A successful business requires constant growth to stay relevant, and photography is no exception. We sat down with a few photographers from around the country and asked them: How did you grow your profitable photography business?
Build a Solid Foundation
“In order to grow your business, you need to first simplify so that it is as efficient and profitable as you can possibly make it. You need a solid foundation on which to build, otherwise your potential growth will be severely compromised. Hire a consultant that you trust and is willing to ask you the hard questions. They will help you to think long term and to navigate the difficult decisions with the growth opportunities in front of you.”
“1. Hone your shooting skills. Make sure you are creating the images you visualize in your mind. Once you think you have great images, stop, take a class or learn a new tool to deliver an even better product. 2. Develop a system. Make the foundation strong. Creating a system helps you stay in control of your business as it grows. 3. Develop a team. Finding a team or companies to partner with helps take off some of the heavy lifting of daily tasks. Management software, photo editors, website hackers, they all are there to help you succeed.”
Specialize, Focus and Outsource
“Growing my business required me to specialize, focus, and outsource. By teaming up with partners, I have gained: 1) More time to focus on my clients, vendors, and relationships. 2) A better product, since I now trust experts in specialized fields instead of trying to do it all. The year I made these changes, I booked seven more weddings than the year before. I was worried it was a one-time thing, but in the years since, my Facebook Page “likes” have gone up 40% and my blog has had over 17,000 unique visitors. I’ve been able to add two photographers to my business because of increased bookings and because I know I can outsource, especially the post-processing, easily and effectively.”
“We’ve found that strategic marketing is the key to growing our business. Much of that marketing energy is invested into online marketing. Online marketing is the consistent and strategic sharing of your specific YOUnique message and images (who we are and what we stand for). We share these across all social media platforms and online resources including: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, our website, Linked In, App.net, Google-Search, online directories, etc. Since we, as Jason+Gina Wedding Photographers, began to share our specific message, our bookings have doubled in the past 2 years (2011-2013). Lately, we’ve been using Buffer to help consolidate and automatically share across all of our social media channels. We’ve found this works best when your message is highly specialized and differentiated from all of the other photographers broadcasting messages out there.”
Always put the Client First
“When I’m shooting an event of any kind I always make it a point to take photos of the people who are making it all happen, the people behind the scenes (the client). Chances are they don’t have photos of themselves at work, and this thoughtful gesture will keep me in their minds for future work.”
“Be professional, courteous, and genuine to everyone in the industry – it doesn’t matter if they are just starting out or if they are the guy who owns the company. You never know what connections and friendships you can form with your colleagues. Share your passion and your knowledge.”
“I learned the hard way that growing my business won’t happen overnight and it certainly won’t happen just because I take pretty pictures. People are genuinely looking to connect with someone before they invest in your business. They want to know who you are and what you stand for. They want to make sure that you are like them and value similar things. In order to connect with my ideal clients and grow my business, I have chosen the road of authenticity. It allows me to be imperfect and vulnerable, while I embrace who I am as a person and business owner. I now focus my energies on blogging and marketing, rather than doing the mundane tasks that I used to spend countless hours on like editing or post-production. Once I started blogging from the heart or about things I am passionate about, I noticed a change in my “likes” and comments. The responses to these posts blew up in comparison to the old 5-10 people (if that) who would actually leave a comment before. This post all about me has gotten the best results so far. Say what? All I had to do was be myself and it would connect with others? Seriously, 292 likes and 41 comments?! That never happened with my old blog where I ONLY talked about the photos or that particular shoot.”
A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the talented and hardworking photographers who contributed their methods for growing a successful photography business. Feel free to contact us or download this free guide to learn how to integrate ShootDotEdit into your workflow and see how we can help you grow.