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You want to have a successful photography business, and you’re a talented photographer. Talent and passion give you a great start, but that won’t necessarily translate to client bookings and profitability. So, how do you get from passion to profit? One key is finding and acquiring more of your ideal clients. 

Of course, you need to know who your ideal client is so you can target, acquire, and retain them. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into defining your perfect client and growing your art into a thriving photography business.

Why Defining Your Ideal Client Matters

Defining the ideal client is a must for any business, so it’s essential to understand why. 

  • Understanding your ideal client helps you strategically market to your target audience.
  • With strategically targeted marketing, you’ll increase bookings and profit because you will be talking to your most engaged audience. 
  • Booking more of your ideal clients gives you the freedom to turn away clients you don’t mesh well with.
  • When you know who will be most interested in your work, you will likely have fewer challenging clients.
  • Your business will likely have a healthy profit since customers will want to buy what you offer.
  • You’ll have a less stressful and more enjoyable experience running your business. 
  • You’ll be able to flex your creative muscles, provide for your family, and have greater peace of mind.

So, defining your ideal client is a step you can’t afford to skip. So let’s dive into the process.

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What Is an Ideal Client?

An ideal client would generally share your vision, never argue pricing, and be as organized, punctual, and cooperative as possible. 

They’re enjoyable and easy to work with, and they’re likely to give you repeat business. It’s much cheaper to retain clients than to find new clients, so you want to book people who will come back again and again. 

Additionally, these key customers are likely to refer you to family and friends. Customer referrals save you time and money on marketing to new clients.

But how do you predict which customers will meet these criteria for your business? 

Review Your Existing Customers

Start with a list of your favorite past clients. This can include:

  • People who paid your prices with no complaints
  • Repeat clients
  •  Clients who referred you to others
  • People you genuinely enjoyed photographing 

Better yet, list clients who met at least three of these requirements. Comb through your emails, client records, social media, and portfolio to jog your memory if needed. 

This step won’t be as effective if you’re just getting started. Still, you can make a list of friends, family, and acquaintances who you believe would meet the criteria.  

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11 Questions to Define Your Ideal Client

When it comes to identifying your ideal client, you must dig deep. Your goal is not just to know them but to understand them. What do they value, and what makes them tick? How can you reach them?

Here are 11 questions to answer about your ideal client:

  1. Where are they located?
  2. How old are they?
  3. What are their hobbies/interests/passions?
  4. What do they do for a living?
  5. Do they have any pain points or frustrations when working with a photographer?
  6. Where do they hang out?
  7. Where do they shop?
  8. How do they consume content and make purchasing decisions (e.g., email, Facebook, Instagram, online reviews)? 
  9. What questions do they commonly ask?
  10. What type of shoots do they book?
  11. What products do they buy? 

Look at your list of favorite clients and answer these questions about each one. If you’re not sure, try browsing their social media. If you have a close relationship, ask! Tell them you love working with them and want to find more clients like them. When you book clients you love in the future, find ways to collect this information in conversation. 

Once you’ve answered the questions, circle the common traits that emerge. 

Next, ask yourself why your favorite clients have these qualities in common. For example, why do they most often interact with you on Instagram? Why do they usually book family photoshoots and buy framed prints? 

Understanding their characteristics, behavior, and motivation will help you effectively target the most enjoyable and most profitable clients for you.

Picsello persona printable on a desk next to a camera, headphones, paperclips, pencil and eraser.

Create a Persona

Now, a clearer picture of your ideal client has emerged. Use this information to create a persona.  

A persona is an imaginary person who represents your dream client. 

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Open our printable document on your computer. At the top, list your persona’s name. Then, create categories like Demographics, Lifestyle, Challenges, Communication Preferences, Influences and Values/Goals. Then, using the information you’ve collected, make a list of bullet points for each category.

If you have more than one ideal type of client, create more than one persona to represent these segments.

Now What?

Once you have your persona(s), get to know this semi-fictional person like they’re a beloved family member or a best friend. 

Any time you create a new offering, write copy, or market your services, imagine your persona. Your copy must speak to your persona in a way that appeals to their needs, wants, and values in a language they connect with and understand. 

Your services, products, and marketing must be engaging and appealing to your persona as well. Envisioning your persona allows you to strategically target them in a way that other photographers might not. When they book you, they’re not just booking a photo shoot. Instead, they’re booking a photographer that understands them, resonates with them, and fulfills their needs and vision. And that is worth any price you choose to charge.

At the same time, always value yourself. Promote your work, ask for what you’re worth, and stick to your pricing. When you value your art and well-being, you’ll attract clients who do the same. 

You’re not going to land a perfect client every time. But the more you dig into who your ideal client is, what attracts them to your work, and how to reach them, the more dream clients you’ll book. 

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