Julie Kulbago Photography is a nationally published photographer who is trained in newborn safety practices and has mastered the technical knowledge & experience to use advanced photoshop techniques to capture challenging poses safely.
Her full service boutique photography studio works with families to capture fleeting moments so they last a lifetime. Let’s plan your perfect session!
Everybody wants to get more photography clients, right?? Well what do you if you are getting enough inquiries but they just aren’t turning into clients . . . and crying is not the answer! Picture this, you are on a high when you get an email from somebody and they are singing your praises and saying how much they love your work and how they can’t wait to work with you and they’re so excited and want more information about a session? And you’re super excited and hopefully you quickly send them an email back with all the information about a session and then . . . nothing. That is probably one of the worst feelings as a photographer – getting ghosted. How can you get more photography clients if the ones who inquire disappear?
There are four main strategies I use to prevent getting ghosted (and therefore get more clients). Nothing is “ghost proof”. There are always going to be those clients who email you, and despite your best efforts, you never hear back from. And that’s okay! This will hopefully greatly increase your booking rate and greatly decrease your ghosting rate.
You have to make sure that that you have a very personal and strong brand. Think about your website, your social media platforms etc. Are you in front of the camera as much as possible? I know we all hate that as photographers but are you in front of the camera so clients really get to know you. That way, when they do reach out, they feel like they’re already reaching out to a friend. This makes them one step closer to trusting you. You can do this in lots of different ways:
Your goal is to show them what it’s like to be one of your clients so that they are so excited to get the vip treatment that you offer.
Part two of that is making sure that you know who you’re targeting. Don’t just blindly target anybody who’s willing to pay you money. When you target the masses you end up attracting no one. I know it seems counterintuitive, but if you really define who your target client is and speak only to that person you’ll find that those people are “primed” so when they do inquire, they’re so excited and they will respond right back.
Lastly – let’s chat about starting prices. I’m a strong believer that you should have at least your starting prices on your website. I don’t think you need to have your full price list as that can be very overwhelming for clients. Provide clients with a baseline so they don’t assume you’re too expensive and that they can’t afford you. By at least putting your starting prices on there, you’re essentially pre-qualifying people. Therefore, by the time they inquire, you know price is not going to be their objection.
I do not expect you to be tied to your computer. I know we all have busy lives. Maybe you still have a second job while you’re trying to start your photography career. Even with these limitations, there are some things you can do to make responding quickly not a manual process.
Hopefully you’re using some sort of a client management system. It will allow you to set it up so that if somebody inquires, your system can automatically send them a standard email that talks all about your photography service. However, I wouldn’t leave it at that because everybody can tell a form message from a personal message.
Within in 12-24 hours, send them a personal email. Address them by name so that they know it’s you. Address their specific questions. Tell them how excited you are. Mention if their due date is available. Lastly, let them know you can also talk over the phone for additional questions. By responding personally, they now know that you’re on top of it. This brings them one step closer to feeling secure enough to book you.
Keep in mind, clients don’t reach out to just you. They’re not sitting by their computer hitting refresh waiting for us to respond. They have probably inquired with five – seven photographers in the area. Oftentimes the person who responds first is going to leave a really good impression on them.
You could take it one step further and call them after their inquiry. A lot of times they won’t pick up and that’s okay. That phone call is just another step to the personalization process so your potential clients feel even more connected to you.
If you don’t want to follow up with a phone call, another really good way to put your face in front of your clients is to follow up with a video. I actually find that my clients prefer the video as a lot of people don’t like talking on the phone anymore! The video does not have to be high production value. Just something from your cell phone where you address them by name, answer their questions and ask if they want to talk further. You could even give them a link to schedule a call with you so they can set a time that works best for them.
If i was trying to get more photography clients, the phone call and the video are two of the very first things I would do to get in front of my potential clients sooner and faster.
Offer an incentive to book within the first 24 to 48 hours. You definitely don’t want to appear like you are a used car salesman . . . “hurry this offer ends soon”. Instead, approach it from the standpoint that you are very excited to work with them and would love the opportunity to document their family before your schedule fills up. You could offer anybody who books before X date two free 8x10s (as an example). Remember – don’t discount always add value. Discounts devalues your brand. However, if you offer an incentive (maybe it’s extra shooting time) it will increase the value you are offering.
This to me should be a no-brainer. However, in talking with a lot of my mentees they feel like once they sent the first email they should stop because they don’t want to bother the person. Remember, a lot of times people just get busy! Sometimes we get so much junk in our inbox we just don’t see it! Follow up!
After my first email where I respond personally, my next follow up email adds value or provides testimonials. You could offer wardrobe advice, newborn sleeping advice, packing for the hospital etc.
My process looks like this – initial inquiry and they get the auto response with info. I then follow up in 12 hours answering their specific questions and letting them know if I’m available. I have a 1st follow up email that goes out 4 days after that shares testimonials with them. 4 days after that another email goes out with wardrobe guidance.
You’d be surprised, sometimes by that the final step that’s when they get back to me and say “yes, I really do want to work with you”.
Moral of the story – it’s not lost after that first email!
Ok, let me know which of these you’ll be implementing to stop getting ghosted!
PS – If you are just starting out and want to learn more about getting info photography you may find these posts helpful: