Here at ShootDotEdit, we believe “Fast is Best” – that is especially true when it comes to our image editing services for photographers. Fast turnaround time matters for our business and YOUR business. When you have a fast turnaround time, not only will the progression and growth of your business increase, but your reputation for quality service will be noted and will reach many more potential clients. Here are three reasons that fast works and needs to be implemented into your business. [···]
Setting up photography pricing can be a professional photographer’s Achilles Heel. Price too high, and you may have no clients; price too low, and you may work a lot but never break even. As a business owner, you need to know your pricing as well as you know your camera. With this healthy balance, you will be well on your way to successfully optimizing your photography business. For you to have the best business you can, we wanted to share these 4 secrets to creating a killer pricing sheet that will help you to book your dream clients.
Even though curling up with a good book and enjoying some R&R during the winter months is a tempting (and even productive!) way to recharge, there are some other key things that you can do now that will help prepare you for a great year. Here are four things you can start now (and work on through the winter) so that by the time the busy season rolls around, you will be ready for your best season yet!
Re-evaluate Your Product Offerings
Sales is both an art and a skill. In fact, many of the world’s best salespeople take an artistic approach to their customer’s buying process. They intuitively understand how to put themselves in their customer’s shoes, and anticipate their pain points. Sales guru Zig Ziglar wisely observed, “people don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” So, you don’t have to dread doing sales pitches. Instead, think of sales as an opportunity to be creative, by providing a solution to a problem. And entrepreneurs love solving problems, especially since solving problems is essential to building a profitable business!
Why is sales simplification important?
It’s important to simplify your product sales for one big reason: confusion stalls sales. If your client doesn’t know what to order, when to order, how to order, or just gets confused, you might lose the sale or undersell to someone who wanted to purchase more. If you want your clients to buy products, you have to make it easy and fast for them! Make your sales communication – emails, phone calls, and in-person consultations – simple and succinct so clients can quickly find everything they want to order.
Not sure how to keep it simple when it comes to your product sales? Here are three important tips.
Tip #1: Integrate the sales conversation throughout the experience with each client.
Since sales is equal parts artful psychology and tactical skill, you should plant sales seeds in your earliest communications with clients. Think of it as educating your client throughout their entire experience with you. Then, sales becomes about helping your client solve a problem. Give examples of which products will work best for the type of photographs you’re shooting and—especially if you’ve gotten to know your clients well—what will work best for their taste and style.
Tip #2: Be Prepared! Do the sales work upfront.
A surefire way to cause confusion when educating clients on the products you sell is to be unprepared. Before you start explaining your products to clients, make sure you too have a clear understanding of your pricing, turnaround times, product details and–most importantly–benefits for your clients!
If you don’t know these details, you’ll come across as erratic or unprepared, ultimately causing confusion and slowing your sales.
Tip #3: Try easy-to-use product sales tools.
If you don’t enjoy the sales side of your business, gain confidence by leaning on easy-to-use product sales tools. There are a lot of great sales tools out there for professional photographers, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all. Keep your sales process simple, by choosing one or two tools that work for you.
We recently partnered with ShootProof, a tool that offers an easy and efficient way to proof and sell your photos online. Plus, you can now send your images straight from ShootDotEdit’s photography editing services into your ShootProof account, instantly making your product sales process more efficient. For more information on how ShootDotEdit can help your business and introduce you to other helpful partners, download our free guide.
A large part of being a successful photographer lies in understanding the difference between profit-generating and profit-leeching activities. Minimizing activities that aren’t adding to your profit will allow you to spend more time on activities that are helping your bottom line. Sounds like a simple equation, right? It is. But in the day-to-day busy-ness of running your business, it’s easy to get sidetracked by tasks that not only drain your energy, but also drain your bottom line.
Set up your business so that you have time for profit-generating activities
Shooting, building relationships and managing your business from a high level perspective to keep on track with your goals are all profit-generators. (Plus, shooting is why you got into business in the first place!) Ideally, you want to set up your business systems so that you can devote the majority of your time to these areas.
Activities that are necessary but aren’t helping your bottom line include editing, bookkeeping, album design, studio management and slogging through emails. Although these tasks are all necessary, they’re not directly generating profit for you. Recognizing the tasks that aren’t directly profitable is important so that you can find ways to manage these profit-leeching activities as efficiently as possible. That way, you can get back to making money and stay focused on reaching your business goals.
Tip: Look at the ratio of how your time is spent—are profit-leeching activities taking up a majority of your work hours?
Measure the opportunity cost of doing profit-leeching activities yourself
If you’re considering partnering with a specialist, you should measure the opportunity cost of doing everything yourself versus outsourcing.
