It’s very common for photographers to set themselves apart by claiming to have an experience. But the problem is that a lot of photographers never describe that experience on their website at the risk of being copied by somebody else. The ego is feeding their desire to be different, at the expense of never describing to clients what it’s like to work with them. I’ve even seen a page on a photographer’s website titled “The Wedding Experience” that simply contained a bunch of portfolio images and zero words describing anything. Remember: the experience of working with you as a photographer is more than just the resulting photos. The photography client experience is more about the process before the session and after the session than anything else.
An experience is a noun, not an adjective.
Define your experience on your website, not just in consultation calls
Experiences look like a wide variety of things. One photographer could have a perfectly posed, guided moment by moment experience. Another could have a totally hands off, non-interrupted experience (like myself). There’s a huge range of ways to provide your clients what they’re looking for. And you’re doing a disservice of never actually describing what that looks like.
When communicating your value to your clients, no stone should be left unturned. Telling them all (or at least 95% of, a few surprises are okay!) the details of what it’s like to work with you is only going to convey that your service is exactly right for them. And confident clients are incredible clients.
And remember this: while you might believe that your images speak for themselves, that’s simply not the case. Your images are only a small role in the experience that your clients have with you. Share the details of your experience on your website so they have a greater idea of the things you value and want to make simple for them.
Defining your experience: on the backend
The easiest part of our jobs is creating beautiful images. We all know the methods, the “rules”, the keys to success. But all of the work that you do prior to the session and after the session is what makes that experience what it actually is. The clients will love images of them, even if you personally feel it wasn’t your best work of the year. But they won’t feel great if the process beforehand and afterwards was pulling teeth. Uncomfortable. Anything other than simple for them.
Remember: client experience does not equal client images. You can have the most incredible images you’ve ever created, but an unhappy client if the process to get there felt impossible.
Here’s a small list of items to consider when thinking about the basics of your client experience:
- How simple is it to contact you?
- Can they easily get questions answered?
- Are emails easy to read?
- Are invoices are easy to pay?
- Do they understand exactly what you provide, and what you don’t?
These are just the basics, the bare minimum things that should be easy for your clients.
Here are some more in-depth ways to consider your client experience:
- Do you send gifts, and if so, at what points during the process?
- Do you send any session/event guides?
- What advice/information do they receive – when and how?
- How long does it take to receive their images back?
- How easy is the print/album ordering process?
All of these are touchpoints that can help further define your client experience.
Even more ways to amp up your photography client experience:
- What happens if the weather is bad? How do you set backup dates?
- Do your clients understand your culling/editing process?
- What are your policies for just about every aspect of working with you?
Prepping answers to questions they haven’t even asked yet will make your clients feel seen and taken care of.
Photographer hack: to understand the photography client experience, you need to go through what they go through.
So the next time you need headshots, put away the self-timer and hire another photographer. Have family photos done this year. Do a boudoir session to better understand what they feel like. Whatever it is, take time to truly experience the process of hiring a photographer, and you’ll better know what it feels like to do so.
Your photography client experience is everything.
So remember to touch on all of the pieces of your experience on your website, to convey your value and why it’s a good fit for your clients. Leave only a few things to secret, and share the rest of the details. You’ll only see positive results (and greater enthusiasm for how incredible you are than ever before).
Looking for more photography advice? Check out the For Photographers category for more business tips!
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.
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