Joe Buissink: The Pitch
We are celebrity couple kind us, and I can see that with your glasses. Yes. I am fully aware that you are a celebrity. Yes. You so cool. I can't stand it. You can. You can pitch now. I can pitch now. Yeah. You taking on this? Nice. So if you come into my studio what you'll find she those candles, little lavender in the background, I'll play music. I don't know if we're hooked into the music at all, but I'll just play it off my laptop and I'll try and do it in the background. This's alfa from triple scoop music who I use for my slide shows and my background music. But you come into the studio and essentially, first thing you smell his lavender, maybe even vanilla. Ah, you hear beautiful music in the background. You sit in front of me there's a bowl of fruit over there, usually there's napkins out. Would you like some water? Um and then I start talking while the music's playing and I talk about the images. So this was actually a moment, right? And, um the door's open just far enough so t...
hat the light streamed through like this. This is not postproduction I didn't do this in the computer, this is an actual moment. And people will always say, oh, my gosh, joe, but where the people in the back sure you set it up actually know this was a large church and half of it was filled up and I wasn't allowed but behind the last pew people. So this was my shot. Is he entered and then as she entered, I turned around and I grabbed his face, his expression and it was open, his mouth was open and there was a tear rolling down his face. It was incredible. Interestingly enough, I looked at the image during the reception when I had a little a few minutes off and I saw this photo. I went, oh, my gosh! And I went up to him while he was seated at the table and I showed it to him on the back of the camera and he started to cry again the same thing. So this is what I want you to do. I want you twenty years from now toe open up your book and say, I remember what I was feeling in that moment. My gosh, I remember what I was thinking right there. I want you to re live it like it was yesterday, twenty years later, and the only way you can do that is that I have moments of your wedding yeah we're going to show you that there's going to be photos of everybody the bridal party your mom and dad hanging on your arm that's great it's important weddings are still about tradition but I want you to relive these moments it's all about the moments for me so check this out this is really great so a lot a lot of the times I used my camera so you I'm just shooting off of shoe laces literally without looking through the lens this was shot with the fourteen millimeter wide angle lens and I shot underneath and I had my assistant throw out a little video like to give me a little light this is available light shooting because the flash would have really harmed this image with all the white pedals right but what's really cool about this they were walking towards the limo right here and when they got into the limo and started driving away that was my next shot and I shot that right through the window the back window of the limo what a beautiful moment I mean that's what I want you to remember what this was like it'll come back to you like it was yesterday it absolutely the feeling will all come back and this is available light again and I knew what this was going to look like so I told my sister really quick like me from the front and he kind of got to the front of the hood of the car through the video light right through the front and that was it that was an available light shot right there this is right before she walked down the aisle dad doesn't even know that they're waiting in the wings right here he's clueless this has multiple stories I want you to get images that you khun put on your wall look at ponder and live in that moment again and look to see that there's more than one story and all the images that I capture usually confined other stories in it right that's that's what it's about for me your wedding is different from everybody else is that I've shot everybody everybody your moments are unique to you and that's why I feel it's important my style is and I hope it resonates with you is about capturing the moments in your wedding and that's what will make your wedding different from everybody else it's the truth I want to capture heart I have a sense of humor I come with the second shooter and the second shooter is pretty much in charge of the perfunctory traditional photos the set ups of the bride and groom with her family with the bridal party the groomsmen alone with the groom allows me the freedom to capture moments click like that so my second shooter here wass setting up this shot with the groom and his groomsmen and someone plopped in the little yorkie in the middle of it and I dropped to my knees with my long lens he was a little shook up by where I pointed the camera but I promised him that this was going to be a pretty cool shot and you know my second shooter got the proper image but how great is that it's just like the portrait of the little yorkie isn't it but that's what I'm able to do as the second shooter so essentially when I come to your wedding I am the second shooter and the persons that I've hired will be the primary shooter and here's what's good about that let's say your aunt zelda on uncle henry are part of the wedding party and they see my primary shooter working these things out and here's his lowly older guy back there with his long lens and just snapping shots and not talking to anybody that kind of don't pay attention to me they pay attention to him because he's in charge and he'll talk to everybody and set it all up okay I need you to move a lot so he's communicating with everybody said they look to him for direction and see that he is the