Preparing parents for a newborn session
In order to have a successful newborn session, it is very important both parties feel at ease with each other. You’ll be handling their baby and they should be able to trust you. It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous at first, but in time you’ll grow more confident as you gain more experience.
Involving the parents is not only a nice bonding moment for them, it’s also something that sets you apart from retail studios. Retail studios often take a few shots and move on to the next client.
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
When you first meet the client it is important you portray self-confidence and that you are passionate about your work.
More often than not, session inquiries will be via email. I usually reply thanking them for their interest and congratulate them. Ask them when it’s the best time to call even when they have already given their phone number.
I used to hate calling but now I make it a point to call every single person who inquiries. It’s way more personal than email and gives you a good opportunity to find out what it is they are looking for in a photographer and if you are a good fit.
It’s very likely you’re not the only photographer they’re getting in touch with. If other photographers get in touch by email and you take the time to have a real conversation over the phone, I think you’ll have an edge over them. Don’t you?
I always have a checklist next to me with a list of questions I need answers to. That way I don’t forget and it makes me feel more comfortable.
When you get your client on the phone, don’t forget to smile. Your voice sounds different when you smile and the person at the other end of the line can tell if you’re smiling or not.
Clients are bound to ask for your pricing rate. Which is perfectly fine, just don’t ever start the conversation talking about your rates. You’ll come off as someone who only thinks about money and doesn’t care about the client. Ask them how they heard about you, when she’s due, if they have any other children, etc
Do make sure that before you initiate a pre-consultation, that they know what you charge. You want to book clients who value you and your work.
The pre-consultation takes place in my studio. It’s an excellent time to gather the necessary information and to go over the contract. It’s also an excellent time to lay the groundwork for upselling other products such as wall portraits or prints.
A good preparation for the session begins with the parents. Talk them through what they should and shouldn’t do. And what they can expect during the shoot.
All clients are charged a session fee upon booking their session. The session fee is non-refundable and assures my clients are committed.
Every client that books a session receives a welcome gift.
The gift includes:
A thank you card
Appointment card for the newborn session
Referral cards they can give to their friends and family
Product menu with pricing
A checklist of things they should do and bring on session day
When a client comes in for a session, I give them a quick tour around the studio. I always have refreshments ready which they’re welcome to take.
In my studio, I have this small sitting area close to where I’m shooting. I ask the parents to take place in the sitting area where they can still see their baby.
Most parents are happy to oblige since it’s maybe the first time in days they can sit down and relax.
Some sessions will go smoothly and others will be more challenging. As babies can sense frustration it’s important to remain calm. Tending to the baby’s needs is your primary concern. Especially first-time moms might get a little anxious when they see their baby is upset. Reassure her, her baby is safe and you will take good care of him. If necessary I’ll stop and let the mom snuggle her baby for a while.
I always make it a point to photograph both mom and dad with their baby. Especially moms don’t always want to have their picture taken. They’ve only just given birth a few days ago and don’t feel up to it. Being a mom myself, I understand. But I still regret that I didn’t have my picture taken with my son. I reassure them I will only photograph them from the waist up. More often than not, the clients ends up buying this photo. Nothing is more beautiful than a mom and dad holding their baby.
Parents also like for siblings to be included in the picture. When the sibling is still a toddler, I can’t guarantee it’ll work out. The new baby is not only a whole new experience for the parents but also for the sibling(s). Sometimes they’re not ready to welcome the new baby just yet.
When the session is done, I take time to sit down with the parents and discuss what will happen next.
If I received a written consent that I can put pictures on my website and facebook during my pre-consultation session, I will put a few sneak peek shots online after a few days.
People don’t know what they want until you give it to them.
A lot of photographers email the photos to their clients. It’s something that I will never do. After 2 or 3 weeks I invite them to come watch their photos in my studio. We want to get the client excited to come in. You want your client to remember you when their child needs their photo taken in the future.
As they come to watch their photos, it’s an excellent opportunity to upsell other products.
When your clients come to pick up the order, don’t forget to thank them for their business. If they ordered something bulky offer to help them get it to their car. It might seem common sense but it’s very easy to forget!