How to Tell Your Wedding Photography Clients You are Pregnant
If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, I’m so over the moon for you. I bet you’re worrying about the tough bit now though – when and how do you tell your clients?! I’ve been through this twice in the last two years so here are my tips and advice.Both times I have only ever had wonderful responses from my lovely couples so I feel in an OK position to give a bit of advice on this topic. This part of your client journey is such a biggy that you need to make sure you get it right – you want your clients to have the best possible experience with you. So without further ado, here’s my advice on how to tell your wedding photography clients you are pregnant, exactly what to say to them and when.
Your optionsIf you’re pregnant and it’s going to affect your clients in some way – whether it’s because you’ll be heavily pregnant at their wedding or because you won’t be able to shoot their wedding at all – it’s important to carefully consider your options before you get in touch with them. I’m going to concentrate here on the options you’ve got if you won’t be able to shoot their wedding at all.
Offer other available photographersGet in touch with other photographers in your local area that are very similar in style to you. Explain your situation, find out if they are free on the couples wedding day and see if they are prepared to cover it for the fee you have already agreed with the couple. This way you can take a huge amount of stress from the couple by providing them with a ready made list of available photographers to choose from.
Offer the use of an AssociateIf you’re unsure what an associate photographer is, it’s when you hire another photographer to shoot a wedding under your business name – you handle the booking and client communication, they hand over the images to you and you edit and deliver them. This could be another option for you as you split the fee 50/50, so you still have a small amount of income from the booking. However, only go this way if you have a photographer in mind that you would trust with your life. Your business name, reputation and the couples wedding photographs are at stake when you use an associate – it’s not a time to just pick anyone! If you have someone you trust, be sure to set out a contract between you outlining expectations, timescales the associate will be expected to deliver the images in, plus payment, contracted hours, cancellation etc.
When to tell your clientsAlthough it may feel a little dishonest to keep it from your clients, I would advise you do so until you are at least 12 weeks. As matter of fact as this sounds – the first time I was pregnant, if I had told my clients right from the start so they could make other arrangements, I would have unnecessarily lost bookings as I sadly went on to have a miscarriage. So, although this isn’t likely to happen to you and I sincerely hope it never does – I personally feel it is best to keep a business head on and keep quiet until 12 weeks. When you tell them, you need to be ready to tell them ALL. Don’t tell a few couples here and there, send a personal email to or phone each couple immediately one after the other. Don’t announce it online – on your personal or business accounts – until you’ve heard back from each of the couples and know that they are all aware. You don’t want any of them to hear it on the grapevine!
How to tell your clientsYou could choose to email your clients or you could choose to phone them – ultimately the choice is up to you. It’s something that I weighed up for a long time, but in the end, personally, I chose to initially email them. I felt it would stop any miscommunication and from a business point of view there was a trail that I could look back on. Also, via email I felt I could give all the information I needed to, outlining the options I had to offer them, whereas saying it all on the phone may have be a little overwhelming for my brides and grooms to hear. I do feel it’s important however to cover all bases – so once I had emailed them, I also sent them a text to let them know I had sent them an important email – just to ensure they read it in a timely manner. Inside the email it explained my reasons for emailing and then inviting them to talk on the phone – but more of that below!
What to say to your clientsThe below is pretty much exactly what I said to my clients in my email both times. You can tailor this to you or disregard it completely! To stop it getting lost in a sea of emails, my subject was – Important, please read. “Dear X and X, I’m getting in touch today because I have to let you know that X and I have found out that we are pregnant. While we are obviously completely overjoyed, I’m also so disappointed to say that this means I therefore won’t be able to shoot your wedding and I wanted to make sure you were aware as soon as possible. *Insert your options here! Either…* Don’t panic though, I’m really committed to helping you find another photographer you’ll love. I’ve asked around my wedding photographer community and I am pleased to say that the photographers below are all free on your date and would love to work with you for the same fee you had booked with me. They all work in a very similar style to myself and I can 100% recommend them as lovely people too. *Insert list of awesome photographers* Don’t panic though, I’m really committed to helping you still have a great photography experience which is why I am going to offer you the option of using my associate photographer instead. How it would work is that you still get all the same love and care leading up to and after your wedding, but X would be with you on the day. All the careful editing would still be handled by me. Here’s some example galleries by X so you can see their work. Let me know if you have any questions about this as an option, or alternatively, I am happy to ask around my photographer community to find out who is still free on your date. I know this must have come as a big shock and the thought of finding another wedding photographer is a job you certainly didn’t plan on – I can only apologise from the rock bottom of my heart for causing you stress when wedding planning is stressful enough. I hope you can understand me emailing – I really wanted to speak to you over the phone but felt there was so much information I needed to give you that it might be a little overwhelming. I hope that via email it has given you a little time to process it at least. If you’d like to chat through everything via a phone call instead, I’m available at X times/days. Once again, I’m sorry for any stress and I really hope you understand. Looking forward to hearing from you and helping you get things sorted for your wedding photography..”
If You Can Still Shoot Their WeddingIf you will still be able to shoot their wedding, but will be heavily pregnant for example, I think it’s still important to let them know. There is the school of thought that you don’t need to because it shouldn’t affect them, however, I never want my couples to feel like I’ve kept anything a secret from them and so for that reason alone I have always told them. Things to consider letting them know:
- Your plan for ensuring you have back-up and support in place (read further down!)
- Whether you will be arriving earlier to allow you more time and flexibility to set up. Personally, my pregnancy waddle meant I allowed more time on the day, but you may not need to – that’s cool, just assure them that timings won’t be affected!
- If they are providing you with a meal, let them know of any new dietary requirements like not being able to eat soft cheeses etc.
- Depending on how pregnant you will be – will you be bringing an assistant to help carry your gear?
- Likewise, will you be bringing a second shooter?
Having back-ups and support in placeNot only for your couples peace of mind, but also for your own – what back up plan will you have in place? Premature labour is obviously uncommon, but what would happen if it did occur? I feel that as professional wedding photographers, it’s our responsibility to think and plan for all eventualities and reassure our couples that we have their backs. Do you need an assistant to help you with the physical aspects of the day like carrying your gear and setting up lighting? Will you take a second shooter with you from so many weeks onward, to not only give you support on the day, but to take over in the unlikely case you went in to labour? Are you part of Emergency Cover groups on Facebook or similar in case you cannot attend or needed to leave part way through? Figure these things out and let your couples know exactly what your plans are. They may be a little anxious knowing their photographer is pregnant and by telling them you’ve covered every eventuality you’ll put them completely at ease and make their wedding photography experience a whole lot better.
Have you read the rest of this series?
Planning and Timing Pregnancy as a Wedding Photographer, Working as a Wedding Photographer When Pregnant and My Story (for anyone that’s a bit nosy like me and loves posts like that!).I really hope you’ve found this post helpful. I’d love to hear from you – get in touch on Instagram or drop me an email! Photo credit to the lovely Ellie Gillard Photography.
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