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Build a High Volume Senior Photography Business

Lesson 8 of 39

Client Experience and Workflow Part 1

Matthew The Body Kemmetmueller

Build a High Volume Senior Photography Business

Matthew The Body Kemmetmueller

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Lesson Info

8. Client Experience and Workflow Part 1


Lesson Info

Client Experience and Workflow Part 1

I want to teach you something the world's largest tyre manufacturer because actually lego if you ever get a flat you might want to look up leg over some hookups because that's big with those tyres in the world now you know, all right, I'm helping you out in every segment I'm hoping to inspire you all right? So let's talk about this segment now segment three and four are going to bleed over a little bit but basically what I want to do is I want teach you guys our entire walk through I want to walk you through our process of what our client experiences I want to tell you the information that we get when they called the book I want to talk to you about up selling your clients on the phone call I want to talk to you about how we set up light room and photoshopped toe work insanely fast there's going to be some actual riel demo work done in both light room and photo shop and we're going to go into editing riel sessions I'm going to show you how we set up our proof books is preset I'm gonna ...

show you how we make our order catalogues so there's a ton of stuff to get through workflow absolutely, positively my favorite part of business workflow is your end end client experience that's what your workflow is it's how does a client come from answering the phone that they may want to book you to they have their stuff at home that entire process in between is your workflow now a lot of times we talked about workflow people have this mindset that work flow is digital workflow that it's how you use light room it's how you use photo shop and that is a huge part of it and we're going to deal with that but remember that as a business we want to make sure that we're setting up our stuff with processes and we have a good day flow to the entire customer experience so and and and a good solid work flow is going to increase your efficiency it's making more profitable and it's going to make it easier to do your job all right so our workflow consists of the following booking the session shooting the session downloading the files, organizing, sorting re naming them, exporting the images, editing them to perfection and photoshopped preparing the images for proofing and backing them up then you also have to come in for your proof book pick up your investment session ordering the products and delivering them so that's my workflow very, very very truncated fashion that's what happens at our studio if your client so let's start it all starts with the phone call right? So I'm sitting at work phone rings teo bring me ray hello remember that you are working as a business, so the language that you use when you engage your clients is huge. We want to make sure that we don't cheapen our craft. We don't wantto we use words like wei don't want to shoot you. We want to have your session when I was set up your chute, we want to set up your portrait session, the language that you use, effects, the perceived value that your clients are getting, and so and and I'm a big believer that you should be friendly with your clients, not best friends, but you should be friendly with them. But remember, like the certain words that you and I used, they might not even know what they mean. So you have to think about the language that you use to enhance the experience because we want to drive the perceived value that we're selling an experience. We want tohave words that sound nice when we talked to our clients as well a cz explaining them. And I can't tell you how many times on the phone I have to say to my my clients when they call in and their asking questions like, I'm sorry, I really don't want to talk down to you in this, and I'm afraid that I might, but I have no idea what you know about digital photography. So I'm gonna explain this to you like you know nothing and again if you know this I apologize I just want to make sure you understand what we're talking about and so educating your clients about your process explaining to them how you do it using good language to guide them through this is all incredible things that you need to know going into the phone call. Okay it's a phone call with us is the first opportunity we have to a sell you on the experience and b it's just more money and so the phone call comes in as the remaining ring ring were hello camilla photography hey, I want to set up a senior session for my son joel awesome where'd you hear about us from first question I ask if if no one ever says they heard about me from my brochure I'll stop direct mailing it's not working finding out how they're finding you is huge if you have one mom that's in the community that's just spewing your name everywhere and people are calling to book because she's so in love with the work that you did wouldn't you like to know that that's a client you should be grateful for, so you need to make sure that you're asking this but it's such a simple thing where did where did you find out? Where do you hear about us oh well I got your brochure in the mail awesome yeah I just really love your burgers of the day it's so cool it useful yeah no, I love it I worked a lot of time has been a lot of time on it and then you just kind of the start this conversation and they say well how much is your session? And even though we put everything in our brochure we still I still find I have to explain this to people well, you know if you were to go to any other number of studios in our market they're going to charge you a fee just to take your pictures like I said earlier we would never do that that's not a good deal we're just set up on minimum orders so what we're going to do is we're going to pick a session that's going to be right for your son and then that session is a minimum order associated with it so tell me about joel is that a name I made up joel tell me about joel joel hates pictures he does not want to come in he wants to do a selfie in the yearbook but I told them I won't let up so joel is the absolutely fighting me who the nail to get booked in for this session so we're going to book your smallest session that's all we need okay now I don't believe in hard sales I don't like that I don't like being sold to the hard fashion I don't like to have that energy with my clients would like to have that energy with anyone so I always just take the real real soft approach and I don't want to sell you on another session but I want to make sure you know that you have options and so what we'll say is okay, we'll just let you know that would