Marketing in any business is tough, and when it comes to a photography business it can also be tough. This is sometimes because of the non-commercial interest that comes in to picture when we talk of photographs adorning walls. However, despair not. You can still make your photography business a highly marketable product or indeed, service. Follow some simple rules and get off on the right track!
Decide what your photography business is going to be like
There are two kinds of photography businesses that you can set up. It can be either Assignment photography or Stock photography. In both cases, the name explains it all. Assignment photography is the kind of business where you are assigned or hired to take photographs of something. It can be any event or just someone. The event can be someone's wedding. And that someone of course could be anyone.
Stock photography, on the other hand, is a business where you already have photographs in stock and you are selling them to interested parties. The stock photographs can be anything from flowers to nude women.
Therefore, you have two options to decide on. Basically, people start with the assignment photography thinking that it would give them a meagre but steady income. That is true to some extent but it will give you a very small audience.
Whereas stock photography business will help you reach a wider target market audience. Stock photography is recommended because that is where the potential of the photographer has better chances to be recognized.
Target your audience
When you are dealing with stock photography, you have a great chance of spending lot of resources without any returns. This is especially the case when you don't know who your audience is. When you are out to click those beautiful moments, make sure you know who you are going to show them to. This streamlines your clients and would also help you take photos that are relevant to your market. Try sending postcards or samples of your photos to your targeted clients and see their response. This way you can make a mark among the circles you want to feel your presence.
Give them what they want
When you do present your customer's photographs, make sure you're giving them what they asked for. So many photographers don't! This is important. They have chosen you because they believed that you were going to supply them with what they wanted. If you make a volte face and give them photos they don't need, you are sure to lose them. Therefore, be very attentive to the details and give your customers what they ask for. Take notes when they tell you what they want. People rarely remember more than 7% of what they've been told in a conversation 24 hours later - so take notes. A happy customer means more business!
Be present at places that matter
- When I say be present, I am not speaking about the physical presence of the photographer. I am talking about exposure of your work. Advertise them wherever possible and that's relevant. Keep the costs in line, advertising can get out of hand. Make sure your advertising in the right places. Publish your work on the net through some of the photography sites or stock houses. This would greatly increase your client base as your photographs are showcased along with the others. The sites may take a percentage of your earnings but it is worth it as you are just building your base while you are being paid. You can always start on your own once you have a considerable presence in the right circles.
- Think about organizing an internet site and drive traffic to it.
- Advertise on AdWords at Google.com and Yahoo.com (you can now target local areas through Google)
Look for local markets too
- Join your local library that may publish your photographs in their weekly or monthly journal, ezine or newsletter. Making sure that your contact details are always available. This way you can get a foothold in your own locality.
- Go to your local florist and leave some business cards with the promise of a tip if work successfully comes your way from their referral.
- Visit your local church, mosque etc. and leave your particulars. You never know when questions are asked in these circles. Reciprocate with some free services from time to time.
- There are many venues you can work with like this, just put your thinking hat on.
Accept help from your peer photographers
Knowing some other photographers can also be immensely helpful. If they are good enough, they can show some of your collections to their clients who have some specific requirements. Even if they don't showcase your photographs, they may help you with some valuable tips to market yourself and networking ideas.
No replacement for quality
No matter how much you market yourself, if the quality of your photographs is not up to the mark, you are definitely poised to face doom. The quality of your photographs should be the best you can possibly present and keep in mind that there's always room for improvement. Quality most often results in recommendation and referral. Once you have a customer, never, ever skimp on quality because it's more costly to find a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.
Photography business marketing is often a case where your photographs have to be in the right place at the right time. Do not think that it is all by chance. The truth is, it is you who will make them available at the right place at the right time just by following a few commonsense marketing rules. All the best and happy marketing!