Today’s guest post is by Shuva Rahim of Accent Photographics. Shuva specializes in photographing couples and families in Eastern Iowa, splitting her time between Iowa City and Davenport. You can read her blog, friend her on Facebook or follow Shuva on Twitter.
Put yourself in a prospective client’s mind. This person loves your photography and wants to know more. What impression do you present of yourself?
Good client communication is not about taking great photos, but about trust and follow-through. Even after the job is done your client should leave without lingering questions. So here are 9 tips – things I do and recommend – to help enhance your client relationships.
On first contact ask what this person wants photographed, the time frame in which he or she wants the session done by and then clearly explain your process. Even if the info is on your website, don’t assume it’s been looked at by the individual.
2. First Date.
Get to know your prospective client in person with a pre-session consultation. Pre-session meetings can help decide if you and the individual are the right fit for each other, further establishing the kind of client you want. If there is a good fit, the pre-session ideally should be used as a scheduling meeting and to talk specifics about the session. Best case is to meet with all the parties who will be photographed.
3. Ask Questions.
Keep the conversation focused on them, not you. Get to know who they are, the relationship among everyone who will be photographed and what makes them tick. Then talk about you.
4. Social Media.
It’s easy for photographers to promote our work on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. So much so that we can take it for granted. Not everyone is equally active online. If you use Facebook to promote your business, make sure ahead of time that posting photos and tagging them is OK with your clients.
Give general information in advance on how long the session will likely take, how soon photos can be ready to view and when an order is expected to be completed. Repeat this information before and after a session. Be realistic, but always under-promise and over-deliver.
After the pre-consult, send a letter or email highlighting the main points of your client meeting. That way everyone is on the same page with expectations.
7. Show Thanks.
Send a thank-you note after a session. I use SendOutCards, which allows you to electronically deliver a card that the client will receive in the mail. Sending a card immediately after a session shows how much you appreciated photographing that client and CARE about them.
Include one or a few additional prints, candy, a gift card or whatever you deem appropriate as something a little extra in the order as a token of appreciation.
9. Become friends.
If a client enjoyed their experience with you, he or she is likely to want to develop a relationship beyond that of a client and service provider. Whether that means being Facebook friends or getting together for coffee once a month will depend on the person. Regardless, if you have a good vibe with a client be real with that individual, and be willing to show who you are as a person.
What other tips would you add to this list? Let us know below in the comments section.
I would add to this that you want to also set expectations about products and services and costs involved. Let the client know what kind of products you offer prior to the session, so that they understand pricing, particularly if your pricing is structured like a boutique studio. You can also get a sense for what type of products the client is interested in, so you can be sure to create images that will fit those products. Price is not something you want clients to be unclear about, so I woudl add that to this list.
Nic James says
A good post – clear, practical and concise.
Thanks @LaraWhite:disqus for your addition – good advice!
Pashminu Mansukhani says
As a professional industrial photographer in India, I always send cards to my client AFTER the photo session. Check out some of my works: http://www.digitalstudio.in