By Lea Hartman on | No Comments
Last year, I conducted a few surveys of past and prospective clients to find out what they really wanted. What I discovered is that they overwhelmingly preferred an all-inclusive session option - pay a set fee that includes their session retainer, digital images and a set of small prints.
The response took me by surprise but was so nearly unanimous that I could not ignore it. So, I restructured EVERYTHING. Instead of being a product based business, I became a service-based business. Much like a wedding photographer, I priced for my time rather than banking on selling a certain number of prints to meet my sales goals.
It was so simple, knowing in advance exactly what each client was going to get. So many other areas of my life were hectic, chaotic and unpredictable. And I was wanting my photography business to be easier to manage. So I happily jumped in with both feet.
But then, all those people who claimed they wanted a one-stop shopping experience with me stopped booking altogether. Naturally, I was alarmed but the survey results had been so clear! I toughed it out and supplemented my income by photographing for some publications and photographing interiors on the side. Still, very few bookings rolled in.
Then I started to get clued into the fact that what my clients SAID THEY WANTED and what they ACTUALLY WANTED were two different things.
This tends to happen in all aspects of life.
For example: A little over 14 years ago I met this guy. He was funny, sarcastic and frankly, weird. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I woke up each day in anticipation of the next time I’d get to see him and hung on every word he said.
He was absolutely nothing like any other guy I’d met before and certainly nothing like the “Prince Charming” I’d dreamed of. The kind of man I thought I wanted wound up being quite different from the man who filled me with longing and completed my soul. He was everything I never knew I wanted. And still is.
Here’s what I learned about what photography clients really want.
They don’t know what they want. They truly don't
It’s because photography clients don’t know what they really want that they think all they want are digital files. In their mind, their images will be safely tucked away on their hard drive whenever they’re ready to use them.
Maybe they will eventually print off some predictable 8x10’s but their lack of product education and artistic vision will keep them from taking the plunge into unknown territory.
They think they want Prince Charming on a white horse but what they really want is the sarcastic weirdo.
Are you taking the time to show them what they want?
It was a hard lesson to learn but going forward I am moving back to a business model that gives my clients what they themselves don’t even know they want.
And hopefully, in the process, I’ll be investing in client relationships that will last for years to come!
Do you have any questions or comments about What Photography Clients Really Want? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Lea is a self taught natural light photographer currently based out of North Carolina. Happily married for 14 years, she and her lover boy are raising three crazy kids wherever the army sends them. She's addicted to coffee, jamberry and her dog, Huxley.