Chapter 5: The Right Clients
Again and again throughout this course you will hear me talk about "the good clients", so before we get further into it I want to specify what I mean by that.
I do not mean that some people are better than others! That is very important to emphasise. Nor do I mean that people who can afford to pay alot are more worthy as clients than people with a smaller budget.
However, it is my clear experience that 90% of the people who are actually looking for a professional photographer, instead of leaving disposable cameras on the tables or letting uncle Bob bring his camera, can also afford to pay the hourly rate you need to charge as a minimum to have a solid sustainable business. They may just not be able to afford full day coverage. Don't feel like you have to give it to them if they don't want to pay for it or can't afford it! There are other ways to give back if you need a bigger purpose to justify your prices to yourself (but we'll get into all that in depth in a later Module, I promise)
For the first 5 years of my business I heard again and again how expensive I was, and potential clients kept pushing me on price even though they ALL earned at least 4 times as much as I did per month! Trust me, in the long run, you won't feel good about yourself and your work by collaborating with people who think you deserve less than them, and most people have NO idea how much it costs to run an efficient wedding photography business. When people say you are too expensive, 90% of the time it is a question of them prioritising something else in their budget.
So when I talk about that elusive "good" or right client, I mean people who either have enough money or who are willing to prioritise photography in the top three of their wedding budget or make it priority number one from the beginning. The good client is someone who is generally just a kind decent human being, who understands innately that you are also a human being and not a service provider or, even worse, a servant. It is someone who wants to collaborate with you rather than just hire you.
So stop playing small. Stop giving away your everything for free or on the cheap. Most people will never see the value of what you do that way.
Your Ideal Client:
This part is SO important. Who is it you want to work with?
Who will make you feel inspired and energized and enthusiastic about your work?
This will be different for every photographer. As you learned in the introduction I have had different types of ideal client profiles over the years before I finally landed on the people who truly bring the best out in me.
Think of your dream couple or client (most likely they will have a lot of things in common with you). When you have all of this information down, it makes it so much easier to write directly to this person/this couple on every page of your website, in every blog post. Especially your about page, while about you and your art and service, should be targeted at your dream client and be more about them and what you can do for them.
What does your dream couple value in life?
Where do they shop for clothes?
Where do they shop for items for their home?
What do they do for a living?
What magazines and/or books do they read?
How do they spend their free time?
Where do they go on vacation and in what way do they prefer to travel?
How are they with eachother (e.g. quiet/tender, full of humour and fun, other)?
What type of ceremony are they having?
In what kind of venue are they having their party/reception?
What words describe their wedding style, mood, and feel?
What kind of dress will your dream bride choose, where will she look for it?