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It’s that time of the year – everywhere you turn, people are talking about new year resolutions, goals and targets. Be it health, relationship, or even business related. If you have a professional photography business or even if you are an serious enthusiast who has thought about becoming a professional photographer, here are some business tips to help kickstart 2015.
This can mean different things in different parts of the world. But the end result is almost always the same. Take whatever steps needed to ensure you are following the law in setting up your business the right way legally. In most countries, that means registering your business name, getting a tax ID number, and filing the appropriate paperwork with the local government. When you are legitimate, clients will appreciate and respect you even more.
I cannot stress enough the importance of creating professional goals. They form the anchor for your business and help you navigate the waters when things are going great, and when the waters turn rough. When you have a clear vision of where you want to go, nothing can stand in your way. When you are having a bad photography day where everything seems to be going wrong, revisit your goals and they will help you correct your course.
The photography industry, like most industries, is constantly changing and evolving. As professionals we often forget to take the time to update our own skills and knowledge. Luckily there are many different avenues to get an update on what is the latest and greatest in the industry. There is no lack of online classes, articles, or even YouTube videos. Or if you are like me, sign up for a workshop or two – it is a great way to not only polish your skills, but also meet other photographers and make a connection or two.
I really believe in the adage that there is only ‘One’ you. What makes your brand unique is you and your personality. There are millions of photographers out there, but there is only one you! Differentiate yourself by showcasing your unique personality in your brand. You can do that in many different ways in your business – through videos, your interactions with your clients, the content on your website, and your images. My love for nature and the outdoors is very apparent in my images and my website. Travel is my inspiration and has its own page on my website. I love clean and fresh images and my editing style is minimalist – that is who I am, and my clients appreciate that and have come to expect it.
This was a great eye opener for me. Recently I sat down and documented my workflow from start (initial client inquiry) to finish (delivering products and getting paid). There was such an imbalance of time spent across various activities. Documenting the process not only helped me understand where I was wasting precious time, but also where I was spending too little time. I was able to automate some processes and streamline my workflow.
Another personal tip – I turn off the internet and shut off my phone when I am editing a family session or a wedding. This really helps me focus and manage my workflow.
Follow other photographers and gain inspiration from their work. But don’t imitate them – imitation stifles personal growth. Let your individuality shine through your own work. Not only will this help you stand out from the rest of the crowd, but it will also help you find your own voice and give you the confidence to take your art to the next level.
We all know that having a blog is like having a voice on the internet. A blog helps clients interact with you. Make a conscious decision to update your blog regularly. Most people believe that updating your blog three times a week is really beneficial for SEO. If that is something that you can commit to, more power to you. Keep content fresh and exciting – don’t just blog about your sessions and post a bunch of images about the session. I categorize my blogposts as ‘Weddings’, ‘Portraits’, ‘Inspiration’ and ‘Personal’. Use your blog to showcase other aspects of your business – products you provide, gear that you love and why, or even who are you as a person – the face behind the camera.
Check your equipment. This includes your primary camera, backup camera, and flash. Get cameras and lenses cleaned and serviced so that they are in top working order when you need them. I use Canon Professional Services Membership, which is a great service that is quick and efficient. Don’t forget the accessories – check reflectors for tears, missing tripod attachment plates, old batteries, and faulty memory cards. Keep everything ready for your photography season.
I will be the first to admit this is generally one of the things I put on the back burner many times. However this is a key piece of the puzzle to attracting new clients. Showcase your best work on your website, blog, and other social media channels. Let your pictures speak volumes and keep the content fresh. Often times you are so busy photographing and managing your current clients, you forget about the new potential clients out there. Give those clients something new to look at so they keep coming back for more.
Perhaps this should be the first tip on the list. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Managing a photography business is hard and exhausting – both mentally and physically. I love photographing weddings but after every wedding, I feel like I have been run over by a truck! Set aside time to exercise, eat healthy, and schedule ‘retreat time’. Time away from the computer and camera to enjoy the other finer things in life! After all what good is a great photographic career, numerous awards, and accolades if you are not able, mentally or physically, to enjoy the glory.
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