New photographers often are frustrated by the fact that they feel they are losing clients to other entry-level photographers. Breaking into the photography market can be tough as it’s intensely over saturated with mediocre photographers who, after years of offering everything for nothing, have caused brides and grooms everywhere to possess an unreasonable expectation for what the price of quality photography really is. Needless to say, however, breaking into the photography market is possible – and I’m proof of that.
One of the first battles you face on your journey to becoming a great wedding photographer is learning how to avoid losing clients to other photographers. Although it may seem like a daunting challenge, it’s actually quite simple if you’re willing to be humble and self-reflect.
Part of it is learning how to retain more clients is understanding why they left in the first place. If you find that you’re meeting for consults with tonnes of people yet only securing a small number of bookings, you need to first ask why they are choosing another photographer. There are three main reasons why clients typically don’t book with a certain photographer:
- They liked someone else’s work better
- Someone else offered them a lower price
- They didn’t feel a connection with you
Talk to your customers and find out WHY they chose another photographer. You can do this with a simple follow-up email with a link to an online survey. If you aren’t comfortable enough to ask for feedback from prospective clients, you can also ask a mentor what they think. There are a variety of wedding photography mentorships and workshops out there – if you don’t have a mentor, look for one! Finally, another great way to look for answers to eat a piece of humble pie and self-reflect.
Once you have recognized what your barrier is, it’s important to put some steps in place in order to overcome that barrier.
If they liked someone else’s work better: Although this can be subjective, it’s also sometimes an eye-opening experience that allows you to truly assess the quality of your own work. If your photos have dark shadows, blown out highlights, are crooked or composed is less than intriguing ways, it may be time for you to find a wedding photography workshop to attend to help hone your skills.
If someone else is offering a lower price: If your prices and packages are reasonable for your demographic, it’s crucial that you explain to your prospective clients why they should hire you and what they would gain from hiring you as opposed to a cheaper alternative. If after a little self-reflection you determined that your packages and prices don’t fit with your current demographic, a pricing re-design might be in order.
If they didn’t feel a connection with you: Again, this is subjective. We can’t control who we like and don’t like – our intuition typically guides us on this. You can, however, ensure that you’re presenting yourself in the best way possible: dress well, speak clearly, be calm, be understanding and listen to everything they say.