I posted a blog a while back about the value of scouting for weddings. It's a hotly debated subject in the wedding photography biz, but I think I made a pretty convincing argument that wedding photographers should ALWAYS be scouting their upcoming venues. Missed this one? That's ok, you can read all about it here :)
I've been sitting in some Sal Cincotta training this week and the question is being asked over and over again "what additional value do you bring to your clients"? Since everyone is a photographer these days (because everyone walks around with a digital camera in their pocket) what value, what benefit do I bring to my clients? What makes me stand out from the Instagramers of the world?
And I realized that the planning I do for weddings isn't the only value I'm giving to my clients. Because I do this for portrait sessions too!
So what's the big deal about my Portrait Couture sessions? Why are they a better value for my clients than the $49.99 portraits you can get taken at a department store? The answer is the planning, the mood boarding, the vision that I create for each and every one of my clients. While all of my clients who book a portrait session want to feel beautiful, that means different things to different people. A seventeen year old who is booking a session for her senior pictures has a different vision of beauty than a forty year old woman who is FINALLY taking the time to pamper and love her body. It's insanely important that your photographer understand that. And I do :)
Every single session that I book goes through a very extensive and personalized mood boarding process. What does that mean? It means that I take into consideration your personal style, the feel you want to convey in your portraits, the look you are trying to achieve. It also means that I take that knowledge and become your personal shopper. I look through high end designer gowns, suits, accessories, and put together the high-end, fashion look FOR YOU. It also means that I bring in specific make-up and hair artists to compliment that look. We mood board together too :) We review your unique features, and determine what will enhance your natural beauty, what will help minimize elements you'd rather not highlight, all of this is done FOR YOU, by professionals that create this magic for a living.
Mood boarding also helps me create the artistic feel of your shoot. Are we doing a dramatic boudoir shoot? Maybe I'll bring in some deep violet blooms to set off your favorite little black lingerie set. Are we creating a timeless, painterly portrait of you as you get ready to set off for college? Something that can easily be turned into a canvas that you can show your own daughter when she's graduating? Maybe some creme, crushed tulle wraps are the way to go. Are there natural, visually dynamic motifs we can create? Maybe you lying in a airy pool of ostrich feathers!? You get the idea. We're creating art together, no just portraits.
My point is that Portrait Couture sessions aren't just portraits. They are an incredible, luxurious, artistic collaborations, that you get to star in! So if you're planning a portrait session, ask yourself if your photographer is going to create art for you, or if she is just snapping a pic :)