In life, the most successful and most healthy are those that are able to flex and bend with life’s ebbs and flows. This is definitely true for the professional photographer. During times of recession, independent photographers have to rein things in just like everybody else and unfortunately small business owners are usually affected the most by recession. Problems usually first appear as a reduction in the number of orders and sales, then as problems with cash flow and ultimately through a difficulty in meeting the bills.
Regardless as to the type of photography that you do, a recession will most likely require you to make some adjustments, not only to your budget but also in the type of photography that you choose to do. Some areas of photography ride the waves of recession better than others. In fact, some forms of photography suffer very little during a recession, family photography for example.
This is because life marches on; families continue to grow, babies continue to be born and there are certain moments that simply will not wait for a recession to end.
Families love to capture the important moments in life. They want to have and to hold on to memories for years to come. This means that the family portrait photographer is a person that is in demand all the time. Pursuing an income in baby photography, family photography and in fields such as kid’s sports photography is an excellent idea, and especially during times of recession.
Although life itself provides you with the natural backdrop against which to pursue a career in family photography, you can not sit back and wait for things to happen. There is a lot of work that you will need to do as a photographer to inspire projects and generate income. One of the best tips that I can give you is to try to lay the foundations for solid business growth from the earliest days of your career. Principally speaking, a business that is on fairly even footing at the beginning of a recession has a much better chance of surviving the rains than a business that was shaky to begin with. As an independent business owner, try to solidify your reputation from the earliest days of your company and consciously work at building up a stable clientele one customer at a time.
Contrary to what many believe, you do have to promote your business during economic hard times. In fact, I would say, especially during hard times. Many businesses fail because they falsely believe that advertising, marketing and promotions are the luxuries of profitable times only. However be on the continuous look out for low-cost ways to place your business in the public eye. One of the most economic ways to promote and market your photography services is through a well-designed, highly ranked web site. More and more, consumers search the Internet as their primary source for information on local businesses. Fortunately, the monthly fees for a web site are extremely small once your web site has actually been built.
Prepare yourself, because during a tough recession, you will experience stronger competition than at other times. Unless you can separate and distinguish your photography services from the rest of the pack, you may find it very hard to beat your competition to the bite. This is where strong branding and identity come in. There must be a way that people recognize and remember who you are. Think of your photography service as a brand and find a way to make it easily recognizable. Then tell customers in your promotions, on your web site and on your business cards exactly what separates you from the pack. Then remind them of it every, single opportunity you get.
During recession, you have to use every possible stream of income to its fullest extent to survive. It is a time to call on old pals. As a basic policy, at the end of every photo session you should ask clients for referrals. This should happen without fail with every single client that hires you as a photographer. If you have made this a habit during the good times, it will help you a lot during recession because through word of mouth is the easiest way to make a sale.
Call on regular customers to remind them that it is time for a family portrait. Call on those that were referred to you by a customer even if it was a while ago. In your sales pitch, remind them of how much pleasure their friend (the referee) got from the family portraits you took. Another point to remember is that children are the darlings of their parent’s eyes. Although many parents will not invest in photos of themselves during recession, they will invest in photos of their children and young babies. Remind them that children grow quickly… and babies even quicker. Fully leverage this angle for its emotional impact when selling your services.
You will have to reign in all types of expenses during a recession. You will also have to leverage every sales, marketing and quality service technique that you have. It takes quality and reputation to stay at the top during recession. Don’t take anything for granted. Watch the photography industry and most of all be willing to change course if it becomes necessary.
Here are two products you can use effectively during a recession both show you how to earn money without having to have a studio. Both supply free information (initially) so you can make an intelligent decision as to which one suits. Subscribers on my mailing list may have already experienced one of these products earlier and know how effective the results can be. Here are the two links and make sure you focus (excuse the pun) on the objective of earning a healthy income over this downturn –
I always include my course at the bottom of these articles via this link so you can get underway with your own photography customers when you’re ready.