- An active Web site is your primary marketing tool.
- In reality, you shouldn’t consider yourself “open for business” until you have a Web site with the following features.
- It is your storefront, so, other than business cards, spend most of your marketing time and budget to keep the site dynamic.
- Make it rather straightforward and easy to navigate. Although, photographers often like to display pictures against a black background, it is not good for text.
- Create your site in HTML; forget Flash.
- Less is more. Your best 10 digital photos will make a better impression than “hiding” those 10 among 50, with the other 40 less than your best.
- If you don’t have enough excellent sample pictures, then photograph some. Although your prospective clients will eventually want to view the photo jobs for which you were paid, initially they want to be convinced that you are a good digital photographer, so the source of the photos you display are somewhat immaterial.
- Start a daily blog that includes a new photo and a brief description of how you shot it and for whom, every day. Again, if you don’t have a recent job from which to add photos to your blog, then shoot for yourself.
- Link your Web site to a Facebook page and/or a Twitter account.
- Write (or have written) a press release about every job you do, with a client quote of glowing praise. Add the press release to your Web site and distribute it through the various online PR services.
For many digital photographers, the end goal is to earn a living as a freelancer; however, it’s another one of those two-sided coins of life. Being your own boss and being free to set your own schedule are the primary benefits of one side. The other side of the coin represents the extra hours you’ll work, accepting less of a fee than you would prefer, unstable income and other possible negatives.
Being a freelance photography is like being any other kind of entrepreneur. It’s all on you. You must be dedicated and focused on your profession, eager to improve and add to your skills and also manage a business. You can avoid some of the mistakes that new, and even experienced, freelancers often make with the advice in this PhotographyTalk.com article.
Don’t avoid the tough jobs.
The sooner you can gain experience shooting the digital photo jobs that seem the most challenging, the faster you improve your abilities and snag other jobs like them. It’s also an opportunity to broaden your appeal to a larger client base.
Establish a pricing strategy.
One of the skills that any freelancer is always learning is how to price a job. Even the most experienced will occasionally misquote a job. Follow these steps to provide your prospects and clients with the most accurate fee possible.
Schedule a client meeting or phone call to discuss all the details. Make a raw list during your discussion. The more detail you have, the better price you can quote that is both competitive and fair to you and your client.
Make sure to ask your client if he or she has a budget or limit in mind.
Formalize your raw list into a specific shot list, when appropriate. Also, carefully calculate the amount of time required, and then present a total-project quote or an hourly rate.
Meet with your client again to review the information you’ve prepared, and then make any necessary adjustments. Those final details become part of your contract.
If the client’s budget and your calculated fee don’t match, then be prepared to provide some options or solutions, so you can rescue the job and still be paid fairly.
You’ll also find some additional tips that may help you in the three-part PhotographyTalk.com article, starting with Digital Photography—How to Succeed as a Conference and Trade Show Photographer, Part 1.
Replying to emails and phone calls are priorities.
The do-to list of any freelance photographer, or business entrepreneur, is long, but replying to inquiries generated by your Web site or referrals should be near the top of the list. One of the first rules of sales is that interested clients are only interested for a short time, so return their communications quickly, and don’t hesitate to call or email more than once to establish possible moneymaking relationships.
Read tips #5 through #9 in Part 2 of this PhotographyTalk.com series. (Coming Soon)