Being a photographer means that you have to be a people person. You can have amazing work and a great eye but no one will WANT to work with you if you have an awful personality or don’t know how to make your clients feel special. When you deliver extras for your clients and fantastic customer service that kind of thing goes a long way. I’m not saying let your clients step all over but don’t be afraid to speak up and suggest shots or settings that they didn’t think of.
When working a commercial or corporate job there tends to be a shot sheet or list of items to capture. It doesn’t hurt to go beyond the shot sheet and shoot some extras for your clients. In my experience clients love the extras because they have something new to play with for their marketing, video production, or what have you. Be as open and as awesome about your shooting as possible and walk your clients through your process…without boring them. Many photographers keep their craft to themselves and don’t include their clients in on their work. Unless you’re working alone and can do what you do at your own pace there’s no reason to make the experience for your client that much more bearable. Watching someone take photos can be boring unless you’re into the process so it’s our job to be engaging and at least a bit entertaining when dealing with clients. Having a sense of humor and some jokes ready to go will go a long way as well. Your charm is part of the package and that’s part of your customer service.
How else can you go above and beyond for your client? Make the process easy for them. Unfortunately many times when people hire a professional photographer they almost expect to get ripped off or a schemey photo package that forces you to not only pay for the photo service, but for the high res images, prints, and various add ons that were not mentioned at the start of the agreement. Tricky contract language will turn most clients off immediately. Protect yourself with a very straight forward and easy to understand agreement. When I shoot for my clients I deliver all full res photos in a curated online folder from which they can choose which photos they would want retouched if any.
You can also be more available to your clients and without sacrificing your personal or family time be a bit more lax with how late you take calls or answer emails. I feel that email priority is huge and even if you get a late night email you should answer it to the best of your ability.
Another great way to go above and beyond for your client are to edit a few extra photos that you personally liked from the shoot and give them a few more. Along with all of these little tidbits you may want to be early for your gigs, treat everyone fantastic, remember everyone’s name, and be a cool cucumber. Remember, you got hired for a reason and don’t need to be as nervous as you might be!