your answer key to our community’s hottest questions

My clients say they aren’t fans of albums and don’t know what they would do with documentary images. What other products can I offer?

Many of our clients are used to putting portraits on their walls, because that is what we have been doing for generations. However, documentary photos are their own brand of art by giving clients the ability to step back into a memory at a glance. Everything you can do with traditional portraits, you can do with documentary photos. Check out this blog post: 15 Ways To Display Documentary Photos Your Clients Will Obsess Over

How do I convince clients to want a documentary session?

You should never be trying to convince anyone of anything. If you have a solid marketing plan, then the inquiries coming to you are already loving the idea of a documentary session and fully aware of the session you are offering. If this is not happening, your marketing plan likely needs a makeover. Here’s 10 Non-Salesy & Helpful Ways to Increase Client Demand (and 20+ more freesources)

It feels like my clients are freaked out by a photographer coming into their home. What do I do to get them excited?

To turn this around, start marketing using content creation (including your work!) designed to educate and inspire potential clients. From there, pull them into a series of emails or videos that teach them about your approach in a way they can recognize their thoughts in your words. Our Founder, Marie Masse, can help you develop a communication plan in her video course & questionnaire collection: Intentional Documentary®.

Beginner Photography Workshops for Moms are also an insanely awesome platform to inspire, educate and build trust with a room full of potential clients offline. Learn more about workshops here: 13 Reasons Beginner Level Photography Workshops Rock For Your Business

How do I get clients to feel relaxed and confident to be themselves at a session?

If your sessions feel like the clients are waiting on you to direct them into action, it’s likely your planning approach that needs some development. No worries! This can easily be learned.

Clients have a hard time envisioning what “just be yourself” means or looks like. Developing a session plan may seem counterintuitive when you are going for a documentary session, but loosely outlining what your time together will look like will give clients confidence in understanding what their role is. For a more in-depth look, check out this quick tutorial How to Get Clients to Act Natural.

What other sessions can I run besides family documentary photo sessions?

This is the COOLEST part about photographing with a documentary approach – you can photograph anyone! Think right now, what are some of the periods in your life you wish you could go back to if only for a day? Pregnancy? High school days cruisin’ around with your besties? Time shared with your hubby?

For a complete guide to session ideas that you can use when consulting with clients or right inside your marketing plan, you need the Session Sparks + Client Guide Template duo.

How long should documentary sessions be? How many images should I be giving clients in their gallery?

This is a pair of loaded questions! The truth is, there is no real answer. It begins with what kind of sessions YOU really want to run and what exactly is the impact on your client’s lives are your sessions going to make? Are you creating more of a snapshot story or a full story? This 3 part blog series may help you answer this:

  1. Shooting Under the Pressure of the Clock
  2. How to Get More Great Photos in a Short Session
  3. A Seaside Storytelling Newlywed Couple’s Session in Oahu

I’ve only had experience as a portrait photographer or lifestyle photographer. How do I shoot with a documentary approach?

We suggest taking some time documenting your own life first. Around here, we call ourselves serial moment-seekers. As a portrait or lifestyle photographer, you have a incredible talent to MAKE your photos the way you want by directing. With documentary photography, it’s more about anticipating key moments and nailing them. We spend more time before the sessions getting to know our clients on a more personal level. Because you know your life, start there. Document your life this week – photograph anything that may represent something iconic about this season in life for you.

For a little more guidance, get in in our seasonal, free 7 Day Storyteller’s Challenge.