll even have somebody that chooses this collection that will hang that sixteen by twenty four somewhere and hang the three trembling somewhere else in the room so they kind of compliment each other in the room. So either way we're you know we're working with people to really decorate a space and that's what has made the portrait events so different and so profitable is that we're we're carrying out the specialization of the studio even in these events so you know whether that's the direction you want to take is to really make it that, um you know, boutique style and go to the work of the framing and all that there are ways to do it with without, you certainly can do it with prince like I did it in the beginning. You certainly can do it with an option at on frames and again, I'll show you all that tomorrow, but this wanted to kind of go through that. Those are the things that we're preparing mom for all through the process is getting her excited about, you know, just want their home in anyplace you would even consider hanging in portrait this once you take a snapshot of that wall for me, and then I've got options to give them, I'm sending them those options before they ever come to their session, so they're actually getting to see empty frames, they don't have pictures in them, they're going to see the empty frame sitting on their wall, so it takes about five minutes to put a grouping together. It's not lickety split, but, you know, he used to be spent five minutes and put a put a grouping together and then there's just a little snapshot that you can take right in previews and you send them that that wall grouping so it makes it really nice working with the kids, that's a whole other ballgame, and, well, you'll get to see a lot today because we've got to set the little kids. But one of the one of the biggest things that I think for me and my personality and we talked about that yesterday that you kind of have to work with kids in any subject your photograph based on who you are, but I don't really try to direct kids an awful lot I'll play little games with them, we toss balls in the studio, I get a lot of nerve balls ping pong balls are great because you can not hurt anything and they usually don't go anywhere you're thinking they're going to go so the kids laugh um, you know, there's a lot of little things that you could do like that we I don't have the type of personality to do you like crazy faces on my camera and, you know and stuff like that, I've never done any of those kind of things, but I do we'll sing, we'll play games, I will not sing here today e I play music in the studio and that's always fun to and that's another thing that I'll ask the moms about on the phone is you know what music they're into right now because you'll be, you know, crazy surprise at what three year olds are saying and what songs they like, you know, they're they're one you know, crazy stuff that I don't want my fourteen year old, isn't it too but it's great teo get a song that you know okay they're going to dance to this so they're gonna sing to this and so all the sas mom what's what's your favorite song where the into sometimes it's it's disney sometimes it's whatever crazy diogo lady gaga is out there you know it's always something different but it's great to ask along with asking them about snacks and smarties they're great to have around I'm sure you guys all all know that but there's also cem a lot of gluten free stuff now that you know we've I would say probably twenty five percent of our moms there's some food allergy that they're talking about either they're kids can't have gluten their kids don't do dairy their kids don't do peanuts you know, whatever it is that they're so something and so they really appreciate being asked another thing I always have with me that I don't have here is hand sanitizer and mom's really appreciate seeing you use it um you know, especially when you're hacking like I am right now, you know, if they're cd a coffin there they appreciate you coming in and washington's I do that with with the newborn sessions, the other sessions we always just wantto have and I'm not even a believer in hand sanitizer honestly but it's that the moms appreciate seeing it so we always kind of have that on him all right finding the light and places to shoot always at one of those tricky things when you're working in clients homes and backyards for me, for me working in kinds backyards is a personal choice that's how I started in the business and when I when I started the portrait events I really wanted every single thing about them to be different than what we do in the studio I don't ever did for anybody to say well, why would I come and do you know a full pay for full session and those prices when I could do real kids that's not going to come up because they're completely different? The only thing that is the same is that the specialty is well decor so we do packages instead of ala carte we do outdoor and somebody else's backyard instead about the studio and I do shoot outside of the studio a lot but it's still them coming to me in my location and I'm far away from everybody in a tiny little town so you know so that's different as well it's more convenient for them I am encouraging people to talk to their neighbors and get people around them involved so it's it's more of a local thing so we the sessions are shorter they do the sail immediately following everything that I could think of I wanted to be different but one of the things that I told you guys yesterday when I started it was hand hand painted or black on my hand painted porches of children that was my specialty see, and then over the years I've realized that I had to start photographing newborns because I was gonna lose the children's market if I wasn't photographing the newborns purse because somebody else would get him. So I started photographing newborns and about ninety nine two thousand and actually became known as a maternity and newborn photographer that was really the majority the bulk of my business because I made that decision is to go I have a photograph newborns I'm put it out there that I am a newborn photographer and then all of a sudden I started not having as many kids to photograph which wasn't that's kids are my favorite and so in two thousand nine when we decided we're going to start this new product line, I wanted to be wanted it to be all about kids and so that's part of the reason it's sitting up through fourteen the other reason is because I want those newborns of first year clients in the studio and I want the seniors in the studio but sitting up through fourteen made perfect sense to me and also made sense to me to do outdoor natural light sessions because that's not the concentration in my studio so again anything that we could do to make it different it's still my style it's always close up it's always kids being kids always black and