Post # 1
Hello brides and brides to bee!
I am hoping to get a good thread going here that will benefit us photographers who are buzzing around, which in turn may benefit you too.
I noticed in a recent thread, a certain bride to be was mentioning how she liked that one photographer made some smiley faces in her emails. That got me to thinking, I could really use some inside information on just what you ladies like and dislike when you are in email communications with photographers you are shopping. This does not need to pertain just to smiley faces, but anything you can think of. Obviously, quick email communication is bigtime important. Aside from that though….fire away!
I hope I don’t get in trouble for making this topic, but I’m honestly just looking for some good advice that will help me and any other photog’s who read this. I often wonder just how friendly to be in my emails, as sometimes it can come accross as unprofessional.
Post # 3
I think timeliness is key. I have my heart set on a certain photog – actually a couple that does it together. At first, I got their pricing and knew I couldn’t afford them. THey emailed me again and said they would talk it over and see if they could work within my budget and they would email again in a few days. That was about 2 weeks ago. They are the ones who contacted me the second time around so I’m confused. It feels like they are shopping around for the client with the biggest budget. I can understand that, but just communicate in a timely manner!
Post # 4
I agree that timeliness is key. If you’re a little late due to emergency, it’s not a big deal but mention that in your reply.
Next, spelling and gramma mistakes. It’s not a big deal if it’s one or two but if it’s rampant, it just shows that you don’t care that much about the person you’re communicating to.
As for smiley faces, I personally don’t think that would make me like a vendor more or less. I think over using emoticons would actually come across as non-professional. I would reserve it for statements that may be misinterpreted as harsh.
Friendliness is key but that shouldn’t be confused with overly casual. It’s great to be excited about a recent blog you posted or an experience you shared with your bride but it’s not necessary to act like you’re the bride’s best buddy since childhood or something unless you really are.
Another thing is that I appreciate vendors to be honest and clear about their intentions so we can both waste less of each other’s time. This comes into play when discussing budgets and services offered.
One example: (really minor but I guess it’s just something on my mind) My photographer offers digital rights to all my prints plus all the other a la carte services (like photo ablum, prints, canvas, etc.). She’s great in getting all the digital prints to us rather quickly after our wedding which I really appreciated. However, I would expect a vendor to provide information about how I can procure her other a la carte services (e.g. photo album, print) together with the mailing of the digital prints. But nothing. I emailed her but never got back a reply. I wonder why she isn’t marketing her service and not interested in my business after giving me my digital rights? I later found out that photographers don’t usually make profit from those services because the printing services are so expensive. I’m guessing that’s why she’s not that motivated to market her other services post-wedding.
Regardless, I guess I don’t really care if she gets back to me because I’ll just procure those other services myself without going through her.
Post # 5
<h2>I think your responses are going to vary from person to person. Some people expect professionalism, others don’t care. I expect people to be professional when I am paying them a lot for their services. If they are my friend and I’m only paying them a little then I don’t care; but if you have a legitimate business then you need to act like a businessman. I don’t like letters that use internet slang or say things like lol. I don’t like it when people just write back sentences without addressing me first. You don’t need to say “Dear Amariem25”, but at least say “Amariem25,”. I also don’t really like it when people leave in their emails “Sent from my iphone”. Couldn’t they just delete that? I also agree timeliness is key. I check my email a lot. I appreciate getting responses that day or within the next two days. If I don’t hear from you for a week I assume something is wrong and you may not be interested in being my vendor anymore (which is scary, especially if I already gave you a deposit). If you aren’t going to be able to respond to your emails right away the kind thing to do would be to set-up an out of office reply that says when you will return to your email. </h2>
Post # 6
@Amariem25 – that iPhone thing is added in by the iPhone automatically in the signature, and you can go in and delete it or edit to not have it added in, but it is kind of a pain to delete on a case by case basis.
I think email and phone communication is key. I know I booked my photog because she was awesome AND because she was always great at getting back to me. She kept a conversational, pleasant tone in all of her email communications, and it felt like I was dealing with a friend from the beginning, and I really love that about her.
I also think being upfront about deadlines for everything is very important, and sticking to it. It’s fine if my engagement session takes six weeks to edit, but please tell me it’s going to be six weeks and get it to me in that time frame – and, if you don’t, email me well before the six weeks is left to let me know what is going on.
Personally, I hate when people use LOL, don’t capitalize or use punctuation correctly, or include emoticons in emails, especially professional ones. Maybe down the road you can include a smiley face, but wait until we’re a bit better aquainted.
I also really like when vendors are upfront with their pricing, and don’t make me beat around the bush for it. When I was looking for a photog, I didn’t email or schedule meetings with those who wouldn’t email me a price sheet that they were willing to personalize and help fit into my budget. In one case, I had a photog continue to try and contact me, insisting we needed to speak on the phone before I could see his prices. He got my voicemail once, which had the name of my business on it (which is wedding related), and he assumed I was a wedding planned, and immediately emailed me his prices. I thought that was weird.
Post # 7
Excellent posts so far! Keep them coming. I’m hanging on every written word, enjoying the inside information. Thanks.
