I’ve always been an artist, so for me, photography is art. I never wanted to do it professionally because I thought that if someone was paying me to do it, I would have to follow their vision, not mine, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it anymore. I had been a hobbiest photographer for a few years, and after a friend’s urging, I began building my portfolio not thinking much would come of it. I found that I really did enjoy photographing for other people. I got all my ducks in order, and I made the leap full time into building a photography business. It’s been full steam since then, and even though it’s tough to have my own business, there isn’t anything else in the world I’d rather be doing!
I work with families, babies, and children, but my heart and my specialty is in Newborn Portraiture. Natural light is absolutely beautiful, but I love having control, so I’m a big fan of artificial lighting.
I began my photography career in the digital age, so I haven’t experienced a great deal of technological change. I’ve always been kinda tech savvy, so my challenge has been more just learning how to leverage and better utilize all the technology out there to help grow and better my business.
Portrait photography is a very emotional experience, and it’s important to me to find ways of enhancing and building on this emotion for my clients. Animoto has given me the ability to do this in a way that doesn’t take a lot of time, and works seamlessly in my workflow.
My clients see their images for the first time with an Animoto video at their Selection Consultation.
I want my clients’ entire portrait experience to be absolutely perfect, so I consider every little thing when presenting them with their images. I create the video using the edited images from the session, and I set it to music from the included music library, which I choose specifically to set the mood I’m looking to create. I use text and captions to up the emotional ante as well. When I meet with my clients for their Selection Consultation, I sit them down, make sure they’re comfortable and feeling relaxed. Then I sit back and take mental notes on their reactions to specific images as the video plays. It’s not unusual to have my clients in tears watching the video. As a matter of fact, at my last Selection Consultation, both mom and dad reached for the box of tissues. The most common comments I hear after the video is over are, “I love all of them, how will I choose?” and “How can we get the video?” Using Animoto has become a necessity in providing my clients with a truly unique emotional portrait experience.
I use Animoto videos for all of my Creative Sessions. I love creating and selling albums, and I find that an Animoto video is a great way to lead into an album sale. I arrange my photos to tell a story, just like I would in an album. My favorite type of session to use an Animoto video is probably a Maternity/Newborn Session. I love first getting to show the anticipation of the Maternity session, and then I get to announce the Baby and show all the Baby photos. There’s something so powerful about seeing it all come together in a storyline.
I’ve been switching between the video styles. I had a client come to me for a family session specifically for portraits using the fall colors, so for that one, I used the Autumn themed video, Then I had a family whose home decor was mostly shabby chic/rustic style, so I used the rustic themed video. I recently just used a new style that was absolutely beautiful, called “Innocence.” I loved it for it’s simplicity and soft colors. I’m also eyeing another new one called “The Page Turner,” because it simulates looking through an album, which would be perfect for me because I love selling albums. I’m not sure I really have a favorite!
Working with emotions is a very powerful, yet delicate position to be in, and I want to make sure I’m doing it just right. I try to appeal to as many senses as possible, and having my clients see their images for the first time using video set to music, while they sit next to each other maybe holding hands, gives them the ability to truly experience the emotion in the images.
The most important thing is the experience you are giving to your clients. Your work and your products must be professional, but if you treat your clients like no other business has ever treated them, they’ll sing your praises to everyone they know. I once heard somewhere something so simple that has stuck with me, and I hold to it very strongly (I apologize for not giving credit to source, I do not remember where I heard it): “Don’t provide customer service, just have customer care.” Truly care about the people who trust you with one of the most intimate and important areas of their lives. And be grateful to them because after all, if not for them, you wouldn’t be able to do what you love for a living.
Give graciously, praise abundantly, and thank sincerely – it’s those small things that are appreciated most. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!
**Read for more ideas on making your own video slideshows to capture life’s most precious moments. **