Well now that you have gotten through part 1 of the business of photography and my less than encouraging comments lets move on to something a little more encouraging, Marketing.
This is a overlooked area when starting a business. People think that if they take some okay pictures that word will quickly spread and clients will come beating down the door. Well in some industries that is what would happen if you have a good product, but in photography it does not happen. Why? Just look on advertising web sites at the number of people that are doing the same thing as you are. So what should you do?
1 – Display Prints: First you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. If you want people to call get some amazing prints and start showing them around. Put them on web sites, find display space, show them to every potential customer. Now when I say AMAZING prints I am talking about the best of your best. Don’t show okay prints. Don’t have any amazing prints? Get some. Start shooting pictures that take time to set up, use great lighting and great subjects. For the nature people that means get out first thing in the morning or late at night to get the exceptional light. Everybody else is showing prints shot at 1 in the afternoon with flat light, go for the amazing!
For the wedding and portrait photographer find poses that will blow the clients away, work on lighting and shoot, shoot, shoot. As for the size of your display prints? A good saying to go by is “You only sell the sizes that you show”. I have proven it time and again to people that if you only show 8×10 prints that is the maximum that you will sell, show bigger sell bigger. People do not want to buy a large print if they do not know you can print that size.
2 – Get a web site and a real E-mail: I am not talking about a Facebook page, but a real web site that you can design and modify as you like. Facebook is not a real web site and limits a lot of what you should be doing. Nothing wrong with having a Facebook page and your web site but you need to show clients that you are serious and not just a fly by night operation that did not even bother to spend on a real web site. (Whoops sorry about the honesty again 🙂 ) In addition to a web site get a real E-mail address, not email@example.com but one that advertises your web site and shows people that once again you are a real business, one like firstname.lastname@example.org shows people that you have a web site and you have taken some time to set up a business. Whenever I get an E-mail from a company trying to sell me something the first thing I look for is do they have a real E-mail address, if it is Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail (now Outlook) I am VERY cautious about the company.
Question – Should you spend money at this point to market you web site? I have to say at this point no. There is a lot more to do before you should be spending money on SEO and other marketing for your web site. I would make sure that ANY thing you send out about your business has your web site address on it and you are letting people know about the web site but wait on the marketing of it.