Sometimes the best opportunities for gaining business is directly under our noses but as humans we have difficulty seeing these opportunities because, we are so familiar with them. To help this along you can simply think of the day to day things where people congregate and usually you will have a photography opportunity in your midst. You may first think that venues such as these are unlikely to present any real income. However, it’s how you go about it that counts.
1. The first step will be something along the lines of what I did many moons ago. Let’s consider the local football club. In that club there will be a number of different age groups and grades of football. You should consider the parents and the actual club as your potential customers. These are the ones you must please. The parents would appreciate photos to cherish and show others. The club wants group and high quality photos for presentation purposes.
2. How do you get their interest? The club is the first level of interest. You will need to set up a meeting with the person of authority or influence in the club. Preferably someone who’s a parent themselves. Make sure you take an excellent portfolio of relevant photos i.e. sports oriented and group style pictures, action shots and some portraiture would be a good start. Don’t simply stick them on a page.
Make sure your portfolio is special. Get some help with it from someone near to you for ideas and include captions that are NOT hand written. If you are asked to email something, do it but ENSURE you follow up on the premise of gaining a meeting. Why? Because it’s highly unlikely you will win this kind of business by emailing your credentials on their own. You goal must be to get a presentation or meeting.
3. Above average value. At the meeting you will need to offer above average value for money. After you’ve presented your portfolio you need to offer value. In other words something the club was not expecting that would be of benefit to them. Emphasis on the word THEM. This could be anything perhaps a mounted blow up of the first grade team for their reception area or a free mounted blow up of the clubs staff each year, again for the reception. Let them know that you’re prepared to initiate the best monthly action shot if they would like to give an award to their players. Be frank and let them know that you would like to become the clubs official photographer but understand that they would like to see what you can produce. In this case, offer to do the first game for free. If you do this, ensure you get a photo of every player and offer them (through the club) to the parents. This way the club gets the credit and will be more supportive of you.
4. Offer to distribute the photos with your letterhead and envelopes (potentially more business). The club may not let you do this at first but you should still give it a shot.5. Prices Don’t discuss your prices until the next meeting which YOU must initiate or it may not occur. Some clubs will not allow you to take pictures of children unless you have a special government issued card or pass for the security of the children. You should apply for this before the meeting so you can at least say it’s underway if you are asked.
6. Additional At the end of this exercise you will have the opportunity of achieving the position of the official club photographer. You can also do this with other local clubs of other sports and arts such as dancing, ballet, gym etc.
7. Small things help make this a success. Let me give you some examples. People hate it when their names are misspelled – check everything when making contact. Even when you are given an order by the parents, throw in an extra (GOOD) shot of their child for free but make sure you state in the accompanying note that you are giving it to them for free. Make a bit of an issue about it, after all you are selecting it and giving it to them for nothing.
If you do all these things and throw in a bit of your own personality and creativity, I guarantee you’ll win this kind of business over and over again. You may not win the first one you attempt but you will win one soon after if you correct whatever you think you did wrong at the previous presentation. All of this activity is reasonably inexpensive for a photographer except for the time. Remember, that if you win one of these, you could be with that club forever doing all their games and in addition I found that the parents will contact you for other external photo business on a regular basis.
If this is the kind of article you would like to see more of, let me know by taking a few seconds to comment on the forum.
Published here by Ray Baker. Ray guides you on how to start a home based photography business and places strong emphasis on profitability issues & guidelines. You can also gain photography insights, help (mostly free) or even a digital photography tip or two. For brief reviews on services or equipment (many free) see http://www.profitable-photography.com/resources.php