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There is no doubt that customer reviews are important—especially when it comes to small, competitive businesses like photography. Ideally, every customer would post glowing reviews of your work. However, some people need encouragement to do so, whereas others may be set on extreme criticism no matter what. 

Getting customer reviews is the best way to offer future customers real-life proof that your work is worth every penny and that you deliver what you say you do in your marketing and consultations. 

Here are some strategies for getting more reviews and for responding to the bad ones.

Feedback letters on surface.

How To Get More Customer Reviews

With seemingly every customer transaction requesting a review these days, some clients may have a bit of “review fatigue.” This can make it challenging to get reviews for your photography business. You know how important reviews are, but you don’t want to feel like you are inconveniencing your customer. 

So, how can you encourage your clientele to post their reviews without appearing demanding or giving incentives? Turns out, the simplest way is to be direct and honest, and  Just ask.

Here are a few easy strategies for getting more customer reviews for your photography business:

  • If you need to kickstart your reviews, send an email blast to your clients asking for reviews.
  • Add asking for reviews into your workflow. For example, follow-up a day or two after every photo shoot with an update and a request for a review.
  • Include a link to your Google Business Profile when you send the client the gallery. If you make it easy for your clients to review your business they will be more likely to do so.
  • Send a follow-up email a week later if they haven’t responded. See how they’re enjoying their images and include a little nudge to write a review along with the link to your Google Business Profile.

Here’s an example of a post-shoot email:

Hi [Name],

Thank you again for a great shoot! I had an amazing time working with your family and hope you did too.

I’ve started editing your photos. They’re so beautiful—I can’t wait for you to see them!

In the meantime, I’d really appreciate it if you could write a short review for me to use on my website. Reviews help my little business more than you know, so even a few words would be extremely helpful. Insert the link to the site you want the reviews on.

I’ll send the photos to you by [date].

Thank you,

[Your Name]

And here’s an example of the second follow-up email:

Hi [Name],

I wanted to check in and see how you’re enjoying your images. You and your family were wonderful photo subjects and a joy to work with! Please let me know if you have any questions.

I would also really appreciate it if you would write a review for me (here - insert link to platform you want the review on)! It doesn’t have to be formal—just think about how you would describe my services to a friend. Feel free to respond to this email with a few sentences…it makes a huge difference in growing my business!

Thank you,

[Your Name]

If the client still doesn’t write a review after the second email, let it go. Stay consistent in following this process with every client and many of them will be more than happy to write a brief review!

How to get Reviews in Google

Getting reviews on Google is a valuable way for you to establish credibility and attract potential clients. Following Google's best practices and guidelines is crucial to ensure authentic and meaningful reviews. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  •  Claim Your Google My Business Listing- If you haven't already, claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Ensure your business information is accurate, including your name, address, phone number, and website. We have a post that can walk you through how to use Google Business Profile for your photography business.
  • Provide Exceptional Service- The foundation of getting positive reviews is delivering exceptional service. Focus on creating a memorable experience for your clients through outstanding photography and excellent customer service. Consistently deliver excellent service to maintain a positive reputation and attract more reviews over time. This is by far the best way to get those 5 star Google reviews!
  •  Choose the Right Timing- Ask for reviews when the positive experience is fresh in the client's mind. This could be immediately after delivering their photos or a few days later.
  • Make It Easy- Provide clear instructions on how to leave a review. Share a direct link to your Google My Business listing or provide step-by-step instructions in your request.
  •  Comply with Google's Guidelines- Ensure that your clients leave reviews voluntarily and don't offer incentives for positive reviews. Encourage honest and unbiased feedback. This article goes into detail about Google’s review policies.
  • Monitor Your Reviews- Regularly check your Google My Business dashboard for new reviews. Respond promptly to all reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Thank clients for their feedback and address any concerns professionally.
  •  Engage with Reviews- Reply to reviews in a genuine and personalized manner. Express gratitude for positive feedback and address any negative feedback constructively.
  • Display Reviews on Your Website- Consider adding a "Testimonials" or "Reviews" section on your website. Feature selected Google reviews along with the client's name and photo (with their permission).

Remember that authenticity is key. Google's algorithms are designed to detect and remove fake or misleading reviews. Focus on building real relationships with your clients and encouraging them to share their genuine experiences. Following these best practices will not only help you gather meaningful reviews but also strengthen your online presence and credibility as a photographer.

Don’t Forget To Share Your Reviews

When you get a great review, share it on social media. Thank the client who wrote it and let your audience know how much it means to you when customers review your business. 

Great reviews will encourage more people to book you, and posting them can also remind existing clients to write a review, too.

Here are five creative ways to share customer reviews on your Instagram Page

1. Quote Graphics: Create visually appealing graphics featuring standout quotes from customer reviews. Use a consistent design template that aligns with the photographer's branding. Overlay the quote on a stunning image captured by the photographer to add a personal touch.

2. Interactive Q&A Highlight: Create an Instagram Story Highlight titled "Client Love" or "Rave Reviews." Use the Q&A sticker to pose questions like "What was your favorite part of the photoshoot?" or "How did the photos make you feel?" Overlay the customer's responses along with their photo and a link to their original review. This interactive highlight allows visitors to engage directly with positive feedback while offering an opportunity for potential clients to learn more about the photographer's services through real experiences.

3. Video Testimonials: Request satisfied clients to provide short video testimonials about their experience. Edit these clips into a montage that captures different aspects of the photographer's work. This dynamic approach adds a personal touch and builds a stronger emotional connection.

