Presenting Proofs to Clients

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by AprilRamone, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Hi Everyone,
    I've been thinking about how I present my proofs to my clients and am wondering if maybe I should start presenting them in person. As of right now, the way that I do it is to mail the proofs in a nice proof box to the client with all of the information they need to fill out their own order form and then they send it back to me in the SASE that I enclose. It's been working decently, but now I'm wondering if I would get more reprint orders if I actually sat down with the client and went through them with them.
    How do you guys do this part of the process? I don't have my own studio (just a small room in my house that I prefer not to use if I can help it). And, I also have a lot of clients that live pretty spread out and wouldn't want to make them always meet at my place. Perhaps I could make appointments to meet them at their house to go to them if they live near me and continue to just mail the proofs to those who live farther away.
    I just think that it might be easier to show them how nice the larger prints look as well as framed stuff (haven't offered frames yet and I'm still not sure if I want to get into that or not, but it might be a good option) Fine art canvasses, greeting cards, etc... that they don't normally get to see. Right now everyone just orders prints because I figured it was too hard to get them to order other things if they couldn't see what they looked like.
    Anyway, I'm rambling. I just wanted to see how you other photographers handle this part of the deal.
    Thanks,
    April
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The trend I'm seeing, is that photographers are moving away from proof prints and going more with DVD or computer slide shows...or an on-line gallery.

    Either way, I would think that in person is much better than just sending it to them...and probably better if you go to them rather than them coming to you (full service and all that).

    On the other hand, I know a photographer who would bring the clients over to his house, where he had a theater style room with a big screen TV and a nice sound system. He would play some emotional music and show them a slide show of their images. He said it never failed to draw tears.
     
  3. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

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    I think it best to meet face to face with the client. First, it brings the personal touch to the transaction, secondly it allows for the opportunity to address questions and any issues and finally, it eliminates the getting lost in the mail factor. The way I handle such a meeting is to visit the clients home at a mutually convienient time. My experience is that the clients prefer to have me come to their home and like the face to face interaction.
     
  4. Jim Gratiot

    Jim Gratiot TPF Noob!

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    Hey April,

    To add to what has already been said, meeting face to face w/ clients not only allows you to show your "added features" like albums, greeting cards, etc... it also allows you to:

    1. Book future appointments with the client

    2. Ask for referrals from the client

    3. Solicit a strong testimonial from the client (which should then be used in any marketing pieces)

    All 3 of these can be done via e-mail or phone, of course... but they're all much more effective in person.
     
  5. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. So everyone here agrees that the time you spend with the client going through their proofs is worth it? I may still mail the proofs to the clients who are a rather long distance away.

    Big Mike, I have thought about switching to a dvd slide show (just haven't gotten around to doing it yet) and getting rid of printed proofs, but just yesterday a new client of mine told me that part of the reason she hired me was because I offered printed proofs instead of just online viewing. Maybe I'll do both.

    Also, I love the idea of having them come over and showing them a slideshow. I've seen this done with another local photographer and it really does look great. The house I'm in right now isn't very inviting though and I'd rather not have my customers come there. (My bf and I are very messy and you know how appearances go..) But, we are looking at buying a new house with a ton of room and I'm sure I could manage to keep one viewing room tidy:)
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    One idea might be to offer it as an option. Some people will love it...others will love the idea of a DVD slide show, set to music, so they can sit back and just watch it go by. After the cost of software, the DVD will probably be a much less expensive option for you (and/or the client)...although, a slide show may take some time to make, if you customize or personalize it a lot.

    As with most things, there is not a best solution. Some things will work better than others for your...and that may change from time to time or even from client to client.

    I guess there really is a lot more to this than just taking pictures ;)
     
  7. derekneuts

    derekneuts TPF Noob!

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    I would usually offer them a choice, because each client's situation is different. Typically when they came to the studio, I would have a DVD moving slideshow (set to music) that they could watch. This gets them in the mood to see them again. Afterwards, I would have them view the paper proofs and of course, they wanted them all. Sometimes they asked for the DVD and I would require a minimum order before just handing that over. I never let the paper proofs leave the studio. They placed the order and that was that. For long distance clients, ProShow Gold (www.photodex.com) or Producer was great to make protected CD-ROM or DVDs that couldn't be ripped. And when you use motion graphics to show the stills, it makes it hard even for a frame grabber to get that off of video. You can set the CD-ROM or DVD to expire after a date or so many viewings, requiring a password to unlock it. This would force them to pay if they really wanted it bad enough. Also, I would post pictures on my website for ordering, especially for distance clients and relatives.

    Hopes this helps!
     
  8. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

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    Great ideas!
     
  9. jemmy

    jemmy TPF Noob!

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    Hi April,

    At the moment, the way I work is the client comes for a 'viewing' within 2 weeks from their shoot. They come to my home (which I keep pretty clean then give it a polish before they arrive) where I have set up our guest bedroom as my work room. It is a decent size, nice and light, with a white desk, framed prints and a canvas on the wall, a display of albums/ business cards and the little extra touch of fresh flowers ~ looks pretty!

    First I give them the proofs (which are 2.5 x 3.5" printed on my nice quality home printer) to look through and offer them a drink. I usually leave them in private to chat about the shots for 5minutes, then re-join them and go through with them. Up until now, I have the proofs in a smallish box with tissue paper, but have just decided I will use a border with my name in small print at the bottom. Even thinking about whacking them in a small proof album? but not sure yet.

    This works really well for me - no complaints yet... Most of my clients are close, and they are more than happy/excited to come to me to see the photos of themselves or their loved ones.

    But hopefully by the end of the year, my 'home studio' will be complete and all businesses will go down in there. My hubby has marked it out and is preparing for the slab to be poured... yeah!!!!!!!!! crazy excited... will keep you all posted no doubt. x jem xx
     
  10. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    These are all great ideas. Thank you everyone for your input. I definitely think I will be switching up how I do the proofing process.

    On a side note, we were able to get that house I was talking about in an earlier post under contract:) I'm so excited! I'll definitely have a space for clients to come and view prints now...
     
  11. Tom Way

    Tom Way TPF Noob!

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    I have to say that I swear by my website I bought for showing proofs. I have a Fluid Galleries website that I bought on a 2 for 1 deal so the second one I had installed on a separate directory on my server and that’s all I use now for presenting my proofs to clients.

    The software is great because it’s so easy to upload all of my photos, and I just send a link to my clients and that part of the job is done. I used to print proof sheets and send them but I’m saving so much more time and money now by presenting my proofs online.

    The company I got the site from is www.evrium.com.
     
  12. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Now that is some seriously overpriced software! A better investment would be Adobe Lightroom, which can make flash galleries, and for $299 it's not much more than this software, and you get Lightroom for editing!

    For me it depends on the client and the investment. For most a web proofing session will do, but they have the option of purchasing a proof book. I find most customers want to choose their photos in private - I really shouldn't have a say in what photos they want and I'm not into high pressure sales.

    I guess if you did it in person yu could take a sales approach and sell some more shots, but for me I just don't have the time.

    Also to print proofs costs money... and I find most customers do not want to pay for proofs - they enjoy the web approach.
     

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