In this guide, I show you how to choose who to pitch, how to find the right contact information, and how to craft a winning pitch.
I am a food + product photographer & educator specializing in eco-friendly and sustainable brands. When I am not working with clients, I empower creatives to start their journey by sharing my knowledge on the business of food + product photography.
A dependable communication system sets apart go-to photographers from the bottom of the pack. Regardless of your pricing or artistic skills, your inbox management style has the power to make or break your business. After all, what good is it to be a fantastic photographer if clients can’t get in touch with you to book your services or ask questions?
You want to stay on top of your correspondence without going crazy over it. The more successful you are as a photographer, the more clients will be in contact about your services—and that’s a good thing! But the not-so-great part is that your inbox is going to be flooded with emails…like, all the time.
Obviously, you need inbox management tools to help you keep up with the curve. Let’s dig into a few reasons inbox management is essential for your photography business.
When you manage your email tasks effectively, they feel less burdensome. You’ll be free to create and manage other parts of your business once more.
To be clear, implementing inbox management strategies doesn’t take correspondence off your plate. It simply helps you get organized so you can tackle messages strategically, when you have time—allowing you more time to do other things.
Let’s face it: a full inbox is distracting. Even if you have the ability to hold off on answering emails throughout the day, you may be plagued by the idea of getting to them later.
Inbox management addresses the mental weight of email messages, too. Instead of wondering when you’ll get around to answering dozens of emails, you can rest assured it will all get done according to a preset system. You’ll be totally organized and ready to be productive!
Effective inbox management doesn’t sacrifice quality correspondence for speed. Rather, proper management enhances your ability to respond thoughtfully and locate information with ease.
Sounds pretty magical to anyone currently struggling with a mess of emails in their inbox. A few minor tweaks to your management system, the ability to discuss projects with clients, and respond efficiently and considerately to their inquiries will make your business skyrocket.
Related: 5 Tips To Improve Client Communication
Take your pick from this list of five helpful inbox management strategies. No matter how you feel about client correspondence now, you’re sure to feel better in a flash—a photography flash, that is!
Templates go a long way to simplify the things you say over and over as a photography business owner.
Think about the types of messages you send regularly:
They all have things in common between clients. Take the time to transform the messages you can into baseline, branded templates so you can quickly edit and plug in client-specific verbiage.
Cell phones make everything so convenient—maybe too convenient for busy photographers and entrepreneurs! You may feel inclined to read and respond to emails immediately, from wherever you are. But this type of drop-everything-and-email mentality does more harm than good.
Responding right away to messages won’t save you time. And it invites a host of errors and confusion later on.
Instead, designate a specific time of day to check your phone or computer and file or respond to pertinent messages. Your clients will understand if it takes you a day to get back to them.
Snoozing your email alerts will further assist you in time-blocking or scheduling a better time to work on correspondence. Rather than experiencing the mental and physical side effects of a steadily-filling inbox (rising heart rate, brain fog, and fingers constantly grabbing for your phone), you can put off the issue until a better time.
GMail enables you to “snooze” incoming messages until you say, “okay guys, come on in!” Then, you can sit behind your computer and give your messages the undivided attention they deserve.
The rest of your work (the meaty, good stuff that takes place behind the camera) will suffer far less with inbox management there to curb your email enthusiasm.
Your emails likely arrive in different categories. For example, you may get three new client inquiries, two project update requests, and five payments for prior services. If they arrive all mixed up, you’re liable to feel scrambled yourself!
Use email tags to label and batch your messages before you begin responding. This can help you strategically tackle each type of message, saving you time and energy in the long run.
You may even get into a routine! Let’s say, photography questions first, then billing receipts, then welcome messages, and so on.
Transparency goes a long way for inbox management. You can save yourself a ton of issues or confusion with clients by communicating your availability and messaging habits upfront.
For instance, you may explain right on the contact page of your website or via automated response that messages received over the weekend will be addressed the following business day. You might also ask for a 24-hour grace period to think through messages before you respond.
Your clients are people, too! Odds are they will respect and understand your need to “clock out” at the end of the day or on weekends. Of course, you do important work as a photographer, but most problems can wait for another day.
Correspondence is a key component to your photography business, but it shouldn’t derail other technical or creative tasks! Optimize your inbox management systems to save time and energy, and calm your anxiety long term.
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