4. Behind-the-Scenes Stories:Use Instagram Stories to share behind-the-scenes snippets of a photoshoot. Overlay customer reviews as text on the images or videos to show the photographer's interaction with clients and the process that led to the final results. Get approval to do this from your clients before posting on social media to make sure your clients are comfortable sharing their photoshoot.

5. Carousel Posts: Create carousel posts that combine multiple images into a single scrollable post. Pair each image with a customer review to tell a compelling visual story. This format is particularly effective for showcasing a series of photos from the same photoshoot along with corresponding feedback.

Important: Remember to always seek permission from customers before featuring their reviews or images in your posts. Consistency is key, so periodically share reviews to maintain a steady flow of positive feedback on your Instagram page.

Don’t Forget To Share Your Reviews

When you get a great review, share it on social media. Thank the client who wrote it and let your audience know how much it means to you when customers review your business. 

Great reviews will encourage more people to book you, and posting them can also remind existing clients to write a review, too.

Always Respond To Reviews

When you get a positive review, respond promptly with gratitude and enthusiasm. You can make your response more meaningful by including something appreciative or personal about the customer, such as their promptness, preparation, or cooperation during the session.

It’s also important to send a thank you directly to the client’s email and tell them how much their kind words mean to you and how important they are to your business. 

Photographer looking at negative review chart next to her.

How To Respond To Bad Reviews

It’s disheartening and even sometimes downright infuriating to receive a bad review for your hard work. Sometimes bad reviews can come from someone you haven’t even photographed and they just decided to take their bad day out on you and your business. 

Pro Tip

When you receive a bad review you may go into panic mode and feel like you’ll never get clients again. Creative work like photography is very personal, so it’s easy to let bad reviews get to us. We often dwell on negative reviews longer than we should. We might want to hide for a week and pretend the review was never written. 

If that’s your usual approach, you aren’t alone. Many business owners simply don’t respond to bad reviews. Some believe that any acknowledgment gives negative reviews credence, while others hope that ignoring them will lessen their impact.

Unfortunately, not responding to bad reviews can hurt your business far more than help it. Ignoring your clients, even the rude ones, can give the impression that you’re bitter or that you don’t care about client concerns.

So what is the best way to respond to a bad review? Providing a direct, polite, and clear response shows that you are professional, confident in your work, and caring toward all your clientele.

The way you respond to a bad review depends on the situation. Do you think the review is unfair? Or do you know that you messed up? Here’s how to effectively handle both scenarios.

How To Respond When You Think A Bad Review Is Unfair

Key Points:

Acknowledge, refute, and repair.

Acknowledge: With careful, fair, and professional language, start by thanking the reviewer for taking the time to post a review. 

Refute: If you know that the session went well, you met agreed-upon expectations, and you provided quality results, politely refute the client’s claims. State your perceptions and provide any evidence or reasoning to support your view. Choose your words carefully to avoid sounding argumentative. 

Repair: Show that you’re willing to repair the relationship by offering to schedule a meeting or phone call to address their concerns. You can also express your willingness to make any necessary provisions to better their experience.

Here’s an example:

“Thank you for your feedback, [Name]. I hold my work to a high standard, and I’m sorry that you weren’t happy with your experience. I would love to hear more about what you feel went wrong, as you and your family shared positive feedback during and after the session. I’m happy to schedule a meeting or phone call to learn more about your concerns and do whatever I can to improve your experience.”

How To Respond When You Know You Messed Up

Key Points:

Acknowledge, concede, and repair.

Acknowledge: Again, thank the reviewer for their post using careful, fair, and professional language. 

Concede: If something did go wrong with the session or product, politely concede any circumstances that were beyond your control (e.g., inclement weather, camera malfunction, car broke down, etc.). Try to avoid sounding like you’re whining or making too many excuses. You’re simply acknowledging what went wrong. This indicates strength of character and a reasonable, professional mindset.

Repair: Use the same strategy mentioned above to repair the relationship. Offer a way to personally address their concerns, along with possible measures to better their experience.

Here’s an example:

“I appreciate your feedback, [Name]. I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t have a positive experience. The thunderstorm on the day of your shoot was unfortunate, and I apologize that you weren’t satisfied with the backup location. I would be happy to schedule a meeting or phone call to discuss your concerns and determine how I can improve your experience.”

In either scenario, we highly recommend sharing the situation with a friend or another photographer and asking for their advice on your reply. Choose your confidante wisely—they need to be calm, pragmatic, and aware of the longer-term implications of your response.

Photographer holding a review thought bubble above her head.

Final Thoughts

Always ask for reviews, even if it feels uncomfortable to you at first. By making it part of your workflow, you’ll get used to requesting reviews and learn which strategies work best for you. Customer reviews are an important part of growing your business so you should prioritize asking for them as an active and ongoing growth strategy.

Along the way, you’ll likely get a few bad reviews—everyone does. Try your best not to take it personally. Respond politely and professionally, remembering that your response to negative reviews speaks volumes to your character, professionalism, and customer service skills.

Keep in mind that most customers are savvy when it comes to reading reviews. They are likely to notice, and disregard, if a client is being unfair or rude. Don’t get into a petty chain of responses back and forth. Your single response to their review is thorough and considerate enough. If the client has more to say, they can contact you directly.

Treat bad reviews as potential learning experiences (when the client isn’t being unreasonable) and a good reminder to reach out to your favorite clients and ask for reviews. A few negative reviews in a sea of positivity implies that the issue may be with the clients and not with you, or at the very least that poor experiences are rare for your clientele. And reading positive reviews from your many happy clients will help you get your motivation and confidence back!

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