Nothing and nobody is perfect, but you can build a profitable photography business that comes pretty close! Here are five key elements you need to create a unique business that’s profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable as a business owner.
If you want your photography business to stand out and thrive, you have to say no to lots of different types of photography. You have to specialize. As much as we entrepreneurs want to do all the things, it’s not possible. There’s not enough time in the world and there’s a limit to our energy.
Rather than offer too many photography services, think less is more. Find a niche.
My niche is boudoir photography for brides, so they feel beautiful, confident, and pampered before their big day. And they get to give their photos to their loved one at the end of it all.
Your niche may be boudoir photography, but maybe you focus on maternity shoots. Or couples shoots. Or fine art. And those are just types of boudoir! There are also so many styles to pick from.
Don’t worry that you’ll connect with fewer clients when you specialize. You’ll actually attract more clients looking for your specific offer and style, who know that you’re good at what you do.
Look at it from a client’s perspective. Would you rather have a photographer who was okay at everything? Or a photographer who’s fantastic at one or two services because they’ve dedicated their time and resources to them?
As a bonus, you only have to market to one target audience if you have a niche. That means more free time, less stress, and a happier and profitable photography business.
Once you’ve discovered your niche, you’ll need to create branding that represents your business accurately. Branding tells prospective clients everything they want to know about working with you.
How you sound on social media, what your website looks like, what you tell people on your About page, how your email newsletters speak to subscribers — all of these elements and more make up your branding.
Your branding communicates to your audience, so you want to make sure it’s saying the right things to the right people. First, you have to know who those “right people” are for your business!
I dive into this a little deeper in the previous episode, but in a nutshell, you have to understand your ideal client before you can market to them. Know what they’re looking for, why they’d want your services, what would convince them to book you, and so on.
You can then find your dream clients online by seeing what social media they use or what content grabs their attention. You might even observe your competition’s branding to see how they bring in clients.
After you’ve done your research, go through all your branding elements and make sure that everything is authentic to you and your dream clients.
Any business in today’s world needs a website, but it’s even more important for service-based businesses like yours!
You need a website for your photography business so that:
- People can find and contact your business when they’re specifically searching online for a photographer in the area.
- People who find your business elsewhere — on social media, through a friend, in a review, in a local ad — can see what you have to offer. (And check that you’re a legit business!)
- People can compare you to other photographers by looking at your portfolio or testimonials. And hopefully, choose you over your competition.
Once someone lands on your website, you’ll need to capture their attention and hold it before they leave. Your ultimate goal is to book them as a client, but if that can’t happen yet, you want them to take action.
Subscribing to your newsletter, following you on social media, sending an inquiry — these are all goals for visitors on your website that will eventually lead to conversions.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it again, because it’s so true. There’s no one right way to set up a photography business. There’s only the right way for you.
Because “business strategy” is such a huge topic, I won’t go into it too much, but I will help you get started with this tip…
Figure out your overall goal. What do you want to accomplish with your business?
Let’s say it’s to work a certain number of hours a month and make a certain amount in profit. Everything in your strategy should align toward that goal, from the top down.
For example, your financial strategy and marketing strategy should ultimately help you achieve that goal. Your budget, expenses, revenue, and so on should help you reach that goal profit. And your email marketing, social media strategy, in-person events, and business referrals would help you hit your goal number of work hours.
Starting with your big overall goal first and working your way backward keeps your priorities, needs, strengths and weaknesses in mind when designing a strategy.
Last but certainly not least, the fifth element of an almost perfect photography business is confidence. Yep, confidence! Whether you feel confident or not as a business owner, you’re already building confidence without knowing it.
It already takes confidence to find your niche, because that requires you to say “no” to client opportunities. That’s hard! You’re turning down revenue and experience.
It takes confidence to build your brand and put yourself out there with a website. And it takes confidence to create a business strategy that’s centered around your dream. This can stop so many people from taking that crucial step in launching their own business.
Confidence is also necessary when it comes to charging what you’re worth. It’s common in the photography industry, but also in small businesses as a whole.
We want to serve people who maybe can’t afford photography, so we charge less. While the intentions are good and honorable, it actually hurts the industry. Not just you, but other photographers. It perpetuates the idea that we can’t help others AND run a thriving, successful business.
But you can do both if you have the confidence needed to own your worth. Be brave by pricing your services accordingly and providing value to your clients. There are people out there who will pay, I promise!
Ready to take the next step for your profitable photography business?
I may specialize in boudoir photography and coaching other photographers, but these five elements can help any entrepreneur in any space build a solid foundation for their business.
- An online presence
- A strategy
- And confidence
…will all help you move forward in creating your own profitable photography business.
If you still feel unsure or would like more guidance from someone who’s been in your shoes, I’m here to help! My free five-day challenge for photographers, 5 Secrets to Your Profitable Boudoir Business, begins next week, and I’d love for you to join.
When you join this challenge, you and I will lay the groundwork for your profitable photography biz. From Monday to Friday, for an hour or so each day, we’ll explore and plan one core area of your business. And by the end of the week, you’ll have a definitive plan to get you started.
I can’t wait for this challenge to begin! It starts October 17th, so there’s still time to save your spot. Sign up now and I’ll see you then!
Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photogapher for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.