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Client Interaction

Lesson 36 from: Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

36. Client Interaction


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


How to Make Senior Photos Stand Out


What is Lighting in Layers?


Build a Lighting Foundation


Layer One: Main Light


Layer Two: Fill Light


Layer Three: Accent Light


Layer Four: Additional Light


Lesson Info

Client Interaction

So, moving on to the full client interaction. I briefly wanna go over everything that is involved in this, from first contact to picking up the product. So, kind of a general timeline. So you guys can see how I work. One of the things that I love doing is block scheduling. And this is definitely something I learned from Amanda, as far as, managing your time. Especially for me, because I have business portraits, and commercial work I deal with. I have, you know, other education and workshops I teach. But I also have my seniors. So, I wanna know when I'm going to be shooting, when I'm gonna be working with people. And that way, when they inquire, there are certain dates that I know for seniors. So, for me, I only shoot seniors, again, June, July, August, September. And I only shoot seniors a couple days per week. Because I'm not very good at multitasking or focusing on different things. If I know I have a senior coming in, you know, Monday night, Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, Fri...

day morning, I tend to get nothing else done that week because I'm just focusing on those. So, I give seniors two days per week, where they can schedule. Sometimes three if it's in the really peak busy season. But again, I'll say, we can schedule Monday morning, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, or Tuesday evening. Then, that way I know the next three days of the week, I can work on my other stuff, if there's a whole bunch of retouching. It also gives me options if later, if the schedule is filling up, and it rains and we need to reschedule, I'm leaving blank days. So, I like to schedule in blocks. You know, other photographers like to cram the schedule full. But I like to keep my focus. And that's what works for me. So, when people call to schedule, you know, we'll give them the available dates. And then, again, so the first client contact is generally an email, 99% of the time. My phone number's not out there floating around too much. I'm gonna send them the senior magazine either way. So, even if they call, we're gonna follow up with an email immediately. That first contact, let's say it happens June 1st. They email, and they wanna book a session. Let's say we book that session for June 1st. They'll come in two weeks prior to that for the consultation. I want them to have just enough time to be able to go shopping in between, to get comfortable, to go over all the info that, you know, we're gonna hit at the session, consultation. I want them to have time to make that image library that they're gonna send to me with all the images they like. Plus, if anything changes in between, if they think of a location, if they think of more outfits, there's time in there where they're not gonna feel stressed. And it gives me to time to think about what we're gonna do. So, again, two weeks before the session, we'll do that consultation. They'll come in for the session. I always want them to come in 20 minutes before. So, most of the sessions are in the evening that I shoot. And the middle of summer, they typically start around six PM. So, we'll shoot from, you know, it's usually two, two and a half hours, we'll shoot from six to 8:30. Sometime that gives me enough daylight to fit everything in. But have that nice-- You know, that nice lighting in the afternoon. So, they'll come in around 5:30, 5:45, we'll load up all their clothes, get everybody settled in. I always tell them to wear something comfortable. I don't want them to come wearing their first outfit. Because, you know, you sit in the car, all that. I want them to come something their comfortable in, and that way they can refresh and get ready in the studio. So, they'll come in about 15, 30 minutes before the session. They can relax, we can turn on some music, get them something to drink, get everybody comfortable, and then, that's when we'll start going through all the clothes, and figure out, again, their least favorite outfit. They'll change into that, we always then do the warmup in the studio. Do that whole photo booth exercise, where we get comfortable in front of the camera, I figure out which angles look good for them. If there's certain light or lenses that I know are gonna work, it kind of gives me that time to process so I can mentally prepare for the session. And then, you know, they can get into the groove, and get comfortable around me. And then, from there, we just shoot. And you know, I like to go on location, and do studio in between. So, I don't do studio, studio, studio, then all the locations. For one, a lot of times, it's hot out. So, we'll do studio shoot, then we'll hop in the car. I always leave my car running, so it's nice and cold. And I always tell them to do the same. You know, leave your car on, it's pretty safe where we're at. You know, if you don't feel comfortable, that's fine. But I don't want them to get all sweaty and feel uncomfortable. So, we'll generally do studio, then location, then come back and start in the studio again so they can cool off, go on location. And I just kind of like that back and forth, 'cause it gives us a little bit of variety, and a little bit of a break. And then, once the session is over, they're on their way, I always have them schedule their-- We do all the sales in person, in the studio. So, they come in to view the images. I have them schedule that before they ever leave. Two things, it gives me a deadline that I know all the images need to be done and ready. And it also gives them something to look forward to, and a date