Last Updated: Feb 14th, 2020 Right now, photographers are a dime-a-dozen. Pretty much anyone can choice up some photographic camera gear, even their cell phones, and start taking pictures. With photography being such a saturated manufacture – how is information technology possible to run a photography business and be successful? With our photography business organization tips…we volition bear witness y’all how!!
When nosotros decided over 2 years ago to start our own photography business, we thought about this question a whole lot. Many other photographers take tried and failed to turn their passion into a career.
Stepping back even further, almost small businesses end upwards failing. It’southward a sad but truthful reality.
- xx% of small businesses neglect in their commencement yr
- 50% of modest businesses fail by year 5
- 70% of small businesses fail by twelvemonth 10
What we take from this are two of import things:
- You need to exist ready to put in the hard work to exist successful in both the short and long term
- Plenty of businesses are successful, too
Nosotros kicked off this article talking about the struggle of pocket-size business concern ownership, simply nosotros also know from feel that you tin can create something that is wildly successful if you are smart nigh running your business.
Given our current success and long-term ambitions, we want to share with you xi photography business tips that can aid yous turn your business into something that is more stable and financially viable in the long term. To put it another way – these are tips that will help y’all make more money 😊
11 Photography Business Tips
i). Do marketplace enquiry to stay competitive
One of the large reasons why companies go out of business organization is because there but isn’t a need for the service or product they are looking to offer. Fortunately, photography is something that volition e’er be wanted, though in what grade is what merely the hereafter will be able to tell us.
In the brusque-term, market research will aid yous to ameliorate determine what types of people are looking for photography services in your expanse – and how much they are willing to pay.
But, how practise I conduct market place research?
While in that location are market place research firms out in that location yous could pay to help out in this area, for photographers – the information you tin can collect from an hours worth of research online volition probable be sufficient plenty.
Simply start past typing into your search engine of option: “[Your Location] Photography”
If y’all are looking to be in a particular photography niche, such as nuptials photography, include this in your search as well.
Take fourth dimension to review the top ten or 20 results. What do they have in common? What are their differences?
If information technology’due south listed, checking out their pricing is i surface area to focus on, too. If the average wedding photography package others are selling is $iii,000 – and you’re just starting out and charging $3,200 – it’s going to exist difficult for you to compete.
These are simply some starting points as this is a hugely expansive area of give-and-take to say the least.
2). Refine your photography style to stand up out
Your photography mode is divers by a number of attributes including:
- Editing style
- Aboveboard vs. posed (or a mix of both!)
- What kind of subjects you photograph such every bit couples or landscapes
- Natural lite photography or flash photography (or both!)
- Your compositional eye
- Your choice of lenses and other photography gear
All of these things and more than dictate your way. While in your mind, your style might seem consistent, information technology’south important to take a footstep dorsum and evaluate if this really is the example. This is especially true if you are photographing a lot of different subjects, or are working in radically dissimilar environments all of the time.
In the world of modern photography, your editing style will likely be i of the about important things to smash as this functions as the first visual cue people will come across when they are put in touch with your photography portfolio. In the earth of social media marketing, such as on Instagram, a lack of consistency and refinement in this area volition evidence quickly. Using presets, such as those establish on SleekLens, is a great starting point to meliorate this expanse.
3). Determine how you lot will set yourself apart
While your photography style and a good portfolio are essential for running a photography concern, they are not the only cistron. In fact, many great photographers fail considering they don’t accept the business skills.
Setting yourself autonomously from the pack of other photographers out there is the merely way you can attract clients in a saturated photography market place. Some ways you can exercise this include:
- Competitive pricing
- A specific theme or niche
- Your brand personality
- Your reputation (built over time)
You can probably think of more things likewise (let us know in the comments!)
4). Charge what you are worth (and then some)
I of the more than difficult areas of running a photography business concern is getting the courage to charge more than money for your services. Sometimes, nosotros find a solid price where we’re able to attract clients to make that first contact with us – but it can exist very limiting.
Early in our photography business, we did weddings on the cheap (the first few weddings were for effectually $800 booked through Thumbtack and Craigslist). In practice, this isn’t economical, and no one tin live on this. As nosotros grew our reputation and portfolio, we’ve started to charge $3,000 – $4,000 for a wedding – far more livable for united states.
Ultimately, the platonic pricing yous put out at that place should be able to support you lot to the extent y’all want it to. Just want to practice photography equally a part time gig? And so yous probably don’t have to charge every bit much. Merely, if you want to have a full time photography business concern – you will demand to upwards your prices to cover business organisation costs and your personal bills and expenses.
It’s probably obvious, but the easiest way to brand more coin is to charge more money. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, merely you’d also exist surprised by what people are willing to pay for proficient quality piece of work and someone who is reputable.
5). Be a professional
There are a lot of things that ascertain a “professional,” just to us the cardinal factors that assistance separate us from someone else in the photo manufacture are the post-obit:
- Gear up expectations and keep them
- Understand your human relationship with your clients
- Keep information technology cool under pressure
- Keep your problems to yourself
In short, professionalism helps to set yous apart from others. Often, the things that make you a pro are the simple things. Exist prepared for your shoot in advance, communicate in a timely fashion with your clients, keep your word, and then on.
If you are charging people money for your service, they await this in return. Over time, your professionalism volition be recognized. It tin can influence whether or not someone tips yous (even if it’s non expected), and more importantly, impacts your online reviews and word-of-oral cavity business referrals. All of these things equal more coin for you, and happy clients who become what they pay for.