white so it's it's still my style but it's it's a little bit different than my studio portrait so when I go to somebody's house I don't ever go and pre scout out a house I don't do that even with weddings it's just not part of my mojo I'd rather go and have to be creative in the spot that I'm in. And so when a mom tells me even, you know, all my backyard is not great or I don't know where you're going to shoot by teller that I tell you no that's okay that's my job to find the light figure out where I'm going to shoot and I will tell them because mom's lookit stressed out about well, you know, I'll make sure the flower garden is okay by then or I'll make sure I've got this pathway finished or, you know, she's worried about all kinds of things that I am never going to see in the images, and if I don't tell her that she's going to be disappointed because I'm not showing off her beautiful garden or her beautiful pathway or sports or whatever, so I've got to tell her, you know what? None of those things matter this is all about the kids, their expressions in their personalities so I wanted to put that out of her mind and it really is I mean if you look around you know any of the images and the images that you've seen you know here it's I'm always shooting as wide open as I can I don't care about the background I obviously want the background to be and continue on with the with the subject that foreground subject and background continuity is very important so you know even even something like this I don't know how close up you guys can get to this but we've got a fence line in the background here drives me nuts but this was a special little moment captured or these guys this is in the same spot over here with them holding the little teddy bear same spot but I moved my camera angle so that I wasn't getting this fence line we kept it because mom loved this you can't even see one of the little boys faces but again we're talking about moments you know these moments between these two little boys so we kept the shot normally if I was doing this at home in the studio I would never show this so you know so that's kind of the difference too we're showing it because it's immediately following the session but I always wanna watch for those kind of things um just really careful about the background finding light when you're working outside is something that, uh I'm looking for reflection off of natural surfaces, so whether it's the white on the side of the house or the driveway and I have had moms give me crazy looks when I've my favorite place to shoot all days the driveway what you've got a great light, a lot of times in the driveway, another place for great light and especially if it's a your in seattle and so rainy day open up the garage door and right on the edge of that garage door. You've got really beautiful light a lot of times coming in because you've got the nice overhang that's going to protect tickets from the elements, but you've got great reflective light from the from the driveway and so, you know, look for those different places and a lot of times it's just a matter of moving your camera angle to avoid ah hose on the wall or you know, something that's gonna mess up your background, so I always want to look for that I shoot pretty tight, as you can see when I'm outdoors, I almost always shoot aperture priority and as wide open as I can go, so if I've got little kids kids take typically I'm gonna shoot if it's one, I'm a shoe two point eight if I've got to go, I'm going to shoot three point two and kind of go from there I'm gonna shoot always as wide open as I can in the studio, and we'll talk about studio settings when we get the lighting set up. Um, that's, of course going the manual and different, but average your priority outside. And did you have a question? Um, as far as shooting in living rooms are you? Do you have your radio poppers with you? Are you using off camera? Because that's, what I usually do is all bring just one light set up with me and shoot off camera? Yep instead, and when I go to somebody's house, I used the exact same setup I do at my studio, and we'll use that here tomorrow morning if not today, I'm not sure yet if we'll use it or not. I've got a meter and stuff in here, but it's, I use one larson, soft box four by six ofthe box and one reflector, and I'm using photogenic strobes with my soft box and the radio poppers, so I am using strobes, and one of the things that I love about the studio light is that we're going to freeze motion, and so you know, when you're outside and you're running around chasing kids, you're gonna have soft images, I mean, it's, just part of the game. So it's I I overshoot a lot more when I'm outside because you're shooting and making sure you got it locked and focus and you know um and with the events you have to be careful of that and you get rid of one you know right away it's also another reason why I don't like mom's following me around is because I am deleting in camera and mom's kind of freaked out if they see you deleting pictures of their kids so it's true so I am if anyone ever asked me I just tell them I'm checking my settings and in the studio I will do that before I shoot any siri's of images I'm gonna I'm gonna say I'm just going to take a test shot I'm gonna shoot and check it and learn to use the back of your camera in that way and not be afraid to look at the back your camera I I know for me in the beginning I was always was I would never look at the back of my camera in front of a client because it was two thousand and two thousand one when it was such a stigma to be digital so I don't want nobody to know what you know now everybody else so it doesn't matter but they used the back your camera can I ask one more question do you move your lighting set up for once you've got it set up it's set up once it's set up it set up and it beat and because with the events I want one outfit they're not going to change clothes and I want one location and so if we choose to make it an indoor location it's all going to be the same for an event so today we're going to shoot on a brick wall, a white brick wall and both of the sessions that we shoot will be shot in that same spot because it's an event and it's all going to be consistent so you know I'll bring other elements into the scene and especially if I'm shooting indoors in someone's house it's really fun because you've got new props to use so I'll go and I'll do a scout out before we start the event and I'll just tell him I'm going just got out for some props and I'll bring in ottomans and chairs and you know uh this little toy box would be great to use so we can just pull some stuff around we could even throw pillows on the floor you know it's in and typically in someone's home I will bring a background with me but I very seldom use it I'll always have one is a backup but typically I just want to clear a space on