Pro Photography: The Importance Of Customer Care

By Geoff Harris

Customer Care For Your Photography Business.

Customer Care For Your Photography Business

Customer care is one of the bedrocks of modern marketing theory, but there is much more to it than replacing faulty goods or giving refunds, like the customer care desk at a big supermarket.

It's much more about being customer-focussed – anticipating and meeting customer needs, making clients feel valued, seeking and listening to feedback, and so on. Here are some ideas of how it can be used in the sphere of commercial photography.

Taking time to understand what your customer wants

Customer Care For Your Photography Business
If you get a photographic commission, don't just turn up and gun and run. You are likely to get much better results if you meet with the client first – be it a bride or a company seeking head shots – and discuss the kind of look and style they want.

This is absolutely crucial at a wedding, as you can't hold the day again if the customer is not happy with your shots. Holding a pre-wedding shoot is a good way to get to know your couple and discuss the kind of images you like.

Draw up a shot plan for the day that everyone signs up to, as well.

Being flexible

Customer Care For Your Photography Business
It's also important to put the customer first and not be hung up on a particular 'look' if it's not what they want. Maybe they want more elaborately lit 'celebrity' looking scenes rather than natural light, and if so, you are going to have to get your head around how to pull it off if you want their money.

Or, they might not like your artistic bokeh effects or fisheye lenses – again, showing them your work beforehand and having a full and frank discussion will reduce the risk of misunderstandings.

Being cool on the day

Customer Care For Your Photography Business
You may think you are are a creative person, an artist even, but that doesn't give you an excuse to act like a prima donna on the day.

You can't allow yourself to get flustered or stressed; it will make your subjects nervous and uncomfortable on a corporate shoot, and can be a real downer for everyone else at a wedding. If you are worried about your gear not working, or flunking a specific technique, test everything and do lots of practice beforehand.

Being prepared

Customer Care For Your Photography Business

It's a mark of respect to your customer that you are also prepared for disaster – so you have a back up camera, spare batteries, plenty of memory cards, and so on.

Treat memory cards like gold dust and keep them in a memory card belt if you are worried about losing them on the day. You need to be fully insured too, or you can get hung out to dry on social media.

Going The Extra Mile

Customer Care For Your Photography Business
It's the little things that cause people to remember you and be impressed, and then recommend you – a major channel for new business in our social media age.

So send out a thank you card when somebody books you, put together a Lightroom slideshow to show curious guests during a wedding, and then request feedback when the job is done and dusted. You will stick in people's mind, in a good way, and it' s all part of customer care.

Sending Christmas cards or wedding anniversary cards to clients is something else that sets you apart from other photographers.

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

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