“We felt a disconnected relationship with the photographers. We felt our personalities were not highlighted the way most other weddings of theirs are. We feel this may be due to not having them get to know us better beforehand.
When The Schultzes know/are friends with their clients, it shows, the depth in their photography reaches epic levels and the emotion/passion is explored and documented beautifully. Unfortunately, we weren’t one of those lucky ones.” – Past bride
It was a few years ago that we decided to solicit feedback from our past wedding clients for the first time ever. The above quote was taken directly from one of the anonymous feedback submissions. There were two things that I felt when I read that. Number one – I was horrified. Absolutely horrified. The way that the couple felt was the exact opposite of what our company stands for and aims to deliver. I think I’m actually still horrified. Number two – I was truly surprised and completely caught off guard. I legitimately had NO idea that one of our couple’s had that experience with us. As we looked into it more and backtracked through our time that they were in our care, we began to uncover some of the possible reasons they were led to feel that way. Which then led us to make some changes to ensure that was never…ever…going to happen again.
Why You Need It
We put our heart and soul into this business, so of course, receiving such poor feedback felt altogether devastating and defeating. And yet, I was so grateful to have received it, as otherwise, I would have never become aware of an existing hole in our business that needed attention!
At the end of the day, as hard as it was to swallow less than amazing feedback, I wanted to know so I could make changes to improve. In fact, many of our business decisions have been shaped by the direct feedback we’ve received from clients.We are fiercely committed to providing an exceptional experience to our couples and we are always seeking specific ways to improve that experience. The satisfaction of our clients is more important to us than anything else. We’ll never be aware of existing problems that our couples experience unless we ask them and unless they tell us.
Receiving direct feedback from clients allows us to:
- Understand what is working/what to continue.
- Identify the pain points our couples experience.
- Be pointed to the areas that we need to improve.
- Measure client satisfaction to direct our business decisions.
How to Get It
In June, we send a request for feedback to our outgoing couples whose wedding has taken place January-June. In December, we do the same for the couples who have wed July-December. As you think about implementing a system into your own business to collect client feedback, here are a few things to consider.
2. Offer an incentive. To encourage your clients and to thank them for taking the time to complete your survey, you might consider offering a small incentive for them to do so. We offer each couple either a $10 giftcard to Starbucks or a $25 product credit to be used in their engagement or wedding online galleries. Obtaining direct feedback from those we have served has been more than worth this expense.
3. Allow for anonymity. What’s most important to us when collecting client feedback is that we are collecting honest answers to our questions. If a client had a less than optimal experience, I want to ensure there is a way for them to give us critical and candid feedback without having to reveal their identity, which they can do through the survey program.
4. Keep it brief, simple and to the point. What you ask should be easy to answer and shouldn’t take up much time for your clients to complete. With that said, ask open ended and specific questions. Avoid asking questions that will get you information that you don’t need or won’t use.
5. Send a personal email. We’ve found that sending our outgoing clients a warm, friendly email, while clearly defining why we are requesting their feedback, generally yields a greater response. We make sure to communicate how much we value their input and how it will be useful to us.
Bonus – How to Use It
What will you do with the data you collect?
Of course, setting aside some time to review and analyze the feedback you receive will be important if you want this process to be worth your while. The question that is most important to us and that we pay the closest attention to is, “What can we do to improve?”. We take the answers to this question very seriously and use it to make decisions to improve the experience that future clients will have with our company.
We’ve put together a FREE resource to help you get this process of collecting client feedback started. It includes:
- The 12 questions we ask our clients when collecting feedback (including alternative questions)
- The email template we use to solicit feedback
To access it, download it right here!
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+ For more business and photography education, click here.
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We have some exciting news to share today! We are looking for an intern for fall 2017 and are now accepting applications!
We are a small, but mighty team of three. Cheyenne is the lead photographer and owner, Erika is the studio manager and second shooter and Geoff is husband to Cheyenne, second shooter and director of all things technical and design. :) We are located in Charlotte, North Carolina, but serve various areas of the Southeast primarily photographing weddings (a few portrait sessions here and there as well).
We are passionate about both the business and the art of our company and desire to build it with intention and purpose and we are highly committed to providing an exceptional experience for all of our clients.Our core purpose is to create art that matters and to genuinely care for others.
+ Position runs September 5 – November 30, 2017
+ Location: our home based studio is located in South Charlotte
+ Schedule: 8-15 hours per week (available Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays)
+ This position is unpaid, but we are happy to work with you if you are enrolled in college and are needing credit.
