3 Lessons I Learned Building My Wedding Photography Business Past the $100,000 Level

23 07 2010

A few years back I started doing research for a book I was writing on photography. And I was shocked to learn that in the photography industry, the top 10 percent of all photographers earned in excess of $53,900 per year. That meant 90 percent of all photographers where earning less than this. I knew then something had to change, and my entire VirtualPhotographyStudio concept was born.

building a wedding photography business

Inevitably when I teach or am around a group of photographers, someone always asks about my lessons learned. “What do you wish you knew as a start up that would have helped you jump to the Six Figure faster?” So here are my top 3 lessons learned.

1. Getting To $50,000 is much harder than getting to $100,000
The most difficult thing about building a photography business from the ground up (or any business for that matter) is figuring out what it takes to make it a full time success. If you are earning $10,000 or $20,000 per year from your photography, you have to have a supplemental income from somewhere. But once you hit the $50,000, you’re beginning to look at it more with a full time status. (Yes, there are still all of your expenses you have to subtract, but you’re still earning a pretty decent fee.)

In order to grow from $0 to $50,000, you have to put your systems in place. You have to build your marketing materials. You have to build up a good clientele. You have to have your prices and your products well defined. And you have to devote enough time to everything in addition to your supplemental income source.

Once you move past the $50,000, things are in place – it’s just a matter of taking it to the next level. If you’re struggling now to break into the $50+ level, what do your plans look like? How are you going to achieve it? Make sure you’re thinking at a full time level to achieve full time success.

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Photography Business – Increasing Your Awareness In Slow Times

30 04 2009

What are you doing to stay in touch with your customers?

Every business is seeing a changiStock_000003693793XSmalle this year. What you sold last year may not be selling this year. Your sales and profits are probably a bit different too. 

But its not that there isn’t business to be found out there. There are a ton of photography studios making money – good money – even as you read this.

In the words of Jeffrey Gitomer:
“Business is not down, it’s different.”

So what are you doing to “be different” as well?

One of the greatest assets of my business was my quarterly newsletter. I filled it with a ton of information and dozens of photographed. My clients cherished these newsletters – they really were almost like a mini magazine.

Keeping in touch with your customers is vitally important. When they are talking with a friend or acquaintance, and the conversation turns to photography, you want them instantly to think of you. And to refer and recommend you.

But its expensive to create a mailing today. There’s the hours of designing the perfect mailer. The weeks involved in getting it printed and mailed. The cost of the piece itself. Plus the cost of shipping each piece (and postage is going up in May.)

While I still use snail mail for occasional promotions, my full attention has turned to email. Where else can you communicate with clients whenever you wish for such a reasonable price?

My preferred method is with Aweber. For $20 a month, you can email up to 500 people as often as you choose. You can create a monthly newsletter, or ezine (if you get mine every month, you’ve seen the system in action), send out special announcements, and even create follow up autoresponders. I’ve used this system for years, and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

So why is staying in touch more important now then ever? Because your competition is slowly pulling away from marketing – and is quickly going out of business.

The true winners in today’s economy are the business owners that see opportunity. They know people still have money to spend. It’s a matter of finding those people, and showing them your value. That’s easy to do with newsletters.

  • Show them your latest portrait.
  • Link them to your latest blog post.
  • Showcase your latest wedding.

It will put ideas into your clients’ minds. And make them have a strong desire to choose you.

25 Ways To Generate Leads For Your Photography Business

6 02 2009

1. Submit your stock images to one of the many online stock agencies such as IStockPhoto. Stock companies allow you to build a bio page, and list links to other sites and information. Use this to selectively promote yourself to people that enjoy your work.

Generate additional income for you photography business 2. Send a press release to your local paper submitting a story idea. Newspapers, television, and radio shows are always on the lookout for a good storyline. Provide them with a story that’s relevant to the season, and makes for good news.

3. Visit a local networking group and offer to photograph the group for the website. Many of today’s networking groups have a website to promote their services. Adding photographs provide a personal touch, and will allow you to capture attention as a photographer.

4. Send out letters to your past clients with a new promotion. Your best client is a past client. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

5. Visit a local chamber of commerce and sign up for the next networking group. Your chamber of commerce offers a variety of groups for you to network with. Choose a few groups and visit them to make a handful of new connections.

6. Find a complementary business willing to hang samples in their offices. Provide them several framed images at no cost. Because these images will potentially hand in the office for many months, make sure you use your best work, and provide top quality in both mounting and framing.

Read the entire list>>

Finding Your First Five Photography Clients

23 01 2009

After years in the business, sometimes its difficult to think back to the very first day you opened your doors, and waited patiently until the first client came in. blue eyes portrait

Chances are even if you’re brand new, you’ve started out with friends and family. I remember doing a ton of friends, just to gain experience and to get my portfolio up to where we had something to show other prospects. That’s the best way to start.

I remember one of our dreams was to do love portraits, or photographs of two people in an image that portrayed a scene of romance. In order to get exactly the right look, Andrew photographed his brother and myself in a variety of photographs, which we used to show potential clients what we had in mind.

You have to have samples of what you truly want to do. A potential customer can’t read your mind, and they can’t picture what you describe. They have to see it to believe it, and want it.

You don’t need dozens of images. Just one or two to get your ideas across.

Then its time to get out and network. Bring your image with you and head out to a networking group. You can find dozens of them around your local area. Look in newspapers, call you chamber of commerce, or jump on Meetup.com. I had a list of a couple dozen networking opportunities after just a few minutes on Meetup.

Then go out and talk to people. It may take you several groups to find your first customer, so don’t get discouraged.

The funny thing is the more you network, the more you run into the same people again and again. I attended a lunch group yesterday and met someone new, and ran into the same person at an evening event. People at networking groups are out doing the same thing as you. You will run into the same people again and again. This builds trust and familiarity. Even if they don’t need your services, they may talk to someone later in the event and say, “You have to meet this photographer I just met…”

It will happen, just stick with it.

Helping your photography business, how to start a digital wedding photography business and wedding photography business visit virtualphotographystudio.com and keep up-to-date with all of the photography happenings via our free newsletter.

photo source rockesty

Photography Business – 5 Things To Make You Quit

24 11 2008

handshakeThe headlines everywhere read doom and gloom. It’s the toughest time of all to make profits with a business, not to mention the possibility of starting one up. Should you take all of this to heart? If you’ve always dreamt of starting and growing a photography business, and turning it into your career, is now the time?


I’ve started up 3 separate businesses over the past 20 years, and I’ve seen good times and bad. While good times are great and people definitely spend a ton of money Read the rest of this entry »