For those who are a little more detailed oriented, or just curious as to how we take a clients ideas and life, and mesh it with our creativity, vision, and tools; this blog post is for you. This post goes through each step, in detail, of how we tailor each session to clients individually.
Step one: Meet/speak with the client
After you've decided to book a session, a few things will happen immediately. You'll receive a few emails (one confirming the booking, the contract, as well as your receipt for the deposit if applicable). After that, I'll reach out to you in your preferred contact method to discuss the session and begin to get an idea of how to best bring your vision to life.
This call/email could be as long or short as needed and isn't all just business. I want my clients to become friends and feel as comfortable as possible through the entire process! That's a large part of why I shoot mostly western lifestyle. I live it, I love it, and I know it. Don't be surprised if we start talking horses, hay, or ranch life! The more I get to know my clients, the better I can represent their life in their portraits. To give you an idea of the things I'll ask, here's a few examples:
- What kind of riding do you do?
- What are the images going to be used for?
- How does your horse act?
- What places mean the most to you?
- Do you have any specific items, ropes, saddles, etc that you want brought into the session?
- What do you do for fun?
- What do you do for work?
I also think it's important to note that I shoot "on location". I don't have a studio as I believe it's important to shoot a lifestyle portrait at the your home, barn, or some place that has meaning to you. I believe this only adds to the end result by making you feel as comfortable as possible, as well as giving you an emotional attachment to the location which makes for a much more meaningful end product.
Step two: Plan the session
After we've spoke and we've gathered most of the details, I'll get to work building what I call my "Shot Plan". This plan includes everything from locations, times, each individual piece of kit, etc. to specific pose ideas and detailed notes about special requests, horse details, etc. I plan and prep like this for every package, even the mini shoots. I don't believe in showing up to a shoot and just "rolling with it". This leads to a lot of wasted time on your (the client's) end and some shotty images on mine.
Based on what you've told me about your lifestyle, I plan each shot in your session. This makes sure we make the most of our time together which means you get plenty of images, variety, and a much higher quality experience overall. Though this may sound a little overkill to some, I can promise you that we have plenty of fun, lots of laughs, and it just provides a much more relaxed atmosphere. Here's just a few things I take into account when I'm putting together my "Shot Plan":
- individual pieces of equipment
- lighting/time of day
- horse needs
- clients special requests and much more
For most shoots, I'll scout the location as well. This gives me an idea of what we'll be working with, and helps me build a better vision of what kind of shots we can take.
Step Three: Shooting
Leading up to the day of the shoot, you'll receive at least one email just as a reminder of your booking date. I understand life gets busy, especially when horses and livestock are involved. If you need to reschedule, I just ask that we do it at least a day in advance.
I'll usually arrive to your chosen location a little bit early to start unloading my kit, setting up lighting, etc. I don't believe that my time setting up should cut into your session time. Once everything is ready to go, we can start having some fun. I understand being in front of a camera isn't the most comfortable thing for some people, so I do my best to provide a laid back atmosphere. Throughout your shoot, you can expect plenty of conversation, a few stupid jokes, and even some treats for your horse if you have one at the session! We'll move through multiple poses, different areas, and be sure to take plenty of images. I find that 45 minutes to an hour and a half will give us more than enough images and create a good variety for my clients to choose from.
One thing to keep in mind is a lot of my work is done with an off camera strobe. It's setup on a light stand and I'll usually have a larger softbox on it as well to help diffuse the light. While this makes for some amazing images, it's also not an ideal setup for some horses. While I would have discussed this with you on our original call, please keep in mind I'll always choose the safety of the horse and rider over a photo. If we have to change our setup or shoot with natural lighting we'll work through it and still make sure we get some great photos!
Step four: Editing & Delivery
Once our session has taken place and all the fun has been had, I'll take the images and get to work making them look great! This process can take anywhere from a few hours for my smaller sessions, or even up to a few days for my larger ones. I do my best to get your photos to you as soon as I can, but I tell most clients to expect o receive your images within 5-10 days after the shoot. I know it can be hard to wait to get your photos back, but this gives me the time to touch up each of your images and provide the best end result I can.
Once I've completed editing them, I'll upload them to your own private client gallery. From here, you will be able to proof each one and select your favorite images to purchase on an a la carte basis for download, prints, wall art and more. If you find that you like most of the images, I also offer the option to purchase the entire gallery at a discounted rate.
While I understand the convenience of getting your prints done at Costco or Walmart, I do still advise all my clients that they'll get a much better rendition of the images if ordered through my prints labs. The color will be much more accurately replicated, the image quality will be much greater, and the paper is of a much higher quality.
After you've received your images, I'll send either a follow up email/text/call just to make sure you're happy with them. If there is any issue or something that just doesn't quite look right, please let me know! I'm more than happy to fix an image or two to make sure a client is satisfied!
While this covered most of our process, there's always more to it because every session is different! My hope for this post is that it gives you, the client, a. little better understanding of the kind of quality and value we try to provide as a business. If you have any other questions about our process, my pricing, or would like to book a session, please reach out anytime via our contact page.