Are you starting a Photography Business?
Maybe you’re considering opening up a wedding photography business, or maybe you’ve been open for a while and are still looking to work on the foundations. You’re likely looking through all of the online resources and wondering what you need to focus on right now.
But man…there’s SO much information out there. It’s like information overload sometimes right?
When I started my photography business almost 9 years ago, I remember spending ALL of my time working in the business. What does working in the business look like?
Obsessing over my images.
When I learned how to instead work ON my business that’s when everything really shifted. I took a bunch of courses that were helpful, along with my own tips and tricks I learned along the way.
Looking back, I see exactly where I went wrong initially.
If figuring out what you should be focusing on in your very first year in business stumps you…you’re not alone. According to statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2019, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year.
In this post & video, we’ll cover the –
- The 5 steps you should be focusing your energy on in year one.
- How to gain a killer portfolio – when you aren’t getting ideal clients yet.
- The non-hustle way to show up on IG.
- Plus – you’ll get a look inside my profit projection calculator & see how I determine exactly how many leads I need in the door to hit my income goal.
SECOND SHOOT/ASSIST FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR
This was something I didn’t start doing until a bit later in my career and it’s something I wish I would have done much sooner. When starting a Photography Business you need experience managing a wedding day. One of the coolest and most effective ways to do that is through assisting or second shooting for another photographer.
To be clear, if you are brand spanking new, you likely won’t be hired to second shoot. However, you should still be reaching out to other photographers and asking if you can assist.
We’ve had many students inside Roadmap to Booked get first assisting jobs and then second shooting jobs to gain experience and build their confidence in photographing their own weddings.
Besides experience, another amazing benefit that second shooting does for you is it allows you to build your portfolio. Because right now, you aren’t getting jobs you love and are likely working with clients who aren’t having ideal weddings and that’s ok. You should be building up experience and working up to booking higher-end weddings.
In the meantime, often times you can use the images you took from the second shoot and sometimes even assist, with your own portfolio.
TAKE 2 ARTISTIC EDUCATION CLASSES
There are 2 classes I recommend taking in your first year of growing your photography business. Learning the art of taking a beautiful photo and more importantly, knowing exactly what you did so you can repeat that for consistency is one of the core skills you need to do for your business.
The first class you should take is a lighting class.
A good image is so much more than posing, taking a bunch of photos and hoping for the best, and slapping on a preset from a well-known photographer.
A good image is first and foremost due to understanding light. When to shoot, where to shoot, and why. Types of light to stay away from, types of light that give you the look you want, and how to manipulate light to achieve the style that will make you stand out for who you are as a photographer.
The second class you should take is a flash photography class.
Learning flash photography is its own art form. The logistics of natural light are completely separate from flash and if you are going to be photographing weddings, you’ve got to understand how to use flash properly.
My favorite flash classes are the ones that you can go to in person. That may mean you need to fly out to a different state (which isn’t as expensive as you would think) or perhaps there’s one that is a couple hours’ drive from you.
If not, there are plenty of flash photography classes available online. The goal is to become confident in photographing indoors in dark rooms, receptions, some ceremonies, and in the pitch black of night when guests ask you to take their photo.
Learning these two things alone will give you so much more confidence in your craft.
CREATE A FINANCIAL GOAL
One thing you’ll learn in any business class is that you must create a financial goal for your photography business. This is so important because if you don’t keep track of your numbers, then your growth isn’t measurable. Also, achieving a big financial goal can feel really out of reach until you actually get what that goal is and the steps to reach it on paper. Start with your annual goal and then create a plan to get there. Below I’ve shared a behind-the-scenes with you of a calculator I like to use to do this.
And let’s be honest, that feeling of being a “hobbyist” that runs rampant in our industry is there because we haven’t sat down to iron out the business aspects of the job. Doing this will give you confidence, and clarity and make you feel like a badass CEO in charge.
PRIORITIZE YOUR PORTFOLIO
As you begin to photograph more and more, you’ll naturally want to share everything you’ve done. This is a huge mistake.
Your portfolio is the lifeblood of your photography business and your leads, your inquiries and your bookings are only as good as your portfolio. Meaning, if you are getting tons of inquiries from people who scoff at the idea of paying you more than $3,000 for a wedding – it’s a portfolio issue.
If you are getting tons of traffic, but none of that traffic is turning into an inquiry – it’s a portfolio issue.
You want to use your portfolio to only show the very best pieces of your work. Look at it this way, if Picasso showed every piece of art he’d ever done to the public, he wouldn’t be Picasso. Instead, he chose the very best of his work and is known as the genius he is today because of it.
JOIN A COACHING PROGRAM
A beautiful image and knowing everything about how to take beautiful images won’t get you very far if nobody knows your images exist.
A photography business class will teach you the fundamentals of marketing, positioning, and branding for your photography business. Most photography businesses fail because of the fact that they are so focused on improving their photography skills, they haven’t dedicated time to learn how to successfully grow a business.
The skills you need, just like learning the art of photography, are things you should be learning from a photography business mentor.
To summarize, rather than doing what most photographers do and worrying about getting their editing skills just right – I suggest doing these things first.
And if you’re serious about growing your photography business, click the button below to grab your spot for my free masterclass. I walk you through the 4 step process of growing a profitable photography business with luxury bookings.
FREE MASTERCLASS: The 4-Step Method to Booked Out With Premium Prices with Elizabeth Nwansi
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