Building trust and confidence with your clients is one of the most important things you can do as a photographer. The more your clients trust you, the more they will relax and feel comfortable which translates well in front of the camera. Your clients will allow you more creative freedom, which in turn will produce more amazing photos and ecstatic clients that rave about you to all their family and friends. Here are 10 ways you can build trust and confidence with your clients.

In Part One of our Wedding Workshop series we take you behind the scenes on live shoots, showing you how frequently clients find issues with images, challenging us to find a way to work around the problem to end up with something more pleasing. Learn more about streaming the entire Wedding Workshop series, including our latest installment Photographing the Groom, as an SLRL Premium Member.

Build A Relationship

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When around a client, especially for the first time, focus on building a relationship. Now, generally during the initial talk-through, we’re meeting with either the bride or the bride & the groom to be. Always ask questions and refrain as much as possible from taking over conversations to talk about yourself. This engages the clients and makes them feel like you are their only client. What do they do for work? What do they enjoy as their hobbies? Focus the priority of your conversation on them.

Smile And Be Genuinely Interested

Body language speaks volumes without you having to say a single word. In Cabane’s book, she mentions how certain body movements are representative of how someone is feeling. Being able to read whether or not your client is comfortable will definitely help you guide your conversation in the right direction. Alternatively, your demeanor and body signals also can encourage them to become comfortable because of your open body language and genuine interest.

Ask Targeted Questions

One of the best ways to understand them as people and what their needs are is to ask targeted questions. This could be questions pertaining to photography, things like, “What do you like about our work?”, “How has your experience been so far in the planning process?”, helping you gain access to information to help tailor your message. However, during that initial ‘building a relationship phase’, keep the questions general and open-ended.

Resolve Needs, Wants, and Concerns

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The goal is to build trust throughout your relationship with your client, not just for one specific event. A concern could come up in the initial meeting or anywhere along your time with the client. Your ability to solve issues effectively and immediately will only encourage clients to trust you to capture such an important milestone in their lives. Being present while talking less and listening more, will help you identify their needs, wants, and concerns.

Understand, Acknowledge, & Remain Confident

Listen to the concern, acknowledge that you understand it, and try not to let it affect your confidence whatsoever. Don’t let the critique or disappointment shake you, just show them that you can step up to the plate and find a fix.

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Remember the Details & Prove Your Worth

We’ve mentioned before how important mood-boards are for tailoring expectations for clients; they give us a clear understanding of what the client expects from us as shooters, and what exactly they want us to deliver. Some concerns can be voiced prior to the shoot in the initial meeting when discussing the mood board and locations, so it’s an opportune time to note any possible issues the client may have, and pay attention to those specific characteristics during the actual shoot. Every couple of shots or so, reassure the clients by showing them the images, and adress any problems that arise. Doing this will go a long way in helping to develop a strong rapport with your clients and strengthen your line of communication by building trust through your work.

Show them images throughout the shoot

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As you take great photographs in each scene, show them the images. This is again an opportunity for you to identify concerns. If they have something that they don’t like about an image, they’re going to feel comfortable telling you because you started the shoot giving them opportunity to give constructive criticism. That way, you don’t find out at the very end of the shoot that they didn’t like something because you never showed them a single image during the shoot.

Use positive words to describe changes

Do not say things like, “No, no, no, that’s not good. That looks weird.” If you’re comfortable with somebody, you can joke around and say things like, “That looks funny,” or whatever, but that’s if you already have a rapport built. When we’re building confidence and building trust and that relationship is not there yet, always stay positive. Reinforce their self-image and make sure they are feeling confident throughout the shoot.

Rather than saying, “That doesn’t look good,” you could say, “That looks fantastic; would you mind just putting that right hand on the pocket? Maybe just like this? Great, that looks so awesome.” Guide them through poses and looks with positive comments and praise.

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Educate Your Clients

One of our goals is to amaze our clients by showing them our effort, exactly what we are doing, and showing them how we are amazing photographers.  One way to do this is to educate them. Educating during the shoot does not mean that you’re talking about T stops and F stops and shutter speeds and all that. It means that as you’re walking around and setting up a tripod, you could say, “I’m going to set up this tripod. We’re going to put a light over there. I want to capture this background. We need to light you up so we can see you and have the background be all beautiful and dramatic.” Don’t explain all the technical details (unless they’re photographers, then you could).

What that does is it’s showing them-whether it be posing guidance, whether it be lighting, whatever it is-you know what you’re doing; that you’re putting forth effort to make these photos amazing so when you show them an image, they know what went into creating it. It also makes the shoot a little more fun. It gets them more bought-into creating the photographs with you, and understanding a bit of the process that went into it.

Underpromise and Overdeliver

At this point of the entire process, we’ve tailored their vision. We have shopped for their expectations and now, I want to exceed the expectations of their engagement shoot. There are several things along the shoot process that do that: Showing them the images, and showing them we’re getting that emotion and feel that they wanted in their mood board.

One of the other things that’s great is to show them teasers. Right after the shoot, prep five or ten images and send them off to them right away so your clients have something instantly, something that they weren’t even expecting to have for another four weeks and we deliver them in 1-2 weeks. Throughout this entire process, we’re setting ourselves to exceed their expectations in terms of the quality of images, how they feel, and the experience that they’re having, as well as how we’re delivering the images.

Conclusion

Building a clientele starts by gaining trust, an idea that will naturally come about through the strength of your communication. Doing these ten things will make your clients feel like you are an absolute hero. They’re going to walk away from the experience and talk about you with their friends, coworkers and anyone else who see and love their images.

If you want to learn more about wedding photography and how to create ecstatically happy clients, check out our Wedding Workshop Part One here. Gain access to this workshop and so much more by becoming an SLR Lounge Premium Member here.