7 Tried and True Tips When Starting a Photography Business
1. Treat your clients as you would want to be treated.
This is basically the golden rule in life right? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Well it’s the same principle. Treat your clients as you would want to be treated. Would you want to just be “another statistic” to the business owner…or would you like to see yourself have a relationship with the owner of a business and become friends? I am a people person naturally…maybe you aren’t. Regardless be interested in your clients, their lives and their interests. Make your clients a part of your family…your business family and remember you are the mama.
2. Go all out
If you are going to invest time and money into a business…why would you not go all out? Don’t you want to start right…attract the right clients…have a spectacular quality…not quantity? Think about it…shoot for the stars…aim high and go big. If you are going to spend $500 on a lens…that doesn’t have good quality… not good enough for a professional business…you are better off saving a little longer and getting the quality. I would rather see a photographer have one great camera body and one professional lens…versus quantity of 5 cheap lenses that reflects in the quality. Don’t cheat yourself and your clients. Don’t tell me you don’t have the money…you have the money for everything else…don’t chimp yourself with quality over quantity. No No No.
3. Don’t forget the details.
What details are you skipping and forgetting? Details matter. What one of us doesn’t like to go to the spa where they treat us like we are a queen and an hour flies by like it was 5 minutes. Please don’t tell me if you don’t like that treatment…I don’t even want to know!!!! Be honest…we like high class treatment. Think about it…why do you? It makes you feel loved and special. Think about your business in the same way. Is there a detail with your product packaging you can add…what about a special treatment for your clients…that bride that loves coffee…go out of your way the day of her wedding and get her her favorite coffee…you might be wondering…well Erin HOW IN THE WORLD would I know what my bride likes. Go back up to #1. Get to know them.
4. Keep track of your time.
As a business owner our time can get sucked right out of our day if we aren’t careful. Take time to look at the clock jot it down and see how many hours a day or week you are spending in your business. Yes we have to invest time into our businesses…but is it sucking your time? Steward your time before it steals your time. Set up a schedule of when you work or boundaries when you don’t work. This can be a hard balance because as a business owner this is ALWAYS something we can be doing. Whether editing, social media, working on a website or blog, contacting clients or responding to emails. Scoping for new props or watching a youtube tutorial 15,000 times trying to figure out how to clone something out. Right? Yes..watch your time and what you invest in your business. There is a factor of balance in this topic. More to come on this topic in future blog posts.
5. Invest in your education
Are you a photographer that is secluded…has no colleagues that you personally know…are you trapped in your office…tied to the computer trying to learn every editing and shooting trick known to mankind? That’s all good and everything…but have you invested? I don’t want to go to a surgeon who has not invested in his education to know how to perform the specific surgery needed. The day in age we live in…all too many photographers want to just buy a camera and call themselves pro. Sorry it doesn’t work like that. It takes time to become a pro…it takes building relationships with educators in the field. Find someone you can learn under and not just the free youtube channel or the free blog. Invest.
6. Make friends…not enemies…with colleagues in your same field
Oh…this can be a touchy subject. We are colleagues…not enemies. We are here to encourage one another…not be threatened by one another. We are here to build up and watch each other grow…not to tear down. There is enough of that out in this world. Find a group of photographers you can find encouragement with…you can shoot with…you can refer clients that you can’t take on to…you can email them when you’re down…you can grab a cup of coffee with them and chat all things photography. You have to do something on your part. The verse in the Bible comes to my mind…A man that hath friends must show himself friendly. Most likely someone with a lot of friends is a friendly person…they have invested in friendships. Same with our field as photographers. If you want photographer friends you must show yourself friendly. Have you commented on a photographers picture recently? What about their blog post? Have you encouraged them with an aspect of what you love about their business? I challenge you to do so. I can guarantee you won’t create enemies…rather you will make friends.
7. Take time for YOU
As business owners…I’ll say it again it’s sooooo easy to take too much time for our business and forget that we are human and need a break. Schedule down times in your business. Don’t have the mindset well I NEED the money. You may need the money, but I can guarantee you, you need the time off more. Why? Because it will only boost your creativity…your skills and your energy towards your business. I’m not saying take a year long sabbatical. I’m talking about a day or even TWO days (don’t pass out on me there!! It would do you good to take off a couple days a week!) a week. It wouldn’t kill you…you are a business owner and there is beauty in being flexible with your time. Take a week off once a quarter…how about forcing a lighter month of shooting so you can take that month and focus on updating your blog/website/galleries or portfolios. Take time for YOU. So go get a starbucks, cupcake and massage.
I hope this has helped and encouraged you. Would love to hear from you, share if you care.
See you next Tuesday for more Two Tip Tuesday posts!