Do you want to improve your brand photography client experience? From inquiry to offboarding, this post is all about how to create and deliver an amazing client experience as a brand photographer. I share the 6 phases of our brand photography client workflow, a few tips you can implement to level up your current brand photography client experience, and the importance of automations, surprising and delighting the clients, and being consistent with your clients.
Listen to the episode now
- (01:41) The importance of a streamlined brand photography business
- (03:33) Tools we use to automate our brand photography business
- (8:05) The phases of our brand photography client workflow
- (08:43) Brand photography inquiries
- (10:53) Brand photography booking workflow
- (12:10) Pre-photoshoot: Planning the brand photoshoot
- (13:27) The brand photography client experience – brand photoshoot day
- (16:08) Post-photoshoot process: Delivering brand photos
- (19:16) Brand photography offboarding workflow
- (22:28) How to surprise and delight your brand photography clients
- (25:00) The importance of providing an incredible brand photography client experience
Delivering an Amazing Client Experience as a Brand Photographer
One of my favorite parts about owning a business is creating and delivering an amazing client experience as a brand photographer. I’m huge on client experiences. I love the idea of surprising and delighting the clients. I love efficiency and automations and finding ways to streamline my process.
As a brand photographer, a lot goes into the client experience. From the very first contact that someone makes with my business, whether that’s on social media or my website, to the last step when we are offboarding them, I want to provide an exceptional client experience that is worth every penny and truly shows the value of what the client is investing in. I want our brand photography client experience to reflect the level of strategy and care that the client receives from the Mandy Liz team.
The Importance of A Streamlined Brand Photography Business
A streamlined brand photography workflow will support your clients through the process of working with you.
People will always remember how you made them feel. I believe that a really good client experience wins over that client before they’ve ever even seen a picture that you delivered. If I can wow my clients throughout every step of their experience of working with me, they will be raving fans and brand ambassadors for my business.
I know my clients aren’t going to remember every email I send them or the things I said to them on the day of the photo shoot… but they will remember how they felt working with me, and that is gold.
The second reason that having a streamlined process is important is because it can lead right to referrals. Referrals are a great way to grow your business. Having an amazing client experience will make it easy for your clients to rave about you and to share about you with their friends.
So a strong client experience is not only going to help you book more clients, help you keep your sanity because you’ll have a system in place that’s automated and streamlined, but it’s also going to create a community around your brand of loyal customers.
Tools We Use To Automate Our Brand Photography Business
Dubsado is where we capture the lead and where we kick off the workflow by sending pricing information and scheduling a sales call through their scheduler link. In general, Dubsado is where we keep our client database, handle contracts and invoices and automate through canned emails and a mapped out workflow.
Once we onboard a brand photography client, we move over to ClickUp and that’s where we handle the process of planning their photo shoot, collecting information from them, and making sure that we’re moving clients along our workflow. ClickUp is where we have a high level vision of what is happening with clients and how many photo shoots we have in our pipeline that need to be planned.
Why Automate Your Brand Photography Business
If you’ve been hesitant to automate your business, this next part is for you. Automation is a fantastic tool, and I obviously want every encounter that my clients experience with my brand to feel personable, personal and unique. But the reality is that most of our conversations with our clients and most of those interactions are automated to an extent.
We have all of our essential brand photography emails pre-written and templated (you can buy those to use in your brand photography business here). We have reminders automated, so when we’re a week out from the photo shoot, we’re reminded to send them the confirmation email. There are many different steps in place that are automated and that is mostly to streamline the process… but it’s also important because automations allow every one of your clients to have a consistent experience.
Business automations provide consistency across all clients. So it doesn’t matter if you’re in a busy season or a slow season, everyone you work with is going to have the same exact experience with your brand. They also eliminate the chance for human error.
I don’t want one client to receive a confirmation email and another one not to, or one to receive it one week out and the other person one day out. I want everyone to have a consistent experience and I want to remove any chance of error on my part or my team’s part when it comes to working with the client.
The best thing about having a strong workflow is that it’s going to anticipate all of your clients’ needs before they even come up. Which, as a professional brand photographer, I want that. I want the client to know that I’m on top of planning their shoot and that they’re in good hands.
The 6 parts of our brand photography client workflow
Our brand photography client workflow is broken up into six main parts: inquiry, the booking process and onboarding, the pre-shoot planning process, the day of experience, the post-photoshoot process including editing and delivering, and lastly, offboarding. It’s helpful to break down your client experience into these six categories so you can see exactly how you’re supporting your client through the client journey.
Brand Photography Inquiries
The most important thing about the inquiry process is that this is where you make the first impression. This is the stage of the workflow where we’re building trust, laying the foundation for the relationship and setting expectations for the rest of the project together.
The priority in this step is to respond promptly.
Harvard Business Review did a study recently that showed that 78% of new business goes to the person that responded first. So if someone is reaching out to you and maybe two other brand photographers in your area, 78% of people go to the business that responded to their inquiry first.
Another statistic that stood out to me is that only 16% of B2B companies have automations in place to respond quickly to an inquiry. (Which as brand photographers we fall under that category.) This means companies aren’t using an autoresponder in their inquiry workflow.
