Images copyright Jennifer Smith. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Even though boudoir photography, over the last few years, has become one of the fastest growing specialties, we've never had a post about the topic, and it's long overdue. From my perspective, one of the biggest challenges is building the relationship with the client and establishing a fundamental level of trust with the subject.
Meet a new buddy, Jenn Smith. We haven't known each other very long, but we do share a number of mutual friends. She couldn't be easier to work with. However, there's something else I noticed in our first phone conversation, her communication skills. Jenn's enthusiasm and passion for the craft was obvious from the very beginning. She couldn't have been easier to talk to about the topic and what she was going to write about.
The backstory on how we met goes back to Erin Zahradka of AIBP (Association of International Boudoir Photographers.) Erin is no stranger to SCU and did a fantastic guest post about her photo day camp for kids several years ago. Erin wanted to know if I had an interest in building content about boudoir at SCU and my answer was obviously "YES!" She put the word out on the AIBP Facebook forum, and Jenn was the first artist to respond.
Well, here we are a week later with Jenn's first guest post and the topic couldn't be more on target. Interested in seeing more of her work? Just click on either image to link to her website.
by Jenn Smith
The art of getting people naked, and taking gorgeous images of them, is not for the faint of heart. To be a successful boudoir photographer you have to not only read people, but build a deep level of trust with them. How? Here are my insider tips to building genuine and lasting relationships with your boudoir clients.
1. Set Expectations and Be a Trusted Guide Remember the last time a business or person let you down? As business owners, it’s our responsibility to set proper expectations and follow through on them. A great way to do this is to have in-person consultations with each client. When I book a client I always walk them through the entire experience, step-by-step, so they know exactly what to expect from their shoot.
Throughout this experience your clients are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position. They’re trusting you. In return for their trust, you need to confidently be their guide. Continue to tell them everything that will happen, even if you already explained it during their first consultation. The more they know, and feel confident about your expertise, the more comfortable everyone will feel. Which leads me to my next point…
2. Know Your Shit When a client arrives, you should know exactly what’s going on. You shouldn’t be checking a posing guide or Pinterest, or messing around with your gear. Of course, I always take moments to pause and think, and to take test shots, but during these times I always let the client know what’s going on. Your goal is to make your client feel completely confident about your knowledge.
3. Be Genuine When it comes down to it, the client is hiring you, as much as they’re hiring your work. So be your genuine self! If you’re trying to fake your way to your client’s heart, believe me, they’ll know.
4. Be Empathetic and a Good Listener We do this every day, but our client’s don’t. It is important to be a good listener and show empathy. Recognize their fears and anxiety if they verbalize them. Let them know that it is totally normal to be nervous and their images will be totally gorgeous despite their nerves!
5. Have Many Touchpoints I have 15-20 touchpoints with my clients from booking, to the time their products are delivered. I use a client relationship management software to help me accomplish this. It allows me to set email workflows with the click of a button. This helps my clients feel remembered and valued. I also make sure to respond as quickly as possible to text messages, calls or emails. My goal is to make each client feel like they are the most important part of my day.
Building relationships with clients starts the moment they set up a consultation, and extends past the photo shoot. You’re setting yourself up for success when you take the time to invest in building relationships with your clients. Successful relationship building not only leads to word of mouth referrals but clients who will return for your work time after time.
Model: Beth Claire https://www.facebook.com/bethclairemodel/?pnref=lhc
Makeup artist: Miranda Richards mirandarichardsartistry.com
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.