Having a career in photography is an expensive and difficult dream to achieve. I’ve found myself, as well as many fellow photographers, looking for alternative sources of income to complete what photography cannot do.
I have worked many hours planning what my next photoshoot would look like, how I would post it to Instagram, then to Facebook, Linkedin and every other network possible.
I’ve also spent hours deciding if I need a website or an online portfolio and how it should look, what it should have and how it should work.
The only thing I achieved was to feel unmotivated and overcome by a situation I could not control.
Luckily, I have learned from all the mistakes I’ve made as a photographer and I can now say that photography is a possible dream. That’s why I want to show you the little things you do every day that are killing your business and how to solve them.
Are you brave enough?
The first factor that prevents us from advancing in photography and ends up killing our business is fear.
Fear of what?
Of what they’ll say.
Not being good enough.
Of facing unknown situations.
You must have the ability and the strength to understand that success in this industry depends on hard work, not just talent.
Learning from your competitors
If the marketing has taught me anything, it’s that you should keep your competitors very close to you.
Analyzing the competition is the most profitable thing you can do for your business. Think that they, as well as you, are pursuing the same goal and perhaps they have already found a way to solve things that you have not yet been able to.
In a dynamic market like the one we live in, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on with customers, but also what’s going on with those who are competing for those customers just like you.
What can we learn from our competitors?
Keep in mind that you must be honest with yourself when comparing your products or services with those of your competitors. But in doing so, you can realize:
- Things that you are stronger and better at than they are.
- Things you are not better than them but can improve on.
- What they do and what works for them (maybe you can come up with ideas for your own processes)
- Processes that they do and are more effective than yours.
- Inspiration to do things in a different way you are used to.
- What are the trends in the market and adjust your own strategy.
Being aware of what your competitors are doing will allow you to better understand the industry and know yourself better. This will ultimately lead you to make better strategic decisions and take your business further.
As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War:
“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, do not fear the outcome of a hundred battles”
You are not focused enough
In my previous post, You’ll never be a great photographer if you make these six mistakes, I mentioned that one of the common mistakes that we photographers make is “doing everything”.
Photography essentially works the same way for any style. However, we can’t fall into the trap of believing that we can do any kind of photography.
Don’t take it personally, it’s not about you and your skills, which are probably enough. It’s more about the difficulty of selling so many services, which are different from each other and are aimed at different customers.
Photography does not sell equally to all types of customers. An advertising project will be hired by a creative director or a producer from an advertising agency, while a wedding will be hired by a private person.
These hints make a big difference in creating your sales strategy. If you have many types of customers, the strength you can have will be divided. It makes more sense to position yourself in one or two types of picture styles and then enhance the others.
Understanding the client
The other fundamental aspect that we photographers forget is the client. We are so focused on improving technique, having better equipment, posting more photos on Instagram, etc, that in understanding what customers need.
Closely linked to this, the most important task we have is to know what the customer wants, when, how and why.
If you manage to discover which are the problems that your client has and how your professional services can help him/her to solve them, you will have found the secret to make him loyal, that is to say, to make him recurrent. In addition, you will be able to get them to recommend you to other people similar to them. So you can’t take this lightly.
Getting away from the client
Most of the actions we take to attract customers actually take them away from us.
We spend time designing the website that we believe will be the best, most functional and that will bring customers and money. However, we usually do it thinking about us and what we would like to see.
But isn’t it the client who will use it?
Is it really useful for our client and does the design and usability that you believe in add value to it?
Every day in my job, I have to look at websites and social network profiles of photographers all over the world. Most of them have pages that are not useful.
Your website must be useful, contain relevant information, show your portfolio and capture the contact information of interested customers.
However, even today there are photographers who don’t have a contact page on their websites. How can a customer contact you if you don’t provide the way to do it?
Also, it is common to see private Instagram profiles. I understand that privacy is a topic these days and there are many people who are becoming aware of this.
But even so, it doesn’t make it easy for clients. They usually go looking for what they need. In my experience, i know they don’t take the time to invite you to connect. After all, there are thousands of photographers like you, so they just have to go to the next one and that’s it.
If your privacy is very important, create a professional profile that you keep within reach of your potential customers and that serves as an entry point to your website, your portfolio and your work style.
In the end, there are many mistakes we make while we are building our business. The important thing is to identify them and learn.
Use the networks in your favor
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do is to link your accounts together. That is to say, that your website has links to your Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, etc. And the same from your social networks to your website.
With this, you make sure you have as many entry points to your portfolio as possible and get customers to spend time viewing your work. In the end, this is what we are looking for with being on the internet, right?
But we won’t stop there. Nowadays we photographers have profiles on different platforms to show our work and get clients. These networks must be attended, updated and linked.
In Modelmanagement.com you have the possibility to contact professionals of the industry interested in making projects. By linking your website or social networks, you make sure that they see your work on the platform but also go to your networks.
This is how you increase your visibility and position yourself in the market.
Don’t wait any longer and link your networks.
What mistakes have you made and have you been taught about your business? Share with me your personal experiences.[:]