+ Running errands
+ Filing, placing print orders, keeping supplies stocked
+ Keeping the studio tidy
+ Packaging and shipping client gifts/product deliverables
+ Managing business Facebook and Pinterest accounts
+ Some blogging
+ Prepping/cleaning camera equipment prior to shoots/weddings
+ Assist at weddings some Saturdays (non-shooting)
We are looking for someone that has a great work ethic and is capable of managing time well to handle multiple projects at once. This person should be highly organized and have an extremely high attention to detail, as well as possess a creative mind. We are looking for someone that will have a great attitude and a cheerful heart; especially when doing menial tasks such as running an errands or tidying the studio at the end of the day. This person should enjoy working hard and smart and be eager to learn and grow.
+ Must love dogs (most days we have two running around the studio)
+ Must be familiar with social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
+ A working knowledge of Photoshop, Lightroom, and WordPress would be a bonus!
+ Must be passionate about photography and the wedding industry
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO LEARN
This internship will offer significant learning opportunities including:
+ What it takes to operate a wedding photography business
+ A behind the scenes look how to offer an exceptional experience to clients
+ Equipment knowledge
+ The flow of a wedding day and working with vendors
+ The fundamentals of administrative systems and processes
+ How to manage social media platforms for business
To receive application instructions, please send an email to:
Please indicate “Fall Intern 2017” on the subject line.
Completed applications are due by 11:59pm on Sunday – July 9, 2017
June 14, 2012:
“Cried myself to sleep again last night. Feeling so broken. We are so messed up. Never thought marriage would be like this. I need help, God. I don’t know where to go or what to do.”
July 16, 2012:
“I feel hopeless that we will ever come out of this. God, help me. Help me, please.”
August 24, 2012:
“Geoff and I are not well. It seems like we are hanging on by a thread most days. I am a mess. Put me back together, God. Restore our marriage.”
September 3, 2012:
“God, work a miracle in our lives. I can’t do this. There’s no way I can do this. No person can fix this; only You can fix this. I need for you to intervene here. Please, Jesus, please.”
June 9th, 2017.
Today. Today marks 10 years of marriage. 10 years in and about a million memories. 10 years in and already one heck of a story to tell.
A story of joy and laughter and love. Of despair and hopelessness and desperation. Of waiting and hoping and perseverance. And ultimately, of restoration and of purpose.
Five years in, our marriage had imploded. Something that had once felt unbreakable had completely collapsed. It was broken into a million pieces and it felt irreparable. For months on months on months of both of us trying to make things right, I questioned if we would make it. I mean, I figured we would make it, in that we wouldn’t get divorced. But I couldn’t see how we could ever be healed…how we could ever have a even a chance of a semi-happy marriage again.
I knew that it wasn’t going to happen by anything that Geoff or I could do individually or together. We had done all that we knew to do. And yet, we were still a mess. I knew it was going to have to be something much bigger than us. It was going to have to be God that made a way for us. I pleaded with Him daily to help us.
By the grace of God, we made it out of that dark pit that we were in. It certainly didn’t happen overnight or with a magic bullet. Little by little…day by day…things began to get better. I honest to goodness believe that I witnessed a miracle through our marriage. Because I remember where we were. I remember where my heart was. I remember the despair of feeling that I had come to the end of my rope and had no where else to go.
Of course, I would never wish to go through it again. Nor can I say that am I’m glad that we were in that place. But at the same time, it’s also hard to wish that it had all never happened. Although we lost an awful lot during that season, we gained immeasurably more. Perspective, gratefulness, forgiveness, selflessness, depth. And getting to experience God’s existence, presence, love and power in our lives.
. . . . . . . . . .
Geoff. 10 years of weekend getaways and late night gummy worm runs. Of “I’m pregnants”, baby birth days and learning to parent together. Of packing up all of our possessions time and time again…into new home after new home after new home. Of friends and ministry and pets and business. Of holding each other up through loss, disappointment and rejection. Of chasing down stray dogs, holidays and drinking lattes like it’s our life’s work. Of praying through anxieties, direction and dreams. Through surgeries and sicknesses and potty training. Of dance parties and celebrations and laughing until we’re crying.
We have the most beautiful life. Fighting for us was worth it. I love you, I’m so grateful for you and I can’t wait to see all that God has for us from here. Happy anniversary, babe.
Work Hard. Play Hard. Rest Well.
