In part one I spoke briefly about the booking process from a standpoint of being a bride. Now in part 2 I want to give a little more insight and behind the scenes' info on the booking process from my point of view as a professional photographer and videographer. I will lay out the tools I use, some tips and tricks, and the do's and don'ts. This is all subjective information and the way I have chosen to run my business the last 5 years. Obviously there are other methods and I would love to hear from other professionals what works for them.

First off, whenever I get a lead; whether that be cold or hot I will as quickly as possible log all of the information that I can in a good old fashion google spreadsheet. Information like the potential clients name, the services they're requesting, the date of the inquiry, the date inquiring about, location, where that lead came from, and how I initially responded to them. Why do I do this? Simple... Analytics for the future. I have done this for about 3 years now and I have found that; even with unfathomable growth and changes in my business that there are always some relevant statistics that I can take with me and help me plan for the next year. For example when I was living in East Tennessee, but having 1 out of every 4 potential clients being from the Memphis area that got me thinking "maybe I should relocate to Memphis". And then there is information like how the potential clients contacted you initially. Was it Facebook? Google? Instagram? Straight from the website? If one of these areas was consistently booking you weddings throughout the year you would know to keep pushing on that platform and then try to work on one of the others that was not doing so hot. Keeping my old school log also helps me prepare for the months where I know I will get very few inquiries vs the months where my phone will be ringing off the hook. Even with Covid weddings and literally doubling the number of weddings happening in 2022 I could still see trends of when clients will be looking and not looking for vendors.

Now that you have your log going let's say that a client reaches out to you from your website. The generic contact form info plus "Hi I would like to know if you are available on xx date and what your prices are.?" For me I try to respond to these inquiries as quickly as possible. PRO TIP: I often break my own 8:00am-5:00pm rule because quite frankly I lack boundaries with my personal and business life and realistically I am on the clock for 12-18 hours a day. That's not for everyone and honestly I encourage you not to do that, but I am a single workaholic in my late 20's and I love it. But anyways I respond quickly to these inquiries and try to give them as much information as possible in an email. I also try to show lead them into an over the phone consultation or even to an in person meeting over coffee or something. I have found that having this phone call as quickly as possible will eliminate any back and forth emailing that drags on for days and is a lot more personal of a way for you and your potential clients to decide if you are the right fit for each other.

Assuming you were the perfect fit and they decide to book now is the time for you to write up your invoices and contracts. PRO TIP: Under no circumstances should you do any work without a contract in place. I will be the first to admit that sometimes I am just too busy to send them, or I know the clients, or whatever excuse you can find I have used, but SEND CONTRACTS TO EVERYONE. I have only felt the repercussions of not sending contracts a handful of times, but when I did man did it hurt. Your contracts and invoices need to include in as much detail as possible about your refund policy, the policy's on the use of credit cards, the dates in which you should be paid, the amounts, etc. I used to send these trashy looking contracts through an email that I would copy and paste to the next client, but don't do that. There are a ton of super professional and very simple contract management platforms out there. Honeybook, docusign, and the one I personally use which is the studio manager from pixieset. For invoices I use a program called WAVE that I think is really solid. Like all money management services it has it quirks, but for the most part I am pleased with it. The invoices are professional and easy to use for both the business owner and the clients. I am also able to connect all of my banking services to WAVE and utilize the accounting services as a starting point for my professional CPA. I know absolutely nothing about taxes and such so I had to fork out for a CPA which in the long run has been an incredible investment instead of an expense.

After booking, sending contracts, and having the retainer fee paid on the invoice I then begin my little process of scheduling the clients in several different ways. The first is just a literal Iphone note. It is super basic, but I have found this to be just a very simple tool for having a quick reference for my availability. And it's a cool way to keep up with how many weddings I have done. The note is numbered with each clients name and out beside that is an emoji of the services and the date of the wedding. I use the little camera for photo and the the cinema camera for video. A lot of times I am doing both so I'll put both on there. Next I will log everything in Google calendar which has seamless linking between the Iphone app, macbooks, and even my editing PC. And finally, I will log it in an App that I use called Crew. This app allows me to keep all my second and associate photographers and videographers linked to a group where I can schedule them for events and see when they are not available. I currently only use the free version which allows me to have 10 people in there. The pro version I believe has an endless number and a few more features, but the free version is substantial for my company.

The last step of the booking process for me is to start a rough timeline for the day and begin bouncing that back and forth with the clients. And from this point forward it should be smooth sailing to the wedding day. I hope this information was helpful for you creatives out there.