To be a successful boudoir photographer, you absolutely must provide an outstanding client experience. If your photos are bomb-diggity but you leave your clients feeling a little “meh” about their interactions with you, you are unlikely to excel.
Hopefully you’ve been following along in this six part series in which we’ve been discussing ways to provide a kick-ass client experience in your boudoir business. If you’re just tuning it, I’ve got you covered! Read up on the first three parts here and here and here.
WHAT IS A PHOTO REVEAL?
If you are in the boudoir business and are not currently doing in-person photo reveals with your clients you are doing yourself and them a great disservice. There are so many facets of this business that can be customized based on your business situation, but I HIGHLY encourage you to change it up if you aren’t doing reveals now.
A photo reveal is your opportunity to blow your client’s socks off with their finished images. After you’re done showing off their images, you will assist them in ordering what they need (and DEFINITELY what they WANT). On top of it resulting in a major increase in sales, if executed properly, your client will feel far more fulfilled and like they’ve just been a part of a luxury experience as opposed to a half-assed sales tactic.
EDUCATING YOUR CLIENTS ABOUT THE PHOTO REVEAL
If you’ve been following my tips in the first couple of articles, you should have already educated your client about the entire boudoir experience process from beginning to end. However, as with most things in this industry, your clients need a little reminder.
After their shoot, remind them of the process from that point forward. Let them know roughly how many images you will be retouching, what you will do at your photo reveal, the average most clients spend on photo products, and how long it will take from that point to have their products in-hand. Then we actually schedule their reveal appointment right then. That way, there is no question about how long it will be before they see their images, and no question is left unanswered.
Setting them up to know how much to expect to spend is so incredibly important. This should be at least the 2nd or 3rd time that they’ve heard this figure range from you. I tell them on my website where my packages are, again when I respond to their inquiry, and again in preparation for their reveal appointment.
2 days before their photo reveal, they receive an auto-reminder from my studio management program reminding them of parking instructions, how long the appointment will take, exactly what we will do at the appointment, and (again) that they should be prepared to place their order (and what payment methods I accept).
GETTING READY FOR THE REVEAL
I take my reveals seriously, y’all! You know when a woman is about to take her clothes off for a stranger AND a camera and she stuffs her face with pastries and mimosas? Yeah…me neither. The reveal is your time to pamper her and offer her to something special.
My signature studio scented candle is lit (EXPERT TIP HERE: SIMPLE scents like citrus, or lavender will aid in getting people to buy more over complex blended scents. No joke.) at least 30 minutes before they arrive. I make sure the place is spotless. A neat space is calming and luxurious. Clutter creates anxiety. I change my sign to say “Welcome back, Laura!” (having a little sign at your studio is just one extra touch to personalize the experience), and I set out some goodies.
My reveal spread will change depending on what time of day, and what my client is like. Sunday morning photo reveals are my favorite! I offer up loads of french pastries from local bakery, set out all the goodies to make different mimosas, a little plate of chocolates, bottled water, and pretty napkins and plates. It’s basically a mini bar sitting on the table right in front of them at their reveal appointment.
Music is huge. While my music for a photo shoot will be upbeat and runway-esque, my photo reveal music of choice is the “Electronic Chill” station on a radio subscription service. There’s little to no words, it’s not as formal as classical (which wouldn’t suit my target client), but it still gives an upscale trendy vibe.
I set my albums out in a not-too-neat stack (ANOTHER EXPERT TIP: If things are TOO neatly stacked, a client is less likely to pick it up on their own because they won’t want to mess it up.) off to the side of the table. I also keep all of my products nearby. I prefer not to crowd my client with every product under the sun so not to overwhelm them.
I have the slideshow all cued up and ready to roll on my TV (via Apple TV, but you could also just do this on your computer screen).
THE GRAND REVEAL
I first show a slideshow of my favorite favorites (usually 20ish) from their session. We watch that a good 3 times and each time point out new things we love about certain images. I gush about her and tell herhow freaking incredible she looks. I give her verbal permission to praise herself because oftentimes women otherwise hesitate to say anything positive about themselves and just sit there in stunned silence.
I turn to her and say… “WELL!??!” at which point she inevitably lets out an inaudible squeal and grabs an album to envision her own images in.
I will then review her entire collection with her on my computer (in Lightroom). I let her know that she doesn’t have to flag any images at this point, we’ll just go through them first and then review her options. After I go through the whole collection, I will ask what she had in mind for products, though with all the communication we’ve already had, I likely already know.
Showing her absolutely everything is not necessary, though I do show at least 2 products that she may not have mentioned, likely because she didn’t know it existed. A great add on for me is a “HERS” mini album and a nightstand image folio. Digital downloads are almost always a given.
After she has a good idea of the product offerings and how awesome her images will look in them, we’ll go back through the images one by one and I will ask her to say “KEEP” or “PASS”. “Pass” means that she is removing the image from the pile, never to be seen again (they aren’t deleted, just moved out of the pile). “Keep” means that it’s going in the “YES” pile, which CAN later be narrowed down if needed.
I used to offer “Yes”, “No”, or “Maybe”. “Maybe” was a giant time waster. “NO” just sounds negative and if you have a few “no’s” in a row, it can be a big ego crush for your client AND for you!
Make sure you have a pretty price list for her to look at so it’s not like you are pulling figures out of thin air. Also make sure your payment acceptance system is easy to use and professional.
If your client has purchased something like digital files from you that will be leaving the studio with her, be sure to have pretty packaging on-hand! My clients almost always leave with a branded crystal hard drive in a little black silk bag on the day of their reveal.
If this all sounds like a whole lot of work and preparation… you’re right. But all of these things combined will ensure that your client feels over-the-moon satisfied with the level of service you’ve provided her at her photo reveal appointment.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A STUDIO?
Not having a studio does not mean that your level of customer service has to fly out the window. In fact, coming to her home could be viewed as an even higher level of service because it’s likely far more convenient for her. Bring a picnic basket full of wine and goodies, have a tote full of your products, and still over-communicate just the way you would if she was coming to you.
If you prefer to meet in a public space, make sure that you are finding a great place with privacy and showing up plenty early so that you can secure a booth in the corner of the room so that no one else will be able to see your screen. Oh, and pick up the tab. Just do it.
So go forth and kick ass with your customer service by offering photo reveals, and doing the shit out of them!