Whether you’re new to birth or a new photographer overall – you have to get experience somehow. Birth can be difficult to tap into because you have to find someone who is pregnant and wants birth photography and is willing to let you kinda “practice” on them.
And, you know, getting this first birth client is so important because in order to grow your business you need images for your portfolio and social media so you can get more people to hire you! And you need the experience to start charging higher prices.
Of course if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know how strongly I feel about charging something for your first birth! If you’re still not convinced to charge for your first birth, go back and listen to Episode 93, the episode right before this one!
Limiting Beliefs New Photographers Have
Let’s first dig into some common limiting beliefs new photographers have about getting their first client.
These limiting beliefs are, honestly, silent killers. They go mostly unnoticed and we rationalize them away by saying things like “well I live in a small town” or “there are already a lot of photographers here.”
When we justify our limiting beliefs, they grow bigger and we keep validating them until they turn into this big monster that’s crushing our dreams.
Whew, that got a little dark – but I really believe limiting beliefs can be THAT powerful (not in a good way) if we let them.
So – There are usually two types of people in this situation, looking for their first paid birth photography client:
The first is someone who is brand new and has big time imposter syndrome. If this is you, chances are the things holding you back are that you might mess this up. And– your brain is telling you – if you do a bad job for your first client then you won’t be successful EVER as a birth photographer.
It’s not a matter of potentially doing a “bad” job for your client, it’s a matter of just getting started.
Here’s the thing – as long as your client knows you’re brand new and you set the expectations, YOU CANNOT MESS IT UP.
Did you hear me? You *CANNOT* mess it up.
And if you keep believing that you could mess it up, which keeps you from going for it – what’s going to happen for your love of birth photography? Sadly, if you keep believing this, you’ll never make it happen for yourself.
So, let’s squash this limiting belief right now and remind yourself that you literally can NOT do a bad job for your client when you clearly lay out expectations and they know you’re brand new and this is your first birth.
I still need to learn how to use my camera. There is likely another set of you that is like, “Okay, but Tavia I legit don’t even know how to use my camera.” This can be a tricky belief because there is some truth to it. But often times we use the excuse that we don’t know EVERYTHING and every button and every mode on our cameras to keep ourselves small.
The truth of this belief is that yes, you do need to have a good understanding of how to use your camera before photographing a birth. And y’all this comes from PRACTICE.
If you need help learning the technical side of birth photography, make sure to join my FREE training HERE!
Now, where this limiting belief goes too far is when you say “I don’t know EVERYTHING about my camera.”
Can I tell you a secret? I don’t know everything about my camera.
You could probably pull up a menu or a screen or a setting and I might not know what it meant. There will always be things to learn and improve on. Always. Don’t let that stop you from taking action!
Now, if you’re someone who’s already tried to find your first client and haven’t booked anyone yet, I want to chat about an untrue belief that you might have so we can squash it too.
You might be believing that history will repeat itself. That if you make another offer or keep looking for that first client, you’re going to get burned again and that you’ll never find someone. I mean – you did try and it didn’t work out, so who’s to say you’ll find someone if you try again?
And for all my fellow millennials, just like Aaliyah said – you’ve gotta dust yourself off and try again.
Because really, what’s the alternative? Wait for someone to find you? That’s probably what you’ve been doing and how’s that working for ya?
Isn’t it more important to focus on growing the business of your dreams then what people think about you and wasting your time being bummed out that no one took you up on it the first time?
I say that with love y’all. Feel your feeling, be sad for a day, then let’s get back to work, right?
If you have this passion, it’s there for a reason. You’ve got this!
WHAT to do to to find your first birth client?
Now we’ve got those beliefs out of the way – let’s look at WHAT to do to to find your first birth client!
Start with people who already know and trust you
Start with the lowest hanging fruit which is going to be people how already know you and trust you! So your friends, your family, your neighbors, your church, your community, your homeschool group….
…and if they say no, find out if they know anyone else pregnant who might be interested. The key here is going to be really clear about what you’re looking for.
A mom due in a certain month? Giving birth at home or hospital or both? And make sure they know why you’re looking for someone – because you’re new to birth photography and you’re offering a major discount to get some experience!
Next, Follow up!
Most people in your life will want to help you but they’ll put it on their “to do” list and never do it. Or they have good intentions to ask THEIR pregnant friends for you and just straight up forget. So don’t feel bad about going back to the people who said they were interested or knew someone who was interested and follow up with them 🙂
Blast it on your social channels
Being specific with who you’re looking for and why is going to be key here, and maybe even posting it more than one time.
A big mistake that we make is because we are saying it a lot, we feel like everyone is hearing it a lot. NOT TRUE.
A very small percentage of people who are friends with you on social media or who follows you on social media only sees what you post. So it’s okay to post about it on multiple platforms and share about it more than once!
And when you post, think about the mom who is looking for your service. There’s always someone out there who you can help!
Share in mom FB groups! Make sure to check out their rules, but this is a great place where your ideal client might be hanging out!
Connect with birth workers
Start with your own – your doctor, midwife, doula, birth class instructor, etc. who supported your birth – and let them know what you have going on.
Starting with your own network is always going to be the best use of time to find your first client!
And remember: just because you might know these people or they are friends of a friend, doesn’t mean you should photograph their birth for free. Do them and you a favor of charging at least something.
We teach a process for how to get paid to build your portfolio as a birth photographer inside TBIB Certification. To learn more, check out my free 1 hour training, How to Beautifully Photograph Birth and Become a High-Demand Photographer HERE!
So, friend, if you’re feeling stuck and like you can’t seem to book your first client no matter what you do, take a step back and look at the limiting beliefs we outlined in this episode that might be holding you back. Once you’ve identified them, it’ll be much easier to start working on getting past them.
And don’t forget to use the methods I shared to get yourself out there and book your first client so that you can finally begin growing your photography business.
Don’t forget about our review contest happening until May 30, 2022 – every single person who leaves an honest review for the show and emails it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org will get a free $47 credit to the shop. Head over to thebeautyinbirth.net/podcast to get instructions on how to leave a review on iTunes.