Today's guest blog post is by Rosh Sillars, a veteran photographer with a photojournalism background specializing in people, food and interiors. He earned his BFA in photography at the College of Creative Studies (CCS), Detroit. Rosh offers his services to traditional media, new media and corporate clients. He owns the creative representation firm The Rosh Group, Inc. and teaches photography at two universities and serves as a marketing and social media consultant for Synectics media. Rosh is also the coauthor of the book Linked Photographers guide to marketing and social media.Please visit his new project The Driven Business.
Is it really possible to increase dramatically your photography income?
Photography has changed over the last 10 years. Digital cameras have made everyone a photographer; many of the basic point-and-shoot jobs have been lost. But, that doesn’t mean the opportunities are gone.
The truth is, there are more opportunities than ever. The secret is to make your competition irrelevant.
Great photography and your creative ideas are the answer. Photography can be combined with writing, video, Photoshop, and other digital technologies to help you create unique offerings.
You must find your niche.
If you don’t have a good website, you are not in business. Make sure it is easy to use and well-optimized (If you don't know what that means, find out.) to attract the people who are searching for what you do. Don’t take search engine optimization lightly. Make sure you have a blog that is updated weekly with great images and text.
Get out of your home, office, or studio. Business is about people and developing relationships. Go to at least one networking event a week. Make sure you have business cards, portfolio cards, and your freshest images ready to share on your smart phone or tablet. Always have a portfolio available. You never know when opportunity will come knocking.
Follow up using the social web. Keep your new connections alive through social media. Develop new relationships using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Don’t sell to your followers, educate them. Teach them how to find leads for your business and you return the favor with opportunities and valuable introductions.
Create partnerships with companies that focus on the same target market. Develop packages and market your products in cooperation.
Don’t just sell your product. Sell the experience of working with you. You can’t hide behind your products. Photographers today need to understand that if they are going to be successful they are part of the product. Customers, in many cases, are buying the photographer more than the photography.
Make it easy for someone to do business with you. It is important to protect your copyrights. If copyrights were not important, people wouldn’t be working so hard to take them from you. Keeping your copyrights will increase your income by providing more opportunities to resell your images at the appropriate time. But, the issue of copyright, business practices, and contracts doesn’t have to be an us versus them battle. Keep it simple.
Unless you photograph events, you should be using the per-image-pricing model. Your rates should be based on the value of each image, not your time. It is much easier for customers to justify a few hundred dollars per commercial image than $1,500 a day for the photographer's time. This model can easily be adjusted and applied to portraits and family photography. Each image has value; never give away a valuable CD full of images.
Don't forget to follow up.
Communicate regularly with past clients. They are the best referral sources you have, so make sure you collect e-mails and addresses. Don’t let them forget what a great experience they had working with you. Keep them up-to-date with you newest images. Give them the tools and the opportunity to refer you.
The best marketing campaign you can participate in is to regularly send hand-written thank-you notes. People like to be appreciated. Your appreciation is often rewarded with additional income.
What strategies will you employ to grow your photography income? What are you trying now? Willing to share so that can learn from each other? Post your thoughts below!