Session Prep | 3 Things You May Be Overlooking As A Photographer

October 31, 2017

Pittsburgh Maternity and Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley
As photographers, I think we always want to think of ways that our sessions can be even better, right? We evaluate our brand and business constantly- too often comparing it to what other people are doing- from what cameras they are shooting with, to what packaging they are instagramming…It can be easy to look at our own business and think that the magic always lies in the big things.

But what about the small things that can create a BIG impact? What about the little steps of improvement that you could make that aren’t necessarily deserving of a social media shout out- but have the potential to be game changers? It’s not always about the “big” things or what’s “bright and shiny” out there.

Today on the blog I put together three seemingly small steps that you may actually be overlooking as a photographer- but that make a big difference in the success of your sessions!

1. Be diligent to communicate any preparation details with your client ahead of time.

In addition to the entire client education experience as a whole that I provide, sometimes the small step of just reaching out the week of their session can make ALL the difference in how your clients will remember their time of working with you! I always strive to send my client a simple reminder email the week of their session to confirm the date, time, location, and my cell phone number just in case they should need to get ahold me quickly.

This simple email that takes just a couple minutes, ensures that there was no miscommunication or misunderstanding in the booking process for when and where we are planning to meet, and it lets clients know that I am thinking of them and looking forward to their session. It also creates the invitation for them to feel comfortable in asking me any last minute questions they have.

If I had to choose between over-communicating important session details that make my client feel well taken care of, or not communicating enough and having the chance of a client feeling forgotten- that you can bet that I am always landing on the side of an extra email reminder over assuming that they have all the details that they need. As photographers, we head off to sessions all the time- and I think sometimes it’s easy to forget what it feels like on the client end. Put yourself in their shoes and answer their questions before they even ask.

Remember, an excellent client experience that goes above and beyond doesn’t always have to be expensive ribbon and luxurious packaging. Don’t overlook the little things that are still really important to how they remember their time of working with you! Not all elements of a stand out client experience are instagrammable!! 

2. Have your gear all ready upon arrival.

While there are times that I may wait to see what the light looks before choosing my film stock, I do my best to have everything ready to go ahead of time. My memory cards are clear and loaded, my extra film rolls are stocked, and batteries are charged. This not only gives me the opportunity to make sure that nothing is forgotten, but it means that my head can be more in the game when I arrive to the shoot location.

Whether I am showing up to a home or a local park, knowing that I took the time to ensure I had all that I needed prior to arrival gives me such a peace of mind. I don’t want to feel rushed when clients arrive and make an easy mistake- like clearing a memory card that I still needed, or not have extra batteries that I may need!

No matter how long you have been a photographer, it’s a good reminder to not get sloppy in the preparation process. I know that some photographers have found it to be very helpful to have a gear packing checklist. This is printed out to check through each time they prepare to head to a shoot, making sure they never forget anything they may need in a way that they hardly need to think about it- they just look at their list. I thought this was such a great idea! It’s so much better to have something ready for those “just in case” moments, versus needing it and having left it at home assuming you would be fine without it.

3. Review and know your client’s names.

Now while this may seem like a no brainer, it’s another area of session preparation that can’t be overlooked and unfortunately often is! When clients book their session with me, their booking form asks them to send me the name of everyone who will be at our session, in addition to ages of their children. This form is very easy for me to look up on my phone, (thanks to my favorite workflow tool Honeybook) and there has often been times where I need to review that information before I arrive to the session location.

Greeting ALL of your clients (even the kiddos!) by using their name starts the session off with a feeling of connection and relationship. And when you photograph the deeper and more meaningful moments like I do- that feeling can really make or break the success of a session! It also helps when you are posing or guiding a family into what image you want to take next. It’s a simple and small step of preparation that can actually set the tone for the entire shoot!

Want to learn more about the direct effect using your client’s names can have in your business? Check out this awesome blog post that Natalie Franke wrote called “Your Marketing Isn’t Complete Without This Word”. It’s so well written!

I am getting so excited for my upcoming online course called “Finding Your Focus“, coming this January! If you want to be the first to hear details, be sure to sign up to the wait list below!

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