Photographers see the world in a different way. Maybe it’s because of the viewfinder. Maybe it’s the way things look through several glass lenses or an LED screen.
Whatever it is, photographers see the beauty in the mundane and art in everyday moments. It takes a special kind of person to be a photographer, and if you’re one, you probably know one thing for sure—they’re not usually a businessperson.
However, a photographer owns a photography business. It takes acumen to navigate the complicated world of the professional artist.
You have to know what you’re worth: What is the market willing to pay? To whom are you selling, and what do they want to buy? What platform is best for selling and promoting your photographic art?
Let us help! We’ve compiled a list of tips to help photographers grow and maintain a successful business.
What’s a Photographer to Do During a Pandemic?
The simple answer is everything.
Maybe it’s the case that business ain’t booming. With no gatherings or sporting events to photograph, it can seem like there’s little a photographer can do to grow their business right now.
But that isn’t true!
Marketing yourself as an artist is important (as everyone knows)! Spending time at home working on your online presence or portfolio can be just as useful as taking the photos you need to sell or market your work.
Beef up Your Online Presence
How does your website look? Have you updated your personal information or added new images in a while? Do the photos already there still represent you as an artist?
Your website is most people’s first point of contact with you. Any photography business should have a professional website — after all, you’re an artist! A talented photographer with a poor website will lose clients to a poorer photographer with a sleek, beautiful website.
It’s just the nature of the biz these days.
If website development isn’t your forte, there are tons of options out there! If you have a large network of friends and family, consider asking them for advice or expertise. If your network is smaller, see if you can pay someone (or even barter your photography services) to spruce up your online presence.
Social media is an important part of being an artist these days. If you’re not already on Facebook or Instagram, make a profile. The sharable nature of a photographer’s art makes social media a fertile landscape for exposure that doesn’t steal your art. Just make sure you watermark!
Take a minute to look it over. Decide if there’s anything you could do to make it better reflect what you can offer clients.
Diversify Your Offerings
When is it a bad idea for you to explore new things to offer your clients?
If you’re used to shooting weddings or sporting events, consider mini-shoots or themed photoshoots. They’re easy to perform, the proofs don’t take long to edit, and you can sell it as a total package with quick turnaround and low costs.
It’s also important to consider alternate sources of income, like stock photos or large-format prints. This often requires a knowledge of still photography. These options can be a fruitful way to explore concepts like the golden ratio, contrast, perspective, subject, and lighting.
Have you ever considered commercial or real estate photography? While it may seem monotonous or lacking in creativity, photographing architecture or corporate subjects offers income between bigger shoots. A photographer must never forget the importance of continuing to develop one’s eye.
Product photography is another viable solution for photographers looking to expand their typical offerings. Product photographers exert artistic influence over their subject matter and wind up with incredible proofs for their portfolios. They also have easily recognizable work for those interested in hiring them.
Solidify Your Brand
If you aren’t sure of who you are as an artist, you can’t expect anyone else to be. Take time to identify what important to you as a photographer and how that fits into what you offer your clients to develop hero shots.
If you’re an artistic photographer, identify what your style is. Do you like high contrast, low light work? Do you prefer perspective shifts and clever angles? Do you like photographing wildlife or pets?
Make sure you know what’s important to you so you can communicate that to your clients and so that you can outsource work that doesn’t inspire you, or that wouldn’t fit into your portfolio. Don’t feel like you have to accept work that isn’t for you because you need clients or money. It’s tempting in this pandemic state, but nothing is worse for a photographer than a poor review and crappy photos.
Develop Your Business Plan
Your business plan isn’t just for making business decisions now and in the future. It helps identify your goals as a business and an artist and helps you align your daily actions with the things you want to accomplish.
It’s important that you revisit your business plan as often as possible to ensure your photography business is still on track. Since COVID-19 changed the business sphere, every business – photography or otherwise — should reevaluate their plan often to see how it fits within this new framework.
Invest in Marketing
If you’re a younger photographer, social media marketing and the nature of online advertising may come second-nature to you. But many established photographers have been in the space long enough to succeed without the aid of the internet.
The world today simply is not so. Without online credibility, it’s difficult to get new clients or market your services to a wide audience. Unfortunately, online marketing is a complex and ever-changing frontier that can be scary for newer users to navigate.
But don’t be discouraged! It can be learned, and while it may not have been necessary earlier in the history of the photography business, it is now. As with anything else, it can be mastered.
Make the internet work for you by learning as much as you can about the nuances of online marketing.
Revisit Your Pricing Model
Just as it’s important to ensure your offerings are appropriate for your market and brand, it’s vital to ensure you’re charging appropriately. It’s easy to believe you’re overpriced, and there are tons of screenshots between artists and clients to prove it. It’s usually the other way around!
Just like prices that are too high affect your ability to meet clients, charging too little can put you out of house and home. Research prices in your area, and make sure your skills and credentials are clear on your website. People are willing to pay high prices for exceptional talent, but only if there’s no question about the quality of your work.
If you find you don’t have any affordable options offered online, it could be time to consider smaller sessions with a lower price point to fill in the gaps between big-ticket shoots.
Maybe writing isn’t your thing. No one blames an artist for not mastering every medium, and writing requires an entirely different skillset than visual art.
But it’s hard to deny the impact a good blog can have on a brand (you’re reading this, after all). If copywriting isn’t your thing, there are tons of options online. Hemingway Editor, Grammarly, and Capitalize MyTitle all help the novice or non-industry writers create high-quality written work.
Linking blogs to your website services and higher-traffic websites create metrics that push your sites higher up the list of search rankings for certain words.
The study of search rankings and the marketing associated with improving them is called SEO (search engine optimization). There are lots of options for those wanting to take advantage of SEO in their online marketing, and they don’t all require payment! SEO is a learnable skill that can be improved and capitalized upon.
Be Active About the Success of Your Photography Business
There are days we stare at our computer screens, wondering why inspiration hasn’t chosen us. There are times we’re certain it’s all been a waste, that there’s nothing we can do to make our businesses successful. Days we think we should start applying at 9-5’s.
But every one of us can take an active role in our future. You can grow your business from home. You can spread your art online and let people know you’re the photography business they’re looking for.
Do you need help with your photography or assistance creating stunning visuals for your website? Contact us to discuss how our photography services can help grow your business, or check out our many services today!