Portfolio for Clients
All right so then the portfolio itself. So we did a little statistical breakdown.
I did. (chuckles) Just to kinda evaluate what do our numbers look like and how do we break down the portfolio and again, what are we communicating to our potential clients? Remember the portfolio's really there for potential clients. The client who we're working with, whose wedding we're shooting, they don't go back to our website, the website is really for new couples who might be interested in our services. So we have 218 photos in our portfolio. And 68 of those are portraits. Out of the 68 portraits, 54 are showcasing the location, which is something that is very important to us because we do wanna travel for weddings, and showing the environment and showing the location is a big part of our work and especially with the portraits. So that leaves only 14 out of 218 photos which are portraits where the location isn't featured, which means they are simply creative portraits where we came up with ...
a cool concept such as like slow shutter, anything like that, where it's really just about the portrait itself. Out of the 218 photos, there are zero looking at the camera. And that is not a coincidence, it's really on purpose. We wanna further emphasize that our images are candid and have a documentary approach.
So the question has come up a few times about how we get clients to not look at the camera or guests to not look at the camera and it starts here. It really stars with the portfolio that the first thing that they might notice is that nobody's looking at the camera in our photos, so that emphasizes the candid aspect of it, that emphasizes the storytelling. These are not posed photos, these are natural moments.
Just like we're ruthless in our decision of which image is going to the slideshow, we're 10 times more ruthless with the photos that go into our portfolio. We really wanna showcase the absolutely best and we wanna make sure that each photo in the portfolio adds to the entire body of work.
So we have so few, or no photos looking at the camera, that means that clients, when they inquire with us, a question that we often get is, oh do you do formal photos like looking at the camera, that's one of their first questions, so that's how little of that they see. But then we're able to tell them, yes, absolutely we do that, we value that, we think it's really important, so we're the ones that then end up kind of convincing them that this is okay and you should do that as well, instead of the other way around.
So with our portfolio we really get to dictate who we attract. A few years ago, we kinda felt like we weren't getting that many emotional clients and so we looked back at our portfolio and realized that there really weren't that many images that showcased the emotion, so we went back in our portfolio through all of our weddings over the years and we found this one photo from a wedding in 2008, very, very old image.
Very, very old.
Very, very old. And we re-edited it and re-cropped it to really emphasize the emotion in the photo and we inserted it into our top five images, and then slowly over time, we started getting emotion and more emotion, and more emotion and there's no technical or logical explanation but the timing of it definitely coincides with us putting that really strong emotional photo at the beginning of our portfolio and I think what was important with that is that clients started feeling safe with showing emotion on their wedding day and feeling safe with the way that we were gonna capture that in the photos. Because we knew that we would do this in a tasteful manner.
Yeah I think probably in one sense we attracted emotional people but I think also as Daniel said, we almost gave permission for people to be emotional or they would see that and see that there's beauty in showing emotion and I'm sure you've experienced this where mothers of the bride or (mumbles) or makeup artists especially, don't cry though, like keep it in, make sure you don't cry, you're gonna ruin your makeup, and that's something that we hear a lot or tips for not crying and look up at the light and all the stuff and I'm the one that's gonna be like, "No, no, you can cry." And when they look at our portfolio, they see how beautiful it is when people are showing emotion so they can kind of give themselves permission and also see that there is a lot of beauty in that. But it was really, truly amazing, what Daniel just described about adding one photo with emotion and they just, every single wedding after just tears after tears after tears.
Yeah and the more we had it the more we kept adding it into the portfolio to further reinforce that message. Same with destination weddings. As soon as we gave ourselves the goal to travel for weddings, when we booked that first wedding just outside of Montreal in the next city over, we put that wedding at the top of the portfolio or in the blog and then we got the next one and we put that back in and at the beginning it was a lot of actually working on what our portfolio and what our website looks like to make sure that we conveyed that message that we do travel for weddings, or that we do like to photograph in motion. Whatever it is that we wanna attract more of, we need to show more of that as much as possible.
It's really almost like a fun exercise to do, like what do I not like doing, or what do I like seeing at weddings and then analyzing your portfolio and going through and being like, oh well, maybe you forget certain things or really try to look at your portfolio from an objective point of view, I know that's really hard to do, but what are these photos saying, am I showing a lot of smiling, looking at the camera? And I don't really like doing that, or am I showing a lot of traditional stuff that I actually don't value that much because then maybe that's attracting more traditional weddings, whether or not you wanna do that. So that's so important to just really take an objective look at your portfolio. You can even ask for outside help, ask someone else who's not even a photographer. What do you see from my work? What kind of weddings do you feel like I do, or just getting that perspective is really helpful.
Yeah, your current clients are really gonna mirror what's not your website and what's in your portfolio. And if something in the types of clients that we start attracting, that's the first place that we're gonna revisit, usually the website and the portfolio and make sure that that's cohesive with the message that we're trying to convey.
In terms of portraits, something to think about also is if you do wanna take more risks with portraits, and you do have a couple, one couple that might stand out to you that has been really great and you loved working with them and you wanna try something new. Maybe you can ask them if you wanna do a day after session or would you guys be willing to get dressed up again and come with me to this location I've always wanted to shoot and those photos can make their way into your portfolio and hopefully then you can attract clients who are actually hiring you, paying you to do what you actually like to do.
