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PPA Today: Photography Customer Service Archives

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Photography is best enjoyed in Print. You know that, but do your clients? Are you struggling with exactly how to explain the process of print photography to clients? Here are a few ways you can show them why the efforts and services of this art form can't be matched.

  1. Thumbnail image for book 1080x1080.jpgChoose the Right Printing Material and Product Treatment
    Determining the type of printing material, as well as the kind of product treatment needed for a client's image, is crucial to the quality of the final product.  The quality of the material used will determine the image's lifespan. It's up to you as a professional to encourage them to use a paper that will last a lifetime.
  2. Frame Their Photograph so it Enhances Their Image
    Any professional photographer knows framing does not fall under "a walk in the park." Remind clients that you're trained to do this. And remember: You're offering them quality service that they can only experience when they hire an expert like you. The rich conversations between you and your client will help you produce every fine detail they hope for, the perfect encasing for their image, the best frame to fit with their home décor. You have the knowledge to guide your client through the purchasing decision, and you can help give them a great experience by prepping and showcasing the best frames for their image.
  3. Package and Deliver with Care
    Taking the time out of your day to package your client's photograph is a small gesture that will go a long way. They know you care about the image, but you personally packaging their photograph and delivering it to them yourself will signify, "Wow, they care about me." Speaking of which, whenever you have the choice and resources for shipping versus personal delivery, always go with the latter because quality customer service only enriches the entire customer experience. Going the extra mile acts as the icing on the cake. It further solidifies your relationship, and that mutual feeling of gratitude will last long after the project is complete. Clients will never have this kind of experience - namely a considerate, human touch to their customer service - if they simply stick with digital. Show them why they'll want to partner with you a second, third, twentieth time.
  4. Hang It Up Professionally, and Play Up "The Reveal"
    People are always eager for the reveal, and you can make it a very special occasion by hand-placing the image for your clients. Because mounting and hanging for visual impact is second nature to you, they can relax while you place the piece in an agreed-upon space. After you secure the image with utmost precision, everyone's favorite moment finally arrives: the long-awaited reveal! Ask your clients to close their eyes. As you guide them into the room, you let them take a breath, and once you finally give the "okay," that first heartwarming gasp happens. When it does, the realization hits them: "This was so worth it." They know one of their most cherished moments has become immortalized for generations to enjoy every single day.  

That's what you strive for, and that's what sticks in your client's mind. No matter how you chose to take your clients through the reveal, take advantage of this highly-touching moment to make it even more special, and tie it to your brand and your service.

In the end, it's always the client's experience that will set you apart as a professional print photographer. See the bliss that falls on your clients' faces when they are able to see their story come to life. They will feel the caring and consideration because you took their priceless moment as seriously as they did. Each and every meticulous step of creating beautiful print photography can't help but proclaim a valuable truth: There is no substitute for excellent, customized service from a pro. People don't become repeat clients simply because of the products... they come back because of the experience!

When it comes to professionally printing photography, people tend to focus on the end result and rarely the process. But if you can show them you hold their satisfaction as the highest priority, they will not only cherish your art in a timeless format but will also cherish your efforts, too. To learn more about print photography and to find resources that can help you market and sell your prints, visit Printmovement.org.


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By Lisa Sharer

You may have noticed a few updates to the Print Movement website. We've made a few improvements, added some new visuals, and made it easier to view on mobile. The one thing that may stand out though, is a BRAND NEW PRINT MOVEMENT VIDEO.

Value of PRINT.png

One of the members of the PPA board of directors and established photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI, API, shows the journey from photo session to print. The story clearly shows the impact that a print can have on a client's home and delves into the feeling it brings to the family.

This video beautifully shows the value of printing. It exemplifies how offering printed products can truly delight and evoke powerful emotions from your clients. At the same time, you can see the monetary value these products can add to your business. "I choose to offer and sell products that are not readily available in the marketplace," says Fisk-Taylor. These products give her an edge through unique materials that set her apart.

Watch the video and share it with fellow photographers. Nothing can get us back to printing but us. So it's time to start getting the word out there. "We need to print, people."
If you're not already a part of the PRINT movement, join today!
A family portrait session can be a stressful affair for the clients. They're trying to look their best. They're trying to wrangle their kids into the studio on time. They're trying to get everyone to behave somewhat normally. They're trying to get past the fact that a professional image maker will be examining their every move. Add to these factors the nagging knowledge that they're investing a bundle of money in the process, and it's not hard to understand why clients are a bit on edge when they show up for their family portrait.

So how do you, as a pro photographer, deal with all of those conditions and still figure out a way to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved? (After all, you'd probably like your clients to return or give a referral.) Take a look at how this portrait studio makes it relaxed and fun!

Ever feel like the year went by too fast? Seems like that happens every year! To help you get ready for 2012, PPA would like to give you a moment--or perhaps two--to reflect on some past Vital Signs articles.  Maybe you didn't get a chance to read through all of them, or maybe something new has come up in your business since you did. Regardless, here's a few that might be worthy of a second look.

