Being a photographer doesn’t just mean sending your client photos. Instead, it’s all about helping them to quickly get the things done that they want to accomplish. In a sense, my photos are only a means to an end. By understanding how my photography clients will be using my work, I can make the experience even better for them. These are five things I do to make life easier for my clients.
1: Minimal back and forth once the shoot is done
By this I don’t mean I aim not to communicate with my photography clients. What I mean is to already know what my client wants before the shoot. This way, after the photos are shot, I can focus on editing and delivery without having to bother my client with questions that could’ve been dealt with beforehand. Some examples include the number of shots needed, the style of editing and when to send which images. Naturally, sometimes these details will only come together after a shoot. With my recurring clients I can work these things out pretty autonomously. Still, it’s always best to discuss these details beforehand.
Suggested reading: a checklist for clients and photographers drafting an agreement.
This is one of my pet peeves. I feel that sending clients too many photos is actually a burden, not a service. Part of a photographer’s job is to select the best images and send only these to their client. The alternative would be for the client to have to put in more of their own time to select the final images. Of course, some projects will call for client feedback. In these cases it will be necessary to offer them a choice. I address this in my final tip. Still, in general, photographers should aim not to send clients any images that are only marginally different.
3: Convenient file names
Files coming out of digital cameras have some fairly nondescript names at times. We’ve all had a JPG file named _DSC3464.JPG on our hard disk at some point. These names aren’t any help in predicting what the photo depicts. If the photo is used online with its name unchanged, Google will have a hard time ‘reading’ it. A page’s SEO score will then suffer.
Personally, I try to stick to a fixed naming format:
Example: bram-berkien-herbalife-lidewij-welten-2016-06-20 15.20.01.jpg will be the name for a random image of my shoot with Dutch field hockey athlete Lidewij Welten for Herbalife that took place somewhere in June 2016.
This particular format has some advantages:
- Adding my name in front will make sure anyone in possession of the image can always look me up and check the license for the image. It’s also convenient if this person is interested in additional images or the high resolution original file.
- By describing the client and the particular shoot, anyone not familiar with the shoot will know what he’s looking at.
- The date and time are unique identifiers and correspond to the names of my original files. This makes it easy to match an exported JPG file to my original files, in case a client should request certain changes be made for instance.
4: Export in optimal formats for various uses
This one’s a biggie. With many brands being active on many different social media platforms and using photos in a host of other ways, they’ll be uploading their photos in a bunch of different resolutions. Most photo editing software offers an easy way to export multiple versions of the same file, in specified resolutions. My program of choice is Capture One, which offers a checkbox menu that makes for extremely easy export of different versions. Offering clients this variety of options saves them a huge amount of time. What’s more, they don’t have to look up optimal resolutions for different platforms like Facebook and Instagram, I’ve already done this for them. If clients will be using their photos on their own websites, I’d be happy to ask them for the exact resolution and add this version to their package.
5: use an online gallery for selection and a quick impression
A couple of months ago, I started using an online image gallery called Pixieset. What I really like about this platform, is that it offers clients a quick overview of the results of the assignment. They can get a feel for the general style of the images and see if I got what they wanted.
Moreover, this platform allows clients to browse the images one by one and save their selection. I can then view this selection and feed it back into my photo editing software to finish work on the client’s picks.
Here’s an example of one of the assignments I shot last summer, in Pixieset: canoeing in Norway for K-Jak travel agency.
These are just a small selection of little habits creatives can adopt to help make life easier for their clients. I’m hoping to add a few more tricks to the mix, and am always looking to get feedback from my clients on these things.
The images included with this article were shot for one of my older clients, Monk Bouldergym in Eindhoven. This is actually where my niche of sports photography originated. For this local gym, content for social media and their website is extremely important. As I know they’ll be using the images on different social media platforms, I’ve made it a habit to send them different versions. This local comp may not be as high profile as some of the other athletes I work with, but it’s a nice way to keep developing my style.