If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the budget type of clientele and don’t know how to break out of that.. there is NO SHAME in that! We all grow as humans and what once drove our inspiration can pivot directions at any time. Today’s post is all about how to tap into a new level of clientele confidently.
Or if you’ve ever felt burnt out from photographing too many weddings and you want more of your weekends back (again, no shame) then this post is for you!
How to Tap into a Higher Clientele
This is one of my favorite topics to talk about (okay I know I say that every post) but it’s so true! Not only because I’ve been able to help other people achieve this goal for themselves, but I personally have gone through the shift of this exact thing.
When I first started out in my business, I was photographing 30-35 weddings a year (I could have booked way more, but I capped it at that because I couldn’t handle any more and always valued my weekends) but when I was photographing those 30-35 weddings, I was only charging in the $1500-$2300 price range at the time.
And while yes I was doing awesome with my booking rate and was well in-demand, I was working myself to the freaking ground which led to extreme burn out, lack of motivation, and everything else that comes along with burnout.
And on top of that, I was working with clients that, don’t get me wrong were amazing people, but it wasn’t necessarily exactly what I was wanting to be photographing.
Here’s what my issue was:
I quickly realized there was some disconnect happening with what I was currently doing to what I wanted to be doing. So I did a huge deep dive into my business to see where those missing links were. I ended up realizing it was a branding and client experience gap.
So I stripped it all down and built it back from the ground up. Which is why I love client experience so much because I take pride in what I did for my own business so I can help others do the same because I saw the change it made for me. Which is why I’m such a big believer in that client experience is the absolute backbone of your entire business.
I was then able to go from charging $1500 a wedding (which I thought was so expensive at the time) to offering 5 figure packages.
Success with higher clientele
And not only has doing this worked for me, but it’s working for all of my students too! I recently got this text from one of my students and she said:
“I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again..YOU SERIOUSLY ROCKKK! Since implementing your strategies + processes, I have been able to almost 4x my pricing for wedding packages since joining coaching with you! YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF AND I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL!”
She grew to 4x her wedding prices in the span of 5 months… that is seriously unreal. I honestly wish I could have done it as fast as my students are doing it, but I guess I needed to go through what I did in order to help you, and I’m so glad that I am!!
And that is the power of what these things in this post can help you do with tapping into the next level of clientele. With these four steps, I know you will be prepared to book your next premium client.
Elevating your brand
If you are looking to shift your clientele, it’s time to do a deep look into your branding. Your brand is your clients first impression of you, so you want to make sure it represents you and what you’re offering.
I want to tell you a quick story about what changing my branding did for me. I did my first professional branding suite a couple years into my business where I had my entire business branded, and I LOVED it. It matched what I showed her the mood boards I wanted and I felt really good about it.
But what I didn’t realize at the time was there was a couple issues with it:
Basically, I got branded way too early. I was still trying to find and establish my style and brand voice at this point. I felt like I was getting some consistency down with my editing style, but there is SO much more to a solid brand than your editing style and logo. So it ended up not matching and I ended up growing out of my branding really quick.
This is why I suggest truly knowing your brand mission on a deep level inside and out. If you think you know it, go even deeper. Some brand designers will help you with this, but my advice is just to make sure you are 100% ready when you do brand!
The problem with my branding
My branding did NOT match the type of clientele that I was wanting to attract and work with. As in, my logo and branding were so BEAUTIFULLY elegant that it was attracting elegant ballroom weddings. I kept wondering WHY I kept getting inquiries for those types of weddings until it clicked with me one day. My entire branding, voice, business model, and message were all speaking directly to elegant ballroom styled weddings – which was not the style of wedding I wanted to photograph.
My branding also just did not match my personality. I am not a put together, elegant, fancy person whatsoever.. I am a low key, laid back, outdoorsy, bubbly, and up-beat type of personality that likes to have fun and does NOT focus on perfection.. So I was attracting brides who wanted picture perfect high-end posed photos which I was not delivering.
Plus my editing style was more cool toned at the time because I was still trying to find my style, and after doing a deep dive into my brand and mission statement, I realized that my editing style wasn’t even matching my personality. So none of it was making sense!!
Now I have found my warm, joyful, and positive editing style that matches my personality and branding so perfectly, all while attracting premium clients who value an untraditional wedding. It IS possible to attract high end couples who aren’t looking for picture perfect light and airy photos, I’m proof of that!
So all of that is the importance of finding your brand, and elevating it to match the exact client you want to have booking you.
Additional branding tips
- Make sure your branding is consistent across your website and social media. People who fall in love with you on one platform will want to check out all of your platforms! You want to make sure they have no doubt in their mind it’s you when they’re going through your work.
- Take a look at your website and see what needs changing. For example, making sure that what you’re portraying your brand to be on one platform is clearly translated onto your website. If you say you’re a fun playful photographer on instagram, don’t have serious artistic photos on your website. I’m not saying you can’t be both, but whatever you are, make sure it’s consistent across all platforms.
- Make sure your clients know where to find you and that your client experience is updated with your growth. Your high level clients are going to want high level service. Which is a main pillar I teach my students in my coaching program Passion to Profit and that is exactly why they are seeing such awesome changes in their business!
- Also, CONFIDENCE! Confidence is key and is what your high-end clients are looking for. They want to know they are in good hands and that you are an expert at what you do. Even if you have things you want to learn, being confident in your abilities and being open to new things helps get people excited to work with you!
- You don’t have to be photographing weddings for 10 years to wait to start charging premium pricing. You can get there much quicker than I did. But you have to have the business and client experience to back it up.
