When you first start your photography business you think you can pretty much work with anyone. There's no such thing as a bad fit photography client. Any enquiry that comes in has you giddy with excitement and nerves and no matter what they are asking – the answer you give is YES.
“Yes I can do a family photo shoot for you on Christmas Day – no problem!”
“You want 125 formal family group shots taken at your wedding? That sounds fine!”
“You want a black and white photograph of your daughter but you want her cute little hair bow picked out in red – oh how cute – of course I can do that for you!”
“You’d like a price for just one digital file – well ok then!”
You won’t find any judgement here – I said yes to EVERYTHING when I first started out.
But then you reach a point don’t you when you start to form your hate list. You realise what you REALLY don’t like doing and who you REALLY don’t like working with.
But how do you then put off all those bad fit photography clients so you can start working with clients who make your heart sing?
Well watch the video and find out…
As time goes on and the more work you do the longer your photography business hate list gets.
For example I realised early on that posing sleepy newborns was hell to me. I hated those shoots. I also realised that I didn’t like working with people who only wanted digital image. It gave me no job satisfaction when I couldn’t create that finished physical product for them.
You’ll have a different hate list to me. Everyone’s hate list will vary. You might love working with sleepy newborns. You might love the simplicity of selling digitals. What’s on your hate list is entirely up to you.
So what about those potential clients out there who are looking for a photographer to do something that is on your hate list. How do you make it clear to them that you’re not the right photographer for them? How do you stop them from contacting you? Because let’s face it – conversing back and forth with these people is a waste of your time and it’s a waste of their time too!
For both of your sakes – isn’t it better that they realise quickly you’re the wrong business for their needs and move on to someone who’s a better fit?
Of course it is! The less time you spend dealing with clients and jobs that you don’t enjoy – the more time you can spend marketing to and winning clients who are a perfect fit for what you do and how you do it.
Because you and I both know that the more bad fit clients you work with – the more bad fit clients you’re gonna get. That vicious cycle never ends unless YOU end it.
And here’s a great first step to end it…
Add a page or section to your website listing the reasons someone should NOT hire you.
Yes, honestly. Give it a title like, ‘reasons we shouldn’t work together’ or ‘I’m the wrong photographer for you if…’
If you think that sounds negative or even rude then you’re wrong. Of course you would compose it in the most positive and professional way possible. It could be a written piece or, even better, it could be a video!
‘’I believe in giving you all of the information you need so that you can make the most informed and educated decision about booking a shoot with me or not.
I’ve created a specialist business meaning that I’m definitely not the right photographer for everyone. Don’t worry thought, if it turns out I can’t give you what you’re looking for I will be more than happy to recommend someone who can.
So let me help you with your decision. I will not be a good fit for you if…
- You’re looking for posed sleepy shots of your newborn wrapped in blankets or wearing hats (you should check out …… who is AMAZING at this. I prefer a more relaxed ‘lifestyle’ approach like this.)
- You’re just looking for a few digital images to print yourself (I specialise in creating fully finished, stunning wall art for your home)
- You’re looking to spend less than £450 on your photography (the minimum you’ll be able to spend on your photo shoot and products with me is £450.)’’
A list like this is super helpful for your potential client. They don’t want to waste their time and they don’t want to waste yours. If they see the thing they’re looking for on your list then they’ll move on.
But don’t underestimate the other things a list like this can do. Someone who might THINK they just want a few digital images might read that and think – actually stunning wall art sounds pretty good. Maybe they just didn’t consider it before.
Or they might think they want sleepy newborn shots but when they see your relaxed lifestyle images they change their mind.
They will also get a sense of true professionalism from you. They’ll trust you. You’re being 100% transparent and honest with them. They will like you for that.
And those that don’t? The ones who read it and think ‘who does she think she is?!! I should be able to hire her to do whatever I want and say!’
Well you can give a huge sigh of relief at the fact that they won’t be getting in touch with you because working with them would have been an absolute nightmare.
So are you brave enough to add that page or section to your website? Not hidden away where no one can see it. Make sure it’s hard to miss. Have a link to it in your email correspondence. Maybe have a link to it on your contact page so that they see it before they fill in your enquiry form. Make every effort to make sure it’s seen.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘But Julie! Most of my work comes from bad fit clients! If I put them all off with a list like that I won’t have any work!’
I hear you. And that’s not an easy place to be. I’ve been there myself. But you have two choices. You keep working with those bad fit clients because – it’s money after all. Or you make a decision now to stop. And that extra time you’ll have when those bad fit clients stop getting in touch? You can use that to create a kickass marketing campaign to win more of your ideal clients.
But THAT is a whole other subject. If you want help, advice, support and personal feedback on marketing your photography business to your dream clients then you should definitely check out the Togs in Business membership. That’s where it’s at.
But guess what – you might not be a good fit for the membership! And I have made sure on THIS page that you’ll know whether that’s the case or not.