Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Growing Pains: Successful Client Consultation

On Sunday, I had a lunch/consultation with Julie H., a young woman whose wedding I will be shooting next month. Every opportunity I've had to speak with Julie has been wonderful and the excitement for her upcoming event is definitely building. I think the goal of a consultation is not just to impart information about services and coordinate schedules; it's an opportunity to really delve into a client's desires. It's the photographer's chance to let the client dream and share so plans can be made to make those ideals come true. Plus, the more I know about what she wants, the better instructions I can give to my assistants to get those kinds of shots.

I asked Julie to collect images she saw online or in magazines to give me a better idea of what kind of imagery she was looking for. There is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining inspiration from other photographer's work. I was able to see that she loves wide aperture shots with blurred bokeh in the background as well as detailed shots, such as ribbons in the flower girl's hair. Her style is a mixture of classic poses in contemporary imagery.

Julie, her fiance Joe and I are on the same page about having a preference for candid and artistic wedding photography. Julie said she doesn't want "weird magazine unrealistic poses," although we spoke about what she wants from the formal portraits we will be shooting of the family and wedding parties. She wants the unobtrusive, documentary type images, such as this one I took at a previous wedding event:

Of course we spoke about the must-have shots with family members who will be making special trips to attend the ceremony. The couple both have amazing eyes, Julie's large and green and Joe's a deep, drowning brown with lashes most women would die to have. I've been requested to shoot several images emphasizing their eyes. And what was the main reason why the couple hired me? Because they loved Teri's Rose and similar selective coloring shots such as this one:

I loved talking to Julie about how her romance with her fiance Joe developed because it gives me a better sense of the kind of photos they might appreciate as a couple. This lovely pair have known each other since they were in high school; they weren't sweethearts, but their lives have always been intwined with mutual friends and experiences that helped build the foundation for their friendship and later their love. She mentioned that it will be two whole days before the bride and groom get to see each other right before the wedding, so the moment they finally lay eyes on each other when she walks into the church will definitely be something that I and my assistants will focus on (one person focusing on Julie and the other capturing Joe's reaction).

I'm very excited that Julie has allowed me to shoot her final bridal fitting and a special "pedicure and wine" party for her bridal party. I think these two events will make their wedding a more complete story and will yield some great timeless, fun shots that will be more relaxed and filled real personality without the added stress of the BIG EVENT. I will also be shooting the rehearsal -- all wonderful chances for the clients to begin to see me as their advocate for capturing the best memories possible.

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