The Engagement Talk Through | Part 1 | Transcription

Before we actually go to our engagement talk through with Dana and Jessica, let’s talk about some of the key points that we want to review in this mood board review.

Number one is the photographic style. I confirm style expectations by kind of reiterating in their mood board. I say things like, “Dana and Jessica, I see that the majority of your images you’ve chosen very candid and beautiful journalistic shots along with a kind of a more light and airy style or look. Is that correct?” I kind of spell out what they’re looking for and I ask them, “Is that a good interpretation of your vision?” Generally they’re going to say, “Yes,” but what we’re trying to do is again, establish that we understand this vision.

Next we want to identify their must haves. If they have those must have images, we say, “Oh, yeah, that’s a must have, that’s a must have, we’ll totally get those. No problem.” This is the first place where we’re going to tailor unrealistic expectations. If they have pinned tons of images from another photographer, I’m going to ask them why in a very polite manner, and very positive manner, remember. What I might say is, “I noticed that you guys have pinned a lot of images from so and so. Is there something about his work that speaks to you,” or maybe, “Were you selecting those images just based on that location?” Often times what ends up happening is a client might be asking you to shoot a location for the first time, and so you really don’t have any of those images up on your blog, or maybe they’re asking you to do a certain type of style shoot or a certain type of lifestyle shoot and you don’t have examples of that on your blog. What they’re doing is they’re pulling up the closest thing that they can find and that’s someone else’s work, but in reality they still love your style.

This is the majority of the time, but there are going to be some times where they go, “Yeah, you know what, I really love their style and I love the way that this looks,” and it’s going to be up to you at that point to either decide is this something that I can do or do I need to tailor their expectations to tune them into what I actually like to do or do we need to possibly consider releasing the client? We’ve never had a situation where we have needed to release a client, by the way, but this is just a guidance. I would never want someone shooting something that they feel uncomfortable with because that’s a worse move, business wise, than releasing a client.

Next, after that is to discuss possible location. Once again, we choose scenes that fit their vision. If they chose twenty images from the beach and two images from downtown, well we’re probably going to shoot at the beach. We’ll say, “Hey, you know, it looks like you have a lot of photographs from this location. Would you guys like to use one of these beaches in Laguna Beach or Newport Beach or Huntington Beach? These are all places that we frequently shoot, which one is your favorite?” That helps us to kind of guide us to the location. It also helps us to tailor unrealistic expectations based on those locations. If they do select ten images from downtown and ten from the desert, and ten from the beach, and ten from a park, we probably need to tailor that expectation in a positive way by saying things like, “I noticed that you’ve selected several different locations. Which one is your favorite? Most likely we’ll need to focus around one, maybe two nearby locations during the shoot because we only have three hours.” You’ll help to kind of tailor those expectations there.

Next we want to kind of discuss wardrobe options and ideas. We want to tell them things like avoiding strong patterns, dressing for the scene. We also have all these tips again, and guidance on our website, we include them in emails, and so forth. We guide them through, give them the resources, we want them to dress to match each other and again, like we talked about before, my good buddy, Timothy [Irec 00:03:38], he will have the couples stand in a mirror and say, “I think you look really handsome.” I don’t know why I always default to the bride again. Why am I defaulting to the bride? The guys says to the girl, “I think you look super sexy, babe.” If they choose each other’s clothing then most likely they’re going to end up with great attire.

One of the things I like to tell my guys, by the way, is that remember, and you have to kind of gauge it. If it’s a guy that is already very stylish, and you feel like they are that way in the initial meeting, you don’t need to say it, but a lot of guys, they don’t really understand this one thing. That if you want to look slimmer, you wear fitted clothing. Most guys think that if you want to look slimmer, you wear loose clothing. That’s not the case. I don’t know why that’s a perception of ours, but that’s not the case. What ends up happening is loose clothing just makes it look baggy, it catches in the wind, it opens up, it makes you look much larger than you actually are. Tell the guys, I want your clothing and I want to make sure that it’s fitted, not say I want your clothing because that would mean you want to actually take their clothing, which means that you want to wear their clothing, that would be strange to tell them that. Maybe just say, “I would like your clothing to be fitted.”

Bring at least two outfits per person. One of the reasons that we have them bring two outfits, especially if we’re shooting in locations like the beach is that sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes they get wet and they didn’t want to, that’s just kind of these unforeseen circumstances of being at the beach. A second outfit will make it so that your shoot doesn’t end if a wave falls on top of them and there shouldn’t have been a wave in that place to begin with. This happens every now and then, just a heads up.

Hair and makeup control. A lot of times I like to tell them to make sure that you have hair and makeup done beforehand, and also, it’d be great if you brought some hairspray and some additional touch up makeup just in case we need some additional hair control, especially if you’re at the beach where it’s windy. Bring comfortable walking shoes. These are things that we want to discuss so that when they show up and you’re taking them out on this hike, they have the right shoes, they’re comfortable, they have some snacks, they have all those different things, and we’re going to reiterate it in a followup email, and so forth.

Base timeline on the mood board images. If most of their images are during golden hour, then by all means, you better be shooting during golden hour. If most of their images are, for some reason, in the afternoon, earlier in the day on the mood board, you’re going to shoot during that time. If they have no night time photos on their mood board then don’t start the shoot at 6:00pm, have sunset go at 8:00pm, and then shoot an hour of night time stuff when they didn’t include any night time stuff on their mood board. Set the timeline based on what they’re asking for.

The last thing I like to mention when it comes to the timeline is the timing and making sure that they’re on time to the shoot. If we’re planning a three hour shoot, based on this mood board, based on the fact that they love late afternoon to golden hour images, and they show up an hour late to this session, they’re missing one out of three of those hours. They’re going to miss a third of those photographs, and they’re going to miss entire pieces of what they’re asking for. Reiterate that, ask them, “Please, please, please be on time.” In fact, I tell my clients, “Plan to show up fifteen minutes before our actual start time because if you do show up at that time, what I’m going to do is we’re going to walk through posing and guidance, so right at our start time we can hit the ground running.”


The Initial Meeting

Prepping for the Engagement Talk Through

Engagement Shoot Prep & Communication

Prepping for the Wedding Day Talk Through

Wedding Day Preparation & Communication


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