What Are Onboarding Sessions? A Top Northern VA Newborn Photographer Answers


June 20, 2022

As a Northern VA newborn photographer, I get a lot of questions regarding my onboarding sessions. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have it in their heads that onboarding meetings are essentially a sales pitch. Whereas that may be true for some photographers, it is definitely not the case for me. Onboarding meetings with me have a specific purpose, well, several purposes, actually. In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about onboarding sessions. Let’s dive in!

What Are Onboarding Sessions?

First, I want to cover what you should expect from an onboarding session with your Northern Virginia newborn photographer:

Onboarding is a Chance for Us to Connect

Onboarding meetings are a chance for us to meet for the first time, typically via Zoom or in person. I find that you can learn a lot about a person during an onboarding meeting. They allow us to see if our personalities connect or if my style is what you’re looking for. They give us a chance to mingle and get to know each other in a non-stressful manner.

Talk Through About Your Vision

These sessions are also where we get to discuss your vision. Contrary to other Northern VA newborn photographers, I believe that the vision is up to the client. Of course, I have my own style that we’ll discuss and be sure fits within your vision, but stylistically, it’s primarily up to my clients. I want these photos to be something you can treasure and adore for years to come, and an onboarding session helps me do that.

“Meet” Me so that You Feel More Comfortable On the Day of the Shoot

Onboarding meetings also act as an icebreaker for me and my clients. They allow us to talk, laugh, discuss visions, and “meet” each other before the day of the shoot. In my opinion, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than walking into a photoshoot with someone I’ve never even spoken to before. That’s why onboarding sessions are helpful.

What Onboarding Sessions Are Not

A Sales Pitch

My onboarding sessions are not a sales pitch for my business. I am not there to tell you all about why you should choose me as your Northern Virginia newborn photographer. My job is to talk to you about your vision, confirm that we would be a good match stylistically, and see if our personalities click! That’s really it. We may discuss some packages and prices, but for the most part, this is more of a brief consultation to break the ice and introduce ourselves to each other!

Where You Pay the Retainer

You don’t pay a dime for this session, ever. That credit card can stay in your wallet! Retainers are paid once you’ve scheduled your session with me, which is not what happens here. These are simply the consultation, the “get to know me” piece of the overall puzzle!

Where You Decide if You Want to Book with Me

A lot of parents think that they have to decide whether or not they want to book with me by the end of our session. Whereas that’s very productive from a business standpoint, it isn’t necessary. I will never ask you if you want to schedule your session with me at the end of an onboarding meeting because that’s not what it’s about.

That being said, I do follow up with my clients after the onboarding meetings to see if they’ve made a decision. Make sure you’re looking out for that email from me to let me know! Being ghosted is not only stressful for me as a photographer, but it’s also a little bit hurtful. I will never be offended if we aren’t a good match. That’s human nature! Just let me know either way so I can be sure I have a spot for you and other clients!

Quick Recap About Onboarding Sessions with Your Northern VA Newborn Photographer!

Onboarding meetings with me as your Northern VA newborn photographer are a chance for us to connect. They’re an opportunity for me to get to know you and vice versa while we talk about what you’re looking for. They are not a time for me to act as a sales agent or try and swindle money out of you. Our job during this time is to talk and laugh. Everything else comes later!

Make sure you schedule your onboarding session with me so that I can get to know you and your little one!

Want even more resources? Check out some of my other posts below:

Scheduling an onboarding session with Northern Virginia Newborn Photographer, Stephanie Honikel.

  1. Stacey says:

    I appreciate this post so much, I definitely value meeting with my clients beforehand. Making sure that I can provide the type of experience they’re looking for as well as proving any additional ideas they didn’t think of. Great post!

  2. Julie says:

    This is so good to know so you are prepared for your session.

  3. Nadalie says:

    Thanks for sharing all these information! Very helpful for future use!

  4. Sharon says:

    It’s great that you will know everything that will be entailed in your newborn photo shoot! Love to have this peace of mind.

  5. These are great tips for baby photo sessions and nice way to build up your business in VA as well, good luck!

  6. Deb B says:

    I’ve never heard of this term before and I’m so glad you explained it. I find this is the best part of starting the process – getting to know the photographer and the needs of the client is crucial to getting the synergy just right!

  7. Jasmyn says:

    I love how you have laid out the entire on boarding on what to expect for a newborn session. It becomes less scary having it explained this way and the benefits behind it. Great job!

    • Stephanie Honikel says:

      Thank you, Jasmyn. I find it’s less of a blind date working with someone you have previously talked to face to face. There’s so much more to the entire process then just being attracted by a pretty portfolio.

  8. Sara says:

    Oh this is so cool! I always wondered what the process for boarding for newborn sessions was and this was truly informative. I love knowing what to expect ahead of time and it seems like you took the extra effort to put yourself in the shoes of clients. Thank you for sharing!

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