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A successful photo shoot will generate fantastic work, create pride in your craft and services, and your clients will be overjoyed with the results. That means they’re likely to turn into repeat clients and refer you to their friends and family. 

As a professional you know how to be prepared for your photo shoots. So how can you ensure that your clients are prepared, too? Here are our best tips for how to prep your clients for a successful shoot both of you will love.

Photographer speaking with her clients.

A Successful Photo Shoot Starts With Clear Communication 

Clear, prompt, communication is the key to ensuring your clients are prepared for their sessions. Always send reminders about the details of the shoot, including time, location, directions, contact information, contingency plans, etc. 

Be sure to address and answer any questions your clients have by responding promptly to emails, texts, and/or phone calls.  Set an auto-response on your email or messages that let them know you will get back to them within a specific amount of time (24/48hrs during the week). If you only want to be contacted during specific hours, let them know what those hours are. 

If a specific form of communication works best for you, let them know your preferred method and say it is often best to communicate with me via X. Clarifying This information helps your clients know what to expect when it comes to communication.

Make sure that what you are offering your client is made clear. This includes pricing information, booking information, the number of images that are included, as well as expected turnaround time for the deliverables.

Get On The Same Page

Make sure you know what your clients are hoping to achieve from the session so that you’re on the same page with the images you’re trying to create. They chose you because they like your work. They’re hoping to replicate some of the beautiful results they’ve seen in your portfolio or on your social media.

It’s helpful to ask your clients to send you some examples of YOUR work that they especially like. Ask them to send you images from your website and Instagram portfolio. If they send you an image from Pinterest that isn’t yours or your style, simply redirect them to your website and social media. 

If your client has a large group or busy event, try to set their expectations by asking if there are any specific shots/groups they would like. This gives you a heads up of their expectations and allows you to have a conversation with them to set their must-haves and nice-to-haves and what is realistic to be able to capture during that time. This will help you on the shoot and avoid any missing shots that you didn’t know about.  

This gives you a better idea of what your clients are hoping for, and it also puts them at ease. It shows that you care about what they hope to achieve and that you’re both working toward the same goal. And when your clients feel comfortable and relaxed, their images will turn out much better! 

Photographer setting expectations for the shoot with her clients.

Advice and Support

Depending on the type of photoshoot, your client may benefit from advice and support to prepare them for a best-case scenario.

You can offer a digital and/or printed “prep” sheets to provide your clients with general tips based on the type of photoshoot they have scheduled. This may include do’s and don’ts for colors that will look good in post-production, what to expect during the shoot and a list of FAQs. 

Expectations for the Session

Another way to help clients come prepared for the session is to provide a list of overall expectations for the photoshoot.

This can include the specific services you will provide in addition to any other items that you will have on hand for them, such as water, toys for children, props, etc. 

An outline or schedule of how the shoot will take place, step by step, is also helpful so that they know what to expect in terms of poses and timing.

Backup Plan

Any time you’re shooting outdoors, it’s essential to have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Communicate this at the time of booking and in your follow-up communication. 

With a solid backup plan in place, your shoot will run smoothly, rain or shine. 

For your clients, knowing you have a contingency plan provides more reassurance that they’re in good hands with you. 

Engagement photographer taking photos.

The day of the shoot 

Send a reminder text  to your client saying how excited you are to photograph them. Give them the time and location of the shoot. If your location is difficult to get to, give them a reminder of the directions. 

At the shoot, you can casually review your shot list, talk about when they will receive their images, and set expectations for the next steps. 

If on the shoot, the client has a request for a shot, and you see it isn’t working, make sure to communicate that then, for example:  “oh, not loving that the sun is in your face”,  or “oh, not loving the lighting here”.  This helps set the expectations that they won’t be receiving those images as they aren’t up to your standards. 

Failing to mention it on the shoot makes the client feel like they are missing images and can cause some dissatisfaction. 

Follow Up

Once your successful shoot is completed, add a personal touch by sending your client a follow-up message. This gives you the opportunity to express your gratitude for their preparedness and cooperation.

 This also gives you the opportunity to set expectations for when they will receive the images and provide an exact date.   Showing appreciation for your client’s business and talking about the great shoot you had with them will create a good feeling with the client.  

Follow up is also the perfect time to turn your new clients into repeat clients. Invite them to a private VIP Facebook group for clients only where you offer special discounts or advanced bookings. Ask them to sign up to your email list where you will send out similar notifications only for VIP clients.

Final Thoughts

Your clients are counting on your professionalism, expertise, and guidance before, during, and after their photoshoot. 

Clear communication in the form of sending reminders, promptly answering questions, addressing expectations, and giving sound advice and support for a successful photoshoot will ensure that they are prepared for their shoot and will be pleased with the results.

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