No photographer wants to get into the photography business with the aim of becoming a marketing expert. But the reality is that if you don’t focus on the marketing and business end of photography, your business will not be able to survive long enough to do the fun stuff. It stinks, but this is the truth.
Create your own photography business system
All businesses are different in their needs, but a photography business is no exception. What works for one photographer may not work for another (and a photographer’s needs change as well).
There are, however, some basic business goals that all photographers have, and they are important goals no matter in which type of business you are and no matter which type of photography you do.
Simplify the 3Ds
All successful businesses need the following:
Above all, though, is discipline. You must be disciplined in what you do every day: how you start your day and how you end it. You need to be disciplined about your marketing plan and by how you work.
If you are disciplined in your business practices, chances are you will make enough money to do the fun stuff. If you don’t, you’re done. No questions asked.
Enter Google Glass. I don’t want to get too far into it because it’s possible to get your hands on it and not do anything with it. But they want you to wear these things all day every day. And their video says literally “we want you to do marketing all day, every day, and to not have to ever worry about how much time you have left.”
Use your identity for marketing
If you are an architect or a hairdresser, you can just put a picture of yourself on the business cards you give out to the public and call it good. You don’t have to explain your business to anyone.
Photography, on the other hand, is more of a personal business. You don’t want to just throw images of yourself all over the place and call it good. In fact, people can have a pretty good idea of what kind of photos you do.
You need to use the pictures on your business cards to help your marketing. I know some people who use pictures of themselves or their children to help their marketing.
Look, I’m not telling you to use people and their families in your marketing. But if you use pictures of your own children or the kids that attended your photography classes, it’s a good way to tell the public about you and what you do.
Number one thing you need to decide in photography is whether you want to be a full time photographer or a part-time photographer. If you want to be a full time photographer, your business will need you to be working full time. This requires a full time income. If you shoot classes, both you and your students will need to make money or you can have no business. So that kind of decision is easy for you.
If you don’t want to be a full time photographer, then you need to decide how much you want to work. Some photographers do a lot of standing around and talking and looking at the camera.
Some photographers block their calendar with “specials” that have nothing to do with their photography. If you want your business to generate income, you have to decide what those items are. If they don’t involve your photographs, they won’t generate income.
Your photography business could be a year-round business if you want. But if you decide that you want to do some part-time photography, you have some things to think through.
Are you willing to put in the time every month to sell your business?
Are you willing to put in the time every month to market your business?
Are you willing to turn off your bar back in order to make more money selling your business to the public?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself, if you decide you want to be a part-time photographer. If you decide that you would rather be a full time photographer, on the other hand, you won’t have answered these questions yet.
Statistics don’t lie, so if you want to know the truth, keep track of the numbers. Do you think you can make money as a part-time photographer? These are the only numbers you need to see to decide on your business.
Be patient to the public
If you want this business to work for you, you first need to decide to do it. Next, you need to decide that you are going to be patient with the public. And then you have to decided you are going to be optimistic about the future.
I have known some photographers who are quite miserable with their customers. Some photographers never smile. Heck, photographers I know get angry. I don’t know, I guess I’m a little bit of a negative Nancy.
But these are the most common examples of photographers I know. They haven’t had very much success. I think some photographers give up because of their own lack of faith in the future.
But if you can have a positive attitude about the future and the people you will be spending the rest of your life with, then you won’t have too many problems.
I know some photographers who take on the camera equipment in the room.
I don’t mind doing that. And I have bought some of the equipment I’ve taken on in the room.
You’ve likely heard the term “sponsorships.”
Sponsorships are a huge marketing tool, but they are not a marketing tool you can use on your own.
A good marketing strategy for a photography business is running a professional photography business AND having the ability to sell your photography to advertisers. The reason for this is that photography is a service. And services have unique advertising opportunities.
Good photography is engaging media. This means that viewers will be more likely to buy a product from a company they have seen on television or heard from the radio. This also means that viewers will be more likely to want to take a class, take a class participant home, and buy their business products from you.
