How to Set Realistic Turnaround Times for Your Clients

July 20, 2017


jihae watson


One of the most important parts of your role as a wedding photographer is to manage your client's expectations, which is crucial to the success of your business. There are many ways for you to achieve this goal, but a simple way to start is to set realistic turnaround times for your clients. We reached out to wedding photo editing company, ShootDotEdit, a company that believes “Fast is Best”, to gain their insights into the best ways to set realistic turnaround times that create happy clients.

One thing that is imperative in business is to set, and manage, your clients' expectations. Everything you do to help them prep for the biggest occasion of their life, helps to build trust. But you can make the largest impact after the wedding day is over, when you set proper turnaround times, and then exceed them. Properly set turnaround times are ones that are built based on a plan, and that you know you can hit each and every time. Once those are set, you can deliver (and even over-deliver) on them to create happy clients (who, in-turn, refer you to others!). Here are a few tips to help you set realistic turnaround times for your clients.

  1. Explain the Process Clearly

After the wedding day, your clients are eager to see the images you captured for them. This is not a phase you should rush through or spend any less time on. You know how long it takes to get all the images cleaned up and ready for viewing, so it is important the time frame you give your couples is accurate and achievable on your end.

quick turnaround times for wedding photographers. photo by Chard photography

Image Compliments of CHARD Photo

Make sure you clearly explain your process, so your clients do not assume it is as simple as hooking up your camera to a computer and instantly uploading all the photos at once to a gallery. You want to provide them with a fast turnaround time, but you also should provide yourself, or a wedding photo editing service, like ShootDotEdit, the time needed to make those photos shine. If you can, set a deadline you know you can surpass by a good margin.

Often times, there is a breakdown here during your busy season. For example, you know how long it takes you to return one wedding to a client. But, what about on a weekend where you have multiple weddings? Or, what happens after you take a week summer vacation? Planning and accounting for these unique scenarios ahead of time will ensure your turnaround time doesn't get thrown off when it happens.

  1. Exceed Turnaround Times

When you meet and exceed turnaround times, it will have a positive, long-lasting impact on your business. For example, you might inform your clients that their gallery of images will be ready about 4 weeks after the wedding. Breaking it down, it may actually only take 1-2 weeks to have your images color corrected by a photo editing company with your unique photography style, and have them uploaded to an online gallery.

Everyone loves to be surprised, and by properly managing the expectations of your clients, you can easily promise them a product by a certain time and then deliver well ahead of schedule. When your clients receive their images ahead of time, they will be overjoyed that you not only delivered quality content as promised, you did it in less time than you guaranteed. You can continue to earn their trust and loyalty, as they will see you as someone who goes above and beyond for their clients.

Moreover, you have time budgeted in should something go wrong. While it isn't your goal to take the full amount of time, you have set expectations that allow you to take it if you need to.

  1. Send Images Quickly

In the weeks following their wedding, couples are still buzzing about their day and replaying the great moments in their minds. When you're able to turn around their images shortly after the wedding, they're still on a wedding high. That means they (and their family and friends) are more likely to share, and brag about you, on social media, and in person with their friends.

wedding photography websites. photo by Chardphoto

Image Compliments of CHARD Photo

Your images will have more momentum with your clients, and prospective clients too, when they are shared soon after the event. Setting a deadline you know you can surpass also gives you some room to work with, if you encounter any issues throughout post-shoot process.

Often times, sending a “sneak peek” will go a long way in satisfying your clients' desire for immediacy. Not only can it help soften the turnaround time frame, but it can lead to an increased number of shares and referrals.

  1. Communicate with Clients

One of the most important times to keep in contact with clients is after their event. Send them email updates that let them know what is going on, even if it is a simple, “Everything is on schedule!” Surprise them by sending a preview image from their wedding in the email. By having this open line of communication, and sharing examples of the quality they can expect, you are proving that you are a professional and trustworthy photographer. Try adding a reminder to your schedule to have you reach out to clients on a specific day every week. This way, they know when they can expect to receive updates from you.

Clients are relying and counting on you to be true to your word. If you deliver their images in 6 weeks, when you promised a turnaround time of 3 (and did not communicate at all during that time), they will be less pleased with the work you provided them. Even if you deliver incredible images, they may choose to focus more on the fact that you did not deliver on time, instead of the caliber of the images. It quickly breaks the trust you have worked hard to establish.

Remember, when setting these expectations, you need to be sure you can accomplish what you set out to do. If you find you can't, it is crucial that you promptly update your clients with a new date, and a valid reason as to why you need more time. However, if everything is moving along as planned, you should have no problem impressing your clients with a stellar turnaround time!

Learn more about setting realistic turnaround times with clients, plus how to create a strategic marketing plan with our Guide to Marketing for Wedding Photographers!

Thanks to ShootDotEdit for this wonderful guest post! We are always so thankful for the expertise you share with our community!

ShootDotEdit is the first choice color correction and post production solution for the pro wedding photographer, and everything they shoot. They provide turnaround time as fast as 48 hours. ShootDotEdit Customers now receive Extra, a complimentary gallery hosting and storage service designed to sell more prints for you with zero commissions.

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