The best way to ensure smooth paid shoots is to educate clients on the work that’s involved.
Sure, you’re the expert—but your clients want to know that the amount of work matches their investment. You want to get them the best value-for-money package.
Educating clients can be difficult at first—especially if you’re dealing with a heated client who disagrees with your rates.
Generally, though, clients are receptive and will be willing to work with you if they like your art.
Onboarding and Educating Clients
- Why You Need to Do it
- What Do They Need to Know
- Image Quantity
- Copyright and Licensing
- Shoot Timing
- Image Delivery Time
Why Do You Need to be Educating Your Clients?
Let’s look at it from the client’s perspective. Photography isn’t their area of expertise—which is why they’re commissioning you.
Maybe they’ve had five different photographers create images for them in the past. Each one ran their business differently. Some were inexperienced and didn’t know who owned copyright or how to license their images.
Perhaps some handed over every image they shot and/or they didn’t even ask the client to sign a contract!
Then, they hire you and suddenly there are ‘rules.’ Clients usually go one of two ways—they’re either impressed and feel like they’re in good hands because you act professionally, or they wonder why you’re making things difficult and won’t give them every RAW file you shot.
Remember that your clients love your work and want to work with you. They will appreciate you taking the time to educate them about your processes and ensure that the work you produce for them is of the highest quality.
Only once in my career thus far have I had a client tell me to go jump because he didn’t believe that I, the photographer, owned the images.
This isn’t the type of client you want to work with and they’re doing you a favour by walking away. There are clients for all kinds of photographers—find the ones willing to play ball with how you do things.
Educating Clients Check List: What Do They Need to Know?
In general, you want to be educating clients about basic workflow and legal items. Your processes may already cover some of this information, but sometimes you may need to have a more in-depth discussion with them.
Here are some of the key things you’ll want to cover with each client.
#1. Image Quantity
The best return on investment for your client is quality images over quantity. They have a split second to capture someone’s attention on social media—and that’s done with a few high-quality images, not a bunch of mediocre ones.
Fewer images don’t equal less professionalism. It’s actually more professional to deliver three killer, jaw-dropping images than 50 that are just okay.
From the outset, set the expectation that your client will need to be a deposit to secure the shoot. If they’re being difficult about providing a deposit, they’re probably going to be difficult in other areas, too.
#3. Copyright and Licensing
This is a huge topic, and it usually only comes up if the client has previously worked with photographers who don’t understand the concept or weren’t confident enough to price on it. You should educate your client on copyright and licensing in any correspondence and on your estimate, invoice, and contract.
#4. Shoot Timing
If you’ll be working on location with the client, it’s important to educate them on how long it takes to perform a shoot. If you’re shooting from home or a studio and your client is working remotely, this may or may not come up.
#5. Image Delivery Time
The turnaround time is how long after the shoot your client will get the images. You want to discuss this with them so that they don’t contact you asking for the images—which wouldn’t make for a good client experience.
If the client wants their images sooner than your turnaround time, you can charge an additional fee.
Learn how to provide clients with an estimate for their shoot.
Interested in learning more about the business of food photography? Read all of the articles in our Food Photography Business Series: