Understanding Photography Client Expectations
What do your photography clients expect from you? Have you ever taken the time to sit and really think about what it may be? If not, how do you know you’re living up to their expectations, let alone meeting their needs?
I am not in front of the camera very often. Whether personal or professional, I am usually always the one clicking the shutter and I admit that until recently, I had not focused a lot of time on the question of client expectations.
We have all heard that managing client expectations in regard to scheduling, session payment, product ordering, etc is vital in providing a smooth and effortless experience for our clients. Those are surface expectations. What are the deeper expectations of their heart? Trust me, I am not a touchy feely kind of person so this type of question is hard for me to ask. Bear with me and I think you may learn something new.
This year I decided I needed to get out from behind my camera and be the one being photographed for a change. Doing this has completely opened my eyes to my client’s perspective. Here are some things your photography client's probably expect from you, whether you realize it or not.
1. Be Friendly, But Professional
Your photography clients expect you to be friendly, but also professional. There is a fine line between creating a comfortable ease so that your clients can relax and crossing the line into, “Did she really say that?” territory.
You must maintain the client/photographer dynamic and here’s why:
You are meeting a friend for brunch but you woke up late, got your kids to school late and now you are running 30 minutes behind. Chances are, she will reply to your frantic text with something along the lines of, “Life: 1, Mom: 0.” When you finally arrive, you find that your rad friend ordered for you (and you are starving because you didn’t so much as get a cup of coffee during the morning chaos). A few hours speed by as you chat and laugh and when it comes time to settle the bill, you realize that in your rush this morning, you forgot your wallet! But not to worry, your friend (being so awesome) offers to cover it without question. You tell her you will pay her back at the end of the week and you part ways already planning your next date. But the end of the week rolls on by and she’s still waiting. Likely, she will still be your pal, and she will probably even remind you to pay her back.
Could you imagine showing up late to a client session? Or forgetting your camera and asking to borrow their smartphone instead? Or telling them you will deliver their images within two weeks, and a month later, they still have not received anything?
The fact is, that although your clients may joke with you, laugh with you and even give you hugs, they still expect you to be professional. So make sure you arrive on time, be prepared, and live up to your word.
2. Help Your Clients Feel Comfortable
Photography clients expect us to make them feel at ease. Guess what?
This will likely require you to look the fool from time to time and it is important that you not take yourself too seriously or you will never be able to master this skill. And make no mistake, it IS a skill.
Learning how to talk to someone in a way that makes them feel relaxed and comfortable while simultaneously distracting them from the huge black box in front of them is no walk in the park. It takes practice and I strongly encourage you to practice this on your friends rather than on paying clients! Clients should not be your guinea pigs.
3. Know How to Make Your Clients Look Good, then Do It!
Your photography clients expect you to know how to make them look good and then make it happen. In other words, know your shiz!
- It means understanding your photography gear and your craft inside and out.
- It means knowing the right angles for different body types (you simply cannot pose a curvy girl the same way you would pose a lean girl).
- It means paying attention to your client when they talk about the parts of themselves that they are self-conscious about - and not emphasizing those parts.
- It means you have a good understanding of lighting and the kind of lighting that is and is not flattering.
- It means knowing how to get a good picture of someone who wears glasses (because that is a part of who they are) instead of asking them to take them off so you can avoid the hassle of lens glare.
If any one of these things gives you pause, then you’ve got more work to do!
Are You Meeting & Exceeding Your Client's Expectations?
We owe it to our photography clients to be able to handle whatever is thrown our way. After all, we are professionals, right?
You would expect a surgeon to be able to handle any complications that arose from a routine procedure, right? That’s why they get paid the big bucks!
Regardless of what you charge for your photography services, your clients hired a professional and unless there is a natural disaster, you should make sure you deliver on what you promised.
So, can your photography clients count on you for these things? Is there a particular area you need to improve on?
If so, then do it!
If not, congratulations! You are perfect and you and I can’t be friends.
But in all seriousness, the internet (including the Pretty Presets blog) is a wealth of information and photography tutorials. Whatever your struggle may be, there is no lack of resources for you to learn from.
So, go learn! You will approach your sessions with a renewed confidence and your clients WILL notice the difference.
Do you have any questions or comments about Photography Client Expectations? 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)!