Photographers want to have regular clients. They also want to find as many new clients as possible. People also declare the sky is blue. More at 11. In all seriousness, when you have your own photography business or clientele, you have the freedom to shoot the type of photography that you and your clients love. If you want to deliver quality work, and it shows, then most clients do not mind paying a little more.
What are things photography clients want from you? Most clients want to be understood and treated as if their wishes matter. They want someone who will listen to them and work with them toward the desired outcome. Once you know what your clients want, moving to the next step of giving it to them is not so difficult. Make sure you are prepared to take any extra steps necessary besides taking photographs to give your clients what they want.
If you still do not have the clients you need or want, there are steps you can take to ensure that you are giving them what they truly want from you. Here are some things your photography clients want and ways you can provide.
1. Understand Your Client
When you begin to understand what motivates your photography clients, then you will know what you need to do to land the client you wish. It is also important that you know the types of clients you wish to work with. Not every human being is an ideal client.
Here are some questions you can ask. What are my client’s hobbies and interests? Where do my clients shop? Are they family oriented? Of course, these questions are just the beginning of getting to know your client, but at least you are making progress before the delivery.
2. Know How Your Client Makes Decisions
Understanding how clients make decisions will keep you from driving one away from your business. It will also keep you from discouraging a potential client from doing business with you. Your marketing should be adjusted according to the way clients make decisions. In doing this, you will keep and gain good clients and discourage the ones that cause stress.
Educate your client as to what he or she should be looking for in a photographer or the pictures themselves. The client will see you as someone who is an authority, and they will be drawn to you.
3. Give Your Client Creativity
Avoid becoming stuck in a rut. It will cause you to lose clients and it will keep you from gaining new ones. Keep up to date on the latest technology and methods by attending professional developments in your field. Often, photographers want to use the same equipment, poses, and styles because clients like those things. However, your clients came to you because of your creativity. Giving them something different will keep your photography fresh and appealing.
When you begin a session, focus on lines and symmetry as well as showing movement in addition to the traditional focus. Thinking outside the box will keep both you and your clients from becoming bored with your work.
4. Give Your Clients Posing Advice
Insecure and self-conscious clients are a norm in the photography business. Because of apprehensions, photography causes these clients to feel vulnerable. They realize that the picture is going to have them “out there” in a manner of speaking. There is no hiding.
Your reassurance and finding ways to deal with their anxieties will keep them coming back. The clients depend on you to make them feel secure and comfortable. It might be frustrating for you at times because of your style of shooting pictures but going the extra mile for your client with posing advice will give your work even more value.
5. Clients Expect You to Be Patient with Their Children
While you do not have to tolerate destructive behavior, you can expect kids to misbehave. Preparing yourself mentally will prevent you from being seen as that “grouchy photographer who hates kids.” That persona could cost you clients and might even be detrimental to your professional reputation.
If you do not have patience with children, it might be a good idea to determine at the beginning that you will not do photo shoots with children. If you can tolerate rowdy children, families with children are dependable clients. People always want pictures of their children.
6. Clients and Pricing
Although you might have the most reasonable prices in the photography business, there will be clients who insist that you are asking too much for your photos. These few will not want to pay you what you’re worth. They simply do not understand the value of your services.
On the other hand, there are plenty of clients who appreciate your value and know the time and work it takes to get their photos just right. These clients will pay you what you ask without hesitation. When you find these clients, appreciate them.
7. Clients Want Comfort
Clients want to feel comfortable with you. If you give off tense vibes, they will not want to continue giving you business. Insecurity issues were previously mentioned. Clients want to know that you take their comfort seriously, and they will often pay more to get it.
When you make suggestions, such as changing poses, be tactful in your suggestions. Being overly insistent sends the wrong message, and it will make your clients feel uncomfortable. Treating them the way you want to be treated will most likely solve potential negative issues.
8. Clients Want Quality
Make sure your photos are consistently of good quality. Your images should be in focus, and your content should be fresh and appealing. When you lose the freshness, you lose clients.
Most customers are not experts at being overly picky about quality, but they will recognize low quality when they see it. You want to display work that you would be proud to purchase yourself. Do whatever it takes to keep the quality high. This could mean extra classes and professional development sessions. Your business is worth the time you will invest keeping it fresh.
