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The world is ruled by connections these days. It’s all about who you know. The more useful and effective connections you have, no matter who you are, the more successful your business will be. When it comes to photography, networking is a key factor to building a really strong business. A good photographer needs a lot of people in his or her team to provide unforgettable experiences and earn good money.
Let’s take a closer look at the photographer’s essential network. We’ll cover the top contacts, why you need each and tools to find the professionals you’d like to work with. The following specialists can team up with you to deliver a perfect customer experience as you create an effective photography brand.
Every photographer encounters a time when they need a special website tweak that can only be done by a professional web developer. Even premium WordPress themes need some customization. It’s a good idea to have a go-to person to help your website stand apart, install complex new plug-ins, or create a custom landing page for a new holiday promotion.
Look to your own web provider first. Photography website companies like ProPhoto (affiliate) and Defrozo have dedicated support and premium services to help.
UpWork is an outsourcing website where you can search and browse potential contractors.
Start small! Solicit a web developer for a tiny task, like $50 or less, to make sure you like the communication and quality of work. If the first task doesn’t go well, move onto another person. There’s an infinite number of people willing to do work for you, so find one that is a good fit for your style and budget.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a web developer:
- Find someone familiar with your web platform and theme. You don’t want to waste billable hours on someone who has to learn the intricacies of your website.
- Choose a developer with solid reviews.
- Cheap does not necessarily mean the best deal. My developer costs $100 per hour, but works 10 times as fast and can do things infinitely more complex than some people who cost only $25 per hour.
Your brand is arguably the most important piece of your business. Branding allows Coach to charge a premium for purses.
Logos, typography, business cards, and color schemes all need professional designs. Even though you could hack through it in Photoshop, it will save you time and earn more money in the long run by outsourcing graphics to a professional. If hiring a designer to develop a complete branding strategy is beyond your marketing budget, return to Fiverr to outsource a single task like a Facebook cover image or business card.
My choice for logo creation is 99Designs (affiliate). Set a budget, like $400, and you’ll get dozens of submissions from reputable designers. Choose a single winner and they get the cash. This approach allows lots of different options instead of hoping a single designer can match your creative vision on the first try. The competitive bidding process usually results in a more affordable result.
All your gears, lenses, and lighting equipment could sidetrack you during a photo session, especially a wedding. A part-time or full-time assistant can help. This person can do anything from general administration, to meeting organization, or printing. The nominal investment allows you to focus on revenue generating activities like doing more photography!
Many newbie photographers are willing to be assistants for free just in order to gain some experience in the field. Working in a team is a great way to ensure that you’ve got someone to watch your back.
PhotoAssistant.com and VANetworking.com are two example sites where you can find an assistant.
Here’s an earlier post from Photography Spark about virtual assistants that gets into more detail.
Weddings are once in a lifetime events for your clients, so you should make sure all expectations and requirements are spelled out in advance. Solid wedding contracts drafted by an experienced photography lawyer are key to protecting your business. Rachel Brenke at theLawTog offers some essential contracts for wedding photographers.
If you’re about to enter the wedding market, make sure your contact list includes some makeup artists, stylists, wedding planners, and other professionals providing complementary services in the wedding industry.
Makeup Artist (MUA) & Hair Stylist
Every bride should feel stunning on her big day. Experienced makeup artists and hairdressers will help to create a great modern wedding look to enhance the dress, color scheme, and accessories. Moreover, an MUA will have the proper coverage products to apply to a bride’s face which makes your job easier because your photos will require fewer touch-ups.
With so many makeup artists out there it can be a challenge to choose the best one. Look through the portfolios of a few specialists in your area, contact them and choose one or two to work with on a regular basis. Use Model Mayhem to find a specialist near you.
You definitely want to be on the contact list of a few wedding planners since clients at the higher end of the market usually outsource all the wedding preparation hassle to these professionals. Popular wedding directories include GreenWeddingShoes, ElizabethAnnDesigns, and StyleMePretty are one way to find wedding planners whose portfolio appeals to you.
DIY & Decor Designer
DIY and decor designers create installations and handcrafted elements which you’ll use for creative wedding photo sets such as wooden letters, table numbers, banners, and chalkboard drawings. While most designers are quite universal and can do wonders in any style (words like “classic, vintage, bohemian, woodsy and modern” are what you may find in the portfolio of an average decor designer), every professional has their own personal style. By collaborating with a decor designer whose artistic vision and style compliments yours, you ensure that both you and your clients will get the most enjoyment out of their special day. Decor designers can be also found on GreenWeddingShoes website and One Wed.
Use Pinterest to help you to show your clients some options. I like these inspirational boards: wedding photography, wedding bouquets, wedding dresses, wedding details, reception decor and wedding photo ideas.
Photography is not the only way to capture the wedding and create romantic imagery. Having a videographer in your contact list is also essential. Videographers create a personal, dialogue-driven and story-oriented film about the couple to save for generations. StyleMePretty and OneWed have a huge database of vendors, so you might find some cool videographer in your area to partner with. Some videographers create an engagement video to show during the wedding
Running your own photography business means you need to be able to wear many different hats. However, don’t try to do everything yourself. Your “dream team” may vary from time to time. Just find the people you would like to work with and organize your photography process to make the most of it. Share your thoughts in the comment field. Who is on your team?