Exceeding Expectations—And Then Some
In this section, we hear from Studio readers who have made exceeding client expectations and achieving greater customer satisfaction a primary business focus. Coverage includes photographers who go the extra mile by: allocating extra time to create timeless portrait images . . . presenting innovative, trend-setting product and package options . . . building strong, long-lasting ties with vendors . . . creating customized storybooks that become priceless keepsakes . . . and making portrait clients feel and look amazing during their photo sessions.
Section 2 is followed by “what’s working” tips on online proofing, networking, Internet marketing, and direct mail. Then turn to the Marketing Services Directory for products and services that can lend valuable support to your marketing and promotion efforts.
Headshots Bring Out Rembrandt in Clients Take the Time to Make Timeless Images
by Hernan Rodriguez
When I was building my portrait portfolio, I landed a job at the largest portraiture studio in L.A. We specialized in high school photography, an area new to me at the time. I learned the most important lesson of my photography career there. It’s called “7up.” If you’re lucky, you’ll have a high school senior in front of your camera for seven minutes, during which time you must study the student’s face and capture her essence, while ridding her of all insecurities for one of the most important photographs of her life.
That experience allowed me to evaluate the process and develop a marketing strategy for professional actors’ portraiture, commonly referred to as headshots. Being L.A.-based, I began working with a close friend who owned a management company that specializes in handling artists for TV, film, commercials, print, and theater. I started doing headshots, portfolios, and zed cards. The professional actor/model industry thrives on getting into favor with talent agencies, reps, and casting directors.
From there I was referred to other agencies. I am now referred by quite a few, including one that specializes in children. As my photographs began to “work” for clients, word spread. I advertised in trade publications that actors and models read. I also started to advertise on sites like LACasting.com.
My approach to the actors’ headshots was the complete opposite of “7up.” Many of the actors, including those who had worked on series television, brought to my attention how comfortable they felt during their sessions. Many had been photographed previously by “flavor of the month” photographers who “cattled” them in and out, whereas I take my time with each client. My goal is to bring out the Rembrandt in each of them.
Of course, in the entertainment industry, time is not always on your side. Recently, I had only minutes to capture celebrities at a recent awards show. No matter what the usage, a great image of a person is timeless.
The session fee for professional photography for actors has to be fairly competitive in a market like Los Angeles. I offer the complete package, starting with a relaxed atmosphere and no time constraints. I won’t schedule more than two or three actors on the same day. And by mixing the philosophy of “fashion photography” with classic portraiture photography, I’ve created a niche in the professional artist category.
As a full-service studio, we offer retouching and enhancing. We even print multiples. This one-stop shopping philosophy has helped in this market. We have special promo materials for men and women, for the young, and the more mature. The fusion of digital photography with our ability to provide a high-quality product has given our studio another advantage in this market.
Hernan Rodriguez owns Hernan Photography (www.hernanphotography.com) in Valley Glen, California, located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley. An artist turned graphic designer turned photographer, he won 12 international awards for photography in 2005 and 2006.
Pro Lab Becomes Strong Marketing Partner Exciting Product Options Delight Clients, Boost Sales
by Jean Wacker
Our family’s photographic roots date back to 1906 and continue today, through the fourth generation. We cover the entire gamut of professional photography, from image capture to marketing and sales. We present seminars, workshops, and classes across the country and pride ourselves on presenting material in a no-nonsense, nuts-and-bolts way for clients and fellow photographers.
We have two types of clients: local residents, who are rural, low-income, elderly, with little expendable income; and outlying clients from high-income suburbs of large cities 45 miles or more away.