Restrictions are starting to lift, and brides who have held off on planning weddings are starting to come out of the woodwork. 21 and 22 are shaping up to be very busy for a lot of photographers including myself, which is super exciting, and a little nerve-wracking.
My inbox has been flooded with inquiries lately which I am super thankful for, and I hope yours is too! With the sudden onslaught of inquiries and bookings, there are some key tools and resources I have been using every day to keep things running efficiently. Today I’m sharing the top 5 tools and resources I’m using to keep everything streamlined, and efficient so I can keep in contact with potential clients, without leaving my kids on red while I do.
About halfway through January, I started seeing an increase in wedding client inquiries. Brides were finding me through social media, referrals, and google searches. September 4th seems to be the date to book a wedding this year in my area!
As bookings begin to pick up I wanted to take a minute to share some of the tools and resources I’m leaning on heavily right now. If you know me at all you know that I like efficiency. I like when things run smoothly.
The first thing on my list is email templates. Now I have an episode coming up where I’m going over the email templates I use in my business, but for now here are the highlights.
When we talk about building personal brands it can sound a little counterintuitive to use canned responses or email templates. Email templates do a few things for your business and your sanity. When you sit down and thoughtfully craft an email template, you are able to be intentional about the information you want to get across, as well as the voice you use when creating it. Often when we are emailing clients back quickly and shooting from the hip by writing new emails every time we can leave out some of our personality, or important information.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to send the exact template to each client. I like to think of my email templates as starting points, I almost always will add in things that make the emails more personal to each client.
I like for my emails to include helpful links to things brides might be wondering. By gathering up these links ahead of time and having them pre-linked in a template, I save a ton of time, and I’m able to answer questions for brides often before they even start looking for the answer.
Email templates save a ton of time. You are able to reply faster and have consistent experiences for your clients.
My first email template is what I call my lookbook email. This is the email I send when someone reaches out wanting to know my pricing, and if I’m available on their wedding date. This email is a bit on the longer side and includes a lot of information but it’s all information that potential clients might need before deciding if they want to work with me.
This email includes a link to what I call my lookbook. I’ll get into a bit more of what my look book is, in a minute, but basically, it has my portfolio, my pricing, and a few more things. Generally, people have filled out a form on my website asking for more information and want to see exact pricing. On my website I don’t share my full pricing, I do share a range of what the average client invests, which does a great job of prequalifying potential clients.
I like to keep that pricing link at the top of the email since that is the information they are asking about.
Next, I ask potential clients some questions about them as a couple, how wedding planning is going, and a few other questions that help me determine if we will be a good fit. If you head back to episode 3 we talked about how we don’t need to be the photographer for everyone. It’s impossible to photograph every single person who wants photos taken even in a small town! These questions help me to determine if this potential client is one of those clients I want to work with.
Wedding photography is a big deal, you work with a lot of people on the wedding day, the bride the groom, their friends, and family. There is a lot of pressure to get things right. I want to ensure I am the right person for the job, both for my client’s sake, and my own sanity.
The final question is about my packages basically it asks them to choose between my two wedding day packages, so when they follow up I know what package they are interested in, and I can send over their proposal.
The next thing this lookbook email contains is a link to testimonials from past couples I’ve worked with. Even though this is included in the lookbook, I link directly to that part of the lookbook. This helps to establish my authority, and build trust that I know what I’m doing, and that they will be well taken care of throughout the entire wedding photography experience.
The end of my email links to Instagram and some of my Instagram story highlights that help them get to know me a little better.
The email template I use the most is a pre-wedding day email this email goes out about 8 days before the wedding. This email helps to calm some nerves and help the bride get excited and ready for the start of wedding day photos. The first thing I photograph on a wedding day generally is the wedding details so things like the dress, flowers, invitations, jewelry, all of those fun details.
This email lists all of these things out so the bride knows what she needs to have ready when. One of the things I include is to make sure that the bride has her bouquets delivered by the time I get there so we can photograph those beautiful flowers. A lot of my brides get married on family farms instead of traditional wedding venues. Because of this, I like to educate my brides on choosing a location to get ready in. I explain that it helps to pick a room with windows and keep it clear of clutter. This might mean having the bride’s maids get dressed in a separate room so the room we are getting the bride dressed in is photo-ready.
I encourage my brides to forward this email to their maid of honor so she can help round up those details on the wedding day and help the bride pick a great room to get ready in.
The final email I use the most is my delivery email. This email includes the link to the couple’s wedding photos. It also gives instructions on how to download images ensuring that they back up their images, and lets them know how long I will keep images backed up.
I also chat a bit about how they can share images on social media. I personally don’t watermark my images because I don’t want them to take away from the beauty of the images. I ask my couples to tag me on social media whenever they share and let them know just how much this helps me to grow my business since I don’t pay for advertising.
I love benign able to save time, and ensure each client is getting all the information they need in each email I send them. This is why email templates are so vital to my business.
So my lookbook is a page on my website, but you could also create a pdf with the same concept!
