What is Co-Creating in Photography? And Why Is It Important?
Co-creating is exactly what it sounds like: creating with another person. In my case, I co-create (or design) with my high school senior clients during their photography sessions. Asking the client for feedback gives them a sense of ownership in the process. This, in turn, has helped me provide the best client experience with a personal touch.
Today’s Technology Gives Us an Advantage
Years ago, when I had my senior photos taken, they were taken with film. The photographer didn’t have the option to share images with me as we went along. I just had to trust that he knew what he was doing. In fact, I didn't even have much of a say in the setting or style. And in the end, I didn’t see the images until weeks after my session.
Today, we can use digital technology to share images as we move through a session, and I’ve found it helpful for co-creation with clients. By showing clients sneak peeks throughout the session, I can see their reactions and get feedback in real-time. This helps me gauge whether I’m capturing photos the client will be excited about. It also helps the client feel at ease, knowing their input and feedback matter.
When we first started Josh’s senior session, I could tell he was having a good time, but nothing overly exciting came about until a flash misfired. Talk about a happy accident!
When the flash misfired, I showed Josh the back of my camera, and he thought it was cool. He saw that it was dramatic and said, “Oh, I like that!” So I changed what I was doing, and we began co-creating photos that Josh was more excited about. That one bit of feedback from Josh changed the direction of his session completely.
As Josh saw poses he liked, I could guide him towards more like that. Working with him and inviting his active design participation helped move the session forward and keep things positive.
School Outfits and Uniforms
Josh, like many seniors, brought along his school band field commander uniform for his photos. But when his mom asked if he wanted to put it on, he said he wasn't so sure he wanted to focus on it too much.
This isn’t the first time this has happened with senior photos. Wearing these uniforms for the last time can be very special, and I always encourage clients to bring them along to their sessions. Even if they think they won’t want photos in their school uniforms, the sentimental value can’t be matched by wearing regular clothes.
Josh did change into his field commander uniform, and when he did, he assumed a different posture. I could see the pride on his face while he wore his uniform. This is the exact reason I suggest my senior clients bring their school outfits or uniforms. They might think they’ll never want that photo, but years from now, it’ll be a treasured memory.
Full Service Printed Products
As a full-service photographer, I never leave the job half-finished, like some photographers who provide every digital photo and move on. (Don't worry: you get digitals with me, but you also get much more.) After each session, clients have a reveal and ordering session.
Josh and his mom ordered a custom senior album, and it is stunning! Their album is 10x10 with thick archival photographic paper and silver gilding. The cover included custom imprinting and an archival keepsake box. These albums are designed to last for years to come and become family heirlooms.
Before his session, Josh’s mom had pre-ordered graduation announcements and needed a digital file to drag and drop into the graduation collage. She found comfort in knowing she would be given the accompanying digital file and printed products. She appreciated the full service I provided and left me a glowing Google review.
Josh’s mom said I made her son feel comfortable and that his senior session was a day he would never forget. I know that co-creating with my clients is why they love their final photos as much as they do. They feel validated, heard, and welcomed into the design process. It’s a win-win situation!
5 Takeaways - Why Co-Creating With Clients Is Important in Photography
Real-time client feedback allows me to make adjustments to achieve the desired result for myself and for you.
With your input, I create more images that you love.
When you love more photos, you get variety for the heirloom prints and albums you deserve.
Inviting your feedback makes you feel empowered, important, and that your design opinions matter (which they do!)
In the end, co-creating with you is fun and has you ready for your inevitable next session.
I’d love to know what you think! Does seeing a sneak peek help you feel more at ease when you're having your photos taken?