Many photographers only dream about turning their hobby into a living. Those that succeed in doing so manage it for the simple reason that they put in the hard work and passion. Take your first step today towards being a professional and start to get commercial photography jobs.
Find your niche
Before you dive into buying equipment, designing a logo or setting up a website, be sure to work out your niche. This is what will separate you from the crowd of competitors. Most photographers start by building portfolios with such a wide range of work in it they lose sight of the things they do best.
If you are a rockstar food photographer, then do that. Don’t water down your marketing image by trying to be a bit of everything. This method doesn’t work. People want to know you are great at that thing they need you to do.
Work out a business plan that is simple to follow
Planning is the key to success. You need to be clear on what your goals are and make sure you have a solid idea of the direction to take your business in. Getting commercial photography jobs isn’t going to be easy and it will take time and commitment to be successful at it.
Identify your target market. This will allow you to focus your efforts and ensure you get the work you want to do. Marketing and all investments can be geared towards getting the right clients and avoiding missed opportunities.
Work out how much you need to invest. Depending on the type of work you are looking to take on, you may find that you need to invest in more equipment than you already own. By working out your likely earnings you can put together an ongoing plan for investing in photography equipment.
Set goals that push you but are achievable. By doing so you will constantly be able to monitor your own success. This is important as it can be very easy to lose direction.
Check out this article to find out more about writing a business plan: Essential guide to writing a business plan
Invest in reliable equipment
It can be very tempting to look for bargains and low cost options when starting out. However, It is worth remembering that these are going to be the tools of your trade. Going too cheap may cause you more pain than it is worth in the long run.
Check out this article: 9 Useful items you want to pack inside your camera bag
Build your portfolio with a strong focus on the type of commercial photography jobs you want
As already discussed, you need to find your niche in photography and stick with it. It is fine to deviate a little once things have got going, but to begin with your portfolio needs to reflect the work you are looking to bring in.
Set up a website that is clean and easy to navigate. Having a small description of who you are, as well some images of yourself, will help add a personal touch to an otherwise anonymous shop front. If you do this well then people will be encouraged to buy into you as well as your work.
Having a small selection of your best images is much better than littering it with work that is sub par. A large portfolio does not result in a good portfolio. Be extremely vigilant when choosing what work you put into it and keep your clients eager to see more.
Target your marketing to those you want to reach
Getting sales is the most important part of any business. Setting up a website and waiting for clients to find you is not going to result in sales. You need to actively promote yourself and drive people your way. Commercial photography jobs won’t come to you, you need to go out and get them.
Get online and start promoting your services
Social media is a great place to start simply because it is easy to get going. Use Facebook, Instagram and other networks to put your work in front of people.
Online marketing campaigns can really help people find you. Use tools such as:
- Google AdWords
- Google AdSense
- Facebook PPC
- Instagram PPC
- LinkedIn Advertising
In addition to this make sure that you implement things that allow you to build up a mailing list. This way you can send out newsletters using a service such as MailChimp and target potential clients directly.
Don’t forget the real world
Offline marketing is extremely effective. Get out there and approach your potential clients in person. This way you can break down the barrier of anonymity that comes with online sales. By doing so, people will get to know you and be far more likely to use you over someone else they haven’t met.
Be ready for any opportunity
Sometimes the biggest opportunities can present themselves at the most unusual of times. For this reason you can’t afford to ever be unprepared. Carry your business cards with you and make sure you have access to your portfolio. Having a good phone or tablet with your work loaded onto it will allow you to quickly show potential clients your work and get talking. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!