An aligned portfolio
If you’re trying to attract higher end, luxury weddings, your portfolio needs to match that. That goes for any type of wedding you’re trying to attract. If you’re trying to attract elopements, your entire portfolio and business needs to match and speak to that.
If you’re wondering why you’re not getting inquiries for higher end luxury weddings, but your portfolio also showcases your senior, family, and portrait work, that might be why.
When premium clients are searching for a photographer, they are looking for an expert in what they are wanting. That’s where the popular saying of “the riches are in the niches” come into play, and it’s true!
What should your portfolio look like?
So I want you to take a look at the portfolio you’re showcasing on your website and ask yourself these things:
- Is it speaking to a higher clientele?
- Is the connection between your portfolio + luxury clear?
- Can someone look at your portfolio and know right away what they will get from you?
- Is my client journey clear of what they will get from you as their photographer?
- Are you giving a premium client experience?
When I did a whole portfolio revamp, I was switching out photos that had dated styles, and screamed budget weddings (which are amazing and there is zero things wrong with those types of weddings!) But when that was what my portfolio was, that is what I kept getting inquiries for. So once I was able to really analyze every single photo I had on my website and portfolio, I really thought about what each photo was communicating and attracting
when you have an aligned portfolio, your ideal clients will be able to come across your work and know immediately that you are the best choice for them because you are standing out from everyone else, you’ll be able to give them a better experience because they get exactly what you’re communicating you will give them, they will refer you to others, they will give you amazing testimonials, and you will be able to increase your pricing and tap into that higher level clientele easier.
Where you’re marketing
Now that you have your new ideal client fleshed out through your branding and an updated portfolio, it’s time to take a look at where you’re marketing yourself.
You first need to think about where your ideal clients even are. If you’re putting all your effort into instagram but your ideal client isn’t even on instagram, and you’re wondering why you’re not getting these inquiries you’ve been dreaming of… well that’s probably why!
Don’t get discouraged when inquiries aren’t happening. Sit back and really analyze where they would even be so you know which marketing avenues to put your effort into.
Where are your dream clients at?
If your dream client is on Instagram and you are showing up on Facebook, chances are it will be a lot more difficult for them to see your work.
Regardless of where your client is, are you showing up and being consistent? If you’re not showing up consistently for your audience and potential clients, it will break that trust factor. And people want to know they can trust you when they’re hiring you for their wedding day!
If you aren’t sure where your dream clients are, or even if you are sure but want to try something new, try a new marketing strategy! Podcasts, email list, Instagram reels, Tik Tok… There are new ways to gain the attention of your dream clients! Try some out and see what works for you. If not, don’t be afraid to move on to something else! It also pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you more confident in branching out.
This does not mean compromising on your work life balance. If you need a break, take a break! You do not have to be a machine constantly turning out material. You are human and sometimes we don’t have the time to make a canva post or reply to an email right away. Show up for yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get it all done in a day.
The big 3
I’ve said before that I use a strategy I call ‘The Big 3’.
Meaning at the beginning of the day, I write down the 3 biggest things I need to get done that day in order to feel like I had a productive day, and then I focus on getting those 3 things done.
Then I have a running to-do list that I tap into after those big 3 things are done.
That way, no matter what, if I can at least get those 3 things done, I will end the day feeling more accomplished and that I made progress in my schedule.
IT REALLY CHANGES THINGS.
Because once you get that motivation, the momentum keeps building and going and you just want to continue being as productive as possible!
Do your dream clients even know you are booking? Make sure when you are marketing you are letting people know that you are available to them! Have your website linked in posts, newsletters, etc.
There are TONS of marketing strategies you can be doing for your business to help you generate more inquiries. I suggest you go back and listen to episodes 29 + 31 on the Gold Biz Podcast which will go more in depth on specific ways!
Fitting the part
Without changing an ounce about who you are, you also need to kind of fit the part. And what I mean by this is, be true to yourself while communicating that you photograph premium weddings.
And this is done through branding like we talked about in the first point, and also client experience of how you serve your clients through their journey.
It won’t make sense if you say you’re a laid back Adventure Elopement photographer, but you’re a city person who values being in the busy life.
See how that just wouldn’t translate? People don’t want to hire people that aren’t aligned with what they’re looking for.
So what this looks like for me is I do not fit the typical high end luxury wedding vibe that comes to mind when you think of that. I don’t do perfect posing, I don’t do light and airy, I don’t do fancy ballroom church weddings.. I mean, I can and I have, but it’s also not fitting to me and my style either.
BUT I am also charging premium pricing for the weddings that I do photograph, which in my opinion are high end wedding clients because they know and see the value in photography and know what’s most important on their wedding day.
And I do this through being my complete self so that I can attract clients who are like minded in terms of style, values, personality, etc. and are willing to pay premium pricing because of the branding and client experience that I showcase and provide.
So what I mean when I say “fit the part” I basically mean be yourself and showcase your elevated brand to help attract the right types of couples who are also willing to pay premium prices for your premium experience!
Those are my quick ways on how to tap into a higher clientele.. so let’s recap:
- elevated brand
- an aligned portfolio
- the right marketing strategies
- fitting the part
You can’t just decide you want to tap into a different clientele, you need to take action to make it happen. Making sure your business is growing with your wants and needs is important and I hope these steps make you feel more secure when getting those high-end clients!If you want an exact roadmap and framework on how to do this and scale your business and revenue… make sure to watch my free training on How to Attract A Flood Of Hot Inquiries Willing To Pay Premium Prices So That You Can Book Your Highest Paying Weddings (Without Working 24/7) and then you can Stop attracting Ghosters & Penny-Pinchers, and learn my proven Elevate & Accelerate™ method to consistently convert leads into premium paying clients.