- Know How Much to Charge
- Remain Organized, At All Costs
- Invest in Your Business
- Do Some Soul Searching
- Wow Your Clients With Quality Prints
- Ensure your camera’s date and time are correct, and if possible set a custom file name before you even begin shooting
- Use the same naming structure across the board (i.e. Date-Shoot-Client Name)
- Put keywords on all of your photos after the shoot (I do this in Lightroom)
- Keep your edits with the originalsBack them all up (preferably with hard copies and in the cloud)
- Learn How to Make More Money With These Photography Business Tips
- How to Keep Photography Clients Happy
Opening a photography business can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be as stressful because there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Thousands of people have done this before you, so all you need to do is take a deep breath and follow these simple photography business tips that have helped other photographers build a successful business.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Know How Much to Charge
Money can be a difficult subject for us creatives…
I was stuck working with a tiny budget with a small photography business for years because I didn’t know how to grow it into something more profitable.
What’s more, I was afraid to ask how much other photographers made with their photography business. I was afraid to ask clients to pay me more money. Because of that, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep my photography business afloat for another month.
It’s exhausting not making enough money to live off of.
So, don’t settle for charging an amount that barely gets you by. Develop a sensible pricing structure that allows you to be compensated fairly while also giving your clients a good value for their money.
Chris Hau, a famous YouTube photographer, gives some solid advice in the video above for figuring out a pricing structure for your new photography business.
Hau was even nice enough to create a budget template on his YouTube, for those of us who aren’t great with numbers.
Give the video a watch, and you’ll learn some actionable steps you need to take to start charging more for your work.
Remain Organized, At All Costs
Again, most photography marketing ideas work hand in hand with each other. So, remaining organized might be one of those areas where you need to spend some money to make more money.
Everyone that reads PhotographyTalk knows I love Holdfast Gear products, particularly their leather camera bags.
While you don’t necessarily need to spend a few hundred dollars on a camera bag, you do need to ensure you have a good bag that is weather-proof, comfortable to carry, and most importantly, has a ton of pockets to keep all your camera accessories protected and neatly organized.
If you have different smaller bags that you take on different shoots, I guarantee you you are going to leave pertinent gear in the wrong bag at some point - at least I did!
Remaining organized in your photography business doesn’t just mean keeping your photography equipment organized. It also means keeping your photos organized (and in multiple places).
For me, I follow a simple system to organize all of my photos:
Is organizing your gear or your image files as fun as taking photos? Not at all. But is it crucially important to your success? Absolutely!
Invest in Your Business
For the first three years of my photography business, I put about 70% of what I was making back into my photography business.
Granted, most people are not this lucky. I didn’t have student loans, and I didn’t have a family to support at this time so I was able to afford this luxury.
But, any photography business tips that tell you that you don’t need to invest back into your photography business is missing an important piece of advice.
You may need to grow your photography business at a slower pace, but even 10% of your profits being reinvested into your business will make huge changes in the long run.
After all, you can’t make money if you don’t have the appropriate gear, if you don’t spend money on marketing, if you can’t compensate second shooters, or pay for gas to drive from one art show to the next.
It’s cliche to say it, but you really do have to spend money to make money!
Now, this isn’t a license to go out and drop tens of thousands of dollars on frivolous gear you don’t need…
Be smart about how you invest money into your business, and it will help you grow it into something that has long-term financial stability.
For example, you need to invest in the tools that allow you to stay in business, like a reliable web host.
I've had the unfortunate experience of suffering through bad hosting, and trust me, it's hard to make money when your website is constantly down...
After years of struggling to find a quality host, I finally found OVH about four years ago. Since I switched to them, uptime for this website has truly been 99.9 percent, just like OVH promises!
OVH has provided me with the best hosting I've ever had, and it's really not a competition at all.
On top of that, OVH has excellent customer service that makes you feel as though you are the only customer that matters.
That's saying something in today's world when even small companies outsource their customer service.