primary photographer no one pays attention teo the shots that I can get that might be moments here's one how about this? This is during their first dance okay and really interestingly this image I entered in a photo competition you know a while back and it it didn't even garner an acknowledgement they said it was out of focus it was soft and you know, we photographers are pretty judge mental about this and very critical about aspects of photography but I showed it to the bride and know what you did when I showed her this photo she started crying and I said to her but why you crying and she said, well because I remember how I was feeling this was our first dance and there were two hundred fifty people around us on the dance floor but all I remember it was just he and I and how we were feeling as husband and wife for the first time and I said yes that is a perfect score for me because you're going to be my ultimate judge the images that I captured for you if I could get you to feel it again that's what I'm after that's what I want okay, so do you guys notice that I talked through all of this? Do you notice that? Um music's playing a little bit in the background uh candles what am I doing? I'm selling them an experience think about it I've got him on there oh factory lavender visually feel the print I even hand them a print of touch and hold they feel the paper so touch right audio music's playing in the background I'm trying two top hook them on all the sensory inputs that I can about the same time this is the selling of joe this is the selling of an experience and so I want to engage every sensory what that I can taste you want the fruit aisle have maybe you played out if they I asked him how would you like an apple sometimes nearby where we have skulls bring fresh coz they can smell and eat toast at the same time so there's way to sell yourself as an experience all of these things when I talk about the image the way that I do what am I selling? Two things me and how I feel about that image right? The getting clearly for me how passionate I am about what I do because some of these images were five, ten years ago I still feel that way about that image. Okay the stories of how the bride fell when she saw this what am I doing? I'm placing that bride into that photo I'm making at her wedding I'm already selling her wedding this is your wedding I'm talking about this is what's going to separate you from everybody else that simply does is all right let's have a look click and there goes a slideshow he sits back here another slide show then we sit back and then afterwards okay, prices know now what you're doing it's just selling a commodity and when the question was is how doe I separate myself? How do I make myself different? It starts right here. It starts right here because ultimately at the end of it when they see these images they see the signature they see how I talk about it that's what they want and oh by the way order prints all of them order prints here's a key little thing that you could do I've been doing that lately because things are so easy to do these things here and there not that costly okay, you can actually give them a print think about that give them one. You do two things with that you ingratiate yourself to them, right? You give them your favorite photo let's say here let's let's say when my bride picks up anything that I have to give her, uh she comes to the studio proofs or what have you I give her eleven fourteen like this sign as a gift first thing she says, huh? That's me because she hasn't seen the proof ship she hasn't seen anything yet. So this is the first picture as you seize yeah, I want you to have it I just love this photo a I'm gonna tell her this was hand printed this is from the negative that from the film that I shot you it doesn't matter this could be digital let's talk about the digital I enhanced it a little bit you know, I remember that you had a problem that you were worried about your skin a little bit I smooth it out for you, it's not over the top I don't like doing things in photo shop as matter fact guess what I don't use photo shop I use light room I love light room I will enhance all my work I don't use filters in the sense that everybody else does I don't use actions I don't have actions I don't use any of that stuff. It is literally the image captured in camera and then enhance it a little bit that's what it's about for me just in camera dude, this is where the learning comes in from the earlier question and education learn how to capture in camera learn how to see light photography is all about light in the absence of light both are true. So learn how that works learnt about composition learn how to cleanly get I don't know if you've noticed I shoot everything full frame and I print it that way what you see is what you get what I see is what I want and that's how I printed out that's what it's about so then I explained to her you know my printer I he's so brilliant robert kabbalah is my printer does my black and white work he's beyond crazy good but he went in I told him a little tv atoning on this ok? And he doesnt with variations I explain it to the brain gooey eyes is something called variation there's like three prints that he gives me and he starts with where I asked him to go first the light cp atoning and then he shows me the third or fourth one that he said and then I decided this he's a joe you know this glass here had reflections from across the street there were some cars the church across the street was kind of in here too it was a little distracting this was really bright up in here so I decided on my own to burn it in and been yet it a little bit so that it's all about the bride and that your eye goes right to her and nowhere else and I went oh my god are you kidding me? That's beautiful so I