4 Tips for Ensuring a Great Wedding Experience with Leonardo Volturo
Are you looking to improve your client experience? This month, I share some of the ways we ensure a smooth and effective high-level wedding experience for our clients. Use these tips, and your own clients will be raving about you to their friends and family.
Constant Contact & Maintaining Great Service From Start to Finish
Melissa and I are very hands-on. We want our clients to have that high-end luxury boutique experience. And when you’re talking about those things, besides having a superior product, service is the most important aspect.
You all know the magnitude of a wedding. We want to make the entire time spent with us from initial consult through final delivery a great experience for everyone. That is why we are on top of everything, walking our clients through every step of the process. We build their timeline, help them select locations and outfits for their engagement session, and always let them know what to expect. And we aren’t afraid to give our opinion. We have clients texting us photos from dressing rooms, and we have no problem vetoing outfits and locations. They clearly see that we are heavily invested in the success of their images and event.
We are always sending emails and having meetings either in person, on Skype or phone, always letting them know what we need from them and what’s next. The other major part of this is responding quickly. Don’t leave your clients hanging or wondering what’s going on.
It’s this higher level of service and attention to detail that will separate you from the pack and have everyone singing your praises.
Control the Timeline: Getting the Time You Need
A lot of photographers like to just go with the flow or work off a schedule created by someone else. Our studio doesn’t leave our fate in the hands of someone else. No one else knows how we work, what we need to deliver or what our clients are expecting. Because we want to control our own destiny, we establish our timeline with our clients from the very beginning, and stress its importance in allowing us to deliver what they’ve seen and what they’ve hired us to produce.
You’re going to run into situations where a planner will want to control the day, or maybe a bride wants to jack with your schedule so she doesn’t have to add more time. This is when you need to reinforce the importance of getting the time you need on the wedding day. Does your client want what she’s seen you do? Of course she does. So drive that point across when planning the schedule of the day, and if you ever need to push back.
We’ve had to deal with this several times recently, and the end result is we got the time we needed, the client understood why and we delivered on what we promised.
Setting the Tone for Engagement Sessions
Most photographers tell their clients that the engagement session is important because “we use it to get to know each other.” While that’s all well and good, we use the initial consult and planning/constant contact to get to know our clients and their story. “Getting to know each other,” if we mentioned that at all, would be one of the last things we said.
We have three goals for the engagement session. We want to give our clients diversity in their images and the art for their home so that everything isn’t only from the wedding day.
Secondly, we want them to get comfortable being in front of our cameras. From the very beginning and throughout the engagement session, we’re coaching our clients, directing them, setting all of us up for success and a great experience. We’re giving them tips and tricks along with the typical posing, stressing all the small details and ensuring everything is perfect with their positioning, hair, clothing, etc. This shows them that we know what we’re doing and that we have control, and it allows them to relax and just enjoy each other and the session.
Lastly, after the engagement session, everyone knows what to expect when the wedding day arrives. You have established a relationship. You’re not just some random person showing up on their wedding day. You’ve “gotten to know each other.” They are excited to see you, they’ve told everyone about you. Their family has most likely heard about you and the experience they’ve had with you so far. They’ve seen the pictures. So on the wedding day, we’ll hear, “I feel like I already know you” or, “Can’t wait to see the amazing images from today.” We’ve had clients push for a longer cocktail hour because they want more time for pictures.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re actually on display during a wedding, and often the center of attention. Here are a couple of comments we overheard recently: “I love how they know everyone’s names” and, “There’s so much attention to detail.” At a wedding, you’re making a continuous impression on many people throughout the day.
When you walk in the room, introduce yourself. Find some of the key people and get their names. When we arrive for groom and bride prep, we go up to everyone in the room and introduce ourselves and get their names one by one. Remember that the more personable you are, the more relaxed those around you will be; the day will be easier and you’ll be on your way to great images.
Quick Tips for the Rest of the Day
- During the ceremony
- Be invisible. Don’t distract the guests with your movements, and don’t be noisy. Here it’s also best to shoot with longer lenses so you can keep your distance from the couple and officiant.
- Family photos
- Here it’s best to have your second shooter or assistant running the family list and getting everyone organized so you can shoot and get through this part quickly. Establish yourself early on, which helps when you’re trying to corral everyone for the group shots. Usually a couple of people will volunteer to help gather everyone for photos.
- This part should be a breeze if you’ve spent the engagement session prepping your clients. They know what to expect and you’ve coached them already.
- When working the timeline with our clients, we let them know that we typically do not stay for the entire reception unless they’re planning some grand exit that has to happen at the end of the night. The photos you take of the guests dancing at 9 p.m. will be the exact same photos you take at 10 p.m., except they’re more drunk and their dance moves are worse. Get all of the formalities out of the way, and you should be good to go.
If you’re one of the many photographers out there having a tougher time with service, communication or getting the time you need on a wedding day, these simple tips will definitely get you on the right track.