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Session Experience

Lesson 6 from: FAST CLASS: Get Started with Lifestyle Family Photography

Elena S Blair

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Lesson Info

6. Session Experience

Next Lesson: Family Preparation

Lesson Info

Session Experience

So one of the places that I feel like photographers, kind of something that they mess when they're starting to work with families is that they don't do enough client education. Working with your families starts well before the shoot ever happens. In fact, I think that working with your families starts before they even inquire. So you really are, reaching out to a particular type of person who is going to appreciate this kind of photography. So you have to really, really get into the educational side of things. I see a lot of even seasoned photographers on forums or Facebook groups, complaining about their clients. And I think that that's, by the way, don't ever do that. But I see them say things like, oh, I can't believe my client did this, or they showed up late or they were wearing this or they were acting this way dad was being, you know, whatever. So many different things that people complain about. And I personally think that if somebody's complaining that you fell short, and I ...

know that sounds a horrible thing to say. But I take ownership. If one of my clients shows up 20 minutes late, I didn't educate them well. I didn't tell them, hey, we're shooting a golden hour, and we've only got an hour. So you need to be on time. If one of my clients shows up and is constantly directing their kid to look at me, I didn't educate them well, they don't know what to expect from my session. So that's what we're going to talk about right now is how you are going to set yourself up for success so that these sessions just kind of roll and happen organically and beautifully. And you can be in total control and know that things are going to work out just like you want them to. Okay, so talking about this the session experience, how do we do this? How do we create this experience before we've even met these people? Well, a lot of it has to do with your website. So you want to think of your website like your storefront. This is an online world, right? So that everything is happening online. And when they walk into your website, they're starting to have their experience with you. It's a really awesome well known photographer at WPPI. I was listening to him talk and he said, "My website feels like my living room. And I've had clients come into my living room and say that they feel like they're in my website". And he was like, that's exactly what I want. And it's very true, your website should very much be a very true representation of who you are as an artist, and who you want to attract. So we're gonna to talk. We can't get into this and that. A business class is a whole other ballgame. But we are going to talk a little bit about your portfolio because that is really important in attracting this type of family. And hold on, let me go back to that for a second. I didn't mean to click forward. So the other place that the session experience happens is on your social media. So this is a social media time, you have to be able to market yourself on social media. It's just you can't get around it. And your social media should be an extension of your website. It should be a portfolio basically. It should be attracting only speaking to those that you want to attract. Only speaking your why. We're gonna talk about that in a moment. So your social media is huge. Your website and your social media are very important in who we are bringing in to appreciate this kind of photography. And then it is the booking process. So this is when we start educating them, when they end up work. I'm gonna go into the specifics of what I say and how I do this. But when they inquire, now we are starting with education, immediately. You are the authority in this situation and you are starting to set that tone of hey, I'm in charge. I'm a control freak, I guess. But and this is how your session experience is gonna go. And so that starts with inquiry. And then we're gonna talk a little bit about how I get them to relax because I want their session experience to be relaxed. So many of my families meet. I would say almost all of them afterward are like, "Wow, that was easy". And I'm like, yes, high five. That's what I want. That's my brand. That's how it works for me, I want it to go really easy for them. I want them to feel like this was a fun experience so that they come back and so that they tell their friends. And they do. They become brand evangelists when you provide a really great session experience. So I feel like we got some questions sort of like this already. So that's why I'm glad that we're talking about it. I get this a lot. When I'm mentoring people or have doing portfolio reviews for people or people that want to get into this kind of photography, they ask me, "But how do I convince my clients that this is the style for them?" And the answer is, you don't. You should never ever, ever have to convince anybody, that the style of photography that you're doing is for them. If you are trying to convince somebody, then they're not your client, and they need to go with someone else who is the style that they want. That's the beauty of this industry. We're all different. We're all unique humans. We all have something different to offer. And so you aren't gonna be able to satisfy everybody and think about it. I mean, you don't want to. You can't gonna do 500 sessions a year. Maybe you are, that's a little crazy, but you're not going to. You can't satisfy everybody so you have to be ready to attract and repel. And when you're new, repelling feels really scary. And I get that, trust me. I have done everything from birthday parties to dog portraits. I mean, I've done all the things. And that's fine. That's what you do when you're starting. But when you start to establish your vision, and you start to establish what it is that you want to do your artistic style, who you want to attract, you've got to be willing to repel, you got to be willing to turn away people that are like, there's no way I'm kissing my wife's neck while holding my baby. That would be not, not some people are gonna be super against that. Great. They're gonna find somebody who's gonna do exactly what they want. So this is just a screenshot of my portfolio. And I've been using some of these pictures here. Another neck kiss over there. And so your online presence, your portfolio, this is your first point of connection. So like I was saying, I'm all over my work. This is all of this means something to me. So when somebody lands here, you can tell what you're gonna get. My works a little bit messy. The light is... I'm using the light in an interesting way. We've got lots of intimate shots here. This is just part of my portfolio. We've got parents kissing. You can tell that I use environmental elements like someone was asking me do I do home in home sessions. I don't get hostage when home sessions is not really showing them. I am not trying to attract them. I don't mind them but that is not where my zone of genius is. So you want to put stuff after you wanna push your portfolio to its absolute extreme. So even tough I take those photographs of everybody is looking, I do. I mean, not everything I do is like this. But I don't put it on the website because i want somebody to come and look at this and say I want to look like this. I want to be one of these families in her portfolio. I don't care if my husband head is cut off. This looks like some parents will be like, why is that not in that picture, right? Not my client. I want clients that are totally okay with me asking them to kiss their wife's neck. And generally speaking I could say with pretty, with a lot of confidence, 99.9% of the time my clients are satisfied. And it's because they know exactly what they're gonna to get. And they're not surprised when I ask them to kiss their wife. And I actually, there's a member of the studio audience who I photographed her family and she's like, "See, I told you that they were gonna, she was gonna make us make out." And I was like, guilty. I do it every time. So but they know that because that's what's happening when they come to my website. So you have to think about that. You have to really be able to let go of that fear and put out there what you think might repel some people but that is going to absolutely attract the people who are gonna appreciate you as an artist. The same goes for your social media. This is my Instagram account. It looks nearly identical to my portfolio. So I get a ton of business on Instagram. And I really started focusing on that in the last couple of years and it's huge, but I treat it like portfolio. So somebody you want your portfolios to be seamless, so somebody stumbles on my Instagram. They click to my profile, they go to my website and it feels the same.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Client FAQ Questions
Family Session Educational Experience
Family Session Prep Guide
Pricing Worksheet
Session Prep Example Email

Ratings and Reviews

Katie Rivers

This was a great class! So much great information packed into such a short amount of time. I also LOVE Elena Blair. I would love to meet her after taking this course. She is so confident and fearless in her work and that is so inspiring!

Brooke Emery

Student Work