Photographers & Their Camera
If you have been following this series from the first part and doing all that was outlined in the previous posts, your photography business must be well underway by now. But if not, you should go through those write-ups and start implementing them. Remember, reading without any action or implementation will do nothing for your dream of becoming a professional photographer and will not put any money in your wallet. But action and determination or commitment will go a long way.
The third, as well as the last part of this series, will walk you through how to become a social knockout businessperson in photography. It is assumed that your photography website or blog is live with most of your content attracting a few targeted visitors. This part of the series is so important that an entire post is dedicated to it, therefore, take and implement all the nuggets you will find here with all seriousness and vigor.
Why Is Social Media Important for Photographers?
Social media is a marketing channel that is vital for any photographer that wants a breakthrough in every sense of the world. Social media platforms provide the right avenue for sharing updates, contents as well as for getting new and paying clients. You can also use social media to research new business opportunities or even to network with other professional photographers both within and outside your locality.
Social media is also the place where you can develop alliances with other veritable artists which will help to revitalize your work. It is also the place where you can educate new and existing clients about how your work as well as how you can be of help to them.
Choosing Social Media Channels for Photographers
Have you set up your social media channels for business and personal use? If not, it is time you do. When you make use of channels that you know already, you will be at ease when it comes to posting content as well as engaging with prospective clients on them.
If you are starting out with creating social media channels, one of the first things you should do is to take a look at your existing clients as well as your prospective clients to determine or find out which social media channels they are using. Then, once you locate where they congregate, go there right away. Do not make the mistake of believing or thinking your clients will come to you, for a significant majority will not while some may not even know your photography business exists.
Most professional photographers, however, have no choice than to stick to the most significant social media platforms that are always trending: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You should, nonetheless, start with one social media channel and build a base from there. Going all out for the three giant social media platforms will burn you out and end up frustrating you. Pay attention to a single social media channel where a majority of your existing and potential clients exist or participate in and put in your best at building your base.
Should You Separate Your Personal Social Media Accounts from The Ones for Your Photography Business?
The answer to the question above is a resounding “yes, you should.” Separating your business social media accounts from your personal ones will make it easier for new and existing clients to stay in touch with the information they need per time. Separating your business posts from your personal ones will not allow your clients to see every single thing you post on social media.
If you opt for using Facebook, then it is even more important for you to create separate accounts. On this social media behemoth, a personal page requires you to enable following for prospective customers or to “friend” someone so that such people will be notified of your updates anytime you make them. A separate business page, however, allows users to schedule posts beforehand while enabling them to keep track of the topics the fans are engaging with per time. You can also run targeted ads only on a business page.
What Should You Share on Social Media as A Business Photographer?
You can only be limited by your imagination as regards what you share on social media. Whether you are heading out to the hills or mountains with your gear or taking a hike into the jungle, you can share live updates with your fans or followers. This will also give you the opportunity to share tips and tricks on how to capture particular angles or images that are engaging or entertaining.
Lots of topnotch photographers are making use of this aspect of photography as journals to record their day-to-day movements as well as share updates with followers on larger projects. This helps to build and foster personal relationships with followers, and this, in turn, supports the business aspect of photography.
If, for instance, you have been scheduled to meet a family and take their portrait, you can share your favorite tips or tricks that help to loosen up your clients and capture those lovely family memories.
When and How Often Should You Share Stuff with Your Followers on Social Media?
Starting slowly when you set out on social media is good advice. You should not be pressured into thinking that you must post something worthwhile every two hours on Twitter or six times daily on Facebook. You should find your pace and be comfortable with the flow of each social media channel. But you should bear in mind that consistency is very crucial. You need to be reliable and show up on a consistent basis every week as this will fasten the growth of your reach.
Several online tools abound which can help you to grow your online bases such as Buffer, Hootsuite or CoSchedule. You can make use of any of these tools to automate your posts and to manage the entire process of sending out relevant posts consistently. This means that you will not be obligated to always be on social media 24/7 so that you can have time for your offline activities. These tools also supply analytics that will come in handy whenever you make up your mind to hit your targeted followers on social media.
How Can I Build A Following on Social Media as A Photographer?
It is not as difficult as it sounds when it comes to building a following on social media as a photographer. One thing you should do is to be as social as possible. Always create time out of your busy daily schedules to log into your social media channels and engage with every person that has dropped a comment or two on your posts. Do not leave this step for the automation tools for they can only do so much. By going further and checking out the profiles of new and existing clients who have commented on your posts, you will be better informed about their interests. This will enable you to provide the needed encouragement for their personal growth in whatever endeavor they are into.
