Thursday, 9 February 2017

Photographer in Residence - Client Feedback

from the Maitland Photographer in Residence Collection © Paul Foley/Lightmoods

I want to share the feedback I received on the Maitland Council PiR that was conducted during last year. Find out more about how this unique approach to story telling and engagement works for regional tourism and localities. Click here to download details.

In the client's words:
-         The use of Instagram and being able to integrate this in the PiR boosted the My Maitland Instagram account, as well as established the hashtag #mymaitland for future campaigns.
-         The photowalk that was included in the PiR had a great turn out, with a range of local photographers with a variety of photography abilities joining in for the day. The feedback from those who participated was great and as such we have since been able to connect with these photographers to use their images from the day.
-         A greater audience was reached as a result of Paul sharing the PiR images across his Instagram account @Lightmoods, promoting Maitland to his 9.5K+ followers
-         Having an extended and flexible time frame for the PiR visits, allowed Paul to capture the essence of Maitland, including through various seasons and emphases on different themes.
-         Using the PiR images for the gallery on the Library wall had an amazing impact for this first installation.
-         The first instalment of PiR was focusing on the people of Maitland and their stories, while the second instalment focused on the places of Maitland. The final instalment was a mixture of both and allowed Paul to use his knowledge of the area and freedom of his time to capture those everyday beauties which we normally take for granted.
-         We ended up with a large suite of images (approximately 440) which we are now able to use for promotional purposes for Maitland’s Visitor Economy brand. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The anatomy of a photography quote

I thought it would be interesting to share an email chain between myself and a prospective small business client. It took place late 2016.

Except for the better than usual detail provided in the initial email, the conversation is typical of the enquiries made through the contact page of my website - 

Conducted via email and phone it shows the process involved when quoting a creative photography assignment for a small business. Harnessing experience and creativity to tell a visual story certainly needs to be cost efficient. However, other factors must be considered when that story needs to engage and stand out from competitors.

I have edited the content a little for privacy reasons…

Hi Paul,
I came across your website and your photos look extremely impressive. Wondering if we could speak about a quote for some advertising shots I need for an (edited) accessories company. I'll be selling (edited) accessories specifically to (edited) and I want to showcase things like (edited) etc on some models for my online website.
I will organise:
talent: approx. 2
products: approx. 10
My requirements:
approx. 30 final images
half day shoot or shorter
dates are relatively flexible but would like somewhere around early Jan/Feb 2017
action shots to be taken of the accessories I will be selling.
Please feel free to email back or call me should you have any questions or need clarification.
Thank you,
M L - Business Owner
Phone: xxxx xxx xxx

Because M L offered the opportunity of phoning, I rang him to better gauge the job and his expectations. At the end of the call I asked for some sample images/links in the style he was looking for. 
I use these images to understand the lighting and styling the client expects - They are not used as a template for the shoot.

This was his reply:

Thanks for the call yesterday. Below are some images similar to what I'm looking for to give you a better idea.
The product brands that I'll be selling are used by (well-known athletes). Therefore I want the photos to represent the quality of the products and in an "old-school" type shoot. (links supplied)
Please let me know if this is something you could be able to achieve, and please send through the quote once it is ready.
Thanks heaps

I replied

Thanks for those links - they really show the look you are after. Contrasty and active.
I’m very keen to be involved.
For the number of shots you are looking for and the specific lighting/styling/posing required I think that half a day may not allow enough time. A couple of extra hours would be better.
I understand getting access to (edited location) for that long may be a problem so I will work in as much as possible. I am happy to shoot outside of normal hours if that helps.
At this time I can supply a very accurate estimate, once you have a concise shot list, location and talent numbers I can better calculate the location time required and supply a fixed price quote.
So, based on the above, the budget should allow for approx $XXXX.XX (plus GST).
This includes the creative fee, proofs, supply of 30 processed/colour graded files with world wide, all media, perpetual use of the selected files.
I hope this aligns with your budget/expectations. Please get in touch with any questions you may have.

ML got back to me:

Thank you very much for all the detail you've sent through.
Really appreciate the information, however budget-wise, I, unfortunately, cannot afford that much for now.
As you may understand, I am just starting off so my budget isn't the biggest at the moment, however, when my budget grows a little bigger I hope we can work together because I really do like your photos on your website.

