All over my website and in blog posts I keep mentioning the consultation that happens when you book a session. Sure, it sounds impressive and serious, but what is it? What does it involve? Where is it done? What bearing does it have on the booking? When does it take place? In this blog post I’m going to outline exactly the what, when, where and why of a photography consultation.
What Is a Consultation?
So, you’ve looked at my packages, we’ve emailed back and forth about the booking, and you’re thinking about the next step. While the basic details are all in place, there are still plenty of kinks to iron out. I need to know so much more in order to get you the service that you want, to ensure our expectations are aligned and make sure we’re starting this journey together in the right way.
It’s a meeting, a phone call, or a series of emails back and forth to get a sense of each other. It’s a way for you to make sure that you’ve chosen the right person for the job, and for me to find out exactly what I can do to serve you.
When Does It Happen?
I do consultations before bookings are made. I do this so that prospective clients know straightaway what kind of photographer and person I am. That way, we don’t get to a point in the proceedings when one of us realises that we have made an error and don’t want to work with each other. I also want clients to know that I am absolutely engaged with their needs.
A consultation can be a single meeting or a longer process of emails back and forth.
Where Does It Happen?
Ideally I’d meet you (and fiance if you’re looking at a wedding package) for a coffee at a nice cafe somewhere near your home or work. That’s not always possible, and I’m happy to do things by Skype or FaceTime. And sometimes that’s not possible, so email is my next preference. We all lead busy lives and I want to be as flexible as possible, so I’m happy to do whatever’s easiest for you.
What Purpose Does It Serve?
I really don’t need to tell you about me. It doesn’t matter to you what I studied at university, or what my favourite meal is. I don’t think I even need to let you pore over my portfolio in person, because you can do that without even leaving your sofa and putting real clothes on.
The consultation is an opportunity for us to get to know each other over a coffee, for you to tell me what you want and what your expectations are. It’s an opportunity for you to ask questions and sound out requests. We can brainstorm ideas together, focus on what excites you, and find solutions for problems. During this conversation I pay attention to everything you say and make notes. This starts to form the brief I work from during your session. My goal during a consultation is to listen out for the things about you that will help me to authentically tell your story, whatever kind of session you’re thinking of booking.
You can also look through samples of albums and prints, so that you can start to envisage your final product as something to display in your home or as a keepsake to remember this time.
Photography is an experience, not a service.
Once you’ve told me about your lives and we’ve come to know each other I can work out a rough plan of the session you’re looking for, and we can talk about it some more. I want any prospective client to leave a consultation feeling empowered to make decisions. Sometimes that decision will be that we’re not a good fit for each other, and sometimes it’ll be that we’re each others dream client/photographer.
You don’t have to sign anything then and there. You can take the contract home with you, and think about everything we ran through together. If we seem like a good fit for each other and you’re happy to book, that’s awesome.
Are you looking for a photographer?
You can book a consultation with me today! I’d love to hear from you and get to know you. I offer consultations for all of my packages, so if you’d like to know more then please get in touch.