Saturday, January 5, 2013

Photography Studio | Top 10 Tips for Success

With a desire to start the year with a positive outlook, Sandy Puc just began a great discussion thread on LinkedIn asking people to think about the Top 10 things they believe contribute to a successful photography studio.  

I love taking the first week of January to revisit goals for my photography business, and so was inspired to take a moment to reflect on my overall strategies for success. In no particular order, here are my Top 10 (ok 12) things I have observed over the years which motivate me every day.  Some I live with confidence.  Others I am still working to make wholly mine. What would YOU add?

1. THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE: Make booking, scheduling, delivering, and of course, shooting the photo session a memorable and fun experience.  Inspire referral business through existing clients.
2. SMILE: Yes, you. Genuinely. Smile!! On the job ... and at the proverbial coffee shop (can’t even count how many clients I’ve earned with this philosophy).
3. INSPIRATION / EDUCATION: keep reading, networking, attending seminars and workshops, and staying abreast of current trends, and try new things based on what inspires you.
4. GOALS / LISTS: keep both business and personal, and self-impose deadlines for non client driven ones. If you keep pushing back a deadline, ask yourself if the item should really be on the list (if so: do it! If not, remove it or put it on a separate back-burner list).
5. MARKETING: Schedule regular activity and think outside the box to market yourself creatively (in print, in person and via social media) Your website should reflect your personality. And especially when you’re starting out, don’t show every photo, show only your BEST photos!
6. COMFORT ZONE: Push it! Often! Shoot new material.  I love to use my phone camera to shoot personal projects even on days when I'm not shooting for clients.
7. PRICING: Review cost of business and package pricing annually and always communicate clearly and confidently with clients (unless you happen to love negotiating -- which I decidedly do NOT -- printed materials with pricing menus help tremendously).
8. MONEY: Fall in love with the business side of what you do. This is still my biggest challenge. I had to finally design myself a beautiful system of spreadsheets b/c the available software systems were all too dry for me. May sound silly, but it works for me. Find what works for you.
9. CONTRACTS: Know and continually update your contracts to stay on top of constantly changing on-line world (especially if you work with digital files and licensing). Educate your clients about copyright laws, and gently educate clients that they are investing in your talent, creativity, instinct and vision, NOT paper and ink.
10. GRATITUDE: Be grateful for the fact that you get to do what you love for a living! Remind yourself of this simple and amazing fact when times are tough.
11. ACCEPT CHANGE! Don’t attach to old ways of doing things and don’t be afraid of learning new tricks. Let go of fear, take chances, dive in...
12. TAKE DANCE BREAKS. Often. Crazy ones. They are immeasurably good for the spirit. Not to mention sore, over-worked eyeballs.

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