A unique Mother’s Day Gift to celebrate family and home. While we are forced to be inside and stay home with our families right now. What better way to celebrate our loved ones, than to invest in a custom family illustration of your loved ones?
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Customer Service for portrait photographers has been on my mind lately and it makes me really sad how much we as a group haven’t been serving our clients.
I lump myself in to this group because I was there in the beginning of the digital photography wave and am totally guilty of giving just digital files. Which equals horrific customer service. That is for sure my biggest pet peeve but we’ve been over that on a previous blog post. Check that out here for my feelings on the disc being all you might have in ten years. The disc is the worst offense because it puts all the work on busy moms and as a mom of two I know Moms do not have time to organize, backup, cull, print, deliver, frame and hang their portraits.
We have to stop showing moms 1,000 and one images, she’ll get a headache
But this brings up more point where we photographers have been failing our amazing clients. Culling, don’t know what that is I’m sure it’s an industry word, sorry. Culling is basically looking at all the amazing images from your portrait session and picking the very best ones. I know I know moms want to see all the cutest ones and pick the best smiles, and they love laughing at all the crazy outtakes. But seriously we are here to save moms time, not give them 150 images to choose from on the reveal day. Science says too many choices lead to paralysis.
We’ve all been there.
We go to the store for a birthday card and 20 minutes later we are still reading cards! What gives? Choice overload makes our brain work so hard it becomes more impossible to make a decision. So let’s all agree moms make ten thousand decisions a day for her kids. We need to give her the absolute best of the best for her family portrait wall options. This is just good customer service and should be a priority.
This is where to pre photoshoot consultation comes in handy!
Asking questions before ever picking up my camera makes this culling process so much easier. Knowing that mom wants a photograph to go over the fireplace or couch and that she is leaning towards one amazing image tells me she needs a horizontally oriented image and that I need everyone looking their best. This means I need to narrow down to the best of the best and not even shoot any vertical family portraits.
Asking moms if they loved posed images or prefer candid family interactions is another great question. If mom is looking for everyone to be smiling at the camera then those sweet tickle shots with Jimmy’s eyes closed tight are great for social media. But they are not going to be mom’s choice for the wall. So just take them out of the decisions for the fireplace wall. I’m not saying to delete those wonderful portraits. I’m just saying moms need us to do a better job of listening and making it easier to make these decisions. This should be an industry standard customer service practice from all of us.
When you tell the kids to scream inside of a portrait studio what do you think their first instinct is?
Did you guess scream? Did you guess hesitation? In my boys case it was hesitation. I’ve also had kids turn and look at me or just smile like crazy. Smiling like crazy is always good but in this case we also actually wanted the screaming. It’s so funny when you expect one reaction and get a different one. Kids are the best aren’t they?
What do you get when you add a couple of over dressed boys and a little digital magic?
A whole lotta fun! We live in South Carolina so creating a snow filled winter wonderland is never a promise I can make with Mother Nature in charge. If we get snow it won’t be for a while yet, and it’s never guaranteed. 2016’s big snow was about an inch and really not deep enough for any sledding. My little guy has been talking about when it snows and when the snow comes for months! So I thought why not create a magical winter wonderland portrait of my boys. And guess what they loved it. What do you think? Would your little ones just love seeing themselves in a Winter Wonderland? I’m planning for ours go over the fireplace for the Holiday season and maybe use this as our Holiday card as well.
Would you like to create some Snow Magic for your kids? Contact me and we can have them screaming in no time! Seriously though let’s make some magic for your kids.
704-313-5125 or firstname.lastname@example.org to grab your Snow Magic Appointment before the end of November!
Baby H was dream to work with. His mom had been in not long before this newborn portrait session for her maternity portraits. You can check out a few of those here. Anyhoo, This little guy slept like angel for his newborn session. Don’t you just love his perfect little lips and his straight black hair. Capturing those tiny little details for the family when baby is so new is just the best. I always hear from mom’s how fast they grow. It’s crazy by the time I get clients products in and delivered to them baby has already started to look different. Some times it’s that they look older and don’t have the peach fuzz they are born with anymore. Occasionally that new baby hair falls out and comes back a different color or texture. And some times it is hard to describe but man does it happen fast.
Don’t delay schedule before baby arrives
That is why I always encourage my clients to call me while they are still pregnant. Once baby is here you get busy with friends and family coming to visit and doctors appointments etc. You don’t want to look at your sweet baby and wish you could go back in time to capture those first few weeks. It’s better to plan ahead then to wait and see. No one ever regrets having portraits made of their infant. You will only regret not having done them.
If you live in or nearby Fort Mill and are expecting a newborn contact me and let’s chat about your portrait needs.
Why I could kick myself for selling just digitals!
