For Photographers: Figuring Out Your “Why” and Your Ideal Client

Okay, I know this post is long… but bear with me!! I’m trying to throw out some thoughts that have been spinning in my head for the past several months on these two topics and how they relate!! :)

In my first year of business, I had absolutely no idea what people were talking about when they said “ideal client.” I mean, sure, I knew that you obviously wanted someone to hire you because they value you and love you as a photographer. But what does that mean exactly?! How do you even KNOW what an ideal client is, and how in the world do you attract that? How do you figure out what that is for your own business?? These are all things that I seemed to have some understanding of, but it was still really confusing to me.

As I’ve progressed over the years, I’ve realized more and more what an “ideal client” is and the importance of attracting ideal clients (people who are your “tribe). I’ve realized that the way to attract these people is to figure out what kind of people they are, and how *I* should be presenting myself online to attract them. And let me tell you, I realized pretty quickly that’s definitely not by copying what everyone else is doing in our industry… the blog posts you write, how you present your website and the “flow” of it, the design, the words you’re using, the messages you emphasize- should all be to attract those people.

So how do you figure out who those people are?! What I’ve realized is that your ideal client will probably ALWAYS be changing, especially in your first couple years of business. The more couples you work with, the more you realize the kind of couples you connect with so well and, because of that, you’re able to serve them WAY BETTER on their wedding day, one of the biggest days of their lives! At first, you might have just a vague idea of who those people are. Maybe at first, you’re thinking to yourself, “I just want a couple who wants nice pictures, right?!” And maybe for your first season shooting, that might be true! But what you’ll realize is that as you work with more couples & figure out your “why” behind your business, there are people that just get it. And that value you WAY MORE than you could ever imagine because they are your people.

For example, in my business, I have two main “whys”: firstly, to serve and love people like Jesus. I want my couples to feel like I care about them (because I really do), and value them beyond just being their photographer. I will go above and beyond to make their experience so incredible, so that they feel drop-dead-gorgeous infant of my camera, loved on, served, valued, and cared for with every interaction with me. I want them to know that I care about them and their relationship beyond that. That brings me to my second why, which is I am passionate about encouraging marriage in my business. I implement this in many different ways, from letting my couples know that I think being married is THE BEST, to gifting them a relationship-building book after they choose me as their wedding photographer, to being over-the-moon excited for them after they are husband and WIFE!!! If I can have even a small positive impact on just one of my couples’ marriages and do something that strengthens their relationship, that would make my heart soar.

If that makes you feel like you haven’t figured anything out yet, IT’S OKAY!! I honestly did not even know half of that was my “why” until this year. It takes so much time to figure this out, and it’s something that you continually learn more and more about and you’re growing in. As the months go by, you’ll be able to hone in more and more on what your ideal client is. Even once you figure it out, you’ll realize that your “ideal couples” will have most of the traits you’ve seen in your past ideal couples, but really, no one will have every single trait. There will just typically be a pattern of the things they have in common!

If you truly want to make an impact in your business with your “why”, knowing your ideal couple is crucial. From my “why”, I’ve figured out that one of the first things I connect with my ideal couple is that we both believe our relationship with our fiance/spouse trumps all other relationships on this earth. They are the most important person in the world to us, our best friend, our biggest supporter, and the person we can’t imagine living without. Not that my couples don’t love their families that raised them as well, but their relationship with their significant other is the most important. This means that family formals aren’t at the top of the priority list- they still want some, but they typically don’t have a list of 40 different combinations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that- on the flip side, if I was someone who (in general) connected with the more traditional, formal bride, that would be something I would emphasize on my website- that family means the world to me. But I sincerely don’t connect with that, and it’s not that I won’t ever have an ideal couple who has a longer family formal list- but the majority won’t because I know this about my ideal couples! :)

Once you start to figure out your ideal client and the why behind your business, it’s incredible how your micro changes can produce HUGE results in your business- and results that means your business is THRIVING! So hopefully this give you a little insight into the importance of constantly being aware of what your why is and who your ideal client is, and that it helps your business to grow in more ways than you could ever imagine! :)

If you loved this, you might also love:

For Photographers: The Trap of Copying

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