be are you pic session we're going to do just inside or just outside photos it's going toe give you ten images now remember it's going to be at least ten images now remember every one of those images is a different background a different pose or a different expression so we're going to give you at least ten originals that are all going to be different for you to pick from again that's explaining why our sessions give smaller than average number images so then they're going to say okay, well, he just wants to dio he just wants to do inside we're just going to inside and which one knock it out two outfits at which point I would say okay that's cool that's wonderful we canoe great session for you off of that but just so you know, because we don't have a session fee and we're just based on minimum orders if you were to step up to our double up session for one hundred dollars more in the minimum order, we're going to be able to photograph inside and outside, and we're going to be able to add double the outfits I'm going to be able to show you twice as many images to pick from and if ultimately you end up spending three hundred dollars anyways it's free you no pay me for showing you more work. If you ultimately spend five hundred dollars, you could get our biggest session, but I don't think that'd be right for him because he's not really crazy about pictures, but doing the double up might be wonderful because he's going to have twice as many images to pick they go for that all the time, all the time. Now, what have I done by doing that? Not in general? Yeah, I got them to commit to a bigger minimum or that doesn't really matter. I don't care about that. What I've done is I've gotten them to a point where their proof book has become too expensive for them to buy on their own. What I've done is I've cried them to a situation where their proof book has become twice as valuable and they aren't even thinking about this. So now this proof book that I'm giving them is going to come way harder to get back to me because you're going to have so many images in it and you can't buy it for cheaper than just spend in the five hundred bucks to get it for free. So drives my average is up like crazy, but that's all done just for the language and it's not meant to be like a you've got to buy you gotta buy you gotta, but I don't do that. I just want to make sure that they know and if you're pricing is set up right and you work your your systems correctly, you're pricing khun guide your client's where you want them to be, okay, so now we need to get him on the books. We've picked the session, they're going to go with the double up all right now, if it's a u pick session, another thing that we didn't talk about if it's a u pick, and they're doing just inside that effects when we want to book their session because if we want to do an indoor session and they're just doing half an hour, I try to book that as close toe one o'clock in the afternoon as possible, I goto lunch from twelve to one. I come back from work and I can knock out that session and I don't have to worry about the quality of light outside don't have toe worry that it's so gross outside you don't have to worry about going and doing their outdoor stuff too so we shoot just the indoor sessions at the ugliest lighting time outside possible that's when we want you in so it doesn't mess up our opportunity to shoot bigger sessions and better lighting times so we need to get him on the books you guys can use any number of software for this okay there's we use studio plus there shoot q there's studio cloud there's tabby and I don't really care what you use but you some you something please please use something to run your business and I'll tell you the one thing that all of these companies I've never used I've never used several of these up there I have friends that use them and swear by him they all think they're wonderful stuff it's great the only thing that I will tell you is that setting these up any of these is going to take it you're going to take a day you're going to go through and you're gonna have to set up all of your pricing all of your sessions you're going to go through all of your products if you do we do a thirty day discounted price so you have to enter it twice because there's a thirty day price and a regular price and a canvas price and a metal price and traditional price so it's gonna take a lot of work to go in and enter the stuff in for your sails and you're gonna have to set up your your client database but it's important that you have knowledge of your clients you need more than a google calendar that's going to tell you when and where you need to be you need to have a comprehensive system that's tracking of payments are being made did they pay you in full? When did they book? Where do we email them? What's a phone number? Where do they live? These this is all I mean this is basic information that you need to do business with someone and so don't cheat yourself into thinking that we're going to do just that cheapest freest route and were going to get a desk calendar. I'm going right on it dave's appointment at two o'clock I get a system gets something. So like I said, we use studio plus use whatever you want at you something though so I want to walk you guys through this system in general a lot of the same principles are going to carry over across all these platforms studio plus tends to be the best option for us because it's set up well for multiple photographers like you were doing multiple computers with the database and all that this is the best one that we found for that so it keeps track of all of our client information keeps track of our calendar this software even allows us to set up tasks and there's even a workflow section on it so that I can go in at any moment and click workflow retouching and I can see which jobs haven't been retouched yet in my studio I can keep track of where all of our work is and it auto assigns deadlines if I have if you work for me and your my re toucher it's gonna let me know if you're behind which is really cool and sucks for you if you're behind it but again it allows us to manage our work okay and a great way and this software lets you like you khun do sms messages and e mails and stuff through it'll even run credit cards for you we don't do that stuff it's at an additional rate and I haven't found a marketing like I haven't found a marketing reason to pay for it but it's an option it's cool the reason why I really like this software though too is it automatically does sync with google calendar so a lot of these are going to integrate some of the features that you like about having a google calendar so you can check it on your iphone I'm checking on whatever I can still do, all of that. But at my studio, I have the database that runs my business. This is completely off subject, but I'll share the