Photographers are a unique kind of artist. We use our skills to work a camera and in doing so, we simultaneously notice which angles are the most complimentary for our clients, which setting is the best, lighting is best, how to eliminate distractions from our subjects, all while asking our client questions about themselves or getting them to open up and relax. The math we do in our heads to create the perfect exposure while trying to get our clients to laugh at us is truly incredible. And the fact that we are able to do so while creating priceless keepsakes for families makes our job very meaningful.
Now take the most challenging client you currently work with. Is that client worth the time and energy and frustration spent dealing with them? Is that client your people or is that client distracting you from treating your best clients, your people, with the utmost attention? Chances are, if it's your most challenging client, then they are causing you stress and self doubt and it's not worth it. Your people are worth it. Those who aren't your people, aren't. I recently listed out all of my favorite clients and all of my least favorite clients and realized that the most challenging clients often are given the power to ruin my entire day. That means that when one of my favorites reach out about a session, I'm coming at them with frustration because of my challenging client. So I'm not only allowing my challenging client to continue to mess with my head because I think I have to put up with all clients to grow my business, I'm allowing that client to mess with my people too!
The cray cray has to stop.
More clients is not better.
Better clients is better.
You cannot serve them all and make them all happy. They don't all make you happy and if you're in this to grow, then you have to learn to say no.
You deserve to work with your people. Your best and most favorite people. Focus on those people and show up every day being your most genuine self, and you will attract more of your people and less of your challenging clients. Not everyone is your people. And that's okay. But by letting those go who aren't your people, you're allowing them the opportunity to go find the photographer who is their people! It's a win win.
Next, make a list of the types of sessions you do. Are there any sessions you just absolutely hate but you do them anyways because you think you have to in order to grow your business?
For me, it was newborns. I did newborns often but they caused me so much stress and anxiety because I remember how stressful that time was for me as a new mom. I never once got a newborn to sleep during my sessions (Gage never slept either, so maybe it's just me). When I started this business, newborns were not something I imagined I would do, but I got asked to do them and bought all the props and backdrops because I thought I had to do it all in order to be successful. But that's just not true. The best decision I ever made was to say no to newborn sessions and send those inquiries to my friend, Angela. I love doing lifestyle newborn sessions, but the posed sleeping newborns with a backdrop make me break out in hives.
And this is where having your circle of photographers is crucial. I have 5 photographers who I consider my go-to people for sessions I no longer do or if I'm booked and cannot do a session for a client of mine, these 5 photographers are who I trust my people with. Do you have a circle who you would trust your people to? If not, you need to find and join local facebook groups, or hell, create a local meet up group for photographers in your area. Study their websites, offer to second shoot with them and see how they handle stress, handle people and handle editing. You don't need to send your people to a photographer who you haven't ever worked with, that's a good way to lose credibility with your people.
Now that you've said no to those who aren't your people, said no to the sessions that you hate, and have mindfully sought out a circle of go-to photographers who have your back, how much different does your business operate? You should be doing more of what you love with the clients you love and therefore bringing in more clients who are like-minded. You should be thriving! And that's what I hope each of you achieve this year. A sense of well-being, peace of mind in your business because you're doing what you love with your people. Let the distractions go. Get really clear on exactly what you love and what you cannot stand and choose to do what you love.
You're worth it.