Recently I've had quite a few client meetings, and it occurred to me that often people don't know quite what to expect when we meet up, what's the real point of it? For some it's about making sure they are going to have someone they can trust, for others it's about wanting to know we are going to get on ok. Some clients will have already browsed through my website and online galleries and be pretty sure they want to book me before we even meet, and others may have just picked up one of my business cards and decided to give me a ring. So what is the purpose of a meeting and what do we talk about?
Well, the answer is it's for all those reasons and more, and we actually talk about rather a lot.
I'm pretty upfront about putting a lot of information on my website, so quite a few clients will have seen my work, know my style, checked my prices, and read my FAQ through before making the call to meet. And that's great because it means when we do meet up, a lot of ground has already been covered and we can relax and talk about the fun stuff - your big day.
Other clients may have been referred by a friend whose wedding I've shot, or they may have been a guest at a wedding and liked how I handled the day. That's fine too because it hopefully means they like I how I work, or they trust their friend's opinion, and we can move on to talking about the specifics.
But let's assume you haven't seen my work already and I haven't been recommended to you by your good mate, what can you expect when we meet?
Ok, I like everyone to feel relaxed when we talk, so over coffee is good, usually at your house, but often in town somewhere - I like the Dukes bar or the Sun Hotel, but it could be your fave place, somewhere we can spread out and feel comfortable. A meeting usually lasts no more than an hour. I fill you in on a bit about me and how I like to work, we talk about how you met and how long you've been together, we get a feel for each other's personalities. It's important on the wedding day that we all feel relaxed with each other, not like strangers - it makes a huge difference to the pictures! We go on to talk about your venue and how many guests you'll be having, what elements of the day you want recorded on camera, how long you want the photographer there for? All day? From getting ready to the last dance? Or maybe just the service and some informal group shots afterwards? From there we can get a pretty good idea which package is going to suit you best and start talking about your photography likes and dislikes, it's ok we all have them. Maybe you love black & white, but your beloved prefers colour? You like getting the whole scene in, while they prefer close ups, it's fine we'll work it out!
I run through how I like to work on the day, and what happens after I've gone (I'll save that for another post), how soon you get to see your pictures and what you'll have at the end of the day to treasure your memories. I'll explain about the differences between low-res and hi-res images on CD, we'll see some sample albums and some finished books from other weddings and I'll explain how you don't have to decide on everything there and then, if the budget is tight but you have your heart set on an individually designed and bound wedding album, we might talk about how you can opt for that later as an anniversary gift. At the end of the meeting, I'll leave you with a booking form, and a shot list for you to think about what parts of the day you wouldn't want me to miss and so that you can chat between yourselves after I've gone to make your final decision. Hopefully you'll be happy to have me be your photographer, and a few days later you'll be sending me the booking form and deposit.
After that we'll keep in touch by occasional email or phone call just to update on plans and share thoughts.
How does that sound? Ooh, thanks I'll have my coffee black please, no sugar.