We live in a deadline world. With so many things competing for our time and attention, having a deadline in place is often the only way to prioritize tasks and make sure they get done.
The same is true when it comes to the album proofing process.
If you’re guilty of sending your clients the initial draft of their album with an open ended time frame in which they have to respond, are you really surprised when they fail to get back to you quickly? Or, perhaps—at all?
As easy as it is to blame clients for dragging their feet and failing to follow-up, the reality is—when the album proofing process gets delayed, the fault is entirely ours.
As photographers and business owners, it’s our responsibility to make sure the processes we have in place are fail-safe. It’s up to us to make sure no one drops the ball, and having strict deadlines make that possible.
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When I first started providing albums for clients, the thought of giving clients a firm deadline seemed mean and authoritarian. I thought I was making their lives easier by letting them get back to me whenever it was convenient for them.
Only later did I realize it’s actually quite the opposite. Having a firm deadline actually makes it more convenient for clients because they can plan ahead and know exactly what to expect. So instead of giving your clients an open-ended period to get back to you with any album edit requests, give them a strict deadline (I recommend something between 1-3 weeks).
And—because it’s important to provide a way to move the process forward in the event that your client fails to follow-up with you entirely (I’m yet to have this happen), I tell them that if I don’t hear from them in X amount of time, I’ll assume they love their book as much as I do, and will order it as is so they can start enjoying it as quickly as possible.
This prompts a quick reply and sets the expectation that the album proofing process will be fast paced and timely, without a long and drawn out exchange.
Since operating this way, I’m able to get most wedding albums into production almost immediately after clients receive the proof, usually with only one or two image swap requests.
Deadlines = freedom and flexibility. Don’t be afraid to use ‘em!
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