The time has come to reopen your photography business and phew, thereâ€™s a lot to consider! In a previous article, we outlined some high-level tips for any small business owners reopening their doors.
But your business is a little different. Even though youâ€™re behind the lens, between staging, lighting, and fixing flyaways, youâ€™re still getting up close and personal with your clientsâ€”whether youâ€™re in your studio or snapping shots in the wild.
Below, weâ€™ve outlined some helpful tips to consider as you plan for reopening your photography business. From building out a clear communication plan to reducing contact when possible, we here to make sure both your photography businessâ€”and your subjectsâ€”are ready for their close-up.
1 | Show your customers that youâ€™re taking their safety seriously.
COVID-19 brought many parts of life to a screeching halt. But not every part: Babies were born. Proposals were made. Many businesses continued running. And while the pandemic forced a lot of people to pause on those awkward family photos, deep-stare engagement shoots, or sexy product shots, people are more eager than ever to start capturing those moments again.
If you want your customers to start booking sessions with you again, itâ€™s critical they feel safe.
There are plenty of resources that can help you stay on top of the latest public health protocols. For starters, you can check your cityâ€™s website to see if there are safety standards you can follow. Many cities are offering free posters with information about public health orders (kind of like health code ratings) that can be displayed outside your studio to let people know youâ€™re following the highest standards.
Many photographers are making sure social distancing signage is visible throughout their space. If youâ€™re capturing photos inside, you may want to tape your floor with painterâ€™s tape to measure distance for your waiting area, as well as between your camera set-up and backdrop. If youâ€™re outside, consider bringing a 6-foot measuring tape along on the shoot to reassure customers that youâ€™re following protocol.
These safety signals will help your clients feel more comfortable and confident that youâ€™re keeping their health in mind.
2 | Diversify your offerings and pricing.
As photographers head back to the studio, many are limiting the number of people allowed in their space. But that doesnâ€™t mean you need to limit your customer base or potential earnings.
Weâ€™ve seen a few photographers get creative with their offeringsâ€”opting to take pictures outside of the studio at public beaches, parks, or private backyards. Just be sure to check your cityâ€™s website for permit requirements first!
These different settings may affect your pricing strategy. Maybe you charge more for in-studio photo shoots since youâ€™ll have to take extra precaution cleaning. Maybe you offer a discounted rate for the outdoor shoots, depending on their location. You also might want to create hybrid packages to accommodate people who want to capture both in-studio and outdoor shots.
To attract more clients as the world starts to open back up, you can even consider offering a promotional discount.
3 | Set your customersâ€™ expectations with a re-opening announcement.
While your clientsâ€™ photos will look fab as ever, their experience in (or outside) your studio will look a bit different.
Before you re-open, you might be getting ready to send a communication to your customers to ensure they know what to expectâ€”or not to expectâ€”when working with you.
Below are some topics you may want to include in this email or social media announcement:
Your pledge to cleanliness: Let them know how you plan to keep your space safe and clean. Are you following distance guidelines provided by the CDC or your city officials? Are you sanitizing your studio consistently between clients? These safety details will go a long way in easing customersâ€™ concerns.
Let them know how your services have changed: Are you only offering a limited number of photo sessions per day? Have your hours shifted? Provide a clear outline of how your business will operate in the coming months and make sure they know what this means for them when they arrive.
After your first re-opening announcement, you can customize specific automated reminders to customers who have booked services by using Acuityâ€™s email and SMS reminders. Check out this article for a full rundown on how to set up these reminders that will help keep customers prompt and in the loop.
4 | Minimize face-to-face customer interactions with smart scheduling and hands-off payments.
As we outlined above, one of the big changes to your business might be limiting the physical interaction you have with customers in the studio, or in the wild.
If youâ€™re not accepting walk-ins, for example, itâ€™s important that your customers know they can easily book appointments ahead of time online. With your Acuity scheduling page, itâ€™s easy to set up different appointment types, share availability with customers, and let them book in a few quick clicks.
Looking to accept contactless payments? Add payment processing at the point of scheduling, so your customers donâ€™t have to exchange cards or cash. You can help clients feel more comfortable with this new payment requirement by highlighting why youâ€™re doing it on your scheduling page, or even in your automated confirmation emails.
5 | Build cleaning into your daily schedule.
It used to be that a quick wipe down between clients and an end-of-day cleaning could be enough, but now you have to clean. Like, eat off the floor, your mother-in-law is coming to town clean. This is going to take time, so make sure to build cleaning into your day. Stay on track by , which will automatically reflect on your Acuity availability.
We know that things might not look â€śnormalâ€ť for a while, but weâ€™re here to help you navigate a safe, profitable return to photoshoots during this latest version of the new normal.
Re-open with the scheduling tools you need to succeed.
Automated reminders, integrated payment processing, and a client scheduling page embedded in your websiteâ€”these tools and more are available on all paid Acuity plans. But you can try them for free first!
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