In this episode of Capture The Chaos we’re talking about the importance of the client experience for family sessions. I share how you can improve your website, social media, emails, and sessions to provide a better experience and grow a solid, loyal clientele. Listen: Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Hey friends. Thanks for being here today. We’re gonna talk about client experiences. Now, a client experience it can make or break you as a photographer. If your client experience is not good, they aren’t gonna come back. If it’s amazing, even if maybe your gallery’s a little subpar, they’re gonna love you. And they’re gonna wanna keep coming back to you. So let’s get to it.
Think of a really good client experience that you’ve had with a retailer, a restaurant or another photographer. If you’ve ever had family photos done, which I hope you have, what made it a good experience? What did you like about that experience?
Now, flip it over. Think of a bad client experience. Are you ever gonna go back to that place that you had a bad experience at? When I was pregnant with my middle son, I think Noah, I know his name is Noah, but I think I was pregnant with him. I went to little Caesars and I just wanted a $5 hot and ready. I was pregnant. I was craving a pizza. So I asked the guy, I don’t know what I said, but apparently I didn’t say the exact right word. He was so mean to me. I literally cried and I yelled at him. He knew exactly what I was talking about, but since I didn’t say the exact right word for this hot and ready pizza he was being really super snappy. I’m sure he was having a bad day.
But you know what? I have not been back to little Caesars since then, cuz I cried so much. Granted I was pregnant and had a lot of emotions. The same thing can happen to us as photographers. If we give someone a bad experience, they’re not gonna wanna work with us again. A happy client is going to be the best investment into your business.
Like a lot of times I am, I have a retainer fee for win booking. And I say that if they cancel within two days of that session, I, they don’t get their money back. Now when a mom calls me in tears because her kid is sick and she really wanted to make it to that session. I’m gonna give her some grace because I would like the same kind of grace in that situation.
I feel like sometimes we get too caught up in what the rules are for our business. And what other photographers do that we figured about the grace portion of our business. Like we are in the people business. I’m sorry to say so the number one thing that you should keep in mind is this is not about you. It’s about them. The moment you decided to get into family photography, it became about the client and not about yourself.
If you don’t want to please your clients, then by all means go do it as an art form for yourself. Take pictures of your kids. Take pictures of friends for fun, like get creative. That’s fine. But if you wanna make money and you wanna do this for people, it needs to be about the people. The moment you start to realize that it’s not about you and it’s about your clients, your client experience is going to change into something so amazing.
Okay. So what exactly is the client experience? Well, it starts from the min the moment they make contact with you or the moment they find you online. So like they find you on Instagram, they start looking at you or they find your website. That’s where your client experience begins. What does your client experience say about you? Does it say that you know what you’re doing? You’re competent. You enjoy what you do or does it look like you are a hot mess? So keep that in mind.
Yes. Your website matters. Yes. What you put on Instagram matters now, what are some ways that we can improve our client experience? First of all, let’s start with your website. It needs to be easy to navigate. It needs to look good. Yes. That’s important. It needs to have your photos on there. Obviously it needs to have a call to action on every page so they know what to do and they know how to do it. People don’t really like to read people. Don’t really like to search around for things. So make it super easy and accessible. Like your first page should have a call to action. Look at my galleries, look at my session. Packages, contact me to book. You know, something like that.
Your Instagram and your Facebook should show your work and it should show who you are. It’s not all about selling on Instagram. Yes. You can announce that you have sessions coming up, but it’s more about connecting and getting to know your client or letting them get to know you and trust you and like you, okay. So they saw you on your website or they saw you on Instagram and they decided to book with you. Your booking process should be also super easy. Now I know it seems kind of scary having a booking calendar out there, but I promise you, it makes everyone’s life so much easier.
So this is what I do every three months, I make a new booking calendar. I usually do it per season. So I’ll have a summer booking calendar and I go through, I figure out what dates we’re gonna be out of town, what dates we’re probably having sports for the kids. What dates I wanna make sure I’m off. And then I go through and I fill out a few days every week that I would be willing to take sessions.
I do not open up every single day on my booking calendar, maybe two to three days per week, because what happens when you get booked seven days in a week, you’re gonna be super overwhelmed. So just a you and don’t be afraid that they aren’t going to be able to work into your schedule. They will, you give them a schedule. They’re gonna work into it. It also alleviates some of the back and forth that go on. Whenever you’re trying to figure out, uh, session dates.
