Business + Marketing

How to Serve Your Photography Clients Before They Book

July 15, 2021

By Lynne Reznick

When the term “customer experience” pops up, we tend to think about our photography clients’ time spent within our brand. From onboarding to final delivery, we want to create an immersive experience that keeps them coming back for more. But what about serving your photography clients before the ink is even dry on the contract? 

A great booking process doesn’t just boost your closing rate; it also sets the stage for your work with your client, allowing you to put your best foot forward and wow them from their very first inquiry. Whether they’re planning an annual family shoot or a wedding, there are a lot of decisions to be made, and your soon-to-be clients appreciate having an expert on their side. When you can anticipate your prospective photography clients’ needs and questions, you can cut down on the back-and-forth, demonstrate your knowledge, and help them make their decision quickly and easily. You’ll get them to think, Wow, if they’re this helpful and generous before I’ve spent a dime, imagine how great the experience will be when I do make the investment! 

[Read: How to Strengthen Wedding Photography Client Relationships in 2021]

Serving as a resource for all of your leads establishes a reputation based on generosity and service. Even those who don’t ultimately book you, in the end, may still recommend you in the future if they had a good experience with you from the start, so don’t be afraid to roll out the red carpet for everyone who enters your inbox. 

Keep these tips in mind as you field inquiries and guide the process to a signed contract.   

1. Answer questions before your photography clients ask them. 

As photographers, we often hear the same questions from every lead. Save them the trouble and prepare an email template that includes all of your must-know information.  

Link to a sample gallery, clearly outline the next steps in your booking process, share your pricing, and invite them to get a full look at your brand experience.  

[Read: How to Price Your Photography—Key Factors to Consider]

To really go above and beyond, include an educational resource that addresses common questions your photography clients have. For example, you could send along a style guide, link to a curated Pinterest board with outfit inspiration, or share a blog about the pros and cons of a first look. 

Make it as easy as possible for them to see your value and expertise! 

2. Take advantage of digital solutions out there. 

Gone are the days of spreadsheets, filing cabinets and handwritten receipts. We are living in the digital age, and there are no excuses for inefficiencies. Save your old-school preferences for your 35mm; it’s time to modernize your backend operations to optimize your photography clients’ experience. 

A CRM (customer relationship management) tool is a game-changer for delivering consistently high-quality service to every lead that inquires with you. Set up a workflow with email templates that are thorough and thoughtful but leave room for personalization. You can then reply to inquiries quickly and on the go without sacrificing authenticity. And we all know that the faster you respond to a lead, the higher the chance you’ll book them! 

The same goes for proposals and contracts: Beautiful design and a more streamlined process with the ability to offer e-signatures goes a long way in enhancing your brand journey, so look for a CRM that can create an experience that will win over your leads.  

3. Don’t leave anything to guesswork. 

Brené Brown says it best: “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” As professionals, we cannot let our photography clients “figure it out” on their own. It’s up to you to set clear expectations and draw boundaries that protect you and your client throughout the process. 

[Read: Book Your First Elopements with These Marketing Techniques]

Client satisfaction isn’t about letting them walk all over you or overdelivering to the point of unsustainability. Rather, it’s built upon proactive communication and delivering above and beyond expectations, while still maintaining your professional boundaries. 

Lay out how your working relationship will unfold from the start by discussing office hours, preferred methods of communication, key milestones and touchpoints, and how final deliverables will be presented. By having this conversation upfront, you can prevent frustration and allow your clients to make an informed decision to book with you. 

4. Make efficiency part of your workflow with photography clients. 

You might be wondering where you’ll find the time to overhaul your booking process and implement efficient strategies to improve your client experience. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to set aside a half-day to create templates and rebuild your workflows. Instead, you can work on it as you go through your busy season without sacrificing your valuable time. 

The next time a new lead comes in, spend some extra time to craft a detailed and thoughtful reply. Then, save that reply as a template and tweak it to include fillable sections that you can customize for future leads. It’s as easy as that! You might not have a lot of time to spare during this busy season, but you can build the tools you need and save them as you go about your regular business. 

It’s time to start seeing the “pre-booking” stage as just another piece of your photography clients’ journey. Treat every lead like a paying client and you’ll see your intentions reflected in higher closing rates, fewer questions and objections, and happier prospects. 

Lynne Reznick is an educator-turned-photographer whose own love story and marriage inspires her to document the love of other soulmates. She finds joy in supporting her couples and connecting with industry peers. She recently launched her first online course called The Wedding Client Experience Academy and enjoys mentoring and coaching new wedding pros one-on-one and in hands-on workshops.