Why do I like to show clients their photography images in person at my office?
Dec 9, 2020 | By: Tracy Williams Photography (TWSP)
If you went to the opticians for your eye test – sat through the questions and the eye exam whilst they change all the complicated discs and you read the letters as best you can from the board. Answering to your best knowledge although not understanding many of the technical terms they use. Finish the session and they say all done that will be £x please. You are presented with a piece of paper – your prescription and they say goodbye. You leave – knowing what prescription you need but not with any glasses ordered. You go online to a store where you put in the prescription and then you are faced with lots of questions. What shape of glasses would you like? Colour of frame? Thickness of lens? Varifocal or not? Are you paying more for thinner lenses, non-reflective coating, glasses case? Would you like them delivered or will you collect and if collect where is your local store?.............
To me that’s not a very personal service and I would be willing to pay more for an optician who took me through all of the above. Helped me understand what they are asking me, talked about face shapes and suitable colours and discussed my available budget, possibly a payment plan and I left feeling happy and confident that my order will be processed properly and that a pair of glasses suitable for my needs will be available for collection in an agreed time.
As a professional photographer I believe that it is part of my job to make sure not only that I get the right images my clients want but that also they end up with a product suitable for their needs so they can enjoy the images.
For some that may be a print or two – for them and as a gift for a loved one. Alternatively, for a wedding client it’s much more likely to be a wedding album – which one should they choose and how will their final images look? Something for the lounge wall? – framed product, canvas, wooden block, acrylic what will look best for their images?
The expectation these days is quite often that a photography session ends after the images are taken. I believe it starts before the shoot with discussions on location, what the client is wanting to achieve with the images. Ideas on clothes and how to get the best from the children if involved – or even those adults that are not comfortable in front of the camera – how can I help them to be? Are the clients quieter or louder – anyone not to put next to one another etc. It all helps me do my job properly. Ideally then the session goes well, and my job is next to process the images.
Once I have selected the best of the best images and processed them, I am ready to show the client.
So, I could pop them online on my nice proofing software and send the client a link. It’s fairly easy to navigate and has prompts but it’s still a new bit of IT/software for the client to view. Can they see the images clearly? How do they select their favourite ones? Can they crop them, show in black and white? Only a small difference in expression change – which do they choose? When to sit down and concentrate on looking at the images and find the real ones that they love? One client may have time today but not both or one has to go and run an errand – or heaven forbid one person may find it really hard to choose and the other gets bored……
So yes, I could just pop them online for my clients, give them lots of products they can buy (put in the sizes available and finishes, album pages, covers, personalisation, paper finishes ) and hope they understand my industry jargon as simplified as I have tried to make it.
Many times, these days I am asked if they can just buy all the proofs digitally and then decide later. Yes, no problem of course they can however that’s a premium product and has a high cost. Also, so many times I hear of clients whose digital images are safe in a drawer, but they have not yet got round to printing any or creating an album – I find that sad – was it really what they intended when they contacted me for a photography session.
So, in an ideal world we arrange for them to come to my office for a viewing. They can take some time out from their busy lives (normally an hour or less) and relax on the couch and I can take them through their proofed images on a TV screen on the wall. They can see them run through as a slideshow - I love this bit as we get some real reactions. I am looking for their wow images the ones that get them in the gut – ideally a special moment, certain expression or person.
Next, we go through each individually and my very helpful photography specific viewing system means we can categorise them into three categories – yes, no or maybe. It gets easier as they go to say maybe or no – but it’s the yes ones I want them to find. We whittle them down to those and if they want, we can go through again and make changes.
The software means they can compare two or more images to make sure they get the perfect expression, see in black and white or colour and how it would look cropped.
It even lets me design a collage for them for a frame or canvas or bloc with multiple images and for them to see how the final product will look on the TV screen.
Round the room they can see all my sample products and touch them and see which they like rather than just look on a screen at images and try and imagine how it will look in real life. If they need something bespoke, we can discuss it and I can price it up for them rather than the option just not being available online.
Once they decide on whatever they would like I can then arrange to get it ordered for them and I deliver it to them if I am in their area or we arrange for them to come to the office or meet halfway – whatever is best for them.
For me I feel that I have accomplished my job properly once the client has the actual finished product and can enjoy it each day – and if that is digital images for your digital picture frame – that’s totally fine by me!