Your Ideal Client: Are You Making These Fatal Mistakes?

POSTED IN : Branding & Marketing

Is your social media less of a ‘strategy’ and more like wadding up wet paper towels and throwing them against a wall to see what sticks?

I’ve soooo been there…

But when you know WHO you’re going after – your beloved Dreamies – and WHY you’re going after them – to build a business you love – then you can drop the paper towels, stick a giant bullseye on that wall, and become a powerful MARKETING MACHINE MAVEN that’s going after your fabulous ideal clients. #winning

But here’s the thing – I’ve been coaching photographers on this topic for a LOT of years now, and I’ve discovered something very interesting:

Most photographers THINK they know who their ideal clients are.


But in my experience, I would argue that 3 out of 4 photographers are actually WRONG.


Most photographers don’t go anywhere deep enough to actually understand their ideal clients.



It’s because most of the education on this topic, especially in the photography industry, stops at the surface of the conversation.


Most articles, podcasts, and resources will tell you to figure out where your ideal clients live, what they do for a living, what cars they drive, what grocery stores they shop at, what shoes they wear, and what clothes like, and all of sudden, you’re supposed to build a powerful brand and marketing strategy based on a few surface characteristics.

In reality, you have to go MUCH deeper than that.


You have to understand your Ideal Client’s VALUES.


Now you are human – you are going to make mistakes throughout your business, and that’s totally ok!

BUT there is a difference between MINOR MISTAKES and FATAL MISTAKES.

Minor mistakes can quickly be solved and overcome but they won’t seriously impact the foundation of your business and your overall revenue.


Fatal mistakes, however, are mistakes that will impact the strength of your brand and your potential revenue growth.


They are THAT important.

There are THREE mistakes in particular that I see photographers make all the time when it comes to their Ideal Clients, and these mistakes are SO COMMON and SO COSTLY, that I simply have to share about them here.

So I’m going to unpack these three Fatal Dreamie Mistakes that I see photographers make when it comes to their ideal clients over a three-part series of blog posts that are going to be right here on the photographer bloggy-blog.

Check out the first Fatal Dreamie Mistake here, and stay tuned for Parts Two & Three!

Fatal Dreamie Mistake #1: My Ideal Client is ME

As a photographer, it’s not a stretch to assume that the couples that I love working with the most are a lot like ME.

To believe that they THINK like me, ACT like me, and BUY like me.


After all, if my brand is built around my personality, one would assume that what I like, my ideal clients will like, too. This is a MISGUIDED way of thinking.


Infusing your own personality into your ideal client profile is definitely important.

In fact, I begin the ideal client discovery process in Module Two of my Discover Your Ideal Client master course by having you first profile yourself – outlining your likes, interests, habits, and values – because you need to have a good understanding of yourself as an artist in order to figure out who you enjoy working with the most.

But profiling yourself is only the FIRST STEP.

The problem with believing that your ideal client is a version of yourself is that you run the risk of building a shallow profile based on surface characteristics.

For example, you may enjoy backpacking in the outdoors, so then you assume that your ideal client will be an outdoorsy couple.

However, this focuses on YOUR HABITS  instead of THEIR VALUES.


Your ideal clients may not do the same things as you, but they might do different things for the SAME REASONS.


What you need to think about instead is WHY you enjoy backpacking in the outdoors:

  • Is it the thrill of adventure?
  • The quietness of solitude?
  • The spiritual connection with nature?

If you know why you love backpacking in the outdoors, then you can identify when a client shares those same values but expresses them in different ways.

For example, if you love the outdoors because of the quietness of solitude, then you can connect with clients that love to read, cook, or work out alone for the very same reasons.


Different habits. Same values.


When you have a clear profile of your ideal client outside of YOU, you can ask yourself, “what would my Dreamie want to read about?” and “what would my Dreamie think of this photo for Instagram?”

No longer do you need to stock up on wet paper towels, because your Dreamie Profile will give you the focus and clarity to know WHAT to post and WHEN.

Your Dreamie is that giant magical bullseye.

Do you think that you’ve made this mistake? Don’t worry! You haven’t wasted your time, but you DO need to do more work to understand your Dreamies.

Check out our free class on how to figure out who your ideal clients are, and then move on to fatal Dreamie mistake number TWO and number THREE for more FREE resources on building a better business!




P.S. Going after your Dreamies isn’t easy, because it’s hard to know where to start and how to figure out what’s truly important to them. Which is why I created my master course, Discover Your Ideal Client.


We teach photographers to build life-giving businesses that they absolutely love.

About Us

We're Jeff & Erin

We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren – and it’s our mission to help you thrive not just as a wedding photographer, but as a business owner. It’s time to set aside the stress and comparison of a hustle mindset, and build a life-giving business instead.

We met in college, got married, and started corporate jobs before we discovered (and fell in love with) wedding photography. But like many creative entrepreneurs, we were booking anything we could, strapped to our laptops and living dangerously close to burnout.

So we dug in and learned how to build a thriving business that supports our dream life – instead of a joyless business that runs a stressed-out life.

Today, we photograph only 10 Dreamie weddings per year, but we also run two other wedding brands plus a commercial studio in San Diego, CA. And we do it by only working the hours that fit into our life. The other hours? We spend those living a joyful life raising our two beautiful sons, James and Samuel.


Jeff and Erin

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