Before your next photo shoot is secured, it’s important to think about the education process for your clients. I’m not talking about giving away trade secrets here — quite the contrary. Educating your clients shows your expertise at your craft and the business of photography as well. It also shows the client that you care and have some great ideas for them.
For example, you might be contacted about submitting a quote for a corporate promotional shoot. The most important thing here is to answer as quickly as you can. But don’t just wing it — have a set of questions ready that you ask potential clients. A sort of template you can pull from. Things like, what’s the ideal location? Will models be required? How many products need to be featured? Are there some example images that would show the desired artistic direction?
A lot of clients won’t have immediate answers to these questions. This is when education comes in. You can pull from a few different things here, the most important and influential being your past experiences. Give examples of when you hired models, for instance, and what you found best when working with them. Consider the question, “What does a new car cost?” The answer has to consider many factors including brand, type of vehicle, amenities, engine, aesthetics, interior, electronics and so on before a price can be determined. The questions you ask your clients accomplishes the same thing — setting the parameters for establishing your price.
Explain the Process
It’s also important to educate your clients about the process. Tell them how you go about hiring models, how you prepare for a shoot, what will be important on-location and how you let them select or deliver images.
Ultimately, explaining these things to the potential client helps to show them how you work, your professionalism and those things will get them excited for having you on board.
The same process can be applied to practically any shoot. For headshots, talk about the benefits of doing something in-studio (lighting control), at a client’s office (easier for them to plan it into their day) or environmental (for a different, unique look). For weddings, you can go over how you typically schedule each group of people before and after the wedding, which will give the client an idea of how to plan out their day.
While your client will almost certainly feed you some ideas, you’ll rely on your time-tested processes. You’ll also want to be able to give some creative ideas to the client. This shows excitement around the shoot and gets them thinking about the possibilities in ways they hadn’t imagined before. Being able to offer suggestions for things like locations (both well-known spots and some that are off the grid) gets your client thinking about what the shoot could look like, and might give them more out-of-the-box ideas.
While you don’t have to tell your client everything, it’s a good idea to give them a glance into your world as a photographer. It’ll tell them not only what to expect, but it’ll let them know that you’re prepared and organized. And that will ultimately better your chances of winning the job.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.