Business + Marketing

How to Get High Rates of Referrals and Return Clients 

November 9, 2023

By Abbey Pleviak

Getting to a place of steady clients by referrals is every photographer’s dream. Jihan Cerda of Petaluma, California, near San Francsico exemplifies how getting to this stage of one’s business is the result of hard work and providing excellent service, experience, and products to one’s clients. She recently caught up with host Nikki Closser on The Portrait System to share how she did it. 

Cerda started her portrait business in 2007. She had been through several careers and received her first professional camera from her husband as a Christmas gift. Shortly after, her first son was born, and she worked on improving her skills by photographing him. After a time, she felt good enough to begin offering her photography services to others. Like many other photographers, Cerda began photographing every kind of genre, but she always desired to photograph weddings. Because she knows just how important weddings are to people, Cerda waited until she knew she was up for the challenge of giving wedding photography all the energy and skill it requires. Then, she asked a wedding photographer friend if she could come along and shoot with him, and she fell in love with the genre. 

Now, Cerda shoots 15 – 20 weddings a year – many in the vineyards in her region. She also shoots high school seniors, families, newborns, and maternity. Many of her portrait clients begin as engagement or wedding clients, and then stick with her through the next phases of getting pregnant and having families. Cerda says her clients come back again and again and give her referrals because of the quality of the service she gives them. 

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.” 

© The Portrait System

To learn more about Jihan Cerda’s wedding and portrait photography business, visit her website and her Instagram. 

The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio. If you’d like to be a guest on The Portrait System Podcast, send them a voice message.