9. Clients Like Websites
You are living in the digital and technical age. People conduct business online more than ever before. Clients love a website in which they can look at your work and contact you if need be. Don't be one of those photographers with an ugly website with hardly any information.
If you need to hire someone to build a website, it would be worth the investment. I personally love WordPress but you can get away with those builder websites, the website building platforms that can have you up and running in a few clicks.
Your clients love the convenience of having you just a click away. Make sure your images and contact information are easy to locate on your site. I can give you an entire masterclass on how to make a killer website that generates leads, but here are the bare essentials for your website:
- Your home page should give basic information about you and your services. This needs to be as clear as possible. Don't try to get too cute.
- Your about page should give more specific details about the types of photo shoots you do e.g. weddings, family portraits, school functions, or business photos. Tell a story but don't try to make yourself the center of the universe.
- Your portfolio page should have your photos well organized and easy to navigate.
- Your contact page should have a submission template for clients to send you an email. Make it easy for potential clients to reach out to you and allow themselves to see if they're a good fit for you.
10. Clients Want a Relationship
Although we have already discussed putting the client at ease, client relationships are valuable and should be invested in. Of course, professionalism is a must, but friendliness is good too. Present yourself to your clients in a personable and friendly manner while drawing the line of professionalism.
Most likely, your clients will be returning to you for future photos. A positive relationship will keep them coming along with new clients. Let your clients know that you are there for them. Going above and beyond your duty from time to time earns their trust. Here are some additional tips to maintaining good client relationships:
- Send an email in between sessions to let your client know you value their business. Of course, come across as less robotic than “thank you for your business.”
- Appropriately comment on client social media posts.
- Be friendly when you see your client out somewhere such as a restaurant.
- Avoid gossip when interacting with your clients. You could be bashing another potential client.
11. Clients Want Consistent Communication
If a client sends you an email, you should respond in a 24-hour window. Most people have a template with a standard response until they are able to give a personal response. It is vital that you give a timely, personal response. Consistent communication makes you appear responsible and organized. Clients know they can trust you if you communicate regularly.
This should be a must with any service business, but you'd be surprised how often people drop the ball on this.
12. Clients Like Simple and Clear Information
Your packages and rates should be clear and concise. Clients do not like confusion. More does not mean better. Simple wording and offers will attract more clients than complicated packages.
If you use contracts, the wording should be clear and easy to understand. A contract does not have to be 10 pages long in order to cover your service. If clients are unable to understand what you are offering, they will go elsewhere.
13. Clients Like Social Media
Your clients should be able to follow or friend you on Facebook. They should be able to follow you on Twitter and Instagram as well. Social media brings business. If you keep to yourself on social media, you will not draw new clients nor keep the ones you have.
Keep your business separate from your personal account. This will keep you from being too personally involved in the lives of your clients, yet, the business association will make you appear available.
14. Clients Like a Thank You Text or Email
After the photo session, send your client a thank you text or email. Even a phone call would be appreciated. Your client will feel appreciated and this makes the service personalized.
You could even give a follow-up call, email, or text after your clients have picked up their photos. Your clients will know that you care about their satisfaction and the quality of your service. Follow-up builds trust and rapport.
15. Clients Like a Quick Turn-Around-Time
While your clients do not expect you to have their photos ready the next day, they do expect timely delivery. Process the photos as soon as possible and within reason. Your client should not have to wait an unreasonable length of time.
If you have an emergency or other unforeseen circumstance that might cause a delay in delivery, make sure you communicate with your client and offer an apology. Communication will demonstrate that you care that your clients are having to wait longer than necessary.
16. Clients Love to Give Feedback
Asking for honest feedback might make you apprehensive, but your business will grow as a result. Most likely, the feedback will be more positive than negative. Appreciate the positive feedback. Keep improving upon what is positive.
When you receive negative feedback, use it as a learning experience. See if there is a way you can grow or improve depending upon the feedback. Thank your client for the negative feedback and do whatever is necessary to make things better. Once again, your clients will trust you if they know you listen to them.
17. Clients Love to Be Remembered
Remembering the birthdays and anniversaries of your clients will go a long way. They will appreciate a card, email, or text showing that you remembered a special day. Even a social media comment acknowledging a special day will be meaningful to a client.
