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The Magic of In Person Sales Sessions

The Magic of In Person Sales SessionsWe’ve talked about why we should get over our fears and do In Person Sales, and I’ve shared how I prepare my work for In Person Sales Sessions. Whether you show your clients 30 images or 130 images, fully edited or hardly adjusted at all, the next steps are both the easiest and the hardest part – the In Person Sales Session!

This part really is magical to me. After years of being afraid of it, I am still amazed at how much happier my clients are when I work with them to select the perfect images for their needs.

To be Clear, You’re Only Selling What they WANT to Buy

Your clients came to you to take photographs. Their ultimate goal is to have a great experience working with you, and to have those photographs when it is all said and done.

In the end, you’re not selling anything. You are helping them to purchase exactly what they want. They walked in the door wanting these photographs. Now we have to get you over the hurdle of letting them purchase them.

Educating Your Client

When I switched to In Person Sales, I expected people to push back on the idea. They don’t, and that really surprised. I convinced myself for years that no one wanted to take more time to go through their photos with me, and that they might even be uncomfortable because they are boudoir images. Silly, isn’t it? Since I’m the one that took the photos?

The reality is that they are working with you, the expert, for a complete experience. They value your opinion & advice when it comes to their photographs. It makes perfect sense that they want your help with them!

Most of my clients thank me afterwards for doing this with them in person, helping them out with their selections. They all express how much easier it is for them. I wish I could go back in time and do it for all of my clients!

I make a point to talk from the time that they book about the consult that we are going to have after their session. I mention it again the day of their session. We set it up for 1-2 weeks after the session, but I have done them as soon as two hours after the session for who are in town for their session. As long as you tell them in advance that this is how you do it, most clients will gladly meet you to view the photographs in person. (Note, I said most. Not all. There are a few who want to view them online. I don’t allow it though, as per my privacy policy of not posting anything online.)

Where Do the In Person Sales Sessions Take Place

I have a studio space, so my appointments almost always take place there. If you do not have a studio, you could meet at a coffee shop, a wine bar, or at the same hotel where your client did their session. Your home or theirs. Select a location that fits your brand and style. Choose a place where you won’t get distracted or interrupted. If you use a computer for your sessions, try to find somewhere where you can sit in a corner, avoiding any prying eyes.

Who Should Come to the In Person Sales Session

I’ve started suggesting to my clients that if this is a gift for their spouse, they may want to bring them to the viewing session to unveil the photographs. So far, no one has taken me up on that offer in the past year; almost all of my clients have done gift sessions. I still think it is a great idea – that way, she can choose her favorite photos, and he can select his favorite photos as well. Maybe even make two albums instead of one – one for each of them!

How Should You Present the Photographs

I display my photographs for my clients on my 13″ Apple MacBook Air Laptop. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 to go through the images with them. Another option would be to use 4×6 Proof Prints. Both work well as a way to sort them, organize them, select your favorites. The biggest thing is to have a system.

My In Person Sales Sessions

  • I greet my client, offer her something to drink, and we catch up. We sit side-by-side on the couch in my studio space.
  • I show her the Animoto slideshow I have made. It normally is about 3-4 minutes long, and I choose a peppy, upbeat song to go with it. I put 60-70 images in mine, so they aren’t displayed for long. Just enough to give her a taste. This seems to calm the nervous energy over seeing the photos for the first time.
  • Now it is time to dive in! I explain the process first, so she will know what to expect. We are going to go through the final images one time, rating the images with one star if she likes it. Quick and easy, go with her gut instinct. If there is hesitation, I still keep it. Ready, set, go!
  • We go through all images and give the ones she likes a 1 star rating. Quick, quick. Just a yes or no. If she shows interest in liking a particular image a lot, I give it 2 stars.
  • Once we have narrowed them down, I sort by the star rating and let her know how many images she chose. It is at this point I hand her my pricelist again. We talk about what albums I offer, which style & size she likes the best. State a price for things, and then stop talking. This used to be my biggest weakness. If I sensed any pause from them, I wanted to start knocking the price down to make the sale. No, no, no! Just … stop. Here is the price. If your client is silent, they may just be thinking. “Hmm, if I don’t buy that purse I was thinking about getting, I can upgrade to the larger album that I like more.” This may look to you like she doesn’t want to buy it and you’ll start rambling and before you know it you took $200 off the price and now maybe she will buy it and this is so stressful because what if she hates all the photos UGH! See? Don’t go there. Here is the price. Stop talking. Unless she asks questions, then answer those.
  • She has the pricelist, she has the sample albums, she knows how many photos from the session she likes — now it is time for me to ask her what she would like to do with her photos. An album or a book? Wall art? Gift prints? Digital files? Once I know this, we can move on to the next step.
  • Now we need to narrow down the images. I use the Grid mode in Lightroom (the Library screen) to do this. We pull out obvious duplicates or photos that are similar to each other, looking at the images using Lightrooms Compare function.
  • Once we get to the final images for the album selection, I then note which images she wants for prints, and if she wants to add the digital files.
  • I do the math on the total and take her payment. Most pay for it in full there; some ask for payment plans, which I do offer. I do not order or deliver products until I have been paid in full.
  • That is My Process, What is Yours?

