How to Open Up to Your Clients
Updated: Nov 9
How to Open Up to Your Clients
3 key things to be open about with your clients.
Who will be the photographer?
Depending on how your studio runs it may appear that you are the only photographer and not have any others available to shoot for you. This can also raise some concerns in certain industries, with the fear that you may be sick and therefore who will cover for you? The answer to this subject has come up in more than a dozen episodes here on Take & Talk Pics. Get those systems in place! If you aren't the photographer for your business, you must have friends and network options to call upon someone else that could, in a bind, help you out and take over that job. Be prepared to pass most if not all of the money involved in that job for taking on such a task with short notice.
If your studio includes more than one photographer be upfront about how things run. With additional photographers included in your brand, you are stating that they are just as capable as you, including your skillset and personality when working with the client. Regardless of what you call your studio at the end of the day if you are the owner of that business, it is your name on every job that passes through. Honesty, be upfront, and deliver correct information right out of the gate. I do my best to say as much about what they may be thinking as clients and the questions they might have for me so that way when I ask them: "do you have any questions?" They come back with "I'm pretty sure you answered everything we could have thought of." This approach shows you are transparent and willing to be completely honest with your client. It also shows your level of knowledge in your industry that you know the answers to every question they may be thinking before it's brought up. Getting to the point where it's comfortable and easy to state so much in a clean concise format is no simple task. It takes a lot of research and even more practice.
What they are going to end up paying? (total)
Photo World you know what your job is worth for you. Your clients may not know all the details. It is your duty to lay out the expectations for your client and honestly informs them of the pricing. No hidden fees Photo World! It makes me sick when I sit down with a couple to discuss their wedding and after we get through everything they tell me about a photographer they recently met with and question after question from them unveiled a multitude of fees they did not have an understanding about until they asked. That approach may earn you a little bit more money per job, but it will have the opportunity to scare the hell out of 90 percent of the people you meet with. As people, we fear the unknown. Think about when a bill shows up that you were not expecting. It seems like everything changes in a bad way for a little while. Don't become a reason for your client to be stressed. Many relationships are lost over the whole financial discussion, so don't add that to a client who may be setting up their relationship for the rest of their lives (a wedding).
What is included with that fee?
Now that your client knows who the photographer is exactly how much they're going to be investing in this particular job. They are going to want to know what they get. Up until about 2003/2004, it was very easy to sell your time for a large amount. The client's understanding of film photography the way light works and the inability to see the product until days later was largely respected in comparison to today's photographers. Not to say that people don't appreciate what we are capable of in the digital age, but to be realistic the format of photography has changed so much that we can't always or easily cash in on our time, our prints, usage rights, and storage. Perhaps the expectation today, now that we are in 94% digital throughout the world (by the way I made up the stat), is to be a shoot and burn photographer where your images are captured and the delivery of everything that was taken as a high res file with endless usage rights is the common expectation from the unknowing client. There are many photographers who combat this in an extremely effective way and that comes with education and expectation.
Not only is our job to be photographers, to understand light, to use the correct gear, take classes, attend seminars so we can learn what current and to date, have the appropriate post-production software, and be able to deliver a pleasing product... (Take a deep breath in and out) pause... We are now left with the task to educate these clients on the process. You must remember just about every client you have has been photographed digitally at some point. In those situations, it is typically instantaneous for them, a quick selfie and the instant gratification that there we are in the still moment. To be honest, in a client's mind a professional photographer should be as fast about delivering their images in an effective way.
Education is key and a saving grace for working with new clients. Photo World go out and inform your clients, make great work, and Happy Shooting!
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