If you’ve run your photography business for 10 years or more, congratulations! I started my first photography businesses about 10 years ago. In 2005 a more affordable DSLR hit the market with the Canon 5D, Facebook became facebook.com, and YouTube was founded. If you haven’t done much since then here are some ways to bring your business current.
Optimize for search
The number of people seeking photography services through Google dwarfs every other medium, including Facebook and word of mouth.
1,216,373,500,000 (1.2 trillion) Google searches per month generate $111 billion in annual economic activity.
This online pie is large enough to cover the globe, and you’re about to get an all-you-can-eat pass for your business. Search engine optimization (SEO) offers an unlimited number of recipes for preparing this pie perfectly to your taste.
Search engine optimization can help you …
- Get more clients
- Attract the right clients
- Grow your business to a point where you can charge the fees you deserve
- Scale back paid marketing activities
- Look like you’re the best in your area
In a nutshell, Google looks for the keywords searched in webpage titles and text/images. The company’s search engine then orders the results of those pages by their importance (the number of quality links from other sources). Thus to take advantage of search…
The title of a web page should be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content, and it’s critical to both the user experience and search engine optimization.
True authority comes from being featured on other sites with articles, interviews, awards, photos and events about you.
An excellent resource for SEO is Zach Prez’s course, “Search Engine Cookbook for Photographers”.
Improve your marketing
I truly believe consumers are exhausted by advertising these days. So what’s a photographer to do? I took an on-line marketing course (affiliate) for photographers that was a real game-changer and I signed up for Zach’s free ebook with 80 Mostly Free Marketing Ideas. Here are some quick ideas:
- Set your ideal client
- Offer client apps with Shootproof
- Design on online magazine with Magazine Mama
- Write an ebook
- Create resourceful Pinterest boards.
- Run a contest
- Get positive reviews on your Google+ About page
Upgrade your website
What do you do if you become a photographer? You spend hours taking pictures, days editing them, you experience inconvenience during photo shoots, e.g. when you have to lie in a most uncomfortable position till you are all stiff in order to capture the best angle. You deal with dozens of clients or, alternatively, (and no one can tell which is worse) with wild animals, because you are a wild nature photographer, risking your life every time you go into the woods for a perfect shot. However, despite all of that, you love your job as nothing else, because it is more than a job. It’s your best and biggest passion. Nevertheless, if you don’t have a proper website, all your work may be undertaken in vain. To prevent this from happening, make sure your website is up-to-date and showcases your work perfectly.
More and more photographers choose WordPress as a platform for their websites. And there are a few reasons for this: WordPress is a free, SEO-ready and easy-to-use content management system. When you build a portfolio website or a photography blog with WordPress it’ll take you minimum time to post your content and edit it. Also it won’t be a problem for you to customize the design of your site. WordPress is known for its large and friendly community who are ready to help you in case you have any questions. Finally, there is a wide choice of Photography WordPress themes, so you can build your website without even hiring a designer. However, choosing a theme has to be taken seriously because a very big responsibility for the success or failure of a photography business lies in the design and usability of a website. Browse templates (affiliate).
Check out the article The Uncommon Guide To Building a Psychology-Savvy Photography Website.
Consolidate social media
Utilizing social media platforms is one of the best ways available today to showcase your brand and to be heard by millions for minimal investment. But with so many brands competing for space, you have to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Now-a-days, your web presence is equivalent to your brick and mortar store and you shouldn’t represent yourself online with any less effort than you would put into your personal appearance to your potential clients. I recommend all photographers define what they are trying to accomplish with their online presence and then make an investment to combine stellar design with strong content on their social media platforms.
Where does your ideal client hang out on-line? For the high school senior market, which is my focus, it seems this is always changing. They definitely don’t want to be where their parents are. Nowadays, where I live, they are all about Snapchat and Instagram. But I like to market to the parents, too, who are still on Facebook. Consider where your ideal clients are on-line and establish a presence there. Engage with your followers instead of always trying to sell to them.
Gather positive PR
Online press helps give you credibility with your clients and potential clients because they see that you are highly regarded in your specialty.
Create a list of websites (Google Doc) where you would like to be featured. Ideally, find sites with lots of different authors, which is a good indication they accept contributions. I’m constantly on the lookout for sites to add to my list. Examples:
- Product sites, like photography companies that sell actions, props, marketing templates, etc.
- Partner blogs, like those of wedding vendors
- Publication websites, like magazines
- Media outlets
- Venue websites
- Client websites
Review each site’s existing articles to get a feel for length, tone and audience.
Write a piece from a unique perspective you think will resonate with the audience of that website. Ideas for what to write:
- Personal story – My Experience with X (becoming a photographer, clients on a budget, etc.)
- Industry examples – 10 Great Photography X (websites, poses, products, inspirational photos, etc.)
- Tips or ideas – Photography Tips for X (networking, sales, editing, etc.)
- Tutorial – The Best Way to Do X (photograph in the rain, set up lighting, choose a second shooter, etc.)
- Product review
Incorporate a link to your website (with relevant keywords in the link text) from somewhere in the post, preferably the first paragraph or two. Link it to a related page on your site, ideally something other than your homepage.
Add an About the Author section at the end. Link to one or two of your social media profiles, which will help those rank higher for searches of your name.
Revamp your logo
Twitter only paid $15 for its iconic logo. Nike paid $35 for the swoosh. To design the perfect company logo, you don’t have to spend tons of money. You do, however, have to spend time and energy carefully considering what you want your logo to say about you. This infographic shows what some of the world’s most famous logos say about the companies they represent, and why.
Consider upgrading your logo to give your brand a premium or exclusive feel, or to attract a particular ideal client. 99Designs (affiliate) offers crowdsourced logos, brochures, or packaging designs.
Video marketing tells the world what you shoot, why you shoot it and why you love being a photographer. Videos will not only help your business become more discoverable online, but also help your brand evoke emotion, create a mood and tell a story. Emotion, mood and storytelling are at the crux of effective marketing. Video does these exceptionally well.
For my portrait business, I researched wedding videographers who could tell a story with video because that is exactly what I wanted my video to do. I wanted my clients to see what it would be like to work with me and I believe they captured that perfectly.
Here’s a cool example of a Vine video from Sweetshot Photography promoting headshots in less than 6 seconds.
Keep a fresh look
Do you do studio work? If so, do an inventory of your backdrops. To me, few things can make a studio shot look dated as much as an out-of-style backdrop does. Sell the ugly ones or give them away to a school or local camera club.
How about image processing techniques? To give you an example, selective color was really popular a decade ago. But now, when I see selective color, I groan. It’s outdated. Get rid of it and other techniques that are out of fashion.
Love that light, airy, pastel look but don’t shoot film? Many Lightroom presets are over the top, muddy and require a lot of tweaking to get good skin tones. Mastin Labs has film presets based on film scans from a real Fuji Frontier scanner so that you can get the look you want.
Ready to breathe some new life in your business now? Thank you for reading and I wish you much success!