You’ve certainly heard it said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. For you as the wedding photographer, the wedding photography consultation is that one chance. It is the moment when you can convert a potential lead into a client. Successful wedding photography consultations take practice and planning – from the prep before meeting your potential clients to when you finally get the contract signed. In this blog, we will help you prepare for the consultation and put you on the path to success.
Preparing For The Wedding Photography Consultation
There’s a lot that goes on before you have a wedding photography consultation with your clients. Here are some things you should do before you set up a meeting with them.
1. Review Your Contact Form & Respond
Your potential couple may have reached out to you via the contact form on your website. If you’ve set it up to gather pertinent information, you can review this (and any emails you may have exchanged) before your reply. Taking a close look at this info will remind you of important things they may have shared in the initial contact stages. If you don’t have your contact form set up to collect this kind of information, consider adjusting so that it does. Having personal questions and important planning tips at the ready when you first reach out makes you that much more prepared to discuss things in detail in your first response.
2. Schedule The Consultation
While it’s tempting to share everything about you and your pricing in your first response to an inquiry, we highly recommend that you keep your responses brief and engaging, but let your potential clients know that you’d love to talk more in-depth with them about everything you offer at an in-person wedding photography consultation. You can share that you believe that in-person meetings help you get to know if you are a good fit and also allow you to go over everything you offer in details that are more difficult to convey over the phone or email.
You may get pushback on the request to meet for the consultation before you have even shared pricing, and if you do, you could share a range of prices, but not details. The goal is not to be secretive, but it is to do what you can to get in front of them, one on one. It is much more likely that a potential client will turn into a wedding booking when you meet vs just speaking over the phone or email.
3. Decide On A Location
Once you’ve agreed to meet, deciding where to have the meeting is another crucial thing to consider for the wedding photography consultation. One of the most common location options is a local coffee shop that offers a neutral environment. You could also invite the couple to your home or studio, or your clients might even extend an invitation to conduct the wedding consultation at their home. Essentially, try to pick a place where both parties are comfortable. If you decide to meet at a coffee shop, try to reach the location before the couple and get a table, preferably in a quiet corner. A face to face meeting at this stage would be the preferred method, however, if that isn’t possible, you can also suggest a video call.
4. Prepare A Questionnaire
Based on your initial conversations with the couple, prepare a list of wedding consultation-related questions you are hoping to ask during your meeting. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on anything important. Listed below are some of the suggested questions you could ask a potential client:
- When is the wedding, and where is the wedding venue?
- How did you meet?
- What stage of wedding planning are you in right now?
- What is the size of the gathering?
- Is it an elopement?
- Do you have any specific themes in mind?
- Are there any specific moments that you want captured?
- What sort of product are you interested in? Digital images? Albums? Prints?
Conducting The Meeting
When it’s finally time for the wedding photography consultation with your couple, a lot relies on first impressions and being able to connect. Here are some topics you can cover during the consultation.
1. Break The Ice
Upon arrival, welcome your couple with a friendly smile, a firm handshake, and a warm greeting. If you are meeting at a coffee shop, always ask, “What can I get for you?” and make it your treat. Starting off on a good note and making the couple feel comfortable is more important than you might think.
2. Get To Know Your Couple Better
One way to really take advantage of the wedding photography consultation time is to get to know your couples and their story. Instead of starting with why they should hire you as their wedding photographer, try to connect with who they are as a couple. Ask them about how they met, the proposal, and then, most importantly, what they want their wedding to be like. Be a good listener and let them do most of the talking. This will show them that you are genuinely interested in what they have planned instead of just being concerned about the photography aspect. If your connection isn’t smooth at first, don’t worry! Sometimes these things take time. The important thing is to be yourself and don’t force yourself to find common ground. Just try to keep the conversation going by showing a genuine interest in them.
3. Share Your Portfolio
Before they reached out to you, it’s likely that your couple already looked at your website and discovered some basic information about you. But the wedding photography consultation is the face to face meeting that gives you the chance to share the best images from your portfolio. This is a great way to show them what they can expect from you and share with them what you love about what you do. Let your passion shine!
4. Show Sample Wedding Albums
Showing your couple some sample wedding albums is an excellent way to share your wedding photography style. While your portfolio gives them an insight into the different kinds of weddings you’ve documented so far, a sample wedding album will give them an idea about the way their story will be told. It also can give them some ideas about what they might want to include in their wedding day shot list. This is also a great chance to share the importance of wedding albums with them and encourage them to consider budgeting for one.
5. Go Through The Wedding Day Workflow
You’ve put together an amazing photo album and a great portfolio, and this might be enough to impress them. But ultimately your goal is to give them a detailed look at what you are capable of when it comes to your photography services and how you execute your plan on the wedding day. The wedding photography consultation can allow you to dive deep into your wedding day workflow, break down the wedding into all its parts, and share the tentative timeline of each one. You could also talk about various shot lists, like family formals, first look photos, and bridal party pictures.
6. Share Different Packages & Pricing
After going through the workflow, take them through the different packages and pricing plans you offer. Your couple may want to understand how you are pricing each package, so try to give them a detailed breakdown of the services included in each package. Also, if they seem like they need your help, feel free to suggest a package that you think might work for them. Clearly communicate all the inclusions and highlight the perks or discounts, if any. By the time you reach this phase, your clients are likely to have some questions. They might even have some doubts that might be making them hesitant to hire you. Whatever the questions, try to give your clients clarity.
Suggested read: How To Price Your Wedding Photography Packages
7. Review The Contract
After you have taken your couple through everything you have in store for them, it’s time to talk about the contract. Not everyone understands the legalities of contracts, so reviewing each clause with your clients is essential. This way, they know what they are signing up for. This step ensures that your clients are aware of everything before they book you as their wedding photographer. Besides all the legalities, you should also go over your fee and other costs.
8. Close The Deal
Closing the deal is the outcome you hope for when you do a wedding photography consultation. Therefore, try your best to make this a smooth process for your couples. After taking them through everything, stay patient and give them time to make up their minds. Remember, they might not be prepared to give you an answer right now. If they have any additional questions, let them know you will be available after the meeting to answer and help. However, if they are ready to book right then, it’s helpful to have a blank contract with you. As a token of appreciation for the on-the-spot booking, you can also (if you prepared ahead) give your client a small welcome gift. This gift could be merchandise from your brand or it could simply be a bottle of wine or chocolates.
So what do you do when you don’t get an on-the-spot booking? You follow up with those clients. Following up after the wedding photography consultation meeting is not just important to know about your potential client’s decision, but it’s also a great way to get feedback. Give them a day or two and if they still haven’t contacted you, reach out to them and ask them about their final decision. And remember – just because they didn’t book you on the spot doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t book you at all. Many couples take time to evaluate their choices.
At ShootDotEdit, our blogging aims to help you go the extra mile for your couples. We also help to manage your post-production workflow by delivering quality edits that match your style. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check our price plans.