After mentoring seasoned and new photographers, I created a list of top questions that I get asked repeatedly. There were so many great questions that I decided to write two blogs, stay tuned for part 2! But for now, I've decided to answer the top questions related to photographing, editing, and marketing. These are my brief answers, but if you'd love to dive into one question specifically, just reach out.
Oftentimes photographers choose to invest in a mentorship because they're starting their business and need direction on where to go or they've been in a business for a while but it's stagnant and they'd like guidance. I offer full transparency when answering questions and ensure that the answer is clear and actionable. So, let's jump in!
Imagine that we're sitting down for a chai latte, or coffee, at a local cafe. We're talking like old friends as the coffeehouse playlist hums in the background. I'm sitting there enthusiastically with a smile on my face because I know that you're about to get advice to help your business succeed. Are you ready?
How do I help clients feel comfortable in photographs?
This is the number one question I get asked about photographing. Whether your style is highly posed fine art or relaxed and unprompted, helping your clients feel comfortable in photographs starts before they ever step in front of your camera!
Before the Session
To help your clients feel comfortable from the beginning, you must clearly communicate with them. Before the session, get to know them and ease their anxieties before you ever begin. I help my clients prepare for their session by sending them my blog on how to prepare to be photographed. It breaks down information on how to prepare, what to bring, what to wear, and answers most of their questions!
Then when you arrive at the session, make sure that you talk to them like people, because they are! This may seem obvious, but many photographers show up and jump right in without talking to their clients. They're likely nervous so make sure that you're creating a relaxing environment
During the Session
As you're photographing them, reassure them and encourage them. If you are silent while shooting, how do they know what the photographs look like? Oftentimes, clients will be concerned about if they are "posing" correctly if you don't offer reassurance. Speak to them throughout the session and give them genuine encouragement and praise.
If you're a lifestyle or documentary photographer who focuses on unposed moments, then you can help your clients feel comfortable in photographs by giving them prompts over poses. Give them interactions for one another so they're focused on each other rather than your camera. Guide your clients with actions to keep them moving and create authentic emotions while distracting them from your camera.
I use prompts for every session and want to provide each client with a unique experience. For inspiration, I use Unscripted Posing App, to get ideas before a session. This helps me push my creativity as well! You can use the code "NICOLEPHOTO" for $20 off your subscription!
How do I create a consistent edit?
When it comes to editing, I get asked about my editing workflow, but the top question relates to editing consistently! As a new photographer, finding your editing style can be challenging. Then once you do, keeping that consistent as you edit your galleries can be even more challenging. This one is too warm, too cool, over-saturated, too dull, the list goes on and on.
Determine Your Editing Style
Before you can create a consistent edit, you need to determine your editing style. Determine what is important to you in your edits, not what is trendy. Trends come and go, and fads change. You want your photographs to be timeless and you don't want to change your style every time a new trend pops up. That doesn't mean your style won't evolve with you as you develop as a photographer, but it shouldn't jump from trend to trend. So ask yourself what's important. Do you prioritize vibrant colors or more true to life? Do you love muted tones, deep blacks, or bright whites? Do you want more clarity in your photographs? Once you can confidently answer those questions, you're ready to create an edit that you can use for your galleries.
Create Consistent Skin Tones
Whether you create your own editing preset, or purchase one, use the same edit on each gallery to keep it consistent. When you use the edit on one gallery, it will not look the same on another. Don't expect it to. Even from photo to photo in one gallery, the lighting and colors can change dramatically. When I say "consistency" I don't mean that every gallery is going to have the exact same tones. When editing, prioritize skin tone. The client's skin tone should be consistent throughout the gallery.
In Lightroom, I use the reference photo view, to place an edited photograph from the gallery on the left of the screen, while I actively edit the one on the right. This ensures that I have a baseline to go off of and that the photographs from the beginning of the gallery to the end will have a consistent skin tone. Yes, colors and lighting will still vary, but using a reference photograph will help you maintain the edit from the beginning to the end.
How do I use social media to market?
Let's start thinking about social media as a resource to connect and create community. When you view social media as strictly a tool to market, it can become overwhelming. You become concerned about your "marketing strategy" and how to reach potential clients, rather than engaging and creating community. Yes, what you post matters, but you should also use social media to connect!
Share Your Heart
Use the platform to share your heart, your interests, and how you help your clients rather than using bold text every second screaming BOOK ME! No one wants to book someone who is screaming at them. Social media is filled with pretty photographs, so share your heart and your personality to stand out. Your clients will begin to connect with you more than your photographs.
Just like you want potential clients to connect with you, you should be putting in the effort to connect with them! Don't simply post and then jump off, or even worse mindlessly scroll. Find your current clients and connect with them. Invest in their lives. You are likely documenting significant moments or milestones for them, so before and after the session, create a connection with them. Again, this will build that trust that allows them to be comfortable in front of your camera.
When sharing content on social media, the captions that you write are just as important as the photographs. Yes, platforms like Instagram are visual platforms, but what you write matters. Potential clients will read your captions and again, you want to your heart, your interests, and how you help your clients. If you feel overwhelmed by what to post on social media, break it down into categories. Your categories for captions could include personal, interests, behind-the-scenes, testimonials, inspiration, or education.
Once you've got captions down, then determine what photographs to share. The marketing analysts say you should show your face on your feed every 6 to 9 photographs. Additionally, only share photographs relating to the types of sessions you want to photograph. If you want to photograph wedding and boudoir photography, don't share newborn photographs. Likewise, if you want to focus on senior photographs and portraits, don't share event photographs. You'll attract what you post. I primarily share wedding photographs, even though I document lifestyle sessions as well.
If you're struggling to post consistently, I would recommend using a planning app to plan your posts in advance. I plan the majority of my posts at the beginning of the week and schedule them out so that is not what I'm focusing on the entire week. I want my work time to be focused and productive, not interrupted by what to post on social media, so I plan ahead! I use Tailwind to plan my posts ahead of time and it helps save me time so that I can focus on creating community on social media, rather than writing captions each day.
If you'd like more tips for social media, you can grab my Instagram Audit Guide here, which gives you five actional steps to transform your profile in just 30 minutes, making it easier for potential clients to find you, learn about you, and engage with you on a deeper level leading to more inquiries and bookings!
How do I learn more about running a business and photography?
If you're interested in learning more about photography or how to run a business, or even in booking a mentorship session but are unsure what other education I can offer you, take a look at my hot topics below!
How to overcome it and gain confidence in yourself and your business.
A Legal and Legitimate Business
How to make your business legal and legit with a business license, contracts, insurance, taxes, and more!
How to uplevel your business with branding beyond the aesthetics!
Behind the Scenes Business
How to create seamless workflows, develop strong client communication, and manage it with ease.
How to get started in the wedding industry, create an experience with value, and capture raw emotions.
Marketing Strategy Deep Dive
How to strategize blogging, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and email marketing.
Equipment and Editing
How to overcome insecurities with equipment + editing including flash photography and lightroom tutorials.
If you'd love to learn about one of these topics, or something entirely different, reach out to discuss your business and what type of mentorship session would be best for you! If you're not ready to invest in your education but would love more resources, tips, and inspiration, you can sign up for my monthly emails here so I can drop insider advice and encouragement right to your inbox!
I cannot wait to continue to serve you with education to help you grow your business and serve your clients wholeheartedly!
All my love,