A few weeks ago, we put out a survey asking people questions about their previous photo experiences and their expectations when booking a photographer. I expected some insight that would be helpful for my business but I never expected to feel like I was doing something TOTALLY wrong. I realized that I’ve been making a huge mistake and here’s why:
Out of all the people who took the survey, nearly 90% said they expected to have a finished wedding gallery back within ONE week. Yes, you’re reading that correctly – an entire wedding day within a week. The other responses stated that they expected a portrait session back within hours. At first, I thought OH MY GOODNESS these people are nuts! After seeing that, I realized that my customers and potential customers weren’t the problem. Believe it or not, they aren’t crazy. It is MY job, as the professional, to properly relay information about the wedding experience and ensure that they understand ahead of time. This survey opened my eyes to the fact that my customers weren’t getting the education they needed on the process and, in turn, had an unrealistic expectation that I would never be able to live up to.
I understand most photographers do include a time estimate for finished galleries in their contract and expect people to read that but, the truth is, most people do not inspect contracts with a fine-toothed comb and, so, it is our job to let them know the import aspects and set the expectation ahead of time. Without educating them about your turnaround time, you are ultimately doing yourself a disservice. Your couples will love you up until the point where the wedding hype is over and they are ready to see your beautiful portraits, only to find out that it will be another 4 weeks until they see them. They will feel disappointed and suddenly your amazing service from the beginning isn’t so great.
I want to make a disclaimer that there is no shame in having a turnaround time that spans out weeks. How quickly you can get photos back to your couples depends on your workload and editing process, which is unique to each of us. The point is to properly educate them ahead of time as to how many weeks they should expect. Under promise and over deliver, that way you are safe if something arises and you do take 8 weeks to return a gallery, but if you get it done in 4, you’re a hero and it’s a win-win for everyone!
So regardless of what kind of photography you do, I would encourage you to educate your clients from day one as to what your turnaround time is so that no one is disappointed! They will thank you for it!