Educating Your Potential & Current Clients


Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience


Lesson Info

Educating Your Potential & Current Clients

I think of it as building a relationship with your clients because like I said earlier you know maybe we all can take good photos but what is going to take you a step above thie other photographers in town or make those clients come to you and not only will you attract them with your brand in your portfolio and all the things we talked about so far but by giving them and ultimate senior portrait experience you are going to stand out you are going to give them something that nobody else can give them especially maybe not yearbook photos so that helps you stand out against that is really how you can explain to people why maybe they do book a separate session other than that yearbook photo sessions because it's an experience it is going to capture a moment in time it's going to tell people who you are you're going to be able to reflect on it you're going to be able to remember the experience which also makes those photographs even more memorable. We all want to look back on that time in y...

our life when you're a senior and you remember how fun it was in part of that is something you can give them you can give them an ultimate senior portrait experience that they can look back on where you know think about how beautiful they felt or think about how you know you capture them perfectly so that's kind of what the senior fortunate experience is all about, and why you would need teo give them that is so that you can stand out on the track that clientele and really give them something to remember. So we're going to talk about how to do that. Basically a senior portrait, eggs, variances, anything from inquiry all the way to ordering session and beyond to every little aspect is inclusive in that experience. So you want to remember that? Because from the very first phone call or email that you get all the way till communicating with girls after you've already done their photos and they've graduated it's all part of that experience and building that relationship is how you can start to give them that that wonderful senior fortunate experience. Like I said earlier remark, girls come home from college, I still meet him for coffee, you know, they text me and asking questions, things like that because I built that relationship and wanted teo continue it even well, I didn't want to be the photographer and took their photos, and they never talked to again, so that is part of my senior fortune experience. Excuse me, did you say your girls are in college? Some no, no girls, as in my client's, I'm now going to college no way, no way my girls you know part of that relationship I feel like they're you know I feel like their mind I feel like you know built this relationship with them that I just got a call of my girls my girls in by any of my clients become my girls you know, because I've become friends with him and I create that you know that relationship with them so yeah no I don't personally have girls have two boys ten and eight jacket eli hey there now hey probably it's about practice but anyway okay, so the elements of the senior portrait experience communication is key that's the first element of it we're going to I'm going to go through all the elements that were going to take a bit did that bit so communication is key unique sessions that you offer offer something different that can give your senior portrait experience a different element on make it stand out get to know your seniors that helps get them a great experience because the more you know about them the more you can really create a as senior portrait experience that is specifically to them with them in mind also plans sessions with that experience in mind you wanna plan sessions you know according to your client but you also want to keep that experience what it is you want your clients to feel think about it that way we talked about that a little bit earlier what you want them to feel needs to be a part of that experience, and so you need to keep that in mind when you're talking about anything that that has to do with the senior fortunate experience so, you know, plan their sessions to make sure they have a great experience and then or the mouth becomes great and they want to tell their friends about you because they had such a great time or you did this extra for them or whatever it is, plan your sessions with that experience in mind, and we'll get into that in person ordering sessions and efforts to shoot and beyond. All of these things are part of that experience right now. We're going to go over the first couple of items, I think maybe another day we do ordering sessions, so know that that is part of the experience, but that we will get to that will do a live ordering session so you'll get to see how it actually plays out on dh, you know, see all that, and part of the experience leads up to that portion if you do the experience the right way, you don't really even have to sell at that point, so we'll talk about that, too, eh? So right now we're going to talk about the first items here, but we're going to save that for the for the actual ordering session. Okay, so let's, start with communication with your potential clients. Okay on dh current clients be proactive instead of reactive. I think this is very important because I think I used to wait till that phone rang on just wood on the fly, answer whatever they threw at me, not having really anything prepared. Not only did it make me seem a little more like a hobbyist and less like a professional, but also I wasn't really I was reacting to whatever they happen to see, say, as opposed to me being in control and really being proactive and being prepared. So I think in communication that is key, you want to make sure you try to anticipate whatever questions they might ask you, so you're prepared to answer them and you answer them correctly. You don't ever want to be put on the spot because you might give away something that you really didn't mean to, but you felt on the spot, and you had to make sure that with communication, you give them as much communication as possible beforehand. Again, it goes back to not wanting to waste your time, not wanting to waste their time, I know when I first started, I was sort of like talk to him on the phone and maybe not give all the pricing because it was so scared that if I gave it they might not book and you know, I really want them to book and now you know, after you've done it a lot a little while you realize that your time is worth money and as much as you do want to do it because we all start with photography probably from a passion of photography but then it becomes a business and you've got to protect that so you know, eventually you learn that okay? I only want the clients that are coming to me they're willing to pay so that my time away from my family you know, whatever the case may be is worth it. So by giving more information and really educating your client communicating with them front will help you in that regard again answer the questions before they ask don't wait until they say, well, wait a minute, would you offer this be prepared think of every scenario can my mom come? Can you no can I bring a friend would have got to be effective session all of these things seniors are going toe ask and to be honest with each other, pretty resourceful said they may try to get something that you know you're not prepared to answer or offer so think about every aspect of what they might connect asking write it all down and be firm on what your answer is going to be so that when they throw that question at you, you can answer it correctly and, you know, stick to your policies and procedures uh, personal phone call, this is key. So with teams there's a lot of texting, facebook, messaging, instagram, messaging, all of that stuff, but I really feel the key to giving a good experience is taking the time to call them it's suit from I mean, you know you're wrong, it's much more easy to text him or send him an e mail because then you don't have to get on the phone and talk to him, but how much better would you feel? A semi picked up the phone and called you someone just sent you a blanket email and blanket emails come in handy, but after you've made that initial phone call, so make that initial phone call and talk to them, it not only gives them a chance to hear your voice get a feel for your personality, you get a feel for theirs. You make that initial call and you start to make that