As photographers, we pour our heart and soul into creating art that best captures our clients’ precious moments. From beautiful wedding days to exciting family milestones, we craft visual stories to preserve their memories.
However, there’s so much more that goes into building a successful photography business – simply having a good eye, a killer portfolio or the latest camera gear is often not enough if you want to stand out and thrive in an increasingly saturated market.
If you want to scale your business as a photographer and enjoy healthy profit margins so you don’t have to live the “struggling artist” cliche, keep reading for our top tips on business skills every photographer needs – plus 3 bonus mindset tips!
If you struggle with your marketing and branding, you’re far from alone. 80% of photographers say that marketing is the biggest challenge they face in growing their business.
To stand out in a saturated market, you need to develop a strong and memorable brand identity, along with sharing a clear message that resonates with your target audience.
The first step to getting your marketing and branding right is by gaining a deep understanding of your ideal client and their needs. It’s not about you or how good your photography skills are – you first need to understand the problems they’re looking to solve to provide an irresistible solution.
Once you’ve identified your ideal client and their problems, you can then effectively communicate your unique value proposition through your website, social media, and other marketing channels.
Check out our ‘Marketing with Purpose‘ online workshop (replay).
Knowing how to price your services and/ or products correctly (and confidently) is crucial for the long-term profitability of your business.
While understanding your local market’s supply-demand trends is important, it doesn’t mean that you have to match your competitors’ prices. When setting your photography prices, you need to have a clear understanding of your costs, the value you provide, and the prices that your target market is willing to pay.
Once you’ve set your prices you’ll then need to be able to confidently communicate your prices and effectively handle objections to close more sales. When negotiating, focus on listening before speaking – help your clients to feel seen, heard and valued if you want that to be reciprocated.
- Blog: How Much Do Wedding Photographers Charge Around the World?
- Our best-selling ‘Pricing Calculator‘ for photographers & videographers
- Pricing with Purpose online workshop (replay)
- Sales with Purpose online workshop (replay)
You’re not just an artist, you’re a business owner.
Critical for your photography business’s long-term success, you need to have 100% clarity about your revenue, expenses, cash flow, and profitability.
That means getting comfortable with managing your finances by having a solid understanding of basic accounting principles and being able to track and analyse your financial data regularly. If managing your finances feels overwhelming or like a chore that you keep avoiding, leave it in the hands of a trusted financial expert.
Aside from having a “good eye”, time is the other most valuable asset for your photography business. To achieve your business goals and avoid burning out, you need to be able to manage your time effectively to maximise your productivity (and creativity).
This requires setting clear priorities, creating a schedule that aligns with your goals, and investing in tools and systems to help automate and streamline your workflow.
- FREE online webinar: “Can We Use AI to Get More Leads for Our Photography Biz?”
- Blog: 15 of the Best AI Tools for Professional Photographers in 2023
- Our favourite tools & resources for photographers (including discount codes)
Building strong win-win relationships with your clients goes hand in hand with building your business’s positive reputation.
Nurturing your reputation requires a client-centric approach, backed by excellent communication skills and the willingness to go above and beyond to exceed your clients’ expectations.
Not only will happy clients bring your business more word-of-mouth referrals, but they will also reaffirm your self-belief and confidence.
- Beautiful hardcover Client Journal for wedding photographers
- Email templates for wedding photographers – with variations for all niches and scenarios
As cliched as it may be, the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” often rings true in our tight-knit photography community. Aside from serving your clients at your highest level to encourage their referrals, you should also be expanding your network within the industry.
From fellow photographers to venue owners to florists, you should use every opportunity you get to network with other industry vendors – because many hands make the dream work! Aside from connecting you with potential clients, networking also provides exciting collaboration and learning opportunities while surrounding your business with a supportive, like-minded community.
Whether it’s jumping on an opportunity to second shoot for your favourite photographer or offering to take behind-the-scenes photos and reels for a venue, networking can expand your horizons more than you’ll ever know.
Read our ‘Meaningful Networking: Nurturing Relationships with Other Creatives‘ blog for more detailed networking tips.
While mastering the above business skills is crucial for the ongoing success of your photography business, you also need to commit to your nurturing your mindset and personal development. Because the most important person for creating your business’s success isn’t your highest-paying or most loyal client – it’s YOU.
No one else is responsible for your photography business’s success and/or failures.
You need to cultivate a strong, resilient mindset to help you overcome the inevitable roadblocks along the way so you don’t buckle under pressure.
Life as a photographer and creative entrepreneur will never be easy, nor will it be predictable. Mistakes will be made and failures will happen.
Failure is an inevitable part of our learning process – and it’s vital for our ongoing growth and progress.
The more you overcome your fear of failure, the more you’ll be primed to play the bigger game and the more you’ll get out of your comfort zone to do what it takes to succeed the next time around.
Running a photography business can be challenging and lonely, even at the best of times. You’re bound to face obstacles and setbacks along the way – and your family and friends who are in “conventional” jobs may not be able to provide you with the support you need.
Rather than dwelling on each setback and letting it bring you down, embrace the unexpected and ride the learning curve. Use each setback as an opportunity to improve and refine your skills.
Developing a thicker skin will help you to bounce back from setbacks, stay motivated, and persevere through trying times.
A growth mindset is a belief that your abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Feed your growth mindset by embracing challenges, seeking feedback, and focusing on continuous learning and development.
The truth is you will never rid yourself of problems. But as entrepreneurs, it’s not about getting rid of our problems – it’s about finding bigger problems. The bigger the problem you solve for someone (or yourself), the bigger your reward and the more your business will grow. Look for big problems and solve them with even bigger solutions.
The Six-Figure Business Map is a 12-month online course and community for photographers, videographers and creatives who are ready to:
Because building a successful photography business isn’t as hard as you think (or what they want you to believe).
The Business Map reopens for enrolment on the 22nd of May – but if you jump on our waitlist, we’ll load you up with bonus FREE training to help you celebrate wins before you even join us!