Starting a photography business takes a great amount of courage and determination. There’s a lot of competition out there, and attracting clients won’t be easy at first.
But there are tools that can help. And no matter what type of photography you specialize in, some of the ways to build your business remain the same.
That includes whether you shoot family portraits in your own studio, sell prints of your fine art photography, or have a wedding photography business. You are always going to need ways to get your name out there, show off your talent, and attract clients.
So if you are trying to build your photography business, here are 5 tools that will come in handy.
This should go without saying, but building a great website is essential for running a photography business. So if you don’t have one yet, drop what you’re doing and get on it.
Your website can act as your online portfolio, blog, storefront, and more. It will probably be the main way that potential clients learn more about you and what you do. So you need an excellent website to show off your talent and convince potential clients to get in touch.
And if you use the right website builder to build your online photography portfolio, like Format, it’s a piece of cake to get an attractive site up and running in minutes.
Post Scheduling Tools
A great way to get more attention for your photography business and attract people to your website is social media marketing. It’s like getting free advertising, so if you’re not currently using the big three platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), you’re missing out.
You can use social media to:
- Attract an audience and keep them engaged
- Show off your latest work
- Announce promotions
- Draw people to your site with links to blog posts or photography tutorials
- Stay in the minds of potential clients
But to get the most out of your social media marketing, you should consider using a post scheduling tool as they help make it easier to maintain a presence on social media. They let you prepare your posts in advance, and then schedule them to automatically get posted on a specified day and time. That means you won’t have to worry about keeping your feeds consistently updated since you can work on your posts whenever you feel like it.
To keep track of how your online efforts are paying off, you should make use of Google Analytics. While there are many options for website and social media analytics, Google’s tool is pretty hard to beat.
For one, it provides so much useful information about your site traffic and social media performance.
Some of the insights it can offer include:
- Seeing what types of social media posts drive the most traffic to your site, which will help you produce better content.
- Learning more about your audience demographics, to help you shape your marketing.
- Finding out how long people spend on your site, which pages are the most popular, and which pages drive people away.
But perhaps the best feature of all—especially when you’re starting a business—is that the standard version is completely free to use!
If you want to sell prints of your photography, one tool that can make things simpler is a print-on-demand service. These services can take the pressure off of you when it comes to the nitty-gritty of printing, framing, shipping, and customer service.
They’ll enable you to sell prints to customers around the world, without any more effort than creating an online gallery and setting your prices. Once you make a sale, the service handles the rest.
One great choice is Darkroom. This service offers the ability to set up a gallery for free and start selling prints, and then Darkroom will take a 15 percent cut of the profits. Once you start selling prints regularly, you should consider signing up for a paid plan at $8 a month, because then the fee is reduced to 5 percent.
If you want to shop around, there are a number of online marketplaces and companies that offer similar services. Some that are worth mentioning include:
- Fine Art America: A good choice if your photography falls into the fine art category.
- Society6: Only a 10 percent royalty on sales with no monthly fee.
- Printer’s Studio: Many choices for products your images can be printed on, from greeting cards to clothing.
CRM stands for “client relationship management”, and that’s what these tools will help with. Once you’ve used the methods above to attract a group of clients, CRM software can help you ensure that they keep coming back.
It helps keep you organized when dealing with clients, appointments, ongoing projects, deadlines, invoices, and more. It also lets you automate some of your interactions with clients, such as sending a questionnaire or confirmation email when they book an appointment or purchase one of your prints.
CRM software can make you appear more professional, because it will help you stay on top of all your responsibilities, never miss an important meeting or deadline, and always keep in touch with your clients.
There are even several options for CRM software that are designed specifically for photographers. They include helpful features such as allowing you to set up online booking for clients and have the appointments automatically added to your schedule. Some of the best ones include:
- StudioCloud: Free for single-user accounts and offers many features.
- ShootQ: Many options to customize the look of client-facing portals.
- PicSpotr: A minimalistic option that keeps things as simple as possible.
As you may have noticed, the tools above are all aimed at streamlining the business and marketing aspects of being a professional photographer. Once you put them to use, you should find you have more time to focus on your real passion: taking great photos.
And that’s a good thing because all the promotion in the world won’t help if you don’t have time to shoot, develop your skills, and build a great portfolio. So try out some of these tools, find what works best for you, and get back to shooting!