5 Ways to Make Photography Clients Feel Confident That You’re the Pro They Hired
You did it! You landed your ideal client. Contracts are signed, invoices are paid. You’re on top of the world and unstoppable and I am bursting with pride on your behalf! But what if…something goes wrong? What if you disappoint them? What happens if it all comes crashing down? Don’t worry – it won’t! Not if you implement these 5 strategies for ensuring your clients have every confidence in your professionalism.
#1: Make clients feel confident by anticipating their anxieties
Whether you’re photographing the wedding of the century, the birth of a couple’s first child, or headshots for brand new employees, one thing is universal: people are nervous about getting photos taken.
We’re all just horribly traumatized by school picture day? Or is the persistent myth of being “ not photogenic” so deeply ingrained in us that we just can’t get over the photoshoot jitters? Either way, even the coolest clients have some anxiety before their photo session. And you can soothe their suffering by having answers ready before they even ask!
Think about common worries that clients might have about your specific niche of photography and come up with plans for ways you can make the whole experience stress free. I recently had a client ask if my personal branding photography sessions are strictly timed. She’d had a previous experience with a photographer who essentially started a timer at the beginning of her photo session, making the client feel rushed. Since I know this is a common worry amongst personal branding photography clients, I already have a solution: no time limits. We work together until we get everything on our shot list created. Instead, I offer a general range. “Most sessions last 2 to 3 hours, but I have no interest in rushing through the creative process. We’ll spend as much time as we need!”
Having answers at the ready to common pain points will make your clients feel at ease knowing you have thought through all the details so they don’t have to!
#2: Communicate clearly and thoroughly
Once your client is booked, be careful not to drop the ball on communication. All too often, photographers overbook themselves and end up juggling too many projects. Or they’ve not done the prep work of setting up systems of communication to ensure their client has all relevant information sent to them. This is a sure-fire way to make your client feel like they made a mistake by giving you their hard earned money.
Many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems offer automation services. Be on the lookout for huge improvements in this area as CRMs start integrating AI technology into their software! These automations can send emails, questionnaires, calendar reminders, PDF guides, etc. on a pre-set scheduled timeline. This is especially helpful if all or most of your clients need to hear the same information. Need to send a wardrobe styling guide or directions to your studio? Set that up as an automation and never have a client who says “Wait…we were supposed to coordinate outfits??” or “I couldn’t find your studio on Google maps!” ever again!
Additionally, if you’re anything like me, you prefer to keep most of your communication text-based so that you have a clear trail of everything said between you and your clients. That is totally ok, but I would add that sometimes phone calls and in-person meetings are necessary and more efficient. When I have a phone call or meeting, I always type up notes and send those immediately to my client through email so we both have a record of what we discussed.
This gives them the chance to remind me of anything I may have forgotten or clarify anything I may have misunderstood. ending summary notes is a great way to instill confidence and remind your client that you are a pro with their best interests at heart.
#3: Have proof of liability insurance at the ready
I have absolutely been told on multiple occasions that I was chosen to photograph an event over one of my competitors simply because I was able to send over proof of insurance immediately upon request.
But, this is one of those little business things that not everyone knows about and those that do know about it just assume everyone else has the same knowledge. If you’re out there doing work for clients without liability insurance and you’re not sure why you even need it, this section is for you!
Liability insurance is often confused with business insurance or equipment insurance. To clear it up: liability insurance does not cover the cost of equipment repairs or repairs to your owned or rented buildings. While some states legally require every business to have liability insurance, others do not and it’s up to each individual to weigh the pros and cons of getting coverage.
Here are the pros: Your business and its assets will be protected financially in the event of a lawsuit for accidents that may occur while you are performing your photography service.
Here are the cons: NONE
It costs so little to purchase liability insurance and will save you so much if you break something that belongs to someone else or hurt someone while doing your job. General Liability Insurance costs, on average, $88 a month.
Once you have a client who asks the inevitable “Are you insured?” and you confidently whip out your proof of liability insurance, the look of relief on their face will show you just how much that $88 a month is worth!
#4: Be accommodating, but don’t be a push-over
Once the details of your photo session start getting ironed out with your client, you might run into bumps along the way. Session dates get changed, the weather turns sour, locations become suddenly unavailable. Remember: you are in the customer service industry. It’s our job to find solutions to problems and create an unforgettably positive experience for our clients.
I live in Florida, where it is scorching hot and rainy every day in the summer and I have a set policy that says “I do not have sessions outside from May to October.” I love this policy because I loathe being outdoors in the heat, fighting the weather forecast, and ultimately having to reschedule due to rain. And my clients hate being sweaty and miserable in their photos so it’s a win-win! However, just because that is my policy does not mean I will never, ever, EVER make an exception. I will! I’ll try to schedule them in the morning when it’s less hot and less likely to rain. If the evening is the only option, I’ll be extremely generous with my rescheduling policy – because no one can control the weather!
(And just because I’ll make an exception, does not mean I will make it for every person who asks. My client better have a dang good reason for wanting to be outside for any amount of time during the Florida summer. I’m accommodating, but I’m not a push-over!)
#5: Have a professional system set up for deliverables
When you finish that photo session and get all those beautiful photos processed, edited, and ready to deliver, and you drag and drop them into a DropBox link…an angel loses its wings.
Ew. DropBox? In this economy?? Here’s the problem with using file sharing services like DropBox, WeTransfer, and Google Drive as your primary photo delivery system:
It’s ugly. Come on, y’all know that mess is ugly. That’s why ShootProof is the way to go.
We are in the business of aesthetics. We’re photographers! Just like how you wouldn’t want your client to print out your gorgeous images on regular printer paper, you shouldn’t want them to first see those images in a compressed .zip folder.
Building client confidence starts with having a brand that speaks clearly to your ideal client. Once you’ve gotten them to book with you, keep that branding train a’rolling by having a customizable client gallery service. I use Shootproof (obviously) and you should, too, if you want your clients to feel confident in your professionalism.
Putting these 5 tips into practice is going to take your client experience from “meh” to “ohhhhh fancy!” in no time.
Written by Jesi Cason | Photos by Jesi Cason Photography