I use Iris works. I love it. It’s my client management system. I send invoices. I do everything from it. Highly recommend. Iris works. If you don’t already have, um, a client management system, all right.
So they booked with you and now the emails begin. They should be friendly and informative and you should put them at ease knowing that who they’re working with. I like to send a prep guide and I include what to expect on there. And I also have a location guide that they can go through and pick their favorite location based on my suggestions. That way I’m not stuck shooting somewhere that, uh, has terrible light or terrible backgrounds, cuz what they see as good photo location is not always a good photo location. Let me tell you.
You can also offer a style guide or a client closet. You should have easy to pay invoices and also send them reminders about the session and where it is. If you aren’t sure what emails to include or what information to include, hop on Instagram and pull your followers. What do they want to use or what do they want to have to be prepared for their session?
What have they seen with other photographers that they really liked? What did they not like? So pull them and get an I idea from them because they’ll know a little bit better, what they wanna see than we will sometimes.
All right. Client experience during the session, I always start off with small chat, just a little bit, getting to know them, getting, getting ’em warm in depth. Cause a lot of times it’s the first time I’ve met these people and they’ve met me and getting in front of the camera can be really daunting. I like to make ’em feel good. Oh, I love your dress. Your hair looks really good. Tell the little girls that they look so pretty and tell the boys they look handsome. And if they’re being silly, like, wow, you run really fast.
I like to spend a couple minutes just talking to the kids, getting them warmed up because when they’re more comfortable with me, they’ll act a little sillier and they’ll be more themselves.
I like to give a lot of feedback during the session. Oh, yeah, I really liked what you did with your hand just then. Oh, your hair looks really good like that. Oh, yeah, keep doing this, keep doing that.
I like to give a lot of feedback during the session. Oh yeah. I really liked what you did with your hand just then, oh your hair looks really good like that. Oh yeah. Keep doing this. Keep doing that. They love feedback so that they know that they’re doing the right thing. I will also show them the back of the camera and that way, if there’s something that they didn’t like about themselves, we could avoid that in the future because remember it’s about them and not about me, not what I think looks good on them, but what they think looks good. So it’s key to make them feel really good during the session and happy and content and just feel warm and welcome with you.
Now after the session, uh, I always send an email, thanking them and remind them when to expect the gallery. They’ll they’re still probably gonna ask. Everyone always asks when to expect the gallery. Even though I told ’em three times and then after I deliver the gallery, I follow up and request a review so that others know if they want to work with me or not. Those reviews are super important.
Some additional small gestures you can do to make a really good client experience. Just make them feel special. You can send them Christmas cards, you can send them a small, thank you gift. I love, I got, um, I did a recent copywriter on call day with my copywriter and she sent me an amazing gift box that had a planner and some bath soap in it. And then also my braining photographer. She’s fabulous and sent me a gift box as well. And it just made me feel so good. You could also just send them something simple, like a handwritten note and then tell them happy birthday on their birthday.
All right. Now what I want you to do is I want you to sit down and map out your client journey from the time that they find you and contact you until the time that you deliver galleries or if you wanna do one of those special thank yous, uh, include that in there as well. Um, and then look through and see, where are the holes like where do you feel like you’re missing something and then kind of fill it in. I did mine through an outline. I like outlined it, um, just piece by piece. And then I went through and then I, um, actually wrote the emails, spiced up the emails for each section. And I found that to be an easy way to do it. Our, um, client experiences are always going to be changing and evolving.
Hopefully we don’t set our client experience. And then it’s the same one for 10 years. Like that’s, that’s not gonna, that’s not gonna fly. So every once in a while, maybe once a year, just revisit your client experience and make sure that it’s still living up to expectations. Um, continue to pull people throughout the year. What do you wanna see? What did you like about our session? What did you not like? What do you, what would’ve helped you better? Things like that, and that will really help, um, your client journey.
If you’re a photographer who is tired of spinning your wheels in business and is ready to stop feeling like an imposter, it’s time to formulate an actionable strategies to help you grow with impact and empower you to define your own version of success – one client, one edit, one photo at a time.
Book a 1:1 coaching call: www.brittnierenee.com/photographers