Are you feeling like although you’re booking amazing clients, oftentimes, they’re showing up to your sessions wearing outfits that don’t inspire you? Outfits that don’t fit the vibe and vision you have for your brand? It can be a little disheartening to know that the clients themselves are WONDERFUL, but they’re feeling a little stuck when it comes to outfit selection. We as the owners of our business and the experts in our field need to be PROACTIVE instead of reactive when it comes to helping our clients style their session!
Here are a few changes you can make, TODAY, to start attracting couples who ALREADY have the vibe you have envisioned for your business or who are totally down for finding outfits that are in line with their personalities and yours!
Your clients have likely never done this before, so they’re looking to YOU for suggestions! This gives you a ton of leverage when it comes to making suggestions! For example, my style is pretty earthy, boho, and whimsical, so my guide mentions tips like choosing neutral or muted color tones (and how to still incorporate color without it being neon and too distracting), pairing outfits that fit the location setting, choosing flowy fabrics that catch beautifully in the wind, and stores to consider when looking for outfits of this vibe! It covers tips to capture that feeling in every setting from in-homes to mountaintops! It’s always helpful for your guide to include images, and if you don’t have any photos of your own right now, feel free to pop in photos from Pinterest (make sure to credit where you can)! This guide should be sent out weeks or a month in advance so your couples are prepared way ahead of time and not scrambling to find outfits! I made my guide as a plus site/hidden page on my website, ShowIt, so I can send them a link to reference whenever they need, but you can make a PDF guide or any variation that works for you!
I recommend making your guide ahead of time, because you can always add new images in as you shoot them! This part takes a bit of work, but you need to start SHOWING what you want to SHOOT, so plan some styled couples sessions where YOU choose the overall vibe! The key here is to be SUPER intentional about these shoots especially if you are offering them for free or a discount. I often see people offering free sessions to build their portfolio, but leave the styling and location up to the client and end up with images that aren’t in line with what they want to do. In that case, you’re just spending your time, likely losing money, and not moving your business forward! Know how long you want to shoot for free or at a discount and be intentional about the outfits that they wear, the location, and the overall look of the shoot! Portfolio builders are meant to GROW your business, not keep you where you are! Start planning a few shoots, so you have better examples to be showing in your guide and on social media!
When you maybe don’t have ALL the images of your own that you want to show off to the world, leverage the power of Pinterest inspiration boards! In my guide, I not only share images of my own couples, but I also link to my couples outfit inspiration Pinterest board for more guidance. A few key elements of this board are to pin images in a similar photography style as your own so your couples can envision their session better in your editing style. Make sure to show diversity in your pins, and don’t only share one outfit style. Show a range so people can adapt the outfits depending on their session location. Not everyone is going to love the exact style you do, so give options!
Whenever you have clients who totally nail their styling and session details, make sure to highlight those specific reasons when you share the images on your Instagram, stories, and blog! If you’re anything like me, I ALWAYS share all of my couples no matter what, as that is super important to me, but if a session has particularly awesome outfit style or details, I just make sure to mention it a bit more in my copy! This helps re-instill some great ideas for couples who are still in the planning stages!
When sharing sessions with outfits you don’t totally adore, try to be a little more selective about the images you choose to share! If your couple shows up with a big logo graphic tee that you aren’t crazy about, you should absolutely still capture their session FULLY, but the image YOU choose to share on your account maybe is a photo of them facing toward each other so as to hide the logo. Again, the idea here is to SHOW what you want to SHOOT, so if you’re not crazy about it and still sharing it, you will continue to attract that style. This is not to say that a couple NEEDS to dress in any certain way, and I will always photograph them exactly how I would with any couple regardless of if they show up in a garbage bag or an outfit I adore. However, to move your business forward in the direction you want to go, you have to be intentional about the images you are consistently sharing!
I ALWAYS want my couples to still feel comfortable and like themselves, not like some fake, Instagram-y version of them! You can, however, suggest that they go for a date-night version of themselves so they put in that extra bit of effort! I don’t want anyone looking back on the photos and thinking they look silly because it’s so not them!
I hope these tips help you guide your clients in a way that feels true to them and inspiring to you! Any questions? Let me know if you’re seeing awesome results with these few tips and changes in your process!