6). Be willing to invest in your business
I of the hardest parts about starting any type of business concern is having the coin to practice so. Building off of this, nosotros’ve seen first hand the reality that y’all have to spend money to make coin.
Photography is not an inexpensive business to get into. Of course, some costs can be kickoff if you already take practiced gear on hand, but most probable you are not using a lot of peak of the line, pro class, camera equipment if you have not yet started a business organisation.
Business investments often begin with gear upgrades, but they don’t cease at that place. Making purchases to make your life easier, and that of your clients especially, are also things to consider. Some things can end up saving you coin over fourth dimension, such as MileIQ – a service we pay $60 a year to runway our mileage for revenue enhancement purposes (in 2018 we earned over $iv,500 as a tax credit so information technology actually paid for itself).
In the course of running our concern for 2 years at present, we’ve spent in the ballpark of $l,000 dollars combined to cover all of our camera gear and other business products and services. It’s a huge cost, only now much of the coin we make goes into our pockets – with the exception of some residual overhead costs. These start upwards costs (the “investment phase” as we called it) were essential to help u.s. produce a quality end product. While good photos tin can be taken on any photographic camera setup, we firmly believe excellent quality images that clients willing to spend a lot of money on will simply exist produced from pro level gear. Like investing into the stock marketplace, when things payoff, the payoff can exist very significant. In the case of running a photograph business, it has been life changing for united states.
7). Make your clients priority #1
Most decisions you make as a small business concern owner should benefit your clients in some manner. People who lose sight of this importance finish up losing business and decreasing their earnings over fourth dimension. In general, doing this is pretty easy – always be responsive, and put your customer’south needs in front of your own.
The big tip here that volition help make this more manageable is to have ready working hours. If you want to work 9-5, work ix-five but. Don’t reply to letters later. Occasionally you might fix a phone call or meeting outside of your normal hours, merely this should be the exception, not the rule. Showing some amount of flexibility, especially when your prospective client’s schedule may not jive perfectly with your own, is essential – simply yous shouldn’t exist killing yourself either.
8). Found good relationships with other photographers and vendors
Working well with your local customs of photographers and other related businesses is essential. In the world of weddings, many nosotros book really come every bit referrals from other vendors. Exterior of referrals, an established relationship with other vendors can gear up you up for smashing collaborations in other ways also, such as styled shoots, which can contribute well to your photography portfolio past assuasive you to create more interesting and controlled content. Some shoots can even lead to publications, increasing your brand presence. We like to participate in styled shoots a few times a year – here is one we did in 2018 at Asbury Park.
9). Put together a website that accurately reflects your brand
Your web presence is critically important to get right. Bated from referrals coming in from word-of-mouth, most people will exist interacting with your business online. Earlier they even send you an e-mail or talk to you lot on the telephone, they will likely have seen your website and social media.
Fortunately, getting started on creating a website isn’t too hard. You tin can use a platform like Squarespace or WordPress.com to start –both of which offering free trial options. If you are wanting a more intricate website, we’d propose signing up for web hosting through Bluehost and using WordPress functionality through at that place.
In our feel, nosotros apply Squarespace for our business website, while we employ Bluehost with WordPress for Formed From Low-cal (this website in case you lot missed it) for a more than complex and customizable website.
10). Have a well-divers brand image
A good brand epitome can literally refer to your logo (you lot know…the picture people volition associate with your business), but also relates to the elements of your brand.
Stylistic consistency is one important area people will be looking at, but maybe most important of all (in our experience) is a succinct“About” page on your website. It’southward hither that yous tin can really speak right to prospective clients and tell them what you are almost. Sprinkling in some personal tidbits, talk about what your concern offers, and who your ideal client is are all things you lot should do to define your brand. We’ve had quite a few inquiries specifically address “loving” our photography businesses Most page, and how they jived with united states considering they were into things we were into (similar Game of Thrones and travel).
11). Diversify your income streams
It tin exist short sighted to call up that all the money you make should come from photography session fees. Almost businesses struggle if they can’t support themselves in other means. For photographers, coin dries upward as soon as finding new clients becomes more hard. As an added claiming, many of us face up a down season that can last several months as well (the wintertime time for us).
In that location are ways to add additional income streams to your photography business organisation. Two we’ve taken to are:
- Selling prints and other concrete appurtenances
- Partnering with companies to offer discounts or sell products for commission
- Web log and integrate affiliate marketing for products/services you similar for passive income
For most photographers, impress sales is a no brainer. Some folks do “in person sales,” which (exactly like it sounds), involves coming together with a client in real life to sell them on prints, albums, and then on. For us, we by and large accept a more relaxed arroyo, and just employ our online store through Pixieset to do the selling for us.
Partnering with relevant companies is a little more than challenging, just can also exist very rewarding if washed well. For us, we’ve partnered with BasicInvite to offer our clients a discounted rate on their stationary products. Given people already are buying wedding invitations, thank you cards, and other things similar this – it’south a no brainer. We had quite a few things printed by them ourselves to make sure the quality was upwardly to par with what nosotros would expect (it was), and now make a little commission off sales our clients brand. It’s a win-win.
Lastly, blogging is a longer-term strategy, but can do a lotto back up your brand and brand some extra money. We connect with other brands to sell products and services through affiliate links in our posts when relevant and useful to our audience. Sometimes this includes a discounted offer, but all the time we receive a commission on purchases made. There are many swell affiliate programs out in that location, the easiest of which to go started with is Amazon Associates.
If y’all put these photography business tips into action, you tin start making more than coin. It’s as simple as that! Want more advice? Read our commodity 101 Digital Photography Tips.