Presenting images with personality
Contact Joan (518) 346-4485

Tips to Prepare for Your Portrait Session by a Professional Portrait Photographer

Headshot of a real estate broker for her website     When you need a  professional “headshot” or portrait for you newest book cover, new job or website or even for your loved one’s desk, it is so important to have a phone conversation before your session. Why? A professional portrait photographer will help set you at ease about the session, and and help you feel and look relaxed since that photo will set the  impression you want to make on the world…and its got to be a good one.

     Talking on the phone or even in person begins the relationship with your photographer and it does make a difference. It’s important to prepare the photographer by having a thorough conversation with her/him about why you want the photo, how it will be used, and what audience it will target.You don’t want it to be a blind date when you go to the portrait studio. You want familiarity so you can relax and be yourself without being self-conscious.

    A professional photographer will discuss hair and make up tips as well and what kinds of clothing to bring to make you look the best. The professional portrait photographer will suggest women getting your hair cut about a week before the session for best results and a blow dry that morning before the session to give it life and buoyancy. Going to a makeup artist that morning would also lend itself to a fresh soft facial look. For men, it is suggested to have a haircut a day before the portrait session and shave the morning of to remove any stubble.

Final products should be “Pictures With Personality!” That can happen when you follow these tips! For additional portrait tips, more information and helpful advice about preparing for your portrait session, browse our Preparing For Your Portrait Session page.

Thanks and I look forward to our phone conversation about YOUR portrait!

 

Branding, Marketing, Selling…It’s All About YOU!

My business is always about Branding, Marketing and Selling. After every photo session, I have to go out in the big world and hunt for new clients. It’s not like the same person gets married over and over again or needs a corporate portrait every week. So I have to be very clever in my Branding, Marketing and Selling points so I stand out above the crowded photographer-laden area of Albany, NY.

Well, I was always striving to be an individual and to stand out in school so I just started using those same techniques from my childhood for growing my photography business. First, I befriended all who crossed my path and treated them as though they were my best friends to break the ice. Second, I joked with them and we laughed together, making the strong bond that I still create in my studio or on location with my photography clients. And lastly, I give them Pictures with Personality! Each and every person has a uniqueness about them and that is what I capture the best.

See what I mean. Check out my photos. They all reflect the pulse of the group or the individuality of the person.

So, my Branding, Marketing and Selling is all about YOU.

It’s OK to hire a “professional” photographer.

I recently went on Facebook and clicked into a photographer’s post of a recent wedding she took. I check out a lot of photographer’s works all the time so I can see what is out there and how my style compares. Her pitch was that she can photograph your event, portrait, wedding and you don’t have to pay professional photographer’s prices.

Whoa! The quality of her work was far below a tried and true professional. Really now. If you care about your photos and want to treat them like heirlooms, please please, hire a professional. It’s really ok.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!

What makes a great photographer?

Great photographers see what others do not! Great photographers are like artists. They see composition in a scene, they see the symmetry in the background and place their subjects to maintain that symmetry and enhance that person’s features. A great photographer would never let a flag pole or tree branch stick out of one’s head in a photo. A great photographer sees the beauty in all  subjects and sculpts a magnificent piece of art.

A great photographer also builds a strong relationship with her subjects as the session unfolds and that is an art in itself.  Seeing the subject’s soul and beauty inside and bringing it to the surface to allow that person to shine in front of the lens makes for a great photographer’s skills and a beautiful portrait.

Wouldn’t you want that skill photographing YOU?

Service Service Service

Being of service to a prospective client is so so important. Let me tell you a true story that happened to me recently and the one who offered more service got my business. I was looking for new wall to wall rugs for my bedroom and went to two stores. The gentleman at the first store was very attentive and gave me all the details I needed to know including rug swatches. He even offered to order more colors for me and have them shipped by the next day.

I then proceeded to the second store. Again, the kind gentleman was very cordial and gave me what I needed at the time..an estimate. He did not offer to order swatches nor help me in any other way besides a ballpark estimate.  His ballpark estimate for the flooring was significantly cheaper than the first stores ballpark estimate so I had him come out and measure. Within a few hours he called and faxed over his best price but did not call to follow up.

The next day, I went to the first store to return the borrowed rugs and the gentleman asked me for my business. I told him he was more expensive than the other store, and the rug I wanted was the same. He showed me a sign in his store clearly stating he would offer a cheaper price to anyone who brought him an offer from another store. Not only did he do that but he offered me one more thing that I didn’t know I wanted but took and it was the one item that got me to sign.

