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Client Workflows for Photographers | The Wise Photographer Podcast

April 9, 2020

I'm Chelsy, a single mom in a small town, who loves photographing weddings, and helping photographers build their own businesses

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Today we are chatting all about client workflows. 

So what is a client workflow? I want to quickly break this down so you know exactly what it is I’m talking about today! For me when I talk about client workflow, it’s a list of all the steps that you do to book your client, get them ready for their photoshoot, deliver your images, and what happens after that.  

Developing this list, or workflow helps you to stay on track, and helps you give each client the attention they deserve. This means you know what you have to do for work each day, so nothing falls through the cracks. It also can help give you your time back.  As a busy mom and wife, I know just how precious our time is. 

And  what’s the use of owning your own business, if it takes up all your time. And if done right you can surprise and delight your clients along the way.  

When I first started my business I had a rough idea of how this workflow would run.  There is a pretty safe bet that you have a rough idea of the steps it takes to run your business.  But, how much time have you really spent sitting down and making sure you are being as efficient and impactful with each step you take?  

If you’re listening to this in real-time it’s the first week or two in April in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic.  Chances are pretty high that you’re not shooting or even booking much right now as a photographer.

Now my workflow is something that I refine during my down months in the wintertime. It’s a great time to reset everything, but lucky you, you’ve got the time and the space to do the work on refining your client experience and workflow right now so you can hit the ground running as soon as the world goes back to normal. 


The best part about really taking the time to craft your own workflow instead of just copying someone else is that you get to design how it works. You have the power to outsource when you want or need, you have the power to be as hands-on as you want with your clients. And when you actually dig in and do the work yourself you can see the gaps that might exist in other workflows you might find floating around the internet. 

So let’s outline some key components of a great client workflow. First off, you can stop reinventing the wheel each time you book a client.  You will know what needs to happen in what order, and the tools you will use to get that done. When you sit down and thoughtfully think out each step you are able to infuse your brand into each part of the workflow.  This alone will give you more time to either spend with your family or work on other aspects of your business. 

Another advantage of a great client workflow is the ability to prepare your clients well.  When your clients are prepared for their shoot, they will naturally feel more confident in photos, and feel more taken care of, which is going to translate into happier clients! You are also able to set expectations for your clients.  When you set expectations you know where that bar is set, and just what it will take from you to exceed those expectations. 

One of the things that makes a workflow a workflow is that you can duplicate it easily over and over again. 

So how do you ensure you are able to complete each step the exact same way? You map it out and track your progress! There are so many great places to track workflows from a dry erase board, a piece of paper, there are some amazing digital programs like my favorite Trello. 


So how do you go about actually crafting a workflow that not only gives your clients an elevated experience but also makes your job a heck of a lot easier? 

The first step is to break your workflow into stages.  So what are the stages? Most sessions are going to break into four main stages. Inquiry, pre-shoot, post-shoot, and then ongoing/marketing. 

So let’s break down the inquiry stage. The inquiry stage is everything from the first initial contact to a deposit and signed contract.  So let’s start with the initial contact, how do you want clients to contact you? On Facebook, only on your website contact form, through Instagram DMs? Maybe you are using services like wedding wire or the knot. Is there any certain information you need from a client right away? Things like dates, names, email addresses, or locations? Are there any other questions you could ask that will pre-qualify your clients?


What are you going to say to potential clients? How are you sending them pricing information? Listen here, as I dive into the pre-session stage of a workflow and how this is extremely beneficial for your photography business! 

Sign up for the Photographer Workflow Worksheet here!

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  1. Now that we’re all staying home and not shooting weddings, this is the perfect time to work on marketing. Great info, Chelsey and lots of helpful tips. Thank you!!!

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