Yet, OVH is a global company and they treat you with the respect you deserve as a valued client. They're timely, informed, and they go the extra mile.
OVH is actually affordable, too, unlike many other hosting companies. So they really are the best of many different worlds!
Likewise, investing in your business means investing in the infrastructure that's necessary to protect your work.
Backing up your images (and all your files, really), is of critical importance for sustaining growth over the long-term. Just like a thief could rob you of your cameras, and therefore your ability to take photos, a fire, flood, or another unexpected disaster could cripple your business if you don't have your files backed up in multiple places.
Personally, I follow the 3-2-1 backup rule and have at least three copies of all my files on at least two types of media with one of those being an off-site cloud storage account.
My onsite backup is the Synology Diskstation 1019+, which gives me ample room to store images, videos, and other important files.
I got the DiskStation 1019+ for several reasons, but primary among them is because it's such a small unit.
I wanted something that could be on my desk but without taking up half the desktop - and the 1019+ certainly delivers.
I also invested in this rig because of Synology's reputation for packing their NAS systems to the gills with features.
It has five hot-swappable bays, each of which can accommodate a 2.5-inch or a 3.5-inch drive.
The combination of the Intel Celeron J3455 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 8GB of DDR3L 1866 SO-DIMM RAM gives me read/write speeds of up to 225MB per second. That speed can be achieved even with data encryption enabled, giving you both fast and secure data transfer.
I wanted a NAS that was easy to set up and maintain, too.
The 1019+ has Synology's easy-to-use operating system that's simple, clean, and intuitive. Even if you've never used a NAS before, with this operating system, you'll find your way very quickly.
Speaking of quickly, you can set this thing up in a matter of minutes, which for busy photographers is a huge bonus.
Of course, you want a backup system that's reliable and has a track record of durability, and Synology's products definitely tick those boxes.
Though the DiskStation 1019+ isn't the cheapest NAS out there, for my money, you just can't get anything better for your buck!
Do Some Soul Searching
I love pancakes as much as the next person, but if I had to spend an 8 hour day doing nothing but taking pictures of them in 500 different ways, I would go crazy and I would not still be running a photography business.
But for some people, photographing food is their passion and they make it work and work well.
In order to begin a photography business, you need to do some soul searching before you figure out what kind of photographer you want to be.
I love the outdoors and I love to travel, which is why I tend to focus my photography business on landscape photography.
But, I also spend too much of my profits on the act of traveling (I’m not going to go to India and not spent 4 days traveling out of my way to visit the Taj Mahal!). I also spend a ton of time away from my family, and both of those things are deal breakers to a lot of my photography friends.
Photo by Igor Reno via iStock
One of my closest friends is a boudoir photographer because she enjoys making women feel good about themselves, but boudoir photographers often don’t have a steady income because they are constantly needing to find new clients (recurring clients in this industry are hard to come by).
My point is that there are too many photography niches to name, and they all have their pros and cons. So get out there, start shooting, and find out what you love.
If you love what you do, the rest of these business-building tips will be SO much easier to implement!
Wow Your Clients With Quality Prints
The most important tip I learned about how to expand a photography business is to deliver your clients photos in a timely way.
The second way I began to really grow my photography business was to deliver my clients photos in a beautiful way. I do that through canvas prints.
After years of trying to find a business that has products that really wow, I found CanvasHQ.
They use quality inks on their canvases, the kind that don’t fade over the years and are water-resistant.
They also hand craft every single one of their frames, then hand stretch the canvas over that frame for a taut, beautiful canvas with no waviness or bubbles.
Their craftsmen and customer service reps have hands on your project from the moment you send it to them until the moment you receive the print. There is no outsourcing, and as is true with most small businesses, they care that you love what you receive.
If you don’t, you get your money back quickly and without any hassle!
The first time I saw one of my prints as a CanvasHQ print, I was dumbfounded. It simply blew me away with the quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
I’ve been a loyal customer ever since, and I’d be willing to bet that if you had a print or two made by these folks that you’d be hooked too!