What Do We Owe the Client?

The Customer is not always right, but he should be treated like he is.

I received a great comment (BTW -I read and LOVE all comments) after writing a post about best and worst session reviews. I was so grateful for this comment because it gave me great content for my next video.

Kristen asked; “As someone who is drawn to your blog beccause I want to go pro, something stuck me as interesting here. As photographers, arent we supposed to be flexible? Isnt the client supposed to be incharge? They are the ones paying us and keeping us in business afterall.”

This video is for you Kristen! And for everyone else watching I feel like I should put in a disclaimer, letting you know that I don’t plan what I’m going to say before hand. A session had just ended so it was easy to set up the camera and record this. Please be kind – I know there are imperfections. If I strived to get it just right, it would never leave my camera’s memory card – so I wrote down the question, answered it and hopefully it will help someone find the inspiration to make their business work around their family and not the other way around. And I want to make sure that I mention that I am very proud of being a “mom with a camera!” and I wear that title proudly!

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.  ~Albert Einstein

Loving the backdrop?? It’s from Drop it Modern in Mustard Seed. They are amazing!!

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  1. brooke says:

    such a great/insightful message. as someone just starting out, i really appreciate your experience/wisdom.

  2. Awesome Video Leah!!! Thanks for the info!!!

  3. Stacey says:

    Ahhh!! Mom with a camera. I’ve spent the last two years dealing with everything that statement implies whether true or exaggerated misconception. Its so hard to break, especially when potential clients come to you with that mindset. They expect everything for little to nothing, with the justification for asking “you’re a stay-home mom, you have nothing else to do”.

    I’ve raised my prices from just breaking even to making it somewhat worth my time and have lost business because of it. And where did these potential clients go? To another mom with a camera the next subdivision over. It truly is an adjustment to accept and take on the challenge of running a solid business where you and your work are taken seriously. Sometimes I think I’ve signed up for the latest “plastic food storage container smelly wick-less candle energy health drink” business. They are a dime a dozen and come and go faster than a lit match. I hate that feeling. But every time I book a client, who loves my and respects my work, I know that what I’m doing matters and every “lost” potential client no longer feels like a reflection of me or my business. Easier said than done…..

    Sorry, it was meant to be a quick comment and not a soapbox moment. Thanks!!

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I loved reading it Stacey! I really do understand. And you just reminded me that I wanted to do a video about how to go about raising prices! I’m putting it on my to-do list now!

    • Sarah M says:

      Stacey,

      You speak the truth so clearly…how often I have felt exactly the same way?! It seems like everyone has a photography business, and every mom with a camera over 5mp thinks she can make money taking pictures. The sad part? She can 🙂 Where does that leave those of us who are photographer-moms who have talent and vision that we love to share with our families and friends? It leaves us feeling we have to justify our talents…and explain why we charge more than Sue down the street…or why we think that pictures are more than megapixels or photoshop actions. Sigh.

      It’s not that I don’t think every mom with a camera should be able to pursue her dreams…because I absolutely do! It’s just that I sure would appreciate it if less moms flippantly decided to start a “photography business” and charge $50 for a 3-hour session. I’m not sure if clients’ expectations have changed or if it is just harder to secure clients because of the vast numbers of options, but I have lost clients just like you described.

      I’m sure I am coming across in a very different way than I mean here, but the bottom line is this: I love photography and have wanted to be a photographer for most of my life. I am a [busy] working mom. I own a nice camera that I saved and worked hard for. I study ways to improve my photography on a daily basis. I treat my business as a real business, not just a hobby.

      I have been taking my time in getting my business started, because I also have two other full-time jobs. However, my husband and I are planning some big changes this year and I expect to be able to more fully pursue my dream…finally! I find Leah’s insight so valuable…left-brained advice for the right-brained artist 🙂

      Thanks for being honest in your post…I’m sure many other moms with cameras will agree with you, just like I did!

  4. Kim Larsen says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Leah! I have been too open and accommodating in the past, too, with similar results. I have started giving people specific times for sessions and appointments, and it is working out so much better!

  5. Hannah says:

    Great advice! What you said about being confident really hit me- I have had clients who definitely do not respect what I do, and I really need to work on running my business with more confidence and professionalism. I know that if I knew more about running a business well I would have more confidence. Are there any business education resources you recommend?

    • Leah Remillet says:

      So I know this is blowing my own horn and completely tacky of me but yes there is. I offer phone consults where we can talk about anything and everything that you need and want to address. We can discuss the real problems that you’re facing in your business right now and I will suggest strategies and help you implement what you need so that you are on the path that’s going to get you to your ultimate goals.

