3 Reasons Why You Aren't Booking More Photography Clients

Let’s be honest - I think it’s pretty safe to say that as photography businesses we want to book clients. We want the chance to work with incredible people to create portraits that will stand the test of time, express ourselves artistically and make a connection with others doing what we love. But sometimes it ain’t that simple - here are the 3 biggest tips I have for photographers who want to book more portrait clients in their business!

3 Reasons why you aren’t booking more photography clients in your business

1. Your client experience isn't where it needs to be

Trust me, babe, I feel your pain - managing every aspect of your business as a photographer can we SO overwhelming. Endless to-do lists, marketing on the daily, and client galleries that need editing like, yesterday. It can be super difficult to keep up on all the aspects of your business that seem a little less important than the biggies - but here’s why I’ve found that client experience is one of the biggest tools in your business, and something that not many photographers utilize.

what does client experience even mean?

Client experience is basically what it sounds like - putting the client first, going above and beyond their expectations and making them feel super duper loved on. This can show up in a few different ways, such as…

  • Answering their emails in a timely fashion

  • Getting their gallery done way before the deadline

  • Making their photography session easier for them (you schedule it all, answer their questions before they even ask, etc.)

WHY DOES CLIENT EXPERIENCE matter the most in your photography business?

To make it short and sweet, happy clients will lead to more business for you. Word of mouth referrals are one of the biggest reasons customers choose one business over the other. According to this study -

People are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend
— invesp

So if you’re thinking that letting your client experience fall to the wayside, I would definitely reconsider how you can spend more time on this aspect of your business. Word of mouth referrals are incredibly powerful and the best way to ensure that your photography clients will be those promoters for your business is to provide them a kick-ass service and an amazing client experience along the way.

2. You haven't honed in on your style

As photographers, we’re creative souls who want to explore and try new editing styles - but as business owners, that’s not always such a great idea. Clients love consistency, so when the type of photography you’re putting out online is inconsistent, they won’t feel comfortable booking you no matter how talented you are.

Prospects don’t trust inconsistency when they see it on your website because they want to know that your brand will give them, and scattered styles of photography doesn’t give them that peace of mind.

So if one day you share a moody client session, then the next you share a light and airy gallery? That will lead them to wonder what type of photography they’ll get from you when they book - that does not lead to trust. You want your potential photography clients to know without a doubt that what you’re sharing online is exactly what they’ll receive from you because that leads to trust and trust leads to customers.

Have you ever shopped online and what you got in the mail was nothing like what you wanted?

Imagine buying a shirt from an online shop - did you look at the way the shirt laid on the model, where the buttons were and how long the sleeves were? Now think about what it would feel like to receive your order and it was a different color, or it was a v-neck instead of a scoop neck. Maybe it was supposed to be long sleeved but it only went to your elbows.

Think about what the disappointment would feel like - would it make you trust that brand again? Would you spend your money there again if you didn’t know if what you wanted from them was what you would get? Probably not.

What you’re doing when you put out inconsistent photography galleries is showing potential customers that they can’t bet on what they’ll receive from you. Maybe their gallery will come back moody, maybe light and airy - that lack of trust will lead them to not book your services.

3. Your editing workflow system isn't efficient

We already know that as photographers and business owners our time is sparse and you might be worried that you can’t deliver that amazing client experience because you just don’t have the time to do so - but there are always areas that can be optimized to make the best use of your limited time.

Creating an easy and efficient editing workflow from directly after the photography session all the way through to getting your work out online will help you have a plan, know how to execute it, and cut down on misused time along the way.

What is an editing workflow and why do i need one?

My editing workflow is simple and saves me an enormous amount of time in my business - plus, it wasn’t that difficult to figure out.

For my workflow, I immediately go home after my photography sessions and back up all of the RAW files into 3 separate drives (overkill, but like not really). Then when I’m ready to edit, I import all of the RAWS into Lightroom and cull the images there - choosing the ones that I want to share with the client and hiding the ones that they don’t need (blinking, blurry, you know the drill).

From there I begin editing the chosen portraits with my Lightroom presets - I started using presets as a way to save me time because I realized that I was doing the exact same motions over and over again on each photo (unnecessary waste of time). I choose which presets will work best on the gallery and then edit all the photos through syncing the settings and making the small adjustments necessary on each image.

Once I’ve completed editing the photos (usually about an hour for 30 images or so), I export all of the photographs into web-optimized and print resolutions, put them into separate folders and bada bing bada boom, my editing workflow is complete. Then I simply upload the client gallery to Shootproof which is a great and easy to use online gallery system and share it with my clients (that’s an affiliate link, fyi)!

I started designing this workflow with the hopes that I could cut down time spent in editing and spend more time in the rest of my business (remember that whole client experience thing from above?), and I’ve had nothing but great results.

Katharine Hannah

Katharine’s work has graced the walls of institutions such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Harold Washington Library of Chicago, and local galleries such as Dreambox Gallery, Siragus Gallery and Blick Art Materials. She has also been featured on websites such as the Huffington Post, Phlearn, Fstoppers, Tigress Magazine for Girls, Bitchtopia, and Golden Boy Press.

In addition to photography, Katharine has been a mentor and educator in the arts since 2013. She has worked with students in various organizations and projects over the last two years, including Hive Chicago’s PROjectUS initiative and Digital Youth Network’s Digital Diva’s and Chicago City of Learning programs.