A heart for service.
Ever since I was a kid, I felt called to photograph; things, places, people. Everything. It’s something I’ve always loved doing. So when I started this business, I dove headfirst into researching everything I could to learn to better myself as a photographer so that my clients would always have my very best. I wanted to ensure that I was serving those who chose me as best as I could.
It’s easy to get caught up in the social media game; posting the perfect images of the perfect couples in the perfect outfit at the perfect locations. But photographers, I’ve got news for you.
It’s not about YOU.
Approaching a shoot with a me attitude is a huge disservice to your skill set as a photographer and more importantly, to your clients happiness. I know we all like to think of ourselves as the pros and so “I know best” but what matters in the end is that your client is happy with their images. If you can’t stop and take a second to hear their concerns, let them share their ideas and acknowledge those ideas, you’ve failed. It’s that simple. Sure, you can have the most #InstaWorthy image from that session. That’s great, but if your client didn’t feel valued by you during their session, it means nothing.
You should begin every session with a heart of servitude. You should really begin life that way, and all human interaction, because Galations 5:13-14 tells us (I’m going to summarize in English, not Bible talk here) “You’re called to be free and serve your brothers and sisters with love. We were commanded to love your neighbor as yourself”
“But, my client has a terrible idea and it won’t look good”
I have totally been there guys! Your client shares an idea during a shoot or wants a certain layout for their prints and you’re thinking, “NOOOOOOO!” because you know it’s not going to turn out well. So if for some reason your client doesn’t want to trust your judgement, let them share their ideas and shoot it. Capture the pose they want, or do what they want for their wall art and show them. 99% of the time, they’ll realize it wasn’t a good idea. That’s where you can step in and say, “Ok, so let’s try it this way” and revamp their pose or show them a new pose that will work.
This allows your client to feel heard and valued, and will help increase their trust in you as their photographer.
You guys, I see photographers doing it wrong every day, serving themselves and their needs over the needs of their clients. Doing what’s best for them and forgetting that their client is what matters. I hear about it from clients who were promised one thing, and something else was delivered. It all comes back to SERVING your clients.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do what fulfills your soul, because you 100% should! If you’re a photographer who loves babies, you should absolutely photograph babies! If you love capturing couples in love, you should capture all the love! What I am saying is that while you are doing what you love, put your social media desires aside for a hot second and really hear your clients. Ask them what they are comfortable with. If you photograph passionate moments and intimate embraces, but your couple is not a fan of PDA, your job is to make them comfortable during their session and ensure that you can still capture photos that make your heart happy. So ask them.
Whenever I photograph a couple, I ask them, “Are you comfortable kissing in front of the camera?”, and “How much PDA are you comfortable with”. I never want to ask a couple to do something for a photo if they aren’t comfortable with it.
Just last month I was capturing a couple and I asked them to do a prompt I love and they stopped and looked at me like I was crazy. They had told me they were not big on PDA, and I heard them, but I wasn’t LISTENING. And as a photographer, you can do your job better if you LISTEN, and don’t just hear them.
It’s also your job to be professional;
And to know when you aren’t the best option. I turned down a newborn session with a repeat client and referred them to someone else because I knew that I was not going to be able to deliver the kind of photos they wanted of their new babe, and your happiness is more important to me than the money I would make from a session with a client who wouldn’t be happy with the end product.
I think a lot of times, when we’re running a business, it’s easy to forget why you started your photography business in the first place. It began with a desire to capture _____. Fill in the blank with your WHY. But what’s going to make your business successful is being the best at all the parts of your job; not just the prettiest Instagram.
Serving your clients with love and listening to their desires will ensure that you can walk away from every encounter fulfilled and your clients can walk away happy with their session and singing your praises!
Special thanks to Meghan Marvin Photography for being a fabulous second shooter! She captured these fun behind the scenes shot of me.