initial connection you've already connected them, you know, connected to them by them looking at your website and getting a visual that way, and they maybe get a sense of who you are maybe they read a couple of block post and they get a sense of who you are but when you pick up that phone call and you actually talk to them that's when they really know who you are so immediately that starts the relationship that starts the friendship to be honest with you, I talked to him about you know, okay, so we're going to school and you chit chat with them don't necessarily be all business e but you want to get to that part two on dh then you say you know, do you have any questions? When are you thinking about booking? You wanna fall session? Do you wanna spring session? You know, start to talk to him have a conversation with now if it's the mother do it with the mother if that's who's enquiring now, we'll say assad note is no matter who in choir's make sure the mom is onboard or the dad is onboard because I can't tell you how many times a girl is booked and didn't tell their mom you know how much it call star whatever, and then the mom was shocked because she didn't she didn't know, so make sure you do that so you know in general, if the girl calls me if the senior girl calls me or, you know, in the other people's cases, if it's a guy I do reach out to that person, but then I make sure to get the mom's email address as well and copy them on any correspondence, any information that I think because that way now granted, I can't control whether the mom opened the email or whatever, but at least I know I've done everything I could now I will say, for the most part, it's the mom's calling me every now and then I do have seniors calling me, but regardless whether they've called me whether they facebook messaged me, you know, sent me an email, I'm going to call them if at all possible first, just to make that initial connection, so I think that is very important, then you can go to your standard emails and again, it all comes with experience. When I first started, I didn't, you know, I kind of sent random stuff out and I tried, you know, trying to answer their questions, but it wasn't concise, so maybe sometimes that answer part of it and other emails I might not because I didn't have that standard email, so when I'm talking on the phone with them, I make sure you get their email address and I tell them about the experience and about what they can expect then I let them know that I'm also going to be sending them an actual guide that details, everything we've talked about so they can see it, they can share it with their parents, they can do whatever they have, something tangible that they can read themselves in addition to what I've told him on the phone. So, you know, that is in a standard email, and that helps me make sure that with every client, I'm consistent, I know that, you know, with every client have made that phone call, then with every client I've sent that welcome guide them with every client I've followed up and gotten a date, you know, whatever your process is having that standard email after you made that initial phone call is important, because that way, you know, you've done, you've given them every information you haven't forgotten anything. I think a lot of times when you're trying to email on the fly, you may forget something or you may not mention this, that or the other, so if you have, you know, a standard way to communicate with them, then you are making sure that you're staying consistent, which is part of your brand. Uh, yeah, I have a question, if someone emails you and then they don't give you their phone numbers, I generally know that happen further than your front of her, and then you just call them, okay? And then I'm not going to say that I've never just emailed somebody I have because sometimes I don't get a response and you know you can only do so much but yes, my first initial thing is to try to get their phone phone number if they don't send it back, then maybe I have to go the route of email in which I don't love today so yeah, my initial thing would be to e mail him back and say, I love to chat with you about this answer any questions you might have and I feel like a phone call is the best way to do that so if you don't mind just in the year your phone call and it may be a good time for me to talk to you because a lot of times they won't even fill that phone number out in a contact form but then again I try to at least get it so that's that's how I would do that. Okay, so the next thing with that standard email is I'm not on ly given them, you know, possible dates and all the information maybe we covered on the phone call but also given them a welcome guy, which I mentioned so it's is a chance to educate them on my process, you know, gives them an expectation, you know, what can they expect it gives them pricing it gives in the collections shows products everything because honestly, at this point I don't want to waste any more time if they're not going to book, so I do it digitally, so I'm not wasting money on people that might not book, but at the same time I'm giving the information so they can make an educated decision on whether they want a book or not, and there are some people I send it to and they say, I can't afford that, and I say, okay, well, great, thanks for letting me know, and I'll move all but at least I know I didn't do the session and then then say, I can't afford that, you know, mein s o I think a welcome guide is a good way teo really communicate with your client in a in a way that they can read through and see and understand fully in addition to what you said on the phone call so there's a lot of stuff you can, including a welcome guy, this is for you guys, teo, you know, sort of put whatever you feel is the most important part of your session and they're you know, telling them about yourself, telling them given them that chart that I should you guys earlier and telling them what the difference is explain to them why yours is different do an entire page about that just write it and just give them the details about why it's different why you can come to you as opposed to the yearbook photos that that's important if you offer hair and makeup you could you showcase that explained that process when I first started I didn't actually offer I didn't offered here and make up but it was a separate thing so they could choose it or they could not choose it now I got to where I've educated enough clients where they understand that it is a must now I've got it into my packages are in my session fees I like to do things like that I don't like tio I don't have the personality says you will do this so you know I didn't make them if they didn't want it and I understood that but the more and more educated them and explain the process the more and more girls started doing that and then now I don't have a girl that wouldn't do it so it is included so I tend to do that but that's something you can explain in what you send out showcase your your work obviously you want it you want to hit him with those visual images really captured their attention and you know so they can see ok this is what I'm going to get maybe even include past clients and their quotes you know quotes about their experience that's a great thing to include pricing and products are a great thing to include because like I say, I want them to know ahead of time that they can afford it s o I've got all the card in there I've got collections in there I've got a different type of sessions and the pricing for those you know all of anything and everything you can give them up front to help them make an educated decision is you know, extremely important anybody here in the audience send out a welcome god or pdf or anything like that what can you tell me some things that are in years pretty similar collections it has like a welcome from me right? It talks about different location idea and that's good that outfit ideas and then I have, um my prices and my products and then I have a frequently asked questions yeah, yes and I just do like a magazine and about you do a letter do you do it e mail it okay, so I don't usually give it I have something separate I email with prices okay? I actually it's just the pages from the magazine I just emailed and then I mail the pack there the magazine after they've booked okay gotcha. Yeah, with mine I e mail it to him through issue it's I love you so it's digital and so it looked like on screen it flips like you know me, but I don't print it because at this