When you have special offers, send your clients an email or text. It would not hurt to communicate with your client, even if you do not have special offers going. A simple hello or inquiring about them will build rapport.
18. Clients Like to Know You Love Your Job
Have fun during your photo shoots. Appropriate humor is always pleasant. If you come across as positive and energetic, your clients will know they have chosen the right photographer.
At a business conference earlier this year, I had a nice chat with the event photographer. He was loud, clear in instruction, patient, friendly, and did everything he could to draw a smile out of you. He did a nice job making you feel less dumb when taking pictures. This photographer did headshots for participating organizations and then took group photos. He was great. If I find out what his company name was, I'll link it here. He did a fantastic job.
It can be difficult sometimes, but avoid being grouchy even when you feel like it. Always show courtesy to even the most difficult client. You're already involved with the shoot, so there's no need to add gas to the fire. This doesn't mean tolerate disrespect or abuse. This means that if you normally clap back on someone or reply with degrading humor, you instead handle them with grace and professionalism. Sometimes, you will still land difficult clients although you have positioned yourself against them and tried to avoid it.
19. Clients Want a Good Location
Each client has a particular place in which they want you to shoot their photos. Some will want to be inside your studio, or inside another building. Others will want to have their photos taken outside.
Being flexible with you clients concerning location will bring you many referrals. Your studio should also be in a convenient location too. Should your clients wish to have a photo shoot in your studio, they will want a convenient location with easy access.
20. Ethics Matter
Your photography clients want someone who is ethical. Although your client might not be an ethical person, he or she will expect it of you. Avoid making questionable decisions. This is mostly referring to shady business practices and unnecessarily harsh licensing or enforcing one-sided terms to your benefit.
If you go the extra mile in your business, your clients will take notice. Most of them will appreciate your integrity. Always be honest in your conversation and dealings with your client.
21. Clients Don’t Want You to Take Things Personally
If your clients do not like every item you deliver, you should avoid being out of sorts about it. You are in business to serve them, and if they wish to change a pose or have something redone, you should oblige them within reason. Just because a client is displeased does not mean you need to take it personally.
People often want things differently than the way you are accustomed to doing. Be flexible and willing to make adjustments if the quality of the photos will not be compromised. Eventually, you will develop thicker skin. You will realize that your clients are not attempting to attack you personally.
22. Clients Like Transparency
Make your expectations clear to your clients. Be certain that you understand their expectations. Your clients will not appreciate unpleasant surprises, and, to be fair, you should not expect them to. Decide ahead of time what you expect. Ask your client questions so that you are clear on what is expected.
Your direction should be clear and concise. As a result, your clients will feel more secure and comfortable with your as the photographer. Your business will run smoother as well.
23. Client’s Like a Portfolio
Have an organized and innovative portfolio on your website. Clients see this as your ability to organize your work and maintain quality. Use a variety of different photo shoots from family pictures to weddings. Business photos are a welcome addition to your portfolio as well. You want to attract business clients. They give good referrals, and you will do well to have as many business clients as you can handle.
Be certain that your portfolio is easy to access and navigate. Clients love to conveniently go through your previous work. First impressions are everything.
24. Clients Like You to Work with Their Objections
Not all clients will like everything about your services, but that does not mean you cannot have them as clients. Some people will never accept your fees no matter how reasonable they might be. Be courteous and professional even if they walk away as a client. You never know when they might return.
If a client objects to your work, it is up to you if you wish to have a do over session. In some cases, it might help. In others, it might not. Find out what they didn't like try to get on the same page. If you stayed within scope of your work, be firm, but be as reasonable as possible in trying to help and especially your demeanor.
The Bottom Line
Notice how I barely mentioned tech and the photography process. The other 20 or so tips involve working well with people. You don't have to be a socialite, but soft skills can literally make or break your business.
Remember that you are a professional. You can deal with clients and their quirks and objections. All people are different and will have different expectations. You can discourage completely unreasonable clients from doing business with you. Mostly, you will want to be as courteous, reasonable, and flexible as possible while remaining true to yourself and your business.
Most clients want to feel secure. They simply want you to listen to them and acknowledge their wishes and frustrations. Your clients want to know that their business in a priority to you and that you will give them quality. Going the extra mile for your client will keep them coming back.