We were lucky to catch up with Sarah Messner recently and have shared our conversation below.
Sarah, appreciate you joining us today. Taking care of customers isn’t just good business – it is often one of the main reasons folks went into business in the first place. So, we’d love to get a conversation going around how to best help clients feel appreciated – maybe you can share something you’ve done or seen someone do that’s been really effective at helping a customer feel valued?
Before and/or after each photo session, I always talk to the family. I will ask questions to get to know my clients and get them acclimated with me. I know I’m one of the few, but I always ask my clients “is there a particular photo you want to recreate” or “is there a meaningful location that you would like to get your pictures taken” I want them to feel comfortable and truly think about what they really want in a photo session. During their session, I am a hype woman. I always give positive feedback and make sure people feel beautiful. I always thank clients afterwards if they participated well and didn’t complain and let them know that means a lot to an artist.
Usually we exchange numbers and I try to stay in touch with my clients after a session and let them know “hey I was thinking about you… and your photos are almost done. They are stunning.” When it comes time to deliver their galleries, I am always generous in the amount of pictures given as a token of appreciation. Good communication is key and I will always maintain good relationships with my clients.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers?
Photography started out as a hobby which lead to me taking college courses and having more interest. 10 years later (2021) I decided to try it out as a career and go for it. I have had some photographer mentors, follow professionals on social media, joined all the social groups, and watched a lot of YouTube videos.
It took me awhile to develop my own style. I like to keep my work true to color but also pull warm and moodier tones. I want to photograph it all before I decide on a niche. I photograph families, newborns, couples, maternity, weddings, boudoir, seniors, models, etc.
I love having this creative outlet in my life. As soon as I think of an idea for a photoshoot, I write it down or text someone immediately. I go for it quickly because I get so excited. I love elaborate styled shoots and also simple spontaneous shoots.
I am proud of how far I have come especially moving here from a different state just 2 years ago. I have worked so hard to get to where I am today and I am looking forward to what the future holds. I want people to remember me for being a good person and a good business owner : ) I want people to feel loved always and treat everyone like family!
How did you build your audience on social media?
Consistency and Relevance is key. In the beginning, I reached out to a friend and content manager, Steffi Rogers, and told her my struggles with my social media life. I shared the following things: I am a stay at home mom of two kids under 4 years old, my husband works 8-5, my 4 year old has soccer and tee ball in the evenings… I am busy and I do not have time to be on my phone 24/7. She scheduled a meeting with me and sat down with me to tell me “YOU GOT THIS! It’s not as complicated as it seems.” She guided me through the basics on social media and has answered any questions I may have. Now, I’m still not the best at it but her help has truly helped me.
Make sure you are engaged with other local businesses and respond or commenting. Show your face and let people see the person behind the camera.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
WORD OF MOUTH is my #1. Not to toot my own horn but I think genuinely being a nice human being is what everyone wants. I am a very friendly, outgoing, personable person. I attend church at NewSpring in Columbia, SC. I walk into businesses and introduce myself and stay in touch always. I meet lots of parents out and about with my kids and plan get togethers/playdates.
Of course there are more sources like through my website submissions, IG DMs, or FB DMs but nothing beats word of mouth because it means something and they remember a good person : )
- Website: bluebellephotography27.mypixieset.com
- Instagram: @blue_bellephotography
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BB.SouthCarolinaPhotographer