It sounds like it takes a lot of time, but it’s really only about three to five minutes start to finish – two minutes to download from my card to the computer, a minute or two to select a few photos and about a minute to print them. I have a cutter to separate the photos, and I then place them in a manila envelope that will protect them on the client’s trip home.
My salon is in located in a residential neighborhood, so clients have to be motivated to find me. The photos offer me a helpful “hook,” and it really catches the client’s attention when you tell her she will receive this added-value service.
The word-of-mouth referrals I’ve gotten are amazing! I have been called upon to photograph wedding receptions, since I am getting known for capturing great candid shots – and I’ve ended up doing the hair for the bride.
Since I don’t do actual wedding photography, I have developed some professional friendships when I refer clients to wedding photographers. It is truly a mutually beneficial relationship, since we will eventually have a family portrait done and I will have paid it forward.
It’s also funny the other “clients” the photography has attracted. One day a man called and asked if I was the “hairdresser that, you know, is also a photographer,” and when I told him I was, he asked me if I would like to shoot a rodeo. Since I have no fear, a couple of great telephoto lenses and know how to use the “Action Shot” button on my camera (my little secret), I said I would do it.
I shot the rodeo on my day off and, in addition to getting in free to see some incredibly talented cowboys perform, I was paid $1,000 for about four hours. Then, I made oodles more cash off the prints!
I don’t buy posters; I have them made. My clients’ photos decorate my salon. I use them in my advertising, in the Yellow Pages and other places. I have a book of before and after photos I use during consultations, which helps to establish immediate trust.
My photos also show up on mouse pads, on my website and as labels. In fact, when I did my first mailing about six months ago, I received a call back from “Celebrity Sophisticates Hair Styling Guide” letting me know they wanted to use five of my before and after photos for a spring issue. Imagine how cool the clients feel when they see their photos were chosen for a national publication!
The possibilities are endless…you never know how you will get new clients, or what other creative detours you may take along your career path to keep things interesting.I started just having fun taking photos of clients, and I wasn’t afraid of failure, or looking stupid, or whatever. It’s not brain surgery and no one is going to die if you have to hit the “Delete” button, so just go for it! -Sandy Kurtzman