What happens at the first meeting?
This may sound like a very obvious question, but in photographic terms (at least to me that is), I have a responsibility to capture the character of my subject. I often remark that a photograph, though two-dimensional, has to be partly 3-dimensional – it has to convey personality and character. I feel very strongly that a good portrait is based on good rapport – There has to be a good working relationship between photographer and client.
1) Building rapport
I’ve run a business for quite some time now. I like to think that I’ve learnt lessons from my interactions with suppliers/providers and other business people that make me better at what I do. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that you create a good realtionship with your client the minute they know that you’re not seeing them as another paycheck. Sit down with them, talk about what they do and how they’ve come to be in their current position. What makes them passionate about what they do?
It may very well be my experience as a doctor, but I am very good at spending time with my clients. It helps that I am genuinely interested in them and what they do. Clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
In addition to building trust, this discussion also helps identify things to talk about during the shoot. It gives me an idea of their personality and what approach will work best to keep them relaxed and happ during the shoot.
I need to ensure that my clients leave our first meeting wholeheartedly believing 3 very important things:
– I truly know what I’m doing –
– Their needs will be met or exceeded –
– They will enjoy the time we work together in the studio –
2) Understanding their image needs
It may sound a little strange, but very often my clients don’t truly know the scope of what they need done. It is usually at this point that the penny drops and they truly understand the importance of the first meeting.
From a client’s initial perspective, all they need is a good portrait. They don’t generally haven’t considered colour, how it will best fit on their website or social media, the orientation of the image or what their future needs might be.