These days it’s challenging to keep your photography clients coming back to your service again and again. While the photographer’s work is getting better than ever, some clients still go elsewhere. For me, I know that these things can happen. It’s not that my clients aren’t happy with my work or something was wrong.
With so many possibilities and choices being offered out there, sometimes clients are presented with an opportunity that may be hard to refuse. Photographers just starting out offer sessions with prices so low that they are impossible to match. Then, family and friends that are hobby photographers are quick to take a stab at replicating professional photos. I’ve also had clients relocate and move to another province which impacts our ability to work together again.
I truly love the relationship I have with my returning clients. Contrary to popular beliefs, there is no redundancy when we are together. Each time we get together for a session our connection gets stronger and the resulting creative possibilities are endless.
For this blog, I would like to share three ways that I nurture my relationship with my clients that ensures they keep choosing to come back to me again and again.
Communication for photography clients to come back
The most important way to make sure my clients book their next session is my communication. It’s easy to forget when you lose touch. That’s why I share information in occasional newsletter emails of any recent business updates or seasonal specials with my past clients. There is so much more to offer outside of the actual photo session.
As a long-time family photographer, I know each of my client’s kids’ names and even some of their birthdays. Whenever I can, I like to write a little message to celebrate their days.
Have your client’s photos physically printed
Since starting my business, I have always included a printed version of the digital files my clients purchased. Originally, there was a small price for the printed version. However, a couple of years ago I began including them as complimentary. You might be wondering why I would do this.
Well, with society needing more and more instant gratification, printed photos are losing popularity. Overall, people don’t realize how important it is to have happy photos of your family around the house. Understanding that their family is growing and they need updated photos, they do the first few steps correctly. They book a photographer, have their session, get their digital photos and upload them on social media for their family and friends to see. However, the last step is really most important and is often put off until “another day”. Putting those printed images on your walls reminds you of your special family memories every time you see them.
Knowing how important this is and understanding how easily clients can forget to do it, I make sure to print and deliver these images free of charge. For some bigger enlargements, I have even hung them on their walls myself! This way, I help them get those beautiful photos on display. As well, when they see them, it also reminds them of me and how much fun we had at our last photo session. It’s a perfect way for inviting them to their next session when they need an updated image.
Reward your loyal photography clients
Many years ago, I began using an incentive program for my loyal, repeat clients. I named it “Welcome to the DA Family”. My clients would receive various incentives for rebooking me depending on their level of loyalty and recent purchases. Some of these incentives include session fee discounts, a free enlargement, complimentary extra hour, extended online gallery, free mobile app, free slideshows, complimentary hybrid session, complimentary delivery, and discounts for album printing.
We live in a time where new customers are so important to businesses that they are often rewarded more than repeat, loyal ones. Just to get them into their doors, companies are offering higher discounts to new customers while the existing, loyal ones are left out of these rewards.
I have quite the opposite approach regarding my photography clients. I feel blessed each time a client chooses to work with me and especially so when they keep come back time and again. That is why I focus on my returning clients and how to best provide incentives for their loyalty.
Manisha’s family photo session
Manisha and her family have been working with me for the last 7 years. Manisha and her husband Steven first became clients when we scheduled their first photography session for their one-year-old twins. That session was held in Milton at Kelso Conservation.
The next time we connected was when they were expecting the arrival of their baby girl. That session took place at Gairloch Gardens in Oakville. Both sessions were taken in the fall and they were looking forward to some Spring-Summer seasonal photos next!
Summer-y spring session
For Manisha’s next session, we scheduled it for the end of Spring and the start of Summer. Previously, working with her twin boys we made sure to keep everyone busy and playing while we were taking pictures and creating memories.
Now, with their little sister on board, I had to find a way to document all three different personalities at this stage in their life. It was actually way easier than I thought it would be.
From the start, it was obvious how much this little girl adores her brothers. In turn, they were so caring and protective of her. From big smiles to special heart signs, they were ready to Manisha and Steven remember this part of their lives and document it to share for a lifetime.
Our session was at Paletta Mansion and Lakeshore Park. It was the perfect background to add extra beauty to this family session with some amazing kids. We did the family photos and portraits that we had planned so that they can look back at them later and remember who they were at this time.
What was most rewarding is that towards the end of the session, the children were getting hungrier, which also meant they were getting sillier. Having two boys of my own, their body language was plain as day to read. I made sure to photograph the full silliness of them having fun because it is the perfect moment for amazing candid images. However, I was still keeping track making sure it didn’t go too long which would end with someone getting grumpy, for sure!
Working with past clients
Working with past clients is truly a joy. Many years ago, I had feared that I wouldn’t know what to do with the same client from a photography standpoint. I was under the impression that they would always be looking for something outside of the box with a different approach from what we did the last time. Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect at all.
Now, with many years behind me of working with hundreds of returning clients, I have noticed one thing. My clients return to me for many reasons, but it’s not really what I had worried over. They value my communication, flexibility, understanding, and the way how I make them feel during their session.
The images that they receive from me are always supported with great memories of the awesome experience that we had while creating them together. That combination of great photos with a one-of-a-kind experience is the perfect recipe for a truly exceptional photo session.
- Photos taken by Dragi Andovski, published ©2021 DA Photography
- Photo Location: Paletta Mansion and Lakefront Park, Burlington, ON
- DA Photography Families on Instagram
- Want to see some more photos from my past clients? Check another blog post.