Business doesn’t rest solely in the shooting and delivery of product for photographers. Marketing and pre-consultations are a part of the cost of doing the business, as well as a critical aspect of retaining business. Without these being incorporated consistently into the business workflow there is potential for miscommunication and lost business through failed client expectations. When approaching a pre-consultation it is important to represent your business faithfully and fully inform the client.
Second, ask questions that lend to a complete understanding of what your client expects and envisions for their session. By explicitly asking the client’s expectations the mystery is gone, placing the responsibility on the client to relay their desire. This will give you an artistic foundation on which you can build the ideal session. Reiterating the client’s expectations back to them will put them at ease as you take this personable side of the business transaction a step farther. Photography sessions are already riddled with anxiety as many people are not comfortable in front of the camera. By consistently and adequately portraying your desire to fulfill the client’s wants and needs, it will lessen the anxiety and open the lines of communication.
Third, educate your client. Now is the time to educate your client on items that fall outside the realm of contractual necessities. This includes items such as styling tips, special props to bring to the session (if requested), video services, etc.
Finally, use this pre-consultation time to express your excitement and appreciation for the client. Nothing leaves a bad taste in the client’s mouth more than feeling like another business transaction. Be personable. Without clients you wouldn’t have a business. You should make them feel more than just a revolving door, so let them get to know you. Show them you’re a person, too! The most important marketing aspect that you have is yourself. Let the clients get to know you outside of being their new photographer.