Here at ShootDotEdit, we provide photo editing services for photographers. We also strive to provide valuable educational resources filled with tips for your photography and for your business. In the past, we’ve shared how to start a photography business and create a strong marketing plan. Below, we share how to grow your photography business through 3 separate methods.
How to Grow Your Photography Business
As we mentioned in our photography marketing post, content marketing is the fastest way for you to reach your clients and promote your business. It was not long ago that the only news we could get was what we read in the local paper or saw on the news.
With improvements in technology, the Internet now allows us to have information immediately with the touch of a finger. Meetings can be held via Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts from opposite sides of the country (or even opposite sides of the world). Using social media for your business is vital to your success in marketing. Not only can the various social media platforms be easy to learn, but the benefits and growth that you see in new customers, traffic, and referrals are priceless.
Between having the opportunity to share your images with your followers and the ability to
specifically market to your target audience, it almost seems as if Facebook was made for wedding photographers. You can share your unique content with thousands of people, and you can create custom audiences which allow you to reach out to your ideal clients.
Share your photos. Photo posts receive 39% more interaction than normal posts. This number increases if you tag people. Just like you have a wedding photography checklist for the day-of, make sure you have a checklist for images you will share on Facebook after the shoot is over. This allows you to have plenty of content to shar and gives your followers a sneak peek into your past shoots.
Building a business page separate from your personal page allows you to utilize the site’s business features to keep you engaged with followers. Your Facebook business page should represent who you are as a brand and as a wedding photographer. Tell them what you will provide for them through your:
- Cover Image: Design a cover image that represents your brand (These are some of our favorite cover images from a few pro photographers).
- Headshot: Include a professional headshot as your profile picture.
- Vanity URL: Secure your vanity URL by getting 25 likes, showing potential clients that you are established.
Use this post as a reference for Facebook image requirements.
Facebook allows you to expand your reach through customized settings for your ideal clients, which helps you to send accurate content to potential clients. The more specific your targeting is, the more ideal clients you will reach and the less money you will spend. Achieve the best results by:
- Creating a custom audience
- Having a goal for your content
- Testing the process (if it doesn’t create universal excitement, go back and change your custom settings)
Resource: Blog – 6 Ways to (Successfully) Boost a Post in Facebook
Download our free Facebook Guide for advanced tips from professional photographers.
Who’s Doing It Right?
Photographer Heather J. Keys uses her Facebook business page to share more about her business and attract clients back to her photo website and blog. She uses a specific hashtag strategy on Facebook and understands the benefits of using advanced targeting and advertising to attract her photography clients. Heather also shares past images to showcase her unique style and provide fond memories for her photography clients.
Instagram is a social media platform that also seems to be made for wedding photographers. On your Instagram business account, you can display your images, and the main focus for users is to like and comment on your photos. Like we said, made for you as a wedding photographer.[ninja-inline id=19663]
When creating hashtags for your Instagram posts, beware of the following:
- Including too many hashtags in one post
- Making hashtags only for the sake of earning likes
- Using hashtags that are not necessarily related to your business or brand
Know your Hashtags: 19 Hashtags you Need to Be Using on Instagram.
Who’s Doing It Right?
Photographer and educator, Natalie Franke, has a specific strategy in place for her Instagram business account. She also shares some of her top tips for photographers to use on their Instagram accounts to maximize the platform. The tips are as follows:
• Use Planoly for scheduling
• Share quality posts
• Relate to followers
• Stay true to your brand
• Maximize Instagram Stories
Resource: Top 5 Tips for Instagram Strategies
Twitter has over 328 million monthly active users, and has over 500 million tweets sent per day! In one full day, your clients’ newsfeeds are filled with content from businesses all over the world. How do you make it so your posts stand out in the massive sea of Tweets?
Tweeting and Following
- Follow industry trends and professionals.
- Network with prospective clients
- Discuss best-practices with like-minded photographers.
- Drive traffic to your blog and newsletter.
- Update your client base with news and announcements.
- Insert your own personality by tweeting about things you find funny or interesting.
- Get noticed by others in your field by being an active part of the online community.
- With Twitter, you can literally get right into the conversation, immediately. There is no friend request necessary to follow someone or retweet something witty.
Search for hashtags ahead of time to see which ones get the most traction. This way, your post will be viewed by a larger audience.
Who’s Doing It Right?
With all the social media platforms you currently manage, why would you want to add another onto your plate? And what does Pinterest do for your business anyway? These are relevant questions since there is not as much hype about this platform as the others.
