312: Melissa Baker – How to filter prospective clients so you can do the work you love

Episode #312: Interview with Melissa Baker (28 minutes)

Discussion Topics

  1. Finding your ideal client
  2. filtering your inquiries
  3. taking risks
  4. enjoying the work

Melissa Baker

Wedding Photographer

Melissa is a wedding photographer based in Vancouver, BC. Her approach to wedding photography is to capture her clients’ personality as a couple. She’ll get her clients moving, laughing, and having fun during their engagement session, and of course on their wedding day. Her style is photojournalistic with some direction in between. She works together with her clients to create artistic portraits that are unique to them, and that they will look back on and cherish for life.

After many years of documenting families, Melissa opened the door to wedding photography and was amazed and excited about the creative possibilities. She was an elementary school teacher for 6 years in addition to photography. She feels that her experience as a teacher has helped her as a wedding photographer in so many ways, whether it be directing large groups of people, helping her couples plan their weddings, or staying organized throughout the whole process. After making the decision to leave teaching, she studied photography at Langara College (Photography Certificate Program) and started her business in 2011. It has been an incredible journey so far!

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • Get on the same page as your clients so expectations are clear.
  • Filter out the type of clients that you want to work with so you have the freedom to explore and get creative.
  • Make your prospective clients a part of the vetting process. Get to know them and build the relationship so it doesn’t feel like you are working for them.
  • It can be scary and risky to think about turning down work. Avoid being a generalist and focus all your efforts on winning the work that will make you happy.
  • Utilize a discovery process to figure out which clients will work best with you. Types of weddings, style and location are big factors that will help you narrow down your options.
  • Meeting with a new client can often feel like dating. Take the time to meet in person or over Skype, build a connection and see if there is chemistry.
  • Use the copy and portfolio images on your website and contact form to filter the clients you want to work with. Show examples of the types of weddings you want to shoot.
  • Engagement sessions are a great way to get to know a couple before the wedding day. It’s a chance to get creative and helps to get rid of any nerves the couple might have.
  • As you start to find the right clients for you, it will start to breed more perfect clients and likely lead to referrals.
  • Smart slides are a great way to deliver initial images to your client without having to click through a gallery.

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