Every photographer understands that client acquisition can be one of the biggest challenges as it relates to your photography business. Even in the best of times, the ability to acquire new clients can seem like a never-ending race. While the task of gaining new clients on your own isn’t a relatively new challenge for photographers, it has been especially difficult during the current health crisis. Despite current events, we had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with one of our photographers, Michele Blackwell, to discuss how she’s adapted her photography business this year and how she doubled her bookings with PhotoBooker.
Tell us about yourself
I was born in Philadelphia but really consider myself a California girl as I lived here most of my life. I have been a photographer for about 18 years, but photography really started as a hobby for me 20 years ago. I started taking pictures of my friends’ children and pretty soon people started hiring me to take pictures of their families too. It was always a side gig, until in 2007 when I went to work for a retail photography chain and really made photography a more permanent business. I loved being able to make Photography my full time job!
How has PhotoBooker helped you during the pandemic?
I had to make a transition from being a studio photographer to shooting outside. First couple of weeks, I had no business with everything shut down and the transition to shoot outside with families was hard, especially with little ones. As a professional photographer, client acquisition gets harder and harder every year because of cell phone photography availability so with the pandemic it has been tough but this is where PhotoBooker has been really helpful!
Before joining PhotoBooker, word of mouth was my main marketing strategy and where I got most of my bookings, but since I’ve joined PhotoBooker, my bookings and inquiries have gone up. I got 6 bookings in 3 months and I even had a returning customer which has never happened with any of the other platforms I’ve used. PhotoBooker generates about 50% of my bookings, this is a great solution I’ve been recommending to my colleagues.
Photo credit: Michele B.
Well when I first signed up I wasn’t expecting lots of success, I thought it would be like all the other platforms but I was pleasantly surprised to get multiple inquiries. PhotoBooker has really boosted my business, it gave me the most new inquiries and exposure to new clients. Other platforms have lots of rules and rigorous processes. I didn’t get a single family session through the other platforms and I didn’t feel like I was getting a lot of visibility. Some platforms also want to have the raw files and they handle the post production in house for you. As a photographer, this can really affect your reputation if the photo editing is not done the way you would edit and deliver the photos to your client. PhotoBooker’s flexibility and responsive customer support set it apart from other platforms. I would recommend it to all photographers!
What’s your favorite thing about PhotoBooker?
For me, inquiries are extremely important and the lifeblood of our business. None of the other apps allowed photographers to connect with the client before they book. I just did a shoot with clients from PhotoBooker and they are coming back for a 2nd shoot. That family emailed me 5-6 times with questions before they booked me on PhotoBooker. With another platform, it was really hard to communicate with clients and answer their questions. This feature is highly valuable. I love the Google calendar sync, it really helps me keep up with my busy schedule which is great.
What do you like the most about being a photographer?
Photo credit: Michele B.
I love it when clients love their photographs. When you create a wall-worthy image that you know someone will cherish for years to come, or you help someone put their best face forward to promote themselves or their business it’s very rewarding.
Any advice for new photographers?
I think you should truly like working with people. You have to be empathetic and understand that having a camera pointed at you is nerve-wracking, so helping your clients relax and making them comfortable is key. There aren’t really any tricks to it, just give them time to settle in and encourage them to be themselves. When people smile for me and my camera, I smile back. It just happens, a smile is contagious. As soon as you make them smile and laugh the session becomes fun and you can capture beautiful moments.