If the idea of ‘being selective’ about whom you serve from behind your lens seems foreign to you, we are here to tell you that it’s a vital process to the ongoing operation of a healthy wedding photography business.
How so you ask?
Well, for starters, not everybody is nice… clients included. So while it’s tempting to rush in and photograph just about anyone who’ll let you, especially when you’re starting out; knowing what to look for in potentially problematic clients can save you a lot of unnecessary stress before you agree to the provision of your services.
Below we’ve therefore collated for you, a list of telltale warning signs, that are frequently associated with the types of clients you might wish to avoid, if your goal is to flourish as a wedding photographer.
#1 – Clients who ask repeatedly for discounts
Okay, we understand. Who doesn’t love a bargain? But if the phrases: “We’re on a budget…” and “…can you do us a better deal?” start to form the bulk of the client’s dialogue with you in regard to their wedding day, it isn’t hard to see that with which they are primarily concerned. And no, unfortunately, it’s not the quality of your work.
#2 – Clients who ask what equipment you use
These clients are always good for a quiet chuckle. We affectionately call them ‘scouts.’ Because often we find that they are amateur photographers who are trying/struggling to get into the wedding photo industry; and sadly, are willing to use their own wedding as a means to hopefully extract some data from established wedding photographers. Otherwise, why the interest in the sort of equipment we operate? Do you not trust us to know what we’re doing? And are you not booking us for the end product that you see on our website? If not, perhaps you should be taking a photography class as opposed to enquiring about professional services.
#3 – Clients who ask for RAW files
To the clients who still believe they can somehow edit our images better than we can ourselves… even though we’re the ones who created our signature look through the careful matching of our shot settings, camera profiles, and post-processing techniques, we say, no thanks. To read more about why you shouldn’t just casually release your RAWs to clients, see a previous article we dedicated to the topic.
#4 – Clients who try to give you a list of photographs they want
When couples approach us with a pre-determined, must-have checklist of family portrait combinations, we are never quick to respond. Firstly, because we dislike carrying lists around. And secondly, because family portraits in our opinion, really aren’t what the day should be about. It should be about the couple; and not their parents or grandparents, who were probably the ones that gave them the old school idea of a checklist in the first place…
#5 – Clients who have an unrealistic / impractical wedding day timeline
Not often, but every now and then, we will receive enquiries from potential customers who convey a very odd schedule in regard to their wedding day. Our least favorite being the request to provide the wedding party shoot BEFORE the ceremony (usually around midday). Little do the clients know, however, that depending on their location shoot, their hair could be undone in the wind, their stamina could be drained from the walking involved; and really, a whole host of other things that are far from ideal could happen if they were to pursue their ‘unique’ program. So unless the couple are willing to perhaps revisit their plans, we can be hesitant when it comes to committing to be their wedding photographer.
In summary, do your best to be reasonable, and certainly accommodate where you can, without compromising too much on your artistic expression. But if you find that you are feeling anything less than excited about the prospect of shooting a client’s wedding, it’s likely not a wedding you were meant to shoot. The good news is, that with experience, it becomes easier to tell. So don’t worry. Save your energy instead for the couples who couldn’t imagine trusting their day with anyone else. Because they’re waiting for you 🙂