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An “ideal client” checklist and how to say no nicely.

By: Megan Clouse, Megan Clouse Photography 

With the New Year just a few days away, it’s a fitting time to reflect on our 2015 wedding season. I like to take this time to review my client folders and make note of what went well, who I loved most and why, and what aspects were kind of… a drag.  Here are two simple steps to help you find your IDEAL CLIENT in 2016!

STEP ONE

Take one of these quiet, rainy days and review your 2015 clients. Reflect on what brought you joy and what did not. Write these thoughts, words and adjectives down and keep these notes in view while booking for 2016.

What went well?

Were there situations that were not ideal?

What aspects did I love about each couple?

Was there a couple that turned out to be a poor fit, and why?

Was there a venue that I did not prefer?

STEP TWO

So what do you do, if you decide during the beginning process that this is not your ideal client? Personality, venue, attitude, etc.

There’s been a lot of discussion about this, and honestly, I do not have the definitive answer yet. I posed this question on a photography forum and even though it was a good conversation, and many agreed that lying with “I’m sorry I’m not available.” didn’t sit well with them, the replacement to the little white lie remained unanswered. So here are some ways I plan to approach this tricky situation in 2016. I might even just copy these and stash them in a drafts folder and customize as needed.

RECOMMEND SOMEONE ELSE

(Not a good fit) “I had a lovely time chatting with you yesterday; I know you are still narrowing down your photographer choices. I could see that you were very excited about having a drone fly over during the ceremony, and a photo slideshow during the reception and the best thing I can do for you is, to be honest, those two areas are not my strengths. There are many talented photographers in this community, and I recommend you reach out to (list three photographers that do specialize in that area) because they totally geek out with fun aspects like drone and video.  My greatest hope is that you hire a photographer that is your perfect fit and sadly, I am not.  Wishing you all my best…

(Bridezilla) Good morning! Thank you for sending such thorough emails with your very specific interview requests. The points you made are clearly important to you, and I can see you’re passionate about every single thing being completely and utterly flawless “with not one thing out of place.”  The most important gift I can give you is to be honest; I cannot guarantee such perfection. My style and approach for your outdoor wedding are more organic and relaxed, which I’m certain you’d agree are adjectives that are not what you are seeking. It would be a disservice to you and your vision if I were your wedding planner, so here are three planners that I think are a much better fit for you and your hopes. Wishing you all my best…

A LITTLE WHITE LIE

Thank you so much for reaching out to me and sharing some of the details you have planned! October is one of the most beautiful times of year in San Francisco, and I’m certain an all pink ballroom wedding will be magical! With that said, I’m sorry to say I am not available on your date, but I can happily recommend these four photographers based in the city. Wishing you all my best…

By identifying your ideal client and even, more importantly, being honest when they are not ideal, is a great service to them! In the end, we cannot be everything to everyone, and that’s ok.

So let’s make 2016 our most authentic, ideal year!