Shortly after my arrival in Nice, France…where I now live I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Photography Business Blogger/Podcaster Andrew Hellmich. Together we discussed exactly what has worked for me in my business, and how I manage a full time career outside of photography. This is the standard path for many a landscape photographer trying to make a business out of their passion. Especially for those that don’t necessarily want to shoot weddings or leave the security of a ‘normal job’.
So how do I do it?
Listen to the full interview over on Andrews website: PhotobizX.com – Lee Duguid
For you convenience I’ve summarised the take aways from the interview. Please let me know your thoughts, share if you wish and leave a comment if you got something from it.
- People need to trust your brand to buy online (they almost need to feel the quality), how can you get the customers trust?
- Decide if you want to sell for artistic value (where location is not important) or location based photos (location is key)
- Make it easy for people to buy your prints, hard or complicated website will hinder sales
- Learn about the psychology of selling (list products from most expensive to cheapest so customer get a fright first before seeing cheaper options)
- With a limited marketing budget look to see what you can do for free (spend your time on SEO for example)
- Do a number of different things to build your brand (join groups, be active in communities, present to camera clubs, speak to other photographers, help others, be an expert)
- Represent your brand with only your best work
- Choose your target market and market to them
- If you want to sell prints target to photo buyers
- Don’t fall into the trap of blogging to other photographers if you don’t plan to sell or market to them
- Ask yourself, what good is a social media following of photographers useful for if it’s doesn’t benefit your business?
- Don’t be scared of showing your personality in your business or marketing (you don’t need to hide your face!)
- Instead of increasing prices look at streamlining process so producing your products cost less (less time intensive or lower production costs for example)
- Structure your business to give incentive to up-sell or gain repeat business (what happens after a customer has done that photo course with you, what can they buy next?)
- Determination is the difference between a successful business and one that fails
- Building a business can be a very very slow process so stick at it
- Limit the number of shots you post online, especially if they are very similar
- Don’t be scared of culling your old work if it doesn’t represent your best work
- Look for gaps in the market and create products that fit the wants or needs of your customer
- Ask for feedback from your customers
- Evolve your offering based on that feedback
- Strike a balance between running a business and enjoying photography
- If you plan to go full time you need to be able to cover your living costs, photography expenses, pay for insurances, build your business, pay for retirement etc. etc.
- Sit down, do the sums and see how much you need to earn (as a profit) to pay for all of this
- Don’t confuse your buyers, give them the option you think is best (1 paper rather than 10 papers – do your customers really care?)
- Yoast.com is a great resource for SEO tips
- Some SEO knowledge helps you with all online content (forum post, naming images, etc.) so that it is found in Google
- Try to be unique in your approach to photography (shoot locations that aren’t photographed every day or photograph in a new and unique way)
- Use other artistic people to critique your work (someone who doesn’t have an emotional attachment to the work – i.e. they weren’t there, they don’t know the person in the photo)
- Sit on images for a few weeks before posting them online if you can, this way you can view them with fresh eyes and with less of an emotional attachment.
- Ensure you know how best to represent you photos (online, in a gallery, however) with good sharpening technique and knowing your colour theory (prints too dark, too light etc.).
- AIPP works for me, how about you? (Kudos in the industry, peer reviewing, know the right people, push yourself creatively and technically, learn from others regarding the business)
- Don’t necessarily join because you think it’s the right thing to do, same goes with entering competitions.
Wow so many takeaways, you must have got something from that list…if you got this far 🙂