Following up on the comments posted by your followers is another way of reaching out to them. If you observe that there is an interesting conversation that is ongoing and sparked by your posts, then jump right in and engage with your followers. This will help you build long-term relationships which could end up turning into referrals or clients.
You should do your best to reach out to other photographers who are also making use of social media to grow their businesses. Building a reliable network is vital in this business, and social media provides the right and best platform for this venture. You may end up catching a project or client from another photographer who may be too busy with other projects, and that is more money and prestige for you.
What You Should Not Do
This happens across all genres of online business; you may discover that your growth on social media is slow and may quickly become frustrated at this. It could make you desperate to grow your online followers or reach. But no matter what, you should never make the career-ending mistake of buying fake followers from anywhere.
Do not be taken in by offers from freelance platforms like Fiverr or others to help you grow your online followers. You should focus on increasing your followers naturally and organically as they can do more to build your photography business than getting a large number of followers who will pointedly ignore your posts. From time to time, Facebook (for instance) weeds out bot and spam accounts, and if you have purchased followers from anywhere, the numbers will plummet, and your business page may even be affected negatively.
What Does Success Look Like for A Business Photographer?
Success on social media is not a process that you can just set up and forget. It does not work that way. You need to sit down at the end of the month or the start of a new one to review what is working and what you can improve on.
If you have a social media plan in place – which is very important – then the following essential components will help you determine whether or not it is working:
- Increased Engagement – Do you notice an increase in conversations and comments on your posts? Then that implies that your posts should be focused on fostering more engagement among your followers.
- Increased Followers – Who are your followers? Are they fellow photographers or prospective or existing customers? That means they love what you share and are willing to be notified any time you post updates on your business page.
- Increased Traffic to Your Website – Check the analytics of your website or blog to find out if you are getting more visits from your social media channels. If not, you can run targeted ads to help you increase your daily or monthly visits.
- After a while, you will pick up or develop a sense of what your audience likes to see on social media. This will help you adjust your schedule and posts in such a way that you can market your photography business efficiently.
In the first part of this series, we discussed the steps to take that would help you get started on the right foot in your photography business.
This article will discuss a question that is commonly asked, and this has to do with how much you should charge for your photography services. This is usually a big debate, especially for people that are starting out in this field. Without further ado, let’s dive in, shall we?
The following questions are no doubt roaring through your mind right now:
* What should I charge?
* Should I charge for prints and even digital images?
* What about friends and family that patronize my business? Should I give them discounts? etc.These, among many others, are the questions that plague beginners in the world of photography. One thing you should bear in mind for sure is that even the top guys in the industry started somewhere and they also passed through this phase. You will, too, if you read this guide to the end.
By now, if you followed the steps outlined in the first part of this series, you must have practiced, bought a lens or two besides the usual kit lens, and hope to upgrade from using a DSLR camera to a better one.
Photography Business Is Seasonal
One thing you should be aware of before we go any further is that professional photography is not a ‘Need’ but a luxury. This is the primary reason why it fluctuates since photography business is seasonal and may be affected by a downturn in the economy.
During the period when the economy remains down, it affects the photography industry since people will be more inclined to get gas and food as against taking photographs.
Making up your mind, therefore, on what you should charge can be difficult, but it all rests on one, single factor: how good are you at photography? It is virtually impossible for you to judge yourself. Your friends and family that support your new profession will continue to encourage you, thus making the process of knowing what to charge a complicated one.
Check Out Other Photographers in Your Local Community
Apart from determining how good you are at taking spectacular photographs, the next best way to decide what you should charge is to take a look at other photographers in your locality or area. They should be photographers who are already in the line or niche of photography that you want to focus on as a professional. Ask them what they charge their clients, and even though they do not tell you outrightly, they will have given you an idea of what price you should charge for your services.
Additionally, you can ask someone who is unbiased or neutral about their thoughts about your work.
Here Is What You Should Do
Set a discounted price to help you build your portfolio. As a newbie photographer, charging $100 for one session is not far off the mark. But you should set your introductory price with fifty percent off so that your potential clients will be attracted to your offer. Do not hide the fact that your original price is $100 for a single session, and that they are getting premium service at a highly discounted price.
If your clients like your service and cherish their experience with you, they will most likely continue to work with you. Remember that the price you set for your photography services is temporary so that you can increase it as your photography skills improve.
If you have been in the photography business for some time or have honed your skills to expert level, then setting your price at $200 per session is an excellent idea. You should then offer a fifty percent discount for a specific period. Make sure that you post your price and the time frame – say within the next three to six months – on your website or blog.
