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Archive 2013 · 3 hour consultation
  
 
jmraso
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 3 hour consultation


Well,

Today I have had the longest and most unusual consultation with a couple ever, 3 hours !!!! I typically spend around 90 minutes but today (sunday) I took it easy and we went through 3 albums, a video, quick contract things and this and that, I dont know how but 3 hours passed.

I feel weird and not very happy about it now because I dont like spending so much time even if they book.

Any similar experience around here.

Jaime



May 26, 2013 at 10:36 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 3 hour consultation


I don't think I've ever gone two hours. Usually more toward thirty minutes.


May 26, 2013 at 11:20 PM
jcolman
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 3 hour consultation


I've had a couple of 90 minute or so consults but that's about it. I think that if a couple spent 3 hours with you they are very likely to book you so consider it an investment.


May 27, 2013 at 12:06 AM
eephoto
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 3 hour consultation


I think it depends. What were you talking about for 3 hours? Sometimes because of sheer nerves I run my mouth waaaay to much and totally curse myself afterwards and needless to say don't book but then sometimes the couple just has lots of questions and it turns longer. I hope I've never had a 3 hour consult but as long as it's not a habitual thing I would shake it off and learn from it...let us know if they book you! I'm very curious...



May 27, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Tim Wild
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 3 hour consultation


I'd consider it a good sign. Often you're talking about random things not just photography, so it builds the rapport and connection, and will help on the wedding day. This was a sales session, without it they may not have booked you.

To be honest you sound like a grumpy old man if you begrudge an extra hour or so to a couple looking to choose their wedding photographer.



May 27, 2013 at 01:11 AM
tobicus
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 3 hour consultation


We've had some that lasted for about an hour and a half or so, but we never really saw a correlation between the time we spent with the couple and whether we booked them or not. We once drove for 3h each way to meet a couple that ended up not booking us. On one hand, we probably ducked a bullet there, as they weren't a good fit in retrospect. On the other, that was quite the waste of gas, and we forgot to deduct it that year, which made it worse!


May 27, 2013 at 01:11 AM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 3 hour consultation


ive done 3 hours before...
drinks, dinner, albums, talking, etc.
heck we have even done multi day engagement sessions. the engagement session we just did in vermont was 3 days long. we did not shoot the whole time but I see no problem with giving couples an experience if that is what your brand is built on.



May 27, 2013 at 03:32 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 3 hour consultation


hardlyboring wrote:
ive done 3 hours before...
drinks, dinner


Never done drinks and dinner with a prospective client. Never got a sense they wanted to.



May 27, 2013 at 04:08 AM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 3 hour consultation


different people want different things... if we sense a client will do well at dinner or whatever then we suggest that.
Or we give them a bunch of options to see what they pick. If someone is willing to shell out huge amounts of money for us to take photos I feel like dinner is a nice way to say thank you or at least show that we are willing to play the game. Our goal has never been to just show up take pictures and leave. We spend a lot of time with our couples...not to become friends but to learn about them and the wedding and also so that they remember us.
If we can separate ourselves from everyone else by being different then when they go to make their pick we stand out from the crowd.
Again each couple is unique. Some may not want all the fanciness while others will really appreciate going out for drinks and dinner.
In order to get a better sense of the couple we like to get them into an environment that makes sense to them. 3 examples: Couple Friday only wanted to do a simple engagement session at the campus of the college they went to. They specifically told us they wanted to keep it low key. The couple we just shot in Chicago we had dinner and drinks with a few times...once at their house. In talking with them they wanted to go places and do things around town that spoke to their lifestyle. One day we went to a very fancy place for drinks and the next day we went to a dive pizza place. The couple in Vermont wanted to tour the microbreweries and Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory.

We want to indulge couples so that #1 they have fun, and #2 we can learn as much about them and their families as we can (being in an environment they are comfortable in helps out).

From the Chicago bride in an email:
"Just wanted to send on a big thank you from Matt and I - we had such a nice time getting to know you guys! The three days felt very luxurious! But seriously, I'm so happy we got that opportunity, so thank you for taking the time to come all the way out here and hang with us. "

Originally they did not want an engagement session. We had not met with them originally so we basically knew nothing about them and they had not seen any of our stuff. After talking with them we suggested we come to them for some shooting and also so that we could sit down together and get to know each other. We did not shoot a ton but I think both of them needed an excuse to step away from their busy lives to have some fun. If we can provide that for them I really think that stands out. I am sure if someone they know asks about a photographer they will say "oh ya they came to Chicago and we did this, this, and this, and had so much fun... it was different ... but something we really needed and appreciated".

I think a lot of times we assume way to much. Couples have no clue about anything we do unless they are somehow involved in the wedding business. Jackie and I like to spend a lot of time getting to know couples. We have our formula for meetings and engagement shoots etc. If the couple is a good fit for us then normally our approach is a good fit for them.



