tonia johnston photography | finish the dance

finish the dance

April 19, 2013

I look at a portrait session like a dance. It should constantly flow. Both partners moving in tandem, big finish at the end, take a bow, say thank you and exit the floor. Somehow, somewhere along the line I started leaving the dance floor after the big twirl. I've made plenty of mistakes, tried different things but when making decisions for my business I've always done what feels right for me and my brand. But this time I really just screwed up.

This online ordering thing - it's just not going to work. For football, yes. Portrait sessions, not so much. Once I get back from this trip and sort a few things out in my head I'm going to go back to in person meetings after the session.

I give a lot of myself prior and during a session. It's always been my goal to give my clients 100%, make myself available to them, get to know them so I can make them happy. Just give them a personable experience all the way around.  But I have found that I almost feel dirty and low down by posting their images in a gallery to order, like it just cuts the experience short and there is no completion, no resolution. Like I've left the dance floor mid song.

I'm not quite sure why I went away from it. It was what it was - it's included in your session. But somehow I've started offering it as an option and that is my "fail". The whole thing just feels so impersonal.

I think I got it in my head somehow that it was an inconvenience for people. That they just spent all this time prior and during the session with me and that asking them to come out of their homes and give me one more hour of their time was just pushing it too far and that left me feeling guilty. But when I was doing in person viewings, it was better for everyone involved. Even though I don't try to sell during this process (I know, maybe I should but I want people to have what THEY want) I'm there. It's relaxing. If they have any questions I can answer them. I can show them how their image will look at the size they want it at. I can show the different kinds of options that available - I can't do that with online ordering.

I've realized that the hour or so it takes for an in person viewing, is much more efficient than online ordering. It's an hour (or so) as opposed to DAYS. This online thing takes DAYS and it can be confusing. It's frustrating for me when people have questions that I cannot immediately explain the answer to help them. And I don't like that I've created that confusion. Everything I do before and during the session is to avoid confusion so why have I allowed that mess to happen at the end? Why am I leaving my clients on the floor to finish the dance alone?

I have realized that I'm just going to have to get over the feeling that I am inconveniencing people. It's silly. So, I've tried it, don't like it, gonna fix it. We are going to go back to flowing through the ENTIRE experience from beginning to end. We are going to finish this dance..together...say thank you...and exit the floor.