My free checklist will help you get organized so you can finally run a smooth food photography shoot!
You know me, I love to give everything a personal touch! But before I used templates in my food and product photography business, I found that it was really challenging. There just wasn’t time to do everything I needed to do and write personalized information to every single client.
I learned that the easiest way to tailor my communications was to have a good starting template. Start with the right structure and some basic information. After that, It’s just a matter of filling in the tidbits that are specific to my client. They get a great experience and I am able to focus on doing my job well. It’s the perfect arrangement!
If you haven’t worked with templates before, you’ll be amazed at how they speed up your workflow. There’s a small time investment on the front end as you create the templates, and then you never have to start from scratch again! I use the free online platform Canva to design and update all my templates. Below are the four templates that turned it all around for me. (If you want to get in on the template action, check out my ebook bundle!)
This is the first template I created for my photography business. I have an automation set up to send this out when someone fills out the contact form on my website. This means my Upwork clients and the clients that I reach out to directly, for example, do not get a welcome packet. They have my Upwork profile, or the other templates I send them.
The welcome packet is beautifully and thoughtfully designed. The purpose is to give a potential client a taste of what I can do for them. I include a lot of practical information, such as the price range for my different services and extras that come with each package (think location, models, and food stylist when necessary). Most importantly, I lay out the process of working with me step by step. The number one thing clients used to ask me was what they needed to do next. Now they know before they even sign a contract!
I use this for projects that I’m applying to, like the ones on Upwork. At all times, I have several proposal templates ready to go, depending on the type of project. Jobs get snatched up quickly on a platform like that, and you have to be both fast and eloquent if you want to win the ones with a healthy budget.
But clients can tell when you’ve just jotted off a quick note to try and get your foot in the door. They can tell when you’re sending them the same cover letter you’ve sent to a hundred other clients. That’s why templates are such a great middle ground between expediency and customization! When I see a job that interests me, I look through my proposal templates to see which one fits the best, then I fill in personalized information that relates to the client, the job, or both. It takes a few minutes, and clients are always impressed at how quickly and professionally I am able to communicate with them. These days it wins me the job almost every time!
My onboarding packet is for clients who have decided to work with me. Yay! It gives them a lot of the same information as my welcome packet, but also dives into more practical information for the actual work in progress. For example, there are links to their contract, proof gallery, invoice, and it lists my office hours. I’m also in the process of adding a timeline that gives my client a sense of when the next step will happen.
Basically, the welcome packet and proposal are about what to expect if you work with me. The onboarding packet is the “how” in that equation. It has concrete, factual information about the steps they need to take throughout our collaboration.
It’s important to stay on the same page, especially with brand new clients. I use a mood board and/or a shot list to give us both a visual record of what we’ve agreed on. It also helpful for clients who have difficulty visualizing what they want. Sometimes they know it when they see it! And when they don’t see it, it’s best to know right away so we can make adjustments.
With photography, there are a lot of factors that can influence a client’s feelings about my work. So giving them examples helps them understand what I’m going for when I’m working with someone who isn’t super photography-literate. We use this to plan out several things:
If you want to get started with templates, a mood board is an easy one to implement and it can save you frustrating communications with the client and hours of reshooting. If you want to give it a try, I have created a template for you to download and try out. I created it on Canva, which is an online design website. Create a free account and get started immediately!
Templates are not shortcuts — they are efficiency tools! The best way to provide your client with a five-star experience is to focus only on their specific needs. When you have a little time, create templates for the repetitive bits of work that you do for every client. You’ll have more time to devote to each project and your clients will be able to see the difference.
In an upcoming blog post, I’ll talk about how I use automation with my CRM. This triggers new tasks when my client is ready for them. Automation keeps my client from having to wait on me, helping me keep information for each client organized. It really is a lifesaver! I hope you’ll keep coming back to learn more.