story with you guys anyways. So I had our server crashed at our studio like two years ago, okay? And I had all of my client files are backed up. No problem didn't lose anywhere, no sleep, no problem. There was one file, though, that I didn't have backed up. And it was my database file for this. And so I had to send in six terabytes of information for data recovery to get this one file because my entire business was on it. Now I'm proud too. Say it's backed up multiple locations, okay, they do have a cloud version of it too, but I will never, ever do that. Learning from your mistakes. I learned from this mistake, but this is so such a huge part of our business that I literally I didn't know what to do without it. And thank god we had people a insurance, which was I mean, that alone paid for my people a membership for a long time. Uh, got me discounting, they hooked it up with data recovery, and I got the file on we're good, so make sure that when you do have a system like that that if it is really in fact what you are using to run yours your business, make sure that you are appropriately backing it up a swell because if you lose it, which can happen, you're in a lot of trouble and that's it most of them also will work with quickbooks and stuff like that to help with your county your year in taxes. So you call, we're going to go ahead and we're going to book a session I just double click the time that you want to be booked for, so pull up a window like this and it's going to be three options it's going to give me an option to create a session, a linked appointment or unlinked appointment sessions are things that we create images for okay, if you come in for a session, I'm making something for you at this time it could be a photo booth, it could be a boudoir session, it could be a senior session, but I'm producing images ok? A linked appointment would be if I've already produced your images and you're going to come in and view them, order them you want to just coming into a pre consultation, you just want to see the studio that's something where I'm not going to be making any new images for you so it just attach is your name to an appointment so that I can go in and double click and it will say oh it's lorenzo coming in he had a session on october eleventh I can still see your stuff but it lets me sort my sessions are my appointments that way then we have unlinked appointments which is secretly like the devil unlinked appointments is like matthew wants to go golfing I think so it's not associated with any client it's not associate it with anything but it's it's that that's where I get in trouble is when I make things that are like for work as unlinked appointments and I told you guys that I'm that I struggle with some of the stuff to that it's not always easy for me I'll tell you right now that I have had situations where I have never lost anything, I've never had to go and eat crow on that but there's been times where I've been like where did where did those files get saved? Where did that go and do you know what every single time that happens it's like my aunt that came in for a session and I did it for free and I didn't put it in the calendar as a real session I did an unlinked appointment I didn't generate a session number from for her I didn't follow our procedures and that's when I get in trouble and it happens and I'm like a bear to work with what we find that stuff you do not want to be around and the worst part is like, I'm just mad at me I'm like, ah, how do you do this? It is it's it's outrageous, but it happens so I actually I wish that wasn't an option. I just want the stuff that's with clients on their butt that's on there so that's going to take you in and it's just a standard thing. Is it their name? First name, last name? Are you working with a company there address get their email address in case you do any future online marketing phone numbers fill it out standard stuff all right, now this window allows us to start putting our clients into different groups, okay? Nowthe groups can't you guys probably can't see back there, but it allows us we've named all of the schools that we do work with in there, so we just have been ild why's that a hopkins, you dina in prairie, so we pick a school and that gets associated with that client. Now we go one more window and it allows us to pick the year that they graduate, so the end of the year when I'm able to do is I'm saying, oh, we have a hop often what happens? Bad example, they use a contract photographer for the year book and it's not me, but he dina's yearbook deadline is friday. Who did we shoot for me? Dina and I go in and sore super easy all of the kids we did for me, dina, that graduated that year. So it's important that you take this step and it's important that you that you get it right because it comes back as a huge, huge huge plus, and then there's also one more area where this different client groups and we do have this one we use for all of our all of our sessions. That last one would just be for seniors. Now this when we use for like, is it a boot wall photography? Is it? Ah photo booth, is it a wedding? Is it so? And we do create current one. We do like a senior's two thousand thirteen seniors two thousand fourteen seniors two thousand fifteen so we make sure that we can also filter him that way, and then this window is when we're going to actually tell the computer what type of session we're doing. So if it's going to be a senior session, we're going to fill in on the top line we write high school senior portrait's, we write the kids uh, school and what type of session it is because that's the information that gets populated in my google calendar so I know that on my phone if I look at my accounts, I could be like, okay, I gotta double up at nine o'clock I got to be like, I'm going to the studio or if it's to get me out of here, I know where I have to be just looking at my phone and we go in and you could pick all of the different sessions that we have are listed there, so you just picked the session and it automatically populates how much time should be spent on that session, so it says, here you pick gives me forty five minutes of blocks out forty five minutes, okay? And it also blocks off the camera room so we don't have another session booked in at that time, it automatically won't let you book another photographer for the came a room at that time, so one more step because we're based on minimum orders. We loaded all of our sessions in there with negative amounts d'oh, which is why they're in parentheses. So when we booked this session and we create an invoice for the software, it comes up with a negative amount do now, when the client calls the book they're session, I'm going to take a fifty dollar retainer retainer implies it's not refundable it's really, really important to get this fifty dollars paid because