I haven’t upgraded my slow but reliable running PowerBook G4 (yet!), but because I can run Aperture on it, I have a very useful marketing tool for my wedding and event shoots.
As we all know, digital photography provides an amazing opportunity to take photos and share them almost instantly with the subjects we photograph. So every since I started building my photography business, I’ve been using iPhoto and now Aperture to create slide shows during the events I shoot. If everything is going smoothly during a wedding shoot, for example, I or my assistant will import the first few media cards into the Aperture (where the client folder is already set up before the shoot begins), and while my clients and their quests are eating and enjoying themselves, I go through and select photos for an on-sight slide show.
By selecting well done photos that need little adjustment, I can provide an impressive slide show in under 30 minutes (which includes the time it takes to import one or two 2gig media cards.) I try to include only photos of the bride and groom, and maybe a few select family members if need be. Keeping the focus on the couple insures that others don’t feel left out because not everyone is included. And if possible, it’s important to choose and lay out photos as if you’re laying out a wedding album. Try to tell a story; try to have some continuity between photos; and try to of course select photos that reflect the happiest and most emotional moments of the ceremony.
Aperture’s Slide Show Feature
I use the 4-Up or 2 column preset for my slide shows simply because they show more photos in less time, and the sheer design and flow of those setups are clean and professional. Photos showing side-by-side is also just another good story telling strategy. There’s no need for Ken Burns effects or other fancy transitions. I simply seek to display my work for the joy of my clients and their guests. The focus is kept on photos and not the medium in which they are presented.
Up to now, I don’t charge extra for these slide shows. Perhaps I should. (What do you think?) I don’t even promise clients that they will get a show, for I’ve shot a few weddings where there was simply not enough time to put a show together and stay focused on covering the event.
But typically toward the end or a lull in the wedding reception, I’ll place my laptop out with the slide show running for people to view. Even if I’m not the best photographer in the world, it takes very little time for these shows to capture the attention of on-lookers. Not only do the bride and groom get a sneak preview of their wedding photos, I also get an opportunity to show off my work. And if you’ve probably guessed by now, right beside my Aperture slide show are about 10 of my business cards. I don’t put out a box or a stack of cards, but just a few so that my clients’ wedding won’t become a commercial for my business. Plus, when or if the few cards I set out are all picked up, I just lay out a few more.
I use this same idea for sometimes displaying engagement photos as well. Since I take quite a few photos during an engagement shoot, why keep them hidden away on my computer. A simple quick slide show displayed as guests arrive at the reception is nice professional gift to clients. And it doesn’t take that much post-production time.
I do take extra precaution to not allow the slide show productions to keep me from covering the event effectively. Clients are not always good about informing you about when they’re finished eating or when they are about to walk around and greet guests. So it’s always good to have an assistant keep an eye on things or prep the slide show for your final selections.
Slide Shows Online
Slide show selections also become a good start for an online display, which is another good marketing tool as well as a benefit for clients.
I’ve been using the SoundSlides plug-in for Aperture to produce Flash slide shows. SoundSlides is easy to set up and works very well with Aperture. You can select the photos and the music and export the photos using the export plug-in, and have a show up and running in under 20 minutes.
David Jay’s Showit Web is also a good choice, though it doesn’t have an Aperture plug-in.