Many people who have a photography business suffer from tunnel vision, and this costs them money. They set up a studio for portraits, products, food or models. Or they go out in the field as sports, nature or street photographs. That’s fine, and the photographer can make a decent living. But with tunnel vision, they are so focused on their niche that they miss a lot of business opportunities. Don’t get me wrong. A niche can help, but there’s no law saying you have to stay there, or can’t expand some.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to sell your photographs or photography skills. You are the photographer, so you know how they can be used. Whereas, someone at a business may have no idea that photographs could help them, or all the ways that photographs can be used.
My old photography instructor, Al Belson was a master at finding and exploiting business opportunities. When he wanted to vacation in another country, he would determine what business’ would have an interest in the country he was going to. For instance, when he went to Italy, he made a list of businesses (banks, restaurants, travel agencies, etc.) that had a link to Italy. He then visited those businesses with a portfolio of his current images, and a price list for his framed prints in various sizes.
If a business wanted prints from his future trip, they put a 50% deposit down. When Al returned from his travels, he would put together a portfolio of images, and go back to the businesses. They would choose the prints they wanted, and pay the other 50%. Al would then make the prints, deliver and hang them. The 50% deposit paid for his trip. The other 50% was profit.
Another time, he bought an imported car. Custom work needed to be completed at the factory before a car could be shipped, so it took a couple of months for his car to arrive. Since all of these cars needed custom work, he convinced the dealership that it would be great for business if they gave customers a big, framed photo of the car they bought. While a customer waited for their car to arrive, they could hang the photograph in their home or business to show their friends what they had purchased. Their friends may then also decide to buy one of these cars.
So Al was hired to photograph all the body styles and colors the car came in, and printed large photographs for the dealer to give out. Al made money (and also received a discount on his car), the dealership increased customer satisfaction and sales with the photos and their clients could brag to their friends about their new purchase. Everybody won with this project.
Al constantly looked for, and found, ways to promote his business and increase his income.
To develop this skill, ask yourself:
- What clients can use the photographs I already have?
- When shooting for a client, how else can these images be used by the client?
- Are there clients who aren’t using photographs, or using bad ones, that I can help with great photos of their product or service?
- “How could my photographs be used here?” Ask this question when you go into any business.
The key to a successful photography business is to find a need then find a way that your photographs can fill that need. Be a problem solver for the client, make the client’s life easier, and show them all the ways that photography can help them. Do this, and your business will be a huge success.