5 Things I wish I understood coming into business
Today, I want to talk about five things I wish I had known (or understood) coming into business.
Keep business – BUSINESS.
That being said, the bulk of my word-of-mouth referrals come from friends. I mean keep any business dealings with family/friends as business as possible. Contracts. Deposits. Policies. All the same as your regular clients. What you charge your family/friends is personal preference! Perfect example is when photographers approach other photographers/friends to swap services. I don’t swap services. *GASP* No, I don’t. My personal opinion, and I learned the lesson the hard way, expectations are never proportionately met. By sticking to your prices, policies, contracts and deposits hurt feelings can potentially be avoided. Imagine this – Photog A and Photog B agree to exchange photo sessions. Photog A doesn’t deliver in the way that Photog B expected. The relationship is potentially damaged and can trickle harmfully into future business dealings and referrals.
Remember, you are free to carry on your business as you please, just my two cents!
Marketing is a marathon NOT a sprint.
My dad would be proud to hear me saying this. He’s always told me that everything in life isn’t a sprint. I could beg to differ on a few things, but marketing is one of those I don’t disagree. You must keep marketing. Random advertising does not deliver results. You must keep at it. Yes, it’s tiring, but once the ball gets rolling its easier to keep it going! (Check out marketing ideas here).
Not every photographer’s equipment recommendation will work for you.
Some of my fellow colleagues laugh at how I have bought (and sometimes still buy) equipment on a recommendation, then sell it because it doesn’t suit me. There are some standard equipment that the majority of photographers will agree on but not always. We all shoot differently, have different styles, different niches. A wedding photographer’s recommendation of a good lens is going to vary from a newborn photographer’s because of its use! Even from one like niche to another it will vary! I LOVE the 85mm, but I have a colleague who LOVES the 35. I despise the 35; she despises the 85. Rent equipment before expending the money!
Get out of stock modes.
This seems so common sense. I had many encourage using Aperture and Shutter Speed modes until I grasped how all the manual settings worked. Didn’t work for me. It was so much more frustrating. Use these modes to learn how aperture works in aperture mode and shutter speed in shutter speed mode, practice, then move on. This may be a personal learning experience that works only for me, but I thought I’d throw it out there in case anyone else is struggling.
Lay off the actions.
Develop your own style. Actions can help. Learning the nitty gritty of your chosen poison (editing software) will help you develop YOUR style. Sure, I love the looks of a few prominent photographer’s processing, but no matter how much I’ve tried, it’s not me. I wouldn’t be giving my clients me, and I’d be doing my art a disservice. Developing your style comes with time and growth as a photographer, be patient. It will come!
Try some (or ALL!) of these to see how your business might improve!