Another spring season has ended. WOW. God has been immensely good to me! And I would not be where I am today without YOU, so thank you for your incredible support!I can hardly believe I’ve photographed two spring senior seasons now, and it’s crazy to think just how much can change in only one year. Last year as I was just starting out with Nichole Lauren Photography, it was all I could do to learn as much as I could to sharpen my photography skills so that they would be up to par to work with paying clients. Inevitably, some essential business-related things fell to the wayside. Looking back in retrospect, I can clearly see a few areas I wish I had known more about before jumping into working with clients, so if you’re in that boat now, maybe I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made. There are some essentials I’ve learned you’ve got to have to succeed! So let’s get started! Enjoy a few photos of my beautiful roommates mixed in with the words of advice. 🙂
1. Contracts are a must.
When I was just starting out, I only made my clients sign a model release form so I could legally post their images on my blog and website. That’s better than nothing, but it’s not great. You need to have some sort of document that outlines your expectations for your clients and what they can expect from you. Be overly clear about anything you think is pertinent. It’s better to be painfully obvious than to leave an important issue to the imagination. Once you deal with clients on a more regular basis, you will learn what is important to include. Consider hiring a professional to discuss your contract with you.
2. Deposits are a really good idea.
Some photographers don’t require a deposit to book. Each business is different, but for my needs and according to my experience, requiring a deposit from my clients to book a date at least a week in advance has relieved a lot of frustration and confusion. My deposit is non-refundable, but it goes toward the final session fee. So, my clients aren’t paying an extra fee as long as they follow through with the session which almost always happens. And I really think that success comes from having the deposit in the first place.
3. Dedicate a webpage to explain your packages and pricing.
Or create a PDF you can send to clients when they ask about your packages. Either way, having a link or something pre-made that you can send makes responding to inquiries stress-free and an overall better experience for you and your clients. They get a consistent response from you, and you can tailor your materials to reflect your packages accurately so you don’t have to recreate your explanations each time you receive an inquiry.
4. Community is your most valuable resource.
Greenville finally got a Rising Tide Society #TuesdaysTogether group, and it was the greatest day ever. I’ve only been to one meeting because of school and work, but the online community has been overwhelmingly helpful. Connecting with other photographers in your area is so, so important. I don’t think you really realize how important it is until you run into a problem or an opportunity that only another photographer would understand. It’s valuable!
5. Never forget why you do what you do.
Especially at the end of a busy season, it’s so easy to feel tired and burnt out. You love what you do, but you’ve been doing it over and over in a short span of time that it feels typical and being creative gets harder. Never forget that you’re not just a glorified shutter clicker; you are changing lives! You are capturing moments no one else will in a way that only you can. That’s powerful, and that’s important. People are hiring YOU to help them remember the way they are right now, and that’s pretty special.