chloe may wedding photographer interview about working with a team

Interview with Chloe May – having a team allows me to offer better experiences

Running your own photography business can be challenging. You must wear multiple hats, excel at project and time management, and keep your creative juices flowing for new photo shoots. Just like with with any endeavor, it’s important to focus on a smaller number of tasks and do them well, rather than stretching yourself thin. Hiring an assistant or an entire team of professionals can help you win back your time, become more productive, and scale your business.

If you're curious about this approach and want to ensure that the quality and unique style of your work are preserved and carried through — our guest and talented wedding photographer, Chloe May, is here to share some wisdom. A few years ago, Chloe made the jump from solopreneur to running a small photography studio. This new structure allows her to book more clients, foster better relationships, mentor the younger generation, and put more of her creative work into the world. Chloe understands that her style is continuously evolving and that working with others can only make her a better professional.

What's your educational background, and how did it impact your creative career?

I studied a Bachelor of Commerce first in my early twenties, then went on to a Diploma of Commercial Photography. I respond well to structured learning, so studying photography really helped me get a feel for the different areas of photography, from architecture, to lifestyle, to fashion.

What made you jump from being a solopreneur to an entrepreneur?

When I fell pregnant with my daughter, it made me realise how much of my wedding photography business relied on me, a solo person, being available for a certain day, set so far in the future. In addition, the pandemic and subsequent rescheduling of many wedding dates also presented a problem, as many couples re-chose dates that I had weddings already booked on. It was much better for my couples to be presented with a backup photographer option.

Chloe May Bride Black and White
Chloe May Bride Prep

Has anything changed since you began the studio and hired other photographers?

Life has gotten a lot busier! There are a lot more meetings involved with clients to talk over, run sheets and visuals. But it has given me a chance to really hone my workflow and have a specific structure in place.

How do you ensure the same aesthetic when there are multiple photographers working under the Chloe May brand?

Keeping the business small was important to me as I didn’t want to let anything fall through the cracks and overload myself. I only take on two lead photographers at once, so I can be across all bookings and details. They start as second shooters with me before moving on to being lead shooters. They follow a photography style guide that covers everything from bride/groom prep to the reception.

What's the biggest advantage of working with a team of senior photographers?

Having extra people as backup! It’s a relief to know that if I or any of my photographers fell ill, we can back each other up and the client still has a photographer that shoots in the style they booked.

How do you nurture client relationships in this crowded and demanding niche?

It’s important to remember that every client is different. Although they have booked you for your style, they all still seek different things within that photographic style. What one client loves is something the next client doesn’t, so it’s best not to assume anything. Take the time to get to know what they want from their day.

I encourage clients to let me know which images they are drawn to, even sending through a visual mood board to help communicate their vision, so I know how to brief my photographers on what to focus on during the day. In order to do so, it’s important to have a structured workflow and keep on top of emails and communication. Clients want to feel heard and responded to. Having a CRM set up that checks in with clients at specific times and sends out meeting requests and questionnaires keeps everything together and running smoothly.

Chloe May Wedding in Nature

How do Pixieset tools impact the experience you offer to your clients?

Pixieset offers tools that span across the entire working relationship. From the first point of contact, the website, Pixieset has allowed me to create a stunning visual medium to show off my work. Once the clients book, I can then nurture the client relationship through the CRM system, from invoicing to contracts to client questionnaires. I keep everything in one place and run smoothly.

After the wedding day, the clients are presented with a beautiful online gallery, completed with an online print store linked to a printing company that prints and sends the products to them directly. Pixieset has taken the stress out of many aspects of running a business and offered beautiful solutions to myself and my clients.

Chloe May Client Gallery

What are some of the most powerful business lessons you have learned?

To use a well-worn analogy, a picture is an iceberg floating in water. Your photography talent is only the tip of the iceberg that can be seen. But what goes on underneath that iceberg is what differentiates a ‘successful’ photographer, and someone who is just good at taking photos.

Place as much importance on your workflow and backup systems, your client contracts, your client management systems, and nurturing client relationships, as you would on the photography itself. The job goes further than just the shoot on the day. Learning and improving on all aspects of your business (not just the photography side) is how you grow.

Set goals for yourself and be realistic of the time it takes to achieve them, and never stop learning! Your business and creative style is ever evolving, and that’s what keeps it interesting.

What's one crucial moment in your career that changed a belief of yours or made you a better professional?

I stopped trying to emulate other styles and worked on improving what I was good at. In the beginning, I would beat myself up trying to shoot or edit in a certain way that I thought looked good. Now I realise that people book me for my vision and I have a strong style that I am proud of. There is space for everyone and clients respond to different photographers in different ways. Everyone will find their own groove and clients will book them for that.

Chloe May Church Symmetry
Chloe May Wedding Details

What would you do differently if you started again now?

I can’t think of anything I would do differently to be honest!

There is no right or wrong way in shaping your path and reaching your creative potential. Different approaches lead you to different results. The way Chloe May adjusted her strategy to become a better wedding photographer is inspiring and opens an exciting gateway. Those who are eager to pursue their dream and want to speed up their growth — can learn from Chloe, and consider joining forces with others to create a studio.

You can admire Chloe May’s outstanding work on her website and Instagram. Also check out our previous interviews with amazing photographers. André Morgan shares how his sports photography work contributes to a good cause. Elizabeth Messina talks about the way her beliefs influence her unique approach to portrait photography. Adam Wells reveals how he builds genuine relationships with his clients, so they don’t feel transactional. KT Merry states that every photography job is an audition for your next project. And Ashlie René recommends letting go of your ego when serving clients, to ensure a more fruitful collaboration.

Related Articles

jonas fellenstein outdoor photographer interview about innovation in photography
Client Stories

Interview with Jonas Fellenstein – to stay relevant, it’s imperative to innovate

Hunter Hurt photographer interview
Client Stories

Interview with Hunter Hart – shortcomings can be your biggest strength

Client Stories

Interview with Jose Villa – presentation and client communication are key