Create A Photography Business Checklist To Help Start Your Dream Business

16 06 2011

Create A Photography Business Checklist To Help Start Your Dream Business If you’ve been thinking of starting your own business for some time now, the easiest way to get started is to begin with a photography business checklist. This list will provide you with the details of what it takes to get started, and give you a something that makes the tasks seem more doable.

So, if you’re ready to move forward in photography, where do you start? What are the most important steps to consider when starting a photography business?

1. Start by defining the type of photography you choose to offer your clients. Everyone has a different reason for becoming involved in photography. Some love working with babies and children. Some prefer working on location with families and pets. Some love commercial work, and making products come alive. Some find passion in creating wedding photography.

While many photographers choose multiple specialties, keep in mind that any one of these can make a lucrative career. The more passion you have in your chosen line of photography, the easier it is to promote your work, and get known within your specialty.

2. Establish your business identity. Once you decide on your specialty, use that specialty to identify your name and your brand. While some photography studios are named after the business owner, others use a more generic name. A name is a personal choice. But above all, make sure your name speaks to your desired clientele.

3. Decide what resources you need for your business. Do you need a commercial location for a studio? Will you work out of your home? What type of camera equipment will you need? While a start-up business shouldn’t invest in extravagant equipment, you should purchase enough equipment to sufficiently do your job, and to have backup equipment available at all sessions.

4. Decide what vendors you will be using for your business. A photography studio needs a variety of services, including a professional photography lab, album companies, framing companies, office supplies, and production supplies.
An easy way to find many of these vendors is to attend a photography expo. There are many local, regional, national and international expos available to the professional photographer, including Professional Photographers of America, and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. And sign up for newsletters at places like VirtualPhotographyStudio.com to stay on top of some of the newest and most exciting trends.

5. Join professional organizations to network with like-minded individuals. There are a variety of professional photographer organizations. It’s also important to join organizations in your community, such as entrepreneur groups, networking groups, and chamber of commerce’s. All can provide you with invaluable resources.

6. Market your business to prospective clients. Every business needs customers to survive. Top priority for any new business is to bring in new clients not only to establish yourself as a business, but also to begin making a profit for your business.

7. Add your own goals to your photography business checklist. Provide specific goals that will help you realize your dream. Add things like “quit full time job in October” to help motivate you to take action on your ideas.

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





How To Develop A Great Senior Portrait Package

14 04 2011

Each year over 2 million high school juniors make their way into their senior year, and start the long trek to finishing up high school and starting out life as an adult. Because it’s the last step to enter adulthood, it’s always been a right of passage to commemorate it with a special portrait session – the high school senior portrait.

Competition is fierce within this marketplace these days. Even just a few years ago, many high schools had a closed door policy, and they would interview and select a few photographers to recommend, and require each of their seniors to go to a pre-approved photographer. Schools have opened up now, and allow anyone to go anywhere. Yearbook inclusions are more lax, and you’ll see a variety of sizes, styles and displays within the senior graduating class section.

Just because anything goes doesn’t make that the right approach to senior photography. If you make it an experience, it can still bring you in a substantial amount of income during the few months of shooting time. But you have to know how to package accordingly. Here’s some advice.

Start out with a plan

Many senior photographers grab a client, head out to the park, and spend 30 minutes shooting a few images. They put them on a disk, hand it over to the client, and pocket $50 or so. And that’s the end of the revenue stream. You will never get a reorder if you hand over the files for this price. The client will take them and run, and do whatever they choose with the images. So that should never be an option.

Your first strategy is to set up more than one package, and gently lead a client to the higher package.

If I offered 3 packages: $150, $300 and $450, and offered the files in the $450 only, how many clients do you think would jump at the $450 package? Yep, a good majority of them. And I’ve increased my profits because I’m still willing to give the files, just not at the lower price.

And your $450 client will be a much better, easier to work with client than the $50 special. They will have more patience, more time, and be willing to let you do a variety of things to bring out the best in the senior. Plus you will feel more comfortable spending time with the senior, knowing you will be bringing in a lot more income.

Give a professional presentation

How do you advertise for your seniors? If you want to bring in a lot of business, you have to showcase your talent.

Marathon Press has always offered a variety of ways to market to the senior market. They have preproduced pieces that give you an easy way to order postcards and brochures, ready for mailing. They also provide fully customized services, allowing you to place your own images into a variety of formats. Because they specialize in marketing pieces for the photographer, their work is 100 percent quality, and their goal is to help you bring in the business.

Create a theme each year, and carry that through your entire promotion. You should also update your images each year, including the recognizable faces from the last class. If you are including photographs from several years back, the new graduating class doesn’t recognize the faces, and has less motivation to use you.

Turn the package into something fun

If you provide a package with an 11×14, a few 8x10s, 5x7s, 4x6s and wallets, it’s easily comparable to everyone else – and to the discount stores that do the printing for a very low cost.

But if you include a 20×20 wall portfolio with a series of images in it, it’s no longer comparable. It’s unique.

Look for ways to turn your senior packages into more than anyone else can offer. Look for groupings, special sizes, and special ways to display your images.

Then showcase your differences. Anyone can take a senior picture. But only a professional can give you the experience of a senior portrait session.





10 Reasons To Blog About Your Photography Business

13 04 2011

Blogging has become the most talked about, significant marketing strategy available to small business owners today. If you are planning on growing your photography business into the future, you should be familiar with the latest blogging techniques available to you, and start using the powerful features that will put you light years ahead of your competition.

Currently 133 million blog records are indexed by Technorati, a blogging directory, with 900,000 blog posts being submitted every 24 hours. For many people the idea of blogging may seem a bit daunting. With that many people blogging every day, what are your chances of using it as an effective marketing tool?

A successful photographer for over 20 years, and a successful blogger for over 4, let me share with you my list of ten reasons you need to be active with blogging. shaking hands

[And if you’re already successfully blogging, feel free to forward this post to your friends and clients who would benefit from learning how to grow their business using a blog.]

1. Find clients.
Blogs allow you to give detailed case studies about each of your clients, including photographs. The more detailed you are, the more you’ll attract the attention search for similar characteristics. And if you’re trying to reach out to a more affluent client, blogging is a definite must.

2. Meet your peers.
Blogging isn’t just for people talking about their personal lives. In fact, blogging is one of the fastest growing tools online. Both women and men are seeing the benefits of blogging, and are turning to using it for business faster than many other forms of marketing. Jump on board now in its infancy, and learn how to capture interest with just a few minutes of work per day.

3. Establish yourself as an expert.
How do you become an expert? By sharing your knowledge. And with the ease and low cost of blogging, nothing could be easier.

4. Build relationships.
StudioPress Premium WordPress ThemesBlogging allows your personality to shine through. While your business blog is mostly business, the occasional personal post lets people develop an understanding of who you are as a person. Even if you’re thousands of miles away.

5. Build your visibility.
Have you ever been to a site with three pages, and just a few sentences on each page? It’s hard to develop an opinion. But with a ton more content, your clients and prospects can visit page after page developing their viewpoint. More content also means more connections in the blogosphere – allowing you to connect with many more people than with just a few pages.

6. Share information with your niche.
I’m willing to estimate that 80 to 90 percent of all photographers choose to have the same Flash website developed as their competitor. You know, the one with just a few pages where the content is fed in to an about us page, a services page, and a gallery section rotates showing the top 10 images. What set up a part was having over 20,000 images on our website, and hundreds of pages of quality information. All of that is easy to do with a blog.

Premium WordPress Themes

7. Inexpensive way to market your business.
Blogs are low cost, and easy to set up. In a short period of time, you can take charge and easily start sharing information with your readers. I would highly recommend creating your own blog instead of using the free blogging systems like Blogger. I’ve heard many nightmares of creating a very valuable blog, only to have it turned off because a service like Blogger misunderstands your intentions and deletes your files.

8. Easy way to get instant delivery of your ideas.
Have a new product? Blog about it immediately. Have a new client? Blog about it immediately. Because you have full control, you can add any type of content whenever you choose, 24/7/365.

9. Get noticed by the search engines.
Google likes blog posts, it’s a fact. And because it likes them, your pages will rank a whole lot better than similar pages on a website. And once you begin learning more about optimization and social networking, you can gain first page rankings on Google and other search engines again and again.

10. Give you a starting point to online networking.
Blogging is the tip of the iceberg. It has so many benefits, it would be impossible to list them in any one place. But the important thing is to get started now, learn this type of technology, and use it to help grow your business in the future. You’ll soon be as addicted to blogging as I am. And if you need help or support with your strategy, I’d be happy to help.

Have you ever tried blogging? Do you agree with these 10, or do you see something else as more pressing? Why do you blog?

image source yan=]





How To Use Flickr To Promote Your Photography Business

4 04 2011

[So you’re wondering how to use the many online tools to market your business. This week I’ve decided to start a new How To series that does exactly that. We’ll take a look at many of the different online social sites –things you can do for little to no cost – and show you different ways to put them into your marketing mix.]

