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Thread started 07 Jan 2011 (Friday) 19:49
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Wedding Consultation Questions...

futrcndctr's Avatar
198 posts
Joined Oct 2009
Orange County, CA
Jan 07, 2011 19:49 |  #1

I'm now at the point where people are coming to me asking for quotes for wedding photography. I've second-shot quite a few times and feel like I'm at the point where I can successfully do this. I'm getting ready to meet with a potential wedding client and I've got all my questions that I have about the event (date, location, wedding party, type of shots she's looking for, etc.).

A couple questions for those of you without a studio. Where do you meet to discuss the details of the wedding/pricing/etc.? Any general advice for someone doing this for the first time? This is quite a bit different from a family session, so I want to make sure all my bases are covered.

Thanks for your help.

5DII, 24-105L, Canon 50L, Canon 70-200/2.8L II, 100mm Macro, 15mm Fisheye, Sigma 1.4x and 2x TC, 580EXII, 430EXII

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gravy ­ graffix
gravy graffix's Avatar
1,134 posts
Joined Jun 2007
Logan Square and Joliet IL
Jan 07, 2011 20:18 |  #2

I never have a meeting in my town so I always go to them and usually find something quiet like a panera bread, or the Starbucks. Hopefull with free wifi.

Advice, talk WITH THEM, not at them, and if something is in common, use it, tell a relevant story.
Try to get in at least 10 min of conversation, then talk about their day. Prices come at the end.

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Peacefield's Avatar
4,022 posts
Joined Jul 2008
Jan 08, 2011 08:11 |  #3

All of your questions have been discussed many times. Do a search or at least check out some of the "similar threads" at the bottom of this one.

You can (and I have) meet anywhere including their home, a Starbucks kind of place, etc. My preferred place when I was still working without an office was to meet at their venue. For so many reasons, this is the best place to meet.

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AlexMoPhotography's Avatar
531 posts
Joined Mar 2009
Las Vegas, NV
Jan 08, 2011 09:59 |  #4

+1 in regards to Peacefield's post. However, I personally have had less success at Starbucks. Maybe it's the constant coffee grinding behind us?

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JMartel's Avatar
1,307 posts
Joined Dec 2009
Seattle, WA
Jan 10, 2011 22:32 |  #5

Not a professional, but I'm getting married in April so I was on the receiving end of this. I'm getting married at a hotel with a really nice ballroom so the photog and I decided to meet in the lobby of the hotel. Quiet, out of the way, comfortable chairs, etc. So, maybe at the venue? Just an idea.

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isophotostudio's Avatar
494 posts
Joined Nov 2009
Akron, OH
Jan 11, 2011 06:57 |  #6

When meeting photographers for their weddings, most clients have no idea how to start the conversation, they either don't know what questions to ask, or the terms to express what they're interested in. If you have all your questions typed up in a form you can use that to jump start the conversation. Fill it out with them even if you've already gotten the information earlier - once you start asking about reception times and locations the conversation develops on it's own and it's an easy leader into the type of photography they want done.

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Moogle ­ Pepper
231 posts
Joined Jan 2008
Jan 11, 2011 08:51 as a reply to isophotostudio's post |  #7

Find a comfy place and just ask them to talk about themselves. Roll from there.

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1,793 posts
Joined Jun 2009
North Carolina
Jan 11, 2011 08:56 |  #8

I'd start with... soo, when's the baby due?

LOL... no...

We also go to a Panera Bread or sometimes Atlanta Bread. Find somewhere nice, that isn't crowded or loud and do it at a time that isn't customer traffic heavy. 3pm is a good time. And get their first so that you can offer them a coffee/drink when they arrive.

As for the talking... well, that just depends on how personable you are.

What we do - Ask them about them... how they met, got engaged, etc. We also make sure to tell them these same things about us. From here... the conversation just tends to evolve on it's own. You'll spend an hour talking before you even get around to cost. If you can do this... chances are, they are now your client.

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Ray ­ Marrero
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1,676 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Joined Jul 2005
Jan 11, 2011 13:42 |  #9

I have had much success at Wegman's.

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Svetlana's Avatar
3,357 posts
Joined May 2008
Calgary, AB
Jan 11, 2011 14:39 |  #10

The best advice I could give you or anyone asking the same thing - get THIS BOOK.external link I cannot stress enough how helpful it had been in creating packages, consulting clients, ways to handle dicounts, etc...

