Many aspiring photographers reach out to me for advice on how to begin their business, develop their client base and what to expect along the way. I love helping others because professionals in the photography business did the same for me when I started my journey in 2005. Along the way, I’ve also been behind the lens and let me tell you – that can be unnerving – especially with unpredictable pets involved! It’s been quite enlightening being the client, not the photographer and it’s softly reminded me what not to do as a photographer. In my most humble opinion, here are the top 5 things not to do in this profession.
1. Don’t rush your clients. Even if you are on a tight mini session schedule, it’s not OK to make your clients feel hurried. “You’ve got one minute left!” doesn’t leave a warm and fuzzy feeling for your client during or after your session and will likely hinder your chance of future business and referrals.
2. Don’t fail to respond. If a client sends you an e-mail or a follow-up inquiry (even if it’s an unrealistic request), always give it the professional attention it deserves. I don’t know about you, but a blatantly ignored message is probably my #1 pet peeve.
3. Don’t be rude. Sounds like a silly thing to remind a professional to be courteous to clients, right? But it’s so important to remember even if you’re tired or having a bad day, your client is investing in you, your brand and your final product and deserves the utmost respect.
4. Don’t burn bridges. I’ve been asked how I manage clients who seem hard to please. While it can be difficult to make everyone happy, accommodating client requests and understanding what they hope to achieve from their photo shoot will help ease any hitches later.
5. Don’t forget how it feels to be the client. You’re a photographer, but you’ve probably been on the other side of the lens too. It’s easy to forget how uncomfortable clients can feel, hesitant of their poses and facial expressions, etc. It’s your job to make your client feel at ease, which will then translate to natural photos.