If you’re already a decent photographer then becoming a full time photographer in a year is achievable. Not easy, but achievable.
There are so many things you need to think about that it can be overwhelming. It’s easy to get paralysed with indecision and confusion.
So, we’ve laid out 52 things for you to work on to help you become a full time photographer within a year.
One thing per week.
Even if you only do one of these things a month you’ll still achieve more than 90% of photographers.
The important thing is that you take action.
Read through all the ideas and then schedule each one that you need to work on.
Within a year you’ll look at your business with immense pride because you’ve achieved so much.
It’s a great feeling.
Please leave a comment below about which idea you love best.
Ready? Here goes….
- Build an alliance with another business who shares your target market.
- Create a money-back guarantee that shows you care about your clients and offering the very best level of service.
- Order some beautiful wall portrait samples at decent sizes (20×24 and above) to wow your prospects and clients. People see a lot more value in a decent sized wall portrait than a digital file and are therefore happy to invest a lot more money in it. So – show clients what you want to sell and they’re far more likely to buy it.
- Join a networking group through http://www.meetup.com to start building relationships with other businesses so you get even more alliances
- Send your wedding photographs to the other suppliers who supplied those weddings. It opens the doors of communication and when you do this regularly those suppliers will start recommending you. Get permission from the wedding client before you do it though.
- Use this amazing wedding book idea to get referrals from other wedding suppliers (even if they’ve never heard of you!)
- Network with fellow wedding suppliers to build strong relationships based on helping each other and ultimately, creating real friendships.
- Write a guest post for a big photography blog like http://www.digital-photography-school.com to improve your Google ranking. The more of these you do, the better.
- Fill out our yearly planner to find out exactly how much you need to be making per wedding and portrait session to meet your income goals
- Start a database of every enquiry and client you receive. Add their contact details to an email system and start a monthly email newsletter to keep nurturing your clients and prospects
- Choose a charity to work closely with. Not only does it feed your soul but it brings in clients and positions you as a photographer who gives back to the community.
- Scour the internet for charity auctions in your local area and start donating portrait sessions and a free print. I offer 5 sessions so get myself 5 new clients rather than 1. Almost everyone invests in more than the free print.
- Set up a referral system to reward clients who recommend you
- Create a document with different things you say and do to help people of different ages relax and smile and interact in front of your camera. The happier and more emotionally connected people feel when the photographs are created, the more they’ll love the photographs.
- Start doing in-person sales rather than online selling or shoot and burn. On average people using in-person sales make 3 times more money per session than shoot and burn
- Create a baby plan where you tell the story of a baby’s first year by offering multiple photograph sessions throughout the year.
- Write down all the awkward or challenging things clients say to you and create answers that gently help them overcome their objections.
- Invest in the amazing software ProSelect which helps you sell way more large wall portraits than ever before.
- Start scheduling everything into Google Calendar (or similar) because if you don’t schedule tasks they’ll never get done
- Consider why someone should choose you over all the other photographers. People hire people they like, trust and connect with. So, who do you want to attract? My brand is ‘The World’s Most Helpful Photographer‘ due to my ManKIND project to do a random act of kindness for someone from every country on earth. What’s your story?
- Learn one cool photographic trick, whether it’s composite photography, The Brenizer method or your own new style. It pays to stand out in a crowded market.
- Ask every client for a testimonial (including your previous clients). Ideally get them to leave one on Google to help your Google ranking, or on a wedding website like www.Hitched.co.uk or The Knot to enhance your profile
- Spread your testimonials all over your website, not just in a testimonials page. They are to useful to tuck away on a page most people won’t look at. They should be the first thing people see on your homepage and throughout the rest of your site.
- Compare your website to the top 5 photography websites in your area and consider why a client should hire you over them. Ignore the quality of the photography and the prices. Focus on service. What makes you different?
- Consider how you can inject your personality into every aspect of your marketing, sales and service. Again, people buy from people they like.
- Scour your website and check you’re only showing your best work. Quality is more important than quantity.
- Look at your wedding packages and see what extra services you can add. For example, work with a local drone specialist, or have an arrangement with another photographer where you’ll second-shoot for each other.
- Create a Facebook advert ‘modelling programme’ to attract your ideal client. This is where you offer a free session and free print for a very specific group of people. For example, ‘People who are giving birth next month’, or ‘Families with a child under 5 and a dog’ or ‘families with a horse’. The first time I did this for newborns I got 43 enquiries.
- Start showing portrait clients just 20-30 images at most. Why? Because when you show dozens of images people get overwhelmed and just ask for everything on a CD. It also saves you hours of retouching. Your portrait clients will actually be happier to see fewer images. Trust me.
- Write down a list of different blog posts you could write throughout the year. Once you have a list of ideas it’s so much easier to crack on and write them because you can hit the ground running.