    Everyone does this a little differently, and we can all learn from each other. This is the process that I go through. What is yours?

    Coming up, I’ll be talking more about other apps you can use to help your sales process. For now, Lightroom and a computer? All that you need. This is easy. You can do it!

    Photo Credit: linh.ngan via Creative Commons License

Photography is the Science

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Boudoir Photography Workflow – Preparing Photographs for In Person Sales

Boudoir Photography Workflow - Preparing Your Proofs for In Person Sales

Today, I want to share my boudoir photography workflow that I use. This is the workflow that I have developed now that I overcame my fear and I do In Person Sales sessions after every client’s session.

Let me get this out of the way: this works FOR ME. There are a million different ways to do things, as we have discussed before. Create the business you want to create. This is my way of doing them. No right or wrong, and I’m sharing my perspective to help you out. That said, I would LOVE to hear how you do things, as I’m sure my readers would as well. Feel free to leave a comment!

Backing Up Your Photographs

After each session, I back up my images to both a Western Digital My Book Drive and a Western Digital Passport Drive. I work off of the Passport Drive because it is easy to move around, I can hand it to my editing assistant as needed.

I make two copies of everything just in case a drive fails, there was a transfer error when copying the files, or I lose a drive. None of these things have happened to me in 5 years, but I really don’t want to tempt fate. I also check the files (bringing them in to Lightroom) before I reformat and shoot on the memory card again. Just in case!

Memory is cheap these days. I use one drive until I fill it up. Then I move on to a new drive. If you want to learn more about Lightroom workflows, I highly recommend anything by Jared Platt. He has several videos and Creative Live courses you can check out!

Culling Your Photographs

I am a heavy shooter. I had a camera body for 2-3 years that was temperamental about focusing so I developed this habit; I also work at f/1.8 most of the time, and last but not least, people blink. I’d rather have too many than too little. The same goes for my culling of the photographs. I often leave 2-3 options of the same pose in my editing for clients to chose from. Half smile, full smile, closed lips. Head tilted or not tilted. I want them to have the option. The differences may be slight, but they are different.

I often leave over 100 images in my final collection of proofs; sometimes it is closer to 200.

The fact that I do In Person Sales is VERY IMPORTANT here. I would not recommend doing this if I was posting images in an online gallery. I get to control how quickly they see the images, so they don’t end up in analysis paralysis.

I also offer products with higher image counts. I have one album option that has up to 100 pages in it, so they could potentially buy 100 images.

I choose to do this because Boudoir photography is a very intimate experience. While I am the expert and know which photos are the best, I like to give them some say in the final selections. Sometimes, the smile I love the most is not the smile that they love. My brand is about self-acceptance and beauty within all of us, but I also understand that we all have some quirks that we can learn to accept, and still might not want a photograph of them.

Proofing the Photographs

I do all of my preparation for viewing sessions in Lightroom. I do not open Photoshop for a single image for the In Person Sales Session. After I have completed my culling of the images, I go through them and do a check on the White Balance and on the colors. I convert some to black and white. I might adjust a crop.

I choose to only do full retouching on the final images that they select for their albums and wall art in Photoshop.

I educate my clients repeatedly on this part of my process. At the session I will remind my clients that I do not do full retouching because, “If I did that, you would have to wait so long to see your photographs! I know you’re excited and you can’t wait to see them!” They get it, they really do.

I also don’t do full retouching again because of what I have opted to build as my brand. I think that the mass media’s extreme overuse of Photoshop is distorting our image of reality and our perception of beauty. I want my clients to see just how beautiful they truly are – without Photoshop! I’ve had several clients question me in their viewing sessions, insisting I had modified their images. Nope, not at all … that is ALL YOU. Beautiful. Just like you are.

Recently, I saw a photographer friend post proofs online from a session she had had done. The proofs were fully retouched. She said in the commentary, “If only I looked like this every day.” I won’t lie, it broke my heart a little. It resonated with me. That is why I don’t fully retouch my proofs.

In our viewing session, if I sense that they are hesitating over an image because of a flaw that they see, I will discuss with them what I am going to edit in the photographs. I have not found retouching the images makes any difference in my sales, and since it impacts my costs it is more profitable for me to not do it.