point they haven't booked and so I don't want that extra cost that yeah, but there's there's nothing. You can do it that way too. So that's great tamayo, did you have a question for you when you are given the differences between you? Your photography in the yearbook would you also go as faras say, how you separate yourself from another photographer? I mean, I think that you can talk about the great things you have to offer, but not necessarily say this is more than another meeting today. Like without mentioning another photographer, you'll do it word it in a way that's, like I offer this and I pride myself in this. And did you know you can expect this from me and all of those things? Could be things that are different from some other photographer. Without saying I do this differently than that photographer, whatever. Not that you would ever call somebody out. But, you know, to me, s o I think keeping it in that way is probably the best way. And I do think that's great. I think you should point out the things that you know is it your passion singers around passion on the middle you know middle high school student high school t shirt so the age group is my passion and I really love to get to know them did that can all be in that first section that tells who you are and why you do what you do yeah yeah so I think that's great and then talk about what you offer that's different than the yearbook what you offer this just unique teo you keep it in that in that round yeah. So anybody else have anything they send out do you you need yeah yeah yeah I mean to make it right you know right it's a lot of work to be in this business right there's a lot to dio on dh yes, sometimes it would be easier to send out an e mail right? But it looks much better this way and answers a lot of questions and if you look if you load it on issue it's always there so you know, you just in the link and then they look at it on dh then in addition to sending them this I also send them available dates so I'm letting them know these are the dates I have available and said that way they're already thinking, you know, um I gotta book and if you know she's only got three days left or whatever so yeah, we have erica and the chat rooms that are on the ascot deck says I send welcome guide linc lincoln issue like you have and just for everybody it's I s s u you correct if you want to look that up with pricing included and we'll have parents go ahead and book a session but still not truly be educated on the investment how do you know that they have actually looked like dat ariel, right? Well okay, so there there is only so much you khun d'oh you can't be in the room with them making sure they're looking at it how weather I make sure word my email that says please go over this with your parents course I can't control that but you put that in there so that's the first thing second thing is is when they do book and they get the senior questionnaire at the bottom of my question area says has your ma it's got a parent section that says I have rid your welcome guys pricing etcetera so you can do it that way now granted again it's elektronik so technically I guess the senior could check the yes box however at least makes them think I really proper would it interest in this to my mom? You know andi at that point there's really nothing else I can do the mom shows up and didn't know it you know she's still got a past that she's pretty much gonna bath um I mean, you know, she's already had the process now maybe the orders in this big whatever but again there's only so much I can control s o I just have to do my best to get that out there make sure I tell the girls you know don't forget to give this to your mom or your dad or whoever's paying when you when you talk to them about the ordering session, make sure you stay to them don't forget you need to bring a mom or dad or whoever's paying for the session I also make them pay for the session as soon as they book a date so at least up there like the mom knows, they book something because they don't pay for it on the session they pay for it when they book away on a story about getting a check from the senior if the seniors only one that shows up because sometimes the moms don't come on the session but the mom's paying you know domain so I just cut that out I'm like, look, you just book it right now you pay for it right now you're done, you know? So that helps too because usually mom's writing checks so at least they know they're paying for something you know? So yeah so that's how now with the welcome packet that is a separate thing I send out once they do book so that's another aspect of communication so they get the online thing they see they you make an educated decision if they want a book or not then they book and actually send the questionnaire outwits first before they get this and we'll talk about that but I just wanted to show you this right now so once I get that question you're back I have their address I have things and who doesn't love getting something in the mail? I love it because you never do get anything but bill's right though and seniors all get stuff electronically so why not send them something nice in the mail? So I've got folders stickers you know again packaging important so they see my branding etcetera and then this is what's inside of it what to wear guy so they can prepare for their session I team up with fabric which is a boutique in my town they they have them all over their franchise but this is my boutique and they give all of my singer clients twenty percent off so that's in there so they wanted teo purchase something special for their senior session they get they've got that so that's a fun little bonus gift obviously my my business card checklist things that they can do to prepare for their session you know make sure to iron your clothes go get a manicure, a pedicure at least take your fingernail polish all because you don't show up with chipped nails don't a flat iron your hair which is really important because if the hair makeup artist wants to curl it but the girl has flat ironed it there's no getting curls in that hair so little things like that any tip you might want to get something from your hair and makeup artists that you could put in here? Maybe a note from her if you're working with the same person every time you might could put a little note from her saying I can't wait to you know, do you hear makeup or whatever or you know something to prepare them for her come fresh faced or you know, whatever the makeup artists rules are about how she wants them to arrived another thing is have them wear a button down shirt something they don't have to pull over their heads that's a good tip because that way once the hair and makeup is done and then they have to go get dressed they're just unbutton and go, you know? And they're not pulling stuff off unknown and whatever so that's a good thing on dh then like an order appointment reminder card which isn't here just making sure they know when where where to be, what time? You know what day their sessions on etcetera so that that's in there so that I think them in the mail, which I think is yet another way to up that experience and to really, you know, give them something special. I mean, I know I would love it. I talked a little bit earlier about when I order something that stands my writes me a thank you note, and it comes with the package, I love it. So who wouldn't love to get this? And now I've got some, you know, envelopes that this goes in, I've got my return address, sticker that's part of my brain and it's got all my colors on it you all having to do with my brand? I write their address in this brandi pin that I have because, again, you know, that gives a little element of my brand on dh, then I send it to him in the mail, so anything you want to send them is going to be extra special because you've taken the time to go out of your way to do something. So even if it's a hand written note saying, I can't wait for your session, that is good, you don't have to do all this, you could just do that, you know, made or taking the time to call them and talk to them. You know, with war drive, or you could do a pre session consultation. I do wardrobe consultations instead of a pre session and a wardrobe. I just do a wardrobe, because that kind of kills two birds with one stone type thing. So we'll get into that, too. But any little thing you can think of to make that clients extra special. It's not going to cost you a ton of money or a ton of time, but we'll go the extra mile for your senior.

