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I’m asked all of the time, “how do you know when you are ready to start taking on clients?”.
This seemed like a no brainer to me, my answer would probably be, when people start asking you to do their photos. That’s when I started doing it.
But looking back, that probably wasn’t very responsible because I only had 1 camera and 1 very cheap Pentax 50mm f1.7 manual lens that I got for $35 on eBay! But I wasn’t exactly thinking along the lines of doing this for a living at the time either, it was more of a hobby.
Now after thinking about it, I would probably say it starts with confidence, so let’s start there.
It is very important that you are confident that you can charge money to do someone’s photos. If you go into it second guessing yourself then that will affect the outcome.
That’s not to say you won’t be nervous. I used to be so nervous going into a session at the beginning that I would literally be shaking. It’s completely ok to be nervous, that’s natural, but you still need to be confident that you will get your client some amazing shots.
Like I said earlier, I wasn’t being very responsible in the beginning by going in with 1 camera and 1 lens and no backups what so ever. But I was also charging pennies in the beginning too.
As I started to expand my equipment and experience, I also started to expand my price.
Responsibility doesn’t end with equipment though. You must treat your clients very well. Be charismatic and make the experience pleasant and memorial and then get their images back to them in a timely manner. Don’t just drop off the face of the earth. Stay in communication with them.
Remember, your clients will talk to their friends about their experience with you. It’s up to you rather you make it a good one or a bad one.
Along the line of responsibility, be professional. Make your client comfortable. Don’t do anything that would make them nervous or put them in an awkward situation. Always tell them if there is anything they are uncomfortable with to please not be afraid to let you know.
Also, make sure to give lots of direction and instruction. Just showing up and starting to shoot without telling them what to do makes them very uncomfortable. Remember, in most cases, your client will not be a professional model, they like to be told what to do.
To wrap everything up, you must be committed to your profession. If you were working at a 9 to 5 job you would be expected to see a project through to the best of your ability. That should not change just because you are your own boss.
You must be willing to do your absolute very best to produce your best work for each and every client. If you do this, your work will speak for itself and you will have clients coming to you before you know it just by word of mouth.
Your work represents you as a person. If you do good work, you will build up a good and positive reputation. But this works just as good in the opposite. If you do bad work, your reputation will crumble and you will never work again. This is especially true in small communities. Word of mouth goes a long way and fast! I’ve seen photographers have to leave the area to start over somewhere else because of a bad reputation.
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I hope you enjoyed this article. If you know someone who is thinking about starting to attract clients and start their photography business, please share this with them.
As always, have a great and creative rest of the week!
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