Preparing the Slideshow

Once I have completed culling the images and doing an quick pass through the images to color correct them, I select images for a slideshow that I create with Animoto. I normally select 50-75 images. I use this slideshow to kick off our meeting as it gives them a chance to just see the images without thinking about if they are going to stay or go.

How Long My Workflow Takes

My workflow, from importing the images in to Lightroom, through culling them, color correcting them, selecting images for Animoto and making the Animoto Slideshow itself takes me 1 to 1.5 hours. (This does not include the time to back up the cards to two drives – I normally start that at night when I’m done working and walk away.) My goal is for this to be a quick process.

Of course, this time does not include the full, final retouching I will do to an image before it goes to print – this is just my workflow to get me to the viewing session.

What is Your Workflow?

Do you do things the same? Different? Any tips or advice?

Photo Credit: qthomasbower, used under Creative Commons

Beauty is a Matter of Perspective

Changing the world's perception of Beauty starts with YOU. Your language about yourself and others. YOU are ENOUGH. - Christine TremouletI wrote the other day about my thoughts on how you see yourself vs how the world sees you. The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign videos had me in tears because it resonated with what I hear from women all the time. The things we don’t like about ourselves are often the things that other people don’t even see at all.

I never want to minimize how someone feels about themselves, but I want to show them how the rest of the world sees them.

What has been fascinating to me over the past few days is the response I’ve seen to the campaign. Most of it has been very positive. It has made people think about the language they use about themselves, which I think is fantastic! But there are some people who are uncomfortable & angry about the videos. Wondering why there is so much focus on beauty. Friends wrote comments on my post, and I exchanged emails with others as well.

“I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices and the friends we make, the jobs we go out for, they way we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness.”

Here is the thing I’ve observed in the 140+ sessions that I’ve done. I work with women in a very intimate way, and they have to trust me in order for me to work with them. I hear a lot, and I observe even more. I hear how you talk about yourself, and sometimes it breaks my heart. It makes me even more driven to show you the way I see you, the way the world sees you.

The Perception of Beauty

This perception of beauty? It impacts almost everyone. There have been very few people that I’ve come across in my life who don’t feel the same way as that woman in the video. Some level of insecurity, fear, doubt, questioning themselves. At some point it has had some impact on everyone’s life.

My dream is to eradicate that sort of thinking about ourselves. Thinking that beauty is so important, and that beauty has such a narrow definition. But it isn’t going to happen over night. We have to start it, we have to redefine what beauty is and change its level of importance.

I see us all at the beginning of the change. I am hopeful for the future. We have to be the start of it, women. Both in the language we use about ourselves and in the language we use about one another.

Just think about that the next time you start to make a catty remark about how another woman is dressed, what she weighs, or how she styles her hair…

Confidence and Rediscovering Beauty

You may have noticed above that my mission, my Superpower, is helping Hot Mamas grow their CONFIDENCE by rediscovering their BEAUTY. Those words are something I have spent hours & days thinking over before I ever shared them with the world. They are in that order for a reason, because I feel that confidence is one of the most powerful things you can possibly have. As for rediscovering your beauty? To be honest, it is REDEFINING your beauty. Seeing yourself in the light of beauty that the rest of us see you. Seeing that the issues that you have are not the ones that the rest of us see, and that we have to choose to stop letting this issue of beauty stand in our way.

My client Ms. S said it best in an email she sent me after her session:

There needs to be more AVENGERS of SEXINESS in the world, allowing other women to take back their self worth and sexiness and tell society to go to HELL. “I am SEXY and I KNOW IT”…. Thank YOU Christine for being my AVENGER of SEXINESS!

Should beauty be a non-issue? Absolutely. But people do judge a book by its cover, and people by their looks. It is time that we all stood up and redefined beauty, together.

You are more beautiful than you think. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

How You See Yourself vs How the World Sees You

Women. We are our own harshest critiques. Maybe it is because we are told at a young age not to be vain? Not to say that we are pretty? To be humble, to describe ourselves as plain so that we aren’t seen as boastful?

Maybe it is the impact of the mass media on us? What they try to tell us is “beautiful” in the magazine pages, which is actually a Photoshopped version of reality that isn’t attainable by anyone that is human? Like the time that Redbook decided that Faith Hill needed an arm so skinny that she has no elbow.

Whatever it is, it has to stop.

You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are incredible.

I am so in love with this Real Beauty Sketches campaign from Dove. We study ourselves in the mirror every day, yet no woman could accurately describe her features, and the language that they use about themselves is so harsh. It was heartbreaking to watch it, and I cried at the end.

If only you could see yourself as the rest of the world sees you, then you would know how beautiful you truly are. It looks nothing like what you see in the pages of the magazines because you are so much more than that.

This is something I also need to remind myself of on a daily basis, but I know that it is true thanks to all the women I’ve been fortunate to work with. That knowledge makes it so much easier for me to remember.


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