Class Description

High school seniors are energized, creative, and fun – and the best photographers know how to take portraits that capture that spark. Join Leslie Kerrigan for a guide to designing, marketing, shooting and sustaining a senior portrait business.

In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create senior portrait sessions that aren’t just a photo shoot, but are memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Leslie will share her unique approach to creating a style closet, providing wardrobe consultations and keeping up with the of-the-moment social networking tools teens use. You’ll learn about connecting with seniors’ personalities, interests, and sense of style to ensure their portraits are every bit as unique as they are. You’ll hear from the teens, themselves as Leslie hosts a roundtable discussion with a group of teenagers who will talk honestly about what they want out of their senior portraits and how to reach them. You will also explore ways to leverage that personal connection into more sessions, sales, and referrals.

Don’t miss this opportunity to become the dynamic, must-have senior photographer for every teen in your area!


Lynn Powell Roberts

I learned a lot from this course. I watched all day when CL replayed Sal Cincotta's senior course and I wanted a second perspective, so I bought Leslie's course. I'm really glad I purchased Leslie's course because it was a great complement to Sal's course. Leslie covered different things like using a style closet that I especially found useful. She also did a beach shoot with a male and female model, which I found very useful and different from Sal's style. Leslie is so excited about "her girls" that she photographs - it's very engaging. I highly recommend this course.