Yes, the global pandemic has limited our ability to work, but it’s also given us time to rethink things and find new ways of operating — when we aren’t binge-watching Netflix, of course.
If your photography business has taken a knock during COVID-19 and the light at the end of the tunnel always seems to be an oncoming train, you need to keep reading. We’ve come up with some advice that will get your business back on track and help you blow the dust off your cameras.
These five tips can go a long way to making your business pandemic-proof.
1. Brush Up On Business Knowledge
While you may know or think that you know all there is to know about using your camera and taking amazing photos, your business knowledge could always use some upskilling.
As a result of being more of a photographer than a business owner, we often push the business aspect aside to deal with it later. Which makes sense; you’ve worked hard to perfect your craft.
Well, now that you have the time, sign up for those online business and marketing courses that you’ve put on the backburner. You can also read books published by some of the world’s best entrepreneurs to find out more about running a successful business.
Don’t be afraid to reread your notes and books on this subject. You may pick up on something that you missed before. You can also use the time to streamline your admin processes, refine your invoicing and accounting system, and get through those piles of paperwork that always seem to follow you around.
The better your business acumen and admin skills, the more equipped you’ll be to take good photos and sell them.
2. Get Rid Of Clutter
To keep your business afloat, take a look at your gear and divide it into three groups; one you use, one that you occasionally use, and things that are just gathering dust.
The last two categories will more than likely be things you could sell and not miss any time soon. There’s quite a large market for secondhand photography equipment, especially amongst those who fancy themselves the latest influencer who hasn’t made it – yet.
You could be sitting on a veritable gold mine of lenses, tripods, cameras, bags, and other related items. Now’s a great time to see what you’ve got and what you can sell to get a little extra cash injection. Plus, if you have a studio, you can clean it up and give it a bit of a makeover while it’s not in use.
3. Boost Your Online Presence
If you don’t already have a banging website and drool-worthy social media pages, now is the opportunity to create them. The internet offers an abundance of marketing opportunities, and as a photographer, you’ve got a product that’s easy to showcase.
Harness the power of Facebook and Instagram and really connect and engage with people who may be interested in your services. You can run ad campaigns or simply regularly update your photographer online portfolio. The more of an online presence you establish, the greater the audience you’ll reach, and the more potential customers will see your work.
Now is also an excellent time to boost your online reputation – especially when you consider that 91% of consumers between the ages of 18-34 trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Ask your past clients to rate and review you on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and any other platform to highlight your expertise.
4. Keep a Connection With Clients
The pandemic will pass, and when it does, those who had bookings previously will need their pictures retaken. A great way to give yourself a kickstart when the new normal becomes the usual is to keep in touch with existing clients. For example a travel photographer like David Lazar, who leads photo tours, has made a short film from the video footage he shot while on tour with clients.
Don’t let them forget about you or end up booking someone else down the line. Stay in touch via email and keep them engaged. A regular newsletter with updates is an excellent idea, as is offering tips and insight on how to get the best images, maximize a venue’s potential, and any other industry-related content.
You could offer existing clients a discount that can be cashed in when you’re able to operate normally again, or if possible, on prints that you can deliver now. If you can pre-sell packages, you can get money in the bank up front and secure business in advance.
Do whatever it takes to add value and stay at the forefront of their minds.
5. Diversify Your Income
If recent global events have taught us anything, it’s that one form of income is not always substantial. If you’ve happily filled the niche of a wedding or travel photographer, the pandemic has left your business dead in the water.
Consider not putting all your eggs in one basket. Photography is a diverse skill that opens the doors to numerous income streams – you just need to be a little bit creative. Which hopefully, you already are!
If you’re struggling to find clients who want their picture taken or COVID-19 restrictions limit you, you need to diversify. This may include creating online tutorials for amateur photographers, starting a monetized YouTube channel sharing your knowledge, or offering Zoom or socially distanced photoshoots. How about street photography with a Covid 19 theme in mind? The photo below by Fuji X photographer KK Winn sold to several publications.
Be Your Own Biggest Fan
It’s easy to see that there are tons of ways to boost your business, so why are you still sitting around reading this article?
It’s time to put on your thinking cap and look for ways to kickstart your business, regardless of whether there’s an ongoing pandemic or an influx of potential clients.
One thing’s for sure, a little bit of upskilling will ensure adaptability and resilience in the long run.