Great Tips for Family Photography Sessions
If you are breaking into the family photography space, it can be a bit intimidating to find yourself in front of a group of people ranging in ages. But, there are some tips we can offer you to make the experience smoother and more comfortable for you as a professional while ensuring your clients walk away happy.
COMMUNICATION WITH CLIENTS
You're more likely to have clients walk away happy if you do two things: produce terrific results by meeting their expectations (or exceeding them) and being an effective communicator with your clients before and throughout the process with them.
Remember that they've come to you because they want to commission wall portraits. They want you to capture their unique family dynamics authentically and help them tell their story through the portraits you will produce.
From the moment a potential client calls your office, you should be a fully transparent communicator.
- Ask about their vision or expectations for their portraits. (What kind of portraits do they want?)
- Ask about where they hope to display their pictures because that could affect your planning for the session.
- Talk about clothing options for their portraits and be ready to offer advice on outfits or colors.
- Tell them about the products you offer - even if they haven't booked you yet.
- If there will be children involved in the photo session, ask about their ages and offer plenty of tips for how they can plan for a photo session with small children. (We always suggest clients bring snacks and an extra outfit if there are very young children.)
- Ask them if they have any questions. (You'd be surprised how photographers forget to ask that.)
- Lastly, if they ask about your pricing, be forthright. There's no sense in not wanting to discuss your rates. That only leads to issues down the road and the possibility of losing a client.
Take notes during your client meetings or discussions and use those notes to set up their photo session. Taking notes also means you won't forget what transpired during your conversations with them and is likely to ensure a happy client.
PHOTO SESSION EXPERIENCE
You should strive to create the best client experience possible during a photo shoot. That's your responsibility, not your client's. It's also your job as the photographer to act as the director of a photo session. Be firm, but be gentle and patient - particularly with children.
Make sure that you fully explain what a family can expect during their photo session so that the parents can prepare their children. Also, kids are more likely to listen to your instructions than they are to obey their parents when in a new environment.
Put your clients at ease. If they're relaxed, you'll be relaxed as well, and you'll be able to take better pictures. Make sure that you bond with the kids before you get started so that they aren't frightened by you or your equipment. Depending on the age of the children, talk through what you will be doing and show them your equipment to win over their curiosity.
The ideal scenario is for your clients to tell you at the end of their photo shoot that they had a great time. That attitude combined with great pictures tend to create repeat clients!
Plan ahead for each family photo session. Once you've read your notes about the client, check all of your equipment - not once, but twice. Make sure you have everything you need ready to go, especially if you will be shooting outside the studio. Check that all batteries are charged, and you have back-ups as well.
If you are going outside of your studio, scope the location out the day before to make sure you are familiar with it and you know where you can and cannot go. Are there likely to be any physical challenges or distraction at the location for your clients or their children? How can you address those challenges?
Arrive BEFORE your clients! You should be ready to go by the time they arrive. There's nothing worse during a family photo session than a photographer who's not prepared. The children will get fidgety, and you will lose their attention mighty fast!
Family portraits can be extremely rewarding for a photographer. It offers you the opportunity to build relationships with the families you photograph, as you document the children's growth through the years.