Engagement Session Products

If you shoot enough storytelling and fashion flair images during an engagement session, you are affording yourself more flexibility to sell intriguing photo products to your clients. Here are just a few ideas of how fashion flair images have been utilized in the past:

■ Wall prints to sign as a guest book. Instead of signing a guest book, the guests sign a large white matte around a print. Consider having a large matte with three or four images that tell a story from your fashion flair shoot. For example, on the left you could have an image of the bride, on the right an image of the groom, and in the center a large image of the couple. This becomes a conversation piece and something cherished to put on their wall.

■ Custom storytelling invitations, save the date. Help make wedding invitations more personal by offering custom photo invitations and announcements. These cards can have multiple folds with multiple images and be printed on thick linen paper. You can also offer photo magnets for save the date cards. Encourage clients to buy modern and unique products by having these one-of-a-kind cards to send to their guests. Photo thank-you cards are popular, too. Imagine a thank-you card with an amazing trash-the-dress session image on it—it truly makes for a memorable thank-you and gets the couple's friends talking about the image and your photography.

Think outside of the box for how these services might appeal to your other clients. For example, a senior portrait fashion flair session on DVD might make for a great graduation announcement and party invitation. Figure 13.9 is one such example of utilizing a DVD card. The concept also works for birth announcements.

Think outside of the box for how these services might appeal to your other clients. For example, a senior portrait fashion flair session on DVD might make for a great graduation announcement and party invitation. Figure 13.9 is one such example of utilizing a DVD card. The concept also works for birth announcements.

Examples High School Announcements
Figure 13.9

This high school senior graduation announcement card is fully customized with a DVD of fashion flair images.

■ Fashion flair guest books. Instead of having a guest book for guests to sign, you can create a custom-designed album filled with images from a fashion flair engagement session. As you page through the album, there are beautiful images of the couple filled with uplifting messages from wedding guests. If you think about it, typical guest books are signed and then put into storage never to be seen again. If the guest book is a beautiful album, it becomes something to be shared and cherished.

■ Fashion flair guest books. Instead of having a guest book for guests to sign, you can create a custom-designed album filled with images from a fashion flair engagement session. As you page through the album, there are beautiful images of the couple filled with uplifting messages from wedding guests. If you think about it, typical guest books are signed and then put into storage never to be seen again. If the guest book is a beautiful album, it becomes something to be shared and cherished.

■ DVD wedding invitation. Miller's (and I'm sure other labs) offers cards with hubs for holding DVDs and CDs. Instead of a typical wedding invitation, you can provide this card with a DVD containing a video of the couple or a slideshow of engagement session images. Chances are that no other photographers offer products like this in your market, which you can use as a unique selling point to clients. I'll talk more about video-related products next.

As portrait and wedding photographers, we are constantly seeking ways to improve our work and to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Utilizing my camera's HDSLR video capabilities is one way that I push the limits of my creativity and offer my clients products they cannot find elsewhere.

Few photographers are taking the time to learn about video because they don't realize the profit potential that video creates. You don't need to drop photography and become a videographer. You need to broaden your thinking and imagine the many high-end video products you can offer your clients.

I have found a number of ways to offer video as a value-added service to my wedding clients, and they have fallen in love with these unique products.

Many photographers are referring to this as fusion video—including both photography and video services.

I do not think that video should replace your photographic services or even become a focus of your business. Instead, I am discussing it here because not many photographers have considered it. If you are still developing your business, you may not want to complicate things with video. On the other hand, video might be the perfect thing to help you stand out. Here are a few things to consider.

Note

Check my blog at http://blog.lindsayadlerphotography.com for an article I wrote titled "10 Beginner Tips for HDSLR Video."

Video Engagement Sessions

In addition to the usual photo engagement session, I offer clients the ability to shoot engagement video shorts. Together we brainstorm ideas of how to best record the couple's relationship on video.

We work together to create video shorts that allow the bride and groom to star in their own mini-film. They come up with the story line that reveals something about their relationship, and we collaborate to create a strong piece of storytelling. It is helpful to think of the piece as an engagement music video: short, fun story line that's filled with high-impact visuals.

For the final product, the couple receives a laser-engraved DVD in a leather case. I also put the video on my YouTube channel and Facebook page so my clients can share the links with family and friends. This use of social networking sites helps me promote my studio and gives clients a way to easily share this unique product.

The couple can also project their engagement photos and video at the reception as a romantic and personalized way to introduce themselves. This idea has become extremely popular.

You can use video sessions and storytelling for any of your clients. I can easily see how it would be applicable to shoot video of high school seniors and dancers. Consider shooting a few pieces "on spec" to propose to clients later.

Video Wedding Invitation

You can also create personalized video wedding invitations instead of traditional cards. As part of an engagement video, you can shoot a segment in which the couple invites the audience to share their special day. This greeting is integrated into the engagement session piece and sent in customized DVD greeting cards.

I use the 5X5 folded or accordion cards offered by Miller's Professional Imaging. I can design stunning greeting cards using images from the engagement session and include the DVD attached with a small DVD hub. Several companies offer more traditional invitation packaging specifically designed to incorporate DVDs.

You can keep the video wedding invitation as simple or as in depth as you want. On the DVD, you can include key information for the day, directions to the church and reception, introductions to the wedding party, hotel recommendations, images from the engagement session, and whatever other information the couple wants to include. It is the ultimate in personalization, and I can almost guarantee that guests have never received anything like it before.

You don't have to stop at engagement sessions or video invitations. Get creative! You can even send video thank-you cards with a slideshow of favorite images from the wedding day.

Video Content

If you have never offered video to your clients before, here are a few suggestions of the content you can offer brides and grooms. You can just do a few seconds' clip of them interacting, or you can make it a much bigger production.

Poems, verses. The couple can read a personalized poem or a religious verse of significance while overlaying this audio on top of images and video from the engagement session. Have them each read the words, taking turns, so their voices weave together.

Interviews. Interviewing the couple about one another is a great way to communicate their love. I ask the bride and groom a variety of questions about their relationship and later set the interviews to music to create a romantic story. When asking questions, be sure to encourage emotion, and avoid questions that can be answered with a yes or no answer. Keep it light and like a conversation, not an interrogation. Also, don't be afraid to interview the maid of honor, best man, or other people of significance in the couple's lives to add another dimension to the piece. You can come up with your own questions, but here are a few I have found particularly effective:

■ How would you describe your husband-/wife-to-be?

■ When did you know that he or she was "the one"?

■ What are your favorite qualities of your significant other?

■ What are some of your happiest or funniest memories together?

■ If you could have one wish for the future, what would it be?

Storytelling. It is your job to tell the story of the couple's relationship. If they are a serious and deeply romantic couple, convey this. If they are a playful and giggly couple, show that. Your clients can play a role in their own mini-movie. If you want to keep it simple, consider using locations of significance to their relationship (where they first met) or symbolic locations (like merging roads or rivers) as a visual backdrop to your interviews.

Music. Music is a key part of establishing the tone of your video. If you'd rather just let the images and video tell the story of their relationship, you can overlay music as the primary audio, or you can mix the interviews and music together. Companies such as Triple Scoop Music specialize in providing royalty-free music to photographers.

Caution

Music must be royalty free. Legally, you cannot simply put today's hottest music as the background of your slideshows because it breaks copyright. Instead, you need to use music that has been licensed for your purposes.

If you live in a city or near a metropolitan area, you can likely find students or aspiring professionals willing to help you with shooting or editing the project. I seldom do editing or shooting on my own. Video can be a big production, and it is often wise to delegate different parts of the project.

Proportions Human Figure Egypt

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