Guest Blogger: Rodney Washington
Have you pondered the idea of making some real money from your photography? In this article I will show you one of the simplest and low-cost ways you can learn-to-earn from your passion for photography. Call it your first step to Building a Successful Photography Business 101
Start with the people who already know, like and trust you and then ask them for referrals. For example, shoot your nephews birthday party, portraits of your neighbor’s kids or pets, even your favorite neighborhood restaurant dishes if food photography is your passion. Gently hit up everyone you know, siblings, parents, coworkers and friends and when you exhaust those resources (but don’t be a pest) ask them for referrals and remember everyone is a potential source.
You could build your business solely on referrals and word-of-mouth if you exercise this approach properly. Don’t ever forget that photography is a people business and people like to work with others that they enjoy being around period, so it never hurts to ask. If you want to sweeten the pot offer even further offer a referral fee. Money can be a tremendous motivator! If funds are tight or you don’t wish to offer cash in exchange for referrals you could offer more of your services, read the next section for more suggestions.
Quick Tip: People don’t like to be sold too, but they love to buy from people they know, like and trust. Once you start receiving new business this way and if you keep your customers happy all you need to do is rinse and repeat. In other words ask your referrals for referrals.
Want another bonus tip? To keep the referrals coming offer your current customers an ethical bribe. For example you could offer extra prints if they refer you to two or three new sources of contacts. Give them a gift certificate for a free session if they refer you to five or more. In other words the more referrals they provide the more you sweeten the pot. See how this works? If those referrals generate paying customers you could even go so far as to offer a gift card to their favorite restaurant or day spa.
Want one more tip? Find people with a good Rolodex. “How do I find someone with a good Rolodex?” you may be asking. Think about it; are you or someone you know in direct contact with potential paying customers you want to attract? I’ll give you some examples: if you shoot portraits of women, hairdressers or makeup artists may a great source of contacts for you.
If you photograph dogs or cats perhaps a doggie day care, pet spa or vet’s office could refer you. If you photograph individuals who have recently experienced a major change in their physical appearance i.e. weight loss, facelift or other cosmetic alteration consider contacting plastic surgeons, personal trainers or health and sports clubs.
Do you desire to break into the lucrative wedding market? Don’t go out directly soliciting brides-to-be especially if you don’t have a book or a lot of experience. No, connect with the people who serve them.
Target florists, caterers, printers, bridal gown vendors, bands and musicians. If you have to as a gesture of good will offer to shoot their goods for free in the beginning to build your reputation.
Most importantly do good work, prove yourself and give them something that they need and they in turn can give you something you need. In this case paying customers. The possibilities are endless.
Just remember: Take care of those who take care of you and you should have no problem bringing in new business.
I’ll leave you with this, today more than ever in the competitive business of photography those who succeed are the ones who think outside-the-box. Be willing to go that extra mile to reach those who need what you love to do and you greatly increase your opportunities for success.
The Bottom Line? Get the tools you need to either get your photography business off the ground -or- increase your existing business by opening new markets today! If you want in-depth pointers, ideas, information on running a successful photography business, explore my site. I’d like to invite you to sign up to receive my audio course: Secrets to Running A Successful Photography Business: 5 Things That They Didn’t Teach You In School to claim your copy of this valuable course:
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