entered this in competition it took first place and the grand award in an international competition w p p I which is a wedding in portrait thing but it took first place there because it was done in hand now the bride saw this and said, I want one like that and I looked at her and I looked at the print and I said, I can come close I can't give you the exact one here's what's beautiful about film, and here this is part of my pitch to when I talk about my work, I shoot both film and digital still write, so I separate I show the usually the digital stuff first and then I go and this is film stuff. This is film based on and what's brilliant about film, and I go into the explanation of this is a one of you okay? Because robert isn't going to remember to the second how long he held it the dodging and burning he's just not gonna he's not gonna be done by hand literally underneath the enlarger, the temperature of the developer could be off a degree or two different from so it changes the color a little bit so he can't say I can give you an exact duplicate like with digital, we can continue to push the buttons. So what I'm doing as well, when I explain this, I'm educating them, so when I give her this print a it's, thank you, it was an honor, it was clearly a blessing for me to be invited literally, I'm invited into your the most important day of your lives and thank you so much that I had such a good time so when this is when she's now picking up the stuff right? So not obviously at the pitch but afterwards I've already been there, but I let her know thank you and here's a thank you and then I explain, I educate so when you go online on picked taj, you're going to see the edit it proofs that have been color corrected in folders, right separated out reception, getting ready ceremony and all that and then you're going to see ah folder that says joe's favorites because I'll pull out thirty images or so and clean him up a little more to make wow images like this okay, so that she can compare so the hard copy and the thirty in that folder gives you an idea of where we will go with it when it's time for the book and and notice I haven't used the word album it's a book it adds a little more you think album you think soccer moms you know with their little snapshot that's an album book that's a little more high end is that if you think about it until actually it just feels like it's a little better way to describe it this is a book of your wedding season feels very high and it's that's unique yes, yeah, I like the fine art paper. This is all cannon stuff, so but I like they're they're they're fine, our papers absolutely stunning, so as you can see, both cross platform between black and whites that was actually scanned from a negative and actually what I do now, just for you guys, for I found this to be better when robert prince I'd rather scanned the print and do a high res scan of the print because it keeps the integrity of how he printed it versus scanning a little tiny thirty five millimeter negative and then printing it it's harder to control its uglier. I have a larger space the work with and scan that, and it keeps the way robert initially printed it it's a little more costly, but again, I'm targeting an audience, a bridegroom that can afford it. And having said that, you don't have to do a whole ton of these this way. And guess what I do now as well, I will take a digital file that I shot that the bride absolutely loves and now says to me, wish you shot that on film done, I take that file and make a negative I take that negative, I give it to robert printed this we can do today for fifteen bucks you can make a negative from any digital file through several companies in the us and that negative can be printed the old fashioned way and you can come up with them and just like this so if there is one that happened have been shot digital because I mixed myself up with film in digital and the bride really loves it we do it no problem so it's also another way where I say to the bride sometimes because it's sometimes cost prohibitive that I shoot all film because I charge extra for the film stuff now, because it's costly film cost more there's less of it around processing costs more all of that I got to make proofs you have unless I scan it so what I tell him it's this look I can shoot the whole thing digital and anything that you see that you wished were in film for fifteen bucks a scan we could make our fifteen bucks and we can make negative if you have ten or more that price drops down to eight bucks apiece because we gang up what they do is they taken eight by ten films sheet and they put a whole bunch of the files on there like thirty five millimetre and you can have thirty or thirty five on one sheet and they charged me one price for it ends up being eight bucks six bucks a negative, so wow, why not so if you really are jones and for my film looking how film is shot there's a way to do it even just shooting digital there's a way to do it so I tell this to the bride when she picks this up because I'm educating her so now she goes home with this thing what happens now look what he did for me look at this image shows that the mom dad more important shows it to her best friend who was the maid of honor or bridesmaids who is going to get married right? Look what my photographer did will she remember that? How am I setting myself apart that's another way okay that's another way set your figure out how to separate yourself how are you different find out how the other people are pitching in your area what are they doing? How do you make yourself unique figure that out and I'm telling you there's a way to do it and one of them right here right now in the pitch is who you are because there isn't another job there isn't another you you're it so if you can find that and sell that