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?
What’s your long game? It’s an important question, but one too few photographers ask themselves when starting a business. Over the seven years my wife Eileen and I have coached photographers to make their studios more profitable and manageable, we’ve noticed an alarming trend: Most photographers don’t have a plan.
I have worked my ass off building a very successful business, one that has been featured on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies three years in a row. But it hasn’t been easy. I am sure as you read this you can relate on some level. You have had things go wrong in your life or business. We all have. I don’t have all the answers. All I can do is share with you my lessons learned and how I have managed turmoil, adversity and negativity in my recent past.
When Jeff and I created The Shoot Space, we were the first shared-studio concept in Wilmington, North Carolina. We’ve managed to put our own spin on the share concept and keep it going for five years so far. Since those early days, several shared-studio concepts have come and gone in Wilmington. In this article, we share what we’ve learned and offer some tips on creating your own shared space.
Many photographers seem to think that maternity work is too niche, too cliché, too Pinteresty. Why would you want to add it to your portrait business? Sure, the maternity portrait industry is pretty much one note—same poses, same outfits, same editing style—but your images don’t have to be. Creating a signature style, an outstanding client experience and showstopping imagery can produce higher sales and also bring you three hidden benefits.
In many markets, wedding photography has become a commodity. A commodity is an item or service for which the market will accept only a specific price. Most of us know the current price of a gallon of gas, and we would not go to a gas station that charges a dollar more per gallon, no matter how much better the station claims their gas is. Quality is perceived to be the same, and the distinguishing factor is price alone. If the market accepts only a certain price and that price is not profitable, how do we succeed?
As any geek can tell you, the entire world can be broken down and referenced within the confines of the Star Wars saga. Therefore, young Padawan, the practice of professional mingling, aka networking, is covered. There are lots of stories about people meeting and finding significant business relationships, but this road is treacherous and filled with people who wield deadly laser swords. Here are the three personality types you will encounter while milling about looking for that ideal relationship.
I love wedding photography. It is my passion. Every week, every month, every year, there are new couples getting married who want us to document their big day. In the United States, there are over 2 million weddings a year. There’s no shortage of opportunities for you to get started in or expand your wedding business. The real question is, how do you up your game and charge a premium for your services? How do you and your studio stand out from the never-ending barrage of competitors in your market?
It’s spring—time for you to start claiming a few customers of your own. Unless you get busy grabbing new business, all of it’s going to be going on around you rather than walking through your door. As Tina Fey once quipped, “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” With the second-quarter seasonality come some amazing opportunities for great content, direct mail and partnerships. There’s a lot to think about, and although you’re coming down to the wire since it all starts ramping up in the next few weeks, you’ve still got time to do a lot. I want to help you thrive in 2018, not just survive.