Benefits / Resources / Articles
July 28, 2023

The Importance of the Customer Experience for Photographers

As a photographer, you’re frequently called to bear witness to milestones in people’s lives. Weddings, graduations, big games, performances: these are important experiences that people like to have recorded for posterity. This means there’s a massive responsibility on the photographer, not only to capture the moment beautifully but also to provide a great customer experience that doesn’t tarnish the memory of the moment.

Providing a great customer experience is one of the best marketing strategies for your business. The client experience you provide will become associated with your brand–for better or for worse. In today’s world where people are moving away from material goods and towards experiences, it's your job as a photographer to provide brilliant experiences and memories that last a lifetime.   


Understanding the Customer Experience

When your customer walks away at the end of a job, how do they feel about you? Are they happy with the service they received and how they were treated? How did the final product measure up? Was your service worth the value for the money they paid? The answer to those questions is the customer experience, and it’s not just about the product. You may have delivered brilliant work, but been painstakingly unpleasant to work with. Regardless of the work, the customer experience will have been poor.

Tips for Improving the Experience You Provide to Customers

  • Help Customers Understand Your Systems: When people don’t understand all the steps to a process, it's easy for them to get lost in the question of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Involve your clients by being transparent about all the steps required for you to do your job. Set their expectations and fill them in on your process so they know what to expect.  
  • Guide and Advise Your Clients: The proof is always in the preparation! Help your clients with wardrobe choices, makeup, and other tips to prepare for the session. Pre-session consultations are also an excellent way to understand the goals and vision your client has for the session. You can communicate the final product you will provide and demystify what product packages or special services you offer. You can either meet with them for an in-person consultation, or provide them with useful guides with tips and images. 
  • Ensure Your Delivery Matches Your Product: The way you deliver your work is very important to the customer experience. Think carefully about your packaging if you’re delivering a physical product, and about the user experience if your delivery is digital. Put yourself in the shoes of an expectant client. The way they receive your work contributes to how they will feel about it, and the long-term impression this creates.
  • Deliver a Booking Gift: Surprise and delight your new clients with a welcome or booking gift. Something small and thoughtful can make a huge impression! You could send them flowers, a box of chocolates, or a little toy for their kid. Keep it simple and let them know you care and appreciate their business.
  • Send a Handwritten Note: In this world of emails and texts, handwritten notes stand out and surprise people. Show them some personalized love!
  • Add a Little Something Extra: Who doesn’t love the feeling of being taken care of? Think of things you can do for your customers that will make them feel special. Have some drinks and snacks available for the session, have your client’s favorite music playing in the background, and add some simple amenities to your session that might improve their comfort. Post on social media after your session to thank them for the delightful time.

When you work to create a beautiful customer experience from start to finish, you’ll see outstanding referrals piling up and a long list of clients who want to work with you. For tips on succeeding as a photographer, Check out this very useful video from PPA CEO David Trust. Remember that most clients have needs that are more emotional than logical. They may be buying your time and photographs, but what they really want is to create great memories that they can come back to over and over again. Make them feel glamorous and the center of attention, and most importantly, make it fun. That’s what a great customer experience is all about.

Your Job is Making Memories

What is the power of a great photograph? It captures the moment, and it tells a story that can last through the ages and be passed down through generations. That kind of emotional honesty can’t be faked or photoshopped. Work at making your sessions fun and unusual. Bring along some music, some snacks, and perhaps learn a few ice-breaker games...whatever you can to make the day special. That’s when great memories are born, and that’s what leads to a brilliant customer experience, and a timeless photograph.