8 Ways to Retain Your Customers and Keep Them Coming Back

Focused young ethnic woman with credit card and laptop

It goes without saying that client retention is probably the most essential way to keep your photography business intact. You can have the skills of an experienced photographer or have all the right equipment, but without people, you won’t see the fruit of your labor roll into your bank account. After a successful session with a happy client, you might reap the benefits of that client sharing your name with friends. But what about having that same client returning to you for another job? 

There are easy and crafty ways to keep your clients coming back. Much of that is exceeding their expectations and giving them exactly what they were looking for in a photoshoot session, but it also reflects on how you present your brand that makes them want to rebook. We share eight ways to retain and keep your clients coming back.

1. Be Timely

a person using a smart watch

Right away, show up to your scheduled shoot on time! First impressions go a long way and you don’t want to keep your client waiting. You would be surprised at the number of photographers who have shown up late. Showing up on time demonstrates your professionalism and accountability, and tells your clients that you are dependable. Look up your route to the photoshoot and account for any traffic that might get in your way then. It’s also good practice to show up extra early to scout the location out. Try going the day before around the time you’ll meet your client to see what lighting you’ll have to work with. 

2. Allocate Enough Time for the Shoot

Crop woman taking notes in diary while sitting in park

Nobody wants to feel like they’re being rushed through the process. Make your client feel special and spend enough of your photoshoot time engaging with them. Be careful not to overbook your shoots directly back to back in case one overlaps another. Take your time throughout the photoshoot and get to know your client and don’t snap away as if you are in a hurry. If you do have another appointment after this one, allocate just enough time to get to the next location, and then some buffer so that you don’t look like you just rushed on over. Your client will remember how much fun they had with you and your personable spirit, hopefully keeping you in mind for the next photoshoot. 

3. Don’t Accidentally Overbook

Iphone on Notebook

With allocating enough time for photoshoots comes not accidentally overbooking. As the weather begins to warm up and families schedule shoots, it can be easy to say yes to everything and squeeze clients into whatever slot is empty. Check your calendar during busy seasons to prevent any overlap that can cause you to miss a client or be late, damaging your reputation as a dependable professional.  

4. Listen to What Your Client’s Want

Lady talking on smartphone and taking notes on paper

Just like building rapport to get to know your clients, begin right away by hearing out what they’re looking for during their shoot. Accommodate reasonable requests as best you can – your client will greatly appreciate how you can customize their experience specific to them. By getting to understand who your clients are on a deeper level, you may be able to provide extras that they didn’t even ask for. Shooting extra shots, labeling them or falling a little overtime to meet their expectations will keep your clients coming back when they feel like they are important to you. Be careful not to overpromise, however. It is just as important to keep in mind that you can deliver what you can control, but there might be some requests that aren’t likely. They may be out of your expertise level or you may not have the right access. Do what you can and learn to adjust the things you can control to tailor the experience to your client. 

5. Make Your Services Simple to Understand

Person Holding Smartphone While Sitting

Beyond normal client interactions, keeping a simple structure for your services makes it easier for anyone to understand and create a straightforward process for the next time they book. Avoid any complexities or additional variables that will make your packages confusing. Your clients should be able to make a quick and educated decision when they’re selecting which package they’ll book. Most of all, don’t create any “fine print” details that may end up surprising your client the day of. There’s nothing worse than getting charged for some extras you weren’t aware had cost additional. Simple language will keep your clients coming back to book you. Here’s how you should lay out your services:

  • Package name
  • Package price
  • What shots you provide in this package
  • Number of hours
  • Number of images your client gets to keep

An easy way to understand how to talk to clients is to assume they’ve never worked with a photographer before. As a professional, you want to educate and inform clients so they can see the value in you. They won’t be afraid to pay top dollar when they know they’re in good hands. You’ll keep your photography clients coming back for more if you can keep language simple and your expertise intact. 

5. Send Email Blasts

a hand holding an iphone

If you’re able to collect your clients’ emails, add them to a mailing list where you are able to send regular newsletters out. This keeps your name top of mind in case anyone is looking to book a photographer at any point. Create a regular schedule in which you can send newsletters out. Maybe highlight a couple of recent shoots you did as long as your client gives you the approval to use their shots in your emails. Include any new work you’re offering, sales and specials or extend personalized offers to past clients. These can come during special occasions where they’ll be able to purchase a package and get a free print. Zenfolio is one great resource you can use to accomplish these all in one. Maybe a customized ornament if it’s around Christmas. Try sending emails out weekly, if that’s not possible, twice a month or once a month. These serve as “reminders” to your clients that they know a photographer who they can rely upon and will book again in the future! 

6. Consistently Deliver High-Quality Images

Family Bonding During Quarantine

This is a bit of a given, but deliver high-quality images and high-quality service. To keep your clients coming back, some form of uniformity between what your portfolio shows and what you provide during your appointments will speak volumes for your reputation. Customers won’t want to feel like they’ve been played into a trap and receive less than what they expected to receive. They will be expecting the same level of quality that drew their impression to your photography services in the first place. Continue your outstanding work and your client will be happy!

7. Have an Easy Client Management System

Black Dslr Camera

Every photographer’s journey has to start somewhere when it comes to organizing a portfolio and managing clients. Photography client management is easy on PhotoBooker. You can keep all your bookings in one place and bookmark all the clients you’ve worked with. PhotoBooker’s client system is easy for you to use – not to mention simple enough to set your portfolio up to attract those clients in the first place. By managing your customers in one place, you’ll have a better organization system that allows you to keep in contact and retain them for future appointments.

8. Give and you shall receive 

Brown Jest for You Box

Make your client feel like the most important person in the world and note their special milestones. Take the extra time to put anniversaries or birthdays into your calendar so that you can send specialized prints as a gift wishing them well on their special day each year. This will encourage your client to keep you top of mind for the next time they book a photographer. You can create lifelong clients when you take the extra time to not just send a follow-up email saying hello or thank you, but to customize a print that demonstrates their special day is just as important to you. This will keep your relationship going and the clients you’ve acquired will be much easier to keep than always seeking new ones.