As a Dallas wedding photographer, all of the weddings I had booked for the coming months have been postponed. It was all so sudden and shocking. Here are some ideas of things you can work on to develop your photography business during this time. I’ve included a couple of suggestions to make money now, and others to set yourself up for long term success. Each of our current realities looks different from day to day, so don’t feel as though these have to be accomplished in a single day or even a single month. Be creative, be flexible, and be open to change.
Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd
With advancements in photography, it’s easier than ever to become a photographer but it’s not as easy to run a profitable creative business from year to year. One thing that has helped me tremendously has been to set myself apart from the crowd, and figuring out why couples would book me over all of the other photographers out there. So that when potential wedding clients are viewing my website along with multiple other photographers’ websites, they can clearly see how my work is different. I am using the Pro Photo Theme on my WordPress website. This theme allows for so many design possibilities while giving me the control to create it and manage my website on my own.
Build Brand Awareness
At times like these, with the uncertainty of our economic future, folks can be hesitant to invest a lot of money into things right now. But nothing lasts forever. Use this time to build brand awareness and allow folks to get to know you and your brand better through blogging, email marketing, and social media. So that when they are ready to start purchasing again, you will be top of mind. You can use this time to plan out social media and blog posts, or as I’ve been doing, building my email marketing with Flodesk.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot
Assess your skills, your strengths, and your passions and figure out what areas you can pivot towards. I mainly focus my photography business on weddings & events but I also enjoy taking headshots and portraits for other creatives and business professionals. In addition to business photography, I also enjoy product photography. I used this time to launch my second website, www.amberknowles.com, under my Bluehost account to feature the other type of photography work that I can do while events and weddings are on hiatus.
Booking Future Work
Maybe you are able to schedule a future mini-session date or sell gift certificates for portrait sessions to be redeemed at a future date. You can take a retainer or full payment now, and schedule the session to take place on a future date. Be sure to state your guidelines clearly so that there are no misunderstandings about how to redeem any future sessions. Contracts are key. I use Pixifi as my business management software. It’s great for booking mini sessions and sending out contracts and invoices to clients while managing all the jobs I book in one place.
Offer Products to Your Clients
Digital images are great for storage but it shouldn’t be how we experience our memories and photographs, and it shouldn’t be how your clients experience theirs either. Let’s be honest, most of our clients say they will print their photographs but never actually get around to doing it. If you’re not already offering prints, albums, photo books, and wall art, now is the time you can start.
Creating beautiful wall art displays and designing photo albums are services that you can offer and sell, while you are practicing social distancing. I am using Fundy Designer to design my album layouts and wall displays for clients. Fundy is an all-in-one design and sales software. If you’re able to include a small discount, it can encourage your clients to make purchases now.
As a small business owner, managing your cash flow is so important. Some months will be more abundant while some will be slower than others, but your expenses (personal and business) generally always stay about the same from month to month. Last year, I made it one of my goals to learn how to manage my cash flow better. I highly recommend the book “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz to help give you a place to start on how to manage your cash flow.
Find a Hobby
A lot of photographers have turned their hobby of photography into a business which is an amazing accomplishment but it also loses the benefits of just being a hobby. Hobbies allow us to destress from the pressures of everyday life. Your hobby could be reading, a fitness activity, gardening, or another creative outlet like painting, there are so many options. Make it fun and choose something you enjoy doing and won’t feel pressured to do.
Check in with Your Community
We are not in this alone, let’s support each other. Look around at your community. You likely have other small business owners in your circle who you can bounce ideas off, help support each other as you pivot, and be accountability partners with. I am so thankful for the community of entrepreneurs and industry professionals that I can lean on when I’m not feeling like my best self, who can keep me on my toes, and vice versa.