When your family is growing and it’s time to upgrade your living space you sit down with your real estate agent and start planning. You discuss your style, your preferred flooring and countertops, how many bathrooms you need, and that you’d really rather live outside of the city. Then she tells you how you can make your current home more appealing to buyers. You paint everything a neutral colour and have the place staged. You might even host an open house. By the time moving day arrives you’re exhausted from dozens of hours spent planning and packing. But look at your fresh, new space–and check out those dual sinks in your new ensuite.
It’s time to start filling those perfectly painted walls with art, but after all of that hard work buying, selling, and (ugh) moving, you wouldn’t just slap anything up there. This is exactly why our planning meeting is so important.
Do you like an urban backdrop or natural? What speaks to you more, the water or an old barnyard? What looks better to you? Frames? Canvases? What about unstretched canvases? Metal prints? How about float mounts? Fabrics? Vintage frames? What colour would be best? How many prints would you like above your fireplace? And how big?
It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers to these questions. Most of my clients are totally overwhelmed when it comes time to choose their photographs and finishings. It can feel impossible to narrow down a selection of 40 proofs to 1 photo, and choosing from a literally limitless number of frame styles is mind-numbing. I’ve found that the best way to alleviate that stress is to come up with a plan in advance of their sessions.
During this special consultation we’ll have a look around your home. I’ll take measurements; carefully consider your style, decor, and the colours of your walls; and even photograph your living space. As I make notes I’ll share some samples and swatches with you which I think you might like, and you’ll start envisioning your photographs finished and hanging in your home. All of this is important for three reasons.
First, I have a huge product list. Basically, anything you want, I can do. Paper, fabric, wood, and metal printing? Done! Canvas posters stretched between two pieces of 200 year old barn wood? Absolutely! A metallic sheen print matted in your favourite colour and framed behind glare-free glass? No problem. The number of options is exhausting, however with a good idea of your style I can make recommendations you’ll love and cut out the headache of studying the catalogue of options.
Second, I will know what to do during your session. You might be thinking, “Sophia, I surely hope you know what you’re doing…” But what I mean is that with an idea of your space and style I will know exactly what to do for you. For example, I’ll know whether I should take more horizontal or vertical photos, or if they’ll need to be cropped in squares for the collage above your stairs. I’ll know whether I should focus on photographing you on a light backdrop or dark based on the colour of your walls. And I’ll know how to edit your photos so that they’re bright and colourful in your windowless basement wreck room.
Third, those photos I’ll take of your space will help me do something so geeky that Data from Star Trek: Next Generation would be impressed. I can show you what your photos will look like. Finished. In your home. Before you even order them! Kind of like a hologram. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting with no debate over what size you need and no fear that you’re “just not sure those 3 photos will look right next to each other.”
The result of all of this planning isn’t just a family portrait, but beautiful, custom artwork you love. Like your dream home, your artwork will be exactly how you pictured it without any second guessing or stress-induced acid reflux.
If you’ve read any of my tips on hiring a photographer in the past you know I always recommend meeting your photographer before booking. At the very least you should speak over the phone. Hiring a photographer is not like ordering a poutine. You’re sharing your life with this person, and you should feel absolutely comfortable and familiar with her. This is the best way I’ve found to get to know my clients, and it’s paid off for each of them.
So, if your photographer doesn’t request a planning meeting, don’t be afraid to invite them to your home to see your space. Alternatively you can show them photos of places you might hang your photos, or meet for a coffee and discuss your visual style and how you imagine displaying your photos.
Properly planning for your session will pay off big!