There’s a science to successfully move your photography business to a different area. When I moved to St. Louis, it took about eight months to book my first boudoir photography client. On the other hand, my 1:1 photography coaching client, Faith, had sessions booked BEFORE she moved to her new city because she learned from my mistakes.
In this episode, I talk about three steps to make sure you’re fully booked before moving your studio to a new area.
Faith learned from my mistakes.
I moved to St. Louis in February of 2016. Before I moved, I was doing a little bit of all types of photography. I’d dabbled in boudoir enough to know that I wanted to niche down at some point, and what better time to do it than when I was about to move to a whole new city where I could totally recreate myself if I want to.
… but in doing so, it actually slowed me down.
About two months into being in St. Louis, I finally launched my photography rebrand and my first website. At that point, I acted like I was the best boudoir photographer in the city, and I made sure I was everywhere my ideal client would be – Instagram, working with multiple businesses in the city, #1 on Google, and continuing to put myself out there.
This approachhelped explode my business so much faster.
Once I booked that first client in October 2016, I gained momentum really quickly, but like I said it took EIGHT months to even book the first session because I didn’t start marketing until I actually got TO THE CITY.
Now let me tell you about Faith…
She and her husband KNEW they wanted to move to San Antonio within a couple of years, but they didn’t really have a game plan or know when it would happen. They were living in Northern Illinois when Faith and I found each other, and they were ready to move closer to her family in Texas.
Since I had experience in moving a business, we immediately went to work on getting her known in San Antonio before her move so that when she and her family decided to make the move, she would have a schedule full of clients.
What ended up happening was that her schedule booked out so quickly that she and her family moved over a year quicker than they had originally planned.
Now, they’re living in San Antonio, and her business is currently booked out until December – and this is as of mid-September.
If you want to hear more about Faith’s story, be sure to listen to this episode. In a month or so, I think she’s going to come back on the podcast with her husband as well to get his perspective on how everything went down.
To successfully move your photography business, change your location ASAP.
From my experience, it takes about six months to see bookings begin coming in when you move your photography business.
That means, the first thing you want to do is add your new location to your socials and website as soon as you know for sure that you’re moving. This includes your location on your socials, but also your hashtags on Instagram.
You’ll still get bookings in your current city, but the earlier you can get eyes on your work in your new location the better. Faith was still able to book sessions in Illinois prior to her move, by the way, even though her website and social media said San Antonio boudoir photographer.
I also recommend that you go ahead and open your calendar, if you allow clients to schedule online. Worst case scenario, if your move gets pushed back or canceled, you can fly to your new city, photograph the sessions and fly home until you move.
Build relationships and make connections.
What I mean by this is you need to make connections and start chatting with business owners AND potential clients. It’s soooo important to build relationships with businesses who already serve your ideal clients. I actually talk a lot about this in episode 4 of this podcast. In this episode I explain exactly how I booked 7 sessions while on a 3 day vacation.
SEO and social media are super important but a LOT of my clients come from word of mouth. And the reason for that is because I’ve photographed over 750 clients in St. Louis- and that came with time and leg work as far as marketing – but also, I’ve built relationships with business owners who serve my ideal client in the city.
Interacting with potential clients on Instagram, creating a Facebook group, and being super open to chatting with clients in the DM’s will definitely help with building relationships in your new city as well.
I would also recommend hosting a grand opening in your new location with other businesses attending, add in some giveaways, and just overall make it a big deal when you get there so that your clients are EXCITED to meet you.
**Hot Tip** Regularly hosting events like botox parties, headshot events, and even meet and greets with local influencers is a great way to keep your potential clients excited about coming to your studio and keep your business top of mind.
When you move your photography business, come into your new city with confidence.
You want to show up in your new city like you’re coming out of now where. Even if you don’t feel like it, act like you’re the best photographer in your niche that your new area has ever seen. Like you’re the best thing to happen to them.
I’m the most introverted person ever. I don’t like putting myself out there, and I’m not a fan of meeting new people. Coming into the city with confidence, means you have to put yourself out there. You have to act like you’re the best photographer your new city has seen.
That’s exactly what I did when I moved to St. Louis. I acted like the city was LUCKY to have a photographer like me, and I met with new businesses Every. Single. Week.
I was looking through my archives a few days ago and I photogaphed over 40 models and business owners in the area who I knew would promote me in my early days in the city. Igave them an experience with me that no other photographer in the area was or could provide.
I made sure that every one was talking about my work, my studio, and my albums. I wanted them talking about how much fun they had with me and how they felt so special.
And it worked.
My business grew to a six figure studio in less than a year(once I started booking clients). In less than 5 years, it hit 7 figures.
And it’s all because I came to St. Louis with confidence.
It sounds easy, right?
Even though I might make moving to a new city sound easy, it really isn’t. It’s a lot of work, a lot of networking, and you have to have a strategy laid out so that you make sure you’re getting paid in your current city AND your new city.
It can be done very well, and you can potentially have yourself booked out months in advance(like Faith) if you plan your move right.
With that being said, I would love to invite you to my upcoming five day challenge. It’s going to be epic!
FREE ONE-WEEK CHALLENGE
5 Secrets to Your Profitable Boudoir Biz
Five days to figure out what your business needs to thrive
You’ve got full permission—and all the tools you need—to lay the groundwork for a photography business that perfectly supports the life & career you dream about.
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.