Remember: Whether you need a refresher on marketing and sales strategies or have questions related to copyright infringement, PPA's comprehensive list of resources can help as you build an even better business. So, read on and have a happy New Year!

Lisa-Crayford-headshot.jpgHow do you build great client loyalty? "The most important thing is to honestly and whole-heartedly care," advises Lisa Crayford, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI. "Your clients will know if you do."

Of course, it helps to have a few strategies up your sleeve to go with that caring! So, tune in December 13 to learn some of the tactics that have helped Lisa build up to 1,000 sessions annually (with many, many returning clients)--via her PPA online class, "The Building Blocks of Client Relationships."

It all starts with prospecting for new clients. For example, one thing Lisa has done since Day One of her business is to be at her four local county fairs (all within a half-hour from her studio). She has fair attendees fill out a survey to win a session and 16x20 portrait. On the survey, they fill in their names, addresses, emails and phone number.

But prospecting can be kind of tricky, as Lisa says. "You want to get good, paying clients in your door, not the bottom feeders if you know what I mean!" That's why--to bring the best prospects to the top--she also has those who fill out her survey indicate their level of interest in her studio (1-5, with 5 being the most interested). She even offers them a choice of winning the portrait or the cash equivalent--"that rules out a lot of people," she explains.

Ready for more detailed tips, advice and techniques on prospecting and what really works to build those client relationships (like charity, sales incentives and customer service)? Join Lisa online December 13 and start building!

You wake up and your head is swirling and your fever could fry an egg. You get halfway to your on-location session, only to get caught behind a 10-car pileup. You get a calendar reminder at 3:00 p.m. that you missed a 10:00 a.m. session. What do all of these situations have in common?

Aside from being just plain bad luck, they're all reasons you might have to back out of previously scheduled photography sessions or events. Even though we all hope to avoid such situations, it's important to know what to do should the need arise.  And it's equally important for you to communicate this procedure to your clients.

Canceling the Appointment
Whether you're sick, sidetracked or experience a last-minute emergency, know ahead of time what you can do to still satisfy your contract. Planning for a last-minute emergency may sound odd (you can't anticipate everything!), but it will help you put your best foot forward and keep your client's interests at heart.

Read the complete article: Canceling on Your Client...Last Minute

Dear PPA Member,

Let's begin by saying that I was a good kid--or at least I thought I was being good. When I was five, I had long hair that my mother loved to curl, pop into pigtails or braid. I didn't care what my hair looked like, but I did want to help my mom. So, I tried to save her time the night before our portrait session.

I cut one braid off. Just one. (I would have cut both, but she walked into the room and realized that I found the scissors and would never have a career as a hairstylist.) The next day's photo session would have been a disaster if not for the photographer who kept my mom cool despite her frazzled nerves, me giggling, and my brother entertained--all while capturing images I still adore. I rocked that Florence Henderson / Mrs. Brady short hair flip.

My point? As a photographer, you will meet every kind of child--the good, the bad, and the well-intentioned. So, remember the power you can have over the little ones in your lens (and the parents who are behind you). This week's Vital Signs will help with some tips and tricks to make even the initially difficult sessions joyful.  

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear (First Name),

Have you ever witnessed the moment a child has gone from "I am so happy that I can barely stand it!" to "There are no earplugs in the world that will muffle the screams coming from me"? If you're a photographer, you may have actually captured that moment through your lens. However, it's often not a pretty image, and it probably won't be the one the parents choose to grace the wall above the mantle.

If you can keep a smile or intrigued look on a child's face, it's money in your pocket. How can you do it? This week's Vital Signs will share tips and tricks from PPA members to get your littlest subjects (and their parents) in the right mood for perfect portraits...no earplugs required!

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

The phrase, "The pen is mightier than the sword," needs to be updated for the 21st century. It's now the mighty keyboard.

Social media and online review sites can impact your business when unhappy clients decide to take their comments to the Internet rather than to you first. Sometimes, it's a misunderstanding that you didn't realize had occurred...or worse, a false statement from an anonymous poster. While we recognize that we can't make everyone happy, it's important to address those less than stellar comments made about you or your business. And you need to do so as a professional.

This week's Vital Signs discusses how to handle clients with "keyboard courage" (those who say things online rather than dealing with someone face to face) and the steps that you should follow to right any perceived wrongs.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience

Dear PPA Member,

It may sound strange, but I love to make plans. While I'm all for spontaneity, there is something comforting about being prepared for almost anything. I also develop contingency strategies because I know that, sometimes, things don't go as...planned.

When you add clients into the mix, planning becomes even more complicated. You don't know their thoughts, and you don't know what will happen during the course of your relationship. That's why you need a game plan that will, from the very first meeting with a potential client, clearly express expectations. And sometimes, you need to be able to adjust it with the end goal in mind: a happy client who makes a wonderfully large purchase.

Sound impossible? It's not. You just need to put a little thinking into it, and this week's Vital Signs can help.

Cheers!
Christel Aprigliano
Director of Member Value & Experience



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