“Photography causes many emotions to surface, during and after the shoot. The whole process converges into a unique and healthy experience for your client.”
Every time I get in touch with a potential customer requesting my pricing for a photo shoot, I always think twice before answering. Should I talk more about the photo session or just go ahead and send the budget?
Prior to the photo shoot, before any steps taken, I usually start with a basic question: what are the customer expectations and references to a photo shoot? This establishes a connection between my work and the client’s expectations.
The client’s wishes are usually spirited and playful. Her economical and emotional reality, in addition to her own convictions, have great impact on the style of the intended photo session.
When I notice that my style and what the client desires aren’t accordingly, I begin to show alternatives of what she would wear, look or do to feel better and more beautiful. Once I accomplish this task, we began to act more comfortable during the shooting the session. If the expectations aren’t accordingly and we cannot come to an agreement, I kindly decline the job and appoint another photographer that might be more suited, if she would like.
When our ideas match, usually we became close friends, even if it is for a short period. I say this because we need to unravel the real reason why the client wants to have the photo session. Be it self-affirmation, the simple need for professional pictures or even a fetish. Everything must be considered, so that the photo session runs smoothly, the pictures gets greater and the client satisfied.
“I’ve followed Dany’s work for a long time, before I decided to do a photo session with him. I was already a fan of his work and after seeing my pictures, I loved it even more! Incredible work! He is super talented, works with wonderful people and is always concerned about making us feel comfortable during the photo session. Thank you, Dany, for everything! I loved the pictures”
By working this way, I do not intend to just sell a product or just do my job, but to provide a whole new experience, full of new sensations and personal discoveries.
“A sensitive and wonderful friend in addition to being a marvels photographer. Thank you so much for the willingness, patience and talent!! Because of your talent and the distinguished way you see things I have been fortunate to have you as my photographer for each moment of my life. Congratulations on all of your work and your professionalism!!!”
As I begin to read the reasons a client wants to work with me, there’s always a constant: I want to make everyone finish the photo shoot looking or feeling better than they started it! They’re always expecting something unique and directed solely to their needs, that’s why I assume a great responsibility to know my clients.
“Sensitive, captivating and an excellent professional as well as a person. The fact is that he pays attention to every detail of all stages of the photo session. He is creative, fun, very responsible and, as I said, extremely professional. You can see the care and the desire for the model to do her best, making sure the photos are natural and show personality. Honestly, I highly recommend.”
When i’m giving photography lessons, I always tell my students that before they take any client, first improve and practice their techniques and defining their style. They need to improve continuously, from the way they perform to the execution of the job, presenting their clients their photographic language, avoiding frustrating expectations to both the photographer and the customer.
“I found it wonderful in every way. I imagined that the photo session would be very good, but the reality was even more. Dany’s point of view of naked photography is very cool. I can confirm that the beauty of nude photography is made naturally as it should be in his pictures.”
Before the photo session, I always meet the customer in person, that’s when I introduce myself as a normal person, full of flaws, but 100% committed to achieve the goal for doing an outstanding job. Also, in this meeting, we talk about life, boyfriend / husband, politics etc. We speak basically about everything, except about the photo session itself. My experience shows me that clients do not expect you to be a listener, but rather the opposite: to speak, to understand, to show interest in their lives. Remember: They may have self-esteem problems, so they need attention and want to get back on top! If you gain customer’s confidence, half of the work is already done.
Trust is very important on this type of work, and it is only achieved when the truth is put into practice. For me, trust is just important as the camera. Without it, I will never get the picture the way I desire.
“What to say about the Sensitive Arts photo session? Only that it is simply wonderful, it favors the feminine beauty with a natural and soft touch, which I only see Dany doing. It gives us confidence on his professional ability. He is always in a good mood, making us feel beautiful, sensual and very good about ourselves. I have been following his work for some years, and every day that passes, I am more fascinated with his talent and dedication to each photo. The passion for what he does is as clear as day! Dany, I wish you success today and always! You rock!”
Having a clear expectation of the limits and style of the photos will make things runs smoother. I always try do define essential points, such as: Whether there’ll be nudity? Whether it’ll be sensual or more artistic? Be honest and let the conversation flows. If you expect to have a photo session with nudity, talk about it! You will probably get a “that’s cool”, or, “I do not feel comfortable.” No matter the answer, the important thing is to demonstrate your expectations and the potential you see in your client.
Now it is time to select the costumes/clothes. At this moment, probably another obstacle shows up: Customers usually have a premade idea of the clothes they’ll want to wear, so the photos looks cool and/or sexy. The client needs to know and understand that wearing a provocative lingerie or anything else, or even be at somewhere else isn’t everything. At this moment, I emphasize that less is more, simpler is the better and casual is elegant.
