how to elevate your client experience for photographers

6 Ways to Elevate Your Client Experience (For Photographers)

You’re ready to take your business to the next level and be like those booked and busy photographers you see on Instagram. How do you get there? It may surprise you, but the key to up-leveling your photography business isn’t just ‘marketing better’. That happens behind the scenes, in the little details you do to make your services feel special. It happens when you elevate your client experience!

Everyone’s client experience will be a bit different, but there are six ways every photographer can upgrade theirs. 

Why Your Client Experience Matters

But first, Imma need you to know exactly why you’re doing this – why your client experience matters. Because right now you’re doing ok. You’re getting clients and they’re happy. 

Here’s why client experience matters. It’s the reason why people love Target more than Walmart. Why you feel more like a bougie baddie walking into a day spa than your neighborhood nail salon? It’s because Target and that day spa have invested heavily in their customer experience. Imagine it. You walk into any Target and what do you see? A Starbucks. Women’s clothing. A seasonal section with trendy home trinkets and gift ideas. Now picture walking into Walmart. You’re greeted with cash registers, groceries, and aisles facing in a way that you can’t even see what they hold. It’s giving….well, Walmart. And when you walk into your neighborhood nail salon, you’re greeted with the smell of acrylics vs a day spa that greets you with a glass of champagne. Which do you think leaves someone feeling glamorous and never questioning price or worth?

You know. And that’s the point. You want your client experience to scream expensive, white-glove, and worth remembering. Not Walmart.

So now that you know, let’s get into how to get that champagne client experience.

Photography Client Experience

For Photographers: 6 Ways to Elevate Your Client Experience

1. Always Offer A Pre-Planning Appointment

The easiest way to elevate your client experience is to always offer a pre-planning appointment. (Don’t just send an email to coordinate!) It doesn’t have to be a long call, maybe 10-15 minutes. In this pre-planning appointment, you’re going to go over their vision for the photoshoot and decide on a location. You may even go over their outfit options and advise on where to shop. I offer complimentary hair and makeup, so I get their preference on full glam vs more natural makeup in this appointment too. 

It seems small, but taking the time to get all these planning details makes the client’s photoshoot seem more tailored to them. It makes them feel seen and taken care of. You’re setting the expectation of how they’ll be treated, building trust, and rapport that carries into the session.

2. Send a Pre-Session Client Questionnaire

A pre-session client questionnaire does not collect location or planning information. That’s what your pre-planning appointment is for. A client questionnaire helps you get to know your client. The goal is to understand their preferences, like their favorite song, favorite beverage, etc. That way you get a feel of who they are. Plus, it lets you surprise them at the start of their session. Maybe you welcome them with their favorite coffee or a playlist with their favorite music. It’s a small gesture to you, but for a client who might be nervous walking into their first photoshoot, it’s instantly comforting. And you know, a relaxed client makes for amazing photos!

Not sure what to ask for in your questionnaire? Steal my exact client questionnaires for boudoir and maternity photography. You can start sending them today!

3. Include Complimentary Hair and Makeup

Ok, before your head starts spinning with logistics and how-to’s, hear me out. Include an HMUA if it makes sense. For my wedding, pet, and product photographers out there – skip this section. For everyone else, consider offering hair and makeup as part of your pricing. Your clients probably don’t know the first thing about hiring a makeup artist or hairstylist. And worse, they’re busy. So if you leave it up to them, you’re likely to get makeup thrown on while driving or a hairstyle that doesn’t match the mood for the session. Bad hair and makeup can lead to insecure clients and bad photos.

And you do not want that, Queen!

Should photography package include hair and makeup

Avoid the frustration altogether and take one less todo off their plate by offering hair and makeup complimentary. It adds value to your service. Now, you’ll need to test out a few HMUAs before you find one who’s your perfect match. Start scoping them out. Soon, you’ll find someone who gets your vision and who you get to build up their business in return. 

4. Up Your Client Communication

Last year, my team and I served over 200 women. That’s a hell of a lot! When you start increasing how many shoots you do a year, it’s easy to let communication slip through the cracks. You may forget to send a pre-session questionnaire until a day or two out. You might go entirely silent with a client between booking and the big day. That may seem like a small loss to you, but to that one client – it’s a big deal. Their experience with you is lackluster. That’s why I harp so much on getting a great CRM that will send emails to your clients automatically. Because nobody has time to sit and send emails all day, but a CRM does. Get one, then get a client experience workflow to cover the communication for you. 

And a little PS here – You can also use your CRM to send after-session emails that keep reminding people why their experience with you was so good. (Read about my favorite CRM here.) Send emails on birthdays, anniversaries, etc are small, automated things that make people want to be your raving fan.

5. Make Your Gallery Delivery Special

We are bombarded with tons of emails daily. So, having your gallery delivered via email is already setting it up to be a to-do. To-do’s are not special. When you sit down with a client, you can set the mood. Offer them a beverage, control how they go through the gallery, which photos get the most attention, and walk them through the emotional whirlwind of seeing themselves in photos. All these little details help round out their experience with you. It makes them feel special. Do we do it to encourage them to order prints and products? Yasss, of course! But we also do it because that is the last impression someone will have of you. You want it to be memorable.

6. Send Client Gift Boxes With Hand-Written Notes

The more expensive your services are, the more I’m convinced you need to be sending client gift boxes and hand-written thank you notes. I started this when I was newly into photography, and people still have the letters I wrote them 4 years later. They keep it because it’s rare to get. I mean, when was the last time you had a service provider give you a client gift? Once, twice, never? You don’t have to go crazy, either. Our client gift boxes include a branded thank you note and a few items we get in bulk, like a candle and a mantra bracelet. (See more of how we use our thank you cards to get more Google reviews in this video.) We package all of them ourselves and ship them a week or two after their session. You could do the same. Find a meaningful gift that matches your type of client, and try it. 

client Gift ideas for Photography clients

A Great Client Experience Will Get You More Photography Clients

And that’s the truth. If you want more clients and more 5-star reviews, to raise your prices – you have to have a client experience that deserves it. And you’ll notice – most of the ideas on this list are not expensive. It costs nothing to play your client’s favorite songs. It costs nothing to sit down with your client for a reveal vs sending an email. But the impact and impression they make will make you stand out. The more bougie your experience seems, the more people will want it. The more you treat people like Queens and Kings, the more likely people will recommend you to friends and family. That’s how you build a photography business. Now, go pick 1 – 2 of these things and start doing them today!

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I'm Angelica Pompy

I'm a photographer, business coach, speaker, wife, and dog mom. I can also be your biggest cheerleader. Let's turn your photography dreams into a fierce and profitable reality!