Flickr is one of the hottest online social tools that allows you to share your photographs. Flickr was started back in the beginning of 2004 by two game designers who wanted an easy way to share photos that featured their gaming project, and quickly blossomed into something much more. Yahoo purchased Flickr for $35 million in 2005, and the rest as they say is history.

How To Use Flickr To Promote Your Photography Business

So if you are a photographer, chances are you have used Flickr in some manner. You may have an account. You may have uploaded a few images. You may be active. But in the land of “free”, how can you use Flickr to attract clients to your photography business?

The secret lies in thinking of Flickr as an extension of your business. Its not just a casual site where you can put up a few images of your clients, share it with them, and allow them to send their images all over to friends and family – before they’ve paid you for your services. Instead, you have to look at Flickr as another sales tool – without treating it like a sales tool. After all, the worst thing you can do is get to salesy on any social networking platform.

Start With Your Flickr Account

How is your Flickr account set up? Is it based on a cute nickname (i.e. photogirl123)? Or is it based on your company name?

When you think of Flickr as an extension of your business, it’s easy to see how you should set up your account. Title it by your business, personal or website name – which ever makes the most sense depending on the way you market your business. Once your name is established, build your profile and your groups to support your branding and your business.
Read the rest of this entry »





10 Ways To Help Break Photographer’s Block

2 03 2011

As a writer, I understand writers block very well. When you sit down and start at the computer, wondering what your first sentence should be, nothing can be more frustrating. The same can happen with photography. What do you do when your facing a new portrait session, and you can’t think of a single thing new to do with your client? Let’s look at 10 ways to help you break photographer’s block.

1. Just shoot. Instead of sitting around waiting for an idea to hit you, spend the next 30 minutes shooting. Shoot at least 30 images in that 30 minutes, and look for things around you that can build into the photograph. Digital Photography image source Noel Zia Lee

2. Start surfing. Head over to Flickr and browse through other images. With millions of photographs online, you’re sure to find something that sparks your interest. Use that as your model for shooting. Read the rest of this entry »





5 Questions That Will Make You A Successful Photographer In 2011

14 12 2010

Thinking about the New Year? I know I am. I’ve been making plans for weeks now, and already have several great ideas lined up for the first couple of months.

Success doesn’t just happen; it’s created. And the more you plan for it, the more likely success will find you. Whether you have or have not started making plans for 2011, take a look at these 5 questions, and use it to move your business one step closer to success.

What do I want to accomplish in 2011?

If you’ve found yourself asking this question, writing down goals, and planning your first promotion for the New Year, you’re well on your way to success. You’re making plans instead of waiting for things to happen to you. If not, its time to do exactly that. Sit down and make your list of goals today.

How can I make 2011 better than 2010?

No matter how good (or bad) business was in 2010, there are always ways to improve. What would make your 2011 better? Would you move from part time to full time? Would you increase your sales by 20 percent? Would you book an additional 5 weddings? Stretch your mind, and take your goals as far as you can.

How can I improve my photography in 2011?

Planning on going to any conventions in 2011? WPPI will be coming up in a few short weeks – we’ve attended that one for years. Do a quick search online and you’ll find dozens of different training possibilities to help you improve your photography skills. And whether you’ve been photographing for 1 month or 50 years, there is always something new you can learn that will give you a new way to look through the lens of your camera.

How can I improve my business in 2011?

If you have your own studio, it isn’t enough to be great at photography. You also have to be great at business. Don’t just take in what you learn at a photography convention, open up to possibilities beyond photography. Can you take a marketing class from a marketing guru? How about read a book from a social media expert? Business rules don’t hold true within one industry; they can be used across the board in all fields. And it may give you an idea that no one else is using within the photographic community.

What can I do to help someone in a new way in 2011?

It’s the ol’ “givers gain” philosophy. The more you give, the more you get. Ask anyone that is truly successful how they give back and they will provide a host of ways they participate in the givers gain philosophy. They may tithe 10 percent of their income. They may belong to a charity and participate frequently. The important thing is they recognize that to be well rounded, and truly successful in every way, you have to share what you have in some way.

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

 





8 Questions That Will Lead You To Quit The Photography Business

20 10 2010

8. How will I find the money to buy more equipment?

Photographers love equipment. The newest camera body or a really great lens has been known to send shivers down a passionate photographer’s spine. But when you find yourself starting to book photo gigs just to have enough money to buy the latest gadget, you know you’ve reached a whole new level with your photography.

Pricing Your Photography

7. Why do I have to market my business?

I get it; photographers love to photograph, but they hate to market their business. It’s time to get over it. If you are in business, you have to market, and you have to sell. That’s the only way to bring in money, bring in profits, and survive as a professional photographer. Read the rest of this entry »