Moving beyond the client’s prejudice is a more difficult task than the photo session itself. That is why having a portfolio to show is very important when helping the client move beyond their fixed ideas. The client’s ability to see and understand their own style helps to get the tone of the photo session and possibly improve their own lifestyle.
Being that said, the next step is to demonstrate that the photo session is not magical, but it can be miraculous. I understand it’s a confusing statement, but it’s loud and clear to me: a beautiful photo session can heal the soul.
Many of my clients comes sick, fragile, suffering, broken their relationship, or just are empty of self-esteem, have a mental barrier caused by a troubled childhood. Whatever the reason I realize that i’m no longer just a photographer, but the last resource for making them smile and turn around.
“It’s remarkable, the great commitment to make us feel the perfection in the photos. Your work can capture the feminine essence in an indescribable way, in which the softness and sensitivity gain prominence. All this helping to see yourself with other eyes, the eyes of perfection! He’s always very nice, captivating and mostly professional. My sincere opinion about his work and after participating in a project: I had a good time and it was comfortable. Danyel is extremely creative and puts our self-esteem in the sky. The result was that I NEVER FELT MORE BEAUTIFUL IN MY LIFE. He is AMAZING! Excellent artist!!! Very happy to have participated!!!!”
To be honest, it’s best than medicine! Do not tell her she is going to look different, just say she’s going to look beautiful. Say her potential will be 100% pulled off during the photo session. Remember to talk about the guidelines, about the importance of professional make up, suggest that she starts to take better care of her skin so that she will be bright and vigorous during the shooting. Tell her the hairstylist will prepare her hair, but she should prepare herself in advance with a beautiful moisturizer, say she should sleep well and that sort of things. She also needs to be careful so that the date of the photo session is not on her menstrual cycle. Make her see that you understand her life at unusual levels.
On the day of the session, wake up early, prepare all your things, check your batteries and that sort of things. If possible, have a meeting sometime before the photos, like a brunch. On the way to the photo session remind her of the style of the photos, show another references, etc. Just make her already focus on the job with you.
Before we start, I always do an activity that takes about 20 minutes. It is an ice breaker. Ideal for calming and preparing. After that, we start.
“Doing a photo session for me was a lot easier than I thought. His ice break is very fun and made all the difference.”
During the photo session always praise your customer, fulfill her with joy and pride. This coupled with good chemistry and safety at work will make wonders. During the rehearsal, I usually pause and ask the client to look at the photos. That is the moment when we can guide the client to the expected result. She can see she has strong potential, which usually makes her willing to try new things.
“I know Danyel’s work even before the sensitive arts and there is no better name to express the magic he does. He manages to capture all the delicacy and sensitivity of his model, in a way that I am sure it surprises even the model herself, who had no idea she had it into her. Danyel’s work, yes, extracts that, strips you to the soul and brings out the most delicate form of feminine energy. I kept looking at his photos and thinking: God, what a goddess! But I never imagined he could turn me into one too … and that’s what he did.”.
Explore all possibilities. Invest time, always do something different, be in control, but try new things, such as new angles or ideas, things that can always make the shooting funnier.
Ending the session, I always ask for customer’s feedback. Their comments are the most varied. One of them hugged me, crying alot. When she calmed down, she said: “It was my best moment. I’ve never felt so beautiful and fulfilled! Today I can do everything I want!”
I have well-being as my main goal. The photos are just an extra. I want my client to be fulfilled, nothing else really matters.
Today the flow of a photo session is much better with the small X-T1, because it allows me to be closer to the subject, without giving the sensation of invading her private space.
With small lenses and a retro style, I can get a lot closer without making them feel embarrassed, so I found new angles and different textures, and many of my clients are fascinated by the retro style.
The migration to the Fuji was better than I expected! The photo sessions became more fluid, lighter, and less tiring. Thanks to that, I also moved to a new style of image processing, with much more satisfactory results. It is interesting how a small camera can make a huge difference.
On the technical side, I use a little bit of everything, including natural light, leds, flashes, hitters… Whatever it takes place. I believe that it’s important, as a photographer, to know a little bit of everything. That’s why I have talked a little about technique and the finesse of photography. I will leave those topics for the next article…
Danyel Monteiro, brazilian, dedicated father, photographer specialized in female portraits, passionate about photography, creator of Sensitivearts,
enchanted by Fuji’s mirrorless system. Always looking looking for new ways for express himself.