March 11, 2015
Every once in a blue moon I write a blog titled “Ask Me Anything” where other photographers who may be just starting out can literally ask me anything when it comes to photography. I read a lot of blogs like this when I was starting out that helped me SO much and was always so thankful for them. So as a way to pay it forward and constantly give help where I can, I started this series :) I usually just collect questions that I get quite frequently to put in here. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, feel free to comment below and ask :) I hope to be able to help everyone as much as I possibly can!
Q- I’d like to know more about client/business flow, from the first interaction to meeting the client and signing the contract.
A- So each photographer is probably different at this, but here’s how mine typically go… I usually always receive an email first (unless its an inquiry sent to me by a friend). I’m always so excited to get inquiry’s and I doubt that will EVER go away, so I’m always super up beat in my email response so they can sense how excited I am to work with them. If its a bride and she wants to meet me before booking me, I always allow that and we set up a time and place (usually Starbucks because who doesn’t love a mid-day coffee date?!). Again, its humbling when people want to work with me and the excitement takes over and I let them know how happy I am to work with them and answer all of their questions. I also come with my own questions pertaining to their day so I can get a feel for how their wedding day will unfold. I have had a client meeting before where I didn’t feel the wedding was something I wanted to take on and the bride and I just didn’t click well so I didn’t take that wedding. I do think meeting beforehand is a good way to see if the two of you will just mesh well and if its a job you want to take on! Now since my contract is digital, I always leave the meeting telling them I will send them an email recapping our time together as well as the link to the contact. This gives them time to think about our meeting and time to read through the contract once they get the email with no pressure. I’ll never be that wedding photographer that shows up to a meeting with a contract in hand asking them to sign right away. Adding pressure is not only mean, but it makes people naturally take a step back. Make your couples feel welcomed, warm, and trusting of you! I hope this answered the question fully :)
Q- What is the best way to go about price changes?
A- One thing I hate to see is when other photographers announce their price changes. It’s almost like they’re trying to justify why they’re increasing their pricing when they don’t need to. Changing your prices is up to you and its a decision based on whats best for your business. For me, I changed mine on the first of every year because I knew I had another year under my belt, I had grown significantly as a photographer, had more expenses, and it just seemed right to increase at the first of the year. Well last year in May, I had a session every single day and its when I realized I wasn’t charging enough, so I increased it again! This made my bookings go down a bit, but I was still making the same amount of money so it didn’t matter! My wedding collection went up significantly but I didn’t feel the need to tell anyone or try to justify it to anyone. I know what I’m worth and thats all that matters. Know your worth in the industry and don’t ever try to explain why you’re worth that much…just show them :)
Q- What are the best marketing ideas that are free or cheap?
A- I don’t like this question LOL!! I feel bad saying that but nothing is really free in life. It feels the same way as when I get an email that says “How much is your session fee? I’m looking for as cheap as possible” … I cringe at those emails and I almost always never even want to reply but I do anyway out of good business and customer service! SO– back to the question! The only real free thing I know of is Facebook and Instagram! Facebook really helped to boost my business a few years ago but its changing so drastically these days and Instagram is really where its at! I created a hashtag for my work (#jamithompsonphotography) and I always like to hashtag things on my work like #maternityphotographer or #engagementphotographer / #engagementsession so other people looking at that hashtag see my work as well! It’s as good as its going to get for free marketing ya’ll! Other than that, if you’re really serious about your photography career, you’ll budget a certain dollar amount each year for marketing. Last year I did a small bridal show as well as put an ad in Vow Bridal Magazine. Explore your options and save for it! Remember you have to spend money to make it these days!
Q- What do you do as far as client treatment (like thank you cards)?
A- When I’m done with a gallery and send it off to my client, I always send them a thank you note in their gallery! I express to them my deepest gratitude for choosing me to photograph whatever event it was for them and how much I appreciate them. That’s all I do really — I don’t send gifts or anything of that nature. Every now and then if I have a session or wedding that had some quirks (like having to reschedule a million times due to weather or horrible weather during portrait time on someones wedding day), I’ll send them their favorite print in an 8×10 from my favorite MPix just as an extra something! Think of creative things you could do to help stand out :)
Q- Do you have a template e-mail response that you use for wedding/session inquiries?
A- Each inquiry can be slightly different from the last, but I do have some somewhat of a template that I just build off of for inquiries that need a little more to them! Here’s my response to a wedding inquiry: