Wedding Photography Bootcamp

Lesson 13/43 - The Initial Consultation

 

Wedding Photography Bootcamp

 

Lesson Info

The Initial Consultation

so this is what happens when you get to meet with the bridegroom but I want to cover some details for us right before you can meet with them typically you're going to get an email you're going to get a phone call and we've got to understand how to handle that without email or phone call so right do we put pricing online some of this we covered yesterday and the short answer is no right no pricing online however we can talk about is prices starting at right everybody comfortable with that so and I can't remember that any of you have pricing online no but everybody has pricing starting out now if you go to my website you might think I'm a little bit of a hypocrite because if you go to my website I'd have nothing with pricing online and there's a reason for that so if you cover local mark multiple markets I can't put prices starting out because I'm covering new york and st louis and chicago and the price points are all over the board so instead I need them to contact me for more pricing s...

o consider that I know there's photographers out there who are in fact shooting in multiple markets so if I were to put prices starting at nineteen ninety nine thirty nine ninety nine and then hit my bridegroom with a twelve thousand our start point because they're in new york I would lose that that client they'd be they'd be pissed off quite frankly so I just have a contact for additional pricing so keep that in mind as far as a strategy goes so no pricing online prices starting at is perfect for your website what do you say when that email comes in again covered a little bit about this yesterday but now I think it might be a little more appropriate and of course we had information overload yesterday so when that email comes in what do you say and how long do you take to respond so I'm actually going to show you again I made an adjustment to my presentation last night I'm going to show you the actual copy that we use for our email response but how long you take to respond is imperative I think that it's twelve hours or less okay twelve hours or less and what you should have is a response automatically crafted not auto responder no auto responders auto responders are bad it's bad business it tells me you're lazy it's not good customer service instead make a personal commitment to have your to respond email in a twelve hour window and guys trust me me more than anyone I understand how busy we all are and the last thing I want to be doing is checking email till two o'clock in the morning a night but sending out an auto responder is just not the experience I want my client's tohave that is not a good experience by the way don't put stuff in your auto responder that says hi we're out of the office with shooting our clients and worse yet do not tell your client you only check emails twice a week that is ridiculous right me honestly is a business person that's actually offensive to me I think I don't think that's a smart way to run your business so instead like get rid of those the goal has to be to get to the meeting and that's we're going to do right here we are going to get to the meeting so we're going to show you a live consul but first what I want to do is put up on the screen how my email reason I'm gonna switch seats here hopefully I don't screw anything up so that I can read this to you this is in my inbox okay uh as a template response congratulations on your big day and thank you for reaching out salvadore cincotti photography is an international award winning studio offering more personalized in boutique experience for your wedding day with limited availability you'll be working directly with sal er taylor we are highlighting our strengths right so don't just copy this email and use it in your business that that means you don't understand the template the framework excuse me so coverage starts at forty four ninety nine packages are all inclusive including plenty of time an engagement session a wedding album digital negatives and a host of other options so notice I'm saying I'm gonna dissect this for all of you so it makes sense and you can customize it to your own business I'm letting them know that where coverage starts so I'm establishing a base price point I'm also giving them enough information to whet their appetite I'm letting you know hey this starting price okay includes plenty of time and engagement session a wedding album digital negative and a host of other options does everybody understand why I have chosen to include those items because those are the items my brides are most concerned right so what I'm doing is allowing I guess for that second email not to come in from the bridegroom because if you don't put that information in there what's gonna happen next the bridesmaid say well can I get more information what's in your packages see what I'm saying right here is I'm letting you know here's a high level of what's in there and that puts off some of those questions this is the next statement that drives the point home we find that presenting you with a bulleted list of pricing and packages tends to create more questions than answers if we are within your budget we would love to set up a meeting to walk you through our options and hear all about your big day please let us know which option works for you we would love to meet with you okay so we're already driving that point home in addition we offer full cinematography services starting at thirty nine ninety nine discounted when you book off photography so we're also letting them know where our cinema starts adding video coverage today can provide the perfect balance to your coverage I'm telling them why they should want video right I'm giving them is much information without overloading them with information don't send them a three page email no one wants to read that I'm giving them a sample to a video and then I'm giving them a sample to my customer testimonials and so I'm driving them to those pieces of information if I wanted to offer studio see if you're one of those studios out there that have multiple studios multiple price points all I would do is at another paragraph in there that highlighted what studio c was but the wording the concept the framework would all be the same it's not making sense to you ladies this is sitting in my in box box in the draft folder when the e mail request comes in within a twelve hour window I'm able to copy and paste this and send this out to the client and that's how I'm able to respond so quickly what I'm not doing eyes customizing every email that's a waste of time I'm going to spend a ton of time however I want you to keep in mind if the bride says something like hey I'm getting married at the x y z ballroom you refer to me by by my cousin you did her wedding don't just drop this in there tweak it a little bit congrats on your big day thanks for reaching out we love your cousin suzy we had a great time at our wedding and you are going to absolutely love getting married at the x y z ballroom salvador some kind of tarp he's an international war doing right so we're tweaking it just a little but this takes me thirty seconds or less to drop in there questions on this does this make sense it's simple right simple to do and it's so much better than those automated email responses and it's also better than riding a custom email for every request that comes in and I will tell you again nine out of ten requests that come in the email go dark on me there's no follow up after this not my bride she's telling me by not responding that she can't afford me or isn't interested in me at this price point I'm okay with that let her go but when I get to that consoles and that bride writes back and she says something to the effect of yes you're within our budget we would love to sit down meet with you when can we get into your studio that's when we start scheduling that meeting to get them here at this point yes I thought people saying instead of just saying please let us know what works for you actually giving them an action item like house next thursday at three p m or friday it too because that's too much work for me because then you have to keep track off who you sent next thursday to argue with me I've got three to four hundred photo shoots a year I'm inactive studio very busy so if I were to send out her how does next thursday at three pm work and she goes dark on me until thursday at eight a m and says to me yes we can meet today there is no way that time slot is still open so I don't like doing that I want to hear back from her okay because the next thing you know you could have five e mails out there offering up different dates that nobody's confirmed on and I don't want to do that right I want a hard meetings does that make sense okay good question anything else ladies good rhyming keep going internet keep up the consultation where do we meet up until about two and a half years ago two years ago maybe we met out of our home so we didn't have a studio and I probably make the argument that as a wedding photographer you don't need on actual studio space right all your weddings are on location you're not hosting the wedding in your home but you might be doing portrait photography stuff like that well we worked out of our basement so the first two years of our business right no matter where you are in your career we were growing from our own home and there's nothing wrong with that now there are some ground rules that have to change if you're going to meet in your home right your home has to be clean that's first and foremost and you may not want to do that you may have little kids running around dog running around eso it introduces a host of issues but taylor and I were not right we're married we don't have kids so it's very easy for us to meet in our home and we dedicated one room to be honest with you that wasn't much bigger than this couch and chair I mean you're talking about a room that was maybe like ten feet by eight feet that was our dedicated room and it was set up just like this for the record we had a little coffee table one couch here in a chair here we didn't even have a full like love seat we just had a chair there and we brought our thirty inch mac monitor and we had our thirty inch mac monitor sitting there and the other side was a laptop so we were working our laptop and then the client was sitting here gathered around this thirty inch mac monitor and it was absolutely amazing let's go before that two thousand eight are gross sales I told you guys yesterday fifty thousand dollars not very good average engagement sale about one hundred one hundred fifty dollars again not very good and I got so tired of hearing about other photographers talk about projection sales projection sales projection since you got to bring him in you got to bring him in right we all hear that all day long so one day I told taylor I'm like this is ridiculous how much money we're leaving on the table we've got to try something different right I'm really big if you're going to run into a wall just find a new wall to run into write if you keep running into the same wall right that's the definition of insanity so I got tired of running into this wally said we're going to try something different brought him into our home studio we found the right client right we said to him hey guys ah you know what we'd love to do we have a lot of great pictures today I'd love to bring you into our studio okay and walking through all the great images we have so we can show you different promised they were like okay that's cool like I will have wine beer we'll have guys over and we'll walk you through it and they're like oh that sounds great and they came over we had no idea what we were doing no idea we hadn't changed our sales process we didn't have a whole bunch of samples to show we just fumbled our way through the entire process our first engagement sale ever in our studio we went from one hundred dollars hundred twenty five dollars sale fourteen hundred dollars we didn't even know we were doing right fumbled our way through the entire process probably made twenty different mistakes that we would never make today but we learned one valuable lesson there is nothing more powerful than having your client sit there with you looking at their images really real time first looking them at them online and so that's the message to all of you out there you've got to find a way to go get him to this meeting now with that being said I know the next logical question sow what if you don't have a home or a studio what do you do well if you're stateside okay the u s government right offers what's called incubator space okay so business incubators are available everywhere all across the country so s p a dot gov you will be able to find that and if you're female you have access to a bunch of different options through the s p ay okay that others don't have and that's great take advantage of those opportunities those options for your business incubator thes air typically warehouses commercial space that have been converted right for the us government for small businesses to get up and running they have in them they have conference rooms small meeting rooms projectors screens whiteboards anywhere from one hundred dollars a month to two or three hundred dollars a month some of them you can actually rent by the hour that is incredible to be able to rent that kind of stuff by the hour and I know for a fact atlanta has these and there is a sight you can go to and I apologised everybody I wish I knew the side off the top of my head I'll try and get it to the creative life staff but if you google south and kata home based business so again google's south and kata home based business an article will come back that I wrote for range finder probably about a year ago in that article will be a link that you can go plug in your zip code and find access to these business incubators no matter what state or region urine now of course my internationals uh that the u s government is not funding business incubators in italy I wish they were probably have a business over there but you're going to have to find something similar find some an ex expensive space that you can set up it can be shared space you can be artists based loft space and have them come in to showcase their pictures but what about the initial consul where do we have that and I know at least we were talking about this on probably all of you have different spaces you're meeting but you know the first two years of my business I met it's starbucks for the initial consultation I met at starbucks and I use that to my advantage and so I want to give you all of you the answer when you're meeting with your clients there so when I would meet with my clients at starbucks right first of all buy them a freaking cup of coffee man right don't be so damn cheap and I get photographers all the time they're like but so what if they don't book it's three dollars by the cup of coffee it's goodwill with your client and so we would meet at starbucks and I would meet with the client I would say hey guys let me get you a cup of coffee here what do you have it and almost nine out of ten times you know what they would say no we're okay we don't want anything and I would stand up I would say are you guys sure I'm getting a cup of coffee what do you want and when they see what that I was getting something suddenly they would change their mind and they would would opt to get something it's really good it's a really good ice breaker with your client so don't be afraid to buy them a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or whatever you know they're selling there s o that's that would be one of the first things I would like to do meet it starbucks have that meeting and what I would say to them because after the meeting they would all say the same thing you guys have a good time was a pleasure meeting you know what this was awesome I love how relax it was and you know you kept it real casual and I would say to them guys you know look we're not a real stuffing photography studio my job I just want to get to know you guys keep it real casual and get a cup of coffee I mean I'm gonna be spending the next year with you and so I just want to have ah good relationship right and they would love that that responds well now I have a studio okay so now my answer has changed with them a little bit because now I got to use that to my advantage and I would say I say to them now go look guys I said we're a real business were not weekend warriors so I want you to come to my studio so that you know we're a bonafide photography business right and so now I'm tryingto thwart against you who don't don't have a space right so either way I'm giving you the answer on what you can say to use your situation to your advantage is that makes sense all right so what do we show right we're showing albums so you've got to have albums to show if you are going to implement my process and everything I'm showing you his album based album driven that is the number one keepsake for our clients so you've got to be able teo showcase albums so if you're on location I would have a little right roller back and in that roller bag there'd be three to five albums that I would bring with me um now that we're in our studio of course right we have the those albums with us at our studio we're not bringing prince with us in any of that other madness how do we run it we're going to see there in a second my attire this's it again this is me I'm going as me right so I love the way all of you are dressed I feel like this is representative of each and every one of you and probably your brands and if it's not representative of your brand you need to step away from here and make that that adjustment right into the way you're dressing in the way you present yourself um the goal of the meeting what's the goal what's your goal when you step into that meeting I want to put cum want welcome don't get to know him yeah what's your goal welcome welcome right you're saying that because it seems like the obligatory thing to say well of course I want to book him is that truly your goal though now it's one thing to say that's your goal it's another thing to walk into that meeting and have actions towards that goal so I want of course we all want to book him right but are you taking the steps necessary to book him so here's the number when I get to this meeting nine out of ten times I close right then and there nine sometimes I will book right there I will I will kill I will kill it right there that is because by the time we get to this meeting they've seen my testimonials on my website they've gone on my website and seeing all those impact images they're pre qualified right because of that email that went out so by the time they get to this meeting it's really up to me just blow this meeting you guys agree so you've got to take the steps necessary to close this deal so let's go into a live consultation hold on it before we do that I want to take some questions from both the internet and you ladies don't ask me anything about the actual consultation because we're gonna have a live consultation I want I want questions around getting to this meeting the email that went out anything like that any questions around that you feel pretty comfortable oh can I ask a question in regards to I have a studio in my home and I'm very satisfied with it because I've put some investment into the tv and a couch in a chair and you know and I have work you know in front of them where you know the look touch feel sort of thing my only drawback would be it is in the home but I I also live not in town but I'm very I'm we live out in the country yeah we're out there so I just how far away from your clients are you the market that I'm trying to get into forty five minutes away so we're in illinois o'fallon illinois which is anywhere we are twenty to twenty five minutes just from downtown st louis which not in st louis not a lot of people live in the downtown area our average client is probably driving about forty minutes to an hour to get tow us for in studio so I shouldn't be bashful when it comes teo having them drive you have to sell the advantage and by the way um the issue you're raising right now is probably the same issue a majority of people are having out there like I'm nowhere near my client pays right it doesn't matter if you're finding the right clients you guess what they I love sitting down with you and having you help them the goal of this meeting at every other meeting we don't talk about this yesterday is to become the trusted advisor when I was at microsoft this was required reading this book and you guys go out there by from barnes and holes or whatever you buy books from the book is titled trusted advisor there is a difference between selling your clients and guiding your clients right and when you're that guy that girl who selling and by the way most photographers do not want to be salespeople we are not sales people I don't want to be a sales person either I don't want to be able to sleep at night I want I want to help people and not only do I want to help for tigers I want help my bridegroom I want to help them get the right imagery for their for their home and so with that being said right we've our goal has to be to become the trusted advisor well if you're the trusted adviser driving forty minutes to get to you is not a big deal they don't care my clients do not care right so good good question anything else lisa you look like you had some no no I think you answered it was the whole thing about not being the creeper and all that you just said let us know if it works for you and then if they just don't contact you they don't contact on that initial email yeah yeah if they don't don't don't keep following up with him right they have told you they're not interested by not responding they're they're letting you know they're interested and if you do everything else I'm telling you you're going to get plenty of email leads that come in that you should be worried focusing your energy on to the internet I don't know if you answer this or not so already but angelica would like to know what do you think about having the console in the client's home did you talk about that I didn't talk about that I can't say that's a great question I can't say that I've ever done it I've never really gone to a client's home and had that initial consultation with them there I'm a big believer in home field advantage so I want to have them into my space where I have control of the phone the smells the alcohol all those kinds of things what I don't want to do is go to their home and then suddenly life gets in the way so their phone is ringing they're coming home late from work the kids or running around or whatever else is going on so I really want to have them in my environment t control them so so speaking of that addie far had asked what about all the distractions at starbucks yeah other public place when you're starting out you know that it is that was a challenge for us that was one of the things that led us to getting home day getting it into our home for the consul but you know I was at a disadvantage when I started off right so you got it you got life throws you lemons you make lemonade so in the beginning when I started out I was in o'fallon illinois so I'm on the other side of the river and you gotta understand I know every city is kind of like this when you're in st louis metro area and you tell people you're in illinois they act like you are on the other side of the planet like in the cornfields no guys we have other things than cows in illinois right so they just they just think it's forever away so that was a huge disadvantage for us when we were starting out so in order to overcome that objection I hade to meet its starbucks I had to find common ground so I would just go downtown and it's all how you sell it now when you're sitting in that starbuck environment I'm selling this casual environment with the client so they're responding to that but it wouldn't be on comedy says I'm walking them through my packages I would have eavesdroppers all around me watching what we're doing and I swear to you it was it was pretty funny that this would happen and kind of um we would walk them through the albums and almost inevitably somebody would be walking by in starbucks sipping a cup of coffee and just looking over the shoulder of everybody and I would have I would have people weigh in that I felt like I needed to give him a twenty spot because they would stop and they would be like I don't mean to interrupt your conversation but you know I just got married a year ago and our wedding pictures suck these air amazing you should book him I'm like okay I'm mike I've never met you before but all right I owe you a cup of coffee you know so it can work both ways so good question but you've got to find a way to kind of get your clients in and it's loud man it's so loud in starbucks sometimes you just gotta find a way to use it to your advantage but you really can't for that you know somebody like that I mean and it didn't happen just once like it happened pretty consistently where somebody just wanted to weigh in and offer their opinion on what they thought about the photography of the product and anything like that so I get the twenty bucks you need a hundred dollar gift certificate at starbucks from that exactly I have a question from bacon bits love bacon bits yeah making love it's the discount uh they want to know how big of a room do you need to do the image review I mean do you need much space for that do you have to have a big screen well we're kind of jumping ahead so at this moment we're talking about just the initial consultation but I can jump head I mean when we're talking about imaging previews so now the client comes in to see their engagement pictures of their wedding pictures I can tell you what we have what we have is in our studio we have a sixty inch samsung led tv those are absolutely amazing at displaying images and I will warn you you're gonna have to calibrate this monitor the contrast is through the roof and the saturation is just way too much so you'll adjust it but the image quality is absolutely amazing now you're starting out if you can't afford that when we started out we just used our thirty inch mac monitor and everybody was absolutely okay with that they would sit huddled around and and watch now we're in our main studio and we have a very bit large tv somewhat similar in size to what you see behind me sorry for jumping ahead I just really wanted to say bacon bits love out loud yeah bacon bits so question from philly photo do you meet clients during business hours nine to five or do you meet clients when they want to meet for example tuesday night eight p m yes so we will meet clients so let me give you one answer we need clients when they could meet if that's at nine p m I'll meet with clients at nine pm with that being said though let me preface it this way I will not just let them pick the time right instead what I do is hey guys we have because client will tell you while we work till five o'clock every night well you guys we have tuesday at two pm available or thursday at seven pm available so we're giving them an earlier day opportunity and we're giving them an evening opportunity don't just let your clients tell you when they could meet because they're going to screw up your schedule right so just offer them you know that clients work you want them to work that's how they can afford our imagery so let them work their job don't force him to take off and instead just give them an evening hour and an afternoon hour and if you work is well cause maybe you're doing this part time just pick one day a week where you're willing to meet until ten o'clock at night so that you're giving your clients the most the most options

