Photo cred: @lovebephotography
We know how hard you work for new clients, how much time (and money) you have put into starting your photography business, and how determined you are to establish a core group of recurring (and raving) clients. Below, we've compiled a checklist of seven practices you should include in your photoshoots to ensure that you leave a great lasting impression with your clients that will lead to returning (and referred) work.
1. Do Your Homework Beforehand
- Know Names: be really intentional about learning the names of everyone you will be photographing and working with before you meet them on shoot. People react positively to hearing their names and feeling known (and oftentimes it's much harder to remember names you've just learned especially when you're in photography mode). It's a very professional move that will be sure to impress and will help you feel more comfortable day of!
- Understand Client's Needs: make sure to have a really clear idea and checklist of your client's wants/needs for the photographs they are paying you for! Clients will appreciate your attention to detail and this practice will help eliminate some of the guessing on your end + sets you up to provide a better end product (which equals happy customer)!
- Establish Expectations: provide your client with what to expect on shoot whether that's a schedule, shot list, quantity of images, number of prints, cost of packages, etc. Putting all of the information out there beforehand is a professional courtesy that gives your client the opportunity to ask questions, make changes and assist you in creating a final product that perfectly suits their needs.
- Scout the Location: if possible, make it a goal to visit the site (or at least a similar site) at the time of day the session is set for. Exploring the scene and making notes beforehand should calm nerves associated with a new location and will help guide the session.
- Research Poses: no matter your experience level, it's always a good idea to search for poses. Look through Pinterest and click through some of your favorite photographers' websites to create a mood board for the kinds of shots you want to get, tips on directing/positioning your clients, and creative solutions to potential framing/grouping problems you come across while planning a shot list.
2. Arrive 10-15 Minutes Early
One of the easiest ways to make a great first impression is to be on time (which for the photographer means 10-15 minutes early), so that you are prepped and ready to go by the time your client gets there. Although simple, this action speaks volumes: telling your client that you will not misuse the time you are getting paid for, that you respect their schedule, and it's just good etiquette. Note: A client may not notice or remember you being early, but they will definitely remember if you were late and that is not the first impression you want to give. Bonus: arriving early gives you a couple of minutes to breathe, prepare your equipment, go over your notes, and take some practice shots.
3. Compliment. Encourage. Repeat.
As soon as your client arrives, calm their nerves or insecurities for the shoot by giving them words of encouragement and genuine compliments. As the photo session progresses, compliment them on how it's looking and encourage them to relax or try other poses. At the end of the session, be sure to yet again ensure them of the successes of the day: tell them how much you enjoyed working with them and how easy they made your job! Of course, don't be over-the-top, but positive and authentic praises really go a long way in leaving your clients feeling good (and will actually help make them appear more relaxed and confident in their photographs-- win/win)!
4. Be Professional
- Dress appropriately for the type of shoot you're doing. (Ladies, click here for tips on what to wear).
- Be kind and courteous.
- Use your expertise in a way that is encouraging and uplifting to your client.
- Wear something that keeps you from being able to do your job well.
- Use inappropriate language or sarcasm.
- Use your expertise in a way that comes across as pushy or condescending.
5. Work at a Good Pace
Pace is something that will come easier with experience, so be sure to be very conscious of the time you've allotted for certain poses, locations, groupings, etc. so that you go through your shot list at a pace that doesn't leave your clients' heads spinning, but also gives you enough variety to have the most successful images.
6. Maintain Consistent Branding
You've invested in marketing for your brand: so be sure to keep your branding consistent (and ever-present) to get the most out of your investment. You're an artist, so be creative with the ways you market your business on your shoots!
- Wear colors from the color palette you use in your branding when you are working.
- Invest in a Fotostrap that is your brand's color and personalize the shoulder pad with your logo.
- Put a business-branded Luggage Tag on your camera bag.
- All in all, make sure your branding is consistent from your website to your social media to your printed materials to your professional appearance. (When you are running your own photography business you must remember that you are your own brand and you should ALWAYS be marketing).
7. Bring Leave-Behinds (and be bold enough to hand them out)
This is your last (and most practical) chance on location to make sure your clients don't forget you (or the positive experience of working with you). Leave them with business cards, social media cards, a hand-written note thanking them for their business, and/or some kind of promotional product or thoughtful gift. Again, you are creative, so promote that creativity with a unique leave-behind that ensures a great and lasting impression!
All in all, all of these suggestions were written to help you protect the investments you've made in your business by being unforgettable, professional, and impressive in person. These will only help to make sure that all of your talents and efforts behind-the-scenes are set up for a successful and lasting career made up of raving, recurring and referring clients!
Looking for more help on running your business? Here are some other resources we have for you: