The photography industry is constantly evolving, so keeping up with the latest trends and technologies is essential for success. Be sure to check out the photographer’s latest industry report here! One such trend is the rise of mirrorless camera technology, which many believe is the future of photography. While styles in photography can also change due to customer demand, the business of doing business has remained relatively unchanged.
Despite the availability of apps, software, and online galleries, providing an excellent customer experience remains the cornerstone of a successful photography business. Pricing is influenced by several factors, including the quality of the product or service, customer perception, and the photographer’s confidence in their work. To create and sustain a solid photography business, it’s essential to focus on the foundations first.
Business Foundations First
Solid foundational points for creating and sustaining a solid photography business.
When it comes to creating and sustaining a solid photography business, there are foundational points that are essential for success. The first point is “quality.” While branding is important, your product is even more critical to your success. Just as Coke wouldn’t sell a can or bottle if it didn’t taste great and people wouldn’t buy an Audi if it wasn’t reliable and stylish, your photography must be consistently excellent to get customers excited about displaying your work in their homes.
In addition to product quality, the service and customer experience you provide should be an extension of that quality. The packaging and delivery of your photography should reflect the importance you place on your work and your dedication to servicing your clients. When done correctly, it communicates to the customer that you care about your work and their satisfaction. We’ll explore how to achieve and maintain high-quality products and services that set your photography business apart.
Practise your craft! The time to experiment is when the pressure is off. Try new ideas on clients, but only when you have done all the things you know will work, the tried and true poses and things to make them relax. Practise techniques during slow times, grab a friend and maybe even other photographers and get shooting. Enter image competitions!
Having your photography judged by your peers is one of the best ways to improve I know. Getting critical feedback on your images might temporarily sting a little at first but it’s the most valuable way to take your photography to the next level, and there is always a next level.
Professional and Reliable
Being professional and reliable in the minds of our customers is simple and hard at the same time. It means keeping our promises. It means being organized and presenting a polished and well-maintained appearance to the public both in our studios and in every other public point of contact.
Our communication skills need to be courteous and professional and we must be timely in our replies to phone calls and emails. On more than one occasion I’ve had a bride I’ve responded to point out that I am the only photographer she has heard back from.
We hear often how our industry has become saturated with too many photographers per market area. Many of those, dare I say most of those, are people who love to take pictures but have little or no business experience or training. That is a massive disadvantage because about 80% of our time is consumed by business and about 20% is actually spent behind the camera.
When I’m not shooting, I’m answering inquiries, I’m working on marketing, e-newsletters, my blog, editing, retouching, album assembly, … well you get the picture. So those who can excel or even enjoy the business side of studio life will have an advantage because they will put the customer’s needs ahead of their own. It’s not much good to the customer if you only enjoy taking the photographs but struggle to cull, edit, retouch, and deliver the final images in a timely manner.
Being professional and reliable is not rocket science. Just keep your promises and do not bite off more than you can chew. What I mean by that is do not keep accepting new work when you already have a pile of work that needs to be finished. Learn how to prioritize your time.
- Allow a certain amount of time each day to return calls and emails
- Keep track of what you promise such as when finished work will be ready or when you’ll be back in touch
- Use your computer calendars such as Google calendars to make additions and reminders on the fly even from your mobile device.
- Having a clean desk is one way to unclutter your mind as well as the workplace
- Design your Winning Week!
The definition of consistent is a person, behaviour, or process that is unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time. If we can keep the quality of our photography, our service and our customer experience consistent, then we will have little to worry about.
To consistently create great photographs requires that we constantly sharpen the saw. We must push ourselves to practise our craft and strive to improve our imagery and camera skills so that our confidence and abilities are consistent. Along with our camera skills, our business skills must also be repeatable and follow a pattern.
To be consistent a business needs to implement systems. Every successful business you can think of is successful because they have and follow a system. When you pick up your dry-cleaning they can find your clothes quickly and easily because they use a system. Your groceries are efficiently checked by using a sophisticated pricing and scanning system.
Create a Workflow
Your photography business will thrive and succeed only if you can keep a solid workflow and keep things on track using a system. Why not try something as simple as a large dry-erase board or paint a chalkboard in your office area?
Mark down all the steps from shooting to delivering your product across the top and mark the client names down the left side. This creates an easy-to-follow tracking system for all your current work. When a job is completed you erase them and add the next new one. Do you check all print orders as they go out to make sure you didn’t miss anything?
That saves time and frustration at the other end when you check them coming back to make sure the lab didn’t miss anything either. It’s essential that whatever system or method you choose is one you are comfortable with so that you will use it faithfully.
Making rules that you don’t follow is the road to failure. Having your prices for example on a well-designed price menu for clients to refer to is one way to keep consistency during an ordering session. That way every client gets the same price each time and there is no chance of two clients meeting to discover they were quoted a different price for the same product.
You Got This, Photographer
While our photography technologies continue to change, we can assume moving forward, that the way to retain clients or turn prospects into clients, is to continuously strive to meet the demands and expectations of our customers.
We can do that by consistently providing a high-quality product (the result of constant practice and continuing education), being professional and reliable ( prioritizing our time so we can keep our promises) and being consistent in our business practises through creating and maintaining systems that we agree to follow.