My lookbook includes a bio about me and my business. My portfolio includes my wedding day photos, engagement photos, as well as some featured weddings. I like to include a full wedding gallery so couples know exactly what to expect. This shows everything including family formals and dancing shots. It also lets them get a feel of my editing, including if they will get all images in color and black and white, or if it’s just a select few in black and white.
The look book also includes my philosophy on wedding photography. This includes why I include engagement sessions with each wedding package I book. I also share love notes or testimonials from past clients. This helps to build trust, and brag on myself a bit.
The next thing the lookbook includes is pricing. Now I intentionally don’t share the pricing at the very beginning. I want them to see what is included first, I want them to see the photos, and I want them to read how great of an experience other couples have had with me before they see the pricing. I do not want to work with lower-budget weddings. I just don’t want to be working every single weekend, so in order to create the income, and the lifestyle I want to live I need to book fewer higher-priced weddings. Brides who are price shopping will look at the price first and then not ever even take the time to read through the rest of the information.
If brides take the time to read through all of the information first, and check out my portfolio, before getting to pricing, I know they are more likely to be my type of client, and book with me.
The final part of my look book is a frequently asked question this is where I answer questions like how many images will I receive, do I travel for engagement sessions, and when clients will receive final images. If I find that clients start asking some similar questions I always end up adding those questions to these frequently asked questions.
The next tool I’m using a ton is Honeybook and Trello I’m grouping these together because I do use them together for my client workflows.
So let’s start with Honeybook. Honeybook is a client management software or client relationship management software or CRM. (I had to look up what CRM was the first few times I saw it on a blog post or in a Facebook group.!)
Honeybook is where I house things like contacts, timelines, emails back and forth with couples. I also have questionnaires in Honeybook that I have brides fill out so I can keep all the information in one spot.
I use Zappier to connect Honeybook and Trello.
Trello is where I actually track each client’s workflow. You can go back to episode 23 on April 9th, 2020 for a recap of client workflows. I love using Trell of for this because I can see all my client’s progress from a glace in one spot. While Honeybook does allow you do create tasks, it’s a little clunky for me.
Plus the visual of Trello is awesome for my brain! If you want to see exactly how I use Trello, you can watch my walk-through video at Trelloforphotography.com and you can find out how to get your hands on my exact workflow and Trello boards!
You will also learn exactly how I hook up Trello and honeybook inside trello for photography.
So iCalendar is not the iCal app that comes on your iPhone. It’s a $3.99 purchase, but it’s the best calendar for your phone or iPad.
One of the things I love is you can set it to open to week view, month view or day view when you open the app. I personally love the month view. Now from the month view, you can actually see what appointments or meetings are scheduled. Unlike the native ical app where it just shows you the little dots. It syncs with google calendar, and you can sync your honeybook calendar with it. I love that I can color code everything in the app too.
My husband works an 8 and 6-day schedule so being able to see what days he is working and what days are off from a glance is so handy for this busy momma. I have used and wasted so much money on calendar apps in the past but this has been my tried and true for over 4 years now and I recommend it to my mom friends all the time!
I’ve got an episode planned in the future going over my welcome packet thanks to all the interest I had on a recent Instagram reel. If you want to check that out you can find me on Instagram @chelsywiesz – I know my name is spelled super weird but it works. – though I’m still a little bummed I’ll never find my name on a keychain!
Anyway, what do I mean by welcome packet packing station? So basically I have a shelf in my office that houses all of the things that go into creating my welcome packets. I have my welcome guides all printed out. I have the cards that I use to write my brides a not on, I keep a stack of the flat boxes behind the shelf so I can fold them up. I had the cutest little ring dishes made by a local potter and those are all stacked on the shelf.
I use stamps.com to print my shipping labels so I have my scale and my shipping labels on the shelf ready to go. I also keep a bag of crinkle paper i use for padding in the box there, and hte stickers that go on the outside of the box ready to go.
Having all of these things lined up means I’m not running around trying to track down all of the things. I can get it all packaged up and walk it out to the mailbox in just a few minutes. Even though I don’t shoot a high number of weddings each year I still want to make this an efficient system.
At the beginning of each year, I sit down and decide what I want to include in my welcome packets. I then will order just enough supplies to fill welcome packets for the number of weddings I want to shoot that year. Honestly, I tend to order 2-3 extra sets since sometimes I book brides well in advance. Now the boxes did come in a big pack of 50 or 100 I can’t remember off the top of my head. I keep the extras in the attic and just bring down the number I need for that year. It was cheaper to order those in bulk and that is something I’m going to need no matter what. – plus I’ve used them for gift boxes too.
All of these tools help me to be efficient with this sudden increase of inquiries, and bookings, so I can deliver a great client experience to each client without pulling out my hair!
I’d love to hear how is your 2021 and 2022 seasons looking? Have you seen an increase in inquiries? I’d love to hear from you! If you are not already part of our Facebook group you can search for Wise Photographer Podcast Insiders on Facebook.
That’s it for today’s episode catch ya in the next one!