The Photography-Client Intake Formula

3 Things Every Client Needs To Know Before They Come In For A Session

Have you ever gotten to the end of a shoot and thought, I wish my client had worn something different for this shoot

OR, I didn’t realize this was her first photoshoot ever… I wish I’d prepped her better!

Your client intake process is so important for the success of every shoot.  The intake process includes every interaction your clients have with your business before they meet you in person. 

For many photographers, the intake process starts on social media or on your website. Whether it’s a DM or an intake form, these first interactions are a huge opportunity to streamline your communication AND to educate your clients.  If you haven’t taken the time to perfect this process, let’s get started!

The more you can polish your intake process, the better your shoots will go and the happier your clients will be.


Here are three things every client needs to know before they come in for a photo sesh:

  1. What to expect

Every client who wants to work with you should be educated on what to expect.  This starts with your very first interaction: do you prefer to book your clients through your website or via email correspondence?  Direct your clients there.  Are there only certain days per week that you work in the studio?  Be upfront about that.  Not really into photographing studio sessions in the dead of winter?  Your clients should know that.

The more you can educate your clients on what to expect, the smoother your shoot will be.

There’s also a huge opportunity to educate your clients up-front about what the shoot will be like before they ever meet you in person.  My favorite way to do this is with a few great resources – I send my clients a PDF guide along with their welcome email that tells them EVERYTHING they need to know to have an awesome session with me.  I have versions of this for every session type (portrait, headshots, newborn and babies).  Creating a PDF that you can share with your clients ahead of time saves you from typing out the same email over and over, and makes you look super professional right off the bat.  Additionally, the more educated your clients are BEFORE they arrive, the better the shoot will go! 

(Want a ready-made guide to share with your clients?  Grab yours here!)

  1. What to wear

No matter how great the rest of your shoot goes, if your client shows up with unflattering clothing, your pictures will not turn out as good as they could!  There’s nothing worse than sending photos to your clients and having their critique be about their outfit.

If your clients don’t like how they look in their photos, they’re less likely to be satisfied with the shoot overall and less likely to 1. Purchase the images as artwork & 2. Have you take their pictures again!  While you can’t control what your clients will wear to the shoot, you CAN provide some great advice that will help them choose the perfect clothing! 

I prefer to do this with a small PDF guide with pictures for examples.  This can be super simple – and remember to choose options that are in alignment with your photography style. 

If you’re looking for some guidance on this or if you’d like to download a ready-made What To Wear guide, grab yours here!

  1. Your pricing packages

Last but certainly not least, your clients need to know your pricing packages FROM THE GET-GO.  Be transparent about your pricing and package options.  This will help you weed out the clients who aren’t the right fit for your brand and eliminate the people who are going to try to nickel-and-dime your services and packages!  I recommend having three options for your clients to choose from.  Remember, if you have too many options, you’ll scare away your customers.  Keep this simple and easy. 
Now, you might be wondering if you should have your prices on your website.  I don’t – and here’s why:

It’s easy for people to compare photographers based solely on their rates.  The kicker is, many people will want to pay you for your services ONCE THEY GET TO KNOW YOU or experience your brand… which means, you have a chance to WOW your customers-to-be with how you handle your intake process.  Be mindful of your communication style from the get-go.  Make sure you put your best foot forward and show your shimmering personality.  Trust me, it works!  


When it comes down to it, every client interaction is an opportunity to reinforce your brand image with professionalism and personality.  Make this fun, easy and enjoyable for your clients and yourself!  And remember, if you’re looking for a few templates that are ready-made to help you ROCK your intake process, make sure you check out the shop HERE.

Did you know I send out a weekly email FULL of my best advice for professional photographers?  Get on the list HERE.

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