Post # 8
I liked that our photographer initiates conversations with us. So, for example, our wedding is in 9 days, and about a week ago he emailed us to remind us that we should have a phone date to go over final details. Then he had a list prepared of things he wanted to talk about. He is always timely and friendly in his communication, and acts like my Fiance and I are the greatest couple he’s ever worked with. And he manages to do this in a way that feels totally sincere. Also, today he emailed me with teaser pics from a wedding he shot in our venue two weeks ago. LOVE this guy! Michael Simon, for those of you in NYC.
Post # 9
Wow, now you all have me paranoid about what I write in emails! Personally, I feel like the typed word is difficult to interpret without emoticons at times. I would never want a client of mine to feel like anything I said could be interpreted as pushy or unfriendly, so I am always tempted to throw in the smiley.
I do hold back though, because to some it does feel unprofessional. I guess it depends on the client… if they start using them with me, they are likely to get one or two back.
Oh and thanks Tikki for starting this thread, it certainly is interesting reading.
Post # 10
On the subject of timeliness, it is important to stick to any deadlines that you agree to! I started talking with a vendor about favors. We had a lengthy discussion about what I wanted my custom design to look like. The conversation ended with the vendor giving me a date that they would e-mail me a mock-up of the design. That date came and passed and I heard nothing. I called them a week after the date and got “Oh, I’ve been busy – will get it to you soon.” After 2 or 3 calls with no mock-up – I let the vendor know I wouldn’t be needing their services. While I still would have had plenty of time for them to complete the project, I saw them not sticking to deadlines they had set as them not taking my business seriously. Although they weren’t a photographer – the same principle applies. If you tell you will get a client a proposal, quote, teaser of their engagement pics, etc by a certain date – make the deadline! And… if the unthinkable happens and you just can’t make the deadline, be proactive in contacting them to advise them of the delay instead of leaving them wondering what’s up.
Post # 11
I think emoticons are ok for email corresponses for the vendors, but certainly do not overuse them. If used in the right way, it makes the vendor somewhat more personable, but PLEASE spell the words out correctly. No “nite” for tonight, “bc” for because, and please don’t call me “j”, etc. I don’t care if you send the message from a smart phone or not. If you can’t type correctly on the phone, don’t, wait until you get to a computer. One photographer did that to me and I could not stand it. 🙂 And what was worse is that she ended up canceling our appointment the last minute for a poor reason. That’s NOT nice, either. Needless to say, I didn’t bother to reschedule with her.
I also much appreciate it when photogs and any other vendors respond with a business day, 3 days max. Over that, I start to wonder what is going on.
I also prefer when vendors are upfront with their information and what they offer. My Fiance and I find that it’s much easier to come up with questions when a photographer has presented us with all their pricing, policy, etc. than when photogs sits there and wait for us to ask them questions.
During interviews, please bring lots of pictures to show, preferably from one wedding and not just the same pictures you have on your website. It’s just not to decide on which photographers’ work you like better when you have not much to look at.
I think that’s all for now. Hope this helps. 🙂
Post # 12
This feels a little like a survey, and not really a discussion.
Post # 13
Mine might be a little repetitive, but I’ll chime in. Regarding emails/correspondence:
-Timeliness in responding
-General friendliness in the email
-Responding to ALL the questions I’ve asked in the email (I hate when people respond to one or two things and then you have to write back)
-And DEFINITELY grammar and spelling. It drives me nuts when a person I’m dealing with for business purposes cannot use proper spelling and grammar. It comes off as very unprofessional.
That said, my photographer is fabulous at all of these things :o)
Post # 14
Here are a few things that my photographer did that I really liked:
– LOTS of pictures on her website, so you can see what her work is like
– Prompt in returning phone calls and emails, and very straightforward about costs, what the package included, and how long things would take. My wedding proofs ended up taking a week longer than what she had said, and she emailed me right away to tell me about the delay and gave me an adequate explanation.
– Friendly, NOT pushy, and very laid back. She also gave me many great tips on how I should time certain things on the wedding day based on her extensive experience.
– Asked for a list ahead of time of family members to expedite the formal proofs as well as “must have” shots – and she didn’t miss a thing!
Things I did NOT like about photographers we didn’t hire:
– Mainly, PUSHINESS. I really dislike vendors who try to pressure you into getting the most expensive package saying that otherwise your wedding photos (or whatever) are going to be horrible. It’s just not true and I HATE that!
– I also don’t like vendors who go on and on as to why other vendors suck. I want to hear about YOU on your own merits. What do YOU have to offer other than insulting other vendors?
– Not straightforward with price/costs.
– Too expensive (haha!)
Post # 15
What great information! As always, communication is key, which seems to be the running theme with the posts here.
Post # 16
Ooh, timely question. I’m planning my wedding long distance so for one photographer there will only be one in person meeting before hand and with another there won’t be any (if we book her). The emails with both have been great so far and very responsive.
I’d appreciate a little more chattiness though. I think this applies mostly to long distance because I’m nervous about our personality match and it’s hard to get any kind of vibe over two emails total. I don’t want to feel like I’m bothering them or gushing about my wedding but I really want to get to know them a little bit.
So my advice would be to be open to a little more communication and chattiness with long distance clients that can’t meet you in person.