Working with the clients during a photoshoot can be both rewarding and challenging. We will give two examples of each, although they are extreme, most fall well within these.
We had a furniture client in last week and on the day we were going to shoot the tables, she said she wanted to come over and see how we worked. Now in most cases when we get paid by the project, we can go at our own pace. But this was being charged by the hour. Of course the client arriving early, gave us some challenges. We were going to start early and get everything done in one day. Which meant we were going to work very fast without major breaks, etc, but now the logistics of the client being at the shoot and us having quoted one and a half days (12 hours) to complete the job came into play.
The first thing we did was get coffee and bagels in. Our producer made sure she asked our client what she liked and got that for her. We started our shoot, still wanting to get done sooner than later and hoping our client would leave after lunch. But that did not happen. Insted we got a lot of questions from her. She tried to give her own input as how certain things should be shot (based on a photo she saw).
It did slow us down that we had to explain why we were shooting a certain way and how her idea will not work on a particular shot. This was key to facilitate post production, print layout, etc.. But, if we combine 3 shots in post, we could give her the look she wanted for in store display. She loved the idea and hopefully will have the budget to do this out of scope “art piece”.
Even though we did not get done in time and had to finish the shoot the next day, a very positive thing came out of it. She complimented our entire staff on how we worked and the care we took to make sure we follow the original scope and stay within their budget. Even with her asking questions and trying “not to get in our way’.
I think it was her way of getting comfortable with us to the point where she has full trust in us and will be treated fairly in upcoming projects.
The second example is of an client art director working with us on a product shoot. She had a vision of how she wanted the product to look. And the directions started right away. Looking at the monitor, she was constantly pointing out how she wanted the product to look. Some instructions were counter intuitive and made no sense from one direction to another. Basically what we quoted as a half day of photo shoot and half day of post production turned into a full day of photography and took another full day for post. For the same price. Needless to say, next time we quoted a photoshoot, the price doubled.
In conclusion, it is more often than not that you will be working with the clients. They get what they want and cannot come back to you if it is not liked by others. At the end of the day, you have to remember that it is the clients you pay your wages.