18 Sep Mini Session Photos – Weekend 1
It was a solid start to the LivingSocial mini sessions. For those who are unaware, I was featured on LivingSocial last month, and it was a scary week. I was left wondering how many photo deals I’d be selling. My goal was to get my name out there via marketing by LivingSocial. The cost – having to practically give away my photo services to anyone who bought the deal. The cap for the deal was 1,000 purchases… ouch. I kept my fingers crossed that I’d be able to get my name out while only selling a reasonable amount of deals, so in the end everyone is happy. Thankfully, I sold almost he exact amount of deals I wanted to sell, and that was 50. Still… 50 deals are a LOT of deals to have to toss in the mix of my work load, especially considering the small return on them (all evident if you’ve noticed my absence from the blog lately). I eventually made this economically feasible for myself by structuring them into mini sessions. That way I can just set aside a couple days a month, dedicate them to the LivingSoical deals, and knock them out an orderly fashion.
I setup a mini site just for this deal, which handles clients’ questions, shows them the locations available, and even a booking solution all on the page. A bonus, I guess, to being a web designer in a previous life, I can standup site in a couple hours, and in that aspect, I save time in the long run. This solution maximizes my efficiency, as far as handling 50 individual shoots and the questions that come with them, however, it leaves the day of shooting with the people who handle all of the business on my site with a lot of mystery for myself. They’ve been on my site, had on their questions answered, know what to expect from myself and the location they booked, but I know NOTHING about them. Sure, I could have shot them an email once I got their booking confirmation, asked them size of their group, ages, etc, so that I knew what kind of mine I was blindly stepping on, but I didn’t. This left me not knowing who, how large, and what ages of people I’d be working with from one hour to the next. Why not? I wake up every day looking for a challenge, honestly, it makes me smile when I get tossed on-the-spot situations. I really have to pull from past experience, be able to immediately read a new client standing in front of me, what’s going to be do-able with the given situation, AND… all of this while I try to always make something new. I hate making the same kind of images, this is flat-out boring, and I’ll sell my cameras the day I’m satisfied with making the same photos over and over. I’m always making fun, fresh images, literally. So, coming full circle now, all of these variables I’ve left to the unknown up until the moment I meet my client that day, all while trying to make something new… it puts pressure on me, but I’m finding this a great learning experience for switching gears multiple times in a days. I go from shooting a single teen for senior photos to a 5 person group with a baby, where I’m shaking a squeaky toy over my head to get the baby to look my direction. All of this while trying to execute my signature lighting styles. Also something to note, even though I am shooting a handful of folks at the same location, the locations are versatile enough to allow for a good amount of variation from one client to the next. Lots of lighting gear getting shuffled around to different pockets of backgrounds during and between shoots, making each shoot unique.
Inherently, while shooting my clients, I get to talking with them. I have a fun job where I get to talk while I work. I get to learn about someone completely new, it keeps them loose, we all learn a little bit while making fun photos, so it’s a win all the way around. This is obviously exaggerated in these mini session days. I learn about a new person or set of people every hour, what they do for fun, etc. You start over every hour, your introduction, your approach in how you’ll be photographing them, you start to feel a bit like a robot in a way. The mini sessions are a solution to the LivingSocial deal, however, it’s definitely not an embraced path I’d like to keep as a staple to my business. I guess it is exactly what it is – a quickie shoot, do your best with little time, rushed introductions, get the gist of your client, and before you know it you are done before you feel you’ve gotten warmed-up. I’m not trying to make this sound all negative, I guess I’m just speaking my mind on my true feelings. Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to spending a couple hours with my clients. I get to know them, and before the end of our session, I feel that I’ve gotten to know enough about them that I’ve been able to accurately capture them, and not just an image I wanted to make. I feel that the time gives me the opportunity to capture who they are and not force an image that doesn’t speak to myself or the client. Don’t get me wrong, the images coming out of the mini sessions are good, in fact, I’ve been down-right surprised at what is coming out of a 30 minute session. These clients are coming out of these sessions with ~30 really great images. So, needless to say, unless very unique situations present themselves in the future, the mini sessions are a one-time run, an answer to the LivingSocial deal.
So, onto the first set here. Kids, families, couples, you got a little bit of everything here. Enjoy the photos, a LOT more coming to the blog…when I get some time…