Thursday, March 5, 2015

tips for booking clients that fit your brand


Just for a second, think about what might be the worst part of being a wedding photographer...

For most people, the word "bridezilla" comes to mind pretty quick.

So how do you build a business where you get to photograph weddings for the non-bridezilla types, and better yet...for the kind of brides who fit your brand? I've learned a few tricks over the years :)


1. BUILD TRUST

For a wedding photographer, a bridezilla would be someone who stands over your shoulder and tells you what to shoot and when. This has only happened to me one time, but I made sure it would be the last. Looking back, I understand why this particular bride might have felt the need to micromanage me; she didn't trust me. And rightly so, to be honest! I hadn't given her any reason to put her faith in me and let me do my work. 

Since then, I've done my best to show my brides that I'm a resource for them to use. I help them create their timelines, give them recommendations for other wedding vendors, and create an image of professionalism from the early stages of planning until the very end. When your clients trust that you're paying attention to the details and not rushing through the process, they're going to surrender control and feel at ease about it. 

My goal is always to be the easiest vendor my clients have to work with. That means the quickest to reply to emails, the easiest to schedule, and the highest quality of customer service. 


2. KNOW YOUR WORTH

Knowing your price is tricky business. Price too cheap and you'll get clients who might not value photography as much as the other parts of their wedding. Price too high and you might miss out on some truly amazing clients who simply can't afford your outrageous packages. I've found that it's really important to spend some time shooting at each price point and settle on one that really seems to fit. 

Although it might be tempting to raise your prices as you see your talent increasing along with your fan-base, it's not always the best idea. I've been in a similar pricing bracket for three wedding seasons now and the reason is simple: I love the clients that are booking at this price. Their weddings might not be extravagant or over the top, but photography is at the top of their priority list. 

They are people that I want to become FRIENDS with because that's how great a fit they are for my brand.  


3. APPEAL TO YOUR IDEAL CLIENT

In order to appeal to your ideal client, you have to know who they are. This is something I wrote about a little while ago, and since then, I've had prospective clients email me saying "I am totally the Laura Kelly Bride!" before we even meet. That's probably the most rewarding feeling that you can have as a business owner.

I've found that it's important to curate and only feature work that fits your brand. For me that means happiness in each image. You'll be hard pressed to find a moody looking Laura Kelly bride and that helps me attract the clients that want those same happy and romantic images for their wedding. 


4. SET EXPECTATIONS

I get asked this question fairly frequently during the initial meeting:

"Do you do more editing to the photos on your blog/website 
than the clients would see in their actual gallery?"

I've heard this so often that I'm getting numb to it but in the beginning I was shocked that people would even wonder this! OF COURSE I don't do extra editing on my blog/website photos! How could I feel like I'm accurately representing my business if the photos on my site weren't the exact ones that my clients received? 

Setting expectations is so important in all areas of the wedding industry. In my opinion, you're setting yourself up for bridezilla-esque reactions from your clients if the images they receive don't look like what they saw online. This one really comes back to building trust.

I believe in the "under promise, over deliver" method of business. If I say a client will receive approximately 500 images, you better believe that number will be over 500, even if it's just by a few. If I say I'll have their gallery in their hands in 3 weeks, I work hard to make sure I'm delivering it at LEAST a few days earlier than promised.

Making a few simple changes to your business can dramatically change the clientele you're attracting. I absolutely love shooting weddings and it's largely because of the amazing people I get to work with :) 

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