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A man with dreams needs a woman of vision

Robert Nowell, Professional photographer, photography professor and VP at Sprout Studio About Robert

I absolutely love the portrait we're going to discuss today!
This couple came to me by way of a campaign I was photographing for the Niagara Community Foundation. This foundation improves the quality of life in Niagara through philanthropy.

The couple pictured here in this portrait are philanthropists who have given to this foundation and agreed to be a part of the awareness campaign.
When they came to my studio I was immediately struck by the incredible bond between them. The woman's eyes sparkled like jewels, as she talked about their lives and their family. He was the strong silent type but I could see they completely adored one another.

I really wanted that to come across in the portrait so, after a few easy poses, I started to guide them into getting closer and closer to each other.

The idea that popped into my head was a line I had heard many times growing up. ” A man with dreams needs a woman of vision.”  This couple seemed to epitomize that idea to me when I looked at them through my lens.

Even though this was a corporate campaign photo session, I treated the client experience the same way I approach all my portraits.  I asked the foundation to send me the email address and phone number for the couple so I could send a welcome email and set up the appointment.
I also supplied my website address in case the couple was not familiar with my work.

I made it clear from the beginning that they would be able to purchase prints from me if they desired to do so. I also gave them wardrobe tips and some information on what they could expect at their session.  I made sure that they were highly informed and I tried to anticipate any questions they might have before the session so I could answer those questions in advance.

This couple is a perfect client for my business. We made a connection right away and enjoyed an excellent rapport right from the beginning. I believe I had created value in my brand by being proactive and informative right from the start.

A couple like this has a very good measure of disposable income and have children and grandchildren. It's not a stretch to assume that if they valued me and my photography I could suggest a family session in the near future and they would likely agree to that idea.

The foundation sent me numerous couples like this one, of all ages. They all had one thing in common; they had all donated to a worthy cause. People who are philanthropic tend to appreciate value and if I have communicated my brand to them properly, I likely can gain some excellent clients.

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This has proven very valuable to my business, so in addition to helping out the Niagara Community foundation, I also photograph for Pathstone Mental Health and the Niagara Symphony.

In all cases I get excellent exposure in my community. I know exposure doesn't pay the bills, so it's  important to have a strategy to use that exposure to my advantage. Good marketing is knowing who you are marketing to, where you do that marketing, and then the actual message has to be appropriate for that specific audience.

The best part to me of working on campaigns like this is that I get paid by the campaign and then also am able to sell portrait prints to the subjects of the campaign. That's a great way to maximize profits from one session.

I did the same thing with the symphony. They commissioned me to photograph a portrait of each and every musician in the orchestra. At each session I did images with and without instruments even though the symphony only wanted images with instruments. I was able to sell to the musicians separately images for their own websites and solo PR purposes.

Getting your brand out there means not just focusing on social media but in the physical world as well. Having your brand awareness at public events, in performance programs, in public displays has been a big differentiator for me as most of my local competitors market almost entirely online.

My advice is to market online and offline, but as I mentioned already, be sure the message you put out there is reaching the right audience in the right place.


#Branding #Customer Experience #Growth #Marketing #Networking


  • Hi Robert, this is a great article. Perfect for what I'm going through right now with my marketing. What you mentioned in this article is great and the caption really suits the couple. I always wanted to partner with an organization (For example, we have an organization that helps the families with kids who have Down Syndrome). I reached out to them, they were excited about it too but then suddenly nothing. Do you have any suggestions if I should reach out to them again or not (it's been 5-6 months since this happened). I'm thinking my target client donates to this organization too. Any advice would be great. Thanks :)
    • robertnowell
      Hi Swaroopa, Persistence usually pays off. Keep reaching out to the organization you want to reach. Shoot a personal project with a child with Downs Syndrome and show them what you could be doing for them. Invite one of their reps out for a coffee meeting to ask how you can help with images.
      • Thanks for your response. That sounds like a good plan :) I will give it a try.

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