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[Photographer] How to offer online booking in 8 easy steps

July 29, 2020 Judd Lillestrand


Offering the convenience of self-booking is a great way to increase sales and make life easier for both you and your clients. By avoiding the back and forth texts of pricing, availability, and payments, you'll free up time to focus on more important things and make the process of booking you a breeze. Here are 8 easy steps to get your first online booking.


1) Create A Few Packages

Packages make it easy for people to compare and pick the best option for them. Offer at least two and no more than three packages for each service such as Newborn, Family, Boudoir.

For example, Family Packages might have:

  • The Budget Package (Bronze) - great for those who are price-sensitive, but still need you. However, that lower pricing point will come at the cost of lesser, but still a fantastic service. Perhaps they get fewer images or no prints.
  • The Most Value Package (Silver) - your ideal price point. By limiting your budget package, you can make your middle package more attractive by including more. If your base package includes four professionally touched up images, your premium package might include eight and only cost 50% more and offer print rights.
  • The Premium Package (Gold) - for those who want all the bells and whistles. Make this one meaningfully more expensive. It's also going to make your two other packages seem much more affordable. This package might include a lot of the add-ons offered in your lower-priced packages.


2) Optional Add-ons

While packages are a great starting point, offering optional add-ons can help your customer feel more control over the buying process and get just what they want. Add-ons also provide an excellent opportunity to upsell lower-priced packages. It's okay for your budget package to have a lot of optional add-ons while your premium package is all-inclusive or has very few add-ons.


3) Configure Your Availability

Define when you're available to shoot. If you have standing commitments like soccer practice or another part-time job, just block off those times of the week, so you're never double-booked. Defining the times you're available will open up the door for self-service bookings and make scheduling a breeze.


4) Upload Your Terms

It's essential to have clients sign an agreement when booking. A good set of Terms and Conditions will give your business some necessary protection and spell out some of the boring legal details of the service you provide. Often these terms are non-negotiable and the same for each client. Make it easy for people by offering electronic signatures.


5) Connect Credit Card Processing

Most people prefer to pay with a card these days. Avoid the temptation to tack on surcharges and bake the processing fees into your prices. It's easy to set up a Stripe, Square, or PayPal account and start taking payments. 


6) Configure A Booking Fees/Deposit

It's smart to get a financial commitment before adding a client to your calendar. More reasonable dollar amounts make it easier for the client to commit while still ensuring the client is serious about following through on their commitment.


7) Setup your online booking system

You're going to need a way to put it all together. Check Cherry offers easy-to-setup and highly customizable booking software for photographers. It makes it easy for your clients to pick a package, find an available time, pay, and sign electronically. Best of all, Check Cherry offers several tools to accomplish the tasks above.


8) Promote your new convenient online booking option.

It's time to get the word out. Add some links/buttons to your marketing website so people can "Book Now", "Check Availability", and "View Pricing".  Your clients are going to love booking you online. You'll also have more time to spend with family and developing deeper connections with clients after the sale.

People will ❤️ how easy it is to book you online.

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