“How are you so comfortable with your clients?”
“You always seem to have so much fun on your shoots even when things don’t go according to plan.”
“How do you always know what to do during your shoots?”
“You always seem to have things under control and get out galleries the vendors and clients really love.”
These questions and comments are ones I get often from both clients and other photographers I work with (whether it be a lead photographer or my second shooter). The reality is I love people. Since I was little I would pretty much talk to anyone who would talk back and honestly, I would talk to anyone whether they would speak back or not! By the end of the conversation they were speaking back. I love spending time with new people, getting to know them and working with them to create something they will love. My clients during the sessions are no exception! I enjoy getting to meet new clients, capture their stories, and interact with them for years to come.
The truth is that the ability to serve clients goes beyond being a people person. I strive to treat my clients as I hope to be treated. Each individual I get to serve deserves the best I have which starts much earlier than the moment we all arrive on location.
One of the first questions I ask a new client are ‘what type of shoot environment are you wanting?’ and ‘what type of environment will best depict your family?’. Putting people in an environment they feel comfortable in may seem like common sense but I hear about people feeling like where they took picture isn’t a reflection of their personalities more often than I’d like to. Usually a family knows right off the bat if they are looking for something more country or urban. Sometimes, not so much and that’s okay! I have follow-up questions to insure we are getting it right. For my own personal and family pictures I often start with a list of places i’ve been dreaming of shooting and narrow them down until I find which ones suites me best for the situation I am in. I went through 4 locations and drove around for hours to find the perfect place for my maternity pictures but I went with the locations that I loved and made me feel the most like my roots- a dirt road, fields, and cows. If downtown is your vibe, not a problem! We will find what is perfect for you. I have been so lucky to shoot in various types of locations and have developed a love for them all! If you want two locations, no problem, we easily schedule the time for that! Again, because I believe location is so important, if you don’t have a dream location picked out already and I don’t have a location in mind, weeks before I am location scouting to find a location that reflects my clients and their families personalities and lifestyles.
The week before I make sure I have everything I need- my CF card, batteries for the flash, and that all the equipment in firing properly. I always try to have extras in case something goes wrong last minute. The reality is that equipment is equipment and there can be problems but I tend to believe that luck favors the prepared. The day before the equipment is re-assessed, cleaned, and calibrated if needed. If you are in the OKC, Oklahoma area and need a good camera shop, I would HIGHLY recommend Baker Photo in Yukon, OK for your calibration, cleaning, and rental needs. They are always willing to give recommendations and answer all of my questions. The night before you better believe that my cards are formatted, the batteries are on the charger one last time just to make sure they are full, and everything I will need for the wedding or session is packed. If it can’t be packed till the day of, everything is sitting in one spot so it is an easy pack-up for the big shoot!
As a little side note but a MAJOR aspect of my business- my clients cannot get my best if my home life is suffering. My family and my faith are my greatest blessings in this life so my faith, husband and children are apart of everything I do! The support, encouragement, and love my family give me and the knowledge that I am doing what God has gifted me the ability to do fuel my desire and ability to succeed and what I do. They are with me along every step of they way! This means while I am driving around looking at new locations for hours at times, my husband and kids are all buckled up and jamming out to music with me, hiking to new locations for our adventure shoots, or letting me practice in-home portraits for my lifestyle sessions. Jared is going through my check lists with me to make sure i’m prepared with equipment and walking me through special situations and names before the weddings. The kids are helping me check for green lights on my battery charges and count AA batteries for my flash. When mom is stressed, they sit us all down with cups of chocolate milk and a big bowl of popcorn for a movie night to help unwind before big days and just enjoy some family time. More than once I have come home from sessions or weddings to a clean house, flowers, and dark chocolate waiting for me with big hugs and kisses from all of them. My family supports me in more ways than I knew possible and none of this would be possible without them and the support of a Heavenly Father who, I know loves me and cares about my dreams, too!
PC: Thomas AE