The Late Bloomer: The Photographer That Finds Herself in a Perpetual Slow Season
I’ve always been a late bloomer…
My brother was 8 years older than me, and he was super cool. I always looked up to him – I wanted to be around him ALL the time, I wanted to be good at sports just like him, and I thought his choice of music must be cool, so I ended up listening to Simon & Garfunkel and Led Zeppelin as a 10-12 year old. Some of you may think that’s pretty cool. But all in all, I had no identity of my own.
Same went for my friendships. I had some “cool” friends that I wanted to be like. My best friends were a collection of stunningly gorgeous, hilarious, super confident, and amazing personalities. They were everything I ever wanted to be.
The later years weren’t much better…
I was ALWAYS boy crazy. Like, I couldn’t think about anything else. I felt like I had to be somebody else in order to attract these “out-of-reach” guys. It’s no wonder my relationships never lasted very long – I still struggled with finding my own identity and my desperation showed!
**Side note: I finally snagged me a good one at the age of 29, and it’s been the sweetest, most fun and exciting ride of my life being with him! He’s hunky, hilarious, and we have the most beautiful, sweet, amazing babies (6 and 8 at the time of this post)!!
But back to the story…
Business was slow growing too…
The first time I started a photography business (2009 was a BUST…), I wanted to be like so many other people, and I was DESPERATE for people to book me and like my work. But I had zero understanding of valuing my own work and time. I would charge people $25-50…and STILL feel bad about it.
You might know this part of the story, but I ended up closing that business in the same year. It was AWFUL. Like…really bad. 😬
Don’t worry, though…it gets better!
It took another few years before my reality caught up to my aspirations, but in 2015, I re-started my photography business out of necessity. Boot-strapping my way through it that first year or so was tough, but my motivations were rooted a lot deeper in my identity as a mom and wife. And thankfully, it was successful and so encouraging to my soul!
Then…my photography business exploded…
It wasn’t easy, but I finally decided to invest in myself and my business and fast-track my progress. I finally found a coach who was willing to hold my hand and help me figure out all of the nuances of success as a photographer in a saturated market. And I promised myself that when I felt “established”, that I would be an encouragement and resource for other photographers, too!
Well…we’re way past “established” now, so here are a few things I’ve learned along the way!
Here Are 6 Critical Steps for Photographers Who Want to Grow Their Business Quickly
1. Develop a consistent portfolio!
You may still be figuring out your style, and that’s okay! But make sure your portfolio is consistent and that you don’t stray too much from it when you shoot and edit. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck to a certain “style” – it can organically change over the years! But you want to make sure you’re at least consistent and maybe try to steer clear of anything too trendy!
2. Clarity in your product and pricing!
Hard truth: If you aren’t letting people know what you offer and how much you are worth, then they will take the lead. And you will get trampled. So get clear on what it is you offer and where they can go to learn about pricing!
3. Have a solid process and workflow!
Your clients likely don’t know much about business, or at least they don’t want to have to do the work for you. So, your goal, whether you are “high touch” or “high volume” is to make the process as streamlined as possible – from inquiry and booking, all the way through the session and delivering your client’s photos!
Do you have a workflow in place? One for guiding clients through the process? And one that gives you a lot more time freedom from answering emails every single day?
4. Optimize your website!
Make sure you have a website that is professional looking, flows well, and that walks your clients through everything they might want to know before booking with you. Your goal is to convert potential clients into paying clients! The bare minimum pages to include: About, Portfolio, Services, and Contact. Other pages that might be beneficial: Separate Portfolio or Services pages, Pricing page, Blog, FAQ. And don’t forget to optimize with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)!
5. Plan out a social media strategy!
You should be optimizing your profile/bio along with your posts using hashtags, calls to action, and detailed descriptions. Your social media strategy should include a continuous posting strategy and an event-based post strategy. How do you want to appeal to clients? How do you want to prepare them for upcoming events? Answering these questions will lead you into determining which platforms you use, how often you post, and when to schedule your posts. It sounds like a lot, but with a plan in place, you batch schedule your content!
6. Scale your marketing from organic to paid!
Now, when you are ready, you can utilize paid search and paid social marketing through ads! There are some great options out there, but my favorite is Google Ads (search marketing through keywords) and Facebook Ads (social marketing by targeting your audience’s interests).
Whew! Let’s let that simmer for a bit! And if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m happy to answer any questions you have!
And if you’d like to fast-track your success with some tried and true systems for efficiently marketing your photography business without wasting time or dollars, then I can help with that, too. Head over to the page just for photographers to see all the coaching options I provide!