Are you not sure how to style your photography clients or frustrated when your clients disregard your styling guide and advice? Today on the Book More Clients Photography Podcast, I am walking you through my step-by-step process for how to style your clients that you can use at any level of your business.
In today’s episode on the Book More Clients Photography Podcast, I’m sharing my step-by-step process on how to style your photography clients no matter what level your business is at.
Today’s episode is inspired by a conversation I had on a Voxer coaching session with one of my clients. They are also a student from The Blueprint Program. Voxer is a phone app that acts like a walkie talkie where you can send voice recordings back and forth. It’s a great way to do coaching if you lead a busy life. Or if you work full-time and want to ask questions throughout the cracks of your day.
I do weekly Voxer coaching where we would work on your photography business one week at a time. Then you could buy as many weeks as you need or want. It’s good for accountability, back and forth advice and coaching. We get so much done in a week that I promise you, I am undercharging for this. If you’re interested in Voxer coaching with me, email us at brookejefferson.com. Morgan, my assistant, will send you all of the information over for that.
Today, we’re diving into the topic of how to style your photography clients. I was so inspired by this conversation and felt like this was a really good topic. I see this question asked a lot. We’re diving into why styling your clients is important and how to do it at any level of your business. Whether you’re brand new with $0 to your name or you’re more established and ready to go.
I see this question all over social media. “How do I get consistent styling?” and “How can I actually have my work where I get consistent editing?” I want you to know that you don’t get consistent editing from one preset alone. That doesn’t happen. Even if you find someone whose editing style you like, buying their presets aren’t magically going to give it to you. I’ve wasted so much money in presets that don’t provide you with any information.
I do think that editing is a huge portion in you being able to increase your prices and standing out in your area. As a photographer, you are creating visual images and products. So of course, consistent editing is important. Many times, this is where I see photographers who are just beginning struggling to get high quality images with consistent editing.
I also want you to know that you’re never going to have 100% consistency all of the time. You can’t control the weather. You can’t control what everybody shows up wearing. But you need to be comfortable and take creative control. Here are all of the ingredients that results in consistent editing:
90% of what is happening before you plug in the SD card to your computer will determine how consistent your editing will be. While post processing is maybe only 10% of the equation. I can’t cover all of these in one blog post but I want you to have the full picture. You can read more about how to achieve a consistent editing style here on the blog.
Today, we’ll be discussing the wardrobe piece of this equation. If you’re a beginner with $0 to spend on a client closet or any kind of software you’re thinking, “Brooke, I just need you to tell me the free ways I can help my clients with their wardrobe.”
The very first thing I want you to have is a style guide. This is for any and all photographers. When you have a style guide, this is going to give all of your clients a free resource to flip through. Don’t just purchase a style guide. Be you and fit it to your photography business. By using a style guide, you’re able to easily and visually communicate that your clients can show up dressed in the color palettes that fit your locations best.
This is going to help them visually get inspired and teach them why styling is important. It’s also going to allow them to have some clickable links to direct them towards places to shop. You can make your own style guide on the Canva app for free.
If that sounds overwhelming to you, go to shopbrookejefferson.com to check out the different style guide templates I have available there. You will plug in your own images, color palettes, and locations to customize it to your photography biz.
Put more personalization into the styling process. Don’t just hand them the style guide. It doesn’t always guarantee that they’ll use it. Bring it up in conversation to remind them that it’s there for them to use.
I want you to create a Pinterest board for each client/session. The first thing you’ll add to their Pinterest board is color palettes. Type into the Pinterest search bar “spring color palettes” or “fall color palettes” until you find one that fits the style of the session. Keep location and time of year in mind. Fall will be more bold and colorful palettes. If you’re a “light and airy” style, you may search for neutral palettes or more pastels and things like that. Each color palette should have four to five colors in it.
Then you’ll go to Amazon, you’re favorite boutique or shop’s website and pin outfits/pieces from there. You can add a Pinterest extension that will show a pin icon on website images so you can pin them to your client’s board. You can Google how to do this.
Why does this matter? You’re making it easier for the client to purchase something they like that you picked out for their session. If you can get the entire family’s wardrobe from Amazon or Target, I really recommend that. All that mom will have to do, is click on the pin to order everyone’s sizes and it will ship directly to her for them to try on. Easy as that!
You don’t need any money to style your clients, just the discipline to sit down and do this for all of your clients. If you do, it will pay off!
Send them their Pinterest board or email or text, whatever is more comfortable for you. That way they can browse through the board to get an idea. If they already have something similar in their wardrobe, have them lay it out and send pictures to you. Give your honest opinion on if it will work or not.
Make this process as easy and simple as possible for your clients. This way they won’t feel overwhelmed or stressed because you are taking some of the work off of them. The Pinterest board partnered with a style guide is the way to go.
One last piece of advice, shoot at no more than three to five locations for a more consistent editing style. Use them over and over again for a solid year. Then you can go location scouting again and swap those locations out for new ones if you have that luxury to do so. There’s not a one size fits all formula since some people may like shooting fields, or mountains, or at the beach or downtown or on a parking garage rooftop.
I don’t want you to think that this limits you. I have never had an issue with this. This will help you master consistency. Create a few color palettes that work for these three to five locations that your clients can choose from. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
Once you have consistency in your editing and you are getting consistent bookings, you can invest more into your styling. If you’re a photographer who is ready to start a client closet, here are some tips for you.
Build your client closet slow and steady. You don’t need to go into debt or spend hundreds of dollars. It’s intimidating to get on social media and see people talk about a $500 dress heading their way. Or if you see their room full of client closet pieces. Start your client closet slow and steady by purchasing items as you use them for your sessions.
If you have sessions coming up and you’re creating a Pinterest board for them, let your client know that you are in the process of building a client closet and I will purchase any of the outfits you liked or you can offer to split the cost 50/50 with them. For me, I usually offer to just pay for mom’s dress that she picks out from the Pinterest board and I’ll keep it in the client closet for further use. This way you know you’re buying pieces that someone will love and likely use later down the road.
You can also use weekend sales to build you client closet. Labor Day Weekend, Black Friday and Mother’s Day are all opportunities to get a discount on great pieces. One Black Friday I got ten or eleven dresses for half price for my client closet.
Another thing you can do if you’re just starting a client closet is to ask the mom where she purchased the dress she is wearing if you like it and ask her if she plans to use it again. This works great for maternity clients. You can ask them to donate it with a $10-$20 credit towards their next session. It gives them an incentive to do so.
My last tip for building a client closet is to not be afraid to use places like Amazon, Wal-Mart, thrift stores or Target. You don’t have to start out with the best of the best. There’s no need for name brands or custom boutiques to have a beautiful client closet. You can get really great pieces in unlikely places if you’re willing to look for them.
Those are my best tips for how to style your photography clients at any level of your business. This isn’t an exhaustive list. There is software out there that can help. I personally don’t use them and prefer to be in more creative control.
Inside of The Blueprint Program I have a one hour lesson where I walk you through this entire process in more detail. I invite you to come join us and receive many more lessons like this as well as personalized coaching inside of the student community as well. We would love to have you! Go to brookejefferson.com/blueprintprogram to learn more!
Want more marketing tips, editing tips, styling tips, content ideas and more? Tune into the Book More Clients Photography Podcast.
If you liked this post, you might also like: