The Business Tog - Creating Lasting Connections
In today's crowded photography market, standing out and getting booked for headshot photography in your area can be a challenging task. However, the key to success is often rooted in the reputation you build over time. A stellar reputation can lead to repeat business and referrals, ultimately saving you time and marketing expenses. In this article, we'll explore the importance of reputation in headshot photography and how to create a unique connection with your clients to secure your place in this competitive industry.
Building a Stellar Reputation
Reputation is the cornerstone of success in the world of headshot photography. When each client you work with leaves your session with positive feedback about their experience, they are more likely to spread the word to others in need of a headshot. People naturally want to recommend good service, and this word-of-mouth marketing can significantly boost your future bookings. It's not just about taking a great portrait; it's about how you make your clients feel before, during, and after the session.
Creating the Perfect Experience
Both the technical and creative elements of your work are undeniably crucial for capturing stunning images. Combining those skills with the ideal experience will lead to success in creating repeat clients and referrals. Words in a referral such as "She put me at ease immediately" or "I had fun, the time flew" carry tremendous weight. Most people booking business-style headshots are not used to being in front of a camera, and they want the experience to be quick and painless. Models and or actors are much easier to put at ease, but they still need your skills to get that look they need for their portfolio.
The Formula for Success
There is no one-size-fits-all formula. It should be natural or seem natural to be effective. How you make your clients feel before, during, and after the session is paramount to your strategy. You simply need to watch how you are greeting, guiding, putting your clients at ease, and mostly empowering them. Perfect these skills and they will be genuine and effective. Make a mental note every time you run a session how you felt how you think they felt then also ask them for feedback.
Tips for Building Connections
1. Find a Connection/get to know them: Engaging in conversation with your subjects is a great way to help them relax during a photoshoot. The moment you first interact with your client, whether through a call, text, or email, find a connection. It could be as simple as discovering shared interests or even something they find funny. This can also be done in a short survey attached to your booking form that you can refer to during the session.
2. Be Aware of Their Comfort: Remember that not all your clients are models; many of them might feel awkward in front of the camera. They're looking for a painless experience. Try not to treat them too much like professional models (unless they are) but do guide them into poses that suit their personality and style. It might take some trial and error, but it's worth the effort. Avoid telling them that something didn’t look right. Show them when you get a great shot so that they can relax knowing you know what you are doing. Keep reinforcing that they look great or doing great.
3. Be Authentic: The best way to win your clients over immediately is by being your true self. Whether you are quirky, edgy, fun, or serious, stay authentic to who you are. Clients choose you because they connect with what they see on your website and social media. Changing your personality or style during a session will be transparent, and it can create stress for both you and your clients. If someone books you that you don’t gel with immediately, you can always find a common ground. Ask them to tell you a story about how they met their partner, of if they have kids, to talk about them about their ages and the funniest thing they did that week. Talking about someone they love gets them to think about something else other than the session and loosens up any tension.
In conclusion, mastering the art of headshot photography isn't just about technical and creative skills; it's about the connections you create and the experience you provide. Building a stellar reputation is the key to long-term success in this competitive field. By following these tips and learning the formula for success, you can distinguish yourself in the photography market and become the go-to headshot photographer in your area.
1. Compliments: Start with a genuine compliment about their appearance or outfit. It can boost their confidence and set a positive tone for the session.
2. Shared Interests: Ask about their hobbies or interests. Find common ground to bond over and create a connection.
3. Travel and Places: Inquire about their favourite travel destinations or dream vacation spots. This can lead to exciting conversations.
4. Current Events: Discuss recent news or popular culture topics. Be mindful of controversial subjects and stick to light and non-polarizing topics.
5. Family and Pets: Ask about their family, children, or pets. People often love talking about their loved ones.
6. Food and Dining: Inquire about their favourite restaurants, dishes, or cooking experiences. Food is a universal conversation starter.
7. Music and Entertainment: Talk about their favourite music, movies, or TV shows. It can lead to fun discussions and even recommendations.
8. Future Plans: Ask about their upcoming projects, goals, or events. This can help them open up about their aspirations.
9. Photography Preferences: Discuss their own photography preferences, such as their favourite type of photography or style. It can create a connection based on shared interests.
10. Nostalgia: Talk about childhood memories, school days, or memorable experiences from the past. Nostalgic conversations can be comforting.
11. Nature and Outdoors: Inquire about their favourite outdoor activities, like hiking, camping, or gardening.
12. Comedic Relief: Light humour can go a long way in breaking the ice. Share a funny story or joke to create a relaxed atmosphere. I often tell people that they will always be funnier than me, so they tell a joke.
13. Travel Adventures: Ask about any memorable travel experiences or exciting adventures they've had.
14. Local Favourites: If you're shooting in a specific location, ask about their favourite local spots, like parks, coffee shops, or hidden gems.
15. Hopes and Dreams: Encourage them to share their dreams and aspirations, whether they're personal or professional.
16. Personal Achievements: Celebrate their accomplishments and ask about what they're most proud of in life.
Remember that the key to using these conversation starters effectively is to listen actively and respond with interest. Be an engaged and empathetic conversationalist, and your subjects are likely to feel more relaxed and open during the photoshoot. It’s your job to maintain a positive and encouraging tone throughout the session to create a welcoming atmosphere that will leave them feeling good at the end of the session and exceed their expectations of the experience.