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Marketing: Understanding Different Photography Client Types

Marketing: Understanding Different Photography Client Types

Photographers are often perplexed by the variety of clients they encounter each day. Even with a target market identified, it seems that no two patrons are the same. Though with time and patience, photographers can begin to categorize clients. By understanding different client types, photographers can not only reflect upon their current marketing strategies, but can understand how to market to a wider range of consumers.

Loyal Larrys

Loyal clients are few and far between. It is likely that they are only a small part of your total client base. But these devoted clients are incredibly valuable to your business. Once a steadfast customer, Larrys will remain by your side and will promote your photography business. Loyal clients want to share their experience with family, friends, and business associates. But chatting about you isn’t where their role as a promoter stops. Loyal Larrys extend your reach on their social networks, generating large amounts of referrals. Photographers looking to reap the biggest return on their marketing investment should devote much of their effort towards their loyal clients.

How Can You Market to Loyal Clients? 

Loyal customers need to feel taken care of. By offering individual attention and personal service, photographers can continue to strengthen the bonds with their already loyal clients. Handwritten thank you notes, follow-up emails, and even holiday cards can go a long way. But, hard work and a genuine personal disposition remain central to gaining trust and will keep that client loyal for years to come. 

Discount Debbies

Photographers are all too familiar with budget-minded clients. These consumers will do everything in their power to get industry professionals to bend on their pricing. Discount-seekers, much like loyal customers, typically frequent the same businesses and remain dutiful to certain brands. Yet, discount seekers generally make their purchases when a product or service is marked down in price. With a cost that is in line with the client’s perceived value of your service, they are ready to secure a date on your calendar.

How to Market to Discount Clients?

The word "discount" makes most photographers cringe. But to market to the massive segment of discount clients, you will need to offer some sort of special promotion. If there is a sale on, let the discount-seekers know. It is always a good idea to utilize your social media channels when sharing your sales and promotions. Additionally, using a marketing calendar can tremendously help you prepare for your promotional push.

Mind you, promotions don’t necessarily take money out of your wallet. Remember that discount clients need to feel like there is a tremendous savings. This feeling is what urges them to purchase. The way photographers strategically present their promotion can either make or break your discount consumer marketing campaign.

Impulsive Irenes

Impulsive clients are hard to identify and tricky to market to. Irenes don’t often look for specific products or services. They care little about brands and even less about brand loyalty. Irenes seems to purchase without rhyme or reason. Still, impulsive clients book photography services when something about a photographer’s work strikes their fancy. Impulse buying, by nature, is emotionally driven and often defies logic. Therefore, Irenes are the opposite of discount consumers who desire to save dollars and loyal customers who are driven by brand loyalty. 

How to Market to Impulsive Clients

It would seem that a marketing effort towards impulsive clients is too much work since this client’s nature is whimsical. But tailoring marketing efforts for impulsive clients is still necessary because the majority of all purchases are impulse buys. The key to marketing to impulsive clients is to tap into their mindset. Begin to think like a consumer instead of a producer. What is it that makes a client want to book you?

In a recent article, I detailed how the concept of scarcity heavily influences clients and their willingness to open their wallets. Scarcity is a principle that boosts a photographer's apparent value and calls impulsive clients into action. Irenes will more readily book your photography services if they feel that your time is in limited supply. 

Another way to market to an impulsive client is with a beautiful website that showcases your best work. Your style as a photographer of course plays a large part in hooking an impulsive client. But, you have to thoughtfully showcase your work. Whether you are using a Squarespace template or have built your own elaborate platform, ensure that that your presentation is top notch and that you have an assortment of portfolios that prove you can handle jobs from a variety of photographic genres.

A great example of marketing towards impulsive clients can been seen in Jessica Marie Berggrun's new promo short. In ten seconds, Jessica uses her social media channel to convey scarcity and to feature her stunning work. It is this type of hybrid that hooks impulsive clients.

I’ve had some space open up in November before my trip stateside! Book me now before the 15th for a personalised shoot. :)

Posted by Jessica Marie Berggrun on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Needy Normans

As the name suggests, Normans have specific needs and search for a photographer who can effectively deliver a quality product. There are need-based clients for every niche of photography. The new restaurant in town will always need their menu shot just like commercial brands will always be in need of photographers who can help create campaign imagery. But, it isn’t just the business sector that is need of outstanding imagery. Portrait clients tend to book sessions when they are celebrating milestones in their lives. Seniors will always need yearbook photos and the newly divorced will need boudoir portraits to make their Tinder profiles pop. 

How to Market to a Need-Based Client

What is great about Normans is that they actively work to fulfill their own needs. Right now, there are clients searching for a photographer who can deliver exactly what they are seeking. So, in order to market to a need-based client, you need to meet them in the middle. Your marketing strategy should anticipate your target market’s needs. 

Segment your clients by need, and craft a marketing strategy tailored specifically to address the client’s anticipated problem. Clearly define how you can help them. Because you are considering the utility of your photographic product, you should consider marketing across several channels: print, online, and social media should all come into play.

In Conclusion

As professional photographers, we frequently encounter each of these client types. Being able to categorize client types is useful in transforming all of your clientele into the loyal customers that will sustain your professional photography business. Once you understand who is buying, you are on your way to creating wider, richer marketing campaigns that will earn a larger share of your current market. 

Do you have other client-specific marketing strategies to share with the FStoppers community? If so, we would love to hear your approaches in the comments section.

Andrew Faulk's picture

Andrew Faulk is an American photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. Though specializing in portrait photography, Andrew dabbles in all things photography. He is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.

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Interesting article, thank you Andrew :)
It is really interesting different analysis from photographers around the globe.

My point of view, I believe it varies from a market to another and/or from a country to another, not all clients are the same.

According to my past experience, I developed my own approach;
I have 3 variables
[1] Quality, quality is a long and continuous processes, but let's just consider the time consumed and amount of details
[2] Quantity, the number of photos
[3] Price. $$$$

Usually, I give the client the control over 2 variables and I leave third one to my own judgement.
Let's put it on some scenarios:

[1] if the client is asking for a lot of high quality imagery, it is more likely for me to put the price I find reasonable or equivalent for the value he is asking for.

[2] a client is asking for a lot of pictures with low budget, I judge the quality that I find equivalent for what he asking for.

[3] the client that expect high quality with low budget, I reduce the number of photos to what could be equivalent for what he is asking for.

[4] the client who asks for everything, I send him to somebody else who could fulfill his requirements.


I would think that if you offer to shoot cheap photos and in turn reduce the quality that it will get back to you in a negative form. If you deliver a product to the marked with a substandard quality on the shots then what you are comfortable with, wouldn't you then risk loosing other clients because they see your less quality shots ?

I never go cheap, there are other photographers to do that, my photographs are my best business card, I don't want to look like cheap...
You have to adjust of course, but I don't sell shoes at the thrift store, and as long as photography is"not vital" for the client (they can't eat or drink 'em in the desert in case of..) I don't know why I should cut down the money which is vital for me...
Just my raw thoughts at the moment... :)

Leif and Romain, thank you for the comment.
The risk of loosing clients already exist and will exist forever as long as you do business. No business is protected against losing clients!

It doesn't necessarily mean spoiling you reputation. In some circumstances we should accept lowering the quality in the sake of earning living if that is only possible way, and if that's the case, you may not put your name or logo on the photos you don't like, you may not share them on your social media, you may maintain the balance and rush to do a personal project without any restrictions and share it to proof that you can you do better.

You share what you want to get hired for. If somebody comes to you and questioned about the low quality you produced! you can address it to the clients requirements and you wasn't satisfied about the project and show him the high quality of you and what you really got on your portfolio.

I did it once, didn't put my name on the pictures, didn't published it on my side, I asked the client not to credit me as it was not the kind of work I want to market (try to explain it to a client...epic!) But every year this picture shows up on facebook...and it's quite hard to see it in the middle of my normal work...