Have you heard photographers speak of the elusive ‘ideal client’ before? Have you been just a bit confused about the whole thing? Anyone who wants to get photography done is your ideal client, right? Well, not exactly…
As a wedding photographer, and especially as a destination wedding photographer, knowing your ideal photography client is how you’re going to book the stunning destination weddings you’ve always dreamed of shooting one day. When I say ideal client, I’m talking about the exact person you want as part of your community and the exact type of client that you want to work with.
Imagining the exact clients you’d like to take photos of on one of the most important days of their life actually helps you in every single thing you do – from what you post on social media to how you use targeted ads and more. Becoming laser-focused on who your ideal client is will be what takes you from shooting whatever comes your way, to photographing only weddings that make you come alive.
So, keep reading to discover how to find your ideal photography client (and more on why it matters!):
When you know who your ideal client is, you can tailor everything you do toward them. You’re increasing the chances they will find you and fall in love with what you do. They’ll be the people who say yes to you no matter the price or any other logistics–you’ll be the one for them and no one else will do!
Here are 5 reasons why knowing who your ideal client is is so important and will be the game changer to elevating your business.
The moment you figure out exactly who your ideal client is, you can ensure every single thing you say appeals specifically to them. You can talk their language, walk in their shoes, and figure out exactly what to say to show them that what you do is what they need.
As a photographer, you know that to get your ideal destination wedding client (who is planning their wedding somewhere stunning and meaningful) to book you, you need to focus all your messaging on how you capture the places and the people, how you pay attention to the special details, and capture the moments that will last a lifetime. How could a client resist?
No need to waste time! Focusing on your ideal client means you spend your most precious resource–your time–doing what matters; putting your energy into marketing yourself and your work to those who will be the most eager to work with you.
Instead of trying to focus on everyone and hoping that you connect with your ideal client, it’s more effective to focus on your target from the start. No more crossing your fingers and hoping you get to work with your ideal couple. Instead, with your ideal photography client defined, you can be strategic in finding them.
Part of determining who your ideal client is involves considering who the person actually booking you will be. Is it the bride? Groom? Mother of the bride? A planner?
If you know that it’s most often brides who are reaching out to you and working out details, then you’ll want to ensure the bride is your ideal client. We know wedding photos are a treasure for everyone, but the person actually booking you is the person you want to connect with as your ideal client.
Rather than trying to serve every couple getting married or, if you’re like me, every couple having a destination wedding, identify an under-served market or a niche market.
So if you want to shoot destination weddings, think about these things: Do you want to take photographs at all-inclusive resorts? Or in rustic, authentic destinations where people maybe have family?
You can see how you might speak to both of these couples differently when marketing. By honing in on a smaller market and understanding your niche, you can best serve your ideal client with your unique style and offerings.
We all know how crucial paid advertising is on social media. Algorithms make it tricky to reach your ideal client organically. So, often, paid advertising is the way to go.
Once you know who your ideal client is, you can target them specifically which has the potential to turn into more booked sessions.
For example, if your ideal photography client is an adventurous, active young couple who is recently engaged, you can target audiences based on:
Isn’t it amazing how you can be that specific when targeting? You’ll save money and get a better return on investment by using a targeted market strategy.
After reading all that, I know you’re bubbling up with excitement to figure out who your ideal client is!
But part of finding your favorite kind of client takes a little bit of soul-searching. And you’ll want to ask yourself all of the right questions.
I’ve found, when doing this work for Lilly Red Photography and when helping other photographers, the best way to start is to use a questionnaire.
Saving a document that you can refer back to when you’re coming up with your marketing materials is so helpful!
You can steal the very same (complete) ideal photography client questionnaire I used for my business here!
But, in case you want just a sneak peek of what’s inside (and why), keep reading:
Your current client is always a great starting point to find your ideal photography client, even if you think that you’re not currently working with your ideal ones!
Specifically, look for these two things:
There are probably at least a couple of clients that you like working with! So, take a look at those and figure out what they have in common that you love.
You can take a look at their personal lives, such as:
Are they all in the same age range? Do they have common interests? Similar careers? What are their personalities like?
And, of course, maybe it’s that they treat you the way you want to be treated as their photographer:
How do they treat you as a photographer? Are they trusting of your creative abilities, and allow you to work freely? Are they more hands-on with the photography planning?
You can do the same exact thing above for this question! But just reverse it. Find all of the common traits and characteristics that you don’t love about some of the clients you’re not crazy about working with.
Finding what you don’t resonate with in an ideal client relationship is just as important as finding what you do resonate with.
Actually write down what a dream wedding to photograph looks like. This will help you identify any particular niches you might want to prioritize!
Do you love working with more budget-conscious couples to deliver high-end photographs that make their weddings look and feel luxurious?
Do you want to work with more couples who are having destination weddings at all-inclusive resorts?
What about weddings for fashionable, bold couples who aren’t afraid to have an event that goes against traditions?
As you write down what your dream wedding to photograph looks like, be sure to get super specific. Think about:
Just like there are different styles of weddings, there are different ways wedding photographers can solve a client’s problem.
Some couples need a photographer within budget, and that’s their main priority.
Other couples want a wedding photographer who captures only candid moments throughout the day. While some couples are looking for a photographer who can combine both candid moments and posed portraits.
So, think about the kind of couple you want to work with. What are they looking for from a photographer on their wedding day?
Once you have all of those questions answered, then you can start defining your ideal photography client avatar. Think of it like creating a social media account for your favorite type of person to work with!
In your ideal client avatar, you’ll want to write down their demographics and psychographics. Keep this handy whenever you’re writing any kind of messaging or marketing materials for your photography business!
It will help you make sure you’re writing directly to your favorite type of client.
Here’s the good news! My questionnaire will guide you through a brainstorming session to find clarity on your ideal client.
You’ll uncover who they are, what their interests are, where they like to shop, and even how they dress. Then I’ll walk you through identifying their deeper traits and characteristics, like what they’re looking for in a wedding photographer and how they’ll view you as a photographer on their wedding day.
All of these details will provide clues to how you can build a stronger connection with your ideal client.
Plus, I’ve included a blank avatar so you can fill it in according to your answers!
Ready to find out who your ideal client is?
I’d love to hear more about who your ideal client is once you put the time into determining who they are. Come back here and let me know.
Discover Part 2 of this post!