By Amy Phipps on | No Comments
Who hasn't experienced the excitement of a first date? It's an important occasion where you really want things to go well., especially if it involves someone you've been interested in for a while.
In this blog post, I will compare the preparations you make for that memorable first date to the steps you take when establishing a positive relationship with your photography clients.
Striving to impress potential clients and leaving a great first impression is very similar to the effort we put into early-stage relationships. For example, when my husband and I went on our first date, he took his car for a thorough wash and detailing, to ensure it looked pristine both inside and out.
Similarly, our clients entrust us with their photography needs, expecting exceptional images and products in return. Consider the impact it would have if we handled our equipment carelessly, allowed it to become dirty, or failed to protect the lens with a cap.
To maintain a positive impression, it's crucial to care for your equipment, camera bag, and any additional gear you bring to a session (such as a stepstool, reflector, or flash). Keep everything in impeccable condition and treat it with the same respect you would show a first date.
Effective communication with potential clients mirrors the delicate balance of communication in the early stages of a relationship.
You don't want to come across as overly intrusive, like a "Stalker Sam" who bombards them with constant calls and emails. At the same time, you want to be able to provide valuable information that answers their questions, helps you understand their needs better, and piques their interest in your services.
In your initial email exchange, I recommend responding with thoughtful questions about their desired session type, preferred dates, and the number of participants. This approach helps you gather information that sheds light on their specific requirements. Once they respond, it's appropriate to share pricing details.
While I refrain from sending my welcome packet until a deposit has been received, I do provide pricing information beforehand. This transparent approach ensures that clients have a clear understanding of the expected costs, fostering trust and informed decision-making.
Striving for an impeccable image in the world of photography closely resembles the effort we put into our appearance for a first date.
Just as you would ensure you look your best for a first date, in the photography business, it means having a distinctive logo, an updated website, and establishing a strong brand identity. Your blog, in particular, serves as your voice, where clients can view your work from different sessions and connect with the words you write—it's your platform to shine.
In every aspect of your business, aim for a polished and appealing presentation, just as you would for a first date. Personally, when I went on my first date with my husband 24 years ago, I bought a new outfit, had my nails done, put on some perfume, and presented myself in the best possible way.
Approach your photography business with the same mindset, especially when making initial contact with a client.
Listening attentively to your clients is akin to the way we hang onto every word when getting to know someone in the early stages of a relationship. It's all about paying close attention to what they want, the way they describe their loved ones, their aspirations, and their family dynamics.
Just as you would with someone you're getting to know personally, with clients, these details are invaluable for understanding and meeting their needs effectively.
For instance, I once had a client from Colombia. One year, my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Colombia. Knowing my client's background, I seized the opportunity to arrange for our exchange student to spend a day with her family, cooking, and bonding. Both had a fantastic time, showcasing how valuable it can be to truly listen and understand your client's background and preferences.
Authenticity is key. Most of us have been on dates where the person we met didn't match up with what we hoped for or expected. You don't want to be that person.
One aspect that my clients appreciate about me is my consistency across various platforms - from Facebook and my blog to email and texts, I remain the same person they meet in person. I'm genuine, down-to-earth, fun, and easy to connect with, which fosters a sense of comfort during our sessions.
It's crucial to be true to yourself so that clients can genuinely connect with you and build a meaningful rapport.
What do you do when you realize that a client relationship just isn't a good fit? Is it acceptable to end the partnership? Absolutely, it is. Running a business comes with its perks - setting your own hours, working from home in your pajamas, and having control over your earnings. It also gives you the power to choose your clients.
I recently faced a situation that was a first for me - I had to part ways with a client. Right from the start, I had a sense that the relationship might not be sustainable, but I hoped it would work out. I genuinely put in my best efforts to make it succeed. We engaged in phone conversations and exchanged emails, discussing our expectations for the relationship. However, over time it became evident that we each had different goals.
At that point, I realized I had to terminate the relationship. I wasn't feeling respected, my voice was not being heard, and it became unsustainable. I made the difficult decision to refund the deposit and wished the family well. It was a tough call, but it was the right thing to do.
In the realm of photography and client relationships, much can be learned from the parallels drawn with the dynamics of a first date. From making a stellar first impression to maintaining open and honest communication, your journey as a photographer is intertwined with the art of forming meaningful connections with your clients.
Ensuring your image remains polished, listening attentively to your client's desires, staying true to your authentic self, and recognizing when a client relationship isn't working are all essential aspects of building a successful photography business.
Remember, just as in dating, it's not just about finding any client; it's about FINDING THE RIGHT CLIENTS—those who appreciate your work, respect your voice, and align with your vision. By navigating these aspects with care and consideration, you can cultivate lasting relationships that go beyond the camera lens, creating beautiful memories that stand the test of time.
So, approach your client relationships with the same enthusiasm, respect, and authenticity you'd bring to a memorable first date, and watch your photography business flourish.
Do you have any questions or comments about How a New Photography Client Resembles a First Date? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Amy Phipps is the photographer behind On the Phippside Photography, located in Stockton, California. Amy has been married for 21 years and has 4 children. When she’s not trying to decide between which of her 43 black shirts to wear, you can probably find her sipping on a Dr. Pepper and walking around any day of the year in flip flops.