While it seems that good photography is the biggest factor behind any successful studio, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, you have to produce consistently good imagery and offer a great customer experience, but that is just part of the equation. This month, I provide you with five truths to help you build a brand that outperforms your competitors.
No matter how many people tell you they love your site, if it isn’t bringing in sales, it needs some work. Making changes to it isn’t going to hurt you. Photographers from the commercial and business worlds often understand something that portrait and wedding photographers don’t: Your website needs to be more than a portfolio. Here are five things your website needs to be relevant.
A common mistake that many new photographers make is assuming they keep every dollar they make. Businesses cost money. Whether you only offer digital files or you are a full-service studio, there are still costs involved. Cameras, lenses, memory cards, computers, hard drives, ink, paper, pens, internet, electricity, gas in your car—it adds up. If you’re serious about making money in this business, it’s important to treat it as a business. That means recognizing your expenses and learning to budget for them.
Are you sitting there wondering why your business is struggling? Why your phone is not ringing? Why your email leads are nonexistent? Are you convinced that it’s not your fault? That it’s somehow the Russians? Or even worse, all those dastardly shoot-and-burners? In this article, I show you some ways to change your “luck” and take control of your destiny. The sooner you realize there is plenty of business out there for all of us, the sooner you will start taking a healthy and realistic look at your business—because then and only then will you accept that you control your business.
Since the first issue of Shutter Magazine, I’ve shared one article after another with ideas to help you build a stronger business. I’ve shared ideas about virtually every aspect of your business today—from your website to your blog, marketing, direct mail, education and partnerships. This month I wanted to have some fun with a series of my pet peeves and easy ways to fix them. This list is not all-inclusive. I’m doing a brain dump, and this month’s article is meant to be a free-form collection of ideas all of you can start working on immediately.
Burnout comes not just from how hard you have to work, but because you’re always trying to find a way not to be bored of what you’re doing every single day. It’s not easy to be a self-starter and conjure up a work ethic that could rival anyone’s. To add creativity on top of it and have to be creative on demand requires a magic formula that very few people figure out. I want you to be successful not just in photography, but in life as well. Here’s what helps me in photography and owning my own business.
In last month’s Business Corner, we asked you to daydream about your ideal studio and lifestyle. This month, we’re going to take these dreams and turn them into an actionable plan. In order to do so, your vision for your dream studio must be clear. We’re going to start with your end goal, and then build a plan to get you there.
At some point in your career, you’re going to be thinking about sponsorship, especially if a sponsor actually contacts you. Here are several things to consider. Being a great photographer is only a qualifier. Being a requested speaker, being active in social media, having a blog, writing for a magazine or having a story about your work in a magazine are all key things a company looks at when considering sponsorship. If you’re not a household word, then the issue becomes your potential. You might be a young gun and have the potential for influence with newer photographers, or you might have developed a unique application for the company’s products.
Becoming more productive means becoming more profitable. One option is to do the same number of activities but in less time. Let’s say your time is worth $100 per hour and you make $1,200 for 12 hours of work. If you do the same amount of work in less time, you are now making the same amount of money but doing it in six hours a day instead of 12. Instead of your time being worth $100 per hour, it is now worth $200 per hour. The dollar value of your hour has just doubled.
Every company dreams of having the perfect well-oiled machine with self-sufficient employees. We just don’t live in a perfect world. But this dream of a well-oiled machine of a team can be achieved fairly simply. It takes trial and error, of course. And it’s going to be painful along the way. You’re not going to get it right the first time around (or the second, third, fourth or fifth, sadly). But stick with it. Keep pushing new practices and ideas that work for you and your business, and you will find success for your team.