Being a photographer these days isn’t easy!
Constant changes in the photography industry, accelerating expectations, technology at an ever-advancing state, imbalanced economies, and – well, you get the point.
So why make things harder than they need to be? Especially when it comes to building meaningful galleries and guiding your client’s experience.
We all know clients have one thing in mind from the moment they book you to the moment you “finally” send their images – their gallery! We also know that when it comes to something as important as preserving lifelong memories, clients expect a 5-star service along with your 5-star photos.
Let’s take an opportunity here to go over all the ways photographers can make their life easier when it comes to online galleries and client experience.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Setting the First Impression
- Creating a Path (or narrative)
- Giving a Flawless Reveal
- Promoting Client Interaction
- Providing the Next Steps
- Mobile Experience
- Relying on Dependable Tech
- Guaranteeing your Client Privacy
(1) Setting the First Impression
Unless you’re a photographer doing IPS and inviting your clients over for a “Preview Party” – you’re not physically there to guide their experience.
Especially in today’s digital climate (and recent global events), virtual meetings have taken over the “point of contact” by storm. Now, 83% of employees spend up to 1/3 of their work week in video meetings (RedRex).
The point is, connecting online is not a foreign concept to most people these days. So how can photographers maximize their potential in online IPS without sacrificing brand delivery?
Well, Sprout Studio deliberately designed galleries to underscore “first-impression theory”. A psychological theory that uncovers people’s tendencies to make judgments on attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness in a fraction of a second after seeing something.
Including your images and work.
Your gallery delivery is the capstone of your client’s journey. It’s why you were sought out, booked, and paid. The image reveal (with image obtainment closely following) is the moment your clients have been waiting since the onset.
Your Gallery Cover is that “first impression”. Ensure it sets the tone of your brand experience and meets your brand standards. The lasting impression often begins with the first impression. Wow, your clients even before their images get revealed with Sprout’s Gallery “Cover Designer”.
(2) Creating a Path (or Narrative)
Following the first impression is your client’s path – what journey do you want to take your client on after revealing the cover design? How can you tell a story that leads to a 5-star experience for them and more sales for you?
The answer… prompts and direct paths.
Remember, just because you’re not physically there with them doesn’t mean you have to lose control of your process. Guide them with the options available in your Sprout gallery “Experience” settings.
Instead of sending clients directly to their images, prompt them to select an alternative path that elevates their experience. With both a slideshow and video prompt enabled on your Sprout Gallery Cover (or in your gallery menu nav), you can exceed expectations and create a show-stopping prelude that will amplify your gallery image reveal.
“Folders”, formerly known as “Collections” in Sprout, enable multiple paths you can create for your clients. Tip: Organizing your session into different folders allows your clients to digest and compartmentalize the content. This, in turn, leads to more sales – yup!
Based on findings, a well-architected website sells 50% more than an unorganized one (Forrester Research Report), and structure seems to sell, with 75% of users judging a site’s credibility based purely on aesthetics (University of Surrey).
So one way to bump up those sales is by ensuring your galleries stay organized, consistent, and visually appealing. We would strongly recommend doing so by segmenting your work into designated folders.
Easily create groupings (and private groupings, see #8 Privacy) in Sprout Studio Galleries; some examples could include:
- Weddings: Segmented by parts of the day (i.e. first look, ceremony, reception)
- Portrait/Commerical: Segmented by scenes/looks (i.e. kitchen, office)
- Family/Newborn: Segmented by subjects (i.e. mom & dad, mom & baby, baby)
(3) Giving a Flawless Reveal
Finally, your gallery reveal!
This is where your work speaks for itself – so make sure it shines with:
- Brand customizations
- A digestible aesthetic
- An organized layout
- Personalized touches
- and clear next steps (but we’ll get to that in section #5)
The easiest way to do this is with Sprout Studio’s “Gallery Builder”. With more functionality, your reveal (and brand) will present exactly how you’d like.
Your Gallery Builder features include layout (grid, mosaic-horizontal, and mosaic-vertical), light and dark modes, spacing/padding, image sizing, templates and more!
Build a more meaningful experience for your clients by building them an unforgettable gallery!
(4) Promote Client Interaction
Establish security, transparency, and reliability for your clients by maintaining a steady flow of communication with them.
Engage your users not only for logistic purposes (i.e. favouriting proofs to edit finals) but integrate them into your entire process because engaged clients = informed clients.