Yeah that's how it started for us, again, with destination weddings and doing additional coverage at the rehearsal or the day before. Or doing the day after sessions. We included those when we started to travel 'cause we felt like that set us apart from the local photographer at that location. Because we do more coverage and we take it one step further, so by including it at first, it then became very normal for other new clients who would come and see us. They would assume that other clients had paid for this extra coverage so they were okay with paying for it. That's kinda the beauty of what you're showing versus a client that you're gonna work with in a year from now, whatever price list or coverage options that they see today, they assume that everybody before them got the same thing even though the pricing might have been different, what was included might have been different but they'll assume that it was the same for everyone. So as long as they're seeing what the result looks like, then they're generally gonna be okay with paying for it as well. All right so blog, slideshow and gallery, those are really the three different levels of what we publish the photos from each wedding. And so we kinda try to split this up and on the left side you really have the marketing which is our end of the delivery process and on the right side you have for the client which is the clients' delivery, and so the full gallery which is the photos of the details, looking at the camera, photos of the guests, everything that falls under our responsibility and then its duplicate photos, well that stuff really goes to the client. The slideshow, which appears in the middle, as you guys have seen our slideshows, they are both a responsibility to the client and a responsibility to us because we do use it for marketing and for attracting new clients, especially in the context of are couples sending it out to their friends and families and potentially bringing us more referrals. So we are careful about what goes onto the slideshow because we do want it to represent our work the best way possible, but sometimes we'll leave extra images or we'll leave more photos than we would necessarily want because we know that it goes to the client as well.
Yeah that makes the slideshow kind of a lot of pressure for us to produce because we have these multiple responsibilities or at least that we put on ourselves, so as Daniel said, yes, the finished product is for the client which means we're looking to fulfill, to cover the inner circle and all the important people. We want them to remember their day through the slideshow, but we also want that to translate to a total stranger. I want a stranger to be able to watch a slideshow and feel emotional, and connect to the people. Oh I almost feel like I was there, or I feel like I know something about these people. I want them to be able to also experience emotion, and that's tough to do, it's easy to do for the clients who are already emotionally attached, but allowing the slideshow to translate to a stranger is almost like a next-level pressure that we put on ourselves. But we use the slideshow to show potential clients the product that they can expect from their own wedding, so by sending that out to them and showing it to potential clients, they can hopefully see themselves as well and see the type of story that we tell that could be applied to their wedding as well.
And then for us, well that product is the blog, so each blog post, there's no set number that we aim for, it could be 15 images, it could be 50 images. What's most important is that we create an even tighter version of the slideshow that is still gonna tell the story, that's still gonna have the transitions, but it's really gonna be the most unique, the most special photos, the ones that we really feel nail the version of that photo. So instead of having three or four transitional photos, we'll really be ruthless with the process and really narrow it down to the one best photo.
So it's really a mini slideshow, like Daniel said. The elements of our formula are kinda still there, but the blog post is for the general public, so I wanna make sure that it's not overwhelming and that it's really just the photos that we feel are the best and best represent our best work from that wedding.
In the blog post, there's absolutely zero responsibility to the client themselves. Our responsibility to the client is to give them the slideshow and to give them their full gallery. They have all of their images. What we do with our blog to attract future clients is our business. I'm saying that as though we're not in agreement with our clients, but the reality is that we really want the very best images on there because we are using it to attract new clients.
That being said, our clients do love seeing themselves on our blog and we do wanna blog every wedding that we photograph. We don't necessarily because sometimes it's more for us. Montreal, we don't wanna only shoot in Montreal, so we wanna make sure we're promoting ourselves outside of our own city, so for a long time, we weren't blogging anything local just because we wanted to show what we wanted to attract, so to almost slow our pace of booking local weddings, we stopped blogging those. But at the end of the day, it's your space to show off your best images so you use it the way that you wanna use it. I spend a lot of time writing the blog posts, and writing about the story, how I connected with the clients and every time I feel like I wanna stop writing blog posts because I feel like they drive me crazy sometimes, I get someone who writes and says like, "Oh I wanna book you guys. "I don't even feel like we need to meet "because I've read Davina's blog posts "and I feel like I know you guys "and I know you love what you do," and then I'm like, oh, okay, I guess I need to keep writing those blog posts, but I do like giving myself that challenge as well. I take notes at the wedding sometimes. Just little things that I don't wanna forget when it's time to write the blog post and tell the story of the wedding but also, give the reader a bit of a connection to how our experience was with these specific people. And that's important, it's about the couple and their story and our photos do that but I feel like the blog posts, for me, I wanna talk about our relationship with the clients because if someone's gonna read that, a potential client and see like, whoa, they really get involved and they really love their couples, that's a little too much for me, then that's good because that means we're probably not the right fit. I want them to not get intimidated by how much I'm gonna love them (chuckles).
I know a lot of photographers struggle with feeling like the blog is, there's a responsibility there towards the client to show each wedding and to show the family photos and to show the details. I think for us what works is that we do have that slideshow that we deliver to the client and that's sort of the equivalent of that blog post, so that's the final product that we deliver to them and that's what they're gonna share with all of their friends and families, and then they get their full gallery. We also blog several months after the wedding has happened and after we've delivered the photos. Sarah and Aaron's wedding which you just saw from Mexico, they received their photos last week and we're gonna blog it probably in two or three months because we're still catching up on previous blog posts, so by having this sort of dated pattern, it also separates how much the blog is for us versus for the client.
Since you guys do the blog format and the gallery slideshow, is there any difference in SEOs as opposed to doing the long running, long running images, have you guys noticed?
Not really, so we're not huge on SEO and we're gonna jump into where our inquiries come from and you'll see that it doesn't really affect our numbers so much but--
We're definitely not the SEO people to talk to. (chuckles)