Ok so I HAVE a few good clients already- many, many GREAT clients actually, and I love your loyalty! This post is a follow up to what I learned from my chain studio experience. I learned (all over again) why I love what I do, and what separates D'Marie Photography from "those guys".
I love that my studio is private, and that your appointment time is your time. You never have to worry about waiting when you arrive, and you never have to worry about being pushed out. This is especially helpful for sessions with little ones, because their attention span is short! If you had to waste precious minutes waiting around, they might be all done before it even started. I keep 2 hours between appointments so you never feel rushed.
I love that you can make your session custom, if you want to. Clients often IM or message me on Facebook, email or call to discuss their session. Clothes, backdrops, props, ideas, whatever! The more I know about what you're looking for, the more I can tailor it to fit. And if you don't know what you want, that's ok too. I love a client who trusts my creative instinct!
I love that my backdrops don't have wrinkles. Seriously, I do, lol. Go back & look at portraits you've had done at some of the chains... there's usually a 'wrinkled bedsheet' looking backdrop. I use the highest quality muslin canvas backdrops, which are custom painted by actual artists who sign the back of each one. And I use gorgeous seamless paper for a sleek modern look and fun colors. I have (6) canvas and (10) colors of paper now, and I'm constantly adding more.
I love that every one of your images is enhanced and perfected. There's no magical software that just improves your images, this is a process I do by hand for each & every photo. Yes there is software involved, but it's still a process. One that took me many years of studying to learn, and I'm always looking for more techniques to take things to the next level. I read an article on a photography forum a week or so ago that laid out what goes in to each session. Consultations, studio preparation, downloading & backing up images, enhancements, loading galleries, answering questions, placing orders.... I easily spend 10-15 hours making every session perfect!
I love that my clients understand there is a difference in the experience and quality of what they receive in my studio. I know times are tough financially, and sometimes if you have rock-solid nerves you can get in & out of a chain with a few OK prints, and not spend all that much. I get that, and I'll never compete with that. Did you know that for most chains that are attached to stores, their portrait studio is a "loss leader"? That means it's a product they KNOW won't make them much money (or actually be a loss) but it gets you in the door hopefully to spend money on other things. I don't have t-shirts and laundry soap for sale, so that's not a game I can play. But I am very upfront with my pricing, and you know that for just a little bit more you can get beautiful portraits, enjoy the experience, and build a friendship along the way.
So I'm looking for a few (more) good clients, and if you're new to reading my blog or following my work, I hope you'll come along for the ride! I have exciting things lined up for 2010. Look for the announcement with full details to be posted here soon.