Running a photography business can be quite challenging. You have to deal with a lot of factors such as bad weather, specific requests from clients, keeping up with your social media accounts, and more.
You already have a lot of things to deal with, so there’s no need to add more to your plate. We’ve compiled a list of some bad habits that you can learn to avoid in order to keep your photography business on the right track.
A minute lost is lost forever. You can’t afford to waste time if you want to be successful in your business. Every day, get up early, do your morning routines, and work on your tasks right away.
Why? Well, research suggests that people reach their natural peak productivity by mid or late morning. As your body temperature gradually increases, your level of alertness, memory retention, and concentration improves greatly. And that doesn’t even include a cup of coffee!
When you feel great, you’ll be motivated, excited, and full of energy, enabling you to tackle your tasks with enthusiasm.
Check out this interesting article about the best times of the day to do something. Hint: You’re creative juices flow best around 9:00-11:00 am!
2. Lack of Schedule
If you want to run a photography business effectively, you need to properly schedule your shoots. Plotting your schedule provides several advantages:
- It prevents overlaps in your shooting schedule. Your clients won’t have to wait for you until you finish with a previous client. As a rule of thumb, it is best to space out client shoots at least 30 minutes apart.
- Scheduling saves you gas. You won’t have to drive back home or in circles; after you’re done with one client, you can proceed to your next shoot at the same location or right down the road.
- Scheduling allows you to prepare specifics for a client. For example, your first day’s shoot may be an experimental on-site portrait assignment that requires lots of lighting equipment. After that shoot, with the lights out of the way, you may schedule your final commissioned landscape photo with nothing more than your camera and a tripod.
- Scheduling allows you to thoroughly prepare for complex shoots, especially when it involves setting up a lot of equipment. With proper scheduling, you can set up your equipment or survey the location well before the actual shoot.
- Proper scheduling relieves you from stress. You don’t have to rush things because you have already have a plan in place and know exactly when/where you need to be at all times.
3. No Business Direction
In connection with proper scheduling, you should also plan out your shoots. Even the simplest plan can help you organize tasks, select what equipment to bring, determine contingency actions, and more.
Let’s say you are commissioned to shoot photos of a property. You went there on a whim, confident of your skills and past experience. But when you got there, you suddenly realize that you need a couple more flash units and a polarizer---which you failed to bring---to compensate for the unusual lighting of the house. You also realize the house is a mess; the furniture is in disarray. Had you planned this out thoroughly before you came to the site, you could have brought the needed equipment or asked the homeowner beforehand to fix the house so the shoot would go smoothly.
This also applies to actually running your business. Do you have a content marketing strategy? How do you plan to use social media? How should you allocate your budget? Have you identified your audience?
Always remember that a well-planned task is already half done.
4. Lack of Quality Equipment and Services
Oh sure, people say that it’s in the skills, not the tools. But that’s like saying, you can be a champion racer even if you’re driving a standard sedan! It doesn’t matter if you’re the best driver in the world; you need a high-quality, high-tech, powerful, and ultra-fast car to stand a chance against the best.
If you want to succeed in your photography business, you really need the right equipment. You can’t achieve professional shots with just a simple digicam, a cheap DSLR, or---heavens forbid---a smartphone. You will likely need to invest in quality gear, a sturdy tripod, lights, and more in order to keep you ahead of your competition. Both you and your clients will notice the difference when you use quality equipment.
You might also need invest in products/services to help support your business as you begin to grow. Many photographers, for example, outsource their post-processing to photo editing companies. Take PhotoUp for example, a top rated real estate photo editing company who helps real estate photographers shoot more, edit less and spend more time doing what they love.
Having your editing taken care of by a professional editing team allows you more time to shoot more, market yourself and your business, and spend time with with important things and people.
5. No Website
Most aspects of marketing a business are now digital. Photographers market their services, showcase their images, offer discounts, and broadcast announcements on their websites.
A website is now your online showroom/storefront. Obviously, you’re at the losing end if you don’t have a professional website. Without an online presence, you won’t be able to connect with your audience, advertise your business, or take advantage of a massive digital marketing opportunities in cyberspace.
If you don’t have a professional website, what are you waiting for!? Folio Websites is an ideal platform that allows you to create your website quickly and easily. The company also has a team of web developers who can make and customize your website specifically to your brand, look and style.
6. No Breaks
Don’t forget, we’re all human. Robots haven’t replaced us… yet. ;-) All of us need a break, even you! Working 24/7 is unsustainable and at the end of the day, you are not giving your clients, friend and family, the best version of yourself if you are always “working”. Set aside time for work and make sure to give 100% during that time, instead of 75% all of the time.
Create a spreadsheet or calendar and organize your tasks. Schedule your appointments. Set aside time for work, play, and rest. Planning your day allows you to work efficiently within a given time.
7. You don’t set limitations on your proposal or agreement with the client.
Do you really want to give in to the client’s demands no matter how unreasonable it may be just so you can win his/her business? Not setting conditions, limitations, and terms will only hurt your business. Yes, it is important to make a client happy. But it’s also important that YOU are happy.
That is why it’s best to get your terms in writing (e.g. rate, duration of the shoot, location, cancellation policy, etc.) and have the client sign it. Explain to your customer that this is for both your and their best interests, to make sure there are no questions/issues down the road.
8. Lack of Follow Up
How would you feel if you ask a waiter at a restaurant a question and they don’t respond? You feel confused, angry, annoyed, right? The same goes for your business. If you are receiving questions/inquiries through your website or via email, it’s your responsibility as a business owner to get answers back to these people. This is not only critical if you’d like to land new business, but being unresponsive to emails/inquiries can also hurt your brand. People are much more likely to talk about a negative experience than a positive one when it comes to paying for a service. Photography is no exception.
A smart woman once said, “Your fortune is in your follow-up.” Do your best to respond to people in a timely manner so you don’t let new business fall through the cracks.
What other habits do you think photographers need to improve on to grow their photography business?