“Shoot for the Album” // shooting with your end product in mind

We should have a talk about your products.

Some photographers “shoot for the album”. What does this mean? This means they’re keeping the end product in mind when they approach a session because, after all

the end product is the point of the whole thing.

What? Really?

Yes, really. I know we splash these fabulous images allover the internet – we blog em, drip feed them to our Facebook fans…but these are only digital representations of the product you’re selling. The product you’re selling is a print. Or an acrylic piece. Or a canvas. Or a book. Or some lovely collection of all of the above. So when you shoot a session, you should always be thinking about the end product, not the blog post you can’t wait to show the rest of your fans.

When I talk to a potential client on the phone, I ask, “So, what do you plan on doing with your session images?” This…

a.} gets them to start thinking about their end product. And the fact that there IS an end product. This isn’t just about giving the family some fun for the day.


b.} helps segue you into a conversation about money. Because it’s important to talk about money before your viewing and ordering appointment. Why? Because if you don’t find a way to say “my average client spends $xxx. Some more, some less” then you’re setting yourself up for major disappointment when your clients get sticker shock and kick you out of their house. So when they start talking about the bare walls they want to fill and the people they want to give prints to, you can start talking about your prices in a way that sets you up for success on sale day. And if you’re afraid they’ll tuck tail and run? Then you’ve saved yourself a gigantic amount of time.

So. Once you know what they really want this session for, you can plan your shots and get in the right frame of mind {pun intended} to give them what they want. So if they want a nice intimate coffee table book, that’s going to mean a storytelling session. Something that flows and takes viewers through different emotions. If they want a whopping big framed print above their fireplace, make sure to take portraits that are suitable to tell the whole story in one frame. And by ‘story’ I don’t mean cramming a whole session’s worth of elements into one frame. I mean if the story is “this is the most beautiful family in the world” then tell that story. Amazingly.

I even take clients’ decor into consideration when choosing the location or editing or helping them with their wardrobe. This should be art that fits into their home and suits their personalities.

If they don’t know what they want, ask them what images on your site inspired them to call you and this will guide you.

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