- I market my photography business in the following ways:
- I always have my business cards on me. If I forget them at home, I turn the car around.
- I send thank you cards to each client within 1 week of the delivery of my final shots.
- I offer referral bonuses to past clients.
- I attend small business networking groups.
I find that some photographers are trying to build their businesses like it’s still the early 2000s.
Building a photography business in 2019 is so different than it’s ever been before, and clients are looking for authenticity in a way they never have before.
So, how do you exhibit authenticity in your photography business? These 5 photography business tips might help.
Websites Are Out, Instagram Is In
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash
I saw an article the other day questioning whether you even need a website for a photography business.
Growing a photography business requires an online presence, for sure, but being online is different than it used to be.
I have plenty of photographer friends who primarily market themselves on Instagram, and just have a photography website that serves as a portfolio should a potential client ask for one.
They are spending 90% of their time on their Instagram presence, and 10% of their time on their website.
And their reasoning makes sense. When was the last time you stumbled across someone’s website by accident? More to the point, when was the last time you purposefully searched for someone and their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram wasn’t the top result?
Instagram and other social sites serve as a platform of discovery, whereas your individual website usually does not, which is why it might make sense to dedicate more time to your social media presence than your website.
I’m not going as far as to say that you don’t need a photography website, because I have one, and some photographers still get a lot of traffic from their websites.
However, things are certainly changing, and your valuable time might be better spent curating your Instagram feed than working on your website. If someone is on your website, the deal is almost sealed and your lead is already warm. Work harder on cold leads and smarter on warm leads, and you’ll likely find that you get more clients.
Get more details on the “do photographers need a website” debate in the video above by Ed Verosky.
Practice Makes Perfect
Photo by Chermiti Mohamed on Unsplash
My significant other used to become upset when I would bring my camera out on dates during the first few years of my photography career.
I carried it with me everywhere because I read an article from one of my photography idols who said she did the same thing. I got tired of Googling, “how to start a photography business,” and switched tactics. I started Googling, “how to become a successful photographer,” instead.
I figured the talent would come first and the business would follow.
photo by Pekic via iStock
Practice, like in any industry, is essential to photography. No matter where you’re at in your photography career, don’t forget to take yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes and try something you never have before. It’s hard to do that if you don’t always have your camera with you!
Even after more than a decade behind the lens, I still watch YouTube videos about photography tips, tricks, and techniques. There is always something to learn, something to read, something to watch that can help you improve your skills as a photographer and as a businessperson.
As soon as you stop learning how to be a better photographer, you’ll find that your photography business likely becomes stagnant.
In Photography, There Are No Secrets
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash
I’ve never understood why the photography community is not more like the restaurant industry.
Back in the day, I used to work as a waitress, as some young people trying to build a photography business do. Restaurant industry folks get together and share huge meals and make each other craft cocktails and talk shop.
They do this on a regular basis. In this way, they are simultaneously showing each other that they care for each other both as individuals and as coworkers or industry professionals, as well as learning from each other.
photo by Geber86 via iStock
Photography can be such a cutthroat industry sometimes, and that’s a shame. While I have many pals in this industry, there’s also been times in which other photographers have shunned the opportunity to get together and talk shop.
If you share your secrets with others, you’ll receive secrets in turn. Likewise, if you help out your photography compatriots (say, serving as a second shooter for a colleague) you’ll more often than not get the same courtesy in return.
Growing a photography business is mostly an individual effort on your part, but don’t miss out on the opportunities to help - and to be helped by - other photographers.
Market Yourself at Every Turn
photo by M_a_y_a via iStock
My number one tip on how to grow a successful photography business is to never stop marketing yourself.
Typically, creative types like photographers hear the word “marketing” and the color drains out of their faces.
But, marketing can be much more natural than you may think.
And these are only a few suggestions for growing a photography business naturally.
Marketing is not a bad word - but it does require time and effort on your part.
Sure, marketing might not come as naturally to you as taking awesome photos, but it’s just as important to the success of your business as the quality of the images you take.
Get a few more marketing tips for photographers in the video above by Togs in Business.
Provide Top-Quality Products
Hopefully you’re providing your clients with top-quality photos. But, you need to offer your clients other top-quality products too.
One way I do this is by offering add-ons like canvas prints and photo books.
I’ve been using Costco photo center for years to create my photo books, because I love Costco and because they offer really cheap products that don’t skimp on quality.
But, I had some issues on my quest for a good canvas printing company until I stumbled across CanvasHQ a few years back.
CanvasHQ, much like Costco, is known for their quality products and customer service. One of the first times I used CanvasHQ, one of the customer service reps reached out to me because the photo I sent in was about a half inch off center.
I have never found customer service reps like this in the canvas industry before!
On top of superb customer service, each one of their canvases are handcrafted and hand stretched. They use top-quality ink that ensures your canvases will last for years, even if they’re hanging in an area that gets a lot of natural light and UV rays. Plus, they are almost always running a new client deal of up to 30% off.
Your clients will appreciate having your photos up on their wall, and it might just remind them to refer their friends when they are also looking for a photographer in a few months.
In that regard, investing in quality products for your clients is a double gift - your clients are happy and they have excellent referral potential when people inquire, “Where did you get that beautiful canvas print?!”
Bonus Tip: Get Reliable Hosting
Photo by PeopleImages via iStock
This is a very personal tip for me because when I started PhotographyTalk, I most certainly did not have reliable hosting.
It's hard to grow a photography business without a website that, you know, works. And hosting is obviously an integral component of that.
About four years ago, I made the switch to OVH for my hosting, and since then, PhotographyTalk has been up and running reliably for the first time.
And by reliable, I mean 99.9 percent uptime!
Truly, in 20 years in this industry, OVH is by far the best hosting I've had, and our working relationship will last another 20 years and beyond, I'm sure.
Often, you feel like just a number when dealing with large, global companies like OVH. Yet, that's simply not the case with these guys.
If you have a problem or issue, they make it their mission to help you in a timely fashion and do so in a way that makes you feel like the only customer that matters. It's a nice change of pace from all those terrible hosting experiences I had years ago!
They're affordable to boot, so OVH has the trifecta of awesomeness going - reliability, excellent customer service, and affordable prices.
What more could you want from a hosting provider?!