The Meet and Greet: why photographers talk so much and why you’ll want to listen

Each day potential customers call me with two very simple questions; “What do you charge?” “What packages do you offer”. I always feel a bit at a loss at this point. I am forced to give vague answers like “Well, packages start at _____________ and go up from there?”. But as a consumer, that does not help you much. The next thing I tell potential customers is that I highly recommend a meet and greet. It’s free. So for this post, I want to try and explain why photographers almost always ask for the pre-consultation and why it is so important you attend.

So, what happens at this “consultation”? No, it is not an 90 minute high pressure time share sales pitch. Really, it’s not.  It is a 30-45 minute conversation. What happens is education. The client educates me, and I educate the client.

The first question I ask is usually “What do you want to do with the images?” Do you want to send out birth announcements? Create an heirloom album? How many and what sized gift prints? Do you want canvases for the nursery? If so, what style and how many?  Did you want ‘grandmother books’, folios, curved metal prints, acrylic blocks? Bamboo prints?  Were you interested in doing a fine art photography piece for you home or office?

Now, if you are like most potential customers, you may not have even heard about some of the display options that are available until you have seen them in my studio. So how could you begin to answer my original question? Exactly the point. There is no way you can know precisely what you want until you see the options exist. This is why we meet. My job is to help you think about what is important to you, what you can afford, and what you want.

Of course, each of us has many more questions from there. And the consultation goes on as an education and brainstorming session about why we are creating these images.

But at least by now in the consultation, I can give some examples about what sessions and products might cost. Imagine if you were to walk into a car dealership and ask “How much do your cars cost? Do you have any packages”?  You would not expect the salesperson to immediately quote a price. You would expect them to begin to ask you a slew of questions. It is very much the same thing in photography. Depending on what kind of images you want, I create and photograph the session accordingly.

So it it not that photographers are all crazy artists who ramble on. We are just trying to get the information we need to answer your question “How much does it cost”?

My advice: take advantage of the free meet and greet. Even if you do not book with me, the general information you get will help you when you interview the next photographer.