"Client meetings remind me of first dates." This is a direct quote from yours truly - I was snapping away (on Snapchat) about a client meeting I had and how much I love those first meetings because of the nerves, excitement, and general feeling of 'are we right for each other!?'
First meets or consultations are honestly one of the biggest deciding factors on whether or not I will take on that particular client AND it's the deciding factor for the couple to decide if my personality, style, and yes even budget is really even a good fit for them. Its a mutual benefit as its easy for us to build up personas online but its another to see if we truly have a connection in person. This is why I always want to have a client meeting before booking and very rarely book without a consultation. So why does it matter being epic friends with your photographer or (for photographers) how does being epic friends with your client benefit you!? Lets get in to it.
INSTANT BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH A PHOTOGRAPHER (OR CLIENT) YOU LIKE, LOVE, ADORE, ETC.:
- You are definitely going to have more fun! = Better Photographs
- Less nerves and more trust! = Better Photographs
- You feel more comfortable asking for what you need = Better Photographs
- Boundless creative fun for your photog, they feel free to create something unique = Better Photographs
- You feel safe to talk about your pain points = Better Photographs
- You won't get as annoyed to have that person around you for the next 8-14 hours = Better Photographs
- You feel less afraid of crying or showing true emotion on your biggest day = Better (and authentic) Photographs
- You feel safe asking questions or saying something seems off or uncomfortable = Better Photographs
- You can be totally yourself! = Better Photographs
- Your love shines through more organically = Better Photographs
The theme here: BETTER PHOTOGRAPHS! Also better service in general which is important as you are working with this personal generally around 8 month to a year. That's a long time!
I've worked with a whole gammut of clients and the strongest images come from weddings/engagements where I truly connected with the couple and felt like we were friends. It's a lot more fun to be shooting with friends than with total strangers who don't really like you and vice versa. Now- I can't say I have ever had anyone work with me who hated me but I have had clients in the past where I felt like it was a forced connection and it wasn't fun for anyone involved. It takes an already super awkward experience and turns up the ick factor another 3-5 notches. Mmmm no thanks, right?
I think a lot of small business owners feel the pressure to take every client who inquires because they want to stay afloat, they way to be seen, acknowledged and to be putting out consistent work. Also, the more you work on your craft, the more you expand and learn. I get this- BUT it is not worth it for the cost of potentially not performing your best or feeling like you are slugging through the day because you just CANT connect with the couple. Usually we don't perform our best in these states AND we are usually the least creative. This goes for brides and grooms to be- you can usually tune in to a photographers motive. Are they listening to me? Are they trying to get to know me? Are they just pitching me and thats it, thats all? If you are ok with that, cool. But if you want a deeper connection and therefor better photographs- keep looking for 'the one.' (see what I did there!)
AN ETHOS WE COULD ALL TAKE PART IN
I would feel MEGA guilty to take on a client that I didn't feel connect to because I KNOW that they aren't getting the best possible out of me. I don't half-ass anything, ever. BUT I know that my best work comes out when I am connected with my clients and they feel like they can just be themselves. Think about that- feels good doesn't it? So I think a really positive ethos for all photographers would be: I take on clients that really light me up and whom I could be epic friends with. * Talk about a recipe for C-R-E-A-T-I-V-I-T-Y! You can do what you love and work with amazing people who you adore on top of it! That is ACTUALLY A THING. Im currently in this arena in my business and it's incredible. It only took one bad client experience for me to be like- nope, not happening ever again! *This also works for YOU bride or groom-to-be, your intention and motive going to meetings can be this: I hire a photographer that really lights me up, who gets me, who makes me excited and who's vision matches mine! WOW! Powerful.
So YES, you have every choice in the matter. Just because you love someones work doesn't mean they are a fit for you on your wedding day. The perfect recipe is this:
- You love their work, their portfolio fits your style.
- You love them as a person & you look forward to working with them!
- They love YOU as a person/couple & have made a conscious choice that you are a match. *It needs to be mutual to be really magical*
- Their collection prices are either in your budget or you love them so much you are willing to go a little extra to have them on your special day.
- They have your wedding date available and are super stoked to get to know you more!
MAGIC!! You are in the cosmic flow of love when you have all of those little pieces together in a bow.
So when I talk about this I often get this question:
WHAT ARE THE DECIDING FACTORS FOR YOU ON CHOOSING CLIENTS?
- They love my work and love my style and want it for themselves! *Bonus if they love my blog posts and my personality that shines through!*
- We 'click' and are in the flow! We can't wait for the next consultation and the conversation is amazing.
- They VALUE my work. They don't ask for discounts. Photography is very important to them.
- Intuition & trusting my inner GPS.
- I have their wedding date available and over-the-moon excited about working with them. If its not a "hell yes" then we aren't a fit.
So now, I want to hear from you! Especially all of you who have been married and worked with a photographer! Did you 'click' with your photographer? How was your experience the day of? Would you have done anything differently? Photographers! Have you 'clicked' and 'not clicked' with a client? How was your experience through-out the entire process? Please share, I may put together another blog post sharing your story if you are up for it! :) Share the love.
To making connections & being intentional,