Representing your work

The Slide Show. First step is the multi-media slide show that you have produced. There are many great software options out there that do a bang-up job of making your slide show look hip, happening, and cutting edge. (Personally, I recommend ProSelect—check it out at www.timexposure.com.) Most of these programs also

Presenting your images in a digital slide show, rather than sending clients home with paper proofs, has some big advantages for photographers. Here, we see customers relaxing in the projection room at Chatsworth Portrait Studio.

allow you to attach an audio file and then sync your images to the music so they will end at the same time. Royalty free music is available all over these days, so check out what is out there and select some music that captures your style—and their emotion! Make sure that the style of your show reflects the taste and personality of the customer you are with at the time, as well as the type of session. You don't want to use an upbeat rock song with twangy guitars and heavy drums if you are showing heartwarming images of a newborn baby.

The Selection Process. As the slide show is progressing, make note of the comments that are being made about certain images. You can bring these up later on. Right now, though, let them bask in their glory of seeing their family or themselves up on the big screen. For many people, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience—and you need to keep that in mind as you go.

Once the show is over, you will get comments like, "How am I supposed to choose?" or "I want them all!" That's exactly the way you want them to feel.

Explain to the client that the next step is going through all of the images one at time. For each, have them tell you one of three things: I like it, I don't like it, or I'm not sure yet. Don't worry about doing the side by side comparisons yet—you can get to that later. Just have them judge each image by itself. Then, one at a time, go through each image and let your customer tell you what they think. If they are not sure, it becomes a maybe—that simple.

We all have different philosophies on how many images we shoot and how many we should present to our customers, but I will tell you this: there is a point—a certain number of presented images—beyond which all you are doing is spending more time in the selection process. When you pass this point and the selection process becomes cumbersome, the emotional balloon begins to lose some of its air.

Let's say, for this example, that you started with forty images, which is about right for a family, senior, engagement session, child or baby session. Then let's say that after the first time through, you narrowed it down to twenty-three, meaning they eliminated seventeen. That's a good start.

Now, go through the same process again. This time, the client will be more familiar with the images and have a pretty good idea of what the entire session was like. If they are still not sure about a shot, don't worry about it— they don't have to decide right now.

Introduce Additional Products. At the completion of the second round, let's say you are down to seventeen. At this point, Mrs. Jones is going to be thinking, or saying, "Oh my goodness, how am I ever going to choose?" This is the perfect opportunity to bring in some additional products that they may not have been thinking about initially. That's why they invented albums, folios, and wall collections. We all have products that will accommodate multiple images, and this is when you bring them out. You Might say something like:

Mrs. Jones, we have some options here. First, if you can find one image that you can live without, we can get you into a sixteen-way folio. If you can find seven that you can do without, you can get a ten-print album. Or if you can eliminate nine—over half—we can get you down to an eight-way folio. Okay?

At this point, you may need to let them discuss amongst themselves what they want to do, which is fine. Remember, they are now emotionally attached to these images and it will be very difficult to let them go— even if it means stretching their budget a bit. Let them talk, let them feel

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