by Phil Jones Published 01/12/1999
The Society was very fortunate to have Heidi Mauracher over once again from Santa Barbara and she was, even for those delegates who have heard her before, in scintillating form! We crowded in to the Monckton Arms Hotel at Glaston near Leicester to hear her give a forthright and honest opinion of the profession we all so love. Heidi was very passionate about photography describing herself as a commissioned artist and, as such, clients ought to be paying her and any other photographer well for her artistic services. You are commissioned for the work not for a piece of paper. You sell the image on a piece of paper. Give of your time. Show you care.
There are no freebies in her business, not even the "buy one, get one free" idea. Never use the word cheap; say "less expensive" (reminds you of the ad. for a brand of tea bags, doesn't it?).
Heidi has that uncanny way of smacking you between your eyes and you know that it is right for her to do. Delegates were asked what is their mission statement and guess to whom she picked on first to ask that question? Yes, me! I am not telling those of you who were not there to hear my reply. No it wasn't rude!
Heidi emphasised the importance of the client. They should feel pampered, that they know you are generously giving of your time, explaining your creativity and yes, smack them between the eyes by saying that this creativity costs. After all, photography is a luxury service whether it be for a wedding or portrait. The language you use with a client has to be carefully chosen and, in many ways, you have to educate the client. You should show enthusiasm and that starts from that very first phone call. Put your "I'm the client" hat on for a moment. What was the last major item you bought? Did the salesperson show enthusiasm so spent more than you actually intended or did you have a bad experience from a less than enthusiastic, dare I even say surly salesperson, so that you either spent less than intended or indeed did not purchase at all? How do you make your clients feel?
Heidi then went on to look at the visual aspects of her work covering things such as composition and framing, designing the picture, choosing the correct camera angle, lens and how the light is working for you. Offering variety is also important to increase sales.
So what is Heidi's philosophy to her weddings and portraits?
• The Emotional Investment vs. The Practical Purchase
• Motivator and Director
• Fine Photography Needs Emotional Relationships
• Create a Need for Photography
• Commissioned Artist vs. Hired Help
• Filling the Emotional Desires vs. Order Taker
• Evoke a Mood - Capture a Dream Client
After another fine buffet lunch (steady on Neil and Phil!) it was down to an outdoor workshop session with Heidi directing our 'bride' for the day Davinia Dale (daughter of the one and only Andrea). With the session taking place right by the A47 main road between Leicester and Peterborough, it was a wonder there wasn't an accident with all the drivers gawping at all these photographers snapping away with the gorgeous Davinia ad the chance to use an old barn next to the hotel which caused Heidi to go into raptures about all the textures and frames within frames. It was just a pity that the light was not better but, like most real weddings, you can't have everything.
The plenary session was equally informative and a large round of applause brought proceedings to a close. We must again give thanks to our sponsors for the day : Campdale Albums, Bellwood Photography (promoting their FX Files and Welon hot foil press) and again Fuji for supplying a goodie bag. Missed the seminar? Dying to know what some of the terms mean? Been sold the sizzle and not the sausage? Great! So book yourself in for the next seminar. Miss it or miss out!
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