I'm not starting a photography business, but someone from my photography class is, so I'm helping her figure everything out. Because I've started several small businesses of my own, I'm using this sponsored post to share some of my tips – and of course as an excuse to share more of my awesome ninja photos. ;)
7 Tips for Standing Out in the Photography Business
1. Follow your passion. Just because everyone else is doing portrait photography, well, that doesn't mean you have to. I really despise taking portraits in general, though I've been wanting to learn to do senior citizen portraits. Why? Because I feel they tell a story more than the “baby in a basket” pictures do. Sure, baby in a basket is capturing a memory – a moment frozen in time – but it's just not something I can do.
2. Carry business cards with you at all times. I'm hoping you already have business cards. If you don't, design some or have some designed. The thing with business cards for photography is that they need to be AMAZING. You have to put your best foot forward here, even if that means investing a little more.
3. Practice makes perfect. Shoot all the things! I hate food photography, but no matter what your subject is, you've gotta practice lighting, staging, etc. So, I still shoot food – and people – when the opportunity arises. I haven't started building a portfolio yet, because I'm still in the very beginning stages of learning photography. However, if you've been at it for a little while, it's great to offer free sessions to build your portfolio. Again, this is assuming you're into portraits, weddings, etc. If you are like me and shoot nature, still life, and that sort of thing, you can build your portfolio without the help of others as test subjects.
4. Ask for – and accept – constructive criticism. I like to hang out in photography forums and silently critique other photographers' work. This helps me with my own work as well, because I see things I love (and don't love), and improve my own photos from there. When you're ready, pull together a few of your best photos. Post them and ask for constructive criticism. Be prepared, though, because some people are pretty harsh! You have to be able to give/take criticism in the photography world.
5. Always keep learning. I literally have a dozen photography books that I've already read, and a dozen more that are still waiting on me. I read them, take notes, dog-ear pages gasp, and highlight everything I can. I have hundreds of pins on Pinterest that I've studied, and dozens of articles and images I've printed out to learn even more. Soak up all the knowledge you can, but at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. So some of the stuff you read… just throw it out! Other stuff, keep and grow because of it.
6. Be visible – everywhere. Set up a website (more on that in #7), and make sure you cover your bases with at least Facebook and Instagram. If you're super social media savvy, go for Twitter and other platforms as well, but don't spend too much time on it.
7. Be unique and memorable. There are a gabillion photographers out there, and probably a million that specialize in the exact type of photography you want to do. That's good, because you can learn from them! It's also bad, because it seems like it's nearly impossible to be found in a huge sea of photographers – especially when you're brand new! Photography is a word of mouth game. You have to be memorable to grow your business. If your name is ABC Photography, nobody will know which one is actually YOU when they look that name up. Your name has to be one of a kind, and this includes your domain.
Icarus Photography does it right! Katy Lengacher has spent four years growing her photography business, and she's working hard to carve out a niche in wedding photography in Indiana. Her website is www.icarus.photos, which is much easier to remember than a domain name that is twice the length. .photos also tells us right away that it's a photography website – an image of photos literally pops in my head when I see it! Katie says: Having a unique domain that describes what I’m thinking about, doing and breathing all day was a no-brainer. It’s the perfect new branding identity tool.
Name.Kitchen provides unique not-com names at an affordable price, with tons of options to choose from. Whether you're a photographer (.photos, .photography) or a coffee distributor (.coffee), using a not-com helps your clients find you – and remember you! Try Name.Kitchen's naming tools to come up with your own!
*Photo Credit: Icarus.photos
Another thing I noticed about Icarus Photography is that they're doing great with SEO! If you're starting a photography website and haven't taken the time to learn a little SEO yet, please take a moment to do so. You can take a crash course, and understand the basics in less than an hour. Notice how she names each photo session with the client's name, and then follows it with something like “Indianapolis Indiana Engagement Photography”? That's SEO! If I'm in Indianapolis and searching for engagement photography, her website should show up towards the top of my search.
Overall, the most important tip to remember is just to have fun. Photography is ever changing – and so is the business world – so no matter what you think is set in stone, it's probably not! Spend time having fun and following your passion rather than trying to memorize all the “rules” everyone else has laid out!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Name.Kitchen.