So, one of my new year’s resolutions for 2015 (yes, I’m one of those people) was to get fit.
As I was chilling on the treadmill (…) one of my gym’s personal trainers ambushed me and asked if I’d like to try a free session of personal training that coming weekend. The last time I had a personal trainer was nearly 6 years ago and I don’t even remember if it was something I enjoyed or not – I remember it didn’t last too long but not much else.
So I said yes, and I added that there were a few things I could not do due to some posture issues, flat feet and bad back. He said not to worry and that we would have a chat before the session to go through all these things.
1. Value your couples’ time as much as you’d like them to value yours
My personal trainer was 15 minutes late to our appointment. Clearly 15 minutes isn’t a big deal but considering that a session only lasts about an hour, in percentage, that’s a big chunk of time gone.
You know you wouldn’t want your wedding photographer to arrive 2 hours late (about 25% of the time I would spend photographing a wedding). Now, I don’t think there is a single photographer out there who would deliberately arrive late to a wedding and miss an entire part of the day, and obviously there are instances where transports/weather/random caos can bugger up a perfect plan and cause some delay of sort.
But if you have to photograph a wedding and find yourself thinking ‘I will leave my house at x o’clock because that’s about 1 hour before the wedding and 1 hour should be enough time to travel to the venue. And even if I’m, like, 20 minutes late…no big deal right?’
Always, ALWAYS leave with plenty of time to kill, it’s a lot better to wait around or even being a bit early than it is to show up 20 minutes late ‘just because’.
2. Listen to what your couples have to say, and do your best to remember it.
As I mentioned above, there are a few things I am not supposed to do when working out, at least until my back issues are fixed.
Even though the personal trainer had said that we would have a chat before starting to go through all the things I can’t do, we didn’t sit down to chat at all and I had to remind him about it. He had ‘prepared’ and brought with him a standard good-for-anyone list of things for me to do, half of which he just deleted when I briefly told him what I couldn’t do.
I was not impressed.
You might be lucky 99% of the times and you might be marketing yourself in a way that such things rarely happen, but you will get the couple who feels uncomfortable doing certain things for the sake of original photos (eg. lying on the grass, dance, climb walls…etc.) and if they tell you that, then you should know better than to ask them to jump 5 feet high during their couple shots session.
I had a bride last year who, despite being incredibly beautiful from any point of view and in any light, was a bit self conscious about profile photos and asked me to take mainly frontal pictures of her. It was not my place to argue that so I just made sure I kept that in mind on her day. I wish my personal trainer had done the same.
3. Go-shoot-leave is not the way forward.
And so we started on those few exercises I could actually do.
I am a very clumsy person who every time is at the gym just gets in whatever position might make a particular exercise easier. I would use the weight of my body to push or pull when I should only use my arms, for example. I would bend my neck when I should keep my head up, and all sort of random things. Now, I’m no personal trainer but I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to tell you when you’re doing something the wrong way. It’s kinda the main reason why they’re there.
He didn’t. He kept checking his phone, counting down, and didn’t even as much as looked my way.
Chances are that the people whose wedding you’re shooting never had wedding photos taken before. That’s why even if your approach is ‘let things unfold, act natural, be yourself’ you ARE going to have to give them some sort of directions. Placing people in front of a camera and expecting them to behave like they would in the intimacy of their kitchen is optimistic at best.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to pose them, but do help them. Otherwise they’ll just feel left alone to figure it out and will freeze.
4. Hard sell is annoying. Always. In any business. For any service and any product.
As we were just getting started on the second exercise on his list, he was already saying how I should definitely book at least once session per week with him. So that he could guide me and help me get the results I wanted.
Man, chill out. You’re not exactly blowing my mind here and I need you to show me why I should stick around, rather than having you say it to me and expect me to throw my money at you.
You are a stranger to your couples, and until you show them why they would benefit from choosing you, you can not expect them to book you just because they enquired.
Like Jasmine Star once said in one of her seminars: if you need to say ‘I’m funny’, you’re not. If you need to say ‘I’m successful’ you’re not. If you feel like you need to tell people you’re the best, there’s a big fat chance you really, really aren’t.
Show them instead, they will have then something tangible to base their choice on and they’ll know how good you are.
Ps. I will get fit. I WILL.