there's your experience way good we were almost time for a break are there any questions? They're always question how we love questions? Does anyone in the audience have a question or he's got one over here so we signed the contract yeah, so so and there it is, right? So let's talk about that for a second ah lot of times because I don't try and push them into buy it now I actually asked them are you have you seen anybody else? Are you looking for anybody else? Are you looking around? Of course they are. Sometimes they are open oh, stop! Usually they are right there comparing shopping to do I do because I want you to be able to compare and contrast you know, I want you to really want me, okay? And you'll know and so you know what? Hap there's a lot of time to get down outside to wear their car's parked at the meter and also five minutes later, I hear knock on the door credit cards out. Now we got us faras the car and we need to have you that's my client, my client is also the one that gets it right away, and at that point they've seen a couple already they're not interested in seeing any more that that's my client and we're connected, like I said, usually there's a tear rolling down our face when some of these images pop up it's beautiful because she sees herself in here so I've sold it at that point fifty percent deposit holds the date I'm on a first come first served basis I pencil nothing in so if you have to think about it I want you to think about it but beware that if someone else is in the wings that wants the same day whoever comes up with the fifty percent deposit is the one against the day and then once I get that booking I don't book anybody else even if brad pitt shows up I'm booked because everybody is important to me we're all equal okay celebrity or not celebrity like we're all equal so dental say to me but but ok so if we could we've seen two more photographers what happens in three days that we come back to you and you book someone else you know ok why will do for use this right now the date is open it's yours what's going to happen if someone else comes in wants that date before you get back to me I will give you first right of refusal I will call them up and say okay you now have an option there's another one hanging wanting that booking right now what would you like to do want to release it again? I'm back to first come first served but I'm honoring the fact that you saw me first you saw me first for that day that's it yeah so that's important go ahead okay joe there are several people that have this question so I'll just pick one person colonies asked do you think it's possible to sell an experience if you don't have a studio ideas and that is thanks from eric from new jersey and a lot of people are asking all you do if you don't have a studio yeah oh no no no you don't understand when I first started I started pitching it duncan donuts they didn't have starbucks seventeen years ago it was duncan donuts yes because remember and I would bring a little music in a dunkin donuts of all things oh my gosh I don't really know how I did that is ridiculous what was selling? It was the little bit of music the smell of donuts and coffee you know I'm saying it could be anywhere what's really cool is that I offered to go to their homes in when I attacked the whole celebrity segment where did I have to go that they come to the jail oh come to see me. No, I went to her, I went to her so I was already out of my home out of my studio going in there I would have my little drag along books had the graphic books back then as well and then I had my other stuff the prince a box of prince all matted prince and I drug it along and I pitched in the kitchen I find an open window facing me so that what the light hits it hits me they sat across from me across the kitchen table sometimes they were cooking what were they smelling their favorite food so yeah, it doesn't matter where you are it really doesn't matter where you are anywhere because what you're selling is the experiences you you're it and you can take you anywhere and do it absolutely great another question from the internet arch a guy and others are also wondering this how do you deal with questions about pricing email or also over the phone? Do you suggest they come in to talk? How do you get them eso way kind of a little bit covered that before, so what I do is thiss is is that when I get the phone call or the email about the inquiry I let him know look, you really need to sit in front of me you want to see this stuff first hand the prince don't look the same on my website then if you were to hold it in your hand and actually look at it okay so I convinced them to come in sometimes it's difficult because there in new york but eventually they get the idea so in terms of pricing you sometimes have to you know, not be able to get around that you have to let them know how much you are right so rather than scaring them away and we're going to talk about package prices because when you see my package price list I start with the big kahuna on top I think I have my first package priceless as forty two thousand nine hundred ninety five and people freak out when they see that it was like sticker shock right? However, the next one down is twenty something and they go for god yeah, thank god there's a twenty something there. What am I selling? I'm not selling the top one. I'm letting him know that's the big one but I want you here because if you do it the other way around let's start you started seventy five hundred work your way up. They rarely get off the seventy five hundred toe work all the way up to the top words fifteen no, no, I want this one it's very psychology. So dennis reggie different said this to me. Why in a movie theater do you see behind the snack bar counter? A little tiny little small right