I am a firm believer in underpromising and overdelivering to your clients. You should never promise more than you can deliver, and you should always deliver more than you promised. Over-delivering can come in many forms. My favorite is to add a couple of edits that the client didn’t choose. I refer to these images as the artist’s choice. You can over-deliver with hospitality during the session. Send the client an extra free print or two. Send a thank you card with a gift card from Starbucks or a place the client frequents. When clients bring a friend or family member invite the other person to sit in on the session for a few shots. There have been times when a third party hired me and a model to create images for them. Once the work is done I like to do a few extras for the model as a bonus. So I thought I would share a few samples in this blog of surprising your clients they didn’t expect.
My first example is with Trina. Trina was a spokesperson and model for a punk rock record label from Seattle, Washington. The label had several of their recording artist touring the East Coast and had contacted me about doing some promo work. They needed files they could use for the website, posters, and flyers to distribute and promote the upcoming shows. They also needed some images of Trina for their website and her portfolio. We worked out the terms, signed the contracts, and set up a session.
Trina’s wardrobe was supplied by the record label. It took us about two hours to fulfill the needs of the record label. The first image you see is the very last image taken. We were wrapping things up when Trina held her hands to say, “Now What?” I shot this image and told her it was a wrap.
Trina and her boyfriend were on their way back home, about 3 hours away. I thought I would surprise her by editing and sending her the first image on their way home. I sent her the image with a text thanking her for an enjoyable session and hoping she liked the image.
All Trina knew was that I would put the images in a private secure area of my website and send her instructions on how to few them. Just a couple minutes after sending it to her, she responded, “Are you kidding me? I F***ing love it!”
There were a couple of other images from the session in which I gave some special treatment to her. One of them is the foggy jungle concept I created and included here. The result was everyone was happy. The record label was happy that their needs were fulfilled. Trina was elated she had some cool images for her portfolio, and I was happy everything turned out so well.
Kat is the assistant to a young lady who owns a gothic and alternative clothing boutique. I was hired by her employer to photograph a group of models wearing the clothing line. These images were to be used on the company business website to showcase the clothing lineup.
Kat worked extremely hard that day. She was helping the models get changed and ready for each session. She was everywhere and helping everyone. I was so impressed with her work ethic and how she knew what and when to do a task without being told. Every time it seemed there was an issue or something that needed to be addressed, Kat was already on it.
When the session for the clothing line was done, I approached her employer and asked if we could have a short session with Kat. I wanted to reward her with a little something to show my appreciation for her hard work. Her employer was all in on the ideal and we got Kat into an article of clothing from the line that she was fond of and wanted.
The images you see are of Kat and that wardrobe. They were taken against a grey paper background. The effects of electricity between the fingers, smoke, and the eyes in the background were from some extra work in post-processing. It was my way of saying thank you. Creating a couple of images, especially for her. I was very happy when Kat called and told me how much she loved the images.
Charly came up from Morgantown, W.V., and was escorted by her friend Michael. Charly brought an escort for a couple of reasons. First, it was something I always suggested to new clients, but most importantly our session was in the evening and she would be on the road late at night. We both thought it wasn’t a good idea for the young lady to be on a long journey late at night by herself. So Michael came along with her for the company and her safety.
Charly was working as a model, writing articles for a couple of women’s journals and magazines. She had come to me for a session to get images for a magazine that was featuring her and she was to be on the cover.
Our session was longer than usual to ensure we had exactly the images she needed. When you’re shooting for a magazine everything has to be right, plus there are guidelines for the images to fit the layout.
Both were extremely nice and friendly which helped us all get through a session that was a little more demanding than usual. The way the two got along I was under the impression that they were a couple. So when the magazine shooting was finished, I asked if they would like to have a few images taken as a couple. Well, they both thought it was funny since they were only friends and worked out together at the gym. But they were more than gracious to stay a little longer and have fun creating a few other images.
The first image was my ideal. Michael was in really good physical shape so I wanted to give him a few images to show off his muscles. Then we brought in Charly for this image, I wanted to convey the notion that she wasn’t impressed with his muscles. I think we pulled it off pretty well.
The bottom image was Charly’s ideal. She wanted an image where it appeared the couple was in some sort of disagreement. The message was the guy was giving the impression I’ve had enough just leave me alone. Even though we were in my basement studio, we went for a feeling that they were in an alley or on the street somewhere. I feel that we all came up with a nice storytelling image.
Charly and Michael were very happy with the final results and both were glad they made the long trip for the session.
The image above came after doing a pinup session with Angela. Angela not only was a pinup model, but she pretty much lived the pinup lifestyle. She also was a big fan of Betty Page and liked that old-style pinup very much. Our session together was to do some images to update her personal pinup website and for submission to a couple of pinup magazines.
Angela was escorted by her boyfriend Kurt who worked as a punk rock musician in a couple of local bands. During the session for the most part he sat in a corner of the studio texting and emailing on his phone. When Angela needed personal assistance he was happy to help.
When the business at hand was completed, I asked if they would like a few couple images. I make that a standard practice when someone accompanies a client. At first, they weren’t sure. So I suggested we do something different and fun, so they suddenly got more into it. I asked Angela how she felt about something along the lines of an implied nude. They both liked the idea, so I pitched the concept that she was taking off her clothes in front of strangers. Kurt was upset about this and tried to cover her while her attitude was that it was no big deal.
So this is the final image with some post-processing. Neither knew that we would create something with them as a couple, much less make it unique and fun.
Finally, I want to close the last example from a body painting session with Katie. Katie and I were hired by a professional face and body painter to update her art portfolio. By far I had the easiest job to perform for this session. Rose just needed professional-quality images for her website, portfolio, and advertising media.
Since body painting is a very timely endeavor we set aside an 8-hour day to accomplish the task at hand. Rose wanted to do two different body painting themes and each would take about 3 hours for her to do her magic. So during the time Rose and Katie were getting their work done, there was a lot of conversation covering a plethora of topics. My main job during this time was to make sure they both were comfortable and assist when they needed something.
For the first set, Rose painted Katie to look like a statue or a person that had turned to stone. Katie wore a couple of different costumes to go with the body paint. We were going for different looks using the same concept.
The second was fully nude with an ideal that Rose had been wanting to do for some time. I’m not sure what inspired the design, but I thought it looked unique and different from most body paintings I had seen. With this, I was mostly working on posing that complimented the artwork.
I included three images here, the last one is a behind-the-scenes of Rose and Katie in the body painting process. The other two images are my adding some personal creativity to the work. I sent both of them these additional creations to add to their portfolios.
The session was fun, creative, and a departure from the norm. Both Rose and Katie were extremely happy with the session.
I hope you enjoyed the images that were created with these exceptional people. It’s one of the ways I like to show my appreciation for the opportunity to serve their photographic needs. None of these people expected or knew they would receive these images. They just received an email telling them I hope they enjoy the Artist Choice images I had created for them. In future posts, I’ll cover more ideas on how to exceed the client’s expectations.