When getting an inquiry from a client, I like to be as organized as I can be.  Most of the time, an inquiry wants to know about pricing.  I have my session fee listed on my website but that is the only pricing I have listed.  I do this because I want clients to contact me.  This opens the door of communication.  I don’t want them looking at pricing and then talking themselves out of booking a session.  I want them to email or call me so that I can start a conversation with them.  By doing that, they get more excited at the thought of investing in a session. 

It’s my job to use that first interaction to sell myself and my business.  This is when I send them my pricing information.  They get emailed a pdf file that has my collections and a la carte pricing for all of the products I sell. 

Once they book the session, I email them a Welcome Guide.  This guide has everything in it that they need to know in order to have a successful experience with me.  By having a Welcome Guide, it cuts down on the amount of emails you get from clients asking questions because their answers to most questions are in your Welcome Guide.  My Welcome Guide has several pages to include all of the information I want to give my clients.  You can decide how to do your guide by creating the layout yourself or purchasing a template from several vendors that provide them.

Here are 10 things your Welcome Guide should include:

1.  An introduction about you. Think of this as a way for your client to get to know you just a little bit more before your session.  I use this space to tell them a little bit about my family and things I love.  And include a picture! 
2.  Ideas on what to wear.  This is probably the one thing people consistently struggle with!  So do your homework and learn how to style people!  I personally wear black shirts, jeans and flip flops year round.  I don’t look like I can style someone, but I can!  You give me a senior’s closet and I’ll put her 3-4 outfits together in 10 minutes! 

3.  Preparing for the session.  I have a list of what clients should do and not do before a session.  Example:  Don’t have chipped nail polish.  Either have a fresh coat of polish on or take it all off.  Don’t wear a bright pink bra, a nude color bra is best.  If you need a haircut, do it a week before your session.  These are all important things that a lot of people may not think about.
4.  Reiterate your pricing.  You probably emailed your pricing already, but as a reminder, it should be included in your Welcome Guide.  You don’t need to list your session fee, but do include your collections and a la carte pricing, with images as well.


5.  Go over what happens after the session.  Many times, clients just have no idea what is next.  They need to know if it takes a week, 2 weeks or a month to get to see their images.  Let them know what to expect and when to expect it.
6.  If you do In Person Sales or use an online gallery, include that in your Welcome Guide.  Walk them through the steps of what to expect for ordering so that when the time comes, they are prepared.  For example, I specify that at the time of our ordering session, all paying parties need to be at the ordering session.  My time is valuable and I don’t want to do one evening of them looking at photos, another evening so Dad can see them and then a final ordering session so Grandma can pick out what she wants.  This is all spelled out in my Guide so that parents know exactly what to expect.
7.  Reviews.  These are great to include because clients like feeling reassured by reading reviews from others that have used you.  It makes them feel comfortable with their choice of hiring you as their photographer!
8.  Pictures!  Lots of pictures!!  A Welcome Guide is boring without pictures!  Then it becomes just a bunch of words with nothing beautiful to attach it to.  So show your best images.  I have 2 guides, one for seniors and one for families.  These two types of sessions require different pictures, as well as different ideas on what to wear and how to get ready. 
9.  Locations you prefer!  Many of my clients will let me know which photos of mine they have been drawn to, which helps me know that location and feel they want for their photos.  Having pictures in your Welcome Guide with some of your most popular locations will help clients that aren’t sure what kind of location they are searching for.
10.  Your Welcome Guide should represent you!  Colors, word choice, best photos, all of it should be branded with your company.  Your logo should be in there.  If you purchase a template that already has the words in it for you, go through it and change them to make it you.  Your Guide should have your voice.  If you’re fun and lively, speak with that voice in your guide. 
Amy Phipps Stockton California Photographer