with Courtney Slazinik
Photography Business: Random Tips

I guess I need to start with a disclaimer: I do not have a photography business. However, I am obsessed with reading about owning a photography business. I wanted to compile some random tips I have come across though all my reading.

Set photography business goals

This is important for anything you want to do. Not only do you need to set the goals but you need to write them down. Yes, write them down! Stop moaning! This is important! There is something about writing it down that makes it real.

What would you like to make a month?
How many sessions do you want to do a month?
Who is your ideal client?
Where do you see your business in 6 months to a year?
What is your 5 year plan?
How do you want people to describe your work?
What do you want other people to tell their friends about your business?

By taking the time to answer all these questions, it will help you see what your goals are and in which direction you need to go in.

Create a website

In today’s world you need to create some sort of internet presence. You do not need to have a typical website that a lot of photographers have. Is it easier for you to keep up with a blog? You can have just a blog with different pages to answer questions.

A few things to keep in mind:
Please have your name on your about page. This is extremely important if your name is not in your photography name. It drives me crazy when I want to contact a photographer and I don’t even know their name.
Have an interesting About page. It doesn’t need to be your life story. But tell people a little about yourself. Don’t forget to let them know what you can do for them.
Update it often. Don’t go weeks or months without updating your page. What if you don’t have a ton of sessions? That is okay, show photos from your own life. Work on projects. The goal is to show your work.
Research SEO. You want to know how to get your blog/website on the first page of Google when someone searches your area for a photographer.
Posting sneak peeks – I have read mixed reviews on this. Some love it, some don’t. I like the idea one photographer had. She only posts images on Facebook and blogs images that the client purchases. This means no sneak peeks. I wish I remember who said it, basically, she found that if the image was online, the client was less likely to purchase it because they had access to it already. So why spend the money?
Use clever wording. Instead of saying, I do about 4 sessions a month. Say “I only take on 4 clients a month.” This will make you seem like you are in high demand and people will call to ask if you have any spots left.

Referral program:

A lot of photographers have had great success with a referral program. This is basically free advertising for you. Think about it. Are you more likely to listen to your friends who recommend a product or a commercial? Your friends! If you make the experience so top notch, your clients can’t help but spread the word about you. You want them to be singing your praises each time someone tells them how wonderful their wall photo is.

What kind of reward will you have for your referring client?
Will you have a discount for the new client?
How will you keep track of this?
What type of cards will you use to give to your client for referrals? Did you see that Melissa has them on her business card? Clever!
Will this cut into your profits?

Continue to learn

If you are in business, you not only need to continue your education with photography but business as well. I subscribe to the Professional Photographer Magazine and LOVE it! There is so much information in there and tons of ideas for improving your business, plus beautiful images!

There are a lot of blogs out there on being in business. One of my favorite to read is Go {4} Pro by Leah. She has so many fantastic ideas!!

Do you have any other random tips for being in business?? Share them in the comment section!

  • June 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Maybe this is just a personal pet peeve, but I also think it’s great to have a photo of yourself on your About page. Back when I was looking for a wedding photographer, there were so many that just had a wedding portrait of their clients as the image on their About page. I think it’s so nice to see the person(s) behind the lens, and makes the experience more personal. Again, just my personal opinion…..

    • June 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      YES!!! How could I have forgotten this one!! It is a pet peeve of mine as well!! I LOVE seeing who I’m hiring!!!

    • June 19, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Completely agree! And keep it up to date! If you have dyed your hair a different colour, or grown or cut it substantially, you need a new photo! People don’t want to get a suprise when they meet you ;^D

  • June 19, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Love these tips! :) I think it was Sandy Puc’ who said that once your image is online, it’s fair game and clients lose interest. I’ve followed this advice and only post pictures after I’ve showed the clients. PLUS, they get to peek first before the rest of the world sees (and I know their favorites to share too!).

    Another tip – keep up on finances/bookkeeping i.e. income and expenses (on anything). I use StudioCloud because it’s designed for photographers, AND it’s free!!!

    • Courtney
      June 21, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      Yes, oh the finances!!! That is such an important and huge part of running a successful business! Thanks for sharing about StudioCLoud. I hadn’t heard of that! Thanks as well for the mention of Sandy Puc!

  • Cristin
    June 19, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Courtney, the business tips have been wonderful this month! I love the idea of writing down your goals, and I am answering every one of those questions you asked on paper TODAY! I did something similar back in January and I’ve accomplished 9 out of 10 goals I’d wrote down! It works!!! Thanks for the link to Leah’s blog, I am headed over there now! Your baby girl is so ADORABLE!!

    • Courtney
      June 21, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Yay! SO proud of you for writing them down!! I promise it will make a huge difference! Keep them out where you will remember them!!

  • July 31, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Be yourself.. be really really you.. People can spot fakeness and “professionality ” when it is not genuine. I always err on the side of unprofessionality than being too stuffy. Make your clients your friends..love them.. find what is fascinating about them and cherish that. People know I’m weird… loud.. silly and have a pirate mouth and they love me for who I am!

    • Courtney
      August 8, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      Totally agree about being yourself!! Yes!!!

  • April 29, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    I’m a newbie and these tips are going to help tremendously!! I can’t wait to download the StudioCloud when I get home! :)

    • Courtney Slazinik
      May 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      So glad to hear that! Welcome!

  • Laura Freeman
    September 7, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Just starting out. I have had a few paid gigs but get asked quite often to do family photos. I figure I have the equipment (although just a REBEL T3i for now) and am known to take great pictures so I figure its time to take the next step of naming the business, getting cards and saying YES the next time I am asked!! Any thoughts? My name is Laura Freeman but there is already a Laura Freeman Photography….already stumped on a name which has held me back before!! Thanks for any input.

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