Interested in adding some luxury to your studio? Read on to learn a few of the ways you can elevate your client experience. Let’s start by emphasizing the fact that you’re curating an experience that matters. Your client is coming to you not only to have portraits taken, but to enjoy the photoshoot. So let’s make it an event to remember. When a client is interested in booking, we have a phone consult call (usually 30 minutes) so that I can tell her more about my sessions, but mostly so that she can tell me what her dream shoot looks like. I want to know what excites her, what she’s most looking forward to. I want her to know how much work I’m going to put into bringing her dream shoot to life. After the call, I send her my portrait questionnaire, which is a form on my website that asks her all kinds of specific questions to help me know her more. I ask her: What is your favorite facial feature? What is your favorite body feature? Is there anything you typically don’t like about photos of yourself? What color palettes do you gravitate towards? I’ll use the answers she gives me to start building a blueprint of her shoot. Why do I do this? Two reasons. First, this is all about the experience and I want to show my clients that I’m putting intent and effort into the sessions. Nothing about this is cookie cutter, all of this is custom tailored to you. Second, I want to make 100% sure that I’m capturing exactly what she wants. Many years ago, when I first started in portraiture, I photographed a client (let’s call her Olivia) who came to me as a referral from another client. I photographed Olivia in the same feminine, romantic style that I photographed everyone in, but at her reveal she was unhappy. She didn’t want to look soft or feminine, she wanted to look hard and cut, more like a body builder. But this had never been mentioned, never came up, so I had no idea going into her session that she had this expectation. This is when I developed my portrait questionnaire. I wanted to make sure that I understood exactly what my clients’ expectations were for their sessions. I don’t just want facts from the questionnaire. I want their personalities to come through as well. So I also ask for three things about themselves that they don’t mind sharing as well as their favorite quote and what kind of champagne they’d like during their session (doux or brut). At this point, we’ve had the consult call and I’ve received the questionnaire, and I now have all of the information I need to build the shoot. But what about my client? I want her to have all of the session information at her fingertips in one easy-to-access place. So I created a welcome packet. My welcome packet is a small folder that contains printed documents (sourcing tip: PRO DPI has amazing folded cards in all kinds of different finishes) that answer every conceivable question my clients might have leading up to the shoot. There’s a beauty guide, a style guide, a wardrobe guide, a pricing guide, a luxe guide, a couple’s guide (if they need to coordinate clothes), and there’s a welcome letter from me and studio guidelines. My studio address is easy to find, and everything is in one place, professionally printed and comes topped off with a glossy wax seal. Remember, this is all about an experience (who doesn’t love getting wax-sealed envelopes in the mail?) and your goal is to overeducate and overcommunicate. Your clients will never complain that they were too prepared for the session.
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