the wall and I'd rather use something that looks natural that's you know a while with a baseboard and a floor that looks natural when I'm doing these events totally different in the studio before the events I wanted to look, I wanted to be that real kid, real life, so and that's the philosophy, but that doesn't make it right for everybody but that's that's what? Ideo? Any other questions about that? Good. All right, um, some of the looks moms have tohave are some of the things that I I already talked about, but I always want to make sure that I'm just capturing their their personalities and really who they are. Ah lot of my images do not have kids looking at the camera and, you know, back in the day, I know that that was a thing where you I always get that off camera profile shot that's not what it's about it's just about kids doing their thing, whether it's looking at a flower, playing with a toy or um, you know, laughing and looking up in the air, whatever it is, I am not worried about them looking right at me, I want them to be doing what they're doing the way that we can get mom's toe love those things is by talking about them and communicating that to mom, so I was want to go in and tell her what just happened, and this works no matter what age you're photographing even high school seniors I always want to talk to moms about what I saw in their child because it's still their child and a lot of time is even it at that high school senior time they're kind of having a little bit rocky nous especially moms and daughters and even moms and sons when they come in sometimes and they're at each other because she wants him to wear this and he is refusing and so having these moments and so I want to bring it out as soon as possible, you know, this is he is an amazing kid and here's what I see um another thing that I always do and this reminded me because of high school seniors and this is how it started, but with high school seniors, I always ask them, is there anything that you're nervous about afraid about? Is there anything that you are, you know don't like photographed and you would be amazed at the things you hear and then I also want to ask him, is there anything that you want to make sure that I feature and they'll tell me? You know, I hate the way this looks are my smile looks fake and pictures or I've gained ten pounds this year and I'm really self conscious about it, whatever it is, they will tell you all kinds of things if they're just asked and so I've learned that if I can ask them that, and they told me you everybody says, my my smile looks bacon pictures, and, you know, I'm really self conscious about it and that's, something I can communicate to them during the session, I can say your smile looks so natural, I love when you laugh, you look amazing and keep telling them these things that I'm seeing, and then if you tell him that it's gonna happen, you know, and so learning that from the senior session and taking it into working with children it's kind of that same thing communicating with mom, is there anything that makes you a little nervous about having the kids photograph that's when I'll get those answers about? Oh, my gosh, I don't know how you're gonna control these kids out of freaking control, you know? And so that gives me the opportunity to then then to say, you know what? I love it when they're a little naughty, it's totally fine, or they'll say, you know, well, she's really shy right now and whatever they're saying, I want to communicate back to her that that is okay and that's part of what we want to capture in that child, so those are the looks that end up being ten years ago when I'd be photographing if I was having some of those things happening in the session, I'd be kind of oh, dear. What? What are they going to say about this? Are you gonna tell me she's bite? Not her finger. They're going to tell me. You know, I had a little boy years ago who? He was about two years old and he had his blankie that he would not let go of and sucked his thumb. And his mom was constantly take yur hand on yur turn. You know, she was mad. And to the point of the little boy ended up crying through most of the session because she was just wanted that. And finally, it just hit me in the head. This is who this kid is right now. This is two years old for this child, and I'm not going to say the name because the mom's a now photographer and she's probably watching he's a good friend of mine but she knows who he is. But, you know, it was one of those things where it was that hit me in the moment face and we finally let him do his thing because I told her, you know what? This is gonna go away you're gonna love this is how you see him every day we need to capture this and so finally she let him be and eunice thank his thing and the thing that she ended up with a wall portrait of and I ended up competing in competition was second system with his little blanket hanging out he was in a diaper not, you know, not even in his clothes and he's and we were outside two years old and that they ended up with a large wall portrait of it and I competed it hand painted the blanket blue and called it little boy blue because he had this little sad look on this dais so you know those moments that we can transfer into really precious memories for parents I always want to look for this stage that the child is in right then that's what we're capturing and photographing and if I can I'll take that into a regular session as well when we do this session tomorrow morning we're going to photograph a whole family and it's something that's very important you know, we talked yesterday about how we get those dads to the session and at the times that I want a photograph and when they do when they come in the door, I'm gonna always make sure that I'm telling a dad, you know, thanks so much for coming today this really means a lot to your family this is a really special time and I really appreciate you and a lot of times that puts the whole session into perspective for them all of a sudden mom is going oh, maybe I do like you today and you know and it's it's always it's like that thing of a family getting ready for church on sunday mornings you know, everybody's at each other the kids are throwing hair brushes at each other moms laying out clothes and everybody's like rare grabbing breakfast on the way out and then you get to church and you're there and everything's fine and that's that's the kind of thing I mean our client's prepare for so long and especially the moms they're getting close together they're trying to get the hair just perfect getting all these things done and if we can first of all calm that in the in the communication process from the beginning letting mom no, I just want them to be them don't worry about it doing hair any other way than you would normally do it don't worry don't worry about anything just bring you I can let her know