What does it take for you to succeed in the new year? Many photographers start out by focusing on having the right gear... but it takes more than just flashy new equipment to get your name out there.
Both new and veteran photographers sometimes forget about the other (and arguably more important) things you should do to keep yourself relevant and profitable.
So let's start the year off right! Here are some simple things you can do to have a better and more profitable year.
Networking To Get You New Customers
It's tradeshow season! This is the time to go see speakers, find new gear and most importantly, NETWORK.
Networking is a great way to get yourself and your work out there. Meeting with professionals and people like you is a great way for you to find motivation in your work. Remember, before they were speakers they were just like you.
So if you have a budget to travel, go to one of the shows. You’ll get to see experts speak about how they became successful in your field. You’ll get to see all the cool new tools for the year. And you can create lasting relationships with other professionals and vendors.
We love meeting new people and hanging out with our clients because we're fans of their work. They inspire us to make better tools to make their job easier.
When networking, it is wise to have your website & portfolio looking it's best. The people you meet are going want to see your work! Make sure you have business cards handy too.
The value of having your name in people's hands is better than in their heads. People forget.
Beyond trade shows, this kind of networking is practice for an everyday meeting with potential clients. Have your website handy on mobile so you can easily share your work. Each person you interact with is a possible future client. And don't forget your business cards!
While we're talking about business cards, make sure they have some of these key features:
Your business name & logo. You’ll want your business cards to be fully branded – not just plain text. Your logo and colors should be used to make yourself recognizable and unique. (Just don't go overboard!)
Have your name on it.
Include your phone number & website address.
Have a branded email. Talking to firstname.lastname@example.org doesn't scream professional, does it? Make sure you get your branded email on there.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Doing something different in terms of style, editing, shooting or subject matter might invigorate or reignite your own passion.
Even vets can get burned out doing the same thing over and over again. Experimenting can not only make your professional life better, it can also make your personal life better, too!
New Doesn't Always Mean Better
Your old equipment doesn't go bad at the end of the year. Many people focus on having the newest and best gear, but it’s how you use it that really makes a difference with your work.
Instead of blowing thousands on the the latest trend, think about how you can bring new life into your photography and get inspired using the tools available to you. What can you discover from attending workshops, meeting new photographers, or heck – even through online tutorials and simple experimentation? You may be surprised.
You can refresh your skills and come out stronger without having to whittle away at your profit margin or make investments in gear that you may not use for more than a few months.
Work smarter, not more expensively.
Refresh Your Portfolio Often
A key mistake many photographers make is thinking of their website as static. Set it up once, then forget it!
Remember to refresh your portfolio and website images at least once a year – quarterly if possible. Set a calendar reminder if you have to! Keeping your work current is key for attracting the most leads. This is for a few reasons.
You can put your best foot forward. With any luck, your most recent work will be better than last year. If you’re showing old images, how will your clients know that you’ve been kicking out killer work recently? Rotate your images so that only the best is shown to potential clients.
You'll stay relevant. It’s important to show work that matches the current season and styles. Think about it. A client looking for wintery “scarf & mitten” holiday portraits won’t connect with summer photography. And if you haven’t posted since then, visitors may assume you’re not working much. (Ouch!) Review your portfolio to make sure the photos look fresh for the season (including clothing and hairstyles!) and will resonate with your viewers.
You'll give returning customers a reason to come back. If clients know that your galleries never change, they have no reason to come back. Refreshing your galleries provides an incentive for them to return, see your new body of (quite frankly AMAZING) work, and perhaps get inspired to book another session. Don’t forget about your past clients! They’re your biggest fans.
Write About What You're Doing
If you’re working like mad, how will anybody know if you don’t tell them? Blog often to show that you're legit.
Write about new techniques or locations you visit. Write about awesome sessions that just wrapped up, and include a few teaser shots to entice your readers. Share that post on social media and tag the client. They’ll share your post and you’ll get extra love from their friends.
Beyond social impact, having new content of your site means you’ll be rewarded by search engines because they value websites that update frequently. Your ranking will improve, you’ll have more relevant searchable content on your domain, and more points of entry for people in your area looking for a good photographer.
Blogging is seriously one of the most important (and often ignored) ways you can raise your profile.
In summary, networking with photographers and non-photographers is a simple way to get yourself out there. Always have your work handy and business cards ready.
Try something different. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an awesome way to breathe energy into your personal and professional life.
Having top-shelf gear doesn't always mean better photography. The camera you got the year before hasn't lost its touch. Maybe spend some of your budget on traveling more. Inspiration is much more valuable than tech.
Always make sure your website is showing your most recent work. Your portfolio should reflect a taste of your talents, not a buffet.
Get more experience and take people on those adventures with you. Trying a new lens? Blog about it. Shooting in a new location or style? Blog about it. This strategy will not only engage more people, it helps search engines find you better.
Good luck this year! We wish you a successful and profitable 2017. If there’s anything we can do to help give you an idea boost, marketing tips, or website help, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 866.463.7620.
Happy new year – let’s make this the best one yet!