The Customer Isn't Always Right...
Our CHECK YOURSELF Series is all about perspective.
Planning your event from the standpoint of both you and your vendor yields better results. Why read another blog that tells you what questions to ask, what concerns to express and other ways to plan on only one dimension? Do yourself a favor and prep before you select vendors for your upcoming celebration by checking yourself.
The 'CHECK YOURSELF' Series:
Do You Have What It Takes -- For Your Photographer?
You used it as an excuse to get an extra sweet & sour sauce at your favorite fast-food spot or the supermarket when you requested a doubled-bag for the 25 cans your cashier just rung up. Perhaps it slipped out after your waitress took way too long to bring water to your table or at the nail salon when you demanded a discount since your nails didn't dry correctly.
What phrase am I talking about?
You've guessed it: "The Customer Is Always Right!"
Although this cliche statement has made its way through time and space within the business world, it's overworked, overused and simply, not always true. As a Client, researching and selecting your Event Vendor is an important process. After you've made your final cuts and scheduled appointments with your favorites, having your inquiries, requests and even concerns on-site is expected. Having expectations for your vendors is your plan-giving right! However, understand that the booking process is a two-way street. Vendors have the same right as you do to decide whether or not they are interested in moving forward with your upcoming event.
Having expectations for your vendors is your plan-giving right!
We've had the pleasure of not only work with Lifestyle Photoz on several Wedding and Corporate projects but recently had the chance to chat with their Lead Photographer, S.Noel. He gave us great insight into his ideal clients, what he looks for before booking and what makes him apprehensive to move forward with an Event Contract:
1. What should a Wedding Couple and/or an Event Client do before shopping for a photographer?
Before a client decides to call the studio they should ask themselves:
- What do I need from my photographer?
i.e. directing and guiding them with posing, lighting equipment, more than one photographer, etc.
- What do I want from my photographer?
i.e. multiple locations, change of outfit, photography style, and
- How much do I want to spend on what I need and want?
Discussing what we offer makes the most sense once a client has a detailed list of what they need, what they want and their budget.
2. What questions should a Client and be prepared to answer if their photographer asks?
We've worked with several FLEUR Brides, so I'll answer this question as it pertains to a Wedding Client...
'Weddings' are a different ballgame for us because we have to be mindful of the Event Timeline their FLEUR OCCASIONS Wedding Planner gives us. Knowing the full spectrum of the event equips us to capture the entire day. Some of the questions we ask include:
- Where are the Bride and Groom getting ready? What are the exact addresses?
- Is the Hair and Makeup team coming to you or are you going to a salon?
- What time are the Bride’s hair and makeup scheduled to start?
- Do you plan on doing a first look (the Couple seeing each other before walking down the aisle)?
- If you agree to 'first looks', where would you like that to happen?
- Do you have any spots in mind where you would like to do Wedding Party and Bride & Groom photos?
- How many people are in your Wedding Party?
- Do you have any “must-have” photographs? (Specific poses beyond what is typically captured on a wedding day)
- Where is your ceremony taking place?
- What time will your ceremony start and how long do you expect it to last?
- Are there any specific rules to be aware of for your ceremony?
- What type of transportation will you have between ceremony and reception (if in a different location)?
- Will you be having a cocktail hour?
- Do you have a photo sequence/order of photos you'd like for us to follow?
- Where is your reception, if different?
- Are there any special/unusual parts of your wedding day that we should be aware of?
- Which FLEUR OCCASIONS Planner are you working with?
Knowing the full spectrum of the event equips us to capture the entire day.
3. What's your worst experience as a photographer?
My worse experience as a photographer would have to be something I went through when I first started. I was excited to book a client and didn't sign a contract with them before the event date. The Client promised they'd sign the contract and pay me in full the day-of, so I came on-time with all of my equipment and documents. Upon arrival at the gig, the Client told me to go home because they "didn't need me anymore".
I learned that day to 1. have a detailed contract that lists the agreed terms on paper, 2. have the Client sign the contract before committing to the Event Date and 3. require a deposit to ensure the Client is serious about booking.
My worse experience as a photographer would have to be something I went through when I first started.
4. What's your advice on how much to spend on Event Photography?
This question is the reason why we tell our potential Clients to have either a set budget for photography services or an overall event budget before discussing options. If the Client has a set budget they'd like to spend on services, it gives us the parameters we need to offer them what we have in line with what their event requires.
If the Client has an overall event budget, we simply calculate a percentage out of the budget (i.e. 12% of an overall Wedding Budget) to cover the expenses for the photo services their event requires.
Clients should have either a set budget for photography services or an overall event budget before discussing options.
5. Describe your ideal client...
I don’t necessarily have an “ideal” client, but I can appreciate a communicative one. Keeping communication open gives me what I need to ensure I capture every moment that matters!
Keep communication open!
Shopping for the Perfect Photographer in the endless sea of Wedding and Event Vendors can be quite the feat. However, finding the Vendor that matches your style and budget is only half the battle. Experienced and sought-after Vendors nowadays exercise their right to say NO to your upcoming Event and choose the contracts that best suit their brand, their goals, and their tolerance. But have no fear -- now you have a clear road map to being the Client every Photographer DREAMS of:
- know what you need
- know what you want
- know how much you want to spend
- be ready to provide Event Details (if applicable), and
- be personable, considerate and keep communication open
Now you have a clear road map to being a suitable Client for any photographer...
A Piece of Advice, From A Planner: After you have an awesome event, be sure to visit your Vendor's review links (i.e. Facebook, Wedding Wire, Yelp, etc.) and leave a review of your experience working with them. Leaving a review as soon as possible ensures you have your event fresh in your memory, and they will appreciate your prompt feedback.
Once you book your Photographer (and they book you), you can't say we never did anything for you.
Now...go check yourself.