Winning Over Clients: 5 Tips for Responding to Photography Inquiries

Tips for Responding to Photography Inquiries


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

You have set up your photography website, spent time picking a photography business name, registered your company, and created social media accounts. You are ready to start booking sessions. In the early days of starting a photography business, an inquiry message coming through can be extremely exciting. However, the way you respond to a new inquiry is critical.

Often, when a potential client reaches out to set up a photography session, you will be one of many photographers they’ve contacted. A delayed response or a message lacking in detail and information may get you ghosted. Instead, consider the initial response a chance to make a solid first impression.

Wow Them from the Start

1. Respond ASAP

Online communication moves quickly. Most of us carry our phones everywhere and are used to immediate responses. If you have a busy life outside of finding photography clients, set aside time within 24 hours of their inquiry to respond in a thoughtful and personalized way. If they left a phone number, call them excitedly, use their name, and refer back to any specific details they shared in the inquiry. Calling is a stronger action than simply texting, emailing, or responding to a social media message. If you do not have their number, that’s ok. Still, send a personalized message and ask for their number, stating you can’t wait to talk more about the project.

2. Show Interest in Their Story

The best way to build rapport with a potential client is to demonstrate an interest in getting to know them. The potential client has seen your photographs and learned a little about you from your website and social media sites, and this is your opportunity to ask about their own story.

Start by acknowledging and asking questions about anything they might have shared in the inquiry message. Once you get the potential client on the phone, here are some questions to get the conversation going:

  • How did you hear about my photography business?
  • What do you do? Where are you from/where do you live now? Where do your kids go to school? (Try to find an affinity to make a stronger connection)
  • Do you have an idea of what kind of session you are looking for?

3. Provide Relevant Information

A potential client inquiring about your photography services will expect to get all the essential logistical information upfront. This information includes how the photography session will go, what happens afterward, expected investment, etc.

While the person reaching out has likely gone through the images on your website, they will likely be curious to see how they translate to large wall portraits. This is the perfect opportunity to suggest they come in for a consultation to see samples in person and go over the specific details of the session.

4. Offer Value

Many photographers offer more to their clients than simply taking beautiful photographs. Whether this may be providing advice on what to wear, hints on how to prepare for the photography session, offering specialty products, or other ideas on what to do with their images after the session. Teach the inquiring client what makes you different from other photographers. Setting yourself apart will help you stand out when clients receive responses from multiple photographers.

The first phone call with a potential client is also where you should highlight the type of photographer you are to ensure you’re a good match. If your style is more focused on posed studio portraits, explain your studio process; if you’re a natural light outdoor adventure photographer, emphasize this and suggest session locations.

5. Move The Conversation off Email or Messaging

As soon as possible, move the conversation off email and messaging and onto the phone. A phone number call to action should be upfront on your website and in any automatic inquiry response. Jumping on the phone with a potential client is a great way to pre-qualify the relationship. From there, you can move on to an in-person meeting. When you can get a client in front of you or speak to them over the phone, it shows that you’re a real person and builds a stronger, more personal connection. Moving away from messaging after the initial inquiry response can significantly increase your session booking rate.

Next Steps

It’s important to lead the way through all interactions and be prepared to offer potential clients the next steps in the process, whether that be scheduling the consultation or session, setting up a home visit to scout for areas for wall portraits, or planning to circle back with them at a set time to see if they are ready to move forward. Leaving things ambiguous is stressful for everyone involved. Take the initiative and make sure everyone knows what to expect next. For example, if you said you would get back to them about something, give them a time frame of when to expect to hear from you, and make sure you hold yourself accountable.

You may hesitate to send follow-up messages to avoid potential clients thinking you’re pushy. However, checking in is essential if you are still waiting to hear back after an initial response message. The client may have just been busy, and replying has slipped their mind. Think of follow-up messages as helpful reminders rather than pushy sales tactics. Remember, they cared enough about needing photography to take time to research and reach out to potential photographers who can provide that for them. Clearly, it matters to them, and you know life can get in the way. You serve them as a professional photographer by politely keeping the line of communication open until they decide one way or another.

Whether you’re ready to start your own photography business or have been doing it for a while, learning how to respond to new client inquiries effectively is essential to the job. When your next client inquiry comes through, remember to respond quickly, show interest in the client and their story, and suggest an informative phone call as soon as possible.

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