In the previous post I gave three quick thoughts about how to make money taking pictures. As I mentioned before, there are a ton of variables to cover within this topic. So, while this series will in no way be a comprehensive look, I hope to offer a few ideas from my personal experience that may benefit you.
Before you read any further I have to clarify that I’m a professional wedding photographer. Although my work allows for me to dabble in product photography, architectural photography, and nature photography, I primarily take pictures of people. Or, in other words, I am a photojournalist for weddings. This post will be speaking from perspective.
Zac and I have noticed that the key to separating yourself in the business world of photography is all about customer service. It might sound cliché and overstated but it’s the absolute reality. We have heard horror story after horror story from potential brides while they are interviewing us for their wedding.
The bottom line is that wedding photographers need to drastically sharpen their people skills. It is killing their business while at the same time giving the overall industry a bad name. Most directly, we all lose money as a result.
So I’d like to give three quick thoughts about how to ramp up customer service. If taken seriously, it can result in increased networking, more opportunities, and of course…more chances to make money, taking pictures.
#1: Never stop perfecting your social skills. Become an interesting person to talk to and a great listener. These skills don’t come automatically for anyone. They take years of practice and repetition. Read blogs, books; whatever you can get your hands on. Practice with your friends and family and go out of your way to meet new people on a regular basis. This will become priceless as you meet with potential clients.
#2: Always go out of your way to meet potential clients in person…and buy their coffee. Even when someone isn’t sure about you as a photographer yet, do your best to set up a meeting with them. It will often feel like an inconvenience, but we have noticed that we close over 90% of the jobs where we get to meet the potential clients in person. It is well worth it.
#3: Once you’ve booked a client, keep the lines of communication flowing. Send them a nice card with a gift card for coffee, or even send them a hand written letter about how excited you are to shoot their upcoming event. This stuff goes above and beyond and will net you huge when they are recommending you to their friends and family.