Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
Explore the podcasts and blogs in the categories listed below.
Today, we are talking about why you should stop relying on your contract to communicate and what to do instead.
Stop relying on your contract and communicate. I said it. Stop relying on your contract to be the primary source of communication with your clients. I see this all the time. Photography Facebook groups are filled with posts of photographers posting “Can you believe my client did this even though my contract says not to?” It makes me cringe.
I really want to dig into this because I think a lot of you can have a lot of your problems and your business solved by conversation that we’re going to have.
Okay, so here’s the thing, your contract absolutely has a legal and valid place in your business. If you don’t have one, you NEED one. That contract is there to protect you as a business owner. It also protects your client to ensure they’re getting the professional services that they’re investing in. It is the legal agreement that you guys are exchanging services for an investment. But the contract itself, even though it says so many things in it, is not a method of communication.
One thing I’m hoping that you’ll take away from this, is that you should start taking situations on a case-by-case basis. As photographers, the meeting we’re having is human to human, face to face. I really, really want that to sink in. Remember that you are dealing with a human being who has just as much going on as you do. They are probably a mama or maybe a soon to be bride. Whoever your client is, I just want you to start seeing them as a human. They deserve respect, just like you do. If you have clients that are not giving you the respect that you deserve, you have the right to refuse service, no questions asked. But they deserve respect, patience, and they deserve a conversation.
Even though your contract has really good stuff in it (do’s and don’ts, guidelines, expectations, etc.) you’ve got to highlight those sections of your contract and find another way to communicate that to your client.
The way that I do this is, after someone books with me, I go over my reschedule and cancellation policy in an email. In that initial email sequence, I have spelled out exactly what I need them to know. Typically, they will reply to me and let me know that they understand and then we’re moving on from there. The legal stuff is taken care of and we can truly focus on giving them the experience that they invested in.
Another example for how I do this is when the galleries are ready to be viewed or downloaded, I have an email that spells it out again. I’ll tell my client thank you so much for choosing me as your photographer, insert some personalized feedback based on their session, and then give them all of the information they need to access their gallery and download their images. And then right underneath there, I give very quick do’s and don’ts. I let them know how to get the highest quality download, how to upload it on social media, and all those things. Now, do all of my clients succeed when posting their images? No, I still see blurry images or screenshots, even though I asked them not to do that. But here’s the human part.
This is the part that I want to drive home today. We know what we’re doing because we are photographers and have done this a time or two. We know more than our clients do at this point. They don’t understand. They need more help than they’re willing to ask for. That’s where you come in. There’s times where we may not understand why it is so hard for them. But we also need to keep in mind, this is not their industry, they don’t know.
If you take nothing else away from this, I just want you to treat your clients with respect on a case-by-case basis, human to human. We all have feelings, we all have great days, and we all have bad days.
Now that your wheels are spinning with other ways to communicate outside your contract, come join the #1 community for photographers, Book More Photography Clients: Branding, Marketing, + Client Experience and hear how others are communicating with their clients!
Want a more in depth look at how I communicate with my clients?