What’s So Important About Client Education?
– September 16, 2019 –
Hello, my fellow Adventure friends! Thanks for joining us for another edition of ‘Tails of Adventure.’ We previously discussed the importance of working specifically with a dog photographer when it comes to meeting your dog photography needs, so this time I’m going to shift gears a bit and talk particularly about the experience you receive when you work with Adventure Pup Photography.
Standards: Expectations and Satisfaction
Being a life-long member of the service industry, I understand just how important customer satisfaction is. It all started when I worked the concession stand for my dad’s theater in small-town Kansas when I was 12 years old and extended up to my time as a project manager in the web development industry, serving as a champion for client needs. Of all the miscellaneous jobs I held in between then, I have come to understand that for better or worse, expectations are always the basis for what is considered good or bad. The thing about the Photography industry is that we have all had experience with it in one way or another, but there is not a single clear standard for which we can base our experience. School photos, senior photos, wedding photos, work headshots, hell – even passport photos… you name it, we’ve all been there. One thing to make clear, though, is that different fields of photography all have different standards, and that’s why I make such a big deal of the ‘client education’ process.
I have come to understand that for better or worse, expectations are always the basis for what is considered good or bad– REAL TALK
While the Client Education process is just one part of the overall Adventure Pup Experience, it’s the critical piece to ensure we start off on the right foot and have a great time throughout our time working together.
Here are the main topics covered during the typical Client Education process:
- The Process
- Photo Intentions
- Time and Location
- Time For a Pup Talk!
- The Photoshoot
- After The Photoshoot
At its most basic, “The Process” is everything that we’ll do together. That starts with the initial consultation (the discussion we’ll have at the beginning), the photoshoot, and the review/ordering session. Making sure you understand what happens every step of the way will go a long to way to making sure you know what is going on. That way, you’ll be completely comfortable and confident of what to expect. When you have clear expectations, you’ll be clear to have fun!
One of the most important things to know going into a photoshoot is knowing how you plan on displaying your photos. Most people already have an idea for what they would like to do, such as mounting a large print to feature in their living space or putting together a collection of smaller portraits to make a beautiful collage. Perhaps you aren’t sure what the possibilities are and would like to discuss options. Whatever it is we discuss, it will play an important role in determining what we do with the shoot because we’ll need to know what to shoot for. Knowing what types of shots to capture, color options to consider, and overall photo compositions will be important aspects of fitting into the overall design aesthetic for your intended portrait display. This will segue into the next part of our discussion – time and location.
Time and Location
Once we know how your portraits will be displayed, we will next determine the logistics of how to accomplish the look we are after. There are two things to consider for this – where we will go to capture the shots, and on what day and at what time. This may or may not be a lengthy discussion based on what you know you want or what ideas you have, and what kinds of research and recommendations I can make. If you already know where you’d like to go, then we just need to nail down a time. If you don’t have a location in mind, we’ll talk about what kind of features you’d like to see in your image, such as mountains, lakes, wildflowers, snow, etc. We’ll talk about hiking options in order to determine the feasibility of certain shots, as well as distances from our respective homes for time-commitment purposes. Ultimately what we want to accomplish is finding the best location to fit the needs of your request.
Timing is a fairly straight-forward discussion, as it will generally be determining a time that is available for both you and I. There might be extra considerations if you’re looking for particular elements, such as yellow aspen leaves, fields of snow, or fields of wildflowers. We will certainly accommodate for these requests, as it’s something that can take a photo from ‘ordinary’ to ‘extraordinary’!
Another part of timing is the time of day that we shoot. We prefer to shoot at sunset, which is during the golden hour of the day, where the natural light is at its best and provides the best lighting and contrast for your pups. While these golden hour times change as the seasons come and go, as well as differ based on mountains or plains being on the horizon, we’ll always strive to get the best light possible for our shots. We are also able to capture this during sunrise, but we have come to realize not everyone is a morning person! The mid-day sun can be harsh, so we typically limit sessions during this time to something that can be handled in shady environments like tree-lined hikes. The ‘time-of-day’ part of the overall timing discussion is actually a very easy one to have, so there is no need to over-think it. Leave that part up to us!
