I’ve been wanting to introduce a blog series that will allow me to post, from time to time, more about my workflow, my shooting, how I approach weddings, etc, as one of the requests has been for me to post more educational stuff in the mix of photoshoots and personal life. But I wanted it to be vague enough to cover any/all of those topics, while still being clear that it’s just how I happen to go about each of these things. So, out of my love for alliteration, “My Method” Mondays have been born! I won’t necessarily be posting them EVERY Monday, but when they show up, they’ll likely be ON a Monday, and you just never know what the topic will be! It’ll be fun to get to share more of my viewpoint and what I’ve found to work for me and my business. And one of the things I know that can be the trickiest for both a bride AND a photographer, is making sure you’re a “good fit”. But what does that even mean? So today I’m going to share how I go about trying to ATTRACT clients that I think would fit well, and how I CONFIRM that before booking.
1) Consider carefully what you “put out there”, and be intentional with it.
Every part of your branding and your personality that you show off on your website and blog should be serving a purpose to either ATTRACT or REPEL. While you don’t have to have everything in common, personally, with a future client, it’s important to realize that by sharing certain parts of your personal life and how you weave that into your brand, you’re helping them get to know you. Which is great! And as they get a better idea of who you are, they should be getting a pretty good feel as to whether or not you’re the type of PERSON they would click with. Obviously they wouldn’t even be considering you if they didn’t already like your photos, but in order to help a bride narrow down how many great photographers are out there, helping her see some of WHO you are will help her decide if she should try to set up a meeting with you or not. And the responsibility of that lies with you, not her. She can only make decisions based off of what YOU are putting out there. So, if a bride comes to my site and hates fashion, mustard yellow, cats and anything with a vintage flair….we may not be the best fit for each other, personality-wise. But at least she can get a clear and obvious idea from being on my blog that those are things I enjoy, and that my personality plays into how I see and capture the world in my photography.
2) Ask specific questions.
When you hear from a bride, have a list of a few questions that give YOU insight into what you’re looking for in an “ideal” client. Is it how much they value family? Is it that they’re going to have a detail-driven, vintage wedding? Is it that they have your dream venue? Whatever they are, know how to ask the right questions to help you see as quickly as possible if a particular inquiry sounds like a great fit, or probably wouldn’t jive so well. If your genuine desire is to click with your couples for your MUTUAL best interest, then it’s for their benefit as much as yours, to know whether you will or won’t work together successfully.
3) Skype is your best friend.
After ANY inquiry (unless there was some major red flag right away and I didn’t think we even had potential to be a good fit) I always ask for a Skype meeting to get to talk face-to-face and answer questions, etc. You get the BEST idea of how you click with someone when you can have more interaction with them, and I’ve had great success with this method. It’s usually more convenient for both parties not to have to drive and meet in person, AND even in just a 20 minute meeting, you can find out a lot about their personality and comfort level with you. I’ve had emails before where I didn’t think a couple sounded that excited about working with me, but then when we Skyped, instantly felt a “click” with them and knew it WOULD be a great fit. On the flip side, if you have a Skype meeting and feel like you just weren’t on the same page, it’s more than ok to express that you don’t think you’re the best photographer to suit their needs and because of that you would love to pass on some referrals and help them FIND their perfect fit. That’s still serving a client well, because you want them to have a great experience, and if it’s not through you, that’s ok! So, for me PERSONALLY, I really prefer never to confirm or turn down a wedding based on email alone. There’s just so much you can’t tell, sometimes, when no vocal inflection is involved.
Those may seem like 3 very basic things, but once I really got them figured out and working properly for me, they made a world of difference! I now find that 90% of the inquiries that even come into my inbox are couples I’d love to work with, and weddings that would be my style. Maybe I’m just getting lucky, but maybe there really IS something to knowing what type of couple you serve best and working to attract those people. Please note, your “ideal client” doesn’t have to be ONE type of style or personality. It’s not about putting an ideal in a box and saying “it has to fit in here, or it’s not for me”. But everyone’s “ideal” is different, so the first step to all of this is a bit of self-discovery and finding out what the “ideal” looks like for YOU.
I hope this has been helpful for someone. I don’t claim to be an expert in any way, but I’m grateful that my inquiry process has been streamlined a LOT in the last year and that I’ve seen successful improvement since doing so. It’s so worth taking the time to figure out what works best for YOU, and in turn you’re doing a huge service to all of the brides that will contact you, as well!
Happy Monday, friends!