Starting my photography business was a hustle. I invested a lot of money in equipment. I took hours and hours out of my day to work on my website and portfolio. Admittedly, early on in my hustle, my blind optimism got the best of me, and I thought inquiries would be flooding in.
Man, was I wrong.
Truthfully, I was banking on luck. I thought, “If I build it they will come.” And maybe you were like me. When things don’t go our way, we’re tempted to rationalize why we may not be getting inquiries and booking clients. But over time, I realized that my lack of strategies and progress were a result of believing some of these myths that I – and other photographers – mistakenly believe.
The costs of doing business are real. On the other hand, thinking that we might need to lower our prices to help our business is not a real strategy. Instead, it’s an insecurity and we rationalize it as something that’s necessary.
If your prices are sky high and you don’t have the sufficient demand to support the prices, then yes, the prices might need to be lowered. But if your prices have been calculated by real numbers, including all your costs and needs, then there shouldn’t be a reason for you to lower your costs just purely based on lack of inquiries or bookings.
Instead of going straight to price, you might need to ask yourself other questions like, “Could I be improving my marketing strategies?” or “Is there something I can tweek in the copy of my website to encourage more inquiries?” Experiment and test before you immediately jump to price adjustments.
Instead of looking internally at our decision making, we’re tempted to place blame on why we’re where we’re at. There’s not enough people here. The budgets are too small. Photography isn’t valued in my town. Whatever.
But photographers ARE needed in small towns too. Weddings still happen in your town. Babies are being born. There are parties to capture. There’s real estate being sold. There are opportunities. Instead of fixating on what an issue could be, focus on the opportunity and strategize a way to be seen by those looking.
On the other hand, folks in cities both big and small might feel like there’s WAY too much competition. Too many cheap photographers, popular photographers, and photographers in general. While there IS a lot of competition that exists in certain cities, this shows that there’s market demand for photography. This is actually good for YOU.
What this means for you is that you need to be smarter with how you brand yourself and position yourself within the market to stand out. You can’t just be a vanilla photographer that exists for everyone. Instead, you need to be strategic with identifying a specific market that you’d cater to and create a specific product for that market.
This could be true, but it also may not be true. But this is why I track all my efforts. Take note of how many inquiries you’re getting and take note of how may actually respond – whether it’s a yes or a no. If you’re noticing that more than 70% of your inquiries are giving you radio silence, then you need to re-evaluate how you’re responding.
You actually don’t need a huge portfolio to showcase a mood or a brand. Typically portfolio galleries have about 10-15 images to scroll through. And other images are presented in your blog section. You can easily create a portfolio of 10-15 images from just 3-4 shoots.
Yeah, I definitely thought this, too. “People aren’t seeing me because I only have a few followers. And I don’t want to use hashtags because they’re gross.” But newsflash: this is garbage. Hashtags are actually how you get discovered in the app, even when you have little followers. In fact, after my first year of starting out I had less than 400 followers, but still managed to have a