The more you can create interaction, the more you’ll attract them to your business, which translates to customer loyalty and WOM referrals.
Set up favourites, coupons, and credits in your Sprout Studio Gallery to stimulate engagement, and with Album and Design Proofing in Sprout, clients can “give a say” without the cumbersome back-and-forth.
With Sprout, you can give an effortless white glove touch and keep your clients in the know without spending time writing emails, sorting through their favourites, and managing an influx of messages.
(5) Providing the Next Step
The continuation of your sales funnel should always prompt the next steps after the clients have finished viewing their gallery. How do you expect clients to know what to do or where to go without navigation?
You don’t need to be a marketing or sales expert to integrate these practices into your business. Luckily, Sprout’s “Sales Footer” it’s already built-in to your galleries!
The customizable Sales Footer populates under your gallery images and toggles on or off per gallery. We take the phoniness out of “trying to sell” your clients and replace it with strategic language and the appropriate next step.
It’s an easily overlooked component of your online galleries, but having even one tactic in place will help to increase sales.
(6) Mobile Experience
Outside your client process, many back-end workings come into play when creating, sharing, and utilizing your gallery. One of which is knowing your client’s (and potential client’s) behaviours.
Part of that behaviour is how they interact with your products and services. The percentage of people viewing content on their phones, rather than on a desktop, has increased drastically over the past five years.
If current data proves anything, it’s that mobile experience is key.
52% of users said they’re less likely to engage with a business that doesn’t use a responsive mobile design (Think with Google), so it’s no doubt that poorly functioning responsiveness can frustrate your clients during your process.
Stats from Adobe also stress that 45% of users want to see content that displays well across ALL devices.
One way to ensure a good mobile experience for clients is with optimized gallery software. With Sprout, mobile downloads are made easy and with full mobile optimization – you can trust your clients will receive a quality gallery regardless of device.
Take the second-guessing out of your mobile experience with Sprout’s Cover Designer mobile preview. View live before publishing and make real-time edits to ensure the UX/UI doesn’t negatively impact your client experience.
(7) Relying on Dependable Tech
The ability to handle large file sizes and quantities is imperative for the online gallery software you choose to offer.
Along with dependability, your gallery system should also include fast uploading speeds. Take a study done by Google (summarized by NVISAGE Digital) as an example – they state that a 1-10 seconds load time increases the bounce rate by 123%!
If that’s not enough to see how bothered we’ve become by slow browsers, the same study found that user satisfaction plummets by 16% within a one-second delay in page load time.
Long story short, page time plays an important role in your client’s satisfaction with your brand.
Sprout uses a technology that compresses your preview images to load faster, so your clients can better navigate to your full-resolution images upon opening. All plans in Sprout Studio now offer full-resolution uploads to ensure your quality matches quantity, no matter what!
Another point of technology that is important for photographers to consider is storage! Think about how many sessions you’ve had, how many photos you’ve taken, and how much data that equates to.
95% of businesses say that managing data is a problem for their business (Forbes). And as photographers, storage really is the backbone of your industry.
Stop stressing about where to archive your data, how to keep your storage organized, and what drive that session from July is on, by ensuring you have unlimited storage.
With Sprout Studio’s unlimited plan, you can eliminate storage anxiety because you’ll never run out of space!
(8) The Privacy
Security measures when delivering photos to clients are a factor that often gets overlooked. But your client’s confidentiality and peace of mind are essential components to any business.
With Sprout, security is guaranteed. Plus, communicating this with your clients will build trust and enhance your customer relationship.
In Sprout, each client has a personalized account called “The Client Portal”. This account is locked with a username and password your clients select. From their client portal, they can see past sessions, book new ones, and have all of their personal information secured in one place.
Sprout also offers image privacy when sharing galleries. With “Hidden Folders,” you can provide access to certain folders for certain contacts within a gallery.
For example, a bride may have shot a boudoir session before the “getting ready shots” with her party. This folder would be hidden in the client gallery, with permissions set for only the bride and groom to view.
Other contacts who receive the gallery link (mom, dad, maid-of-honour, etc.) would only be able to see folders, such as: “getting ready,” “ceremony,” “reception,” and so on.
Your Turn, Photographer
Being a photographer isn’t easy – we know this! But it also doesn’t have to be so draining.
It’s time to start automating your business, thinking about innovation and growth in a sustainable (and manageable) way.
Give your clients a gallery experience they won’t forget without sacrificing your capacity. Try out Sprout Studio – the software that has your business’s back.