      You can learn more about it here: http://www.go4prophotos.com/shop/workshop-seminars-mentoring/phone-consult/

  6. Denise says:

    Leah, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and your articles are always right on time with what aspiring business photographers like myself are wanting (and needing) to learn. I have to say that I enjoyed this video immensely! You were very calm and personable in addressing the question at hand, and your answers were very thoughtful. You’re great on camera! Looking forward to more of your video responses. Thanks so much for what you do!

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Denise you are WAY TO KIND! Thank you cause I feel like an absolute cheese ball on camera when I watch it back… Although if I’m being honest, I am an absolute cheese-ball so what would I expect? But thank you, thank you – the encouragement is so appreciated!

  7. Hayley Burk says:

    I can’t tell you how helpful this was for me! I recently had a client who wanted to walk all over me even though they hadn’t held up their end of the agreement and it was hard to stick my ground, but I did. In the end, I think they saw my POV. I loved the advice you gave here for a few reasons….first, without saying, “No, I won’t do that”, you gave some really good examples of how to deal with clients tactfully. And second, I am a mother of 2 young children and I love how you make sure your family is FIRST. That has been my main goal of my business, to be a good business owner and make happy clients but not to let it take over my life. Thank you again, for your wonderful answer to this question!

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I’m so glad that you want to keep your family first… This year that is something that I will reiterate over and over again. It’s a hard one, you will constantly have check yourself and then put yourself back on the right course. It seriously feels like a daily balancing act for me! Someday’s I’m on it and other day’s I’m teetering a bit but lucky for me I can try again tomorrow!

  8. Amanda Brunngraeber says:

    Thanks Leah for the confirmation on where I am taking things next.

    It is becoming exhausting giving in to my clients and giving them everything. Time to make some changes… (Did I mention change feels so completely stressful too?) 🙂

    So thankful for your fantastic posts.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I’m so glad it was helpful. As I listened to it again last night when posting it to You Tube I started feeling like I was a little scattered so I’m glad it helped someone!

  9. Bobbie Brown says:

    LOVED this video…very interesting and insightful… thank you!

  10. Morgan says:

    Awesome video Leah! There have been so many times that I have felt like a mom with a camera. It would make my whole session not go right. My confidence level would go down, I would let people do things that I would normally not do, all because of the fact that that is how they saw me. When I had my branding done things really started to turn around for me. My ideas and thoughts changed and theirs had to too.

    Thanks for all of your tips. They are very helpfull!

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I’m even more tickled to know that I got to do your rebranding too! It just goes to show that people do judge a book by it’s cover and that goes for our businesses too!

  11. Happy Astorga says:

    Oh my goodness, I loved this!!! The things you said about being too available making you look less professional- sooo true!!! What great points, thank you so much!!

  12. Lori Kennedy says:

    Leah, thank you so much for this post. I resonate so much with this, and feel proud to have moved into the stage of setting boundaries for my business. AND, you are totally right – the moment I started taking charge of my business is the moment clients started to respect me. Go Leah, go Leah!

  13. Marissa says:

    Ok so maybe I’m blind but where is this video?! Everybody seems to be totally motivated by it and I’m so jealous 🙂

  14. Kalli says:

    What a fantastic video! It was packed full of so much information and so many insights! I couldn’t help but think, “I wish I was like her!” Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are an amazing business woman and great mentor to so many!

  15. Veronica says:

    So I am waaaaay late in commenting on this video, but I love it … seriously love it! Just the other day I met a mom at a babyshower. She had seen some previous portraits and wanted to work with me. I’ve only been in business really for a year so I was elated of course!! She contacted me via email and the first thing she asked was “Can I get the photos on a CD so I can print them and email them to my family?” {enter my big frowny face as I pondered how to answer my least favorite question … ever} At least she wasn’t there in person to see my big frowny face … But then I thought about some of what you have blogged about & the video you shared. I too hate to tell my clients “no”. So I said “Sure, you can purchase a CD. The price per image on the CD is X.” X of course being a fairly high mark up because I do NOT want my clients to purchase the digital images. I want to create art for them, not low res Facebook profile pics! I was able to guide my client towards what I wanted her to experience with my business without saying no. Genius I tell you, sheer genius! Thank you Leah!! 🙂

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Veronica!! Thank you so much for sharing!! You may have had a big frowny face but I have a huge smiley face right now! 😀

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