Here is why you need to use Pinterest as a wedding photographer: Of the millions (and counting!) monthly active users on Pinterest, 81% are women (42% of female users are in the U.S.). If you think about it, who is spending the time looking at your images? Brides-to-be, of course.
Pinterest allows you to create individual boards you can “Pin” your images to. What is great about this social site is you do not have a limit of how many photos you can post at once. You have the freedom to pin your favorite images from a past engagement session or a wedding shoot. The more images you have on Pinterest, the easier it is for clients to find you.
Place “Pin It” buttons on the images throughout your website, including your blog.
Typically, when brides use Pinterest, they search for a particular word or phrase regarding a wedding. Create keywords for your images that lead brides to your page, allowing them to click through your collection, and eventually leading them to your website.
Who’s Doing It Right?
ShootDotEdit Wedding Pro, Melissa Jill of Melissa Jill Photography uses her Pinterest account to reach ideal clients and increase bookings for her business.
“At Melissa Jill Photography, we have been working to optimize our Pinterest presence for about a year now and we have seen tremendous growth as a result. According to my Google Analytics, Pinterest is the 2nd highest source of traffic to my blog after organic search results. In addition, I have seen an increase in client inquiries who say they have found me on Pinterest. Pretty awesome. Because our content is already living on our blogs, optimizing our Pinterest strategy is a fairly low-maintenance endeavor compared with other social channels.” – Melissa Jill
Resource: Blog – Pinterest for Wedding Photographers: Are You Properly Utilizing It?
Tips for all social media platforms:
- Always redirect to your website.
- Share your best images.
- Create a variety of content.
- Post on a consistent basis.
- Time your posts based on your target market.
- Create and participate in conversations.
Add into your wedding photography contract how you will share your client’s images after you receive them back from a wedding photography editing service. When you include these details in your contract, you let them know that you will share the images on social media, as well as your photo website, blog, and more.
- Make a plan for social media implementation on your networks:
- Stick to the same days per week, during times that users are active and online (see this infographic for more information on the best ways to share on social media).
- Create a Google Doc or spreadsheet that helps you stay organized with your social posts for the month.
- Use a resource like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance for Facebook and Twitter. For Instagram, use Planoly to visually plan, and manage your business account.
- Curate a variety of content for your blog posts. Include the best images from your past weddings to engage your clients (current and potential).
- Start using Pinterest and Instagram to market your business. Share social links on your website, as well as other platforms you use.
A blog, if done right, can be a great addition to your photography marketing efforts. Once you discover how to start a photography blog, you can use it as a portfolio and a place to share the story of the wedding day for each of your clients. Using your photography blog to share your experiences as a wedding photographer allows your clients to get to know you, the photographer.
Adding in additional content, such as a personal blog series, invites your clients to get to know you, the person. Creating content that is relevant for your clients contributes to a successful SEO plan, and is best created by blogging regularly and consistently.
The vital part of a notable photography blog is regular and consistent posting. To gain the benefits of blogging, it needs to be done consistently throughout each month. Plan out your posts ahead of time.
Tips to successful blogging:
- Blog consistently throughout each month
- Link to other people, places, and items within your post
- Include categories and tags
- Share your post through social media
While much of the benefit from your blog will come from the stories you tell and images you share, make sure to set up the way you post each time to maximize the SEO benefit. Once properly set up, you can follow the same structure for each post and see the ongoing benefits from the SEO bump it can provide. First, make sure you understand the top premises for a successful blog structure:
- Dynamic Content: Search engines are always ranking sites with fresh content higher than sites with static content. Your blog is a great opportunity for you to create new content on a regular basis without having to redo your site each time.
- Link Building: By linking people, places, and things in your blogs, especially vendors who can link back, you create outgoing and incoming links which help you rise higher in search engine algorithms.
- Social Sharing: By creating content you control on your blog, you allow others to share that content. The fastest way for you increase your reach is to encourage social sharing to your current clients and vendors (take a look at a few of our favorite social sharing plugins to help).
- Image Sizes: Images should be optimized for the web.
Outsource your blogging needs to Fotoskribe, the leader in blogging-as-a-service for professional photographers. Fotoskribe uses your complex ideas and inspirations, then creates stories people love to read – all in a way that gets Google’s attention.
Resource: Guide – 5 Keys to Growing Your Business Through Blogging
- Create Dynamic Content that highlights your wedding photography and features colorful narratives.
- Schedule out your blog posts for the month.
- View a calendar and place all the photo shoots (both shoots that are completed and need to be blogged about as well as upcoming shoots) into dates on the calendar. Now you have a good visual of when each post will go live.
- Build social media for each blog post. It is great to have blog posts, so don’t forget to share it through several different networks! Create messages for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share.
