You get an email in your inbox from an interested bride. “Hey!,” she says, “I love your work! I’m getting married next July, what are your rates?” What do you do?
The consultation can be intimidating for people who just want to take photos. But, what is important to realize is that the consultation is actually the best predictor of success. The consultation is where you get to know your potential client: their hopes, their dreams, their personality, and their fears. The better you can feel them out and connect with them, the better a match the photographer/couple fit can be. For this reason, I really enjoy the consultation. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that my favorite part of the process.
If there’s a match in the consultation the relationship just keeps getting better and better through engagement photos, wedding preparations, the big day, and beyond. My couples often become close friends; a fact I cherish and celebrate every day.
So, how do you conduct a successful bridal consultation? Here are a few tips:
Make it about the couple.
Ask about them, their relationship, the proposal, and their plans thus far for the big day. The more excited you can get them (and get yourself) about the big day, the better the connection will be. Additionally, this is important information to see if the couple’s style and the wedding size, style, location, etc., is a good match for you. If the wedding is disorganized, or they have expectations you can’t meet, this is where you find this out.
Ask the important questions.
Find out the wedding date, the size of the wedding, the length of the day, whether or not they have a planner, the other vendors, the budget… as much as you can so you can craft a wedding day package that best suits them.
Don’t try to make yourself into their perfect photographer. Authentically represent yourself and your business; speak passionately about what you do, the services you offer, your approach and your style. The right couple for you will hire you for you. You can’t run a sustainable business trying to be a different person every wedding day. Plus, a 12 hour day will break you of any act and your true self will come out after all.
Communicate confidently and lovingly.
Present your package options and prices confidently. You’re worth what you charge. Explain the value you offer, and what makes your style unique.
After awhile, you may forget important details mentioned, like the fact that Aunt Sally made the brides’ veil. If you remember this and get a photo of Aunt Sally putting the handmade veil on the bride, you’ve just offered the bride something special no other photographer can.
Best of luck! Happy consulting!