Photography Business Tips

jumpstartMy Top Ten Photography Business Tips

The following photography business tips are recommended to help you start your photography business. Many of us start our photography business because of our passion and omit the necessary, fundamental steps of business planning. These preliminary steps will guide you so you know where you are going and help you achieve your success.

Photography Business Tip #1

Define your target market for each of your product lines. Be specific. For example:

for family portraits

* families within a 25 miles radius of my studio with children aged newborn to five years old, with incomes of $75,000 and up.

senior portraits

* rising high school seniors (juniors) in zip codes 30096,30097,30043,30022,30092 with family incomes of $50,000 and up

Tip #2

Define your style of photography and what makes you different (stating benefits not features) in 30 seconds. Use emotional words so you can grab the attention of your prospective client. Ex: “I am a Lifestyle Children’s Photographer. I watch for the smile in a child’s eye and capture the innocence and beauty of his or her’s age, so parents can have a lasting memory”

Did I mention anything about an 8 x 10 or a session? Using powerful words to describe you will differentiate you from your competition. Define your style, write it down, practice it in front of the mirror and be ready when a new customer asks you what you do.

Photography Business Tip #3

Now that you’ve defined your market and your photographic style it is time to write your mission statement. A mission statement is a brief description of a company’s fundamental purpose. A mission statement answers the question, “Why do we exist?” The mission statement articulates the company’s purpose both for those in the organization and for the public.

-Susan Ward, About.com

Your mission statement will steer you in the right direction. It should be broad and encompass your goals now and into the future. It should be in your mind every day you operate your business. All of your online and written materials should include your mission statement. It sounds easy, but it can be a daunting and time-consuming task to articulate your mission in 3 sentences or less.

Here’s an example of one:XXXXX Photography’s goal is to provide custom one-of-a-kind artwork for people’s homes through excellent quality photography and superb customer service.

Make it your mission to write your mission statement today!

Photography Business Tip #4

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was “When all things are equal, price is the determining factor.” Be different from your competition. Research at least two new products that you can offer your clients, that are not being offered by anyone else. Everyone sells canvas wraps; what can you sell that will set you apart. View other photographer’s websites and do what they are not doing. As Randy says on American Idol “make it your own sound.”

In 2006 I started to sell a product called “Baby Blocks.” They were close-ups of baby’s faces mounted to a board. Each one had a beveled edge. I sold them in sets of 4. Buy 3 – get one free.The total cost was over $400. I was the only photographer selling the product, until Sears caught wind of it. I still sell them, but not as many.

Okay… day 4 – start being different!

Tip #5

Take a sales class. Do you consider yourself a salesperson or a photographer? Unfortunately with either choice, you still need to be well versed in sales to be successful in any business. Photography equipment, trends, technology, and styles change every year. Learning effect sales techniques are elements of business that never go out of style, no matter how much photography changes. Mastering these fundamentals is the key to successfully starting, running, and growing your very own photography business. Do yourself a favor and enroll in a sales class today!

Photography Business Tip #6

Schedule the same time every day for marketing. Marketing, is perhaps, the most important part of any business.When I first started my business in 1997, I mailed out postcards and my phone would ring off the hook. I would book all my appointments from my direct mail campaign, and that was it.

The world is a different place now, with social network marketing and with competing in a an overly saturated market.

Organize your marketing efforts into a daily campaign of facebook, twitter, blogs, email marketing and content management of your blog or website. Those should be done on a daily basis (except weekends). Throughout the month, plan on direct mail campaigns, partnership marketing campaigns and one-on-one networking. All of these marketing components comprise a business’s marketing plan. Be consistent and you will see results.

Tip #7

The legal mumbo jumbo. Are you optimizing your tax savings by utilizing the best business entity? Changing your status from a sole-propietership to an SCorp or LLC could have significant tax savings. Consult with your CPA for the best advice.

Are you insured to the fullest? You can never have too much insurance. Just a few days ago, I dropped my 70-200mm f/4.0 L lens on a concrete floor. Make sure you have: insurance for equipment theft and breakage, liability (both on and off premises), and errors and omissions. Consult with a commercial insurance agent for the best advice.

Photography Business Tip #8

Position yourself as an expert in your niche. Write articles, give community talks, brag about yourself. The world is your audience. Hold your head up high – you are worth it. The number 1 reason people buy from other people is because of their confidence. When you shine you will gain clients, build relationships and earn the lifestyle you deserve.

Tip #9

Set up your price list using a cost of sales analysis. Price for a profit and create value with your price list. If you start out cheap, it is much harder to raise your prices in the future. Invest in a price guide, if you are unsure of this step; there’s lots of them out there.

Photography Business Tip #10

Start building testimonials with your first clients. Having other people tell your story, using emotion, can be very powerful. Use the testimonials on your website, blog and all your marketing pieces. Do not let a client leave without asking for a testimonial.

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