So let’s say…
You’re at a local park…
Waiting for a session to start…
And your client calls.
And they’re running really late.
Not late enough to cancel.
But late enough that you’re feeling STRESSED.
How are you supposed to give them the experience you promised them in HALF the time?
Take their money…
Just kidding. Don’t do that.
But it’s normal if you feel stressed and maybe even a little disrespected when clients arrive significantly late to their session.
If your clients really cared about the photos, they would be on time, right?
Whenever we find ourselves slipping into a negative mindset, we ask ourselves this: what else could be true?
Could it be true that our clients cared SO much about these photos that, despite their best efforts, it made them late?
When your client is more than just a few minutes late for a session, here are some things you CAN do…
1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Most of our clients have been dreaming about their session for a long time. They’ve saved their money. They’re making a big financial investment and sacrifice. They’ve spent a ton of time using our Style Guide shopping for the perfect coordinating (but not matching) outfits.
If it’s a family session, Mom basically has to run the parenting gauntlet and orchestrate a flawless symphony of events just to get everyone there.
She has to:
– Plan out and time her kids’ naps just right
– Wake them up (and hope they aren’t grumpy!)
– Get all of them into nice outfits they don’t usually wear and risk compliants like “I don’t WANT to wear that!” or “This is itchy!”
– AND somehow still get HERSELF ready while her baby whimpers and tugs on her legs to be held
– All while refereeing a fight between her bigger ones (that for sure messes up their hair)
She has to find all their shoes, pack all the snacks, load all the carseats and now she is SWEATING.
Maybe one of the kids is sick that day. Maybe they’re all fussy. Maybe Dad’s meeting ran late and he forgot his outfit at home. Maybe there’s car trouble (or traffic). Maybe they took a wrong turn while their kids were begging for another snack.
When your client is late, they’re almost ALWAYS stressed.
It’s not exactly how they were hoping or expecting this day would go either.
So let’s put ourselves in their shoes and commit to being:
2. Reassure Them and Stay Positive
When your client calls or texts, remember that, in their mind, they’ve just spent a year dreaming about this day, spending a ton of time and money to prepare for it…
And now it’s slipping away.
Resist the urge to start telling them about all the things you WON’T be able to do because they’re running late…
“Ok! The sun is setting soon so we’re losing light fast. We won’t be able to get multiple locations or do outfit changes any more and the photos aren’t going to look as good!”
That will ensure you lose before you even begin.
Think how much different it would feel for them if you replied:
“Oh my gosh! No problem at all! We add cushion time for this very reason! We’ll still have PLENTY of time and make sure your photos look great! Just drive safe! When you get here, I’ll take care of the rest!”
Makes everyone breathe a sigh of relief, right?
3. Shift the Mood and Make it Fun
You can make all the difference in the way your clients FEEL about their session (and, therefore, their photos) by melting away their stress with a warm smile and lots of positive words of affirmation and encouragement.
Your goal is to have them leave the session feeling SO glad they did it.
People attach the way they feel about the session to the way they feel about their photos, and the more enjoyable you can make a stressful moment, the more likely they are to rave about their experience to their friends.
We want them to walk away being like…
The takeaway? Being a great photographer is about SO much more than knowing how to take great photos.
It’s pretty cool to have the power to turn a stressful situation into something that keeps your clients coming back year after year.
Cheering for you!
COME ON LOCATION WITH US
Wanna watch us shoot a REAL session where our clients ended up being not five… not ten… not twenty… but FORTY FIVE MINUTES LATE? You can! It’s all part of our On Location: Original Bundle, so you can feel prepared for whatever curveball gets thrown your way!