Boudoir Photography Clients To Avoid
Along the way, I’ve developed relationships with my boudoir photography clients. They share stories and, with each story, I always take away something that I believe can be beneficial in either my own business or beneficial to other photographers.
The latest tip I’m about to share is really quite straightforward and simple but I feel it’s important to say it aloud (and even louder for those in the back):
IT’S OK TO SAY NO.
And by this I mean, it’s really quite fine to say NO to prospective clients when you’re not digging their vibe … if you get the sense that they just don’t align with your ideal type of client. In fact, I highly HIGHLY recommend you do say no to these individuals. Here’s why …
Once upon a time, we took on the wrong type of client. A client who absolutely did not fit our ideal client persona. You can read the full story here but to sum it up, here’s what we learned from the experience …
When you take on the wrong client, you can expect to be:
Expending time and energy explaining the benefits of your product or service (as well as your process)
Feeling under-appreciated, undervalued, and sometimes downright disrespected
Handling lots of complaints from the customer or client
Chasing down payments you’re owed
Feeling unfulfilled by what you’re delivering
Dreading emails or phone calls from the customer or client
Dealing with headaches … lots of headaches
In chatting with some of our favorite boudoir photographer friends, they’ve shared similar stories. (Yay! We’re not alone!!) From what I’ve gathered, here’s a list of personality traits that you’ll probably want to steer clear of as a boudoir photographer (a.k.a When you meet an individual who demonstrates these traits, go running for the hills and don’t look back!).
1.) The overly needy client.
These types mean no harm. They don’t even know they’re doing it! And to be honest, they mostly can’t help themselves. They’re the ones who will blow up your Inbox constantly. Asking you what to wear. What color to paint their nails. What to wax. What not to wax. They will also start to feel comfortable with you and vent to you about their dating life or how awful it is that they can’t find matching socks.
Listen, you boudoir photographers are amazing. Y’all must have majored in psychology because let’s face it … many women have insecurities. The true art of boudoir is all about empowering women and promoting self love. You should absolutely want to make your clients feel comfortable and build a relationship with them. You should absolutely nurture your clients and dual as a therapist of sorts when needed. That’s totally cool and you do it very well. However, I’m not talking about the clients who need a basic level of support from you. I’m talking about the ones who are OTT (OVER THE TOP). They can’t get out of their own way and they’re going to make you crazy before they ever even step foot in your door. Time is money! Remember, the more time you spend dealing with the overly needy is less time you can dedicate toward working with your dream clients.
2.) The client who makes you go, “You want me to photograph WHAT?!”
I find I keep hearing more and more of these stories … especially when it comes to couples boudoir. However, I can totally see it coming up with solo sessions, too. You are photographing nude women [and men] so I’m guessing your comfort threshold is pretty vast anyway. Clients might ask you to photograph some things that are down and dirty, perhaps kinky. If that’s your thing, awesome. If it’s not, and it’s outside of what you feel comfortable shooting, say no NOW. This is why a pre-booking consult is imperative. You learn so much from people when you hear what their expectations are. If they want you to photograph them with their significant other engaging in some super X-rated fantasy, and that’s just not how you roll, say no NOW. Say no before they’re in your studio and things get uncomfortable. There’s a photographer out there for them but it doesn’t have to be you.
3.) The creepy client.
I’m all about safety because let’s be real … people be cray! If someone is giving you the heebie jeebies and they make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, walk away. I don’t care if they’re a man, woman, black, white, polka dotted, undecided, have six heads, or hold the world record for largest Bible collection. You have the right to feel safe at all times and wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Most of our clients work out of a studio, whether it be in their home or a private studio in a store front. Generally it’s just the photographer and the client for several hours. You may have hair and makeup peeps, but maybe you don’t, or maybe they do their thing, then leave. You should NEVER put yourself in a situation that can put you in harms way. I don’t care what they’re willing to pay you for a sitting fee. Listen to your gut.
4.) The know-it-all.
Lord have mercy, these stories kill me. Listen, they exist. The clients who took a photography class or two offered through the local community college … they learned some basics and now they’re an expert! Yeah, those clients. They’re going to school you on all sorts of things. The good news is you do have a chance with a client like this if you can bring them down off their high horse. However, if you can’t manage to convince them that YOU’RE the expert on boudoir lighting, posing, etc. and they want to continue to be super pushy … say goodBYE. Pinterest is a beautiful thing, as is Instagram, but you’re not in the business of replicating Pinterest boards. You provide a unique experience. “I totes love that filtered selfie of you on IG, but that’s not what I do here.” 🙄
5.) The never gonna be satisfied client.
These folks are not always spotted easily. However, if you watch and/or listen close … whether it be in conversations you have with them or by stalking their social media accounts … I’ll bet you can pick them out. They’re the ones who are going to ask you for the world, lined in gold, with glitter on top. And when you deliver said sparkly masterpiece, they’ll be drastically unappreciative and unsatisfied. There is no satisfying some people. No matter the time, energy, or effort. Do not waste precious time on these people. If you see them constantly complaining about other people or businesses (especially other photographers!), you spot several bad reviews they have written, or you get the sense they’re completely unreasonable … those are red flags. Run!!
6. The B.I.T.C.H. (both on or off wheels)
To be blunt, there are some mean people out there. There are selfish, greedy, rude, and downright bad people out there. Do not get into a war with these people even if you think you can out-bitch them. It’s not worth your time and you don’t need to subject yourself to that type of treatment. You’re the expert. The professional. You should be treated as such. You should be respected and be treated kindly, just as you treat your clients. So in the words of Bhad Bhabie “bye Bitch.”
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Listen, you’re the boss. It’s your business. But if you take on one of these types of clients I just mentioned, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The bottom line is, you have your ideal client persona. Whether you have formally created one or not, we all have that ideal client that we dream of. Of course, not every client is going to be easy peasy perfect. But it’s about setting boundaries and identifying when a potential client is WAY out of range.
Time is money. ESPECIALLY in a creative industry. Your work and value is priceless as it is something that comes from the depths of your soul. Your eye is unmatched and can’t be replicated, which does come with a price tag. What’s important is that you not compromise or discount your price tag inadvertently by spending way too much time on these undesirable types.