Good images and photography is only the beginning. Great overall photography is creating an experience that your clients value and appreciate. As a professional you have to know that your photography experience is just as valuable as the product you are providing. Your repeat business, growth, and reputation are dependent on your ability to provide your clients with a great overall photography experience. As a business owner your ability to create an experience is what makes your clients confortable with you and your processes. One of the keys to building value in your brand, product, or service is that you have to understand how clients valued their overall experience after working with you. In recent conversation about client experience with Famed Fashion & Commercial Photographer Matthew Jordan Smith he mentioned:
“I like to create an experience for my clients. I find out before hand what my clients like and make every effort to accommodate them. I will have my assistants bring in their favorite food, play their favorite songs, or burn their favorite type of candle set the mood and expectation for the shoot.”
During another recent interview with San Francisco based wedding and event photographer Colson Griffith he echoed Smith’s idea on providing value added services and the importance of making his clients feel special. Griffith, a former tech sales engineer, took the plunge into photography a little over 10 years ago and never looked back. Griffith works about 20-30 wedding and events every year and attributes his growing business to his the skills he learned as tech salesperson.
Griffith offers slideshows of some of his key images from the wedding ceremony that he shows at the reception. And he offers and actual 4×6 of the bride and groom shot on the day of the wedding that is mounted, framed, branded and packaged for each guest attending the wedding.
In the last few years there has been an influx of photo booths and backdrop stations popping up almost at every event. They are fun to experience but they don’t work aesthetically for every venue or style of wedding. Griffith realizes this and that’s why he offers clients a framed print on site option as an alternative which feels adds value to his business and an understanding about his clients need.
Printing on site is a logistic challenge for most photographers and involves patience, timing, and technical know how. The quality of a print on site photo can vary with different printers and Griffith knows this. He never sacrifices quality over cost and prefers DPN’s DS40 dye-sub to the rest of the field printers on the market. No matter what the circumstances are, a quality image is always contributing factor in how a client perceives you, your product, service and brand. A poor quality image affects your clients experience in a negative way and could mean that someone else offering a better experience could edge you out of a job in the future.
Seeing Griffith pass out his “key print image” of the bride and groom to the guest and their reaction to the quality of the photo was priceless! One guest commented, “Where did you get this printed and how did you do it so quickly? Are there photo labs still open this late?” People were talking about the quality of the photo all night. Griffith understands the value in delivering a high quality image on site and he also believes that:
“The quality of your product is an important measure of who you are and where you are and how you perceive your own offering”
I spoke with long time Photographer and 2010 Kodak Gallery Elite winner George DeLoache on his thoughts about client experience and he mentioned:
“My brand perception and how people perceive it is just as important as the images I create. My work and what I present is pretty consistent. I want to my customers experience to mimic that. Winning a high honor like the Gallery Elite heighted my brand value in terms of the quality of work in the eyes of my own clients, which built instant value in my work.”
No matter who you are or where you are in your business, the quality of your choices is going to make a difference in the end result. If you win an award or offer your clients something special make sure it add value to your operation, your clients, and heightens your brand.
Keith is a Professional Freelance Photographer specializing in corporate event photography, executive portraits, and editorial assignment work in the health care, computer technology, biotech, and real estate. Keith’s work is regularly published in various trade magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Nationally, and Internationally.
Keith’s work can be viewed at www.[keithbdixon.com]