Why Establishing Boundaries Is Important
1. Create A Work-Life Balance
While creating a perfect work-life balance may not exist or perhaps be extremely difficult to achieve in your line of business, it’s not totally impossible to create a life that allows you to enjoy doing the things you love. And one of the ways to create that balance is by setting boundaries with your clients. Once you personally work on creating that balance in your life, you will automatically be establishing these boundaries – for yourself and your clients. When you let your clients know that there are other things that require your attention, they get a better idea of how you approach your work as well.
Suggested Read: Top 5 Things Successful Wedding Photographers Outsource
2. Focus On Other Aspects Of The Job
Being a wedding photographer means wearing many different creative hats. You are an editor, a blogger, an album designer, maybe even a podcast host – there are so many different things you could do besides taking those stunning images. When you don’t set boundaries with your clients, they could end up taking more of your time than what’s actually required. This means that not only do you give them way more time than required, it also takes away the time you could otherwise spend on other tasks. So another reason why setting boundaries right from the beginning is important is that it helps you dedicate your time to other aspects of your business.
3. Give Each Client Your 100%
Each client of yours deserves your 100%. As a business owner, you want them to have the best experience with your brand, and an integral part of excellent customer service is giving your clients your full attention and perhaps even going above and beyond to make sure their special day goes as they planned. This, too, requires setting some boundaries. In order to give each client your 100%, you need to be full of energy, and when you end up letting one couple take up way more time than necessary, you are, in a way, depleting your resources. Giving your all to a client doesn’t mean you have to dedicate each full day to them, but it’s more about serving them in the best way possible. When you dedicate a specific amount of time to each client, it might get easier for you to give them a better experience.
How To Set Boundaries With Clients
1. Create A Schedule
Before you set your boundaries with your clients, it’s important to create a schedule for yourself (one that also prioritizes sleep!). Set your working days and hours and stick to them. Make sure your work doesn’t take up all of your time. If you already have a schedule wherein your work invades your personal time, then it’s time to modify a few things. When you stick to a schedule that works for you and prioritizes your time, your clients are more likely to adhere to it too. It’s important to have healthy relationships with clients, but you will not be able to genuinely nurture those unless you have a healthy relationship with yourself. Because setting healthy boundaries starts with you.
2. Communicate Your Boundaries + Set Expectations
Once you have established a schedule, it’s time to communicate it to your clients. Before both parties even sign the contract, your couples should know how you work. Let your clients know your working hours and days. While replying to queries as soon as possible is the best way to make sure that leads turn into clients and that your current clients stay satisfied, it’s also important to protect your “off time”. We are not saying that you simply shouldn’t respond to clients, but perhaps you could use an automated message that gets triggered when you are not working. This way, your clients will not be left in the dark. Sometimes, especially when you are taking your much deserved time off, it’s okay to not instantly respond to queries.
Related Read: Managing Client Expectations: Wedding Photography Tips
3. Learn To Say No
Learning to say no is not easy. We totally get it. Being a wedding photographer means you are probably a people’s person, but in order to guard your mental and physical health, it’s crucial that you learn where to draw the line. This is especially important when your clients don’t understand your boundaries. Of course, there may be times where you have no option but to say yes, but we would recommend that you learn how to outline the pros and cons of every situation and evaluate accordingly. Whether it’s your clients asking you to lower your prices, or being requested to photograph another wedding when you’ve shot 3 in the last 5 days, or your clients are demanding way too much of your time – there could be various scenarios that put you in a difficult situation, and that’s where you need to learn how to say no.
Remember that saying no to certain things won’t ruin your reputation or make potential clients think that you are difficult to work with. Instead, it’s more likely to ensure that you attract and entertain only the kinds of clients that you want to work with; clients who won’t drain you out or put forward audacious demands. Therefore, besides keeping you away from burning out, saying no also helps to filter out clients that won’t add value to your business.
4. Make It Legal
When all is said and done, don’t forget to make it legal. The wedding photography contract exists to legalize and confirm all the discussed and finalized deliverables between you and your clients. When it comes to setting boundaries, including it in your contract could help to legitimize them for your clients. While you may have discussed boundaries with your clients – like the other parts of your wedding photography contract – adding it to the contract makes it official and is going to encourage your clients to take them seriously. Therefore, each time you are drafting a contract for your couples, consider adding this information to it as well. Additionally, when you are taking them through the rest of the contract, you could also help them understand these boundaries and why they are essential for a healthy relationship between both parties.
Protect Yourself And Your Business By Establishing Boundaries
Setting boundaries may seem a little counterproductive when you are just starting out, but it’s actually just as necessary for a beginner. When you establish these boundaries right from the start, it prepares you to follow them as you clock in more years as a wedding photographer. Your boundaries may change over time, but the key is to make them a part of every relationship you have with each client. Setting boundaries doesn’t just help protect your mental health and your personal and professional relationships, it also helps you be a more efficient wedding photographer, allowing you to dedicate more time to doing things you love or in other aspects of your business that require your attention. Love your clients, establish amazing relationships with them, but make sure you don’t exhaust yourself in that process.
At ShootDotEdit, we strive to help you take your wedding photography business to the next level. We also know how important time is in this business, and we help you get yours back by taking editing off your plate with our professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.