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Lesson 7: Power Tips to Boost Your Photography Business

For many photographers, dealing with the business side of things is something that they procrastinate on and dread doing. That only leads to an unfulfilling photography career that’s filled with lost publicity/exposure, fewer clients and less prestigious project or jobs. So, if your attitude is to hate dealing with the business side of your photography career, you better turn that round quickly…unless you like bad results.

Still, you may feel overwhelmed and ask yourself, “How can I get a handle on my photography business?” This is particularly true, especially if you’re new to the business or have just been putting off running your photography business…as the business it really is.

Have no fear, though—that’s why we designed this ultra-helpful photography lesson just for you. We’ve heard from various photographers, and one of their main gripes is how to run a successful photography business.

Without further ado, here are the three most important power tips that you have master.

1. Modern Marketing

What’s modern marketing? Modern photography marketing is relying on technology and all the benefits that are easily at your fingertips, thanks to the power of the Internet.

Build a Powerful Website Portfolio

Running your photography business comes down to one thing, fundamentally: You want and need clients to find you. The best way to ensure that they find you is by having your own photography website.

Portfolio by Zach Gold

Portfolio by Zach Gold

With the right planning and web designer or tools, such as Defrozo’s drag-and-drop website builder, you’ll be on your way in no time at all. Any decent portfolio site must include the following elements:

  • A generous sampling of your best shots
  • An effective “about” area
  • Contact information that’s easy to see
  • A list of your clients (if you’re at that point)

Use Social Networking

Social networking is the savvy use of social media sites like Twitter et al to market your photography business, your skills as a photographer and your brand. Various photographers have had success with, for example, actually utilizing Instagram as a virtual, online portfolio—in place of the old-fashioned physical portfolio!

Guess what? You can do the same thing! All it takes is having the discipline to regularly update your Instagram or Twitter with a regular stream of some highly creative, unique and personality-showcasing pictures.

Take up Blogging

Yes…blogging. Blogging isn’t just one of the greatest tools for giving news readers quick and instant updates on the hottest stories of the day. It’s also one hell of a great inbound marketing tool…one of the best, in fact. If you already have a portfolio website, you’re highly advised to also consider adding a photography blog to it.

Photo by Richard Hug

Photo by Richard Hug

This will help you to create really substantial value for your site visitors and prospects. If you doggedly keep updating your photography portfolio site’s blog with your best photographs and one-of-a-kind tutorials, you’ll eventually build a following of regular readers. This will naturally boost your marketing prowess.

When you blog, your prospective clients will find out about you, which is why it’s great to use a highly effective CRM system such as Studio Cloud. This nifty platform makes it a cinch for photographers to gather and retain vital client information like birthdays and other important details about them. This will only help you to establish stronger relationships to bring in more referrals!

2. Old-School Marketing

Old-school marketing involves anything that does not use the Internet and has been working for generations.

Take Out Ads in Print

Yup, you may be forgiven for thinking that print is dead, but it really isn’t. One of the most successful ways of boosting your photography business is by taking out ads that many people will see. Sure, this will cost you some money, but it takes money to make money, of course.

Print ads get your name out to the public, plain and simple. That’s why we recommend starting with taking out ads for your photography business in your local paper or art publication.

Hold Exhibitions of Your Work

Warning: This is a course of action that’s pricier than the other approaches to marketing listed here, but it’s well worth it. Not only is your name, again, where it should be (out amongst the public), but your prestige rises dramatically, almost overnight.

You see, when your work is featured at an exhibition, people start taking note of you and begin to believe that you’re somebody special. To guard against breaking your piggybank, start small by approaching your local art centers and galleries to see if they’ll put your photos on display.

Give the Gift of Free

Sometimes, it can really pay monster dividends if you shrewdly disguise your advertising of your photography business by handing out free gifts. Case in point: A good strategy to pursue is handing out free pictures and artwork to your local baby boutiques, hair salons, doctor’s offices, etc. Any small business in your area will do.

For instance, you could take photos of the buildings and staff and put them into nice photo folders a business could use on their reception desk or waiting area.

Of course, you won’t just be handing them out with no strings attached! Be sure to include some business cards with every free gift, and you’ve successfully marketed your photography business.

When you start doling out gifts for free, you’re likely to generate word-of-mouth advertising from your gift recipients. Another great way to generate good word-of-mouth publicity is by using StickyAlbums.com. This ingenious service actually lets you create digital photo albums of your work that your clients can take with them on their mobile phones.

3. Using People Power

The use of people power is as old as time itself. It is epitomized by making your connections with people work out in your favor…always.

Remember to Do Some Networking

Doing some good, old-fashioned networking in person is a powerful approach to boosting your photography business. Occasions such as photography events and even exhibition launches are the perfect opportunities to get in close contact with people face-to-face (read: potential clients).

Photo by Michael Heiss

Photo by Michael Heiss

The beauty of in-person networking is that you can approach it subtly: Just let slip that you’re a photographer and ready to take on new clients while conversing about various topics. Also be sure to bring along some of those trusty business cards that you can hand out.

Use Testimonials to Your Advantage

Using testimonials is extremely powerful because they instantly help to build up your credibility as a photographer. Testimonials will come from your past or ongoing clients who, hopefully, really, really enjoy the work you did for them.

If they agree to provide you with glowing testimonials, you can integrate them with the earlier tip on building your own photography portfolio site. Simply feature said glowing testimonials on the homepage of your portfolio site, and watch it bring in results.

Join a Photography Club or Group

This may sound hackneyed or corny, but the success you’ll experience by being around fellow photographers (both amateurs and pros) will not be something to sneeze at. Surrounded by your fellow creatives in a supportive environment where projects, work and shooting ideas are discussed and nurtured, you’ll never run out of inspiration.

As a bonus, you’ll also meet more photographers in your local area. This can naturally lead to more contacts for additional work or projects down the road.

Take These Power Tips to the Bank

With these power tips for your photography business by your side, you’ll be able to increase the success of your operation in no time flat. As you just read, it’s important to diversify your marketing efforts to get the very best results for your business. Don’t just stick to one thing: Try all sorts of different avenues to maximize the exposure of your business.

Rely on a mix of old-school and modern marketing to make this work for you; don’t forget about using people to boost your business since they’re the world’s greatest resource. Take these tips to heart and really execute them well, and you’ll witness firsthand how they will boost your photography business.

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