- Have a look at the ‘About page’ on your website. Do you sound like someone fun, trustworthy, caring, entertaining, confident (yet humble)? Do you sound like the kind of client you want to attract?
- Source some nice packaging for your prints and products. It increases the perceived value of your images.
- Get a trusted friend or family member and role-play a telephone call or in-person sales session with you. Get them to pretend to be a prospect or client and practice what to say when they throw awkward questions and answers at you.
- Consider how you’re going to charge for digital images, or if you’re going to offer them at all. Don’t make digital options so attractive that no-one will ever want a print or wall portrait from you, otherwise you’ll remain a shoot and burn photographer like everyone else who’s struggling.
- Plan and implement a robust backup plan for your photographs. The worst thing on the planet would be for a wedding client’s photographs to get corrupted and lost forever. If the worst should happen then I’ve found these people offer a great service at rescuing corrupted files.
- If you’ve never photographed a wedding and need to build your portfolio then reach out to an established photographer with an offer to be their assistant. It’s the best learning experience you can get. You have to make it enticing for the other photographer though. Offer to help them with some admin tasks too. Become a Get Pro Photo Club member and offer to help them with their marketing. That’s how I got to be a second shooter when I started out. A far more established photographer reached out to me because he couldn’t understand why I was above him on Google. I offered to help him in exchange for being his second shooter. We remain friends and share leads to this day.
- Invest in some decent quality Photoshop Actions / Lightroom presets. Then invest the rest of the week getting to know them and which Actions works best for which style of photograph. It will speed up your workflow and enhance the look of your images instantly. I like https://paintthemoon.net
- Get your finances in order. Clearly you need to be paying your taxes so you need to create a system for tracking your income and expenditure. Don’t forget, your camera gear, household bills, mobile phone and even your car are tax deductible to a greater or lesser extent.
- Get Public Liability and Professional indemnity insurance. Public liability covers you if you accidentally stick your tripod through a stained glass window, while professional indemnity protects you against any irate clients who decide to sue you for every last penny for ruining their wedding day.
- Go through your website’s back end (or get your web manager to do it) and make sure every page and every photo is optimised for a keyword phrase that your potential clients are likely to use.
- Plan promotions throughout the coming year. They don’t have to be pricing promotions (they smack of desperation!). They can be time sensitive ones like ‘family portraits in a bluebell wood’, or helpful promotions like a Facebook advert that promotes your blog post on ‘The 9 questions to ask a photographer before you hire them’.
- Email a questionnaire to your clients to find out why they hired you and what you could do to improve your business.
- Create a video for your website that shows you talking to the camera. It’s the best way of helping people get to know, like and trust you. Videos showing you in action during a photography session are also excellent marketing tools.
- Create an interesting project for your business. I mentioned my ManKIND project earlier. This will help build your brand and reputation in the community.
- Speaking of community – look for causes to be active in. Give back to your community and they will give back to you.
- Realise that successful people are positive people who don’t limit their thinking. They never stop learning new ideas and skills and they’re not afraid to make mistakes. So, how do you become like that if you’re not already? You constantly put good things into your mind. Consume information about the business of photography and about managing your mind and your time. Make a measurable commitment to improving your knowledge. As an example, you might commit to watching one webinar per week. Make sure you take action on what you learn.
- I’ve talked a lot about the business of photography, but your photography skills are of course extremely important too. You don’t want to practice on your clients, so practice with other photographers, friends and family. You can also use the model-call idea I mentioned earlier. That’s a phenomenal way of practising on paying clients. Make a measurable commitment to practice for a day every month, for example.
- Learn how to use off-camera flash because it’s one of the things that newer photographers don’t bother with. It will help you create images that the cheaper photographers can’t achieve and will help separate you from the rabble.
- Responding to email enquiries is extremely time consuming and many people never get back to you. The best way to counter this ‘time-toilet’ is to use ‘Email Drip Campaigns’. This is where you write a series of emails that go out to your enquiries over a period of a couple of weeks. People like www.aweber.com www.madmimi.com and www.mailchimp.com do this. It’s a huge time saver and the emails will automatically follow up enquiries that haven’t responded yet.
- Remember that you sell what you show. So, always show clients packages and samples of products you want to sell. Keep any packages and pricing as simple as possible because when someone is confused they’ll either not hire you, or not place much of an order.
- All of these things can be done within a week, and most of them in much less time. So, highlight the activities that fit your business and schedule a week in the next year for each one. Then do it.
- Find a mentor for your photography business. Why? Because despite these all being fantastic ideas it’s not always that easy to put the ideas into practice. Our membership site has whole programmes dedicated to almost every one of these subjects and more. We get into all the detail and explain exactly how to implement each and every idea and how to structure them into a whole marketing and sales system. Not only that, we’re there to answer every question you have along the way, so you can’t fail. All you have to do is follow the steps. You can check everything out for a month free of charge, so come and take a look.