starts out a small popcorn then you have a medium popcorn. Then you have the large popcorn and then you have this humongous tub o at the end, right? Huge thing. Not only that there's a little sign on that tablets and if you can eat all of this will refill it for you for free are they selling that tub? No, they don't want you to buy the small one because when you the guy is in there with his day he's going to be embarrassed if he buys that seventy five cent one compared to that huge tub so they want you to move up to the medium or large taped anointed by the tub day care less about the tub they want you to buy the middle one, not the small one. Same thing with me and the way I work my prices. Okay, start with the large work you way down to the small. I want you to get the next one down or the third one down and be happy if I did it the other way around, which has been my experience that get hung up on that first one. Good. We'll come in at the beginning one and we'll talk about the prices afterwards for moving myself up they rarely do. Okay, so, uh, do it the other way around, but, uh yeah it's uh, how I do it. All right, we'll ask one question. One more question before we go to break kingdom mingo would like to know if you do you talked about light room, not using photoshopping if you do all your own editing, do outsource and editing very good question here's what I do my wife and it's everything I want a woman to look at my work there used to be I would come in I have my babies right these are my kids myth I'm connected attached to them however in some ways it's kind of a masculine thing right but I'm whom I appealing to the bride I want a woman set eyes and my wife is brilliant she wants to see you and there's times where she edits out one image that I look at and I go why don't you enter that she has it's crap heartbroken heartbroken it's it's one of my baby so I wait till she goes to sleep I put it back in um but I like a woman to editor so here's what we I shoot two thousand images my second might shoot two thousand images together we have four thousand images we edit down my wife doesn't see want to see more than a hundred images per our shop so if I do seven eight hour gig that seven, eight hundred images that's all she wants we have four thousand so she edits out three thousand orm or images she wants chest the best ones initially I had clients that wanted all the stuff to look at all the I can't guess what happens they get confused oh my god overwhelmed will never be able to pick and they never pick stuff they couldn't pick the images okay. They had a hard time picking and editing out themselves. So then I decided, you know what? I got to cut this thing out and give the seven, eight hundred best ones possible and that's what we give them now and then thirty of those enhanced. I want you to think about a graph e book for me, max hundred fifty hundred seventy max images. So imagine having seven, eight hundred amazing beautiful shots and still having to edit down tto one. Fifty oh, my god. So they're stressed out enough, which is a good stress tohave if you have eight hundred drop dead gorgeous photos. Yeah, so, yes, light room my wife edits and then we tweak them all my guy who is my primary shooter, he comes in and he in batches will clean them up and do the initial. And then I will go in afterwards approved and pick thirty of my favorite ones that he goes back into light room and now tweaks and we're talking a little softening. A little vignette ng we like the slight vignette ng I I don't want it like a blowtorch, you know, like someone blowtorch the edges off but a slide vignette ing it just kind of helps your eye focus in I look for things that are extremes like sometimes there's an exit sign. Okay, we remove sometimes the exit sign for the cleaned up shots, right? Because I want them to see that this is what's going to end up in your book. Your book is not just made up of the images that are the seven or eight hundred cleaned up ones, but now there's a little more wow to them there's a little more sparkle to them. Not overly like if I see one more photo shopped image of where the grass this is like so green that it comes from another planet. I have never seen some of these greens or blues or purples in the skies ever. But I think that's too much, you know, we have at some point crossed over from photographic too graphic, and we're losing sight of the fact that this is photographic and so I don't mind it. But call it what it is. So if you go so far now to kind of mask and I am in, I'm gonna say this as politely as I can if it's crap going in is going to be crap coming out. I don't care how you mask it it's still gonna look yucky okay, so the thing to do is is to get really proficient at in camera capture and then enhancing it absolutely enhance I'm all about enhancing it but take it too a reasonable level of enhancement don't go over the top and now spend these weird ass things on it to where it's no longer a photograph that's what I think just yeah opinions everybody has one okay that we're breaking that's wonderful before we take a break I want to share with you some information from the internet what people are saying? Denise finch says I got tears in my eyes looking at your pictures during the pitch my bride denise stay and get it three ten, eighteen the concept of selling and experience was a real light bold moment thank you you're welcome and again I go back to what makes you different right? What makes me different? How doe I reinvent myself and will eventually get to discuss you know the economy and all that it's done to all of us all across the world this is bar none has not hit it's hit everybody so no one's unfazed by it and how do you figure a way around that and there's a way to do it that there's many ways to do it but I'll share you