June 21, 2023
When working with clients, it is so important that you give them an amazing experience throughout the process. This is how you get referrals and great reviews among clients and vendors that will gain your business more traction in the future.
I am going to share strategies for effectively working with your clients as a wedding photographer and help them have an amazing experience throughout the entire process!
📷 Response Time:
When a client initially reaches out, it is common to be prompt with responding. Of course we are! We want to book the client! We have to make sure that we keep this same prompt response happening throughout the entire experience, even a year after the wedding when the clients are looking through their albums and wanting to make revisions.
The final impression is just as important as the first impression, and this is when most clients are going to leave reviews and refer other potential clients to you. So, even though this time isn’t as exciting as booking the client, you still want to extend great customer service and respond promptly.
📷 Clear Expectations:
Establish clear expectations with your clients on how you should communicate with each other from the very beginning. I am sure to let my clients know that email is my preferred method of communication, because I feel like text messages can get lost in the shuffle.
Sometimes they ask me how they should communicate with me and I am able to tell them.
Other times, I show them through my actions. If they send me a text message, I will take a screenshot of it and send it to my inbox. I then explain that I like to keep all correspondence in the inbox so that I don’t overlook any of their questions or needs.
The only exception that I make is during the week of the wedding. It is very common for questions to arise right before the wedding, so I try to be responsive to texts and quick phone calls. If I feel that a call will take a while, based on the concerns or questions, I will make an appointment with the client.
I really do prefer my email, though, because I see notifications right away and it is really nice to keep a thread and history of the correspondence.
If you say that you want to communicate via email, be sure that you don’t send a text. If they send a text, don’t respond and keep the thread in the text messages. That can be confusing for you both.
Keep your working hours consistent as well. Let the client know your working hours from the beginning, and stick to them. Respect your client’s boundaries as well, and don’t send emails or messages early in the morning or late at night, unless they express to you that they don’t mind. You can always type an email and schedule it to send at a certain time, so that you are not overstepping time boundaries.
Having a strong contract in place will set a strong foundation for your clients and you to work well together.
📷 A contract helps ensure that your client knows the parameters for your business, and you can both refer back to it should any questions arise. Parameters could include types of edits you do and do not do, locations you will and will not shoot, and your turnaround times. If there is ever a question, you and your client can both refer back to it.
📷 Be sure to stay within your contractual guidelines!
📷 If you need a contract, we do sell ours at www.catgeducation.com, so be sure to check it out if you are interested in seeing how ours looked. We have used this one for 15 years. It has protected us through the pandemic and been very beneficial.
Establishing an initial phone call really helps to establish rapport with your client and it creates a strong relationship from the very beginning. Try to get everyone involved in the call (wedding planner, mother of the bride, or anyone else who will be really involved) so that you can all be on the same page and can begin planning how you will all work well together.
I have very flexible hours during the week, but on the weekends, I am not as present since I am usually out photographing weddings. It is important for me to make sure my clients know this so that they have an idea of when they can expect a response from me.
I am sure that I include my office hours in my email signature. I also have an auto responder. Any time someone sends me a message, it lets them know when they can expect a response from me, according to when they sent the email.
If you are out on vacation, you can set up an away message so that your clients are aware and will expect your response once you return.
On the technology side of things, I have to remember that not everyone is super tech savvy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your client and help them work through issues that they may be having (scheduling through your link, downloading images from your gallery, etc.). Be available for those types of questions and be willing to help them through those processes if needed.
You are going to want to have a final meeting 2-4 weeks before the wedding. I send the clients a questionnaire (you can find the one I use on www.catgeducation.com), and I put their answers into a final timeline.
Doing the questionnaire and having the final meeting will help you make sure that your client and you are on the same page, and you won’t feel out of sorts on the day of the wedding. You will know exactly what shots they want (the ones that are mandatory) and where you can be creative. You also want to be sure to understand the family dynamics so that you can create an amazing shot list. You want to have photos of the family members who are important to them. During this meeting, you can also comment on transportation and timing (if you need more during one section). Really use this meeting to iron out all of the necessary details of the wedding day plans.
We have built such a great relationship with our clients, that it is hard to remember to step back and not chat to them too much on their special day. On their wedding day, be more of an observer and willing to step in if needed, whether that be a helper or being comforting. Our role is to be a calming, fun, supportive presence on their wedding day.
After the wedding send a follow up email to congratulate them, thank them for choosing you, and remind them of your turnaround time. This refreshes their memory and lets you be proactive so that there is no confusion and they won’t feel the need to ask you a ton of questions. It frees up more time for you and they won’t feel like they are bothering you.
There are so many talented photographers in the world, and they chose YOU!. Be sure to express gratitude in person and in writing. Thank everyone as you leave the event and remember to express your thanks again in your follow up email. Gratitude goes a long way!
We always think about gears, photos, and portfolios as wedding photographers, but working with someone, communicating with someone, and building a relationship with them is such a huge part of the success of our business.
I offer a course called Full Time Wedding Photography, and the first part of the course really focuses on these topics and how they make a big difference in the experience of our clients.
Always approach the entire process of working with the client with strong communication, expectations, and an overall amazing experience!
If you are interested in learning how to pose for photography, check out the Posing Guide below. ⤵️