That’s what June is going to be. In looking at my planner for the month, we’ve got a ton going on in this house. Weddings to shoot, summer bucket list items to enjoy, trips to take, lots of work projects to complete. It’s going to be full. But instead of feeling overwhelmed, I’m choosing to be content, joyful and expectant for a great month with my family and for my business. And grateful that I’ve been given a life that is more than I could ever ask for.
Goals met from May:
+ Taxes. Complete.
+ Sent my May newsletter. To receive June’s newsletter, go here to sign up!
+ Decide on and set up studio management software…we went with Tave.
+ Stay on top of editing.
+ Complete CSP client album resource.
Things to look forward to in June:
+ Celebrating Geoff’s birthday, Father’s Day and our 10 Year Anniversary!
+ Photographing two weddings and two engagement sessions (and shooting a little film!).
+ Beach Trip.
+ My friend Nancy’s free training: 3 Keys to Learning Film and Transforming Your Photography Business – sign up HERE!
+ Handlettering Class through Skillpop with Erika.
+ Spa Day at Grove Park!
+ CSP Quarter 3 Planning Meeting (doing this a little early, so we can take advantage of roadtrip time in the car).
And my goals for the month:
Personal – June
+ Plan three intentional Mama Days.
+ Clean out and prep kids’s outdoor play area with mulch.
+ Complete our Powersheets Goal Guide for Parents.
+ Resurrect Sunday Night Resets.
+ Make summer bucket list with kids.
Business – June
+ Finish reading Creating Customer Evangelists.
+ Set up Tave.
+ Refresh studio space. Lower curtains, decorate and maybe paint.
+ Complete and order CSP welcome guide.
+ Develop our consult experience.
Do you blog your goals? If so, please link below in a comment, as I would love to see and cheer you on! Have a great month, y’all!
Do you remember Amanda and Josh’s dreamy Savannah engagement session at Wormsloe Historic Site? Well today, I get to share their beautiful wedding day. :)
Late last month Amanda and Josh were married at the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah, Georgia. And y’all. It was just the best day. Here are just a few of my favorite moments of the day.
+ Amanda’s Hayley Paige dress. Need I say more? It was incredible.
+ Amanda gifted her mom a set of three connected frames (see image below) – one of her mom on her own wedding day, one for a bridal portrait of herself and one with a quote from their favorite musical, Wicked. “So much of me is what I learned from you. You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart.” Perfect.
+ We had been planning to do their first look under the spanish moss in Forsyth Park. Wouldn’t you know it when we pulled up to the park to location scout the evening before…we saw the signs for the Savannah College of Art and Design Sidewalk Arts Festival. Geoff went to SCAD, so we knew what this meant…the park would be inundated the next day with people and shooting there might prove impossible. While we made a back up plan, we didn’t need to use it thanks to one low hanging tree that allowed us to block out most of the festival goers!
+ This was a family affair! Amanda’s maid of honor was her sweet sister, Josh’s best men were his hilarious and entertaining brothers and Josh’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law officiated the ceremony. Super special.
+ Josh’s son, Cameron, stole our hearts. What an adorable, kind, sweet and fun kid. I loved how they incorporated him into the ceremony. Amanda gave Cameron a ring of his own and then he gave one to Amanda. And when they asked him if he wanted to say anything, he looked at her and sweetly said, “I love you, Amanda.” And I was a puddle behind my camera.
+ Amanda had her grandmother’s brooch pinned in her bouquet. It was so special when Amanda showed it to her before they took a picture together.
+ When Amanda and Josh had their first kiss as the ceremony concluded, the train whistle blew. So fun.
Amanda and Josh…thank you. Thank you so much for allowing us to be a part of your wedding day. You and your friends and family welcomed us in so warmly…we are so grateful. Congratulations, you two!
Venue – Georgia State Railroad Museum
Wedding Coordinator – Alysse Sweeney at Design Studio South
Hair/Make up – Heather Ferguson of Beyond Beautiful by Heather
Dress Designer – Hayley Paige
Dress and Veil purchased from – Blush Bridal
Groom Attire – Hugo Boss
Florals – A to Zinnias
Ceremony Musician – Michael Houston
Transportation – Old Savannah Tours
Invitations – Mindy’s Paper Capers and Designer Fine Press
Other paper goods – Menus – He Saw Sparks Etsy
Caterer – JThomas Catering
Videographer – CollabCreation Films
Lighting – Eddie Kimmer Stage Lighting
Photobooth – Dream Weaver
Vow Books – Design Life Studio Etsy