- Connect With Your Photography Clients
- Don’t Lash Out When Things Go Wrong
- Stick to a Contract
- Be a Master of Words
- Assume Your Client Never Works With Photographers
- Deliver a Quality Product on Time
- Tell them how many photos they can expect and when.
- Reiterate the date of the shoot.
- Specify your fees, and what happens if the photography client cancels.
- Specify your fees if the shoot date needs to be changed (I usually include a little wiggle room with this one and won’t charge them if the date changes a month out).
- Finally, ensure they know they cannot resell your photos. Do this by outlining how they may legally use your photos.
Photo by Ross Sneddon on Unsplash
Photography clients are evasive. As a photographer you are a contractor and a freelancer and as any contractor will tell you, sometimes expectations between you and your client are less than clear.
If you’ve gone through the difficult part of finding a client, then the follow-through with that client is so important to the health of your photography business.
A recent Forbes article outlined a serious problem with businesses. Between 60-80% of clients who are satisfied by the work a company did never use that company again.
So, how can you retain your photography clients in a way nobody else can? Following these six steps is a good place to start!
Table of Contents
Connect With Your Photography Clients
Photo by William Moreland on Unsplash
The age old question of how to keep photography clients happy is more prevalent in today’s high-tech world than ever before.
People are inundated with offers for absolutely everything, and this includes photography. Potential photography clients can easily find a photographer who will be willing to work for cheaper than you, or who offers more individualized services, so how do you stand out?
Randy Garn, someone who specializes in customer connection, suggests one of the many reasons those 60-80% of people who are satisfied with a company never use that company again is because they can’t remember what company it was.
photo by fizkes via iStock
Think about the last time you went to a shoe repair place. It was probably a few years ago. Do you remember the name of the owner? Of the cashier? Could you find the place again if you needed to?
In order to not fall into this hole of “what was that person’s name again,” you need to be more personalized with your marketing.
photo by apichon_tee via iStock
For example, instead of simply relying on an email list, ensure you have the phone number of each client.
Then, reach out to them. Send a text asking how their summer was. Take them out for a cup of coffee. And follow up by asking if they will be needing any photography services anytime soon, or if they know somebody that does (insert referral bonus here).
You need to put your face in front of your photography clients as often as possible if you’re hoping to retain them in the long term.
Don’t Lash Out When Things Go Wrong
photo by PeopleImages via iStock
Depending upon your photography niche, different things will go wrong.
If you’re in product photography or fashion photography, you will probably run into a photography client who doesn’t even understand basic copyright laws.
If you’re in wedding photography, you will run into photography clients who bother you so often and so annoyingly weeks before you said you would have their photos to them.
If you’re in real estate photography, there will be times you show up to take photos of a house and find out it’s currently being painted.
photo by vadimguzhva via iStock
In order to prepare for this and other difficulties, you may want to take up meditation. If meditation isn’t your thing, then you need to at least be prepared for the worst case scenario at all times.
I found my first court case for unpaid work actually helped me to become a better contractor. I learned I couldn’t rely on any one paycheck or any one photography client to do what they said they would.
I also learned how to properly communicate professionally without lashing out. It’s a necessary evil to learn how to deal with difficult, and sometimes cruel, photography clients.
Stick to a Contract
You can view the above video by Jessica Kobeissi for a more in-depth take on how to create a contract for your photography client.
Or, you can follow this outline:
Give a synopsis of what you think is expected of you.
Be a Master of Words
photo by lechatnoir via iStock
Photography clients 9 times out of 10 do not understand what you do.
This can be used to your advantage or it can be a huge detriment.
My number one tip on how to keep photography clients happy is to begin each correspondence with a new client by outlining what you do and how you do it, almost like you’re telling an inquisitive child what photographers do every day.
photo by Maryviolet via iStock
One way to do this is by sending them to your portfolio where you have a “before and after” page, with an unedited photo and an edited one.
One photographer recommended I create a PDF that explains exactly what I do, so that way when I get a derogatory comment about how I need better equipment to cover a specific topic, I can shoot it over to the client to remind them exactly what I told them they could expect.
Photography business tips don’t mean anything if you can’t accurately and beautifully explain what you do for a living. You want your photography clients to want to pay you more. The best way to do this is with a flourish!
Assume Your Client Never Works With Photographers
Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash
I can’t count the amount of times I receive an email asking me how to get more photography clients every month.
And while this is a serious issue for many photographers, I think a more pressing issue is keeping photography clients.
I keep my photography clients by assuming they have never worked with a photographer before.
photo by Rawpixel via iStock
You very well may need to explain copyright law and licensing to a mom and pop cookie shop. You also may need to explain why a particularly cheap photography client should spring for a new headshot because the one on their LinkedIn page is so pixelated it hurts you physically.
A small business owner contracting with another small business owner could be the grounds for a major disaster if you don’t do your part and educate. And many times, that educational component is so appreciated by your client that they see even more value in what you do for them. That’s how a long-term relationship with a client begins!
Deliver a Quality Product on Time
photo by Serhii Sobolevskyi via iStock
Once everyone’s expectations have been set, it’s your job to follow through on what you promised.
This starts by delivering your product on time and communicating about where you are in the process the whole time to quell any of your client’s fears, but it doesn’t end there.
You also need to give your clients the option for upgrades on their products. This helps you to upsell your work, while also ensuring your clients needs are met.
My favorite way to upgrade your photography is by selling canvas prints to your clients. Canvas prints are not too expensive for a client on a budget, but they also last a lifetime.
CanvasHQ, my favorite canvas company, is almost always running a discount of up to 30% for new clients, which means your overhead is lower and your revenue is higher.
Plus, CanvasHQ is great for a beginner canvas company because their customer service reps will call you if they find any issues with your photo.
They basically don’t send anything to print that they wouldn’t want hanging on their wall for a decade.
As a small business owner, I really enjoy giving my money to other small businesses, especially ones like CanvasHQ who care as much about my finished product as I do.
With that kind of partnership, you’re able to grow your business, help another small business out, all the while delivering top-quality products to your clients. It’s a win-win-win!