Customer Service for portrait photographers has been on my mind lately and it makes me really sad how much we as a group haven’t been serving our clients.
I lump myself in to this group because I was there in the beginning of the digital photography wave and am totally guilty of giving just digital files. Which equals horrific customer service. That is for sure my biggest pet peeve but we’ve been over that on a previous blog post. Check that out here for my feelings on the disc being all you might have in ten years. The disc is the worst offense because it puts all the work on busy moms and as a mom of two I know Moms do not have time to organize, backup, cull, print, deliver, frame and hang their portraits.
We have to stop showing moms 1,000 and one images, she’ll get a headache
But this brings up more point where we photographers have been failing our amazing clients. Culling, don’t know what that is I’m sure it’s an industry word, sorry. Culling is basically looking at all the amazing images from your portrait session and picking the very best ones. I know I know moms want to see all the cutest ones and pick the best smiles, and they love laughing at all the crazy outtakes. But seriously we are here to save moms time, not give them 150 images to choose from on the reveal day. Science says too many choices lead to paralysis.
We’ve all been there.
We go to the store for a birthday card and 20 minutes later we are still reading cards! What gives? Choice overload makes our brain work so hard it becomes more impossible to make a decision. So let’s all agree moms make ten thousand decisions a day for her kids. We need to give her the absolute best of the best for her family portrait wall options. This is just good customer service and should be a priority.
This is where to pre photoshoot consultation comes in handy!
Asking questions before ever picking up my camera makes this culling process so much easier. Knowing that mom wants a photograph to go over the fireplace or couch and that she is leaning towards one amazing image tells me she needs a horizontally oriented image and that I need everyone looking their best. This means I need to narrow down to the best of the best and not even shoot any vertical family portraits.
Asking moms if they loved posed images or prefer candid family interactions is another great question. If mom is looking for everyone to be smiling at the camera then those sweet tickle shots with Jimmy’s eyes closed tight are great for social media. But they are not going to be mom’s choice for the wall. So just take them out of the decisions for the fireplace wall. I’m not saying to delete those wonderful portraits. I’m just saying moms need us to do a better job of listening and making it easier to make these decisions. This should be an industry standard customer service practice from all of us.