We’ve all heard many times how business can be tough. This applies to all businesses and a photography business does not escape this especially if you rest for too long and just do nothing but take pictures. There are a few fundamentals that you should consider before you head too far down the photo business path where there may end up being a few unpleasant surprises. I don’t want you to think that I’m here to be negative – just making sure that you as a photographer make the right first step decisions. Here are some simple rules to think about to help marketing your photography business so it starts off well and becomes a marketable service.
You need to have a good idea what mode of photography business you want to work in
I don’t mean Landscape photography verses portrait photography etc., although you should eventually drill down into those areas too. I mean there are two kinds of photography businesses that you can establish. It can be either Assignment photography or Stock photography. In both cases, the name explains it all. Assignment photography is the kind of business where you are assigned or hired to take photographs of something. It can be any event or just some one. The event can be someone’s wedding. And that some one could be just anyone.
Stock photography, on the other hand, is a business where you already have photographs in stock and you are selling them to interested parties. The stock photographs can be anything from flowers to nude women.
Therefore, you have two options to decide on. Basically, people start with the assignment photography thinking that it would give them a meagre but steady income. That is true to some extent but it will give you a very small audience.
Whereas stock photography business will help you reach a wider target market audience. Stock photography is recommended because that is where the potential of the photographer has better chances to be recognized.
Target your audience
When you are dealing with stock photography, you have a great chance of spending lot of resources without any returns. This is especially the case when you don’t know who your audience is. When you are out to click those beautiful moments, make sure you know who you are going to show it to. This streamlines your clients and would also help you take photos that are relevant to your market. Try sending postcards or samples of your photos to your targeted clients and see their response. This way you can make a mark among the circles you want to feel your presence.
Give them what they want
When you do present your customer’s photographs, make sure you’re giving them what they asked for. So many photographers don’t! This is important. They have chosen you because they believed that you were going to supply them with what they wanted. If you make a volte face and give them photos they don’t need, you are sure to lose them. Therefore, be very attentive to the details and give your customers what they ask for. Take notes when they tell you what they want. People rarely remember more than 7% of what they’ve been told in a conversation 24 hours later – so take notes. A happy customer means more business!
Be present at places that matter– When I say be present, I am not speaking about the physical presence of the photographer. I am talking about exposure of your work. Advertise them wherever possible and that’s relevant. Publish them on the net through some of the photography sites or stock houses. This would greatly increase your client base as your photographs are showcased along with the others. The sites may take a percentage of your earnings but it is worth it as you are just building your base while you are being paid. You can always start on your own once you have a considerable presence in the right circles.
- Think about organizing an internet site and drive traffic to it.
- Advertise on adwords at Google.com and MSN (you can now target local areas through Google) …Look for local markets
- Join your local library that may publish your photographs in their weekly or monthly journal, ezine or newsletter. Making sure that your contact details are always available. This way you can get a foothold in your own locality.
- Go to your local florist and leave some business cards with the promise of a tip if work successfully comes your way from their referral.
- Visit your local church, mosque etc. and leave your particulars. You never know when questions are asked in these circles. Reciprocate with some free services from time to time.
- There are many venues you can work with like this, just put your thinking hat on.
Accept help from your peer photographers
Knowing some other photographers can also be immensely helpful. If they are good enough, they can show some of your collections to their clients who have some specific requirements. Even if they don’t showcase your photographs, they may help you with some valuable tips to market yourself and networking ideas.
No replacement for quality
No matter how much you market yourself, if the quality of your photographs is not up to the mark, you are definitely poised to face doom. The quality of your photographs should be the best you can possibly present and keep in mind that there’s always room for improvement. Quality most often results in recommendation and referral. Once you have a customer, never, ever skimp on quality because it’s more costly to find a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.
Photography business marketing is often a case where your photographs have to be in the right place at the right time. Do not think that it is all by chance. The truth is, it is you who will make them available at the right place at the right time just by following a few commonsense marketing rules. All the best and happy marketing!
Learn how to get customers early don’t leave it to the last minute! You could get stuck without any cashflow and that’s the worst scenario experience you can have in any business. Learn how to get photography customers here.