As wedding photographers, we are inherently artists. But when we choose to start photographing weddings for clients, we quickly become both artists and business owners.
That means we’re relying on booking clients to help us pay for business expenses and other bills in our lives. And when we put those stakes on booking clients – well, the whole process of adding weddings to our calendars becomes a lot more stressful.
So we’ve come up with this guide on how to get wedding photography clients by focusing on the one thing that’s most important when it comes to adding a couple’s wedding dates to your photography calendar.
If you’ve been around Lilly Red Academy long enough, then you know we’re huge on marketing your wedding photography business. Whether it’s through Instagram, blogging, emails, or a combination – getting the name out there is the first step in attracting ideal wedding clients.
But when it comes to how to get wedding photography clients, all of that marketing boils down to one single thing: nailing your consultation calls.
This is (usually) the last big step before those dreamy couples decide to sign your contract and give their deposit to hold their wedding date.
So, of course, you want to make sure you make a fantastic impression when you speak to them!
Your wedding photography consultation calls are probably going to be a little more involved than just the call itself.
The purpose of your calls is to:
So before you have your call, here’s what you need to make sure you’re prepared:
Before jumping on a consultation call with a potential client, you have to know that not every lead is going to be the right fit for your brand.
Some leads may not be within budget. Some may be looking for a particular style of photography that you don’t offer. And some just may not mesh well with your personality.
But how are you supposed to know if they’re probably a good fit (or not) before you even get on that consultation call?
You need to qualify them. Qualifying your leads will give you information upfront, as soon as they land in your inbox. From there, you can determine if you think it’s worth it to get on a consultation call with them.
To qualify leads, you need to have qualifying questions on your contact form when they have to answer when they reach out to you for more information on your services.
To make sure your potential clients are a good fit for your brand, have them fill out a wedding photography questionnaire before you even book the consultation call. The best way to do that is to have this questionnaire as an inquiry form on your contact page.
You’ll want to include qualifying questions to get more information from them. Some of the best questions to include are:
You can keep it as simple as that, or you can add additional questions to better qualify your leads. It all depends on your preference! If you’d rather qualify them after speaking directly to them, then keep your wedding photography questionnaire short.
If you’d rather qualify your leads before you get on a call with them, include additional questions, such as:
If you’re not seeing as many inquiries as you’re used to, don’t worry! It’s a normal part of this business. There are peaks and valleys when it comes to couples reaching out.
To get more potential clients during slower seasons, try using fewer qualifiers in your wedding photography questionnaire.
With the call scheduled, you’ll want to do a little prep work beforehand. This will keep you looking (and feeling) like you have everything together. It’ll create a great first impression for your potential client, too!
For the call itself, we recommend having the following put together:
You can plan to go over at least the services on your call. But having these ready to go will also help you in your follow-up!
Whether you’re getting on the phone, having a video chat, or meeting them in person, talking with your potential clients can feel intimidating.
You don’t want to say the wrong thing. You don’t want to be too pushy or too “salesy.” But you do want to make it clear that you’re the best fit for the job (if you feel like you’re a good fit, that is!).
So, here are our 5 tips to help you nail your consultation call and book more wedding photography clients:
Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you feel more comfortable and confident when taking consultation calls.
But if you’re nervous in the beginning, then there’s nothing wrong with creating a workflow for how you envision the conversation going!
Think of it like those “conversation topic cards” that people make on first dates if there’s ever a lull in the discussion.
By having a workflow, you can immediately calm a lot of your nerves because you’ll have a clear roadmap of where to direct the conversation.
We recommend a workflow that looks a little like this:
We’ve broken down each step and why we recommend including it in the call workflow:
This is your standard, “Hello! Nice to meet you!” And it can also include a little bit of time (think around 3-5 minutes) of getting to know them and making light conversation. Doing so will show them you care for them, not just for making a sale.
Similar to the light conversation at the start of the consultation call, asking them this question allows you to build more of a relationship. You can start putting your trust in one another simply by asking questions like this.
You do want to make sure it’s a good fit for you! Asking them about their wedding allows both parties to continue establishing the initial bond. Plus, you’ll get an idea of what they’re envisioning and whether that suits your style. They’ll also (more than likely) love talking about their dream day! In addition to all of that, you’ll also start to get an idea of the right photography service for them based on what they’re planning.
