My #1 Tip for New Boudoir Photography Businesses
One of the most common questions I get asked as a seasoned photographer is, “How do you find, and book, all those new clients?”
But the truth is, I don’t find ALL new clients ALL the time. I have clients who are returning for their second, third, and even fourth sessions. In fact, repeat business makes up a majority of my clientele.
For example, my client, Pattie, just finished her THIRD session with my boudoir studio a few months ago. She was a little bit nervous because I’ve photographed her boudoir session every two years since 2017, and this time my associate photographer, Ashley, would be the one behind the camera.
But because I’ve built so much trust with her over the years, Pattie ended up LOVING her experience. And it’s because I’ve created a session experience that’s 100% repeatable and my clients know what to expect.
THAT is my #1 business tip for new boudoir photography businesses — make your business repeatable.
If you want that kind of repeat business, you need to create an experience that makes clients want to sing your praises around town to anyone who will listen. And the easiest way to do this is by creating a client experience that’s REPEATABLE.
So today, let’s break down why this is so important.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Bookings Secret: Why EVERY Boudoir Photographer Needs to Work with Models 🤯
- Session Prep Guide for Boudoir Photographers
Photography Business Tip #1: What Makes the Most Sense For YOU?
The first thing you need to think about when creating your boudoir photography client experience is what’s the most logical flow. Now, that doesn’t mean everything needs to be super polished or structured or on a rigid schedule. You CAN leave room for fun.
But it’s important that your consults, ordering sessions, hair and makeup, and the session itself — the process of it all — make sense for YOUR business. Because these are a few things that can make or break your client experience.
So think about…
- Do you have a studio space?
- Do you live NEAR your studio?
- Does your makeup artist come to you?
- Do you send your clients to makeup?
When I lived near my studio, I ran EVERYTHING from the space. I did in-person consults, ordering sessions, hair and makeup….everything was done at the studio.
Then, I moved away from the studio and I moved consults and in-person sales (IPS) sessions to Zoom. Because I lived 2 hours away from my space, I also sent clients to hair and makeup at a salon because it was faster AND easier.
Now with hiring an associate photographer, things have shifted a little bit, but all of that to say…if it doesn’t make sense for you, then don’t do it.
Because if you’re not having a good time because you’re always running around trying to make things happen, your clients won’t have a good time either.
Photography Business Tip #2: Create a Consult Script
Something I always recommend for my coaching clients is to lay out your exact consult script. These can be very nerve-wracking, so having a script means you have much LESS to think about whenever you’re on a call.
How do you want it to go? What are the most important pieces of information? How can you make sure you clearly and accurately get your point, and value, across?
Are you going to read it word for word? Of course not! But you want to make sure you’re covering everything you need to cover on each consult to actually book the client.
Here’s how I run mine:
- Introduction and chat a little bit to get to know each other.
- Open the floor for the client to ask me any questions they may have.
- Talk about logistics like outfits, when the album is needed, etc.
- Briefly touch on pricing (this is discussed more at the sale session).
Now some photographers won’t take a consult UNTIL they’ve paid the session fee. That’s totally fine if that’s how you want to run it. But the way I see it…how do they know you’re the right fit if they haven’t spoken to you?
So much of a boudoir photographer’s job is making clients feel comfortable, and this is the first step in doing that. Client experience is everything.
Photography Business Tip #3: Add Structure to Your Sessions
Boudoir photography sessions can be fun, but they can also be exhausting when they run for too long.
I see a lot of photographers spending three-plus hours with their clients just at the shoot. And that’s WITHOUT including counting the time spent on hair and makeup. From my experience, clients tend to get exhausted after about an hour and a half. So you can imagine how tired someone may be after three hours.
So how do you make your schedule more efficient? You go into each session planning to photograph the exact same session. I’ve created this sequence of poses to get my clients comfortable quickly. And yes, I photograph it in the exact same order every time.
Does it still provide a creative, unique, and memorable experience for clients? Yep! Does it get boring? Nope!
Remember, the most successful photographers have created a repeatable business by doing the same thing over and over again. Your clients will NOT know you’ve photographed this exact session a thousand times. They just want to see how beautiful they are in the photos.
And to be honest, they probably WANT to see themselves in the photos that they’ve seen you post on Instagram or your website.
Photography Business Tip #4: Have a Plan For In-Person Sales Sessions
To in-person sale or not in-person sale, that is the question!
The truth is that in-person sales aren’t for everyone. What’s important is that you’re doing business in a way that’s profitable and comfortable for YOU.
That being said, if you DO want to do in-person sales, the easiest way to run your ordering sessions is to create a script in the same way you would your consults. And with the IPSs, the script is really more like a structure of how you want to keep things organized.
Being prepared is key!
Here’s how I run mine:
- Step #1: We run through the images, and then start narrowing them down.
- Step #2: Once we have them narrowed down, we talk about which album they are considering.
- Step #3: We narrow the images down again.
- Step #4: We run through the chosen ones one last time.
- Step #5: Then we take care of payment and I explain next steps (ordering, receiving, etc.)
I know it’s not super extensive, but having a game plan makes each IPS so much easier.
Make the client experience one they won’t forget!
And there you have it — a repeatable system! This is not only going to make your life easier, but it will also make your business more profitable. Remember the most successful and profitable businesses are just repeating those same experiences and processes over and over again.
Want to make sure that your repeatable process still leaves room for a great client experience?
My Session Prep Guide can show you how! It’ll help you see how you can help get clients comfortable with you — including a few poses to break the ice — with five pages FULL of info. You can get it here!