So you want to start a photography business. Maybe you’ve been practicing on all your friends and building a portfolio. You might have people actually asking you how much you charge for weddings or for a portrait session. Now that you have caught the bug you start dreaming about starting your very own photography business. Then you go online and search for photographers in your area and realize there are about 3 million photographers located in your small town. You might be disappointed at all the competition, but are there really too many photographers? Let’s look at this and see how we can deal with this issue.
When we started our photography company about 10 years ago we ran into the same issue. There was an over abundance of photographers around. Now it’s even worse. With the rise of social media, anyone can create a business page and off they go. It might seem like a daunting task to compete against every photographer but it’s really not that big of a deal, here’s why.
Just because every other person in your town has a photography business does not mean they are getting business. We have this weird reaction as humans to compare ourselves to everyone around us. Assuming everyone else is doing better than us, we think the worst. You see it all the time especially with social media. The only thing most people are posting is their best stuff, happiest times, and only good things. This happens when you start looking around at other photographers.
When I brought this point up to another established photographer when we were just starting out. About there being too many photographers, he said something that has stuck with me. He said, “believe me, there is more than enough business to go around for everyone”. Now that we are booking a ton of clients I see what he meant. You don’t have to be just one of the many photographers, you only have to be in the top 3 or 4.
There are most likely only about 5 photographers who have steady business in your area. Unless you live in a city like Philadelphia, a big city. Out of those 5 main photographers about 2 are not doing as well as they would like and are struggling. the other three is where you want to be. How do you market your photography business so you are in the successful top 3 photographers? That’s what we have done and you will see us talk about over and over. In a nutshell here are the steps:
If you followed those 4 steps you would see instant success. You would not all of a sudden have an exploding photography business but you would see a steady flow of clients. From there it would be up to you on how fast you learn and want to grow.
If you’re not using a wordpress site and putting time into learning SEO it will be a tough road. This is your base. Your representation of your business online. Make sure it’s complete and professional. You can argue that with all the social media available you don’t need a website, you can just use a Facebook page. There is so much wrong with thinking this way. By not having a complete website you already show that you are not a true professional.
It also will set you back in the long run. You won’t have any SEO and you won’t be able to run Google Ads. You will be stuck with social only. Be a professional photographer and have a good looking site.
This is will grow your business exponentially in the long run. If there was only one marketing technique I was forced to use this would be it. I would blog every day (like I do now), maybe twice a day. This alone can launch successful businesses. Find a tool like Ubersuggest by Neil Patel, or many other free tools available. Find the keywords people are searching for like “portrait photographers”, “family photography”, and “Newborn Photographers”. Add some extra keywords to make them long tail and your city to the end. So you would have posts like “when is the best time of day for a family portrait in *your city*”. Research SEO blogs, do what they say, and start writing!
Unlike writing blogs this option is instant. You have to make sure your funnel is set up and ready to roll. A good and easy to use website is a must. This option also costs money. It can be scary to run ads, especially if you have never run them before. Let me reassure you, yes they work. If you don’t have much money to start with try 50 dollars for the month. If you can swing 100 to start that would be even better. As you start booking shoots from ads and see the results you will want to spend more and more.
If you don’t know how to run google ads do a little research. There is a lot of great info on Youtube and Google. It really is not hard. Set your keywords, choose your area where the ads are shown, create the ads. That’s about it to start. You will learn tricks and tips along the way but you will see results if you keep it simple.
This is not as hard as you think. Here’s the catch, you have to make it idiot proof. If will take years of tweaking to make it perfect. One thing it has to be is professional looking. We have our logo on the top and then we just go right into pricing. Nothing fancy. Simple, Simple, Simple. If people keep coming to you with a list of questions after seeing your price list then it needs help. Every time someone comes back with a question I adjust the price list to address the question. When the next person has that same question it will already have been answered in the price list. There is one thing I actually have to adjust that I haven’t got around to yet. I keep getting the question if the digital file cost is a one time payment or if everyone who wants the files has to pay the fee. We charge a flat fee for all the digital files. If that was more clear on our price list I would stop getting that question.
There are my 4 main things you can do right now to keep yourself from competing against too many photographers. Don’t worry about them. They aren’t who you are in business for, they should not matter. Keep your eye on your own clients.
If you want to see our awesome price list just sign up for our email list ( no spam, we only send mail when we have something cool for you ). I’ll personally email you exactly the list we are using right now that I send to clients. If you have any questions just shoot me an email or leave a comment.