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.
So you think you want to become a wedding photographer? Be careful what you wish for. Yes, it’s true what they say: A career in wedding photography can be quite lucrative. For my wife Eileen and I (The Blumes), our decade-long career has allowed us to create a life of travel and comfort we never imagined. On the other hand, the vast majority of photographers who approach weddings as a golden goose get bitten, and there’s good reason for the burnout and high failure rates. This job isn’t for the faint of heart.
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.
What goes around comes around: it’s an expression we’ve all heard numerous times, but this month it’s so appropriate for eight great promotional products/concepts everyone seems to have forgotten about. Over the last five years, I’ve written about half of them, but it’s time to create a little more awareness to help you make 2018 the biggest and best year you’ve ever had. None of the ideas are new, but most of you will find them unique and loaded with potential for growing your business.
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.
Strategic alliances in business can make major differences in the success of all parties involved if done correctly. This is true for just about any industry, but is often overlooked in the arts. It should never be about competition as much as it should be about synergy (a business buzzword that usually makes my stomach turn, but stay with me here). Aligning your photography business with someone else’s can be the injection of energy you were always looking for if you’re open to it and go about it the right way.
If you’re reading this, it’s because photography is your dream job. It’s probably not because you dreamed of editing images until 1:00 in the morning while the rest of your family sleeps. If we’re going to build our dream job, it’s got to fit within our dream life. So what does your dream life look like? The goal is to work to live instead of live to work. Let’s figure out how to make those dreams a reality. It starts with having a clear idea of your business model, volume and margin.
Shutter and ShutterFest do something really well: They stand out from the crowd. They are different. They are in your face. They make you stand up and take notice. The question you should be asking is: How do I apply some of these guiding principles to my own business?