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Guest Blogger: How to Create an Experience for your Clients by Tamsen Donker

In the highly saturated photography world, everyone is looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. We know that we need to price ourselves to sustain a business and if we are going to charge those prices, we need to offer our clients MORE than what Sally down the street can give them for $100. Sometimes it seems virtually impossible to create imagery unlike any other photographer out there (it's all been done before, somehow, some way). No matter how much money you put into new backdrops and props and Photoshop actions, Sally can do the same and charge less. So instead of trying to make our imagery LOOK different, we need to focus on how we can make our imagery FEEL different.

Here are a few ways that you can  CREATE AN EXPERIENCE for your clients

Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, and your portfolio is full of recent work that truly reflects your style. Let your About Me page really pull them in, so that they see what you are like and they want to get to know you better!

Remain professional, yet interesting and personal on your social media sites. Show imagery that relates to your audience so that they feel connected to you and your life.

Get to know your client as you plan for their session. When you remember their names and the vacation they spoke of going on, or the new job they just started, you can create conversations that make them feel truly cared for.

Think about how you can make the entire session experience easier for your clients. This includes a streamlined booking process and taking payment online, as well as helping them to plan their wardrobe. We really enjoy creating either a wardrobe plan for our clients or giving them full access to our own studio wardrobes. Relieving them of the stress of shopping for an entire family or for a maternity session is a huge bonus for our clients and we often hear how much they appreciate this service!

Pamper your clients. Offer a professional makeup application or even professional hair stylist to make them feel absolutely amazing during their session! That feeling will absolutely improve their reaction to the final images.

Think about everything they will touch, see, smell while they are in your studio space. Make sure everything is clean, arrange some fresh flowers, turn on calming music, light candles or use a diffuser.

Keep your brand consistent all the way to the end. If you are a full service business, then your packaging should also reflect your brand and attention to details. Package those prints and products like the treasures they are!

Of course there will always be other photographers who offer the same things, right down to wardrobe and the MUA. But don't let that discourage you. After all, there is one thing you have that they never will. YOU. We are all unique individuals who come from different backgrounds, we have different life experiences and our own creative visions. And that is how we can market ourselves as different from the rest.

Dr Seuss said it best - “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

Here's how you (only you!) can CREATE MEANINGFUL IMAGES for your clients

During your session prep communication, make notes of small details a client mentions. Perhaps she says she can't wait to see her husband as a daddy. You can refer to those details during their session to add a layer of meaning to the image as you take it.

As you guide your subjects into a pose, give them something to say or something to think about. This helps them to relax, creating a natural look and feel to the image. The added benefit is that the overall experience is more enjoyable. As professional photographers, we don’t want to just create a beautiful image, we want to create a beautiful image with FEELING. We want our subjects to look at their imagery and remember the moment as a deep connection with their loved ones, not as artificial posing or an awkward laugh.

We like to use a variety of prompts during sessions, depending on how receptive the subjects are. Some clients keep it light and others become very emotional, and having the prompts on hand helps us to create beautiful imagery in a comfortable and relaxed setting. The final result is HAPPY, SATISFIED CLIENTS, who felt pampered and cared for every step of the way. Clients who actually enjoyed an experience that they may have been dreading. And clients who walk away excited to share with the world their beautiful imagery. At the end of the day, those are the clients who will refer you to everyone they know, with glowing recommendations. And you can be sure that those clients will be back, over and over again. THAT is how your business will thrive in a saturated industry.

If you struggle with posing and prompting your subjects to create natural reactions, we've created a free Petite Set for you to try out! Just click here to sign up.

We believe that not only will you find greater joy and fulfillment in your work, your clients will have much more connection to you as the photographer and their imagery, creating better sales, and building brand loyalty.


Article by Tamsen Donker


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Co-creators of Poetic Posing, Karen Byker and Tamsen Donker both reside in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada. They’ve used these techniques in their own portrait businesses, Reflections of Life Photography and Creative Clicks Photography.