What do you do when a potential client emails you for information?  Do you have a Client Inquiry workflow?  Do you have an email template designed to get bookings?  If not, you should.  Having a plan for handling client inquiries can be the difference between having a full calendar, and wondering if anyone is out there!

 Here's the email I send to every potential client inquiry (except it has their name instead of "bride.")

Dear Bride,

Thank you so much for your email!  I'm honored that you contacted me about your wedding day.  I am currently available for your date, and I'd love to talk to you more about your plans.  I'd love to have you and your fiancee over to my studio for coffee.  I find that's the very best way to talk through what you are looking for, and find out whether or not my studio would be a good fit for you. 

I'm available Thursday at 4:00pm, Friday at 6:00pm, or Saturday at 10am - which of these would work best for you?

In the meantime, please feel free to view our complete pricing information online at  You'll get a sense of what I offer, and what to expect.   I look forward to the chance to connect with you both soon!


You're welcome to use that email, but even better - let's walk through the steps behind it, so you can develop an email response that works for you!  Here are six things you can do to handle client email inquiries: 

1. Thank them for writing you!  Seriously.  It might seem silly, but the first five words of an email are the most important (aside from the subject line) - and they better be some version of "thank you."  I want people to know that I'd be honored to be a part of their wedding day - afterall, it's a pretty big deal for them. 

2. Let them know what comes next.  If you're available, let them know that you are - and what you want them to do.  In my case, my entire response email is about scheduling a consultation.  If you're not available, your response might contain an offer to provide a few names of people you know and trust.

3. Make it actionable.  It's not simply enough to tell a client you want to meet with them.  Instead, use what I call "act as if."    The key is to never ask a yes or no question.  Never ask "would you like to schedule a time to meet.  Act as if they intend to meet with you as well, and give them choices.  Ask a multiple choice question like "here are three times I'm available, which one works best for you?"

This helps move the conversation forward, and makes it easy for the potential client to evaluate their options.  It also makes you sound like you know exactly what you're doing because you're prepared to meet with them as soon as they're ready.

4. Make it helpful.  98% of the time, an initial inquiry includes two things - "are you available," and "what do you charge?"  Make sure you answer those questions. I know some photographers like to keep their pricing a secret until a client meets with you. Personally, I think that's a terrible choice.  I'm always about making it easy for a client to get the information they want - because it makes it easy to do business with me.

I include a link to my complete pricing information to anyone who sends me an inquiry.  If you're curious - it's (now you don't have to send me an inquiry just to see my pricing page) 

5. Make it personal. The quicker you start building a relationship, the better.  Your job, as a wedding or portrait photographer, is to help tell a deeply intimate story about your clients' lives.  The connection you build with people makes it that much easier to tell that story well.  I always close by letting them know that I can't wait to meet them, making it clear that that's what happens next - we meet!

6. Make it easy.  It's true - I'm all about making it easy for your potential clients, but this isn't about that.  This is about making it easy for YOU!  Your systems are only as good as you using them, and if you have to retype that email every time someone contacts you, your system is likely to fail. 

Instead, create email templates that you can send each time you receive an inquiry.  I use ShootQ, which makes sending email replies super simple.  It pre-populates a lot of the important info (client name, date, etc), so I don't have to type it.  All I do is simply plug in the dates/times that work for me that week.

Even if you don't use a system like ShootQ, you can still create simple email "signatures," that contain the same info.  However you choose to handle it, make sure it's easy enough for you that you'll use it - it'll make your life, and running your business, MUCH easier!

(by the way, if you're using ShootQ, and need a little help setting it up, or learning more about email templates, you need to get in touch with Leeann Marie - she's a total ShootQ guru.  Actually, she's like an official ShootQ guru, and you can check her out here.)

Your turn.... how do you handle client inquiries?  What would you add to this list?  Leave your thoughts below 


It's booking season.  For photographers, most of the weddings we shoot this year will be booked between December and March.  That means that right now, many photographers are sitting by the phone - or watching their email - waiting for people to contact them.  

Regardless of how you're working to build your business - whether it's through intentionally cultivating a base of referrals, through mass advertising, or whatever is working for you - it's what you do when the phone rings (or the email shows up) - that can make or break your business.


I often hear from other photographers that they are actually scared when a potential client calls.  There's a fear of not saying the right thing - or not getting the job.  Of course, the ironic thing is - if clients never called, you'd definitely never get any jobs.  So what can you do when you get client inquiries to help you book weddings (or portraits) - and grow your business.  Here's the way we handle it at our studio.  It's not the only way, but you're free to borrow any ideas you find helpful!

1. At least 75% of our client inquiries come through our web based form and ShootQ.  The wonderful thing about this, is that we're now ready to track everything that happens with our clients.   Even if a lead ends up being a dead end - we can track that.  I'm a big fan of tracking everything!  That way, when you come back across a lead later on - or a client finally follows up 6 weeks later - you have all the relevant information right in front of you.  For us, ShootQ is a great solution.

2. We send our pricing information to everyone who inquires about a date that we have available.  We send them a simple email response, with a link to our pricing.  You can view it here. (yes, I just gave you all my pricing information!)  The goal of this email is to pre-screen the clients by giving them our pricing, and to give them two potential dates that we can meet with them at our studio.  We give all inquiries our pricing up front because it's a waste of both our time if our pricing isn't anywhere close to their budget.

3. We give clients the expectation that we'd like to meet with them.  That helps them understand our process, and lets them know that we believe a face-to-face consultation is the best way for us to understand their needs, and for both of us to determine if we'll be a good fit.  

We offer them two dates that we have available.  Instead of asking them "would you like to meet?" we ask, "which of these times would be better for you to meet?"  They can always say they don't want to meet - or that those times don't work - but the expectation is that we'll get together - and these are times that work.

4. We ALMOST always meet with clients at our studio.  There are some exceptions.  Certainly for destination clients - or client who live out of state - it's not always possible.  But when it is - we bring them to what I like to call "home court advantage."  They come to the studio where we serve them gourmet coffee and fresh-baked, warm chocolate chip cookies.  They get to be surrounded by gorgeous (and GIANT) gallery wrap canvases.  They can get a sense for who we are, just by the way we've designed - and take care of - our space.

5. We treat a client consultation like a first date.  The goal is to get to know each other.  Hopefully - if they're meeting with us - they know our work, they know our pricing, and they have a feel for us.  So, the goal of a client consultation is for them to share with us.  When I conduct a consultation, I actually don't talk much except to ask questions.  I ask them about their wedding plans, about their location.  I ask them about how they met, and what they are most excited about.  I find out what they do for a living, what types of photography they like, and where photography ranks in their list of priorities for their wedding.

We don't even talk about packages, products, pricing, or hardly anything out "me."  At the end, I'll ask them if they have any questions for me - and if they do, we'll talk a little more.  I'll wrap things up by asking them how they feel our photography would fit with their needs.  At this point, I'm just looking to see if there are any more objections or barriers.

6. If we can get past the barriers, most clients will book.  For most people - those barriers are price and peace of mind.  It's been said before - but if you make clients feel comfortable with the idea of having you at their wedding, you'll book them every time.

7. We don't actually book most of our clients on the spot.  Some do, but at least 50% don't.  We always follow up with a proposal in ShootQ that details everything we've talked about - within 24 hours.  This makes it easy for the client because when they are ready, they can then book online by signing their contract and paying their retainer.

8. Finally, we send a handwritten thank you note to everyone who meets with us.  Just a simple note to thank them for their time - and offer to answer any future questions.  And no, we don't include a business card :)

You can download our complete client inquiry workflow here.  You can download our client consultation guide here.