Photography is one of the most demanding and most underpaid creative professions, with a high start-up cost; cameras, lenses, lighting, studio space, travel, and new photographers charging an average of $350 per shoot, the hours are long and the burnout rate is high. So your brilliance goes untapped and future clients miss out on your magic.
The Business of Photography is Changing
With a professional quality camera available on every smartphone and the availability of free AI photography on the rise, people want more convenient solutions to their digital photography needs. The photography landscape is changing quickly. The number of clients traveling to studios for photo is decreasing. In this post pandemic world, clients prefer to have sessions in their homes where they feel comfortable and at ease to be themselves for the photo shoot. Photographers getting more creative, adding bonuses like champagne and custom playlists to tempt their clients into the studio. If you are looking to add an additional revenue stream to your business, reduce your overhead costs, and work with more clients — but this is good news for you!
I started my business exactly where you are. After moving from Los Angeles where I had a thriving client roster, to a tiny town on the Oregon Coast, I had to start my business from scratch. Because my new town was in such a scenic location, photographers came from all over to shoot with their clients, meaning a very saturated market in a very small space. With little desire to give up my weekends shooting families or weddings, and my Los Angeles clients desperately needing photos, I found a new solution that became the primary source of income of my business.
Tip #1 to Add Remote Photography Packages to Your Business
Enter Remote Photography Sessions! I know what you are thinking, it's overwhelming to learn something new, especially when you are just trying to keep the lights on in your current business, but trust me when I say I have made all of the mistakes so you don't have to.
My early photo sessions were shot over Zoom for $250!
And because I was still learning to navigate the remote photography landscape, I was spending 6-8 hours color-correcting and editing the images. (I'm going to help you skip this step!)
Now, I have a seamless onboarding flow that prepares each client well in advance of their session and preps me for each location's unique lighting needs, while delivering images to match my client's most Golden Dreams. I've also developed a signature editing style for remote sessions shot on my clients smartphones, that has landed my work in Domino, Apartment Therapy, Well + Good, Britt + Co, Lonny Mag, Oregon Home, Real Simple + more.
I set my own schedule, my weekends and golden hours are spent with my family and our two boarder collies, out on the lake. I have a three month waitlist for clients, zero overhead, no need for the latest and greatest lenses and lighting gear, and my sessions are currently valued at $2999. I've helped brand photographers, interior photographers, portrait photographers, and family photographers elevate their portfolio, develop their signature style, and streamline their client process to increase their average price per sale so they can have more freedom in their business.
Tip #2 You Need An actual Marketing Plan
That means a plan that you can realistically stick to, and perform every single week. That begins by being realistic with how much you can do, but also challenging yourself to do as much as you can. This is why I love having seamless, replicable systems in my business. I know those are running efficiently, keeping my clients informed and nurtured while I ensure our marketing is on track to help aligned clients find us.
Start by writing a list of all the ways that you can market yourself, and then pick the ones you feel will be most effective, whilst also providing the most touch points with potential clients.
Tip #3 Be Visible Everywhere
Be visible everywhere. Pick the platforms that you enjoy spending time on and make a point of using them for your business. Think about where your dream clients hang out and spend time. I know that personally, a lot of my dream clients are regularly on Pinterest and Instagram. I also don't use Facebook these days, but you might discover that your dream clients ARE on those platforms. Do your research and find out where they are, and show up there.
Networking is so important, and you should never underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing. For that reason, make sure to collaborate with industry professionals on shoots as often as you can. Not only do you need to be creating personal work for your portfolio on a regular basis, but this is the perfect opportunity for you to impress, and make an impact on others. I regularly get enquiry emails from brands because they heard of, or saw my work via a stylist or lifestyle that I've worked with.