Creating happy clients is arguably the most important goal we have as client serving photographers. Client satisfaction is even more important than creating high quality photos, and the two are often not as correlated as we think. In other words, even the most incredible photos captured and delivered can lead to unhappy clients if expectations are not met or other aspects of the entire experience are negative. To help, here are 6 keys to creating happy photo clients.
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Think from the clients perspective
What we need to remember is to think of these things from our client’s perspective, not from ours. Yes, I have shot hundreds of recessionals, that doesn’t mean that they’re not important. Every single one of them is just as important as the next one.
Imagine it in another way – let’s say that your favorite musician, in the scenario I am going to use The Police, because why not, they rock, literally. They have done thousands and thousands of events, shows, performances and they’re constantly performing, and it’s the same music that they’re doing over and over again. Don’t you think they’re probably tired of playing the same music over and over again? Yet, when you go to the concert you expect that they treat that concert like it’s their one and only concert like you are their most important fan. The exact same case is true for photographers.
Once in a lifetime events
I want you to remember that these weddings, these events, a maternity session, a portrait session; think of them as once in a lifetime events. No client goes into a wedding expecting to get married again, nor do they go into a wedding planning their next marriage. People might get portrait sessions at different times of their lives – it might be a senior session now and later on it’s going to be a college portrait session – it’s still a once in a lifetime event because they are that age and they are the person that they are at that point just once in their lifetime. Think of every client, every shoot as a once in a lifetime opportunity, as a unique event.
Every client is your only client
We want all of our people in our studio to always love our clients. We want them to always speak highly of them and always see their beauty, after all, our clients are the ones supporting us. We shouldn’t be doing anything that would give a client a reason to think they are not our one and only client.
What that means is, we tell our photographers in the studio that if a client calls you, and you’re in a meeting with another client, you don’t call the client back and say, “Hey, I’m so sorry. I was in a meeting with another client”. That’s the exact type of thing that would make someone feel like, “Well, I’m not their only client. I’m not the most important thing to them.” Instead, never give your clients a reason to think that they’re anything but your only client.
Tone from the Top
This is for those that are running a studio or want to run a full studio with associate shooters and with a team and so forth. We need to watch what we’re saying around our other photographers, whether it’s your second shooter or third shooter, receptionist, etc.
In our studio, we have partners, masters, and associates. What we’ve noticed is, if a partner says something to the effect of, “I’m so exhausted, I really don’t want to go and shoot this wedding”, then that mindset actually transfers to their second shooter who is one of our, maybe, master shooters, or who is one of our associate shooters. Then they transfer that mindset down to their second shooter, so on and so forth. Soon enough, we have this kind of spreading cancer in the company where people are not loving their clients; They’re not appreciating going out on their shoots; They are not doing the things they need to be doing as photographers. If you’re not thinking that way, if you’re not going into your shoots thinking that every moment is special, it will absolutely impact the images that you are creating because you’re not thinking with the right mindset.
Challenges will help prevent burnout
I’ve shot certain locations hundreds of times, especially this location in Laguna Beach. I’ve literally been to that beach no less than 200 times photographing couples, weddings, portraits, maternity, everything. Going into it, looking at the client’s mood board, and then based on their mood board choosing different angles, different lighting solutions to come up with your images is going to help to kind of push your creativity. It’s going to help to prevent burnout.
See the beauty in everybody
That’s to see the beauty in everybody. This goes along with loving your clients. It goes along with understanding that each of these moments are special, and that each of these shoots are once in a lifetime. The whole purpose of that is, if you can’t see the beauty in somebody, then how are you going to be expected to photograph it? How are you going to be expected to bring it out?
When you walk up to a client, if what you see when you see a person is somebody that’s 300 pounds and overweight, how would you photograph them as anything but 300 pounds and overweight? If that’s your mental perception of them, then you’re already going to be fighting an uphill battle. If you can look at people and you can see the beauty and look past everything else, you can see how truly beautiful every single person is. It’s going to help you in your mindset, it’s going to help you in your images. If you immediately, starting right now, change your perception, you’re going to be creating better images. I guarantee that.
What I want to say is that photography is light. You understand that, and the world is going to open up to you as a photographer. Beauty, is in everybody. You understand that, and the world will open up to you as a human being. You’ll be able to capture images not as a photographer, but as a human being. One of my good friends, Jerry Ghionis, he said it best, and I’m not even going to try to say it better than he did, “If you want to be a better photographer be a better person.” That’s the final tip that I’m going to give you in terms of helping your clients to feel as if they are the most important thing in your world.