Taking great photos means nothing if you’re missing this

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It was 9 pm on a Saturday, and I had just received five back-to-back missed calls from the same number, all a few minutes apart. As a wedding photographer, this is my worst nightmare. I always worry about situations like this.

Did I miss a wedding? Did I forget about a shoot? What’s going on?

I had just gotten back from an engagement session. It was an amazing session with a great couple. The weather was perfect, we connected so well during the session, and I came out with some incredible imagery for them.

Here’s one of my favorites.

When I got back to the studio and saw all these missed calls, I got worried. I panicked.

I called the number back. It turns out, it was the bride I just left from the engagement session. Thank goodness it wasn’t a wedding I missed. Nonetheless, the bride was distraught, hence the five back-to-back calls.

She told me that she had just tried to pay the 2nd payment for their wedding online, but it failed. She said that she tried again, figuring she just put in the wrong credit card number, but it failed again. She tried a third time. Failed.

Figuring it was something on her end, she called her bank, who then let her know that they had actually all gone through. They warned her it might have been a scam, saying that there was $7500 charged to her credit card, yet there she was, staring at an invoice with me, saying that it was unpaid.

Understandably, she was freaking out. Hence the five phone back-to-back calls on a Friday night.

After she had told me all this, my instinct was to get defensive. I wanted to go into freakout mode myself. What possibly could have happened? I’m not scamming her – is something wrong with my system? Am I being scammed? Did I get hacked? Ahh!

I resisted the freakout though. I was the professional here; I had to keep my cool.

That’s why the first thing I did was reassure her. I tried to get her to calm down. I said, calmly – “We’ll get to the bottom of this. I promise that you’re going to get that money back no matter what. Let me look into it for you right now, ok?”

I immediately called my payment processor and asked them to look into it.

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As I was talking to them, I was texting back-and-forth with the bride to keep her updated, saying things like “I’m talking to them now, and they’re looking into it,” so she had status updates. I tried to keep her calm and reassured.

After about 30 minutes on the phone, it turns out that it was an issue on my payment processor’s end.

They told me that there was a period during that Friday evening where transactions were intermittently failing yet seeming to go through on the bank’s end. The rep reassured me that the transactions did not, in fact, go through on my client’s credit card and that they’d all disappear off of the statements in a few days.

I asked her to follow-up in an email to me, and I forwarded that email to my client to reassure her.

Monday morning came, and I called my client to follow-up to see if she had seen the charges disappear yet. She replied with a worried tone in her voice, saying that it was still there.

Later that morning, I texted her to follow up. She texted back saying that it was all cleared up.

Crisis averted. Phew.

Remember – you are the professional in the relationship with your clients. You need to take the lead. You need to be the guide. You need always to remember to stay calm.

No matter what the situation, you must take responsibility. As the entrepreneur and the business owner, the buck stops at you. Take ownership, take control, and be the consummate professional for your clients.

No matter how great your photography, if you don’t give a great experience through-and-through, you will fail your clients. Be there for them, every step of the way.

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It’s not really a fair comparison (for the others) to compare us, because other CRMs are like a camera without a lens and accessory ecosystem. The camera itself may be great, but you’re forced to hunt for off-brand lenses, flashes and accessories that don’t fit and work the same as they would if they were on-brand.

The competitors do 1 thing – a CRM – for example. Or they do online galleries. Or they do email marketing. And many of them do that 1 thing really well! Sprout does those things too – a CRM, galleries and email marketing. And feature-for-feature, we’re all more-or-less comparable. The real difference is that with Sprout, you get all the tools you need in one place, so it’s better for you, your clients and your wallet! Everything works nicely together.

At Sprout Studio, you get industry-leading support from real people who show up every day to help you succeed as a photographer. They’re happy to answer your questions via email, right in your account or via phone.

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Setting up Sprout Studio is straightforward. We’ve designed the platform with ease of use in mind. You first walk through Startup Wizard, which guides you through the initial setup process step by step. Additionally, you can download templates and preset workflows that make customization quick and simple, allowing you to get your CRM up and running in no time.

No, you don’t have to start from scratch with Sprout Studio. We provide 100s of customizable templates for emails, contracts, questionnaires, and more, which you can easily adapt to fit your brand and workflow. These templates are designed to save you time and effort, making it easier to maintain consistency and professionalism across all client interactions.

Migrating your existing clients to Sprout Studio is a smooth process. We offer tools that allow you to quickly enter client data directly into Sprout Studio from your existing CRM. You can also hire us to do it for you, and our concierge team will seamlessly migrate your clients for you.

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