So as I say goodbye to 2015 I can't help but think about how far Back to Life Photography has come. Running a photography business is hard and there isn't a book or you tube video that can really prepare you for its ups and downs. I am in no way saying that I am now an expert, however, I am hoping to share some things I learned over 2015 that could possibly help you in the new year.
1. A facebook page is simply not enough.
A facebook page is simply not enough. Creating a fb business page is usually the first step a photographer takes when deciding to go PRO. We all know your not Pro until your FB official! Creating a FB page is definitely a must, however, it does not replace a website. Creating a website allows you to display your work in a clear and consise manner. A website allows you to seperate your portfolio into seperate tabs; making it much easier for your clients to browse through your work. I personally go through Zenfolio. With zenfolio I can offer proofing galleries and even sale prints; Anything from a 4x6 to a 24x36 canvas. Here are a few other options to check out Shoot Proof, Square Space, Wix and PASS. Once you've purchased a domain name and have your website going, keep it updated! I noticed that my bookings shot up once I started directing potential clients to my website instead of my fb page.
2. Find your Niche.
What do you love shooting? Is there a specific type of photography you would like to do more of? Find what you love and market your self as that kind of photographer! If new born photography is where your passion lies then you should be marketing yourself as a new born photographer. I do all kinds of sessions, however, I primarily shoot weddings. If you look at the first page of my website, it opens up with a dynamic slideshow showing lots of my current wedding work. If you look at my fb page, my cover photo is a wedding portrait. When people ask if I'm a photographer I specifically tell them I'm a wedding photographer. Wedding photography is my niche. You need to find your niche and capitalize on it! Find what you love doing and run with it! When I started advertising my self as a wedding photographer, I started attracting my ideal clients. I started booking more of what I wanted to shoot, weddings. I am not saying you HAVE to do this, however, this worked for ME.
Get out there! Network with others in your industry! This is crucial to your success! For instance, if you want to increase your newborn bookings, then go to stores that specialize in new born clothes and ask to leave your cards or flyers there. If you love shooting cake smashes, introduce your self to some of the bakers in your area; Offer them a free head shot and build a relationship. The other vendors in your market can be your stepping stone to success. I did not start networking with vendors till the end of 2015 but in just a few short months I built solid relationships with several of the venues in my area. Network with other photographers. Join some of the local fb photography groups in your area. I booked several weddings in 2015 that were leads from other photographers! Make 2016 a relationship building year!
In June 2015 I started focusing a lot of my time on building my fine art portfolio. I started shooting projects 2 to 3 times a month. I was jumping on any gallery I could jump on and setting up my own personal galleries at different venues. I was totally consumed by fine art and conceptual portraiture. All I wanted to do was create! Although I was having decent success in the local art industry, my main business was suffering. I remember looking at my calendar and just seeing emptiness. I knew right away I had a problem. I immediately pulled the emergency brake and stopped all of my creative projects. I had dropped the ball. I picked my self off the floor and went full throttle. I was able to collect the broken pieces of my photography business and put them back together within 2 1/2 months. I filled up my calendar once again. I realized I couldn't run a successful photography business unless my heart and head was in it 100%. Despite the fact that my business had taken a bad fall, in the end it was for the best. I later learned that I could mix my creative juices with my wedding photography to create some amazing imagery. Some of my best work to date was shot at the end of 2015! I am not done completely with fine art photography, I just know where my focus needs to be now. So if I could offer some advice, stay focused! Or learn to find a balance!
5. Don't worry what others are doing!
2015 was full of ups and downs. There were times I felt like i was doing things all wrong. I felt hopeless. I kept comparing my work and my current status to other photographers in my area. This is a vicious cycle that all artists suffer from. We all get lost in the darkness sometimes and feel like everyone is succeeding but you. The best advice I can give you is to STOP competing with other photographers. Compete with yourself! Set goals and challenge yourself every time you shoot. Don't worry about what others are doing. Don't worry about what other photographers are charging! Find out what works for you!
2015 definitely had more ups than downs and I learned a lot. I 'm no expert, however, every day I strive to become a better artist; A better photographer. 2016 is here. What are YOUR goals.