As an event photographer, I’m always asked after a photoshoot when I’ll be able to deliver images to clients. In today’s social media driven world this is important for clients, so they can show off their event to their followers.
With the corporate event clients I work with, I have standard delivery times, but I promise to deliver event photographs within 48 hours. Nine times out of 10, my turnaround time exceeds what the client expects or desires, so it just adds to the positive experience they have with me.
Have a reliable workflow
I’ve refined my workflow over the years, and currently use a Lightroom workflow championed by Scott Kelby. When I get home, I immediately import the photographs from my photoshoot into Lightroom, and organize them in collections
This allows me to easily locate photos should I need to come back to them down the road, and it helps me stay organized between the full shoot, my picks to edit and final selections for the client.
Be prompt, but realistic
As I mentioned earlier, I promise a 48-hour turnaround time on images for my clients. Because of this, I don’t let me clients choose the images — instead, I select the images for them. Depending on the event and what the client has for a shot list, I average about 50 photos per hour in terms of what I end up delivering to the client. This can be more or less, but I always strive to deliver them within 48 hours of the event’s conclusion (and usually, I deliver these even earlier).
If clients need an image faster, I also offer to send them a “Top 10” batch of images. With these, photos delivered within two hours of the event’s conclusion, allowing the client to quickly use them for social media and any press releases.
I don’t tell clients about my “Top 10” offering, because I want them to be over the moon with the fact that I can offer that. Especially because I do it for no extra charge to the client.
You might think I’m crazy. After all, who wants to go home and start editing photos right away after a long photoshoot? In the long run, doing so accomplishes two things.
One, it makes the client happy, knowing that they’re getting the word out there as soon as possible about their event. When news stations call, they have photographs to present to them for use on-air. Photos are more likely to be shared if they’re posted right away, as the excitement is there with all the attendees.
But two, delivering a “Top 10” actually gives me a leg-up on the rest of the process. The nice thing about photographing events is I can batch edit a lot of the images, meaning I have a great starting point. By working with 10 images to start, I can ensure that I capture multiple different situations (with different lighting and groups of people), meaning that I’m set for when I continue the rest of the editing. Doing this actually saves me a good quarter of my time.
I’m not saying you have to deliver your images within 48 hours, or offer a “Top 10” batch of photos to your clients that you edit right away. But think about their needs, and come up with a number that works for you and them.
Be upfront about conflicts and delays
With all this said, there are times when a 48-hour delivery window isn’t possible, let alone a two-hour “Top 10” set. It’s important to be upfront about this to your clients before they even ask about delivery times, because it helps to set the expectation.
I run into this more often in the fall, which is my busy period. Working with ArtPrize — dubbed the World’s Largest Art Competition — means that sometimes my editing is delayed slightly. I usually shoot eight events for them over the course of two weeks, in addition to going out on my own time to capture the art. And when I add in other work to the mix, it means that I might have two or three photoshoots on the same day. Usually delivering within 48 hours isn’t a huge issue, but a two-hour “Top 10” window is sometimes just not possible.
It’s not usually a big deal to clients that I’m a little late with delivery, because they know I’ll still capture their event well, and that I’ll make it up to them next time by delivering images even quicker.
So much business today centers around the world of social media. And being able to be prompt and deliver images to your client so they can take full advantage means that they win. But you win too. You’ve got a client that knows they can rely on you to deliver great images quickly. And that’s ultimately how you’ll keep getting work.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.