Aside from being quick to respond, I would encourage you to have an auto response message for when people inquire on your website. You can use this autoresponder to lay out expectations, let them know when they can expect to hear from you. You can share a little bit about your process, and even resources if you want. This is also a great place to point leads back to your social media account and have them connect with you on that platform as well.
What is that first impression that you’re making when the clients submit their inquiry? Are they being reassured as soon as they fill it out, or are they having to wait a few days or a couple of hours to hear back from you?
Our Essential Brand Photography Email Templates are available for purchase in The Brand Photography Shop, and our canned autoresponder is one of them. If you need help drafting one, we have one you can purchase and quickly implement today.
Once you have responded, and once you’ve nurtured the lead into a client, you’re going to start the booking process.
Brand Photography Booking Workflow
This is another important part of the workflow because you have the opportunity to validate the investment that the client is about to make and make them feel excited about it as well. Brand photography is a big investment. So as someone is making that purchase, I want to be able to validate and help my clients feel reassured that this is a good investment that’s going to grow their business and deliver results.
Does your booking process make it easy for clients to work with you? Do your brand photography clients have to jump through hoops to schedule a photoshoot, or is your booking process streamlined and automated? This is the part of the workflow where clients are going to sign a contract, receive an invoice, and schedule their photoshoot.
I always want to make it easy to work with me. Dubsado allows my clients to commit to working with me with a click of a button, which brings money in my business fast. Also, this is when I want to create clear expectations for communication and the deliverables.
The booking phase is when it’s most important to have a CRM or software that digitally is able to submit paperwork and not have to have clients going back and forth via email.
Pre-Photoshoot: Planning the Brand Photoshoot
The key to our pre-photoshoot planning phase is our Brand Photography Planning Questionnaire. There are many steps that go into the pre-photoshoot planning (typically a call, questionnaire, creative direction) but the main part is the brand photography questionnaire.
The most important part of the planning process is that we’re able to collect all the information we need, and we have everything prepared to support our clients on the day of the photoshoot. But this is also the phase of the brand photography workflow where we’re showing our expertise and the client is starting to understand the investment they’ve made and they know this is going to help their business strategically.
Once you have done all the planning, had a call with them, sent a confirmation email, received the payment and made sure that you are good to go for the photo shoot, the next step is going to be the day of experience.
The Brand Photography Client Experience – Brand Photoshoot Day
This is the phase that is the most important out of the entire workflow. The client is investing in professional brand photos for your strategy, expertise and guidance, but this is also where I come back to the importance of how you made someone feel.
This is when I get a chance to go above and beyond for my clients, and surprise and delight them. I typically do a client gift somewhere along the process… but sometimes that includes showing up to the photo shoot with a small surprise to make the experience even more exciting and memorable.
Most of my clients feel nervous and eager at the beginning of the photoshoot. So the best thing I can do is arrive at the photo session excited, energetic and confident, but also able to match my clients’ feelings and emotions. If they’re nervous, I start them with poses and settings that keep them occupied and allow them to not look directly at the camera.
I want to help them become relaxed, excited and confident, and to also build a connection with them quickly. When I show up to the photoshoot with a little surprise in hand, the clients rave about it and it makes the experience more memorable and helps them let their guards down.
Before they’ve ever seen a picture I took, they are already sold and confident about the experience they just received.
Post-Photoshoot Process – Delivering Brand Photos
The next step of the brand photography workflow is to edit and deliver the gallery through the post-photoshoot process. Personally I outsource my editing, which saves me a lot of time and allows me to serve more brand photography clients efficiently.
I like to share a few previews with my clients using reels or Instagram soon after the photoshoot, because that’s when the client is still excited and eagerly waiting for their gallery. We share previews, while also setting expectations for when the rest of their images will be ready. This allows them to know they’re in our workflow, but it keeps them from asking for updates or checking in on their gallery while they wait.
The main things I do during the post-photoshoot process is backing up pictures, getting them ready for the editor and then sending them off for her to edit.
Two Ways to Package and Deliver Brand Photography Photos
I want to interject here and share about the two main ways for brand photographers to deliver images to a client.
The first option is to add a basic editing preset on all the culled images and send a proof gallery for your clients to view and select the ones they want you to keep, edit and deliver. The second option is for the photographer to cull and select the images that the clients will receive.
On my team, we opt for the second method. We work with small businesses, personal brands and women primarily, and we found that choosing the images, editing them, and then sending it to them in a gallery was the best for our workflow.
The Mandy Liz clients are typically floored when they receive their galleries back. The emails I get from my clients say they’ve cried looking at them, that they can’t believe how amazing they look. They can’t believe how confident they feel after getting them. There is totally an emotional and personal response that I receive from the clients because of how we handle gallery deliveries. So that is why we do the image selection and the delivery the way that we do it. You just have to pick what works best for your business and which process is preferred by your clientele.
