I don't think anyone would disagree that a clear and succinct process is absolutely crucial in any industry that provides goods or services. Yes, every project, every client, every day is different. But having a solid foundation of operations from which to work allows you to layout your short and long term goals, and gives you the confidence to take on larger scale clients that may have seemed out of reach previously. Here's a peek into our process...
Let's meet. In person. I'm as guilty as anyone else when it comes to the fact that it's sooooo much easier to hide away behind the security of an impersonal email. It's definitely no secret that meeting someone face to face over a quick coffee is orders of magnitude more impactful than a few emails back and forth. With any potential new clients, I've made it a bit of a personal challenge to get in front of them, order the least pretentious coffee possible, and show them what I'm about - (flat white is a good starting point). It goes both ways too, only a couple of months ago I sat down with a new client and within about five minutes we'd each quietly realised that we weren't really suited to one another. Nothing harming, but it was a difference in approach that would have had never been expressed over email.
Once things are rolling and we're at the point of booking a job, we'll send through a link to our online brief form. This is a crucial part in our process as it lays out a client's expectations, and provides something to reference throughout the entirety of a project. For our work, the brief doesn't need to be excessively detailed, we're just wanting a snapshot of what it is that you wish to get out of a project (photos hopefully). The form looks like this:
As of early 2016, I've implemented a new way of booking jobs with Aspect 11, courtesy of the awesome Australian based company uBookr. The software allows clients to directly view a photographers calendar, select an available time along with the desired product/package, and have it instantly confirmed. This introduction to our workflow has completely negated the time going back and forth with emails checking available times, waiting to hear back, not being available, waiting again to hear back, etc. Setup is very easy and once we're underway with a new client, it's just a matter of sending an invitation to set up your account and going from there.
*For those who prefer Werther's Originals and the 4.30pm dinner special, we can still take bookings via email.
Sweet, so now the fun times start. If you've read anything about how we work before you'll know the one word that I'm sick of typing out - collaboration!
Collaboration, it's pretty much the best thing. Shoot me if you ever hear these words out of my mouth: "I know best and no one else matters." The benefits of working through problems with more than one point of view are undeniable, and I feel should be utilised whenever possible.
Being open to this idea is the most important aspect of collaboration, though for our specific situation there is something else that is pretty much indispensable - an iPad! For the last couple of years I've been shooting with a device called CamRanger, allowing for wireless transfer of images from the camera to the iPad, and even better than that - live view.
What this translates to in our field is the ability to set up a composition and literally work within the frame to make any necessary adjustments. If you've ever worked closely in photographing an interior space, you'll know that how we experience it and how a camera sees it is rarely the same. Being able to fine tune furniture, decor or any other features of a property to suit the camera's perspective and in real time, within the image - it's a game changer.
I encourage any client to work closely with the photographer throughout the entirety of a shoot, viewing the live image, and advising any alterations they feel may make a stronger image.
The images are of course then saved to the iPad, and at the end of a shoot it's always wise to review what has been shot to ensure everyone is confident before wrapping.
5. POST PRODUCTION
We know that as a client you don't love this part, 'Just give me my freakin' images already,' you'll say. That's fair enough, but hold up just a quick second. To ensure the final product will align with the brief, we'll send through a contact sheet and low res images for a selection to be made, along with any specific retouching required. We've taken advantage of DropBox and it's markup features to allow clients to highlight specific objects or areas within an image and make comments. These requests show up on our end and the final photographs are produced.
6. IMAGE DELIVERY
Once complete, final images are also sent via DropBox. These can be supplied at your requirements, however, our default workflow provides a high resolution and low resolution version of your photographs. If you missed something that you would like retouched, no stress, the markup feature still works so just point it out and it shall be done.
Invoicing is sent via uBookr, your invoice includes all property details as well as product and the date of shoot for your reference.
Hopefully this outline of our process has given you an insight into working with us, or better yet; inspired you to reevaluate your own work flow. For more information about Aspect 11, visit aspect11.com.au.