Growing a service-oriented business, like photography, can be especially tricky since your ability to scale depends on a single product – your photography skills. Although you may have started it taking on one or two clients a week and getting paid in cash, a more systematic and efficient approach is necessary in order to scale your photography from a side hustle into a legitimate money-making business:
Stick to Your Strengths
Specializing in a specific area of photography can seem counterproductive if you’re trying to grow your business as it limits who you work with. However, having a specialization can benefit you in that it makes you stand out from the rest of your competitors. Marketing your services as a specialist also means you can charge a premium for it, especially if your area of photography involves a high level of complexity to pull off. There are various types or areas of photography, such as portrait, still life, landscape, food, sports, wildlife, fashion, etcetera. Find one that you enjoy doing most and stick to it.
Invest in Good Equipment
The quality of your shots doesn’t solely rely on your ability to find the right angles. Your eye for detail can help find these setups, but the right photography equipment is what will decide the vibrancy, sharpness, saturation, and contrast of your shots. Some of the things you’ll need are a high-end camera and lens, memory card, tripod, filters, flash, and additional batteries. A post-processing software program may also be worth considering for professional photo editing.
Showcase Your Previous Work
It’s important to have proof of work as a photography business. Whether or not a consumer will choose your services over a competitor’s will predominantly depend on your portfolio of previous work. It gives them a better picture of your photography style as well as the quality of work they can expect for the price they pay. Create a website dedicated especially for the purpose of showcasing your curated work.
Build on Your Website’s Visibility
Where your portfolio website shows up when consumers search for local photographers near them will greatly determine your conversion rate over time. The higher ranked your site is on search engines, like Google and Yahoo, the better your visibility is. Optimize your site’s content for search engine crawlers by targeting the right keywords or keyphrases and linking to high-quality sources.
Bolster Your Marketing Campaigns
If you’ve noticed your business growth slumping or stagnating for some time now, it may be time to increase your marketing budget to explore new channels. For instance, if you’ve relied mostly or completely on social media or word-of-mouth to find consumers until now, switching to or adding targeted advertising may give your sales a much-needed boost. Targeted advertising is said to be a better delivery system for consumers as it allows the business to directly reach the right audience with the right brand message.
Consider Investing in a Photo Booth
A photo booth may be the last thing on your mind when thinking about ways to grow your business, but it’s certainly a unique selling point for a professional photographer to have. When you buy a photo booth, it opens up a new avenue to make money as a photographer. You can attend social events, such as trade shows and company parties, and use the booth to generate interest. You can make anywhere between $500 to $1,000 at these events, perhaps more depending on how large the attendance is.
Start Hiring and Training Employees
There is only so much work you can take on your own as a one-man venture. Hiring and training photographers is the next step towards growing your brand. This creates new responsibilities, such as payroll management and scheduling, but it also increases your potential revenue as your business is able to take on more clients. Start with one employee and then hire more after you’ve refined your hiring and training processes.
How fast and far your photography business grows is directly correlated with the amount of time and effort you are prepared to put into it. As a final tip, consider bringing in a partner who can handle either the business aspect or the photography aspect of the operations. Having a business partner will allow you to continue with what you enjoy doing most, whichever role that may be.