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Setting client expectations – lifestyle family and newborn photography

Have you ever shown up to a shoot and immediately, you just KNEW – these are NOT my ideal clients? It’s the worst feeling. As artists, it makes it difficult to feel inspired to create amazing work for them.

Here are some tips for having a successful shoot and avoiding these awkward bookings:

Always make sure your prospective clients know what they’re going to get BEFORE the shoot.

The words “lifestyle” or “documentary” won’t mean very much to your clients – you need to break it down for them so that you don’t show up to your shoot to find a family of 4 dressed if hot pink staring at your camera with their biggest cheese face on.

1 – Only show what you want to shoot.

This goes for your website AND on social media. Even then, people will see what attracted them to your work, but they might not be able to articulate it or understand what’s expected of them.

2 – Spell it out.

With each inquiry, I spell it out and literally tell them in the very first email not to expect to be looking at the camera smiling, and instead they should be prepared to have a relaxed shoot interacting and PLAYING with their family.

3 – Be Transparent

I also send out what I call a “session guide” that goes more in depth into what they can expect from a session with me. I send this BEFORE they book with me. I like to be completely transparent, because having a client who is not on the same page makes me feel like total crap, during and after the shoot. I will feel like I failed, and they might be unhappy with their images. You can find the template I send out to inquiries here.

4 – Make it easy for them to understand.

Once they’ve booked, next step is to send out a client prep guide (you can find my pre-written template in the shop and make your own guide quickly). This is a crucial step for me because it both reiterates how the actual shoot will go and it tells people what types of clothing will photograph best. My clients are well prepared before the shoot.

Showing up to well dressed families who PLAY together and don’t look at my camera helps me create work I am excited about, and work that THEY will be excited about.

What are you doing or not doing to prepare your clients before a shoot?

The welcome guide Template:

Quickly prepare a professional welcome guide to send each client before their shoot to better prepare them for your time together.

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