Clients, Friends and Questionnaires

I really love the fact that my job allows me to make new friends.  Not just other photographers and vendors but also my clients.  My clients almost always become friends which I think is a really wonderful bonus to this job (not that there are not already a million reasons to love what I do- I mean come on, who doesn't love wedding cake every weekend?).  I digress... I want my clients to be people that I click with and people that click with me.  I want to be able to sit down and chat for an hour about wine, food, skiing, our mutual love for any dog breed crossed with a poodle.  Being able to connect with my clients on more then the client/vendor level is a really big part of what allows me to create genuine images on their wedding day.   How can you be comfortable in front of someone's camera unless you are comfortable with them minus the camera?  I don't expect my clients to hire me only because I take pretty pictures.  Yes, I hope they think that I take pretty pictures, and hopefully they feel that my style is what they are looking for but I also want them to be excited to spend the day with me.  Most of the time I spend more time with the bride on her wedding day then her groom will.  I want to laugh and cry with my couples.  That connection, that friendship is imperative to my ability to capture their wedding.  I learned a lot about how to find your ideal clients and how it's great to have clients turned friends from my friends/mentors/wedding photographers Justin & Mary.  I've taken what I've learned from them over the past two years and really made it work for me and my business.

I have recently created a system that has really helped me handle inquiry's and turn those perfect clients inquiries into bookings.  My inbox often has emails from potential clients asking for price information and if I'm available for their wedding date. If I'm available for the date I send them a response telling them that I am free and asking them to take a few moments to fill out a quick questionnaire to tell me a little more about themselves and their wedding.  This isn't meant as a way to avoid the price question. If they have been through my website they  know where my coverage starts and before we get into the build your own package part of the conversation I want to know more about them and their wedding day.  Maybe some people are turned off by being asked questions like "what are you most looking forward to about your wedding day?"  "what about Spring Smith Studios got you excited to have me photograph your wedding?" and "what's your favorite flavor of cake?".  If that's the case I've just made it very easy for that couple to continue on and search for another photographer for their wedding day and I've just saved myself time and effort that I may have put into a client that isn't going to be a good fit.  My goal with this questionnaire is to get couples excited about their day and excited about having me be a part of it.  They also know that right off the bat I'm interested in them and their day and not only in their wallet.

Once a couple responds, and to be honest most do take the time and respond, I feel like I now have some basic information about them and their wedding to start the process of determining if we are a good fit.  From there I want to meet with them in person, I want to sit down, chat about anything and everything including out love for puppies, cupcakes and wine.  I want to eliminate that uncomfortable situation when someone comes into my studio to talk numbers.  Now that I know that you like chocolate cake, red wine and are doing lots of DIY projects for your wedding when you arrive here at my studio Im going to have red wine, two chocolate cupcake for us to enjoy while we hopefully spend 45 mins talking about all the cool things we have recently pinned on pintrest.

Being able to connect with my clients before we meet or even talk on the phone has really helped my business grow in the direction I want.  With this simple questionnaire I'm now able to have a pretty good idea if I'm going to be a good fit for them and if they are going to be a good fit for me.  I want to always look forward to my client meetings and be excited about making new friends and since I've been using this questionnaire I've made so many great friends and the ones that were not a good fit never had to waste their time coming in to see me.  I have clients who years later still stop in and say hi when they visit Mt. Washington Valley and I love that.  I love that years after they get married I'm the one they call to take newborn photos of their baby boy.  I love that I get Christmas cards from them and I love that I have a whole new world of friends out there because some of these people that have been clients are really and truly some of my favorite people and I feel 100% blessed to have them in my life.

So thank you past clients for being awesome friends as well as awesome clients, and thank you future clients for taking a few moments to tell me about yourself and your wedding.  I am so lucky to have all of you in my life as well as in my business.  And no post is good without a photo so here are a few photos of my studio space where I work and meet with my clients.

XOXO Spring