- Outsource your blogging needs to Fotoskribe to build a consistent schedule and receive SEO-rich blog posts for your business.
In a solopreneur industry like photography, personal relationships account for the majority of business. People buy people, not businesses. Learning how to connect with people is key to growing your wedding photography business. Mastering the art of communication can help you to make better connections and to set the foundation for lasting relationships with vendors and your clients.
Tips for better body language:
- Keep eye contact
- Remain open to conversation
- Put your mobile devices away
Outsource tasks on your plate to free up your time so you can spend it on building relationships. For example, rather than spending your time on wedding photo edits, outsource wedding photo editing to a specialist like ShootDotEdit. While your images are taken care of, you can focus your attention on the relationships that will help you continue to grow.
As you meet and book more clients, you will be sharing a majority of your time with other vendors who help with the wedding day. It is for your benefit to create connections and relationships with vendors through proper communication.
The more you can get your name out there, the more chances your photography business will be noticed by vendors who share a vision similar to yours. When you engage with like-minded business owners who serve the same client as you, you can expand your reach and grow your wedding photography business more rapidly.
Who’s Doing It Right?
Jacquelynn Buck, ShootDotEdit Customer, attends events or groups where other photographers and vendors are to help build relationships.
“Whether it is connecting to a local venue or wedding coordinator, scheduling a booth at a bridal expo (yes those still work), trading business with other photographers (photographers you respect make great referral partners – because we all get inquiries for dates we are already booked, right?) or joining a professional networking group – it’s all about building relationships.” – Jacquelynn Buck
Here are a few other tips connecting with vendors:
- Be the center of your network: Setup face-to-face meetings with your vendors. This says a lot about you as a person because most people communicate through email or social media. Vendors will see you are interested in creating a lasting relationship with them.
- Learn how to say “no”: Only agree to meet with vendors who will result in the growth of your business. Anything else will prove to be a distraction to your long-term goals.
- Use your photography blog and images to build your network: Feature vendors in your blog, showcasing images of them hard at work during the wedding day, as well as the products they provide for the day. This works as free promotion for them, and they may return the favor for you down the road.
Resource: Blog – Top 5 Tips for Vendor Referrals
Just like creating a social schedule is important, the same goes for vendor relationships. To stay top of mind and relevant, you need to always think of how you can help them and regularly meet up with them in person.
In addition to creating connections with vendors, growing your business relies on creating exceptional experiences for your clients. When you create a win for your clients, they become more than customers; they become your marketing department. Client referrals are the most genuine form of photography marketing available. No search engine or online ad can generate as much revenue as a passionate client spreading the word about you, your services, and how much you helped them.
Each client you encounter in your photography business will need to be marketed to slightly differently. Every client you interact with or work with will be placed into a client referral tiered list: Advocates, Evangelists, and True Believers. The main goal for your photography business is to create as many True Believers as you can.
3 Tiers of Client Referrals
- Advocate: The first tier is the Advocate, who will refer you to increase traffic and client
loyalty through the positive experience they have with you.
- Evangelist: The second tier is the Evangelist simply because this is a client who will mention
you without first being prompted.
- True Believer: The final tier is called the True Believer because this client believes in you as a person, rather than in what you do.
If you are determined to connect with others, you can create a network of clients, vendors, and industry professionals that will help you to grow your business. Rest assured that networking does not come easily to all people.
A great resource for more tips on networking and communication in business is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. Potential clients can come from anywhere. Remember that by getting out and meeting people, you can grow your web of contacts and through that, you can find amazing opportunities.
- Networking can happen anywhere. Be open to trying something new:
- Attend conferences
- Go to lectures
- Check out the open houses at the local venues
- Get involved with the community
- Give your clients an unforgettable experience:
- Meet and set expectations from the beginning
- Simplify offering and selling products
- Solve your clients’ problems before they happen
- Be yourself during your client interactions
To grow as a photographer and business owner, continue to learn wedding photography tips and business trick. Find out what works best for your photography business, create a plan, and work toward the goals you set for yourself.
A successful business requires constant growth to stay relevant, and photography is no exception. We sat down with a few photographers and asked them: How did you grow 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.” – Jeff and Erin Youngren
“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.” – Mike Adrian
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.” – Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers
“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.” – Jason Grubb
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.” – Brian Friedman
“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.” – Ning Wong
“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.” – Sarah Lehberger
Find out additional ways to grow your business through a strategic marketing plan with our Guide to Marketing for Wedding Photographers! Click the banner below to download your copy and gain additional insights and techniques from top wedding pros!