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From Weddings to Senior Portraits: When Clients Return – Rangefinder Online

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Jihan Cerda is a stunning wedding photographer, who also happens to shoot engagements, maternity, newborns, families, and high school seniors. In fact, it’s no accident. Many of Cerda’s subjects are return clients who come to her for engagement shoots and stick with her through all the phases of their blossoming relationships and growing families.

Cerda says, “There’s something about giving really great service, beautiful photos, giving the connection, and educating and communicating with the client. If you can just get these things under control and slowly work towards nailing those four things, you’re gold.”

© Jihan Cerda

Mastering these areas of her business has led not just to high rates of return clients, but also to many referrals. Cerda recently caught up with Nikki Closser on The Portrait System to talk about how she does it and how she got involved in photography as a business in the first place. Listen to it here.

In the Q&A below, she shares more about her business, including advice for making the kind of connections that keep clients coming back and encouragement for new photographers.

© Jihan Cerda

Most artists had a point in their life when they knew this was meant for them. Did you have that moment? 

Weddings were beyond intimidating for me, and I told myself never will I be a wedding photographer. Well, I was so wrong! I was asked to second shoot a wedding and didn’t feel the intense pressure due to the fact I wasn’t the primary. And BAM! Something changed. I immediately fell in love with weddings that day, and knew this — this right here — is what I’m supposed to do. And from that moment forward, I focused most of my energy into learning the dynamics of a wedding to approach the day in the best way possible. While of course, keeping in mind to always have a Plan B, or even a Plan C, for when things don’t go as expected.

[Read: Wedding Photography 101: Inside a Photographer’s Mind]

© Jihan Cerda

Making a connection with your subject is one of the most important parts of a great portrait. How do you make lasting connections with your clients?  

If anyone knows me, I love to have conversations! I’m not a big texter, and I love to talk on the phone. To some, that might seem kind of old school (lol). I think having casual conversations with clients, besides talking about their wedding, has been my biggest win behind those lasting connections. It allows my clients to feel a deeper comfort level being in front of my camera and gives them a sense of understanding and trust that I know what their needs are on the day of the wedding.  

[Read: First Look Wedding Photography: Capturing the Magic Before ‘I Do’]

© Jihan Cerda

For someone starting out on their photography journey what advice would you have for them? 

Don’t be afraid of other photographers. It is hard to not compare ourselves to photographers who have been around for quite some time, but there’s a reason why you decided to make the jump into this industry. Keep your head high, do your thing and learn as you go along! Yes, you will make mistakes, but as long as you are true to yourself, you will learn and keep moving forward. 

[Read: The Details Matter: Capturing Wedding Detail Shots]

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