You know what I love about almost every single one of my clients? They actually like my rants and my passion for photography. They just seem to get where I am coming from when I have an opinion on this topic. They also like the fact that I don’t BS them and that I am very straight forward with them. It is amazing what can happen when you just do what you do and not try to overcompensate them with things you really can’t provide them with.
I made the mistake of going onto another photography forum again recently. Holy moly, the crap these photographers bitch and moan about! I am starting to understand why models demand to get paid just for a portfolio shoot! If I had to put up with some of these people for more than a few minutes I would want to get paid too! It always amazes me how people who are in a business where we hate when people complain about anything yet they will be the very first to complain about some idiotic thing that could have been avoided right from the beginning!
Here is an example, a potential client wants to do a boudoir session and is a little overweight. First, find out how comfortable they are with the way they look. These are women, they know what they look like and what parts of their body they don’t like. You’re not dating this person, you are her photographer, you can ask questions in a nice way that may be taboo on a first date. Tell this potential client that you shoot from good angles and use lighting to help shadow the parts of her body she is not so comfortable with. Do not say that you will liquify or Photoshop anything! This always turns into a shit-storm! Suddenly it’s too much Photoshop or not enough or the skin doesn’t look like skin anymore or any number of things that they can say. All you are doing is giving them one more thing to complain about.
Yet, if you walk them through your process before they even hire you, explain about lighting, explain about angles and show examples of past clients they get comfortable with you and your professionalism. If they don’t like the way you shoot or the way you describe it you might get lucky and they won’t hire you! You do not have to book every potential client out there! Not everyone is a right fit for you and vice versa.
Just like I talked about yesterday, sometimes you just bring on the bad mojo yourself. You wanted the money so you took the job knowing it might turn into a pain in your ass and so when it does, you bitch about it online. All of this stress could be avoided if you just didn’t try to please everyone. That is always a losing battle and definitely not one worth fighting.
Once again, this is why I like my clients. I tell them what I can do, they listen and they like the results because it is just as good or better than what I had originally told them it would be. Exceed their expectations, don’t promise them the world and then not deliver. The last thing you ever want to say to a client is “sorry, it’s just not as good as I thought it would be.” Really, I’ve heard photographers say that! Yeah, that was a total “shaking my head” moment.
The funny thing is that I am not the best business person out there, nor am I the best at dealing with clients or always picking the right clients. But I do know that over-selling something is like shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t overdo it on the sales pitch, talk with your clients and find out what you can really do for them. That ten minute conversation could save you hours of headache on the back-end.