I’ve always treated my blog as a journal for my photography work + my random thoughts. I won’t lie…there’s been times I have a tidgeon of self-doubt where I think to myself “gosh…will anyone even read this? who even follows my blog?”. But of course…I eventually snap out of it and reassure myself that I’m following my dream and this is what it’s all about. It also doesn’t hurt when I get emails from people who want to know some of my business advice. Me?! Yes…me. A Mr. Andrew, Queens University MBA student + aspiring photographer, recently contacted me in hopes that I could help him with his project on the business of being a photographer. He felt inspired by the diverse range of my images + yeah…he liked reading my blog! He was mainly interested in knowing my thoughts + perhaps some insightful advice…well…thought I’d share this with any readers out there who are also aspiring photographers!
1. What do you think your clients value most from your business?
I think with photography businesses…it can be challenging because you don’t just have to sell your clients on your work, but also your self too. In this day and age where anyone can buy an slr camera and take a good photo…it can be tough to have both your work and your self stick out from all the others. I stay true to my style and personality…I’m definitely not what you would call “cookie-cutter” and I think that’s what client’s value most about my business.
2. What strategies do you perform to develop a consistent client base and repeat clients?
I’ve only been doing photography as more than a hobby for a little over 2 years. So I definitely still consider myself quite the “newbie” and I’m still learning things as I go. It’s hard at first to develop a client base – but friends + family can do wonders for this business. Even if you’re making pennies in the beginning…there’s really no better practice than to have your friends + family be your guinea pigs! It’s true what they say…the best advertisement comes from word of mouth!
3. How do you find new clients?
Again, as a new business a lot of my new clientele comes from existing clients or from referrals. However, I’ve broaden my base by advertising in bridal magazines and using social mediums to get my name out there. It takes a lot of work, time and money…but if you believe in your passion…others will soon follow suit.
4. What are some of the key marketing strategies that you have used to let your potential clients understand what your business is all about?
I try to show clients I’m different than the rest. Whether that’s through my images, my branding, the things I blog about, the products I offer…I try to stay a little more unique. Not everyone will get it and not everyone will like it…and that’s totally ok. The potential clients you want are the ones that get you.
5. What steps did you take to really excel your business from a start-up to where it is today?
For me, I did a lot of research on the business. From equipment to websites to branding to products…there’s so much stuff out there that you kind of have to do your work and find out what’s really good and what works for your company. There’s a lot of trial and error…and I constantly find something new or better that I like so I find I’m always evolving the business. I’m definitely moving along…but I still have a long way to go before I get where I want to be.
6. In your future growth plans, what are some of the key steps that you plan to implement in order to grow your business beyond where it is today?
My next step in growth is learning more from the successful photographers in the business. There is so much skill and knowledge that you can acquire from those photographers that you can’t get from a typical course. My next workshop with an amazing photographer is in May…and I’m sooo excited. I truly believe that you can’t stay stagnant in photography…you have to constantly find new inspiration to remain “fresh” and appealing – not just the clients sake…but for your sake as well.