Once the period elapses and you feel you are not ready to remove the discount, you should set a thirty percent discount for the same length of time or still run your show at the previous discount – fifty percent. Of course, you can take off the deduction when you start having many clients. But make sure that you offer the same value – or even more – when you raise your prices, thus allowing you to make more money while doing virtually the same amount of work.
Photographers also tend to raise their prices to stay consistent with inflation, either once or twice a year, depending on the economic situation of your country. In most cases, however, photographers increase their prices on January 1st of every year.
How to Maximize Your Income
It is a known fact that approximately sixty percent of photographers don’t last too long in this business, especially after the first year. Twenty-five percent drop out of the venture altogether by the end of the second year. In most of these cases, one of the factors that made their photography business to crumble is associated with their income.
This is why you must re-strategize and maximize your opportunities of making more money as a professional photographer. The following are some of the ways you can utilize to boost your income:
#1: Offer Discounts for Some Shoots or Order Volume Every Year
Research has shown that this method of offering discounts for booking some photography shoots annually or for large print order volumes, work like a charm. You can offer these discounts as a bonus and don’t forget to apply it to bulk orders as well.
If, for instance, your clients purchase a particular number of prints from you – based on your premise as opposed to other photographers – you can offer a ten-percent discount.
You can also do the same if they book some sessions – say four or five – with you per year. You can up the ante by offering discounts at particular times of the year, either during summer, fall or spring.
#2: Stock Photography
Creative photos tell stories, and this is why you will come across a majority of these in stock photo sites. You should consider selling your photographs to stock photo websites as you can earn income passively this way.
It is relatively easy to do; get in touch with the stock photo sites of your choice and upload your photos there. Licensing your photographs is also not that difficult as you can do so via photo websites such as Getty Images, Flickr, etc.
You should take note that the ROI – return on investment – for stock photos depends principally on how many photos or images you upload to stock websites. Images can sell for a few cents, and outstanding ones can even go for a dollar or slightly higher. But if you have hundreds or even thousands of images spread across multiple stock photo sites, you will have significantly increased the amount of money you will be making every month, without additional work.
#3: Offer Mini-sessions
There is no better way to win over clients than offering mini-sessions. Some clients may want to ascertain how good you are at your work, and your offer of a mini-session is an excellent opportunity for them to gauge your work without wasting too much time and money. These clients could end up booking you for more extended sessions in the long run.
Some clients who may have booked you for a large event or two may not have you in mind when a chance pops up for them to have a mini-session. This could be as a result of your price range which they may consider as expensive
But when you offer less costly mini-sessions – where you can charge like say $30 or more for a twenty-minute shoot – your client base will be pleased and more than willing to hire you.
#4: Establish a Referral Program
This is another excellent way of increasing your income while endearing you to your clients for long-term work. Offer discounts to every client that refers a friend, colleague or member of the family to your photography business. In most cases, a majority of these clients return to take you up on your discounted offers on their next photography session and also help to bring in new customers. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.
However, you should be careful here; you can choose to offer discounts on prints or future sessions, but not the two at the same time. Additionally, set up your referral program in such a way that those discount offers can only be redeemed when the family member, colleague or friend referred by your client has booked your professional services.
Take Photographs for a Cause
You should volunteer to take photographs once in a while at charity events as this helps you to not only network with prospective customers but also fosters goodwill within your community.
Make sure that you watermark every photograph that you take with your business name for more exposure.
If those pictures are shared on social media platforms, then you should ensure that your business or professional handle is tagged for maximum results.
In the next post: “How to start a photography business like a pro, from day one: Part 3” you will discover how to use the power of social media for your photography business. It promises to be mind-blowing, yet entertaining. Stay tuned to this page!
Sit Down and Think It Through
The first thing you should do is to sit down and count your costs. Do you really want to build a business around photography? You need to be doubly sure that this is the path you want to travel down on, probably for the rest of your life. You will not become an overnight success in this business – such a thing only happens in Hollywood movies, my friend – but if you put in the hard work, you will be a success. It is a freeing and rewarding venture, one that continually builds your confidence with every action that you take.
Getting Equipped for the Business
If you are confused about the type of lens and camera you should buy at this stage, it is perfectly understandable. Most professional and highly successful photographers walked this path as well. You do not need to break the bank just because you want to launch your photography business.
Funnily enough, some people will want to divest themselves of their cameras when they need money. You can ask your friends, families, neighbors or even go online (e.g., eBay, etc.) to search for these practically brand–new, yet low–priced cameras.