Brand Photography Offboarding Workflow
The last phase of a client workflow is the offboarding phase. It’s important to finish strong. How many times you do the photo shoot, you have that peak excitement, then as you’re editing or as you’re waiting to deliver, the excitement kind of dies down, and you deliver pictures and that’s that?
I don’t want that! I want the offboarding to be just as strong as the onboarding for my clients and in my business.
During the offboarding phase we deliver images, make sure that everyone is happy, and then I have my assistant request a review shortly after they’ve received the pictures. I want to get that review while the experience is still fresh in my client’s mind.
How to request client reviews as a brand photographer
If you are not collecting reviews, I would encourage you to start. This is great for your business, and can serve as social proof and a marketing tool. Reviews can be used on your website, in sales emails before a client books you, on social media, and more!
If you don’t currently request reviews, we have a free download where you can access the exact email template that my assistant sends to every single brand photography client after their photoshoot. This canned email template helps us receive good reviews, that are dynamic and strategic and answer questions that will make other clients want to work with us as well.
Make More Sales As A Brand Photographer – Recurring Brand Photoshoots
The other important thing to think about during the offboarding phase is how we can make sure that we work with this brand photography client again. Brand photography is a great niche because businesses need recurring photo shoots. Most business owners will need to work with you every 6-12 months for content creation.
When I’m offboarding a client, part of our automation is to make sure that we schedule a time to reach out to them again in the future to pitch them another photo shoot, or to offer them an upsell.
We find that reaching out around the 6-8 month mark is perfect to remind them that they might be due for photos soon. This can be as simple as having a canned email that is ready to go that says something along the lines of:
“Do you have anything planned in the next few months or are you launching anything new in your business that you need updated pictures for? It’s been about six months since we worked together and I’m checking in to see if you need anything from me at this time. We’re currently booking for June and July, and I’d love to save a date on our calendar if you’re ready for new photos.”
This is a great, simple way to continuously grow your revenue and to tap into the network of people that have already worked with you. That’s your lowest hanging fruit- sales wise. You’re not having to do anything to convert them into clients because they’ve already been converted.
How To Surprise and Delight Your Brand Photography Clients During Their Experience
This is one of my favorite parts of the brand photography client experience and I love finding ways to surprise my clients and include personal touches in their experience. I know that this isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s okay! We offer a service, and as a business transaction a gift is not expected.
If you do want to surprise and delight your clients, here are a few ideas for how you can incorporate that into your brand photography workflow.
It can be something as simple as sending a card in the mail after someone books you. My clients typically book a couple of months out, so when they pay me, we’re not working together right away. I love sticking something in the mail to let them know how excited I am to work with them, and that I can’t wait for photoshoot day and that I’m eager to plan their shot list with them. You can also show up to the photoshoot with a small gift or personal touch. (You can see how we surprise and delight our clients in our Complete Brand Photography Client Workflow guide in The Brand Photography Shop.)
The last two places that you can easily surprise and delight your clients is on their launch day or on photo-deliver day.
A lot of clients that work with brand photographers are launching something, whether that’s a website, business, course or a new product or service offer. So celebrate with them on launch day! You can help promote their launch or send them a little gift to congratulate them on their launch.
I used to mail confetti to my clients and they loved it! I know friends who send champagne and others send a Crumbl cookie order. It’s special to cheer someone on during their business launch.
Lastly, on the day that you deliver photos, you have a chance to surprise and delight your brand photography clients. Is there anything that you can do in your actual gallery delivery to go above and beyond and exceed their expectations?
Why Deliver An Amazing Brand Photography Client Experience
As a business owner, you’re going to be proud of your work and the business you’re growing. But beyond wanting to serve your clients well, beyond having a streamlined and efficient system, the reason it’s so important to have a consistent and exceptional workflow is because at the end of the day, you’re building a community around your business.
You’re building a community of brand ambassadors, businesses that are loyal to you, CEOs that are excited to work with you. When you build a business that is community focused, other people are excited about joining you. This is a great way to receive referrals, grow your business organically, keep your sales pipeline full and increase your revenue.
My motto in business is to under promise and over deliver.
Don’t forget you can get access to our complete brand photography workflow in The Brand Photography Shop. I’ve been a brand photographer for over five years, have served over 200 business owners, and have perfected my workflow in that time. I’ve had a lot of trial and error and time to see what does and doesn’t work.
The Complete Brand Photography Client Workflow lays out the exact steps that I take from inquiry to our offboarding sequence to ensure that our clients feel taken care of, appreciated and supported. A strong workflow is truly the foundation to delivering an unforgettable client experience.
Want more content and resources about pivoting into brand photography?
Check this out next!
- Visit The Brand Photography Shop and find templates and digital downloads to grow your brand photography business. You can even purchase The Brand Photography Starter Kit, which has all the resources and tools I use to run my own 6-figure brand photography business! If you need brand photography email templates, a brand photography client workflow or planning questionnaire, you’ll find all the downloads in the shop!
- Listen to the Become A Brand Photography podcast to learn how to pivot into brand photography. On the podcast I share everything I’ve learned the last 5+ years (and 200 brand photoshoots later) about running an in-demand brand photography business!