Sometimes I go through old posts to see if they need updating with fresh information. I’m constantly evolving so advice I gave a year ago might need sprucing up after I’ve had more experience. Take my post on managing client expectations. I really only talked about maintaining their expectations regarding how much money your end products will cost to avoid complaints, clients trying to get a deal and haggle.
But there’s so much more to it than that. There’s also managing the expectation of what their images will actually look like. In a post yesterday about balancing consistency and creativity , I mentioned a popular photo studio here in the UK called Venture. When you go to their website and view their work, you know exactly what it will be when you go. White seamless. Colours on steroids. Emotion, personality. What they don’t tell you is their prices. £25 for a portrait session seems too good to be true, right? What they don’t tell you is that an 11×14 (framed in the most gigantic frame you’ve ever seen) will cost a staggering £900. Their reason? ‘It’s art’. Yes, it is. But on their website, they just show the flash without mentioning the cash and then they get people emotionally involved, pull on their heart strings and whack them on a 3 year payment scheme for a few frames.
Ok…totally went off on a tangent there for a sec! The point is that you know what your Venture portraits will look like because the website shows you what they do. But what about on-location photographers whose sessions are unique and unpredictable?
Your first point of contact with your client will be your website where you will have a portfolio of your best work. It’s very important that if you’re charging for sessions and working professionally, you not be shooting for luck. The images in your portfolio should be images that you could create again because you took them on purpose.
If your website is 90% B&Ws, then you’re telling your clients that most of their photos will be, too. Don’t just get in a colourful mood one day and give them the polar opposite of what you ‘promised’ when they fell in love with you in the first place.
If you’re a photographer who deviates a bit, tell your client! Let them know their options. Better yet, ask them what images on your website drew them to contact you. If they’re predominantly B&Ws then you know they’re comfortable with B&Ws. If they’re posed, give them posed! If you can, get at least one shot that is as close to the one they told you convinced them to call. Just to be on the safe side. I find this to be the best way to give my clients what they want and manage their expectations about what their final images will look like.