This will give them a chance to speak up about what they want out of wedding photography. And it will give you the chance to combine what they’re hoping for on their wedding day and what they’re envisioning from their photographer so you can recommend the best possible package.
Now that you have that idea of what they’re looking for, you can walk them through the services you would recommend for them. This might include one or two options. Or you can suggest a particular service with add-ons to create a customized experience for them. This is also the part when you’ll want to discuss investment.
Don’t worry, and don’t panic! This is a normal part of a consultation call. You’re not springing anything on them that they aren’t expecting.
The biggest thing you can do for your clients is make sure they are always on the same page as you. Don’t ghost them. Don’t make them second guess their choice in investing in your services.
Clearly explain what your wedding photography process looks like from the moment you get off the call. Keep it as succinct as possible while still giving them all the information they need. Will they expect a follow-up email from you (we recommend yes!)?
When do they need to sign the contract if they want a particular date? When will they need to pay for services? What can they expect in the weeks or months before the wedding? What about after the wedding?
Chances are they’ll have a few questions for you! Always leave the door open for them to talk about any questions or concerns they have. Before ending the call, ask them if you covered everything they wanted to on the call. They’ll appreciate that added touch, as it’ll showcase your care about their experience.
If you’re nervous before the call, don’t worry. It’s totally normal! The more you do it, the easier it will become.
But even on your first call, you want to appear confident so they feel confident in you. Try using these tips to boost your confidence beforehand:
Even if you don’t meet them in person or over a video chat, always smile when you’re talking to them. Smiling is scientifically proven to boost your confidence. Even “fake smiling” is proven to have positive effects on your brain.
In the 30 minutes before your call, do a quick run-through of your consultation call workflow. Those extra minutes to understand the rhythm of the workflow will quickly calm your nerves.
You’ll start to memorize how you want to move between each topic. That will help you feel more natural and comfortable once you’re on the call.
Creating a smooth process from the moment they inquire with you is one of the best things you can do when it comes to how to get wedding photography clients.
Take it this way:
If you have to do everything yourself (instead of using an online scheduler), then you’re responsible for
And if you’re doing it yourself, then you’ll want to make sure you get back to them quickly, otherwise they may move on with another photographer.
But if you streamline the process with an online scheduler, such as Honeybook or Dubsado, all of those can be done automatically. The moment they submit an inquiry, they can get a reply with a link to schedule the call.
It cuts down on any extra time on your end to get back in touch with them.
Both before, during, and after your wedding consultation call, be sure to provide plenty of clear communication. This is an investment they’re making, so they’re looking to make sure they can trust you.
One great way to build that trust is to open the door for conversation and allow them to ask any questions they may have.
On the consultation call, it can be easy to slip into tales of past weddings you’ve photographed. It can be easy to command the conversation, especially if you’re nervous.
But remember – while part of the call is making sure they’re a good fit for your brand, you also want them to feel comfortable with you.
So give plenty of room for them to talk on the call. And make sure you’re actively listening to them! You can even showcase that you were listening to them in your follow-up email. Mention key details from your conversation on the call, and they’ll pick up that you were paying attention.
You’re the expert! And they know that. While they will ultimately make a decision, they’re more than likely looking to you for guidance.
After listening to what they’re hoping for on their wedding day, don’t be afraid to make recommendations on the best photography package for them.
Once the call is wrapped up, don’t walk away from your computer just yet! One of the biggest driving factors when it comes to how to get wedding photography clients is being prompt in your follow-ups.
Often, clients will choose the vendor that responds quickest.
So have all of your services guides, process guides, and any other information they need ready to go in an email. Add in a sentence or two that mentions some of the details they talked about in the call. Then send it off!
When it comes to how to get wedding photography clients, almost every single other marketing effort you do leads to this point – the consultation call!
So take these tips and apply them to your next call and start booking more photography clients.
And if you’re looking for a more in-depth approach to building your destination wedding photography business, don’t forget to add your name to the waitlist for Ticket to Destination Wedding Photography!