Time For a Pup Talk!
Let’s talk about your pup! Knowing as much as I can about your pup will go a long way in helping determine things like locations, timing, and how we can best capture the spirit of your pup. We’ll want to see if your pup needs to burn off any energy first to see if we should hike for a bit, or if your pup is laid-back and ready to schmooze the camera off the bat. We’ll talk about any toys or treats your pup likes to help entice their cooperation, create a cute head tilt, or just overall help praise them for being so dang cute. This discussion can also help determine if we need to look for a location that is less busy if your pup is reactive to other dogs, or if we have to go somewhere with minimal walking if your pup is less mobile. Whatever it is, we’ll make sure to accommodate for you and your pup in every way possible!
One of the more important aspects of our client education discussion is knowing what to expect during the photoshoot. Even though we’re on an adventure and having as much fun as possible, we also want to make sure expectations are in check for the safety of everyone and that we’re capturing the best shots possible. Adventure Pup Photography will never put anyone in danger for the sake of a shot, and we will only do as much as you and your pup are comfortable with (and have the energy for!). During this part of the education process, we’ll talk about everything from when we first meet on location to the very end when the sun goes down. This will include how you as the human will be playing a role in the photoshoot as the handler, what to expect or not expect from your pup, and how we’ll move about our location to get the shots we’re looking for. The biggest thing I always want to convey to folks is that there’s no such thing as a bad dog for a photoshoot. Sometimes dogs don’t always comply with a sit or stand for a regal hero shot, or sometimes they don’t always want to run down a trail to get a goofy ear-flopping action shot – and that’s totally ok! We’re very patient on our end, and we hope you’re the same too.
After the Photoshoot
Last but not least, we will talk about what comes after the photoshoot. Typically that entails a discussion about how long it will take until you see the initial shots to preview, what the ordering session is like, the products we provide, and the amount of time to receive your final products. The timing of these will depend a lot on the photoshoot itself, as well as knowing how many different shots will need to be shown based on how you want to display your photos. In general, it takes about a week to sort through the photos and weed out the bad ones and select the best shots, do initial cleanup work to give you an idea of what the finished product will look like, and put them together in a folder where you can access them for review.
The review process can be handled in a few different ways, but the best way to do so is in-person so you can freely ask questions and discuss display options. We can also review photos by just having a quick phone conversation so I can explain finished shots, or we can meet via a video platform like Zoom or Facetime to go through each photo but still be comfy in our pajamas while we chat! Ultimately I want to be an available resource for you to ask questions have educated answers to. Since different prints and products are available to purchase, I want you to make sure you have the best information to make the best possible choices.
Depending on what you purchased, it will take some time to do final edits for the photos, such as removing people and leashes from photos, as well as properly formatting images for ordering, and then having them shipped. Since we’re dealing with gallery-quality portraits, we want to make sure we take our time and ensure a perfect finished product!
So, what’s so important about Client Education? It’s making sure you’re informed so you know you’re making the right decisions the entire time. It also means you’re comfortable with what’s going on and that you’re confident that things are going the right way. If ever you’re left guessing on what comes next, or what needs to be done, or why something is going differently than what we first talked about, then you’re going to be more focused on that than having fun, and I’m not doing a good job.
There are lots of photographers out there that will boast about how they have been taking photos for a long time, or that their cameras produce the best images, or that they’ve been working with dogs for all of their lives. But guess what? So has everyone else. The biggest difference that people can make, and it’s what Adventure Pup Photography prides itself on – is that we’re here for you and your pup first. When you are happy and having a good time, the photos will show it and your results will shine. What better product is there than that?
I promise the Adventure Pup Experience is the best one out there, and I invite you to give it a try. We provide free consultations with no strings attached, and you aren’t obligated to book with us if you don’t feel comfortable moving forward with is. We believe in people first, and we know you’ll see that we mean it.
Thanks for reading everyone, and stay tuned for our next installment where we get more in-depth with what goes on during the photoshoot! Until next time – happy adventures, friends!
-Chris, Adventure Pup Photography