that from the beginning and the session's gonna go much easier then I'm gonna let dad know how much we appreciate him being there and all of a sudden cellphones don't matter anymore they don't worry about getting back to work if I tell dad when he comes in you know I I love the way your little girl just thanks you're the best thing ever, you know she she's daddy's little girl and you can tell you no guess what he wants me to see for the rest of the session he's not thinking about anything else except for making sure I know that's daddy's little girl and then they're going to see that in the order appointment and they're going to see it again when it's hanging on the walls that's what they're going to remember is the experience they had during the session is what they're going to see in their images so think about that is as you're photographing and even as we photographed today and tomorrow how we can turn that into the the sale all right? And that leads right into the star experience and that's that's just what we call the some thing to always remember experience and goes back to what we talked about yesterday kind of um, you know, giving them something to talk about if they're excited when they leave and had a great time and you treated their kids wonderfully the kids are excited, you know, it's it's a whole different experience that they can get excited about talking to their friends about and I love when it's the kid who actually, you know, we'll go out and say I had so much fun today, you know, isn't it a great thing when when you're doing a session and usually kids are leaving and they're mad because I had to have their hair brush and they had to put on certain clothes. But if they have a great time, that means so much to a mom. So I always think about something that you can do to kind of take it a step further and make it a great experience that they want to talk about. You're gonna say something. Miley that's a stretch? Yeah. All right, I think. Oh, this is our checklist for the day. Do we have time for this? Okay. Okay. We got lots of time. No preparing for the event. This is the checklist that we just print out in the studio and make sure we go through everything before a neve ent. How many times have you got in some place and not had something that you needed? I'm the worst. I mean, I have to have a checklist or nothing. Nothing happens. Uh, I am kind of known before leaving and stays e who just had a baby I know is watching this and she's gonna laugh, but I'm known for leaving my studio coming back, kitty. So I forgot this and then it halfway down the road again, turning around, coming back and getting something else. So we can't do that with events you've got ten sessions to prepare for, so we've got this checklist that we go through everything from your gear to the backgrounds and lighting that you're going to take teo all that any printed pieces that you need for the event I take along of course the model releases that client profile sheet the order forms order appointment cards if we're going to do something that is a, uh like a regular studio event that we're doing that they're coming back to the studio for we're going to the host your own cards and that's the one that says, hey you host your own party here's what how you can do that we're going to take along props if it's a theme basing a lot of times I'm just asking mom to bring something I'm gonna ask her on the phone what's what is he into right now? What are they into right now and she's going to tell me? And I'm gonna ask if that's appropriate the one session that we're going to have later this afternoon was they had the twelve fourteen and sixteen year old that I had said go ahead and come well communications had crossed and the sixteen year old had planned something else and they decided that since they couldn't just they couldn't do all three they we decided let's do it so but they were all musicians and so the middle one was saying and the other two played instruments and so I said well just bring your instruments and have the middle one bring a microphone we'll have some fun with that so just by asking you know we can kind of pull that out what we want toe have for the event and then I also want to take a sample so you know an image box a dvd uh case on album I want to take those difference thing so that they can see them don't worry when you're starting if you don't have all those things get one thing at a time get one thing per event and say if I sell this many packages at this event I'm gonna get an image box for for show and it's even okay if you do it with your own kids that's totally fine again I would I would look at that like I would having a home studio I want to decorate with portrait's of my kids because I want to say this is important to me and I value portrait's as well so don't worry if you have to get samples of your own kids I think that's perfectly logical and you can even you can verbalize it very positively why it's your own kids you know I want I want you to know how important photography is to me so those are all the things that we take alone that checklist that you'll have so ok and that's going into the next thanks so let's take some questions all right? Also we're doing great today right on schedules starting the audience earning hi means high maintenance super high me do you handle it all at the front end? I mean, you have a very calm demeanor, you know, family imagine we'll see it today. Sure. Yeah. You know, a part of the high main it's mom thing is somebody's coming to your studio, your business or you're going to them for the first time that's gonna happen a lot more than if someone's referring to you and an event is a referral so they're calling their friends, saying, this is my photographer I love her even if it's that first one that you're doing and it's not actually a past client you still worked with this one mom who's communicating to her friends that this is how it's going to go. And so as long as you're in, I am very calm and I'm pretty passive about most things, but as far a structure I'm you know, this is how this is going to go. This is what I need you to communicate and it's not in any kind of aggressive or controlling way, but it is a system and I think it's pretty obvious when I'm talking to them that this is how this works so when I'm when I'm talking to them typically in a house I'm going to somebody's home and I'm shooting outside it's going to be a little bit different than it is today what I'm preparing them for is that we're going to have a separate room that we're going to do sales in and a separate room that we're gonna have kids playing in that they're going to go after their session mom's gonna be here for the sale kids are gonna go here so if I need to have a baby sitter there I will a lot of times we've got mostly kids that are you know, kind of that age that you khun pa pom in a disney movie had the snacks in there there's usually in most of these houses that I work in they've got a play room a downstairs something where the kids can pull out legos or books or whatever we always have a a movie playing and it's always disney I don't wanna have anything that could offend anyone and you're gonna have all levels of people and that's where the real high maintenance comes in is when somebody comes in and something's offensive to them so we always want to be super super on the g plus side about everything so and the same thing comes with snacks in that kind of thing I don't ever wanna mom feeling like I had something there that hurt her child can't have, and they feel left out. So those questions all good ask before him, I want the host mom to be communicating with her guests that when you come in laurie's gonna take kids, go outside, I'm going to show you all the great stuff she has to offer, and so they're really there are playing host. I have have even had our host mom sell for us, which is a risky thing, but I have done it because I've had host bombs that have wanted teo because they love seeing their images and preview and how we're playing with them and they want it, they want to do it for their friends, and so and that's actually turned into somebody who's done sales for me before, but, you know, you just have to play all those things by ear and be the one in control for the mom who comes in, you know? I have had for sure I've had more dads and moms that have been the crazy, you know, I'm trying to photograph this kid and there over here, doing let dancing around and trying to get their attention and trying to make him smile, and they think they're smiling and then way over here that I should be taking a picture. Right and you know so so that dad obviously was not prepared and it happens like I said more times with dads and moms because I've communicated with mom she hasn't said to him you're going to stay out the way right and so dad's there and he's doing this thing and so I'll when that happens I'll just stop and put my camera down and led him to play it out and eventually he's gonna look at me and go why aren't you taking a picture and then I'm going to say she can only focus on one of us so whenever you're done having her focus on you e and I say it in a nice way but it puts the point across you and usually it's I'm sorry I'm sorry you know and they get out of my way but if you know but that's my personality and I'm goingto just put the camera down and all right but he never your tio but it is there a particular high main it's mom that your stance and I don't think she's watching you you know and she and of course I didn't I wasn't doing this fence is just a you know bom and her daughter or you know and she was like eighteen months old or something and she kept wanting to put ribbon around her daughter's head and her daughter didn't want it on you know and I didn't think it really involved but you know the kid kept taking it off mom and she kept putting him pulling it down and then I realized later the reason that she was wanting that on there because her daughter and I have a lot of hair and so she was I realized you want everybody to know that this is a girl and a boy and that's why she wanted that on there but again that's maybe I should have asked that in the front end and that's one of those things and if you're asking you know, tell me anything you're concerned about, you know, coming into the session so anything you for sure want me to feature anything you don't want to feature and she's gonna tell you tell you everybody's thinks my kid is a boy I want that bonehead right um if she and that's one of things that you can talk about two you might even say which is kind of at that age is she grabbing on it? Did she keep it on her head? And if she says no there are supposed now that you can actually stick on a baby said double sided take stick it on there I used to cut hair and so for years I can't uh what is it the fake hair the what is it calm? You know, like I know the way old man hair way had to pay tape at the hair salon way, keep teo and that in the in the studio and just tape stuff on that I needed to tape on. It works with birthday hats. It works with all kinds of things because with birthday hades to the, the kids are always taking them off and the mom's one a month there, there are going to be those moms, not with the events, because you're telling them they're not going to be right there beside you, but there are those moms who are in between every shot, like brush and hair, and and you just have to be patient and let them do their thing and that's that important to them, you know? And I do have one of those moms, but she's want they're one of my favorite favorite clients. She is high maintenance in that way, but in no other way she, you know, and so it weighs out she's worth it. But she is one of those it's in between everything russian, those two girls there. Yeah, I'm good with that. All right, laurie, we have time for one more question. Um, amy would like to know, do you ever take photos of kids with autism or any other mental handicaps? If so, do you do anything different? I don't do a lot differently with kids and yes, I do photograph kids and I do it cancer camp every year and you know I'm not that those kids looker act differently but um I have several kids that have had autism all kinds of different things but it's the only thing that is different is that you really do want to make sure you're asking how to care for the child and in that circumstance you may not take a child outside without their mom if that's if they need to be there safety's always first so you know if it's a safety issue definitely not but typically I'm you know kids are kids and it doesn't matter even if there's I think mom's really appreciate when their children are treated like they're normal even when they're not you know and um one of the orphanages that I work with in ecuador is it I had entirely handicapped orphanage there all I'll have uh a lot and they're severely handicapped and it's one of those things that there's there many of them who don't have they don't have function of anything that you know, they can really control what they have going on a pier you know? They know when we're there you can see that even if they can't physically smile you can see it in their eyes um there's there are some that that really are physically handicapped but can kind of verbalize things and get it out. And they know we're there. They're such special people. And I know if they actually had moms that were there with them, those moms would want us to be treating them just like we were treating them, hugging them, loving them, holding their hands, telling them how special they were. You know, if we want to treat those kids just as good or better. And, you know, um, like, they're just special, normal people.

Class Description

Lori Nordstrom is bringing her Real Kids Event System to creativeLIVE to teach you how to plan one-day kids portrait events that consistently bring in great sales! She’s going to show how her system works for everyone from the mom working from home to the established studio owner looking to reach a new market segment. Marketing, photography, client communication, workflow, sales – three days packed with all the tools and information you need to run successful high-end portrait events each and every time!

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

cL Lori Nordstrom Real Kids Keynote Slides.pdf

Real Kids Workbook for creativeLIVE.pdf

cL Real Kids Checklist - Lori Nordstrom.jpg

cL Real Kids Client Profile Form - Lori Nordstrom.jpg

cL Real Kids Host Letter - Lori Nordstrom.jpg

cL Real Kids Workflow Envelope - Lori Nordstrom.jpg

bonus material with enrollment

Real Kids Special Offers for creativeLIVE.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


beth hunt ryan

An excellent course, though I wish it had not been over a weekend. Between the craziness of holiday card season (many of us shoot all weekend) and personal activities (kid stuff, church), I could only attend day one live and ended up having to buy the whole thing. Probably will be glad I did because I'm thinking of implementing this program, but that would not necessarily be the case for all webinars I'd be interested in. You guys do an awesome job, and thanks for even offering all this free training!

Photo Jason

This was such an exciting class. I can't wait to implement Lori's system into my business. But it is so much more than that. I always thought I was priced well, but Lori made me realize that I was still way under priced! Best all around photography class. I lived it so much I also bought her other class! Please invite her to come back and teach another course!

a Creativelive Student

I second the whole weekend thing and hoping for the $99 price