In order for this to happen, the photographer needs to be approachable.
If you are approachable, it doesn’t matter if your equipment is broken, or you don’t have time for questions, and you can’t take a picture for your business or take the camera away from your son to take a picture for your business, you have the ability to get your business working for you.
Some photographers have good cameras, but bad habits. They do everything wrong, and they need to be photographed.
Some photographers have nice equipment, but they are aloof. They are sticking the camera in people’s faces, and obviously not listening to everything they are saying. If their viewers buy their products, this means that your viewers will be more likely to buy a product by you as well. In fact, if you are interested in hosting another teacher, please let us know.
The point is, if you are patient with the public and learn to be more relaxed, then you are more likely to have success with marketing yourself.
Teach a full time photography program to someone
I continue to see some photographers who want to teach everything to the public. They seem to think this would be a good way to generate income.
But if you have a full time photography program, you will not be able to give much, if any, artwork to your viewers.
You are not going to have time to create those “one of a kind” photos. However, the quality of your training will be much higher if you are teaching the class.
If your classes are full of happy people, your viewers will be happy. The less time your viewers have to ask questions, the better your chances of having successful sales.
How do you know if your viewers are having fun?
It doesn’t really matter that this means you have to spend time out of your busy photography business. Because if you are teaching people, you will find that time for your photography business.
If you are not teaching people, then your time will be your photography business.
The most money you will ever make with this one is $10,000 to $50,000 a year. This can happen, and it can happen easily.
The thing is, you don’t have to teach anything. You can just teach someone how to take pictures the way you have been taught in your own school.
The good thing about this is that you can manage who gets your schoolware. You can direct them so you get financial benefits, while you don’t have to worry about the insurance, the maintenance of your equipment, and so on and so forth.
The biggest problem with this is that it will take up more time than you have. And finding an employer willing to pay a starting salary of $10,000 to $50,000 is going to be hard.
I mean, who can afford to pay you to teach people to take a picture, if you don’t take it yourself?
I mean, who can afford to pay you to teach people to take a picture, if you don’t get paid to take pictures yourself?
It is not easy to learn to take the pictures you are going to take when you first start out. And not many people know yet that your competition will have this skill in their hand, and you won’t, if you’ve never taken pictures before yourself.
We are not saying that teaching photography is not worth it. We are saying that you need to be careful and have your own agenda of where and how you spend your time.
By the way, this is a common theme in every single business you will find Dr. Wibleton in. He says that you have to have your own path, and you need to be willing to pay the price to learn what that path is.
If you want to learn how to be successful with marketing yourself, then please let us know.
Wealthy photographers have more time
I know some photographers who do a lot of photography, but they don’t spare any time for their photography business. They say, “Oh, I can only take three shots today.” So, they take “only” three shots for the day.
So, you can say that you have a lot of money. I know a lot of photographers who now have a lot of money, who still don’t have a lot of free time.
This is because we believe, in our amazing mind, that we have to do the work.
We have to do the work.
We have to make the money. We have to create the art.
And the best thing about it is that we have a business plan.
We have a business plan for what we make and what we earn. We have a goal. We have a strategy for what we want to achieve.
We don’t have a plan for how to be successful. But we have a plan for what we want and what we believe.
And this is a good thing. A great thing.
We have a dream
We have a dream to create for ourselves a good family, to have a good partner, and to create things of value. To spend time with our family, to travel, to be friends with people who are doing the same things.
And what we believe is that this is possible. We can be successful, and we don’t have to be hunched over a camera.
So, are you making enough money to get by? You might not think so, because you are thinking you have killed yourself for eight hours a day.
I really think that photographers who want to do photography should find that time to do their photography. Yes, I know that there is always a chance that you will have to delay it and do something else if a money making opportunity arises; (and I don’t mean just overtime). But if you put some time and energy into your work, then you should have the ability to increase your income.