The Client Coffee
I want to have a cup of coffee with all of my clients before our shoot. Sure, I love coffee and fantasize about it more than the average man. The caffeine helps me stay focused and gives me a jolt of energy for the portrait session. But that isn't why I want to have that cuppa with the client.
You can learn a lot about a person over a cup of coffee. That ten minutes of time is just enough to get a feel for a person. Working with tons of clients over the years, I can tell how a shoot is going to go just by that cup of coffee. If a client is willing to relax and have a warm beverage (as is social convention), then they will likely be relaxed throughout the shoot. Having a cup of coffee and some good old fashion conversation allows me to establish a connection with my subject. It is the connection that will either make or break a portrait session.
I love that ten minute coffee. I love learning about who my client actually is, what makes them tick, and why in the world they would want to spend an after noon with me pointing a camera in their face. This weekend I had the pleasure of having a cup of coffee with Jordan.
Jojo, as she likes to be called, is an accomplished dancer from Canada. Naturally, she ordered a maple latte from the quaint outdoor cafe in Kichijoji's Inokashira Park. Being fond of all things Canadian, I had the same. We took our coffees to a nearby bench and began chatting away.
In between sips of my latte I learned a lot about Jojo. I learned how she moved away from her home in Canada to follow her dreams in New York City. I learned about her experience earning a BFA in dance. I learned about how she also has trouble learning Japanese. And I learned that she is a real life Disney princess.
I was fascinated. I grew up on Disney movies. Trust me, I can sing the whole Aladdin soundtrack by memory and have a story or two about different ways that one can watch Fantasia. But how, exactly, is Jojo a Disney princess?
Jordan left New York to embark on an incredible journey with Disney. Here in Tokyo, Jordan is a stage dancer and plays the part of some of our favorite fairy tale females. Day in and day out, Jojo captivates audiences who have always dreamed of seeing a princess in the flesh.
So why would a princess want to spend an afternoon with me? Like many other artists, Jojo realizes the need to keep an up-to-date portfolio stocked with artistic headshots. With a book filled with stellar portraits, entertainment industry professionals are likely to land contract after contract. While Jojo is enjoying every minute in Japan, she is smart to consider the future and knows that Tokyo is just one stop for a princess.
With our coffees finished and some great rapport established, Jojo and I jumped into our portrait session.