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Photography Marketing: Sometimes it’s not about the photos

You might have the best photos in the world, but be struggling to get jobs. Sometimes it’s not about the photos. Instead, it’s about the experience.


This past weekend, I suffered an injury while assisting fellow Photofocus author Tracie Maglosky at the PhotograpHER workshop in Muskegon, MI. It made it question whether I’d be able to make it through a six-hour event the next day. While I did decide to push through the injury, there were a few things I did to keep my client informed and make sure that any adjustments that would have had to be made would be as smooth as possible. Here’s what I did:

Contact the client

Within 15 minutes of suffering my injury, I reached out to the client to alert her of the situation. I told her that I would be reaching out to a backup photographer just in case, and then I gave her a time where I would let her know what was happening.

Get a backup

I have a network of photographers I reach out to regularly. We go shooting together around town and enjoy talking business. These are the same photographers I count on if I ever need a second shooter, or in this case, a backup. I gave them the details right away, including a basic shot list, location and pricing information, and told them I’d keep them informed just like I would the client.

Make a decision

For me, I was feeling alright to go on Sunday morning. I pushed through a six-hour photoshoot without many problems. Sure there were some aches and pains, but I knew it was the right decision.

Other things to think about

While the photos you turn out are a big part of the experience, it’s not everything. Here are some best practices to make sure you have a solid client relationship:

Have all the details

Three days before each photoshoot, I have an automated message sent through Studio Ninja, asking the client for any last-minute details I should know about. This prompts them to send me anything, and lets them know I’m on top of things. When they respond, be sure to follow up and ask them any further questions you might have.

Arrive early

I try to arrive at every photoshoot at least 15 minutes early. This allows me to check in with my client contact, scope out the location and grab any detailed photographs I might want before the attendees arrive.

Check your ego at the door

No one wants to deal with an ego, period. Don’t be cocky, be outgoing and make sure to go above and beyond for your client. You’ve heard “the customer is always right.” The same goes for photography, even if you might disagree with your clients from time-to-time.


One thing I do whenever I’m taking a posed photograph is I smile behind the camera. It eases the people up, making for a natural portrait and one that they’re pleased with. It also tells the client that you’re enjoying the event like the attendees.

For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.

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