May 27, 2013 at 04:32 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 3 hour consultation


hardlyboring wrote:
different people want different things... If someone is willing to shell out huge amounts of money for us to take photos I feel like dinner is a nice way to say thank you


I imagine part of the difference in our experience with clients is no one's shelling out huge amounts of money to me. I would suppose you get treated a lot better (and with more respect) when they're paying decent money for your services.



May 27, 2013 at 05:35 AM
 

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ricardovaste
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 3 hour consultation


jmraso wrote:
I feel weird and not very happy about it now because I dont like spending so much time even if they book.


Why do you feel this way? Like others have said, if they do book, it sounds like you've already built a connection to them and this will only benefit the relationship. Not to say spend 3 hrs every time, but it happened, sounds like they had many questions and you delt with it, so move on - this isn't entirely a bad thing IMO.

I've probably had longer than that before. Last year I had a 3 hr round trip (drive), then we visited the venue, did a consulation / plan of sorts, looked through a couple of albums, they made me a big lunch with their family. Slightly different to you, as they'd already booked me at that point. And yeah, it took up a big chunk in a day, but it was worth it in that situation, I didn't regret / feel bad about it.

I'd say on average normal consultations are around 45mins to 90mins.

My worst consultation was getting a 3 hr train journey to London. 3 hr back. They were nice, spoke about some stuff, seemed keen. Then emailed me saying their were going with 'a friend'. That really got me down. So now I've learnt that this was just far too greater distance to travel, no matter how 'ideal' the client may be.



May 27, 2013 at 08:07 AM
jmraso
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 3 hour consultation


Thank you all for the answers, very helpful.

Ricardovaste, I feel this way (well felt that way as today is monday and this was yesterday ) because it was a consultation with a potential client not a booked one which would have been different and with the way couples are shopping around, I dont know !!

Anyway thanks again and I will see if they ring shortly to ask for my bank account



May 27, 2013 at 08:49 AM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 3 hour consultation


jmraso wrote:
Anyway thanks again and I will see if they ring shortly to ask for my bank account


Was she the daughter of a Nigerian prince by any chance?

Good luck!



May 27, 2013 at 09:19 AM
scottam10
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 3 hour consultation


Just part of running a business I guess, some couples take more time than others.
- as long as it doesn't happen everytime, and you got the sense they were interested in booking

I reckon time with potential clients is time well spent; once they're booked they're already on the hook



May 27, 2013 at 09:55 AM
jmraso
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 3 hour consultation


ricardovaste wrote:
Was she the daughter of a Nigerian prince by any chance?

Good luck!


Wow, yeah, how did you know is there any problem I should be aware of

The bride phoned this afternoon, 99% I got the job.


Jaime



May 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 3 hour consultation


Great! Maybe they'll adopt you too after you serenaded them

Only joking, that's great, just be positive about it!



May 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM
jmraso
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 3 hour consultation


ricardovaste wrote:
Great! Maybe they'll adopt you too after you serenaded them

Only joking, that's great, just be positive about it!






May 27, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Mitch W
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 3 hour consultation


I average 60 to 90 minute consults. There are exceptions though. I just shot a wedding where each client is finishing up their doctorate - the bride here in LA and the groom across the country. So the first consult was 90 minutes with the bride. Then a few months later another 90 minutes with the bride and groom when he was in town finalizing wedding plans. And voila - a 3 hour consult. I'm happy to do this. But what I won't do is travel 3 hours to a consult. I'll meet a client half way if absolutely necessary, but I really prefer to meet them at my home. I feel like I have a much better chance of booking a client that comes to me for a number of reasons, chief being they are willing to invest the time to come to where I am at. That immediately moves them out of tire-kicker status.


May 27, 2013 at 01:11 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 3 hour consultation


I had one that was about that long and then we left from there and went on a 3 hr engagement shoot which was planned ahead of time, it added up to a LONG day, but it was fun and well worth it. I have a feeling my experience was better, we were having fun talking and laughing and I think part of the reason my meeting was longer is because my husband was also a part of the meeting, they also hired him for video services.


May 27, 2013 at 01:28 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 3 hour consultation


ricardovaste wrote:
My worst consultation was getting a 3 hr train journey to London. 3 hr back. They were nice, spoke about some stuff, seemed keen. Then emailed me saying their were going with 'a friend'.


OUCH.

That reminds me of one I had earlier this year. Spent a lot of time e-mailing back and forth. Sounded like they were ready to book and then pulled out in the last minute, saying they were going to have a family member do it. So it's me or a family member. That kinda hurt. I'd feel better if I had lost out to another pro.



May 28, 2013 at 06:43 AM
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