Without Clients, You Have No Business. Look After Them.
From the absolute first second that you deal with an enquiry and your potential wedding photography clients, through to handing over the finished album, you should promote yourself as being professional, knowledgeable, experienced and friendly whether by post, email or telephone.
Your clients are no doubt paying good money for their wedding day and are looking for someone who will;
- Record the day in the way they want
- Keep things running smoothly
- Know how to deal with and cope with any situation that may arise
- Get on well with their guests
- Get the job done
- Do it whilst not getting in the way
- Be efficient, on time and smart
With everything else going on during the day, the couple need to know that they can leave you alone and rely on you to just get on with it in the way you discussed at the beginning.
You should build up a good rapport with the couple on the lead up to the day by which time they should feel at ease with you being part of some of their most intimate moments. You should also feel comfortable that you have all areas covered.
So, where do we start?
- First meeting
- Get to know the couple
- Visit venues
- Finalise details
Wedding Photography Clients – The First Meeting
You are meeting the wedding photography clients for the first time whether you have been booked or not.
The impression you give here can make or break you and your business because wedding photography is all about you and “them” and how well you bond…the photographs come later.
The couple are assuming that because you advertise as a professional wedding photographer and that they have seen and liked your portfolio, that you are capable of doing the job. What is now important to them…is you!
Always dress smartly even if meeting in a non-business environment. Whether you meet in a pub, someone’s home or your studio, the first thing they look at is you.
Smile and be confident, accept their handshake or “cheek kissing” (as we do here in Spain) and don’t be tempted to jump straight down to business.
Smalltalk goes a long way and gives you a chance to find common ground between yourselves. It also makes you appear human and that you aren’t just there for business. Remember, the wedding day is a very personal thing to them and they are looking for someone to fit right in.
Be prepared to negotiate certain terms of your usual contract and fees as people like to feel they have got something extra. So try and “throw in” a few items that are no hardship or real cost to you but mean the world to them. Freebies are good and make good “loss leaders”. They could also be the thing that gets you the business and not Joe Bloggs down the road.
Once you have all agreed on terms and pricing, do your best to get the contract signed there and then. As you are probably aware, most couples will have a few photographers to see and even if you are last on their list, the chances are that they will want to discuss things privately before making a decision.
In many cases they will have already made up their mind from talking to you prior to the meeting and after seeing your work online. In this case it is just a matter of finalising the deal.
Wedding Photography Clients – The Contract
You may or may not use a contract, I have shot many weddings without one based on trust and all has gone well to date. However, I now make a point of always getting a mutual contract agreed and signed between both parties as it is only a matter of time before problems arise.
Your contract should cover everything you have discussed including the following;
- Dates, places and times of wedding.
- Duration required for photographer’s attendance.
- Names and addresses of both parties.
- What is offered by the photographer as part of the package? I.e., travelling costs, attendance at trial runs, hard copy prints, online hosting of images, albums, high resolution files, enlargements etc.
- What parts of the wedding will you be covering and what images do they absolutely require? More on this later.
- What is the final and total price for your services?
- What deposit do you require?
- When should deposit and final balance be paid?
- Do you have special payment terms?
- What happens in the event that you are physically unable to shoot their wedding (you must have a good excuse)? Do you have a list of back-up photographers available?
- Cancellation charges. In most cases, their deposit is non-refundable should they cancel your services at any point. This is totally down to you and the couple and you may have your own ideas about this. For example, if you are able to re-book that date, you may, under certain circumstances, want to give them a full refund.
At the end of the day, your contract should cover you and your business for any unforeseen circumstances. The couple will expect the same.
Do a simple Google search to look for types and ideas for wedding photography contracts.
Wedding Photography Clients – Get to know them well
I guess a large part of being a professional wedding photographer is your personality; you simply must be a people person.
The only way to make the day run smoothly for all involved is preparation and that involves getting to know the couple, understand what makes them tick and get a feeling for what they like and don’t like.
Do they like contemporary images, traditional or just plain wacky. Whatever style they decide upon, make sure you get a few regular shots to cover all bases as it were.
The better you get to know them the easier the day will go for both of you. It will also make it more fun and you will definitely end up with better wedding photographs.
Always try and meet up with your wedding photography clients a few times before the big day, it shows that you are both professional and committed to them, plus it ingrains all the finer details into your head.
Next Page – Wedding Photography Preparation