Why Photographers Need A Strong Data Collection Tool

The first time I ever hired a photographer was for my senior pictures in high school. My parents wanted a nice looking photo before I went off to college—something less embarrassing than my stockpile of selfies that I’d shamelessly offered up.

I remember the experience very vividly. Finding a reputable photographer with a specialty in senior photos was easy, thanks to a quick Google search. But setting up the actual appointment and getting all of the paperwork together was not for the faint of heart.

The first thing I noticed was that the photographer’s website wasn’t very user-friendly or intuitive—it was hard to navigate and there was no way to make an appointment online – you had to pick up a phone. After setting up the call, the photographer emailed over PDFs of a session agreement, release form, and a form for credit card details. The forms had to be printed out, scanned into the computer, and returned via email attachment. The process was long, and it was daunting.

Looking back, there was an easy, obvious solution: online forms.

Online forms are an underused technology in the photography space. When it comes to gathering client data, signing agreements, and collecting payments, the old school method of pen, paper, and fax seem to be most popular.

But the thing is, this process of information collection isn’t easy for clients—they have to take extra time to find a printer (if you’re like me and don’t have one at home!), fill out the documents by hand, scan them back into the computer, then, finally email everything back over.

With an online form, there are only two steps: fill out the form and press submit. Talk about easy!

Making your client’s experience as simple and straightforward as possible is vital for standing out amongst the crowd in a saturated market. If you’re a photographer still using paper, now’s your chance to switch to the wonderful world of online forms.

To get you started, we’ve listed out a few must-have forms that are perfect for photographers and their businesses.

1) Appointment Forms

Scheduling an appointment is often time-consuming and requires a lot of back and forth to find a day and time that’s just right for both parties. But when you use online forms to handle your appointment scheduling, your clients can easily choose days and times that work with their schedule. To further simplify this process, you can even try our “appointment slots” widget, which shows your form users what times are available for an appointment.

2) Session Agreement Forms

Once your appointment is on the books, it’s time to get the session agreement going! Session agreements are important to take care of right away, so both you and your client are on the same page with expectations and photo shoot details. When you use an online form for session agreements, you can collect client information with ease and not have to deal with any of the extra hassle that comes along with paper forms, such as sorting, organizing, and storing. Another great perk of using an online form is that once clients fill and submit them, all of the data will automatically be available in your JotForm dashboard as well as sent in an email directly to you. Check out a session agreement form template here.

3) Payment Collection Forms

Collecting payments in a timely manner is important for all businesses. With JotForm, sending invoices and collecting payments online has never been easier. JotForm offers over 20 payment integrations to choose from, such as Square, PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net. For photographers, creating an invoice that includes your payment processor of choice only takes seconds to set up. For clients, filling out the form and entering credit card details is similar to buying something online—it’s intuitive and can be done anywhere, anytime.

4) Model Release Forms

If you’re a professional photographer, it’s good to always be armed with a model release form. Model release forms collect the signatures of anyone that appears on camera to ensure that your company can use the images for marketing purposes. Using an online form for model releases is simple because you can pull it up on your mobile device and have it available right away. Better yet, you can link the form to a Google Sheet so that all of the responses automatically transfer into it. JotForm uses these in our Case Study video shoots, and they’ve been super helpful! Check out a Model Release form template here.

JotForm makes photographers’ data collection process simple and streamlined by offering premade templates, payments integrations, and hundreds of widgets and apps to choose from. Our online form tools support photographers by creating a flawless client experience, which in turn, brings repeat business.

P.S. If you want a good laugh, here’s how one of the senior pics turned out. 🙂

Annabel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at JotForm. She’s passionate about writing and has worked in communications roles domestically and internationally. When she’s not blogging about SaaS or online forms, she enjoys international travel, loud concerts, and artisan coffee. You can reach Annabel through her contact form.

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