Free Photography Marketing Platform – Kickstarter Showcase #9
Kickstarter is an awesome crowd sourcing site to find new inventions, gear and inspiring work by other photographers. This month’s pick for avid photographers is Defrozo, a free platform to help photographers better display and market their work online. Defrozo was designed to replace 7-8 services an average professional photographer uses to host, sell, and market their photos.
Demetrio Fortman, founder of Defrozo, shares some tips on how to get started with your own photography business. Defrozo is a free, all-in-one platform that helps photographers better display and market their work online.
Own business is never part-time. If you decided to quit your day job in favor of photography, be prepared to a rather intimidating experience called entrepreneurship. Fear not though, as this experience is also extremely interesting, and as long as you take time to do research and create a game plan, the results won’t keep you waiting.
As an entrepreneur currently developing a software product for photographers, I have a great opportunity to connect with many photographers from different countries, and share our experiences. Many of them are taking their first steps in the photography business with mistakes, discoveries, and a lot of coffee coming along.
In this post I’m sharing with you some basic tactics to follow while taking the career of your lifetime off the ground. These are the lessons that my fellow photographers learned after making their mistakes.
If you haven’t yet made your business plan, this article will help you revisit the aspects to give your business a boost and turn it into success. In case you’re not a newbie, you could use it as a checklist for your current photography marketing strategy.
1. Understand Your Market
As soon as you decided to establish your photography business, do a thorough market research and single out the sector(s) of it with the highest potential. What is the competition in your local area? Can your market support your prices? Is there enough demand for a certain photography genre you mainly shoot in? These and other questions are supposed to help you ensure that you’re putting your energy, time, and budget into the right niche.
To collect information for your research, don’t only rely on the Internet. Yes, reading some statistics and best practices is important, but to have the full picture of the available demand, you need to ask real people about their needs, wants, and expectations. Even if you don’t have clients yet, call your friends, or talk to people at a local trade show. This doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on you and your services, even a more general conversation related to photography can spark some ideas and hint you at what the market actually wants.
2. Create a website that works
I really like the tip from a well-known fashion photographer Reka Nyari which suggests beginner photographers to set up a website as soon as they have a few images they are proud of. Indeed, these days if you’re serious about making money out of your photography, a professional online portfolio is a must.
That’s why an intuitive photo website builder is one of the key features of Defrozo, the free photography marketing platform my team and I are developing.
We believe that an effective site should be easy to manage, versatile in customization, and work well for converting visitors into leads and customers. But how exactly can that be achieved on your photo website? Well, among the key things to pay attention to when creating your online portfolio or blog are:
- Mobile Friendliness – Make sure your website has a responsive design, so that your content looks perfect on any device it might be viewed on.
- Personalized Appearance – Your site should convey your photography style and your brand, so check if there’s an ability to set your logo, typography, and other design elements within your website building platform.
- Ease of Use – You gotta update your website and/or blog often, so there must be a simple interface allowing you to do most of the changes without third-party help.
- SEO Friendliness – People are supposed to find your website when they search for photography services in Google. Define your target keywords and include them in your site’s meta title, meta description, and image ALT tags.
- Versatility – The photography industry is evolving at a fast pace, so make sure your resources are versatile enough to let you adopt those changes quickly. Can you add e-commerce functionality to your site? What about downloadable client galleries? Make sure your website allows you to adjust to the ever changing technology and business techniques.
3. Impress them!
Yes, that’s not an easy task in the over saturated market of photography services, but if you want your clients to be happy and referrals come your way, you have to WOW them. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – keeping your promises and delivering more once in a while is often quite enough to leave a positive impression and make people recommend you.
Always stay on the lookout for the latest trends and tools in social media and marketing, and think how you could apply them to your business. For instance, online client galleries are becoming a popular way for photographers to deliver their final product to customers, but too many photographers are still burning those DVDs just because they don’t bother checking what’s new in town.
4. Develop a smart pricing policy
This is a cornerstone for any professional photographer. Wrong decisions in this area can waste your effort or even ruin your business in its infancy. So take your time to carefully study this question. There are a lot of pricing guides available out there, and in addition to researching them, I’d suggest you browsing the comments to the articles and blog posts as it can be a great source of information too. Don’t forget to examine your competitors, pay special attention to some of the popular photographers’ pricing practices. There’s nothing wrong in leveraging some proven strategies in your own business.
The two most popular mistakes that I heard from our photographers’ focus group are, a) setting prices too low and, b) not calculating production costs. Entering the market with dumped prices may sound like a good bait for prospects but you may look as if you’re an amateur who is not confident about their skills and thus could not be entrusted to document people’s important memories. Moreover, you may be referred to as a “cheap” photographer, and it would be difficult to increase your prices eventually. Before announcing your pricing, ensure you calculated your production costs such as packaging and shipment, samples, gas, website hosting and other expenses. Without doing this, your income may appear to be just an illusion.
5. Optimize Your Workflow
Optimizing every section of your routine, from shooting to post-production and business management, is quite a time-consuming task. These efforts do pay off, though, by freeing you a good deal of time and keeping you more organized and productive.
Split your regular workflow into sections and brainstorm some ideas on how you can optimize the process within each of them. For instance, if post-processing soaks most of your time, consider investing in some presets and don’t get distracted to your inbox or Facebook while retouching photos. If promoting your photography in social media takes more time than you expected, take advantage of some automation tools like Buffer or Hootsuite for more efficiency. you got the idea.
6. Stop referring to yourself as a photographer only
If you’re serious about making money from your photography, you need to realize you’re just as much an entrepreneur as a photographer. Focusing solely on the creative side of things is a shortcut to failure. So turn on the “pushy suit guy” mode and promote your name!
Never forget about such things as high-quality business cards, network building, and client relationship management. All your clients are your potential marketers, so make sure you’re on top of the game when it comes to customer service.
Learn how to approach social media the right way (the one that engages your followers and turns them into clients). Just posting your work in every social network is not enough these days. Give your audience relevant, valuable content and they will reward you with click-throughs, inquiries, and bookings.
What about you?
Even in such a high competition, a successful photography business is quite doable, but the results depend on the efforts you put in it.
What are the challenges you face while developing your photography business? Share your own success tactics in the comments!
You can see more details of Defrozo here.