How to #MakeClientsHappy: A Wedding Photographer’s Advice on Mastering Customer Service

How to #MakeClientsHappy: A Wedding Photographer’s Advice on Mastering Customer Service

Based near Vancouver, in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, husband and wife photography team Matt and Carissa Kennedy have been shooting weddings for eight years, full time for four. They attract local and international clients who put a priority on great photography, which is “awesome—and full of pressure!” says Matt.

Matt, a former high school teacher, and Carissa, a former financial advisor, came to their business with very different skill sets that completely complement each other. “That makes it hard at times to see eye-to-eye, but we love working together as a team,” says Matt. The duo offers online workshops on both the business and craft of photography and have presented at major photography conferences.

Photo by Matt &

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

PS: When and how did you realize great customer service is needed to be an essential aspect of your business? Why is it important?

Matt Kennedy: From the beginning we strived to have great customer service, but it wasn’t until our first year at WPPI Expo in Las Vegas about five years ago that we heard the idea of under promising and over delivering. It makes so much sense. Be a hero to your clients, in every way possible, and they’ll help you find more clients just like them. That’s why it’s important. Our clients are our marketing strategy!

What tips do you have for delighting clients and going that extra mile to make the wedding experience memorable from start to finish?

We love to give gifts to our clients, and the most important thing to keep in mind with this is that they should be “big picture” gifts. Big picture gifts to us mean anything that you would give a friend if they were getting married. Not something photography related, and especially not credit to your products or services. This is your chance to show them that you care about them as people, friends, not just clients. Some examples that we’ve done are a date jar, a honeymoon package (suntan lotion, candles, packing checklist, etc.), a blanket with a movie and popcorn. Make it personal. Also, when possible, make it reusable. That way every time they use it, they will think of you who gave it to them. This is top of mind awareness at it’s best!

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

How does social media come into play to make the experience even better?

We use social media as a connection tool, and a promotion tool. We love to interact with our clients and potential clients on social media in order to show them that we are people too, and not just photographers. We are very open about our lives on Facebook and Instagram, and I think people appreciate that and are more open to booking with us even though our rates may be higher than others they are looking at.

Social media is built for photography, so be the first to share images, and share them in a way that allows your clients to show how proud they are of them. Allowing your clients to share images will bring you back way more business than watermarks and proofing sites ever will!

 How do you handle particularly difficult clients without ruining the customer service experience? 

I’m not sure what clients would have to do to be deemed “difficult,” but in cases where people are overly demanding, or skeptical, or disappointed, you need to always go above and beyond in order to make their experience the best it possibly can be. Sometimes people jump to criticism or demands because of a break in trust. Build the trust back up and show them that you care about them and their happiness, not their money. In fact, the phrase “the squeaky wheel always gets the grease” is sometimes more true than we would like. Those clients who are more difficult end up getting even better (or at least more) service than the easygoing clients, so let’s not forget the easy ones. Go above and beyond for everyone by default, and you’ll have way fewer “difficult” clients to deal with.

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

How do you showcase your great service to clients on your website?

We keep most of our extra client service as a bit of a secret bonus, but we do post about certain things on social media. For instance, we do a spa day for our brides every year, and around that time we post about it, and our brides post about it as well. We showcase our service mostly by explaining how we work and run our business, and through our promo videos.

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

Photo by Matt & Carissa Kennedy

What mistakes do wedding photographers often make when working with clients?

I think the biggest mistake wedding photographers make when working with clients is acting out their sense of entitlement. Often this happens because the photographer thinks that they are worth more than what the client is paying, so the client shouldn’t have any reason to be concerned about anything. I’ve run into this a few times in my life, and when I catch myself doing this, I quickly realize that I need to raise my prices. I like to keep my prices at a point where I am a little uncomfortable with the amount that I’m charging so that I am driven to go above and beyond for my clients.

So in general, be the nicest contact point of your client’s day every time they are in touch with you, and always go above and beyond. Even if you think they don’t deserve it. They may be the ones that refer you to your best client of the year next year!

This interview originally appeared in our free, downloadable guide, How to Grow A Wedding Photography Business. Get more tips on how to expand your business by downloading the guide today!


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This article was written by

Marketing associate at PhotoShelter

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Lauren at 5:19 pm

    Love this article! Customer service is definitely so important in a photography business. Like you said, referrals mean a lot and can bring you a lot of business. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Brian at 6:38 pm

    Nice article! I like giving gifts as well. I sent a locket of a clients engagement session photo in it. They referred me to another client that also picked my top package.

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