- 2013 Photographer's Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Selling Your Photography
- Best Business Practices for Photographers
- The Fast Track Photographer Business Plan: Build a Successful Photography Venture from the Ground Up
- Group Portrait Photography Handbook
- The Best of Family Portrait Photography: Professional Techniques and Images
- 500 Poses for Photographing Group Portraits
Last week we went over how to “look and act the part” you want to occupy in your photography career. Today we are going to again go back to some of the “basics”, good marketing and customer service.
How many times have you heard or thought this; “The amateur photographers are taking over and killing my business! The soccer moms, the “mama-razzies” anyone with a digital SLR is masquerading as a professional photographer. But wait, don’t despair, there are tactics and behaviors to keep your business alive and even thriving. The key to defeating the amateurs is to not be like them. Being the low cost provider has never been a successful business model in any service business. The key to getting top money for your photography is to be what you are, a professional in every way.
We’ve talked about looking professional- your personal image, your property image, etc. Now that we have more competition than ever before the key to getting the photography jobs you want and the price you need depends on the level of service you offer. We know that even when the economy was booming the business of most photographers was not so rosy. Now that the country is in an economic downturn the future seems even more daunting.
When asked, most successful photographers say one important thing to ensure their success is good marketing. This means the photographer knows what they are selling, they know who they are selling it to, and they have a plan for getting their message out to their targeted audience. These photographers are persistent and disciplined in implementing their plan. They have a strong website with portfolios that support their targeted audience. Successful photographers constantly update their website portfolios with new images to keep their message fresh. Take a look at your portfolio. Do you have families posed in front of buildings or landmarks that were knocked down or remodeled years ago? If so, you aren’t relevant to your audience and they won’t hire you!
The same successful photographers keep repeating that the theme responsible for their thriving profits is “Service”. Service cannot be emphasized enough. Top photographers know that offering exemplary service from the first consultation all the way through to delivering the final product, be it an album or portrait, is essential. Do you answer your phone every time? Do you answer messages immediately with useful information if a question is asked? Are you early to appointments and have everything you need to have a successful meeting or shoot? Planning for great service is the best way to make sure you deliver great service. Flexibility in negotiating prices is also a common thread for a majority of successful studio operations. But, make sure you know your bottom line, don’t give away your services or your customer will attach no value to them.
Is it a tough environment? Of course it is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. It has never been easy, there have always been low cost competitors and there always will be. If you remember that you are capable of delivering a better product than the rest and work hard to provide a premium level of service, you will not only survive, but thrive!
Photo by Liz Noffsinger