After focusing on portrait photography for many of my blog entries, I thought it was time to switch gears and do one strictly for all the wedding photographers out there. 🙂
A wedding consult is sort of like a job interview. With each one, you are presenting yourself as the best candidate for photographer for their wedding day. You may not be the best fit for what they are looking for, but following these steps will ensure that you are putting your best out there.
Some photographers live for the wedding consultations; others dread it. No matter how you feel about it, this is the moment where you are making the first impression, face-to-face, with potential clients. Even if you are a great photographer with excellent business skills, if you can’t wow your clients at the consult, none of that matters.
Be on the same page from the start.
Make sure you have sent your pricing over to the clients for them to review prior to the consult. It is a complete waste of yours and the client’s time if you are way out of their budget.
It is also a good idea to send over your wedding service contract for the couple to glance over to anything they may have questions about and can address during the meeting.
This may seem obvious, but it needs mentioning. Dress professionally and meet in a professional location. Present yourself in line with the brand of your business. This could mean casual, business casual, or dressy depending on your business’ brand. For instance, since my brand is more laid-back and natural, I usually dress nicely, but on the casual side.
Your choice of location is equally important. Here are some keys to a good location:
- Must be able to have a conversation without shouting over the noise.
- Should have table or space available to meet when arriving for consult.
- Surface area should be large enough to display albums.
Be organized and on time.
Confirm the date, time, and location a day prior to meeting, as well as have a contact number just in case you are delayed. And most definitely, be on time. The last thing you want to do is show that you are not punctual, when a wedding day is centered around a schedule and being on time.
Before leaving for your appointment, double-check that you have everything you need for the meeting.
Have a firm handshake.
Seems obvious, but nevertheless, this is something important that warrants mentioning. When you meet the couple face to face, present a firm handshake and look them in the eye while introducing yourself. It extends your professionalism to them in the form of an action vs. words. You are showing the couple that you are confident and ready to be the photographer for their wedding.
While shaking their hand, also make a mental note of anyone else’s name you were not notified of prior to the meeting. Maybe it’s a mom or a friend who was unexpectedly in attendance. Whoever it is, make sure to remember the names.
Treat the couple.
Offer to buy them to a drink on you if you are out at a coffee shop. Or, if you are meeting at your studio, offer them a beverage and a small treat. This is just another way to “wow” the client and make your consult a memorable one.
If they are resisting, don’t force the issue. Maybe they would prefer not to be treated, and that’s OK!
Have a variety of albums to share.
You should have at least 1-2 full, wedding albums to show them, but ideally at least 3-4. And complete weddings, not ones that show just your best work. I have 1 large main album that has the highlights, but then the rest of my albums are weddings from start to finish.
The more variety they can see of your work, the more confident they will feel in your photographic abilities.
Come prepared with contracts and questionnaires.
How can any client book you if they don’t have anything to sign or review? A wedding contract will give them an idea of what to expect when they book you, as well as protect yourself and your business. The questionnaires will show the client that you are prepared, organized, and have an open line of communication with them.
Make it easy for the clients to book you right then and there by bringing a pen and credit card reader. 🙂
Ask honest and sincere questions.
Don’t just talk about yourself and your business. Make sure to ask the couple questions about themselves, their wedding, how they got engaged, etc. Most brides and some grooms cannot wait to gush over their wedding details. And, it shows them you care about them and their wedding day.
You are spending the entire wedding day with this couple. If you are acting how you think the couple would want you and not who you truly are, it won’t be the best fit. Your personalities certainly won’t mesh, and it will probably show in the quality of your work. You will not be a very happy photographer on their wedding day. And the couple is eventually going to see through your act.
Just save yourself the trouble and make sure that you present your true self, no matter the couple or how much they will pay you to photograph their wedding.
Wrap it up smoothly.
A smooth transition to end the meeting is more important than you think it is. It is part of the complete package you are presenting to the couple. Here are a few questions to ask to tactfully and politely wrap things up:
- Do you have any more questions for me?
- What is your timeline from here? Have you met or are you meeting with other photographers?
- Do you have any concerns that I can address?
Follow-up with the couple.
After a few days, send a follow-up email thanking them for meeting with you and to check to see if the couple has made a decision on their photographer. Or, send them a special thank you note and small gift for meeting with you. Who doesn’t get warm fuzzies when you get something nice and thoughtful that was not expected? 🙂
What works well for you?
What special thing do you do for your wedding clients when you first meet with them? What about a special gesture or gift you traditionally do at your consults?