Whether it’s marketing for print orders and image fulfillment, album design, or editing, there are numerous areas you should consider the opportunity cost of doing yourself. For instance, the photo editing services that ShootDotEdit provides photographers includes the UNLIMITED PLAN that costs $299 per month. The cost for a year of the UNLIMITED PLAN is less than or equal to the profit of a single wedding shoot for many photographers. Editing eats up hours of your precious time over the course of an entire year. By investing in the UNLIMITED PLAN each month, you can do additional shoots in all the hours that are freed up. These profit-generating activities will easily cover $299 per month (and likely allow you generate much more in profit than this monthly cost). In this instance, the opportunity cost for you to do all of your own editing is far greater than the cost of the monthly plan.
Manage your profit-leechers with partner solutions
So, what’s the most efficient way to manage the areas of your business that aren’t adding to your bottom line? Partner with someone who can do these tasks more efficiently than you can. By allocating business funds toward partner solutions, you’ll free up your time to shoot more and earn more!
Partner solutions for accounting, album design, post production and print fulfillment can be key to growing your business. Use systems that fit naturally with how you already operate your business. Finding specialists for areas of your business that aren’t efficient will allow you to focus on what you do best—shooting and relationships. Specialists are experts in their respective areas and because of that, they can do that task fast AND do a great job. Learn more about how to implement Specialists into your business in our Free Guide on How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business.
It’s easy to lament the rapid evolution of the photography industry. It’s a fact – the industry morphs quickly as droves of hobbyists enter the market. Meanwhile, technology constantly changes the accessibility of equipment, and iPhone photos inundate Facebook on a wedding day, mere moments after the event occurs.
But it’s important to remember that in evolution lies opportunity. There’s a silver—maybe even golden—lining for businesses that are willing to step up and respond.
So to encourage you to not settle for what worked a few years ago, but instead step up to the plate with new ideas, here are three companies who are doing just that: innovating. They came out of nowhere, changed the rules, and thrived against all the odds. Here are three lessons you can learn from them.
1. Amazon.com: Innovate in a Changing Market
In the mid 1990s, everyone said that e-publishing would kill books as we knew them. Amazon found a way to keep publishing alive by delivering books to your door. In 1995, it sold its first book, titled Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, and then quickly expanded to offer boatloads of products – products that they sell today to consumers around the world.
One of Amazon’s innovations is a single fee for unlimited shipping; another is rapid delivery times, even promising same-day delivery in some cities. Amazon turned the slow publishing industry into a fast-paced, at-your-fingertips model.
What Photographers Can Learn from Amazon:
As technology develops, photographers will make their clients happiest by embracing consumers’ desire to have their images quickly AND in a format that is easy to share. In addition to how quickly you deliver images after a wedding, examine all aspects of your business, from your pricing structure to your product offerings. Imagine what could make the overall experience better for your clients. These innovations within your company will point the way to a new success.
2. BuzzFeed.com: The Importance of Sharing
In 2006, before Facebook opened to the public and when Twitter wasn’t yet born, BuzzFeed realized that sharing was about to become big. If a story, image or video is going viral, it’s on BuzzFeed. They don’t feature traditional news; they track what’s “buzzing” in the social world and share it, while encouraging readers to rate and comment. It’s simple – they get you involved in current conversations. And something simple, like unapologetically sharing trending topics, turns the traditional news model upside-down. BuzzFeed harnesses the inherent value of participation, enabling readers to post tags on stories which then become searchable categories for future users. Sharing begets sharing – and that means a growing audience for BuzzFeed!
What Photographers Can Learn From BuzzFeed:
Socialbakers recently did a study of social sharing and found that 77 percent of shares are photos. Having an image-driven business gives professional photographers an advantage: people will want to share your images. Because sharing is a key component of generating social engagement, make your images easy to share, whether that’s on your website, a client proofing gallery, or in your social networks. If you prefer, watermark your images to ensure that every share is also a free advertisement for your business!
3. Toms: Stand Out by Doing Good
Toms started in 2006 as a way of introducing an ancient Argentine shoe to North America and helping the children of Argentina at the same time. The model was simply to donate a pair of shoes to a child in a developing nation for every pair of shoes that Toms sold. The section titled “Evolving Our Giving” on the Toms site showcases the company’s commitment to social responsibility, and is an example of how having an altruistic company cause can attract customers. More important, it’s an example of how companies can make doing good a core competency.
What Photographers Can Learn from Toms:
Use your talent to give back to causes that you care about! And when you do, don’t be shy about it. Consumers are compelled to engage with companies that do good – companies that stand for more than just generating profits. Remember, consumers are captivated by stories. And when they personally connect with a story, they’ll feel inspired to do business with a particular company. When clients connect with your values and the story you’re telling about your brand, they’re more likely to tell others about you. And that helps make companies like yours (and Toms) stand out in a crowded marketplace!
What’s unique about you as a wedding photographer is that you have the opportunity to outsource your wedding photography editing post processing needs! That means that you have more time to work on your business to make it stand out from the rest of the photographers in the industry.
Innovating, focusing on shareability, and aligning your business with a larger cause are three windows of opportunity. You have the chance to continue redesigning your business to evolve with the changing times. The question is simply, will you step up?
To learn more about what ShootDotEdit can do for you and your wedding photography business, download our free guide.