As a photographer, attending conferences and networking with other pros is a top way to expand your knowledge and grow your photography business. Showit’s United is an annual conference that brings together the photography community and promotes education and connections. Each year, pro photographers share their expertise, advice, and experiences, and this year was no different. We reached out to Showit to discover the best pro tips from United to help you grow your photography business for 2018.
Showit, Inc., co-founded in 2006 by CEO Todd Watson and located in Gilbert, Arizona, is a technology company focused on giving professional photographers and creatives true freedom and control over their online presence. Showit’s simple drag-and-drop website builder allows users to create interactive and responsive custom websites and mobile sites without needing to know a single line of code. Showit is also the first website platform to offer Simple WordPress integration that gives the user the ability to design a WordPress blog right inside of the website builder. You can connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.
United is the Best Photography Conference in the Universe.
Not hyperbole. Not an overstatement. A simple fact. It’s a scientific fact.
But seriously, we just closed out our 7th United last month, and it was magnificent! We welcomed over 300 photographers to the Arizona desert, where people learned how to improve their businesses, brands, shooting techniques, and lives. The number of people who we heard say:
- I am going to serve my clients better
- I am going to run my business better
- I am going to love my family and friends better
These are the tools we try to equip our attendees with!
We heard from our friend Jasmine Star, who loves helping entrepreneurs to have a brand and a business that grows and thrives. But what is a brand? Have you ever really stopped to think about that? It’s not just the colors and fonts that represent your business. It’s not even your website (gasp!). All of these are pieces of the brand puzzle. But your brand “is a living breathing thing that has no end. A brand is an experience.” SO what are your customers experiencing? Your brand is what your customers say it is after they have an experience with you and your company, and this is why it’s important to have a good brand! Social Media helps you to build your brand, so you need to utilize that properly.
When you are organized and have a plan, you can run your social media seamlessly, instead of having it run you til you are ripping apart at the seams. Jasmine has a great new tool for entrepreneurs called Social Curator, and if you sign up, she sends you images, captions, and other tools you need to maximize your social media efforts.
Anything that saves you time and brainpower is worth checking out and investing in! Jasmine has been in your shoes! She started off as a wedding photographer, and so much of what she does is to really truly help you in your business and in your life.
Uniqueness of You
Another one of our speakers who is invested in you and your ability to market in an authentic way is Jenna Kutcher. She asked the question: “What is your unique selling proposition?” As photographers, you are tired of being price shopped. So how do you stand out and make people desperate to hire you? Well, the only unique thing about you and your company – is you. You are a storyteller because you have a story to tell in your own way. And once you tell your own story well, your clients decide that they want you to tell their story. This is why people think of Jenna when they see a bowl of mac and cheese – even though mac and cheese has nothing to do with wedding photography or marketing.
She tells a compelling tale of how much she loves mac and cheese! Once your clients can relate to the uniqueness of you – they want only you. Don’t be afraid of what others think of you because truth be told, they aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are. So go be the most authentic version of yourself that you can be!
Join a Photography Community
Natalie Franke has the same heart for the creative community. She stressed the importance of community, and especially finding community in three special places:
- Where you want to be
- Where you are
- Where you were
This means finding mentors who are where you want to be. Taking courses, reading books, joining workshops. You are also in a community with your peers. That’s why Tuesdays Together are so great. It’s the right place to learn, grow, and encourage those who are in the trenches with you!
Finally, being in community with people who are where you were. Cause you are not where you were when you first started (unless you seriously just started! Which is great! You are STILL ahead of those who haven’t started!) But this is a great time to be a mentor! To give of your time, and share your experiences with newbies. Community is where growth happens, all the more quickly when there isn’t any competition involved.
Put in the Hard Work
Remember how we said United was the best conference in the galaxy? When we said people’s lives are changed, we weren’t kidding. One of our main speakers, Ben Hartley, gave a talk that we broadcasted live. He shared how he got his start in the photography business (his photographer friend told him not to do it and that he would bring the industry down. OUCH), but he has since grown a legit empire through hard work, perseverance, and sticking to his priorities (top of his list is NOT his business by the way.)
After United, he received this e-mail:
We have never met.
I tuned in live to listen to your presentation for the Showit United conference last week.
My purpose in writing to you today, is to say THANK YOU!!!!
…I have been a wedding photographer for 8 years now. I photograph 30-35 weddings a year, and I “used” to love my job. But this year, something changed for me. Without boring you with the details, I lost my heart. I was overwhelmed, bitter at feeling like I give up my personal life for others, and feeling unappreciated & unloved at every turn. My marriage has suffered from my job, and so have other relationships.
…the morning that you delivered your speech, I had found myself crying on the bathroom floor…
And literally an hour later, you gave your talk.
And again I cried.
But this time, the tears were for something else. It was gratitude, and heartfelt appreciation for the message that you gave. I felt as if you had come into my life at the exact moment that I was hitting rock bottom.Your positive energy was uplifting.
The TRUTH that you delivered made me realize how much of my thoughts and actions have directed me to the exact circumstances that I was in… but also gave me the strength to sit up and want to change.”
How many of you can relate to all of this? It is so easy for us to turn something good – our business, our marriages, our kids, even food, money, fame – into ultimate things! And when we turn one good thing into an Ultimate thing – everything else suffers. The balance is way off.
So the challenge is to find the right balance. Everyone talks about Work-Life Balance. Do you know why? Because it is so hard to get right! But let this be a challenge to you. Not a New Year’s Resolution kind of challenge. But an actual challenge that you take to heart and live out! Get organized. Get in community. Get your life back. Get off your phone once in awhile. We hope 2017 was a great year for you. Let’s all work together to make 2018 our best year yet. For the sake of ourselves, our relationships, our communities, and our businesses.
We at Showit are a website company. We are big fans of nerdy things. But we are even bigger fans of community, which is why we love to put on United every year. Registration is closed until 2018, but if you would like to find out more, you can do so here. We would love to see you there and have you as a part of our community!
There are several ways to grow your photography business and reach your goals in 2018. Find out how to spend more time on the important things in your photography business when you outsource wedding photo editing to a specialist, like ShootDotEdit. Plus, download our How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business Guide to discover 50+ pages of actionable tips and tricks for you to use for your business!