Class Description

Sal Cincotta presents an intensive workshop covering all aspects of starting, running, and growing your wedding photography business.

 In this course you'll learn about: 

  • Pricing
  • Packaging
  • Sales and marketing
  • Bridal Shows
  • Client Consultations
Sal will be covering every aspect of building a thriving wedding photography business. We'll see the live consultation session with an engaged couple. And we'll walk through the complete checklist for managing and shooting the wedding day itself. This will set you and your business up for success in the coming year.


Software Used: Adobe Lightroom 4

Reviews

KR Productions
 

In 2016, I decided to try and start photographing weddings. I've been a wedding videographer for 16 years now, and have consistently been asked to do this, but never have. Last year, the number of requests was unusually high, and so I decided to explore what all is involved in doing wedding photography. I actually bought Sal's 30 day photo business class here first. Watched it over and over. There were principles in that class I was able to apply to video. Great! I then decided to buy this class to get the actual "day of" mechanics down. I've watched this over and over as well and started wading slowly into the wedding photo waters. I have the benefit that my second shooter, is actually a photographer and has been shooting all his life. So, having him to back me up with his already trained and creative eye is a huge benefit on the day. (We do the one camera has a wide angle, one camera has a telephoto technique like Sal discusses, and it works amazing) So far in 2016, I've shot one wedding for $350, the next one for $1,000, and now I'm up to $2,000 on my third for just basic stuff. Incredible. Working on moving into IPS, but right now I'm focused on making sure we're capturing the right shots and doing great impressive edits for marketing , and that's already paying off. I had 4 requests yesterday! Thanks to Sal and CL for helping jump start me on this amazing journey!