4 Photography business tips that’ll shock you


Don’t be fooled. The simplicity of some of the business tips I’m about to reveal might make your eyes roll like a scolded teenager. Just because these principles are simple, their undeniable power should not be overlooked.

You may think that some of these ideas are obvious, too; but be careful – it’s often the obvious stuff that we end up ignoring. After all, we all know the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than we consume, but how many of us consistently take the obvious steps required?

So, absorb these principles and start carrying them out, today. Pick one and focus on it for a week before moving onto the next one. In a month you’ll have 4 great new habits.

It’s only through practise that you can turn these concepts into habits. And great habits will have a profound effect on your photography business.

1. The words you use when speaking with clients has a direct impact on how much respect they give you

The way you refer to your business and your profession is a crucial part of how your prospects and clients perceive you. The wrong words can make your photography sound cheap, while the right words can instantly increase the perceived value of your art.

Similarly, poorly chosen words can make you sound pushy or unfriendly, while a more cleverly chosen alternative can build trust and rapport.

Let me give you some examples and you’ll see what I mean:

Customer vs client: A ‘customer’ sounds like someone coming up to a till paying their money and walking off, while a ‘client’ conjures up an image of someone receiving expert, professional advice and personal care and attention. Look the two words up in the dictionary and they have very different meanings.

Picture vs portrait: To make this example even more extreme, would you cringe if someone said you ‘took snaps for a living’? Ouch. Is there any other word that demeans and devalues your profession more? The word ‘picture’ isn’t quite that bad, but would you refer to the Mona Lisa as a ‘nice picture’. No, because it doesn’t do it justice. A ‘portrait’ sounds like a work of art and inherently sounds far more valuable.

If you sound like you respect your profession, your artwork and yourself then other people will too.

If a builder came to your home to quote for some work and introduced himself by saying “alright mate – I’m here to do that quote for you”, how would you feel? Would you feel more positive if they said “Good morning Daniel, thank you for inviting me over – shall I take my shoes off?”

2. Get dressed for success

We all know that people judge a book by its cover. How you look is just as important as what you say. Now, I’m not going to get into body language techniques today, but something we can all do straight away is to dress sharp. So many photographers meet their clients in jeans and a casual top. Not only does it look unprofessional, but it subtly says something else to the client too, which is “If this photographer doesn’t bother about their appearance, then how much care will they take over mine? And will the service be equally shabby?”

If you look successful then people will assume you are successful. If you care about the little details like your clothing, then you’re more likely to care about your service and your artwork.

Let’s think about that builder again. How would you feel about a builder who came over with ripped jeans and no top on vs one with branded overalls? No contest, right? OK ladies, now I know what you’re thinking – it depends on the bloke, right!? But, you get my point.

3. Confidence builds trust

If you stammer when talking about your service, stutter when mentioning your prices and sweat when posing your clients then you quickly lose all credibility and respect. I can completely relate to this problem, because I’m often my own worst enemy. My desperate desire to please everyone and do everything perfectly ended up having the opposite effect. I would put myself under pressure and it destroyed my confidence.

Of course practice helps overcome the problem, but if you’re suffering now you probably want a quicker solution. Here it is: Actions create emotions.

This means if you want to feel confident you need to act confident. That may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s a proven psychological fact. Role-playing difficult scenarios in a confident manner will make you feel positive and energised. Even singing along to music in your car before seeing a client will have you feeling upbeat and standing tall.

If you particularly struggle with confidence or negativity then this post and the free Ebook will help.

Frank Bettger was a baseball player back in 1907 who later became one of the most successful sales people of his day. At the start of his baseball career he was sacked for being too lazy because he used to drag himself around the field like he didn’t care. When he heard that he was being accused of being lazy he revealed he was only trying to hide his crippling nerves by trying to look relaxed. His manager said

“It will never work. That’s the thing that’s holding you down. Whatever you do after you leave here, for heaven’s sake, wake yourself up and put some life and enthusiasm into your work!”

Frank Bettger decided that for his next team he would act like he was “alive with a million batteries”. Frank wrote about the impact this new philosophy had on him in his wonderful book (how I raised myself from failure to success in selling). He wrote:

“Did it work?” It worked like magic. Three things happened:

  • My enthusiasm almost entirely overcame my fear. In fact my nervousness worked for me…
  • My enthusiasm affected the other players in the team and they too became enthusiastic.
  • Instead of dropping with the heat, I felt better during and after the game than I had ever felt before.

Frank’s team won the game and Frank was heralded as the star player. Acting enthusiastic had made Frank feel enthusiastic. Again, actions create emotions.

4. Enthusiasm and friendliness

Have you ever had a miserable boss? Someone who moaned all day long and sucked all the joy from the office. Imagine that boss was the photographer on your wedding day. Imagine how much extra you’d pay to hire someone else instead.

People buy from people they like. The world is full of grumpy miseries who hate their jobs, which includes a lot of photographers! Even photographers who do love their job don’t always tell their face. Just as Frank Bettger’s enthusiasm had inspired his team to victory, your enthusiasm will draw clients to you. We’re in a people business, so you must be more enthusiastic, friendly, thoughtful and caring than all the other photographers in your area.

Your warmth needs to shine through on your website and other marketing materials too. Many of my clients say that I ‘sounded nice’ on my website. My personality was obviously important to them.

As I said in the beginning, this may sound obvious and trivial, but it’s more important than you can imagine. I don’t know about you, but I recommend people I like – perhaps more than I recommend people who are good. How often have you said ‘give him/her a call, they’re a great guy/girl. We don’t recommend dull or forgettable people, we recommend likeable characters.

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What do you struggle with most? I’d love to hear your story and I’ll do my best to help.

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