–Today’s blog & photos is by Sarah D’Attoma with D’Attoma Studios A sweet friend of mine who I have gotten to know over the last couple years. Thank you Sarah for sharing today on the blog!!–
Are you just starting out in your photography business and you wish you knew how to be more prepared to meet with a prospective bride? I’ve been there! I know how exciting it is to know that someone is interested in hiring you for their wedding day, to know that someone sees value in your work. But, you are also a bit fearful that they’ll show up, sit down with you for an hour, and walk out and hire someone else. How does your preparation help the likelihood of that to decrease?
Here are just a few suggestions to help make those bridal consultations go as smoothly as they can!
Get to know them! Take the first 5-10 minutes (minimum!) getting to know your bride, and anyone else that has come with them! Learn about their relationship with their fiance. Learn about their job! Learn about where they are from! Find points of connection and start to build a friendship by taking a genuine interested in who they are. Everyone appreciates being treated with respect, and everyone appreciates being heard.
Wedding Talk. Take the next 5-10 minutes and discuss their plans, dreams, and hopes for their wedding day! (We are still not discussing photography!) Ask how many are in their bridal party. Ask what colors or theme they are using to plan. Ask where the wedding will be held. Ask if they’ve found their gown yet! Again, make connections where you can and take a genuine interest in them. This bride, that is sitting across the table from you, is planning her wedding and she is excited! You need to be excited for them!
Wedding Day Itinerary. I like to bring photography into the conversation by educating my brides. Many do not realize that if the venue they’ve chosen doesn’t have an event coordinator/wedding planner, that the photographer helps them visualize the wedding day timeline. The wedding day hinges off of portraits! I like to walk through the entire day and actually make a timeline, describing how long each part of the day will typically take. By the end of doing that exercise together, you can easily see, on paper, how many hours your bride and groom will need photography coverage on the wedding day! There is no guessing game here. They may come to the meeting thinking that they only need you for 4-5 hours, when in reality, they need you for 7-9! They can also use this wedding timeline to keep friends, family members, vendors and the bridal party in the loop for where they need to be, and when, on the wedding day. (Click here if you want to read a blog post sharing how I build a Wedding Day Itinerary!)
Pricing. Now you can have the conversation about what you bring to the table and what your work is worth. Notice… you do not start with this! You are at least halfway done with the consultation at this point. Here, I discuss the different collections I offer. I might pull out a sample wedding album. Sometimes I pull up an entire wedding gallery (as presented to my clients) so they can see how their images will be delivered after the wedding day. If a bride is worried about a particular aspect in her wedding planning (let’s say she wants to get her gown on outside instead of in a nursery classroom in a church); I can pull up a blog post or gallery where a bride has done that before and show her that I have experience with addressing that particular need. Try to listen between the lines to hear any concerns that you know you can put to rest.
Booking. Ask at this point if they have any other questions and if they are ready to book. Nine times out of ten, I want to say, “think about it and get back to me” because I’m nervous about being too pushy. But guess what? If they set up this meeting to talk together, you know they are already interested. And after an hour conversation, they have probably decided one way or another if you are the right photographer for them! I have also learned that most likely, they will be relieved to book and get that detail taken care of! Wedding planning is difficult and there are so many things to think about! When a bride books her vendors, she begins to feel accomplished and like all the pieces are falling into place. That is a good thing! Don’t be afraid to ask if you are the photographer for them.
Follow Up Procedure. If they decide to book during the meeting, explain what comes next. The client will take care of the Save the Date Deposit, next; Emailing the Receipt and Balance, Emailing the Wedding Day Itinerary (Adjusting as needed), Choosing a Date/Location for the Engagement Session or Bridal Session, etc, etc! Brides (and mothers of the bride!) will be appreciative to see that you have a plan and that they will be taken care of!
I hope this is helpful to booking a full and thriving wedding season this year!!
By Sarah D’Atomma