Portrait photography: a definitive journey through the customer experience

Bryan Caporicci, Professional wedding photographer and CEO/Founder of Sprout Studio About Bryan

The last four days, we’ve been getting deep into the topic of “Guaranteed Referrals.” Yesterday, I broke down the customer experience for a wedding photographer, and today I’m breaking down the customer experience for a portrait photographer, and giving you the exact step-by-step journey you guide your clients through to guarantee a killer customer experience for them.

This article (and the journey, listed below) is a long one, so I’m going to keep the intro here very short. Let’s get right into an example journey (customer experience) that you can guide your clients through as a portrait photographer.

When the client is visiting your website

  • Have an outstanding portfolio. Make sure to keep some images “up your sleeve” though.
  • Make sure your images are large and look great (they’re sharp, not pixellated, etc.).
  • Make sure your website looks great on a mobile device.
  • Ensure your website delivers a simple, streamlined experience on the web.
  • Integrate social media for social proof somewhere on your site.
  • Embed a personal greeting from you (or some video introducing you) to establish rapport.
  • Show a short testimonial video to establish trust.
  • Make sure you have recent blog posts (if you blog).
  • Ensure that you have a filled out profile on Google.

When the client inquires with you

  • Follow-up with an email reply within 24 hours.
  • If you haven’t heard back, follow-up with another email reply in 4 days. Include a personalized Gallery with images tailored just for them based on the details you have already from their wedding.
  • If you still haven’t heard back, follow-up with a phone reply in 4 days.

Once the client has booked you

  • Once the client lets you know they’re ready to book you, guide them through the process and let them know what the next steps are.
  • Give them a great experience in booking you. Make it easy.
  • Mail them a thank-you card within 24 hours of them booking you.
  • Schedule a time for you to visit their home for a design consultation.

Once you’ve scheduled the design consultation

  • Email them the day before to confirm the design consultation and remind them. Include any special instructions they may need to be aware of, and tell them what you’ll need from them.
  • Within two hours of the design consultation, send them an email saying “thank you” and mention something personal that you discussed.
  • Within two days, follow-up with a design proposal for their wall arrangement.

Before the session

  • Two weeks before the session, send them a beautiful “style guide” PDF (or webpage) with wardrobe and preparation instructions.
  • The week before the session, touch base to schedule a time for the “viewing appointment”.
  • The day before the session, email them saying how excited you are about the session. Use this as a reminder of where you’re meeting, timelines, and so on.
  • Within two hours after the session, post a teaser image on social media.

Before the viewing appointment

  • Email them the day before to confirm the viewing appointment and remind them. Include any other special instructions they may need to be aware of. Make sure no surprises are coming into the appointment.
  • At the viewing appointment, surprise them with a small framed 8×10 print as a thank-you.

After the viewing appointment

  • When the finished products are ready, touch base and offer to deliver and install them.
  • Post a photo of the finished products hanging in their home on social media (with permission).
  • Two days after you deliver the finished product, send them a StickyAlbum.
  • Five days after, post 5–10 of your favorite images (ones they ordered) on your blog. Share one of them on social media with a link to the blog post.
  • The next day, post the images from the blog on social media.
  • Two weeks after you delivered and installed the finished products, touch base to make sure they still love them.
  • Create some pieces of value/content so that they can stay in touch (i.e. newsletter).


Add your client to a “List” on Facebook called “Clients.”

Check in on this list daily (make it a part of your morning routine). Keep an eye out for big announcements, special events, accomplishments or milestones in their life. Always be quick to follow-up on these with a “congratulations” or some other special note. When and where applicable, send something nice in the mail. As soon as you see something that might prompt another session (i.e. that they’re expecting), touch base in a more personal way (i.e. via email) and say “congratulations,” and see if you can subtly start the conversation about doing another session together.

The “Guaranteed Referrals” Series

This article is the 4th article in the “Guaranteed Referrals” series. The other articles are: