How to Discover Your Ideal Photography Client

When I first started my boudoir photography business, I figured discovering who my ideal client was would be a piece of cake. I defined my ideal customer simply as ‘any woman who wanted a boudoir photoshoot’, however, I quickly learned there are so many different variables to be considered when getting to the nitty-gritty of who my ideal client actually was as a person in their everyday life. 

I truly believe every photographer has an ideal client that is specific to them and their art, all that needs to be determined is who exactly that person is. Once this is achieved, attracting, connecting, and speaking to your ideal client will be a whole lot easier because you can specifically target them with marketing material, content, and photography blog posts that you know they are going to be interested in. 

 

3 questions to ask when determining your ideal client

What type of person would you enjoy having as an ideal client?

More often than not, your ideal client is a person who is similar to you, or shares the same values that you do. 

Think about who you most enjoy spending your time with. It’s probably your closest friends, right? And why? Because we tend to enjoy spending time with people that we have things in common with, or enjoy similar interests. I noticed early in my boudoir photography business that the majority of my clients who booked me were easy going, simple, and relaxed…which is super similar to how I am as a person and my personality. I always thought this was ironic but after time I kind of think it is because they may feel more comfortable around someone who they feel is similar to them. So, I began featuring images in my portfolio of women that reflected a simple, easy going vibe. I also started featuring images from my sessions that were more relaxed as opposed to sessions that were super formal and fancy.

Another worthwhile question to ask yourself while determining who your ideal client is:

Who is absolutely NOT your ideal photography client?

Think about what type of personality or person you would not enjoy working with. 

Working backwards like this can be a great way to try and determine who your ideal client really is by figuring out exactly who they are NOT. It sounds weird, but trust me when I say that asking yourself these kinds of questions is incredibly helpful in your overall marketing strategy. 

Who are your favorite customers that you love working with, and what are they all about?

In order to really hone in on who your ideal customer is and understand them better, you need to ask a few questions about them. This process is often referred to as creating a “Client Avatar”. You can even give this made up client avatar of yours a first name if it helps you.  The questions that you should be asking fall into two categories: demographics and psychographics.

The demographics of your ideal client refers to finding one typical client based on age, gender, education, job title, etc. This is the most common way to define an ideal customer. You don’t need to have every single detail just right, but understanding and knowing these demographics is certainly helpful.

Psychographics of your ideal client focuses more on attitudes, aspirations, interests, lifestyle, and other psychological criteria. This data explains why clients actually buy from you and what their motivation to make the purchase is. 

Demographics:

Gender: What gender is your ideal client? For me in the boudoir niche, I deal with mostly women as clients.

Age: How old is your ideal client?  Ideally narrowing age to a span of 10 years is best.

Income:  What is the average income of your ideal client? Don’t let this question fool you. For example, if you’re a high-end boutique photographer you probably feel as though your ideal client has a high level of income. While this may be accurate, it is not always necessarily the case. You may have an ideal client whose income isn’t as high as you’d expect, but they place a higher value on professional photography and are willing to spend more money for an empowerment session than someone who has a higher average household income. While the person with the higher income may not value a boudoir session (or wedding photos, family pictures, etc)  as much, and might choose a photographer who charges less or is not quite as expensive.

Education:  What level of education has your ideal client completed? Perhaps it’s high school, college, or grad school. Or maybe depending on your niche they are current students, even.  For my photography business, my ideal client was someone who had recently graduated college or grad school and was working full time in their industry. 

Career:  I’ve found that you can learn a lot about your client’s personality based on their career or job. So much so that I actually decided to include this question on my client onboarding questionnaire. For example, if you have a lawyer as a client, chances are they are going to be examining your contract with a fine-tooth comb and may even ask you to make some changes. If you have a hospitality employee as a client, they will probably be a little easier going and laid back.

Psychographics:

Not so concrete are the psychographics of your ideal client, such as their likes, dislikes, values, goals, hopes and dreams. What bothers them or stresses them out? What keeps them up at night? What are their pain points.  Think about what problem they could possibly have that you are going to help solve for them. 

You want to learn all that you can about your ideal client.  One exercise that I recommend doing is to take three to five of your favorite customers who you love working with.  Make notes of the things that they may have in common with each other. You might even check out their social media profiles to give you more insight into who your ideal customer really is. 

Once you have compiled all this information about your ideal client, you can take it and apply it to your marketing strategy and portfolio. This could include your about page, your welcome guides, and build everything in your business essentially around the information you know about your ideal customer. You can also speak to your ideal client with your blog posts and newsletters. The goal is so that whenever they come in contact with your business, you will be speaking exactly to who they are, ultimately making it an easier decision for them to book with you. 

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