- SD Card
- A computer which is necessary for editing pictures
This follows where we left off in the previous tip. You should go out every day and capture random moments of the day. Not only will this help you sharpen your photographic skills or edge but will also help in boosting your confidence. This is perhaps, the number one factor that every budding photographer needs in truckloads.
Take Time to Learn the Basics
The internet is rife with information about cameras and stuff like “Aperture–Priority Mode” or AP, “Manual Mode” or M, shutter speed, etc.
If you have a mentor or follow someone who is a success at photography, check them out and determine why they chose the name they bear for their photography business.
Start volunteering and showing up at local events like the school sports competition, community festivals, etc. and take photos of friends, families, etc. You can take it a step further by offering your services to a local business in your area. Your greatest asset in this field is “word of mouth,” and this is why showing up in social circles will pay off a great deal.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage: You will agree that social media has transformed the world in more ways than anyone can count. This is why many organizations have an online presence in some of the most popular social media platforms today. There is no better place to build and grow your portfolio than on Facebook and Instagram. First of all, both platforms are free to use, and secondly, most of your friends, relatives, family, etc. already have several accounts on these platforms. On Facebook, you can choose to separate your personal account from your business (fan page) account (highly recommended). Instagram has no such issues. You can start building your portfolio by posting or uploading your photos recurrently. Post anything – from flowers, animals, kids playing in a park, ancient buildings, etc. – and let the world see your handiwork .
- Be as real as you can, for nobody likes photos that come with boring or drab captions which is very common nowadays. For every picture or group of photos that you post, let your audience know why those pictures matter to you as a person. People are emotional and will always react positively to sweet memories. Do not play on people’s emotion, however.
- Develop a thick skin. This is very important because people will also judge or criticize some of your photos. Expect this even from your closest friends. But know one thing: whatever anyone thinks about your photos – good or bad – is about them, not you.
- So, do your best, be as civilized as possible, ignore people who appear not to support you and focus on those that do.
- Post your photos on a regular basis. This will keep your audience engaged as much as possible. You should also encourage your audience or friends to share those photos with their own friends and associates. Who knows which photograph will go viral and push you to the limelight?
Create A Photography Blog
Blogging further cements your online presence by showing how dedicated you are in your field. It helps to keep you on track while building faithful followers or audience who will be interested in your success.
Consistency matters when it comes to blogging; if you chose to post your photos once every first day of the working week or twice weekly, please be unswerving when doing so. This will make your audience to eagerly look forward to your next photo–post, and possibly bring a visitor or two along with them, thereby growing your followers organically without you spending too much money on ads.
Watch out for it; it promises to be exciting and informative!
To accomplish better exposure in the presence of multiple light sources;
Configure your camera to spot metering mode. Then , meter for the face of the subject
Then, meter the camera to match the output you need
You can use a handheld light meter to determine the right kind of aperture (if you shoot without a TTL). If not, you can use any aperture value and rely on the flash to meter the scene. However, if the flash is unable to meter, you should go to the manual metering.
Just remember to configure the shutter speed of your handheld light meter to the fastest possible value. Such approach allows you to get rid of the potential ambient light.
It is pretty easy to illuminate a person’s eyes properly if you use a flash. Although it is a really simple process, illuminating the eyes is a really important aspect particularly when it comes to portraiture. If you can position the light well, you are almost done!
If you are using a natural light, don’t let your subject to look directly at the sun. It is always better if you can find a relatively diffused light (either inside a building or under a shade). The best results can be achieved if you can find a surface that works as a reflector to direct light toward the face of the subject. Such reflector should be placed in front of the subject’s face.
If you use a flash in the hot shoe, however, you may have to reflect the flash output towards the side of the subject. In this case, you have to ask the subject to face towards you. You don’t need to bounce the flash off the ceiling; if you do so, your subject will have shadows under the eyes.
When it comes to a flash out of the hot shoe, you should place the flash in a large modifier. This modifier should be larger than the subject’s face. Then, you should place the light modifier (together with the flash), in front of the subject’s face. By asking the subject to turn the face slightly toward the light, you can expect better illumination.
By making your subject to face the direction we mentioned above (towards the source of the light), you will be able to make the light to appear softer. In addition to that, you can expect a more flattering light with this strategy. You may not capture any annoying shadows on the face of the subject.
When the subject faces directly towards the source of the light, the face will give some glowing effect (which is natural). This effect will automatically highlight the face of the subject (key object in the shot). However, you must avoid using too harsh light; it will do more harm than good to your photo.
Use a light modifier and make the light source coming from above the eye-level of the person you capture. If you like, you can let the subject face tad towards the left or right of the light source.