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The Secret To Happy Photography Clients: Prepping Their Expectations

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
photo & video

how to make photography clients
Photographer Susan Stripling once told a CreativeLive audience that “the best advertising is happy clients,” which is truly excellent advice.

Clients who loved your photos will also share your photos, all but ensuring that at least one of their Facebook friends will stop at some point and ask “hey, who did those? I’d love to have her shoot my wedding.”

But of course, happy clients don’t just spring from the earth. As a photographer, it’s your job to turn regular clients into the kind who spread excellent word-of-mouth on your behalf — and doing so is about much more than just the photos.

One giant secret to pleasing your photography clients, regardless of whether you’re shooting their engagement, their wedding, or their professional headshots, isn’t really a secret at all — it’s just a very, very good practice. And that is to ensue that they know exactly what they’re getting (and what you expect from them) long before the shutter clicks.

Because while it’s nearly impossible to clean up the mess left by a truly catastrophic miscommunication or perceived misrepresentation, it’s relatively easy to set your clients’ expectations and, in doing so, make sure that they are satisfied with the results.

In this video from her class, The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience, lifestyle wedding photographer Jasmine Star explains exactly how explicit she is with her clients before an engagement shoot, down to nearly every detail of the day.

This is a great time time to talk about the nitty-gritty, like whether or not you’ll need a permit to shoot in the location, and the more nebulous stuff, like preparing the (often much less excited) groom for the actual day of the shoot.

Often, photographers skip this crucial step because it sounds like a lot of additional communication — but in the end, remember that that’s a good thing, and that it is an investment in your business.

“Does it sound like a lot of work? Yes,” she says, “but the more work you do in advance, the more likely you are to have a very successful engagement shoot.”

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.