For many photographers the business side presents a great challenge. How to start a photography business? How do you attract clients? How much should you charge? What are the marketing tools you need to be successful? Andrew Hellmich gets it. He had to answer these questions himself, twenty years ago, when he set up his now highly successful Impact Images, a wedding and portrait photography studio on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. He and his wife Linda work in the business together. Andrew did the shooting, and along the way, learned to be a super marketer.
PhotoBizX photography podcast was born when Andrew decided to interview other successful photographers and have them share the secrets of their success. Andrew also share his hard-won business savvy. PhotoBizX is a website, a podcast, a Facebook community, a book, a blog, a source for one-on-one coaching, mastermind peer groups, an online marketing eMasterclass, and lots more. Everything is geared to help photographers meet their business goals, from coming to grips with website creation, SEO, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google Ads, to zeroing in on a workable pricing strategies to stay profitable.
On his weekly podcasts, Hellmich interviews experts in a wide variety of fields — not just successful photographers, but marketing, sales, social media and SEO experts as well. He asks the right questions to get the information he’s after to truly help listeners with their photography businesses. The photography podcast archive, which now includes over 300 interviews, is a continuously updated treasure of business knowledge for photographers.
Premium members have access to the entire archive, and can use the search engine to find solutions to specific problems and discover strategies for establishing and growing their client base. Some topics include Using Facebook Ads to Book Photography Clients, The Business Side of Celebrity Photography, How to Run a Successful Boudoir and Pinup Studio, From Domestic and Commercial Photographer to Photographic Artist, the list goes on. Here are some of our recent favorites:
Sarah Anderson — How to Write High Converting Emails to Attract Photography Clients?
An email marketing expert, Anderson recommends sending out two emails a month to stay on your clients’ radar without winding up in the spam box. She recommends sending a series of three or four welcome emails to new subscribers to your list, which she says will result in a higher open rate. These people are looking for photographers, so make sure that your email shows them what you do.
She suggests creating relationships with the clients on your email list through regular, relevant messages, down the line, transition to a soft pitch with a call to action. Start a one-on-one conversation by asking a question, such as “What are you struggling with in your search for a photographer?” Make answering easy by providing a button with a blank to fill in, “I’m struggling with _____:” The responses will give you valuable information about potential clients and a reason to send a follow up.
Ivan Mana – How to Set Up Your first Google Adwords Campaign for Photographers?
In this interview, Mana, an expert with online marketing essentials, offers a step by step guide to setting up your first Google Adwords campaign, with tips on how your website and Ads can work together, turning click-throughs into conversions. You’ll want to listen to this podcast on your computer, so you can set up up or revise your Adwords campaign in real time as Mana takes you through each step, making it an easy process.
Jesse Carillo – How to Get Started with Pinterest for Photographers?
Carillo is a wedding and event planner with Art and Soul Events in Los Angeles, and she generates 350,000 monthly views on her Pinterest boards. Not to get it confused with social media, she says Pinterest is a discovery network, a powerful search engine in itself, and some of the first links to show up on Google. She uses the Pinterest plug-in on her website, encouraging visitors to save their favorite images to a Pinterest board. Because Pinterest gives higher rankings to consistent posters, she uses the Tailwind plug-in to upload a lot of images at once, then schedules three of four daily pins.
Couples planning a wedding will often start with Pinterest, searching for a theme or a location. So she recommends creating Pinterest boards for wedding venues, bridal bouquets, wedding themes and so on, using both specific and general keywords in the captions — for example, use both Bridal Flowers and Rose Bouquets. She stresses that Pinterest is very SEO focused, so it’s important to choose the right words. You can find out what people are looking for, by doing a Pinterest search for something specific, such as Desert Weddings, and see what other search terms pop up.
Important Tip: Use a Pinterest business account; apply for and get approved to use Rich Pins, which will pull additional data from you blog posts.
Kristen Kalp – Branding Your Photography Business the Right Way
Once a photographer herself, Kalp closed her studio to focus on writing, branding and marketing. She has unique advice for building a successful client base. “Stay out of comparison land,” she says. Stop looking at what everybody else is doing. Be clear about who you are and how you want to live. “New photographers will take any client, then they get pushed around, and end up miserable. Instead, look for clients who specifically need what you have to offer.” She challenges photographers to think of a favorite client.
Who is she? How old is she? Where was the shoot? What are the characteristics that made this client such a pleasure to work with? Once you have that nailed, use it in your blogs, social media and website, to attract clients who will click with you. You might write something like, “Do you like to laugh? Do you enjoy each other’s company? Does Friday night find you cuddled on the coach with a glass of wine?” Then reach out to me when you need a photographer.” Talking to the prospective client’s spirt is a brilliant tactic for portrait, wedding and family photographers, she says.
They’ll think, “Wow! This photographer knows me.”
Rachel Bourke – How to Make Consistently Higher Sales to Every Photography Client?
Bourke, owner of the Australian-based company SalesSpace, uses neuroscience to generate sales. She points out that photography is a highly competitive business, so you have to give clients a compelling reason to choose you over someone else. To make that happen, she has developed a three step approach she calls “Connect, Affect, Direct.” Step one, get on your client’s wavelength. You’ll need to connect with people who don’t seem at all like you. Pay attention to the signals they give you. With a shy client, take a soft spoken approach. Speak in their language. Do they use a lot of slang or are they more formal?
Step two, affect them by asking questions that show a genuine interest and open them up. Have three to five questions ready before your first call or interview. “Where are you calling from? What do you expect from the photographer you choose? What sorts of photographs speak to you? I’d love to see some examples because I want to work with people who love my style.” And most importantly “Do you have a budget in mind?”
Finally, direct them to the next step. Ask if they’re ready to book now. What might help them make a decision? How much time would they like to think about it? Make another appointment. “I have availability on this day and that day, so let’s set up a second chat.” Follow up with a calendar invite.” Let the client know you are there to help them. “Would you like to see more shots?” Never give the impression that you’re desperate for their business, which can kill the sale, or at the very least, create an opening for the client to bargain on the price. Let them know they can trust you and that they’ll enjoy working with you.
And here is some wisdom from Andrew Hellmich himself
He advises photographers building a business to find a personal style. He says we are bombarded with visuals these days — online, on television, everywhere we look. It’s important not to become imitative. Hellmich stopped following photographers in his area in order to avoid being influenced by their work, by the locations they chose, the time of day, the poses, etc. He recommends developing a unique style that stands out from the rest, since your style is the centrepiece of your brand and defines you. It’s one of the most important reasons why a client chooses you over other photographers.
Hellmich points out that branding is more than a logo and a color scheme. It’s more than your personal style. It’s about the way you interact with clients and the service you deliver. He likes to keep his own brand friendly and relaxed, serving tea and chocolates at initial meetings, making the entire experience pleasant. He wants his clients to know that their wedding, one of the most important days in their lives, is important to him, too.
Work hard enough to be good at what you’re doing, Hellmich advises. Learn to use your equipment and to shoot at all hours of the day. Same with the business side, get off your backside and interview vendors, talk to people, run Ads, go to expos. He maintains that you need to be just as good at marketing yourself as you are at photography.
Most photographers don’t do enough marketing and they don’t know where to start, so the PhotoBizX photography podcast provides all the tools and support. A rule of thumb is to have at least seven forms of marketing going at the same time, keep a database, use email, word of mouth, website, and SEO. Send out a newsletter to keep in touch with former clients and don’t try to sell something every time you contact them.
PhotoBizX Premium Membership is well worth the small investment. It gives you all the tools you need to build your business without having to offer freebies or discounts.