Here at ShootDotEdit, we specialize in wedding photo editing. We also partner with industry leaders to bring you valuable tips and tricks on the most relevant topics for your photography business. Today, we’re diving into how to get photography clients. A simple way to do this is to deliver an unforgettable experience for each client you book.
In your wedding photography business, referrals are key to your longevity and success. How can you make sure to delight clients every time? We connected with Darren of Reality Photography to discover his tips on how to get more photography clients through excellent customer service. Continue reading to learn more.
How to Get Photography Clients
We all love that feeling when we hear, ‘”You shot my friend’s wedding and we love your photos, are you available for mine?’” – not only because it’s another potential booking, but you also know you must have done a great job.
There’s a secret part missing from that question, something that happens behind the scenes: “Our friends didn’t have anything negative to say about you.” That statement is just as important as any photography you can produce.
How many times have you heard horror stories about the behaviour of other photographers? Probably quite a lot. That is, after all, one of the reasons they’re looking to book you. So, you can be the photographer who found out how to get photography clients fast or you can be the photographer who is getting negative word of mouth. Here are a few steps to help you increase wedding photography referrals through positive customer service.
Master Customer Service
You cannot survive on great images and marketing alone. Without conscientious customer service, those referrals won’t come knocking. Our job is to make people “feel.” How can you make couples feel positivity if they are chasing you because you are late for a promised deadline, or if you have spoken out of tone to a member of their family during the wedding shoot?
So, you provided some award-winning portraits of the bride and groom. Great. But, are they going to remember you by those photos or will they remember all the times they had to email or call you? You can hear it now:”Oh our photographs are amazing, but Mr. Smith Photography was such a pain to get hold of.” Get your customers talking about how great you were, not just your work.
“People recommend people.”
Set Expectations from the Start
Don’t make silly promises. Ever waited for a delivery and it didn’t arrive on the day the website promised? Whose fault is it, how can I complain and where are my damn batman socks? (Ok, the socks might just be me). But, you get the point. Now compare the importance of the socks you ordered to the photos of one of the biggest days of your life. That referral is dead in the water.
Things happen and with all good intentions, you may miss a deadline. That’s fine. Your clients love and trust you. So, when you tell them about the delay (because you will tell them!), they’ll be a lot more understanding and their frustration is avoided.
Perfect your listening skills
Let’s go back to the beginning. After all, that’s where the first impressions are made. You can get referrals from clients who haven’t even paid their deposit yet. Be prompt, be polite, and be consistent. The clients already love your work, so now you need to get them to love you too! Listen to them. People want to be heard. They do not care how many weddings you’ve shot, they only need to know that you care about theirs.
Don’t let your own prejudices stand in the way. We all have opinions and when a couple gives me a list of group shots that are as long as my arm, I cry inside. I know they’re not going to actually want that many, I know they’ve booked me to document the actual day, and I also know that if I don’t accommodate the request then I’m not going to live up to their expectations.
This is where you need to be prompt, polite, and consistent. Thank them for the list, don’t reject it. Give them some ideas that work around how you shoot and explain to them the reason you’re offering these ideas.
Assumption makes an… well, you know the phrase. Does your client know that unless they actually spend time with Uncle Roger during the wedding shoot, there won’t be any photos of them together? Does your client know you’re completely unreachable when you’re shooting a wedding? Give your clients an FAQ pdf when they book or make everything clear when you meet them. Better yet, do both.
Some people just want to be heard. “It’s a shame that we didn’t get any photos of me with Uncle Roger!” Your reply doesn’t have to be apologetic. She didn’t mention it before and she barely even spoke to him, but here’s your response:
“Uncle Roger is a legend. He was telling me about the time he went camping and got completely lost. It’s a shame there’s not any of you two together. It did look like you were having an awesome time on the dance floor though and who am I to come between you and your breakdancing routine to abba?! I had a quick look at the group shots and it doesn’t look like we missed any?”
You’ll probably get a response changing the subject as it wasn’t a complaint it was just a comment.
Make Genuine Connections
How to get away with kicking a guest. A few months ago I was shooting a wedding and the couple was just about to cut their cake, a guest dived in front of me and positioned himself right at the end of my lens, so I kicked them (ok it was more of a tap with my foot, but it’s still a kick right?). How on earth is that good customer service?
Well, I’d made time throughout the day to chat to almost everyone and let them get to know me personally, so when I kicked this guy he knew it wasn’t at all aggressive, he laughed and moved, then I got the shot. Of course, there are some weddings I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing this, but I understood the crowd. Compliment dresses, tell the guys how smart they look, say anything that starts a small conversation.
One of the best compliments I’ve ever had was when I was handing a bride her USB box, she said: “I already know these are going to be amazing!” Yeah, she’s seen my work before but other than a handful of previews I sent to her, she really had no idea what she was going to find.
She trusted me, I’d kept my promises, replied promptly, and done everything I could to go above and beyond her expectations. She already loved her photos without even seeing them.
Eliminate Issues from the Start
“Urgh, she’s a total bridezilla!” No, she isn’t. She’s a bride who’s been let down. “I could tell from the start that she was going to be a pain.” So why didn’t you do anything about it? Why have you given her reason to complain? “She’s saying the images are terrible and she looks bad.” So why haven’t you built enough trust with her yet?
Complaints start with one small objection and if it’s left, it will continue growing until you defuse it. Stop complaints the moment they start. Don’t wait around thinking about it, reply and listen straight away.
You’ve not done your job, whether the photos are really good or not doesn’t matter if she’s frustrated and it falls solely to you to fix it. “I’m sorry to hear that, I pride myself on giving my clients beautiful images so to hear the opposite is really upsetting, how can we fix this?” This reply will work perfectly if they trust you. After all, you’ve been amazing up till now. Take enough action to kill the complaint and remove it from their opinion of you.
I have a rule in my process. I don’t deliver images that aren’t complimentary to the bride unless I’m absolutely certain that she’ll see the funny side. A while back I had a bride that had one of the best receptions I’ve ever been to, the dance floor was packed, the guests were in great spirits, and the couple had an awesome time. I didn’t deliver many photos of the bride on the dance floor as they contradicted my rule. It sucked big time, but there were enough images of the couple in the evening that I thought it would suffice.
It didn’t, the couple wanted more of her in her evening dress. In this instance, do I break my own rule or do I let a client down? Well, the latter is out of the question so I explained my process, empathized, and awaited a response. It turns out she didn’t care, she loved images I didn’t include and left me a 5-star review. Now that’s been simplified a lot, but it was their trust in me that didn’t convert a comment into a complaint. Oh, and I got a referral from them too.
If you want to save money, time, heartache, and reputation, acknowledge you’re in the customer service industry. Listen to your clients, take note of what’s important, keep to your promises, maintain positivity throughout the experience, and make each client know exactly how much you care. Better customer service will give you a better profit. Simple.
Knowing how to get photography clients through customer service is an essential way to increase referrals exponentially. The more you focus on the client experience, the easier it will be to create happy clients who cannot wait to refer you. For tips on how to avoid issues in your photography business, and how to encourage wedding photography referrals, download our 7 Branding Mistakes Wedding Photographers Make (and How to Fix Them!) Guide! Click the banner below to get started on identifying and eliminating branding mistakes to help with the positive client experience.