I booked every single couple at Starbucks, well not right there, but after our meeting there. Becker said during his workshop here in Calgary that he sometimes booked consults at expensive hotel lobbies - it's the presentation. Also good place to meetn with them - the venue where the couple is having their ceremony.

Talk to your clients, listen to them, ask them about their wedding plans, make a connection BEFORE you start talking $$$.

Canon 7D, 5Dmk2, 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS, Canon 50 1.2L, 35 1.4L, 85 1.8, Canon 16-35L, Canon 100 2.8L IS Macro, Speedlight 580EX II x 2, 430 EX, enthusiasm.:D http://svetlanayanova.​com/external link

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NeoSoulPhoto's Avatar
252 posts
Joined Jan 2010
Jan 11, 2011 17:52 |  #11

Svetlana wrote in post #11619138external link
The best advice I could give you or anyone asking the same thing - get THIS BOOK.external link I cannot stress enough how helpful it had been in creating packages, consulting clients, ways to handle dicounts, etc...
connection BEFORE you start talking $$$.

Wish that book was available in hard copy. Thats a lot of money for something you cant hold in your hand...

I'll probably will still buy it though. Thanks for the link!​photo
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Cream of the Crop
10,116 posts
Joined Aug 2007
San Jose, California
Jan 11, 2011 18:06 |  #12

21 years as a sale person, sales manager and sales trainer...

Your first job in this meeting is to find out what they need... Ask a question, then shut up and listen to their answer... Biggest mistakes most people make are talking too much and not listening enough.

If you ask the right questions and listen carefully to their answers, they will tell you what they need, help you prioritize it, and give you lots of clues what they are willing to pay...

Once the fact finding is done, if you are ready with the answers you get to do a short presentation of what you can and will do for them, how much it will cost, etc. Be sure to ask more questions along the way, such as "Is that what you were looking for?", "That's what you wanted, isn't it?" "How does that sound?". At the end of your presentation, ask them if there is anything else they were concerned about. If there is, address it right away. If not...

Then ask them to buy, such as "Okay, I think we've covered everything. Shall we get the paperwork done now and lock in the date in my calendar with your deposit?" shut up and wait for their answer. This is another time many people screw up and just can't keep their mouths shut. Don't say a word. Let them answer. If they have any reservations, they will let you know and you might have to go back and address that concern, then re-ask them to buy.

It takes as long as it takes. Don't rush it. Just try to relax. Watch their body language. Emulate it and try to control it with your own body language. Sit back to relax, lean forward for emphasis. If they cross their arms, they are not believing something you said. Try crossing yours too, then uncross yours and sit back.... see if they do the same.

But don't put too much thought into it.... Just try to be yourself and treat them as you would want to be treated, if you were in their shoes.

I don't shoot a lot of weddings, but when I do I take a "shot list" menu along, that lists about 150 different specific shots. It's a great organizing tool and helps flush out all the details of what the client will want done.

I prefer to meet with them on their own ground... in their home, office or anther meeting place of their choice. They will feel more relaxed and comfortable there. Their home or office can give you a lot of clues about them. If there are lots of photos around, they will likely be good customers for prints or a photo album, for example. If the photos are of them and lots of different friends or family, they might be really good for some references.

If they prefer to meet in some more public place, no problem. But let them pick the location. That way they can't pull a no show or be an hour late and say "We got lost trying to find it."

Don't force it. If they are reluctant to commit, find out why. It might be as simple as they have a list of three photographers they are interviewing and you're the first one. In that case, find out when they are meeting with the other two and ask their permission to call them the day after they talk to the last one. Don't leave it up to them to call you. Ask what day and time to call them, then do so on at that time.

Also use your sixth sense during the meeting about whether it will be a "good fit". If you are uncomfortable with them and/or they are uncomfortable with you, the job could turn into a nightmare and might not be worth pursuing too strongly. Of course, it sort of depends upon how badly you need the job!

Alan Myers
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3) & other cameras, various lenses/access. - FLICKR (external link) - EXPOSUREMANAGER (external link)

Linda ­ Browne
65 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Jan 11, 2011 19:01 |  #13

I live in a remote area, so most of my bookings have been by phone and email. Good info from Alan. :)

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Wedding Consultation Questions...
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