The photography business has expanded recently. You might just have thought of converting your hobby into a full-time income earning profession, doing so does not include just the photography skills that you have but you also need to have the correct strategy and the proper marketing skills to promote your content and grab the attention of the public. Taking your photography business online opens a huge world of prospective customers for you!
Most of the photographers give a major chunk of their time concentrating on getting the best shot, it’s the business side of it that photographers often face difficulty with.
Delivering your content to the public and getting recognized are two very important elements that can’t be ignored. Even the best of the photographers with the best skills possible, find themselves in trouble when they try to convert their photography hobby into a full-time business.
- What problems do photographers face in marketing their products?
- What tools can you use to build your business?
- How do you increase the number of orders that you receive online?
These are some of the questions that arise in the mind of any photographer and through this article, we would like to find the best answers for you.
Growing your online photography business can be challenging. It requires a lot of marketing, be it digital marketing or conducting seminars to promote your ideas. Expenses and the time and stress involved to promote your content can prove out to be a lot of burdens.
Entering the photography business is quite easy, we gotta admit that. Every third guy has a DSLR and the photography business involves little to no entry barriers which is one of the reasons behind the sky-high growth rate of the industry. The photography business hit $82.5 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to $110.79 billion by the year 2021. The United States alone had almost 147,300 working photographers in 2016.
Many photographers do acquire the necessary skills for photography but they fail at marketing their content, they don’t find the time to think about the best ways to reach out to the audience and as a result, are sometimes not able to achieve financial success.
How to start an online photography business?
Now the main question arises: How do I start?
Building an online presence takes time and efforts so first of all, you need to go step by step and be patient.
1. Start by making a website for your business
You can drive a lot of attention to your work by posting it on your website. Your website works like the one perfect place for your customers to come and explore what you do, see what you have to offer and know how you think.
2. Start a blog
Nothing is better than starting a blog, you don’t necessarily have to write blogs about your products, you can write content regarding your experience or you can even start online coaching for the new photographers who have just begun their journey.
3. Make your presence felt on Social Media
Social Media is where the youth is today. In order to promote your content start a Facebook page, make an Instagram account and start posting your pictures on Pinterest. Many professional photographers post attractive pictures in order to support fellow photographers, send them your work and see if you can make your presence felt to their huge number of followers.
4. Emailing/Auto responding Software
You don’t want to lose the customers that arrive on your website. Make sure you get an emailing software (ExplaraBiz Email, MailChimp, ConvertKit, and more which are designed for digital professionals) that can send welcome emails to your viewers. Welcome emails are a great way to show your visitors that their presence matters.
5. Cloud storage and media library
You need a single space where you can store the pictures that you click. Flickr is a great platform for any photographer to use, it offers 1 TB of free storage. If you don’t like their interface, you can try Streamnation as well.
Taking these five steps can prove out to be a great start. Make sure you post your content regularly on the above-mentioned platforms. If you don’t remind your visitors that they saw your page, they will for sure remember that they saw this beautiful picture of a bird sitting on its nest but they won’t remember who posted it.
Once you start your journey, you need to gear up in order to promote your content using several tools available online, some of the best ones are mentioned below:
- Use Facebook Ads: Though Facebook has seen a reduction in the number of users, it continues to be the favorite place for professional photographers to post ads that can grab the attention of a lot of customers. Facebook Ads can prove out to be the biggest revenue-generating source for your business amongst all the available platforms. Remember we recommended you start a Facebook page? Use that page and start posting ads.
- Instagram Analytics: In order to understand the demographics of your viewers, use Instagram analytics so that you know about the kind of content that suits best to your audience and make sure you post more of it.
- Search Engine Optimisation: Once you start your blog, you need to ensure that you get viewers on your blog. Simply starting the blog won’t be enough. Make good use of search engine optimization so that your blog appears to be at the top whenever someone searches something related to your niche. Look for the most searched words on search engines like Google and Yahoo and make sure that you make good use of those keywords while writing your blog. There are plenty of articles on the basics of SEO on NeilPatel.com, Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush and more
- Get yourself a good scheduling software: Once you start getting customer queries and responses it is important to make sure that you properly organize your customer data and can schedule easily. Softwares like Setmore and BookedIn can help you with handling appointments, setting your calender right and sending reminder texts on your behalf.
- Customer Relationship Management Software: Now once you get your customer data right, you need to look for software that can handle your bills, bookkeeping, emailing, proofing and accounting for you. That is when you need a Customer Relationship Management Software like ExplaraBiz or SimplyStudio or StudioCloud.
How to grow your audience?
Network with professionals
Join professional photography groups on Facebook and Instagram and post your pictures there. You can also observe the different kinds of skills that photographers posses by looking at the pictures posted by fellow photographers in that group. If you find someone’s work to be really interesting, message them and ask them for some tips. Forming connections on LinkedIn and Twitter can also prove out to be helpful.
Once you are ready with a sufficient amount of online content, host events to boost your popularity, post your event dates on social media and start hosting some seminars for free. Why free? Because you need as much audience as you can. Show them what you have, tell them about your pages on social media. Conducting training events for the younger generation can also prove to be a great audience booster for you. You can use Google Forms to get your free event registration or use professional event hosting software like Explara Events.
Build Corporate Connections
Try to build corporate connections by the groups that you join or the conferences that you conduct. Corporates require photographers for various events and pay a handsome amount of money for professional photography. Try to curate your online content in a way that attracts corporates towards your work.
Attend Conferences and Seminars
Conferences are a great way for the best minds to come together. Search for nearby conferences on social media or search engines and make sure you attend them. You can also attend online video conferences. What’s better than learning from other photographers who have already tried out everything that you are planning to do? Conferences, Seminars/Webinars are also a great way for you to network with likewise people in online photography business.
Once you are all set with the above-mentioned points you need to ensure that you are consistent in your efforts for your online photography business. Many people start a blog, make their pages on social media but get discouraged when they don’t get much attention for a small period of time.
If photography is something that you love to do and you want it to be your full-time business you need to have patience, you will have to understand that you won’t get millions of followers from the first day of your social media presence, remember everyone starts with just 0 followers.
The photography business has seen a major inflow of photographers. Now everyone with a good camera phone starts a photography page on social media and calls himself a photographer.
What makes you different is your commitment towards your work, professional photography as every professional photographer knows includes a lot of patience and practice.
In this era of digital media, you need to ensure that your work doesn’t get buried deep down under the works of other people who are able to market their content better.
With the proper strategies and proper marketing you can get what you want; more customers, more attention and more money.
If you are planning to convert photography to a full-time business opportunity you need to make consistent efforts towards it. Be on social media. Post your pictures there.
Give free seminars, attend conferences, boost your networking game, write blogs explaining your ideas, what you do, why you do it and you will slowly see your audience grow.
Getting your work recognized takes time so while you follow all the points mentioned in this article, don’t forget to follow the most important rule, be patient.
Bharat Duggal is a content writer at Explara-an all in one platform which offers a suite of software products for Event Ticketing & Registration, Online Selling & Payment Solution, Crowdfunding & Donation, and Community & Membership. Bharat enjoys writing about the latest trends in the market, learning about new entrepreneurs and watching movies in no particular order.