Relating to your clients:
If you’ve grown up with a camera in your hand, you’ve probably never put much thought into relating to your clients. Chances are you started taking photos and totally fell in love with the camera. You began offering some sessions to friends and family, eventually decided to get serious and start a business, and you’ve pieced together your processes since then. When it comes to having your own photos taken, you’ve probably just asked a friend to grab your camera with the settings ready to go and you’ve posed your own family into what would turn out to be a great shot.
While there’s nothing wrong with this natural process of going from hobby photography lover to business owner, there’s often just one piece of the puzzle that you miss along this route… relating to your clients.
Relating to your clients is a lot more important than you might think. Being great the day of the shoot and delivering beautiful photos to your client is just part of the overall client experience. You want your clients to love the ENTIRE process– from when they receive their first email from you, to when you have a consultation, to the delivery process. When a client has an amazing overall experience, they are more likely to be a client for life.
So how do you relate to your clients? Simple. Go through the process with a photographer you admire so you know EXACTLY what it’s like…
1 – Find a photographer you love and BOOK A SESSION!
And I don’t mean offer a trade of services. I mean put your money where your mouth is and book a real session. You need to understand what it’s like to invest in the session with your hard-earned money so you can relate to your client. Pick a photographer you haven’t worked with before who’s images you love. You want this process to be real– chances are someone found you online because they loved your work, but they probably don’t actually KNOW you. Experience this for yourself with the photographer you select to work with.
2 – Truly BE the client.
Since this your profession, it can be easy to either become judgemental or do the whole ‘’I’m a photographer, too” thing so you end up kind of steering the process along. You can tell the photographer you are working with that you are a photographer, but that you want to understand your clients more fully so you want to go through the experience as a client– no special treatment.
3 – Make notes.
Make notes of the parts of the process you love; where you feel calm, accepted and like you’ve got this. And make notes of the parts of the process where you feel stressed; will your kids be shitty the day of? Are you embarrassed by your wardrobe? Are you stressed about being outside and the weather and all that other stuff? It’s time to get real with yourself about the process and it not being in your control. This is going to help you learn the points that your clients stress about so you can learn to calm their fears.
4 – Go with the flow.
Perhaps the hardest one– don’t try to control everything– especially on the day of the shoot! Listen to the prompts the photographer gives you, learn what’s easy to understand and what’s difficult. Be aware of what THEY are saying and not what YOU would want to do.
When you become the client, and really step into what it’s like to really BE the client, you’ll learn a lot about the points you need to step up as a photographer guiding a client through the process. Chances are, a lot of clients you work with will be having their photos done for the first time. The whole process they are going through is foreign and it’ll do you good to give yourself a little reality check to how clients are feeling. Doing this is only going to improve how you work with your clients and their overall experience, hopefully turning them into clients for life.