Back when I started out on my own in 2004 digital was still kind of new. Everyone assumed digital was archival. I mean we could back it up and make unlimited copies. Archival is a term often used by photographers meaning a print or film can last in the archives. For reference those color prints your parents got at the department store when you were kids should last at least 50 years if properly stored and cared for. The newer papers and printing processes used today are guaranteed a bit longer. Most about 100 years if properly stored. That digital file I started out selling on CD back in 2004 is a big old question mark ? Because there are so many factors. First off that CD we used to give digital files on is lasting 8-10 years. If it was written on with Sharpie or printed on with an adhesive label more like 5 years. Why so short? Well as it turns out the ink from that sharpie actually eats away at the CD material. Ok so I’m human I screwed up. Now we use USB drives. Well those things just keep changing. eHow says a usb drive may last ten years depending on how many times it is used. So really not much better than the CD was. Crap. So the moral of my intro here is Print, Print, Print. The only thing we know will last at least until your baby is an adult is a print. The best part about prints they can be copied. They are the only guarantee. But hey as a new mom on a limited budget I know you might be thinking well I just need it to last until I get back to work or we can save to print them later. But let me just tell you about my slap in the face wake up call I got this year.
The slap in the face!
Now she didn’t mean to do it and I totally thanked her for my wake up call. But here is what went down. I went to visit my friend who shall remain nameless. She lives 4 hours from me and has several kids that I have been photographing for ten years. I even photographed her maternity session before her first was born. But we haven’t lived in the same town since college. So visits have just gotten more and more chaotic the more kiddos we had. But my latest visit I came alone with just my gear for updated family and kid portraits of course. And after the kiddos went to bed we were sitting in her new living room talking. And she lamented to me “I’ve just been so busy I haven’t hung up any photographs of the kids in this place!” So I said “Well I’m here to help where are your frames (I’m thinking they are still in a box) lets hang some up!” And she said here comes the slap in the face part! “oh they are all on CD or flash drive. I’ve never printed any of the photographs you’ve given me.” Wait What?!?! I wanted to die right there on her couch. But instead I had an epiphany. I’ve been photographing friends and clients alike for years and just giving them digital files. I thought I was helping my friends by gifting them the files and letting them print what they wanted. And my clients I thought I was giving them what they wanted, what they had been asking for. Boy was I wrong.
No one wants to come for a portrait session and leave with homework. Especially homework they don’t have time to do!
My clients newborn clients or worse, those who are expecting a baby and thinking about the millions of things they need to do to get ready. They don’t need or want digital files to do-it-yourself print as homework. They just end up tucked away in a drawer or maybe even downloaded to a computer that may or may not work in a year or two. What new moms really want is a beautifully framed print of baby hung on their nursery wall. Or a framed canvas collection of baby’s first year decorating the stairwell in their home. Let’s get real what new mom do you know that has time to order a print online, wait for it to arrive, take it to the local frame shop, along with baby and baby’s older brother who refuses to ride in the cart, get it framed, come back in a week to pick it up and then wait some more for dad to have time to hang it, once she has finally decided where it should hang?
No mom I know has time for that.
Ain’t no body with little kids got time for that. And putting together a photo album online, no body has time for that ever. I’m changing my ways as of right now. No more diy, homework feeling digital only packages from me. Photography studios provide a service, right? For Insley that means planning, creating and printing your beautiful artwork of your family. And installation of your artwork is always included!
Are you ready for a different photography experience? One where we do it all for you? Are you tired of leaving your memories in a drawer? Are you ready for archival prints? Are you ready for a better way? Get in touch today.
Oh miss N was so smiley this fall afternoon. She is the perfect little model. Could be because we have been getting together for portrait sessions since she was a newborn. Or it could just be because she is a happy go lucky little girl. Nothing gets her upset.
Her dress was handmade by her Grammy! Isn’t it so cute and perfect for a fall portrait session. I just love handmade clothing. They fit so much better than store bought clothes. I wish I had that talent. Maybe when my kids are grown I can learn to make clothes for myself. What about you do you like handmade clothes? Leave little miss N some love.
Momma E came in to model this cream dress for our studio look book. The dress photographed like a dream. Momma E wore it well. Don’t you all think she looks amazing? I love how it shows off her baby bump but is not too revealing. Leave her some love in the comments on these dreamy maternity portraits!
Some moms to be don’t want to show a lot of skin and this is a great way to celebrate your pregnancy without feeling exposed. Adding on a wrap or shawl could give you even more coverage if desired. This dress would also make a great post delivery momma and baby portrait.
Hopefully we can try it out when this little guy arrives this summer. Your family can’t wait to meet you little one! I look forward to meeting you when you visit the studio for your newborn portrait session. Thanks again Momma E for coming in and modeling my dresses I really appreciate it.