Photography: A client’s perspective

Written on May 10, 2011 by in Business savvy

Do you remember the last time you were in your clients’ shoes? When you hired a photographer for your wedding, or a portrait session? I do! Today I’m going to share my latest experience shopping for and working with a professional photographer, in the hope that it will get your ideas flowing regarding your own clients’ experience.

My husband and I only recently relocated to Florida, where my mom’s side of the family lives, and I needed some head shots for this website. I haven’t lived in the Jacksonville area since I was a baby so I didn’t have much frame of reference for hiring a local photographer.

I turned to Google, typing in “Jacksonville head shot photographers.” Then I started clicking. If the first image or two on a photographer’s site didn’t grab me, I was on to the next. In 10-15 seconds, I summed up each photographer and decided if s/he was for me. If their site was slow to load, I was gone.

If a photographer’s site appealed, I looked for pricing. If they didn’t mention it, next! I added a few folks without pricing info to my short list but, as you’ll see in a minute, they were later tossed aside for someone who better matched my personal shopping preferences. Give me the info up front, people!

It’s worth noting here that, when I was a professional photographer, industry experts repeatedly advised me to leave pricing off my website. Given my shopping preferences, however, that just doesn’t work for me. If it works for you, great! If not, do what does instead. It’s the best way to be comfortable and authentic with your clients.

Anyway, I searched Google and even checked Craig’s List, but I didn’t find what I wanted, so I turned to family. I knew my cousin had a few photographer friends, so I emailed her and then returned to my search. Around that time I stumbled across Agnes Lopez’s Pose Well Studios. She specialized in head shots, and her work was good. Her site was easy to navigate, her pricing was clear and she was within my budget.

Right after I added Agnes to my short list, my cousin emailed to say that the best local photographer she knew was…Agnes. Don’t you love it when everything comes together? Perfection!

As I was already on her site, I submitted the contact form to request an appointment. I didn’t ask questions because everything I needed to make a decision was right there on her site. Agnes replied to me in just 30 minutes and we scheduled a session for the following week. She got me committed quickly. Love that!

When I arrived on the day of the shoot, I was surprised to see wedding images and albums displayed in Agnes’ meeting room. I didn’t know that she shoots weddings because she markets them separately from her commercial and head-shot work. Smart! I wanted a head-shot specialist, and I hired one. Had I seen wedding images on her site, too, I may have kept looking…

One of the things I liked about Agnes was that she included makeup and hair styling in her session fee, making the process that much easier for this makeup-challenged gal. Her friend and contractor, Jackie, did an amazing job; although I was wearing more makeup than usual, it looked natural as requested. She and Agnes also offered me advice on which of my clothing options would work best, allowing me to relax and enjoy the experience.

The session went smoothly. Agnes was in control yet fun. As I was leaving, she advised me that she would post a gallery online in about 48 hours. Wow, I thought, that’s fast! Way faster than I had ever promised clients. I know the work required to make images client-ready. By the time I got home, though, I was chomping at the bit to see my photos. Imagine now how your clients feel! Capitalizing on that excitement by moving quickly is pure gold.

Another great shot from Agnes Lopez

My photo gallery was ready on schedule. When I went to see the images, though, I was surprised. I anticipated 30-50 images based on expectations set by Agnes’ website, but I received 72! She did exactly what I would recommend to all photographers who want to woo their clients — under-promise and over-deliver. But, she chose her compromises wisely, making decisions that are true to herself and in the interest of her clients. Very cool!

Overall, I had a wonderful session with Agnes and am very pleased with the results. Here are a few take-away questions for you to consider:

  • What is visiting your website like from a prospective client’s perspective? What do they learn about you in the first 10-15 seconds?
  • Are your business policies consistent with your beliefs? Or are you adhering to policies because they’re “industry best practices,” even though they don’t really serve you?
  • How responsive are you to inquiries? Are your prospective clients at risk for being snatched away by someone else who’s more timely?
  • Are you consistently delivering more than your clients expect? And, are you keeping their interests in mind when you create policies? Your ideal clients want to love you, and exceeding their expectations helps make that happen.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Jody
    May 12, 2011

    Hi Kate!
    Love the blog and your pix. I had to comment too to say how much I still love (and proudly display) the headshots you took of me a couple years ago. You made me feel so pretty that day. Miss you, but so happy for all your new success! Hugs! Jody

  2. Kate Watson
    May 12, 2011

    Aw, thank you, Jody! I’m happy that you’re still loving your head shots. Miss you, too, and wish I could say we’d visit soon, but life is taking many interesting turns these days. *hugs*

  3. Rebecca Stees
    May 16, 2011

    I love how you keep it real!

    I like the client perspective story angle.

    I just forwarded this link to my friend that is a photographer.

    Rebecca Stees recently posted..Emotions and Feelings – A List of Choices

  4. Kate Watson
    May 16, 2011

    Thanks for sharing the love, Rebecca! This experience was also just referenced in an article called “21 Customer Service Tips from Real Life Examples” by Dr. Shannon Reece –

  5. […] and visual artists, it was a pleasant surprise to get feedback from her experience with me in a long-form review. Definitely check it out.  I am so glad to know I got high […]

Trackback URL

Provocative philosophies on passion and profit, plus my latest mentoring and workshop offerings for visual arts and photographers.

The Inspired Way
Need a little inspiration to find your ideal life? Check out a new, free guide by 22 creative women (including me):