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  • Writer's pictureSarah Harley


You have had an email from someone working in the marketing department of a large chain of restaurants. They want some promotional images for their Cardiff branch - including interior, exterior, food and customer engagement shots. What is your process from start to finish?

1. Respond to email within 24 hours. Thank them for the enquiry, confirm you would welcome the opportunity to quote for the job, request to meet either them or the manager in person at the venue (ensure I have researched the venue before emailing so I can make a comment referencing something about the venue - its decor, food etc), offer a selection of dates in next 7-10 days to meet and include within email links to relevant sections of portfolio that show work of a similar nature. State that your hourly/daily prices are on the website, but at this stage you would prefer to give a confirmed price following a meeting to discuss the job in more detail. Ask if they have a budget in mind.

2. If do not get a reply within 48 hours, send a follow up email to check they have received it. Failing this make a call to the contact to discuss the enquiry and your email. If meeting date is set, do some research on images used by venues of a similar style and save some mood boards of the kinds of shots that could be considered. Also ask client to think about the type of 'look' they are hoping to achieve prior to meeting at the venue. Be prepared that if they are a marketing manager of a larger brand they may not be able to meet at the venue and the following may need to be conducted remotely - offer a Zoom call or longer telephone call if appropriate.

3. Prior to the meeting, if not familiar with the venue, make a visit beforehand to familiarise yourself - failing that make sure you have researched the company online and looked at any images of other restaurants within the chain.

4. Ensure arrive punctually for the meeting in appropriate clothing. Take laptop with any research and easy access to weblink plus any additional portfolio work that may be relevant. Have a list of questions prepared for the meeting such as- what exactly is the client looking for, how many shots are they looking to achieve, is there a best time to photograph - eg to shoot food in the kitchen would they prefer to do this at a less busy time so as not to interrupt the day's service, are all staff happy to be photographed, do they require shots from day and night, do they want customers in the shots or do they want to use staff and 'mock-up' scenes, do they have a key list of shots that must be achieved, are there any existing images that they like, what will the shots be used for - eg print, website, social media etc, when do they need the images, are there any corporate branding guidelines that must be adhered to? Before leaving confirm that you will send an email within 24 hours confirming a final price based on your discussions.

5. Follow up the meeting with the email saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and would love the opportunity to do the job for them. Based on the meeting, give a quote for the job with payment terms and explain exactly what this will include - state if half or full day, the number of edited images you will provide following the shoot, how you will provide them, explain that they will receive these images within 7 working days after the shoot and offer an additional visit to shoot the exterior if the weather isn't suitable on the day you shoot the interiors. Based on the discussion and the client comments about when the venue is busy, provide a provisional timing schedule of when you will shoot each element eg, arrive 9am and shoot exterior before venue opens, 10am meet with all staff and give quick briefing on how day will work, 10.30am shoot kitchen staff prepping for food and shoot some meals they prepare etc. Also offer a second meeting prior to the shoot if the client feels it is necessary. Explain that all staff on the day will need to sign a model release form (attach a copy as an example) and suggest that if they are going to have real customers in the shots, they place some notices in the venue prior to the day explaining that a photoshoot will be taking place, but that all customers will have the option not to appear in images. Reassure the client that you will also check with customers before taking any shots. Offer a selection of shoot dates within the timescale the client has provided.

6. 36 hours prior to the shoot - ensure all kit is in working order to allow time to repair/replace if necessary. Night before shoot pack camera bag, charge all batteries and ensure have empty SD cards ready. Pack any extra supplies such as spare speed light batteries, SD cards, filters etc. Print sufficient model release forms. Ensure have business cards to hand to customers/staff for any later enquiries.

7. On the day - arrive punctually, act in a professional, friendly and confident manner throughout the day. Be flexible to needs of the staff, venue and customers, be prepared to deal with changes and adapt to suit whatever happens on the day. Enjoy the day!

8. When return home, copy all images from SD cards into two separate locations so they are backed up immediately.

9. Within 48 hours of the shoot email the client thanking them for the opportunity and comment on how much you enjoyed the day. Enclose a few sample images you have edited to show them you are working on the job and advise when they can expect to receive the images. If you have arranged to provide them via a USB ask if you can deliver in person so that you can show them the digital images yourself.

10. Within 7 working days ensure you have completed the editing process and provide the agreed amount of images to the client either by gallery link or USB. Ensure the images are filed into folders that clearly explain the content and are named and numbered accordingly. Provide an invoice with the edited images.

11. Within 7 days of delivering the images, send another email or make a phone call to check that the client is happy with the end results and knows that you would love to be considered for any jobs in the future - either at this branch or any other within the company. Thank them again for the opportunity and ask them if they would be willing to provide a quick review of your services so that you can include it on your website or in any future proposals for work.

12. Once images are approved, if the client has confirmed they are happy for me to use them for my own marketing purposes, ensure a selection is uploaded to my website to ensure my portfolio is relevant and up to date.

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