Over the years, I’ve realised something about the clients I get to photograph. I’ve noticed that I tend to share some common interests with them and I’ve also realised that this is no accident. In this blog post I’m going to share my opinion on the importance of sharing common interests with your clients.
A great place to start is to start with why. Why is it important to share common interests with your clients?
In my experience, when I’ve met someone for the first time the conversation can be stiff and awkward – small talk about the weather. Riveting! We find ourselves in that ‘blind-date’ neighbourhood where circumstance is the only reason you even acknowledge each other.
That is until we stumble onto a subject we both find interesting, have an opinion about and are willing to share. Once we find that magic topic, the conversation can flow with ease and even enjoyment for a good 5 to 10 minutes. As we start to relax and warm up, we feel brave enough to venture into new conversational territory and that fuels us even further down the path of common interests. And so it goes on.
You can see why, if this ‘stranger’ is a new client, being able to carry a flowing conversation from the start would make for a more relaxed and, dare I say it – enjoyable photo shoot.
It Should Be No Accident
Finding common interests with clients can be a tricky thing if you leave it to chance. How people find you and why they choose to book you as their photographer should lay the groundwork for finding that common ground.
Over the past few years I’ve worked hard at ensuring that I attract the kinds of clients that I’ll be able to chat to with ease on first meeting for at least the duration of the shoot, and in many cases, far beyond that into an established relationship. The way I’ve managed to do this is through the things I share online. From my website, to this blog and all the way through the social media profiles I keep active.
By sharing insight into who I am as a person, before my role as a portrait photographer, I’m attracting the kinds of clients who will resonate with my random thoughts & personality traits. Sure, by sharing my addiction to tea and cookies, or my affinity for binge-watching British comedy series, I might put some people off and they’ll unfollow me.
But that’s ok!
What it also means is that other people who are addicted to tea and cookies and have an affinity for binge-watching British comedy series will totally get me! And THOSE are the clients that I want to work with!
Another thing I do, is send a questionnaire to my clients before their shoot. This gives me some insight into who they are and helps me uncover even more common interests.
Must Love Dogs
So here’s a recent example.
I photographed Dana a while ago. Dana won a makeover experience with me after attending the ‘Dancer’s Loves Dogs‘ charity event last year. Being an animal lover myself – read totally besotted with my dog, Beijing – I attended the same event and donated this prize to help them raise funds. Being a cause that is very close to my heart, I knew that whoever won this prize would most likely also be a big poochy lover, and we would have that in common.
So Dana’s name was drawn and I we scheduled the shoot to take place at her home where I would be able to photograph her with her 3 fur-children (while her 2 human children stood by and watched!).
From the moment I walked into Dana’s home, I fell in love with her two adorable pooches – Tommy & Lulu! I mean, look at those faces – how could you not?
I then met Dobby the cat, who was just as adorable, if a little annoyed that his nap-time was being interrupted by all this activity.
Once Dana and I started chatting it became abundantly apparent to me how much she adores her furkids. I mean – crazy in love with them! And that just makes me so happy!
We chatted for ages and ages about the dogs, I shared some stories (and maybe some phone photos) about Beijing, and the time just flew by, It barely even felt like a photo shoot, because we were chatting so easily and effortlessly.
When I delivered the final images, it was a goosebump moment. I could feel how much Dana loved the images, because I loved them so much too!
What interests could you find in common with your clients?
So have a think about what you’re interested in, in your personal capacity, and how you can leverage that to connect with your clients on a deeper level. The more quirky and unique the interest, the deeper you’ll connect with those clients, because then you know they’re your kind of people!
Let me know in the comments below – I’m nosy and I want to know your quirky, geeky, strange interests!