The big question most photographers are asking is – How do I get the clients I want?
Well, first question to answer is this – what does your client look like? What is his or her demographic? I’ll start with mine.
My ideal client is just like me. She is girly, loves the Anthro style and has a passion for all things creative. She loves details and things that are rustic, organic and different. She’s not into the images of a bridal party jumping in the air or bridal party poses. She wants real moments captured and likes bringing the fun props. If she likes something, she’ll save up for it or splurge because she knows it’s an investment opposed to a filler-impulse purchase. I don’t simply fit in a budget, but I fit into her lifestyle and vision and she knows I can bring out who she is in the photos I’ll take of her, her fiance, husband, and or children. Most of all – she loves me. My personality, my work, and what I’ve done. She trusts me. That is my perfect client.
There have been times when I have met with a bride and immediately I am unsure if we are going to hit it off. She’s asking to see more of my work, pointing out what photos she likes and what her fiance may not like, asking if I know how to shoot in a dark church, on and on. Or, she’s just not quite enthusiastic like I am – no joke, sometimes I think I’m more excited than the bride that she’s engaged! During those times, I stop selling myself mid-meeting. Let me rephrase – you shouldn’t have to sell yourself. Your work, blog that hopefully not only showcases your work but who you are as a person, should sell you. I will stop and then tell the bride, “I suggest interviewing a few more photographers for your big day. The most important thing is that you find someone you click with – their work, their personality, all of it. A photographer is going to be with you 6+ hours and you need to not only love their personality but their photographic style that you can TRUST them and enjoy your day.” I mean it. More than anything, I mean that. I want every bride to have the best day of their lives and part of that includes the vendors they select that becomes a part of that wonderful journey. You should want that too, for brides more than you want money – you want them to be happy if they do decide to go with you. Of course that speech never leaves my mouth when I know I instantly click with a bride and I am confident they are going to book me.
This mentality occurred to me at the Arizona Bridal Show where there are 50 bajillion photographers there. Nervous, I didn’t know what I could do to make the brides notice me. I decided that a creative booth full of momentos and antique store purchases from around my home would be ideal to decorate my table. The backdrop frame was Anthro inspired from a bed frame they have in the store! Instead of asking brides, “Do you have a wedding photographer?” I decided to pull my table back to give brides and company room to rest and away from the busy, crowded aisle. The brides that were attracted to my booth, images and overall decor would notice me – and they did and ran up excitedly to sign up. I didn’t give anything away for free – I wasn’t looking for the brides who were looking for a bargain, I was hoping and praying that my type of bride would be at the show. I collected names and information that were more about quality than quantity. Sure I often saw the most GORGEOUS girls walk by and I thought, Ahhh look over here I’d love to shoot you! But realized if she glanced and I didn’t catch her attention, well, we most likely wouldn’t connect anyway.
I love what I do. Let me say it again, I la-la-love what I do! My darling clients encourage me to push my creativity. All artists love being trusted and allowed to dream and create their visions and by working with the ideal clients, it just works wonderfully. This is also a true story with my web and graphic design clients – the girlier, the better and my pricing appeals to those clients who have to have me. Isn’t it great to be wanted?
But Diana, I need money so right now I can’t just pick and choose who I want to shoot, you’re saying. I get it, so fine. Keep shooting those, but be sure to shoot a couple shots for you. The angles that are different, the pose, a certain style, whatever it is. Then you post those. Then the clients that go to your site see them and they like THAT – your favorite shots. Then you start to get those clients. If you find those clients aren’t the ones coming to you, then make your own projects to create the images you want.
You are in control of your creativeness and what you showcase so do the most you can to get those projects you want to continually get the clients you want.
Diana Elizabeth loves her clients, the mommies, kiddos, brides and all. She loves meeting a new family and walking around to scout the best places for light and just have them all “love on each other” and capture those moments.