As I have said numerous times, I am not an expert in my field. But there are things that I’m learning or have learned and this blog is a way I can share them with other beginning photographers or just photographers in general.
This past weekend we were at a glorious wedding. The bridal party was so much fun, the family was inviting and kind, the venues were stunning, the photos were just wonderful (they’ll be on the blog Friday – you do NOT want to miss it, friends), and the bride and groom?? It’s like we’ve known them for years. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was
working hanging out with them and just being apart of their wedding day. I’m still on a wedding type of high from how lovely it was. However, I know that not every wedding is like this one. And I know that a lot of photographers struggle with feeling this way when working with clients. It’s as if something is missing. Believe me, I have felt this way so many times and that’s when I start to question why I’m even a wedding photographer. Those days are never fun and you just want a lovely pick-me-up of some sort (usually chocolate or tea for me).
I figured out early on what was missing when I started this business and it has been a crucial part of who I am as a business owner and photographer; relationships. It’s all about building relationships with clients. It is such a different feeling and experience when I’m showing up to photograph a friend’s wedding. But how does one build relationships with clients?? If you’re a photographer that struggles with making clients more than just clients, try the following:
– Invite them out to dinner/lunch/brunch/breakfast/coffee. Get to know them. It might sound weird to ask strangers out to dinner, but it really does connect you with your client. I learned this during my first year when Kristi asked Paul and I if we wanted to get a drink after their engagement session to celebrate my graduation. I was so surprised by her willingness to get to know me – I was just a photographer! But I’m so thankful she did because we now have her and Clayton in our lives and we are so lucky to have them as our friends. Anyways! Back to what I was saying…if we can’t make dinner or a meal work, we always will meet our clients for coffee at the least. And if our couple didn’t have us do their engagement photos (which is like an included bonus of getting to know them), we try to schedule an extra dinner/lunch/coffee date so we can get to know them. It’s so important for me to know my bride and groom.
– Check in with them randomly. That doesn’t mean showing up at their door unexpectedly, but sending them a quick email to see how they’re doing, how’s the wedding planning going, etc. can really impact a business relationship.
– Send a gift. I’m not saying that you need to bribe clients to like you or anything. But if you feel like you want to, send them a gift letting them know how much you appreciate their business! I love picking out new gifts for my brides and grooms. Or if you have a client who always comes back to you for family/children sessions, send them a canvas of one of your favorite images, or a gift card to Caribou Coffee. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy – just the thought counts.
– Thank You cards go a long way. Add a personal note in the thank you card letting them know how much you appreciate them. It’s always a wonderful surprise and treat when I get thank you cards from my brides and grooms – it literally makes my day/week/even month! :)
The best part about building relationships with clients?? New friends. It’s such a wonderful feeling when our brides and grooms connect with us even after their wedding. Like when they randomly check in on how we’re doing. Or when they send us Christmas cards (you can guarantee I save them ALL). Or when they come over for a bonfire and get to meet little Rusty in person. :) Or when they recommend us to everyone they know and they have supported us the entire time. Best. Feeling. Ever. :)