He went out of his way to provide me with service service service and I signed on the dotted line! I am still waiting for the other store’s salesman to follow up and he has not!

Amazing, huh?

The Devil IS in the Details

How do you choose the “right” photographer for your project? Do you ask for quotes and choose the cheapest? Well, let’s revisit this.

The “right” photographer is the one who pays attention to the details. Do you really want a pole sticking out of your head in a family portrait? Do you really want to see those wrinkles and crow’s feet around the eyes in a portrait because the photographer doesn’t know how to use his/her lighting system in the most flattering way? The bride spends hundreds of dollars choosing the “right” dress for her wedding and the photographer blows out the details. The headshot you need for your new business cards shows negative body language.

Is that the photographer you want to hire because they offered you a cheaper quote? These are subtle nuances separating out the “right” photographer from the wrong photographer. Please choose wisely, and the “right” photographer is the one who pays attention to the details and places the hand in a portrait exactly correctly so it does not take away from the face. Choose wisely when composition is important to you in a highly crafted family portrait so distracting elements don’t take away from the pretty faces.

Those details DO MATTER. Do you want the angel or the devil?!

Hiring a Person, Not a Price. The Value of a Live Chat

I can’t even begin to tell you of the importance of chatting on the phone or in person with your prospective photographer. The payback is enormous when you feel a trusting bond with that vendor.  The day of your event, you know you are in synch with that photographer and that she will give you photos that will bounce off the page and delight your spirit far beyond your wildest imagination. You know it is the right fit.

Or do you want to converse through texting or email and at the day of your event, iron out all the details and spend precious minutes you could be with your guests instead setting up a relationship with your photographer. It doesn’t lend for a very fun day if you don’t have a live chat beforehand.

Hiring a photographer is more about the relationship and the trust that you build together. You hire a person, not a price. If you were looking for a babysitter to watch your most precious commodity…your children; would you hire the cheapest babysitter or the one who is the best fit and who feels like the right one for your kids?

Case closed!

It’s In The Details

So you hire a friend photographer to shoot your family portrait and a telephone pole is coming out of the father’s head. Geez, Mr. photographer professional (?). You didn’t see that?

You shop around looking for the cheapest price for your headshot for social media purposes to find a job. The lighting was so harsh it showed every blemish on your face. Oh, well. The size of the photograph is only ½” x ½” you say to yourself, and no one will really notice. You are kidding yourself, of course, everyone sees that!

The bride spends 6 months looking for the perfect white dress for the most special day of her entire  life and she and her groom hire a friend of a friend not because of his/her expertise as a photographer but because they know that person and can seemingly “trust” that person. The inexperienced photographer blows out all detail in the  beautiful bride’s dress because of lack of experience with exposure.  Boy, glad I didn’t hire that person to do a professionals job!

The details…the visual subtleties are what separate the amateurs from the professionals. Does’ t that matter to you?!

Rebidding a Quote

So I got a phone call the other day asking for a quote on 40 doctors for a new website. It would require going to 4 hospitals whenever the doctors may be free for a quick 5 minutes or less of their time. There would be no staging. Where ever they may happen to be is how I take the shot.

This would take a lot of maneuvering on my part to be available whenever, to travel to 4 local hospitals, and not be able to stage the setting to give that doctor a “picture with personality!”  I gave the individual a terrific quote. She said she knew me and saw me work an event through the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce and would be happy to work with me. Oh, and she said, “by the way, I will be asking another photographer for their quote and if it is lower than yours, I’ll give you a call so you can rebid your quote!”

That’s the way our industry is going. Geez!

 

 

Pretty personalities…pretty faces!

Everyone…yes, everyone has a pretty face. A man, a woman, anyone who is too thin or too heavy or too wrinkly or whatever. We all have pretty personalities and we have pretty faces. You are one of a kind and there is something about you that makes you special. Let a professional photographer capture that in a photo session. Let it shine. If you choose a real professional photographer to photograph you, let it all hang out! Relax, have fun, and let your pretty personality and pretty face shine through. It feels good!

Kind Words

Kind Words

Joan made the photo shoot both comfortable and enjoyable. She gave clear directions about how to be prepared for it. During the shoot, which included many photos of many types, her suggestions for how to pose comfortably made the photos so much more effective. Our son gave us this photo shoot as a gift for helping he and his prepare for their wedding. We were delighted but inexperienced with posing for photos. Joan made this a pleasure and so easy to do. We will enjoy these photos so much.

Joanna Kabat