For you, as a studio photographer, clients form an opinion of your studio before they even step into your studio.
The studio photographer must ask:
• What kind of impression does my studio project?
• Does my studio look good from the street?
• Is the sidewalk even and attractive, with landscaping and flowers leading to the door?
• Is the front door clean and inviting?
These questions may seem irrelevant for someone coming to look at portraits, but these perceptions send a message to the client about you, your business and your level of professionalism.
Studio Photographer Consideration #1
• Location: Your location must reflect ‘Studio Photographer.’ The studio décor should reflect the type of customer that you want to attract. Studio portrait photographer perth conjures up certain images in the minds of consumers. The studio photographer that misses this point and does not offer a pleasant, professional and high-quality look will always struggle to maintain long-term success. Ambience for a studio photographer doesn’t have to be expensive. I open all window blinds and draperies to let in natural light (they are then drawn during the session, unless the natural light is part of the shoot)
• Enlarged Prints: Use your walls to impress your clients. I don’t have a large amount of furniture in my studio. I use enlarged portraits. The portraits are technically excellent. The portrait models are very regular and very normal people. I found that when I only had portraits of ‘beautiful’ people displayed, too many clients felt ‘intimidated.’ When they began to see beautiful portraits of people that looked ‘just’ like them, they expressed more ease and willingness to be photographed. (I actually make a point of displaying portraits of ‘regular’ people.
Some of the portraits are of people who are overweight, aged, ‘less-than-pretty,’ etc. Clients actually become more confident in my skills when they see the displayed portraits.)
• Artificial and Natural Plants: Besides being good portrait photography perth wa props for the studio photographer Canberra, plants contribute to a wholesome, fresh, friendly ambience and atmosphere. I use natural and artificial plants. Sometimes, natural plants die on me, no matter how much care I provide them. So, I make sure that I have ‘real-looking’ artificial plants on hand.
• Simple/Clean Furniture: No matter how much money you have to spend on furniture for your studio, stick with a color theme.
Studio Photographer Consideration #2
• Business Cards: The beauty of technology is the easy, quick and cost efficiency now afforded small businesses. With a computer, a digital camera and an inkjet printer, I produce high-quality, professional business cards. I use the cards to display my work. Some long-term customers collect them (as if they were baseball cards).
This practice contributes to word-of-mouth-marketing for my photography.
• Brochures: An inkjet printer produces very impressive and practical brochures. With the use of a low-end desktop publishing software program, you can produce professional looking brochures. My favorite program is Microsoft Publisher. Although there are other programs that produce more professional looking and complex publications, there is a very short learning curve with Publisher. Whatever program you use, be sure that you can import and manipulate digital images.
• Price Lists: Always include your logo and studio image on your price lists.
• Stationery: Your stationery should continue to reflect a first-class operation.
• Logo: Some business owners consider the logo one of the most important marketing factors. I have changed my logo over the years. I eventually went to my name as my logo.
Studio Photographer Consideration #3
• Answering Service/Voice Mail: Too often, this device is not used to the best advantages. Whether your telephone calls are answered by a live person or an answering device/voice mail, the message must be friendly, professional and credible. I make it a point of recording my outgoing message at least every three months. Although I often record the same message, it adds freshness and attention to details when regular callers notice the slight changes.
• Quality Counts: Not only does quality count – it also doesn’t have to be expensive. Go all out to provide over-the-top, quality customer service. Canberra photography customers enjoy being individually catered to and helped to look good.
• Brief outgoing message (keep short): There is some debate regarding the use of the outgoing message as a preselling tool. Some feel that this is an opportunity to let customers know what they can do for them. Others, like me, feel that a brief outgoing message implies a respect for the caller’s (customer’s) time.
• Check messages regularly (whether you are expecting calls or not): I use to make a great mistake by not
checking my messages regularly. I had slowed my marketing activities down and I wrongly assumed that calls would also slow down. I was real wrong. I lost some potential business because it took me too long to call. As I mentioned earlier, photography customers enjoy being individuallycatered to. An unreturned telephone call doesn’t make anyone feel special. To this day, I don’t know how much business I cost myself. Of course, I now check my messages with stopwatch regularity.
• Your outgoing message should promise to return all calls – then do so
Studio Photographer Consideration #4
Studio Shooting Area
• Studio Size: An ideal studio should be wide enough to pose a group of fifteen to twenty people comfortably with enough space for your lighting equipment. My studio is nowhere near that size. At most, I can comfortably pose eight people with equipment space. This has worked for me. Most of my request are for portraits of four or less.
• Backgrounds: There is much written about the ‘best’ backgrounds. I feel that the choice of backgrounds is subjective. I use multiple backgrounds. But, the background that I use the most is a white background. Depending on how I use the lighting, the white background adapts different tones, hues and patterns, providing unique portraits. Some of my customers request cluttered backgrounds. In the past, I have tried educating them about the importance of not having too many dis tractions in the portraits. Now, I give them what they say they want. And then I shoot them with the white backdrop. Ninety-eight percent of them later choose the portraits with the white backdrops.
Studio Photographer Consideration #5 – The Critical Tool
Your studio is a critical tool in how you are perceived as a first rate photographer – or not! Whatever size or type of studio that you have, make sure that it reflects your image and what you want customers to know about you. When customers pull up to the curb they should immediately see a well-manicured, brightly colored, inviting location. Upon entering they should be greeted by cleanliness, fresh-aroma, quality samples of regular people, and customer-focused customer service.
Of course, we still have to earn their respect as photographers and their business. But, our studio preparation can presell them on our qualifications.
Also, keep in mind that a studio is not mandatory. I also have a very flexible and portable location studio set-up.
I often do portraits on location or at the home of the customer. While I find most of these set-ups refining, the customers usually are more relaxed and comfortable, producing very pleasing portraits. Flexibility is a good trait to have as a studio photographer.
Many factors go into the consideration of potential customers for thestudio photographer. The studio and its presentation are key to preselling your clients.