where they know that they need to be prepped, and this is the time they're gonna be viewing. So, you know, if you need to bring-- Rarely do dads ever come to the actual session. But if you want your dad present, or your grandma, or anybody you wanna bring with you to view your images, here's the date, so you know. Usually it's a couple weeks out from when they do it. In the meantime, I'll post a few of their photos, or we'll send them some, just to keep that energy and excitement going. Because I want them to be sharing that with their friends. I want them to be talking about it. People spend more money when they're excited about something. So, I don't want there to be a month in between the time that they have the session and the time they order. Because a lot happens in that month, especially for high schoolers. So, I want them to still be excited when they come in, and are making those decisions on what they're gonna purchase. So, again, about two weeks. So, now we're talking, they had their consultation, two weeks later, they had their session, about two weeks later, they'll have their ordering appointment. And then, once we do the ordering appointment, again, depending on what time of year, I always tell them to allow, you know, three to six weeks for delivery of files. We try and be that, you know? So, that way we can call them with a little bit of surprise. It's like, "Hey, guess what, your stuff's here." And then, we require them to come back to the studio to pick everything up. So, that way, we can introduce them to their products, and keep that excitement going. Another thing is just, even something as simple as the packaging. I love packaging, I love how it all looks. It fits the brand. A couple years ago we start-- I was in New York City. So, this is just something to me. But it's something you can think about for your own brand. I was in New York City, and we were always down in Chinatown. And there was all these flower markets. And they would wrap up all these fresh cut flowers in newspaper. And I had no idea what the newspaper said, it was from all these foreign countries. But I thought, that's kind of cool. And that was just something from New York that I really enjoyed. So, I brought that back to Omaha. So, we use these kind of organic looking, craft, paper boxes. And then, there's a thing called Clear Bags. If you ever order prints, a lot of times, they'll put-- The White House uses them. They're really fitted bags, specific for each size of print. So, let's say you ordered four five by sevens, Nicole, my studio manager, she'll put each five by seven-- We mount everything on the styrene board, so they're nice and thick, it adds value. Especially since our five by sevens and eight by tens are all $80 a piece. I want that to feel like you're getting something substantial, not just a flimsy piece of paper. Because it's all about the image, but also, that presentation. So, we put every individual print in a Clear Bag, and then, we wrap the whole thing in this newspaper. And then, we put that inside a craft paper box. And then, we have some sort of, it's like baking twine. It's like that red and white stripped twine. She wraps it up in that with a note on the top. And that way, it's multiple layers for them to open. It's kind of an experience in itself. And we have them open everything right there, just to keep that energy going. And it's fun to watch. So, that's kind of how I do everything. And then, from there, they take everything home. And we send up a follow up thank you about a week later thanking them, see if they need anything else. And that's not where it ends either. And we're gonna get into this with marketing. But we follow up with graduation cards and all that type of stuff in the spring. You know, that's additional money. It's things that they can show. Otherwise, to market our business to the next class of seniors, because this class is on their way out. And they're sending all there graduation invites. It's kind of like a refresher on all those pictures we took the year before. And the juniors who are attending those parties and all that. Then, it kind of reminds them. "Well, it's our turn for senior pictures." It'll put those images back in their head, maybe they'll want to use us too. That's kind of the full timeline of first contact to picking up the product. It's nothing mind blowing or groundbreaking or anything like that. But it's just what works for us. It's a timeline that keeps everything pretty prompt. And it gives me a clear sense of, I'm gonna be working on senior stuff from basically mid May until mid September. And then, I can move on and do the rest of the stuff that I do. So, it just keeps everything going.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Lighting Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting Terms Guide

Ratings and Reviews

pete hopkins

awesome teacher and awesome technique. after soooo many webinars, it's really great to see someone break it down to the bare bones of lighting with exceptional quality results. i can listen to Dan all day. no pretense, no over the top emotional pleas, no drama! did i say awesome!!!! Plus, I'm a huge fan of the B! and B2 systems. Freedom is key. Now I can shoot anywhere, anytime. Thanks Dan.


This is by far the best class on senior photography I have found on creativelive. Dan explains the technical aspects in an easy to understand format. He does a great job going through studio shots, outdoor shots, editing and marketing. He's given me some great ideas and inspired me to be more creative. I am going to rewatch the lighting set up for the "hero shot". It's super cool!

Tristanne Endrina

Dan was great. His class was very comprehensive but easy to follow. The slides he used weren't flashy. Instead, they were simple and he went at a good pace. I left feeling like I could really pull off the lighting techniques he taught. I'm excited to put what I learned into my photography. :) Thanks, Dan.

Student Work