The key to building a successful photography business
In the industry today, pretty much everyone knows someone who either has a photography business or does photography as a hobby. If you’re struggling to compete with the massive amount of competition or wondering how to even begin competing, you’re not alone! The majority of photography businesses fail in the first 5 years because they aren’t making any money and aren’t getting any clients. Spoiler alert: the key to building a successful photography business is NOT producing amazing work. Yes, it’s still extremely important to be able to consistently produce professional quality work, but the real key to building success is to compete based on differentiation, not price.
No matter what you charge, there will always be someone out there willing to do the same job (but not always produce the same quality results of course) for less. It doesn’t matter if you live in the richest neighborhood in the country, trying to compete with other photographers by seeing who can charge the least is the fastest way to fail as a business owner.
Instead of trying to attract clients by offering a low price, build your business so it stands out from others. Photographers who see long-term success in their businesses offer their clients something they can’t get anywhere else. Whether that be the experience you provide, the type of session, an extremely unique style, or a coveted product, once you inspire the “fear of missing out” in potential clients, you won’t have any trouble getting bookings in this over saturated industry.
To figure out how you can stand out from the competition, start by defining your target market. Figure out what they like, what attracts them to certain businesses, experiences, stores, and what type of service they are most likely looking for. Then think about YOUR strengths, both as a photographer and a business owner. Are you insanely amazing at getting seniors to open up in front of the camera? Are you awesome wrangling the kids at family sessions? Do you have a unique editing style that no one in your area does? Or do you provide amazing personalized service to each and every client? Once you can figure out which of your strengths you can use to stand out from the competition and make your service irresistible to potential clients, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful photography business.
Becca Mathews: Maryland Equine, Couples, and Senior Portrait Photographer