the moment they pay you that fifty bucks what happens? They stopped shopping there done they know where they're going, people will pay that fifty box and then look at the new brochures that come through people don't pay the fifty bucks and then start asking people where they're getting their session done no, you pay that you're done, you're booked your showing up, get it on the calendar, get the money, get it done and know I cannot pencil you in for an appointment and you'll get asked that one I get asked all the time and the response that is, you know what? My calendar always changes and I'm sorry I can't pencil you in for anything because it's just not fair to our other clients, but give me a call back when you're ready to book and have a credit card number on hand and we can get you and we'll get you put into our system for your date. But I can't promise you I'm gonna keep it may or may not be here and it's just one of those things where it's like it goes back to taking your business seriously, I can't call my doctors and say, like, can you just pencil me and I might not make it? I can't do that like I have appointments that make all the time I got to show up. Creative live wasn't gonna let me them pencil me in for this. This was written in stone. I had begun to race the pencil shut up. Wait. No, I mean, I, uh I'm sorry, guys, like, I'm very passionate about this stuff, and I think that fundamentally, the question comes down to this. Like, I understand that most photographers out there are not going to have a studio that has seven employees. I understand that. And that's that's great. That that's not going to be you, vince that's. Okay, but you still have to look at yourself as an employee of a business that you are running. I would hire me like I would hire me. I'm clutch. I'm gonna pull it out if you need something. I got your back. I get like I get the job done. I'm I am hirable to kmet mueller photography and the like. Are you to your business? Are like, are you taking it serious? Are you really doing these things? Because I understand like thiss workshop isn't hugs and cuddles and pretty photos. It's not that. And there's there's a time and a place for that and I I do want you to go out and create images that you're passionate about and I do want to go out and have fun and I do want you to push the limits with your work but I don't want you to do it while you're charging your clients go have fun but when you're working you're working all right sorry tangent I should ask for that um so then it just gives you an opportunity to log the payment you just put in how much they paid so be the fifty bucks that they paid at the retainer now wei would of course take the remainder of their minimum order but we take that and then that gets logged in right away when they come in so all right there on the books that's just an example of the of an invoice that it generates so the moment the client walks in I take the remainder of your minimum order and again their psychology to the experience about this if you come in and have a senior session with me like you don't know me the moment you walk in the door generally speaking I don't know these kids they're just coming in to get their pictures done right? So they're coming in having no idea who I am there just hoping I'm cool they're hoping it's not going to take all day they're hoping we're going to get great images but they're showing up at a point where this is going to be the point that they feel the least eddie's with you hopefully really cities so the question is do you want your client to come out of their session loving you having had so much fun you're talking about the images that you made for them you just crossed the crush the session in less than twenty shots you gave him amazing photos there have been a great experience and they leave do you want the last thing they do to pull out their wallet now the fun has become a business transaction you're leaving on a business note I want you to leave having fun and I wanna make sure I'm getting paid so we take the money up front we get it done so then at the end of the session that kids havinfun mom's having fun they're walking out the door, they're done that's it we're over see you at your proof book pick up cool so now they're coming in to do the session we're going to nail the session, but after we've taken the retainer and before we start this we have to start the small talk and small talk seems like such trivial thing for me to dress in this workshop right incredibly important, incredibly important and we're going to talk I'm going to talk to you guys about how small talk with high school senior girls is different than small talk with high school senior guys, we're going to go over that tomorrow. I'm going to give you tips and tricks on what you need to relate to them about, but remember if I'm shooting four sessions a day and I got a kid that's coming in for forty five minutes if you feel awkward in the picture, if you feel awkward if you don't feel comfortable in your session, your pictures are going to look good and we've got to get to work, so I have five minutes to make that connection and it's got to be good kids gotta like me, and I got five minutes to find that one thing that they're going to talk to me about for their whole session and you'll know you're doing it right if there should never be silenced in your session, a moment that someone stops talking, if if they stop talking, you better start don't care what it is you guys are talking about something because silent photography sessions just feel weird. It doesn't just feel the zoya. What is that guy doing? Just sitting there taking pictures and not talk so weird? No, you don't want to do that, so you gotta keep the small talk going and you got us like that's really important. All right, we're all set to go through your clothing options that we already talked about. This first thing we do is what? Your favorite outfit? All right? You love that? I know great background for that. What do you think we should that background on this with that background? Love it? Great. Let's go. All right, now for your second outfit, let's, pick out what we're going to do now. This may also be an opportunity where if you have a kid that came in and brought like a ton of outfits, you may find yourself in an opportunity to upgrade your session. They generally don't go for it, but you can offer it like, hey, I see you brought in like, six outfits. Did you wantto change to go on location today? And we could add in some extra outfit, so I don't generally get a lot of people that bite on that, but you should make sure you offer it if they bring in a bunch of stuff. If they cared enough to bring it in, make sure that you at least give them an option to use it. Don't do it for free, but make sure that they have the option of using what they brought in.

