How to Get Better Quality Inquiries for Documentary Family Photography

You’re in the business of family photography, so you’ve had *some* inquiries who didn’t dig your approach. They reached out, because they love your photos, you were recommended, or they just know you’ve got a camera. Then, as soon as they learn more it’s those dreaded words…

“We can’t afford it right now.”

It can feel like a total waste of time and the rejection be gut-wrenching. So been there!

You may even react by going into convince-mode: explain what the experience is like + how they’ll LOVE the meaningful photos of their story.

Most of the time, though, if they weren’t ready for documentary when they inquired, the reasons NOT to book will be comin’ in hot!

  • “I need to speak with my husband.”
  • “I’m not sure what we’d photograph.”

The {likely} real reason they didn’t move forward: they’re not attached to the value of what you do. 

So how do you get better quality inquiries that DO value what you do? Let’s talk!

What does “better quality inquiries” even mean?

This isn’t the end all, be all, but it’s pretty darn accurate in my years of doing business. Even outside of documentary family photography, I found this to be true when I was doing portrait + lifestyle photography.

There are 2 types of inquiries:

  1. Type 1: “Hey! I love your work / I love the work you did for my friend So & So. What are your rates? Are you available next month to do our photos?”
  2. Type 2: “Hey! I love your work / I love the work you did for my friend So & So. My kids are growing so fast and we’re thinking it’s time to get some family photos. I love how real + memorable the photos you create are. I think the idea of photographing a day together would be a wonderful way to remember this time (or we spend a lot of our time _________ and want to have this photographed). Are you available next month? Can I find out more about your packages?”

Do you see the difference?

Type 1 inquiries know they want photos, but often you’re just someone they know with a camera or they aren’t very clear on what they want. They’re price shopping.

Type 2 inquiries are a bit more heartfelt and on point with a request that pairs well with your service. They come to you already educated, somewhat, on how you can actually benefit them. I’ve found that my best clients – the ones easiest to get on the calendar – are already super warmed up + familiar with what I can do for them.

You want more of those inquiries delightfully popping in your inbox, right?!

How do you get more of the heartfelt, serious inquiries?

Create a Pre-Client Transformation.

Give PRE-potential clients a real, learning experience through your marketing message that allows them to experience transformation BEFORE you start selling to them.

(Seriously, read that sentence again. Take a second to digest)

Think about it.

Clients begin their photography journey long before they come into contact with you – before they even know you exist. The journey begins before the thought of needing photos comes to mind. Unfortunately, a lot of photographers rely on getting bookings from people already wanting a photography services.

Do you do this?

The photographer’s work is displayed all the right places and the potential client is left to decipher:

  1. if they want photography services and
  2. what kind of photos they want.

This makes for a TON of missed opportunity here – both leaving money on the table AND in creating a far richer client experience!! Have you ever been in a situation where you were totally unaware about something, but then someone opened up a whole, new world for you?

A couple of examples from my life:

  1. Essential oils. I knew nothing about these until one of my girlfriends had a free class at her house. Now, I’m a customer.
  2. Full time travel life. A couple of years ago, I was highly invested in finishing making our “forever home” a home. Buying a home, putting the kids in school, working until retirement, then travel – this is the order of life (or so I thought!). Then, I started seeing other families living the lifestyle of full time travel. What?! It IS possible. Who knew?

So, see how something happened to create an awareness or stir change in perspective within me?

To kick ass in marketing, take into consideration the steps potential clients go through BEFORE actually becoming potential clients. Don’t write off all the rest of the people that aren’t currently shopping for photography services.

Why?

Because not now does NOT mean not ever.

A powerful way to create a Pre-Potential Client transformation:

Going deeper, let’s talk about taking people totally unfamiliar with documentary family photography on a journey to becoming your next potential client who’s all-in with your approach.

There are several ways you can do this, but workshops are an extraordinary (and super fun for both you + your students!) way to provide the kind of learning experience I’m talking about. Teaching small, Beginner-Level Photography Workshops can be your ultimate place to spark their transformation.

Most people want to learn how to use their camera off auto-mode. Whether to rock their camera while traveling or to have better portraits of their kids, many want to maximize their investment in their camera or even their iPhone.

By helping them, you can literally create your own clients.

Not every student is going to sign up to book you, obviously. However, when you focus on filling your workshop seats with your ideal clients, you move students deeper into this love for _________(fill in the blank with your marketing message / service you provide).

It’s these people that you’re going to send off mind-blown with new knowledge + some will boomerang back as your most heartfelt, serious inquiries.

5 reasons workshops just plain WORK to create transformation:

  1. You can place yourself in a room full of your potential clients, making you relatable + well-connected to them
  2. Students leave inspired + motivated (wanting more)
  3. You give them what they came to learn and blow their minds with deeper content they never thought to look for
  4. You give them a “quick win” through ah-ha moments over the photos they can realize they can take that pull on their heartstrings
  5. You can over-deliver and continue to be there in their journey AFTER the workshop, which is where you can earn them as a client

Ready to take control of your business and bring in more heartfelt inquiries into your inbox?

Plan your workshop in a way that grows your email list, potential client + student roster, and provides a high-value experience.

Click the graphic below and use the PDF as your guide:

Learn the must-have (no exceptions!) workshop elements to make them your best platform for your pre-potential client audience with this (click here). 

Or, get the done-for-you package to create your profitable workshop now here (click here).


Pretty good stuff, right?

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family documentary photography inquiries

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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