I replied:

Thanks for getting back to me.
I do appreciate the budget constraints that a start up has to sensibly work to. I have shot for many small businesses over the years and it has been great to watch them grow and succeed.
I would love to work with yours as well.
If you do have a budget you are happy to work with perhaps we can fine tune the shoot to suit it. Then, as the business grows, we can do other shoots to supplement the original pics. An advantage of this (besides saving money initially) is having fresh imagery to update the website and general marketing material.
It might be possible to cut down on the number of shots by incorporating several of your stock items in a single setup. We could then shoot variations of fewer ’scenarios’ without major changes to lighting.
Because I use hi resolution cameras we are able to isolate segments of a picture for use in different parts of the website. The imagery can then work across the website without looking like it is being repeated.
A few great images will always be more effective than a lot of mediocre ones.
Anyway, that is something for you to consider and, of course, will be affected by the design of the website itself. Let me know if you have any questions and get back to me if you would like to discuss it more.
Thanks again for considering my services.

ML followed up:

Thank you very much for getting back.
I've set around the $XXXX.XX mark to start off with as the majority of my budget is set aside for the stock of course.
Please note, I already have the individual product imagery from the suppliers. The images we would work on would be for marketing, making the website look professional and showcasing the quality of the products in action.
What I was thinking was that if we were to do a few extra shots now, I would only use 8-10 of the images on my website now and use the remainder later in the next year - saving cost as I'd only do one shoot instead of multiple throughout the year.
However, if you think we can work more cost efficiently at the start with your approach, I'm more than happy to consider it.
I like your thinking around incorporating several of the stock in a single setup. To also save time during the day of the shoot, I'd be very keen to create a run sheet and take you through it beforehand. Detailing the talent, type shot, products in each etc.
If we were to go ahead with this shoot, I'd be keen to partner with you for future shoots throughout next year for more marketing and refresh of content on my website as you mentioned, instead of having to find a photographer for each campaign.
p.s. as well as the image links I have provided, I really like these ones from NY from your website. Understand it's an outdoor shoot which would be different my mine, but something to consider too.
I hope this email doesn't disturb your weekend break. Have a nice one and speak soon!

I replied:

I appreciate the extra information you have provided and the budget you are working to.
I would probably need $XXXX.XX to make it viable in terms of the time required to get the imagery you require.
You indicated Jan/Feb as a shoot time - why not get back to me closer to then and we can chat further?
In the meantime, if you do have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

Following a few more emails early in the new year, we have scheduled the shoot for late January, 2017.

I love the process of learning about a new client's service or product and devising a cost-effective approach to deliver both value and creativity. Small budgets are a challenge. But they don't mean I can't create an engaging story at a price that allows both the client and my business to grow and prosper.

For further information please visit:

Thursday, 17 November 2016

'Not Corporate' Portraiture

 For Sutherland Shire Council ©Paul Foley / Lightmoods

Most new clients will ‘meet’ you and your team through social media, a web page or blog. It is your first chance to make an impression and you’re not even there when it happens!

Think of the corporate portrait as the internet’s elevator pitch. Except that instead of having maybe a minute in an elevator you only have milliseconds before a thumb swipe or mouse click moves your viewer on.

I don’t really like the term ‘corporate portrait’ - it has a clinical, remote air about it. Any portrait should tell the viewer something about the personality of the sitter and this is just as true for portraits of people in a business environment.

©Paul Foley / Lightmoods

Loyal customers and clients stick with a business because of the personal relationship they have with the product and the people they deal with. Of course, price will be a factor but not the only factor. So the portraits you use should have the look and styling best suited to your team, your business and your market. They will engage and, more often, prompt your potential client to linger a little longer on your page.

Whether it's LinkedIn, web page, business card or newsletter, an experienced professional photographer understands the posing, lighting and expressions that work best to tell your story. Will you and your team be ready for 2017 with fresh, contemporary portraits?

There is still time to have your organisation's corporate portraits and headshots shot and delivered before the holidays. I’d love to hear about your business, it's clients and your team and have the opportunity to provide you (or your design team) some ideas for your ‘not corporate’ portraits.

I’m a location photographer so I come to you - using the work environment, other setting or even a travelling studio set up.


Lightmoods Corporate Photography