Class Description

The success of your photography studio depends on your business model, not your location. Learn the key strategies that have propelled a booming second-generation family photography studio for more than 40 years in rural Minnesota.

In this course, Matthew Kemmetmueller will show you how to set up your entire high volume senior photography business step by step — including successful sales tactics, shooting techniques, and efficient workflow practices. You will see Matthew’s strategies in action as he takes you through two live shoots from start to finish — each in under 90 minutes. Matthew will also teach you how to increase the value of your services, market directly to new clients, and create unique products that will delight your customers.

Whether you’ve photographed thousands of seniors or just looking to learn high volume tactics, this course will give you a comprehensive, replicable roadmap for multiplying your revenue.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lightroom Start to Finish Guide

Order Catalog

Step by Step LR5 and PS Workflow

Keynote 1

Keynote 2

Jen's Design

Lightroom Templates for Ordering

Keynote 3

Syllabus and Keystroke Shortcuts

Order Catalog PSDs

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

I decided to listen in on the free course of Build a High Volume Senior Photography Business w/ Matthew Kemmentmueller...I thought it would be good to have the skill sets even if I chose to do another photography forum other than seniors. And I was laughing thru the whole thing...he is one funny guy!! So, I decided to buy it...not only is this course full of great tips/advice/ and "did you know facts" but it's really informative and again, he is down right funny. I'm learning lots. Thanks for having him on Creative Live...this one is a keeper.

Diane Yvon

I absolutely loved this course. I am primarily a maternity and newborn shooter and to my surprise what I learned here applies to my current work as well as developing my senior work. I thoroughly enjoyed Matthews delivery of each topic as it was clear, precise, fun and non intimidating. I will watch this over and over and the course downloads were amazing! 100% satisfied with this course


Matthew's class is excellent! I watched it live, but decided to buy it since it's so foundational. I think his information and materials are excellent, whether someone wants to be "high volume" or not. I love how he continually drove the point home about how so many photographers overwork themselves and gave excellent ways to resolve this issue. CL does such a great job of covering the gamut in education of all types. Thanks!