- How To Impress Your Photography Clients
- A Step-By-Step Process for Making Your Photography Stand Out
- How To Create Heirloom Portraits
- 5 Photography Decisions That Can Make or Break How Your Image Looks
- How To Sell Photo Prints
- Why Your Images Need to Be Professionally Printed
photo by Harbucks via iStock
The School of Hard Knocks sucks! I would much rather learn how to run a photography business better from the expertise of others than by trial and error. Especially when that error can cost significant money.
Here are 4 professional photography business tips I learned that can probably benefit you as well.
photo by Blue Planet Studio via iStock
Among the top pieces of advice from professional photographers in all genres is the importance of having a back up. You need to carry backup equipment and backup memory cards, you need to backup your image files, and you need a backup plan. Plus, I like to double check my captures while shooting and right after the shoot.
When shooting on location or when you have a client visiting your studio are the two worst times to learn your camera, lens, or flash is malfunctioning. The unexpected can and does happen, so be prepared for it. When starting in business, the funds to have two pro level or prosumer cameras may not be there, but your entry level camera or older camera that takes your lenses will cover the need.
There used to be a saying among pro photographers, “Film is cheap.” Basically that meant don’t let a $4.00 roll of film stand in the way of you completing your job. Good memory cards aren’t $4.00 but even the largest and fastest XQD and CFExpress cards are still only a fraction of the equipment costs of the cameras using them, so have a spare or two or dozen.
Some form of image file backup is also valuable. It can be a physical drive or a secure cloud drive. There is also insurance to protect business against being unable to fulfill a contract due to worst case scenarios happening.
Diversify - But Choose a Niche or Two
photo by ShaneKato via iStock
“Jack of all trades, master of none” applies to many business endeavors, including photography. While we may actually be able to do several different genres of photography very well, for business purposes, it is good photography business advice to focus on just a few related disciplines.
This helps us in two ways. It allows us to really become an expert on these few types of photography without becoming distracted unnecessarily. Plus, it shows a potential that we aren’t just a person with a camera but actually a wedding photographer, real estate photographer, product photographer, or whatever style we’re presenting as our business. So, it’s more a matter of how we present ourselves than any skill or lack of skill we actually have.
Because if we’re a wedding photographer, we probably CAN do real estate photography. Or if we specialize in small product images for websites, we likely have good skills for portraits or corporate headshots.
So, there is nothing wrong with having a diverse suite of skills, wearing many hats, but for advertising or promoting our business, it sometimes is best to narrow down to a primary type of photography or two. What’s nice about digital photography and online marketing is that we can easily separate a couple of different interests from each other.
Make Physical Prints (for your office and to sell to clients)
Digital images are able to make amazingly high quality physical prints. We can enlarge a photo from our best image files to a print size that could just about cover an open doorway and have incredible sharpness, color, and detail.
This type of display in our office or studio makes an excellent impression on clients. Even if it’s not the genre of photography that we’re specializing in, what a large print of our own work displayed in a business setting shows is that we are a highly skilled photographer. So it’s a good idea to print those landscape, abstract, and macro images for hanging on your walls.
Plus, print some enlargements of your best work in your field to match the niche tip stated earlier. If you’re a wedding photographer, print a couple of the prettiest weddings you’ve shot. If you’re a real estate photographer, enlarge an amazing architectural view of a home or commercial property you’ve imaged.
Another use suggested as advice from professional photographers for physical prints is to offer them as part of a package deal or add on purchase to a job you’re doing. Doesn’t hurt to have some fine art photography of any type to offer for sale, too.
Obviously, you want these physical prints to be the highest quality possible. There are a few options of how to do that. You can print yourself with a pro quality, large format photo printer. You can search out a local printer. Or you can find an online printer that produces fine art prints for photographers.
All of these are very good options. I found an online printer that has superior quality, great customer service, and reasonable pricing, Artbeat Studios. Besides having excellent pricing for their high quality prints, they use superb materials, employ excellent craftsmen, and have a quick turnaround time.
Artbeat Studios won our 2020 Metal Print Shootout with their superior quality and wide range of product availability. They make paper prints, canvases, prints on metal, and acrylic prints, in sizes up to 40X60 inches (that’s 3 ½ by 5 feet!)
Dress to Impress
photo by energyy via iStock
Another word of advice from professional photographers is to have a high standard for dress and grooming. This is a business we’re running, so meeting up to some community standards for business attire is often beneficial.
It isn’t necessary for us to wear a tux or little black dress for weddings or other events, but we also don’t want to call negative attention to ourselves by being extremely casual. Whatever business you’re in, meeting with clients might also involve a different standard of dress than doing the actual work.
A decent idea of what may be considered acceptable community standards for business might be found just by walking around a local business center or downtown area, because what is “normal” in one area might be too formal or inappropriately casual somewhere else. Where I am, office attire for business casual seems to be just fine.
Bonus Tip: Reinvest In Your Business
photo by guvendemir via iStock
As photography business tips go, this one is the same basic advice given to anyone operating a small business. Reinvesting can mean any number of things. Advertising is a great business expense that can help your business grow. Taking extra training to gain a new skill or improve an existing one is also good, as is periodically upgrading our equipment as needed.
Hopefully these basic photography business tips will help you learn without becoming a student of the School of Hard Knocks. Professional photography is a wonderful business to be in, you can be very successful while engaged in an art you enjoy.