With the new year comes new hopes, new goals, and the desire to make this one even better than the last. Here’s a complete guide to making your photography business kick butt in 2023.
Growing a photography business takes work, but over the years I’ve figured out a few ways to make it happen.
As a top Seattle-area photographer for over a decade, I’m sharing 9 things that can help you earn more in your photography business THIS YEAR!
#1: Set goals with intention
Goal setting may sound like a waste of time. But setting photography goals with intention will help you to grow your business more efficiently and effectively. Instead of blindly throwing darts at the wall and hoping something sticks, approach the entire year with purpose!
You’ve probably heard of “SMART goals,” or goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.
These are important, yes. But saying, “I want to book 50 newborn clients this year for my photography business,” simply isn’t enough.
You need to look at the bigger picture, and then break your goal into smaller, more realistic subgoals to prevent overwhelm. Then break those down further into micro tasks, so you have a clear list of things to do this quarter, this month, this week, and even TODAY to achieve your photography business goals.
#2: Refresh your photography website
Your website should not only reflect your brand, but your best work, all while guiding potential clients to the right destination: working with you.
First, update your photography portfolio. Remove the images that no longer reflect the work you want to do, and add new ones that reflect where you want to go. Then go through your website’s main pages and do the same thing.
Update those photos. ALL OF THEM.
Next, update your website copy. Start with your “about” page, as it’s typically the easiest. Then move to your homepage, pricing pages, and any session information pages, updating any wording that’s outdated or feels off-brand.
Once you’ve completed a general refresh, head to your website as if you were a potential client.
Is your website easy to navigate?
Does it clearly show how to work with you?
Does it set the scene for what they should expect for working with you?
To ensure your photography website is ready for 2023, you can partner with a fellow photographer to review each other’s websites, or even ask a friend to look it over. If they think it isn’t immediately clear what you’re about or how to book with you, then it’s definitely too tough for your clients.
#3: Update your price sheets and pricing information
Head to your ShootProof galleries and update your pricing for the year. Take into consideration increases in lab costs, shipping, and the amount of time an item takes on your end.
Shootproof galleries make it super simple to update pricing by a percentage markup. Subtle adjustments, say from a 150% to a 200% markup, are simple to do. I usually also adjust that percentage to round numbers and increments after letting ShootProof do the work of the initial markup!
Once you’ve updated pricing on price sheets, make sure you double back and update any copy on your website, pricing guide, or any other documents that display your photography pricing information.
#4: Improve your workflow to save time
When you streamline systems and workflows, you free up more of your time. This is time that can be spent taking on more clients, focusing on marketing efforts, community outreach, or recharging with your family.
Streamlining also can help make the session experience smoother for clients (see the next tip for more on that).
Did you find yourself spending a lot of time scanning contracts or sending dates back and forth when booking sessions during 2022? Save time this year by setting up contracts through a CRM, or even right through your Shootproof account!
You could also set up a calendar with your available dates that clients can directly select from – no more back and forth.
One of the best ways to have a more profitable photography business is to ensure your clients have a great experience with you. The happier the client, the more likely they are to come back year after year — and the more likely they are to refer you to their friends and family!
When I am personally looking to improve my client experience, I start by thinking through sessions that were a little more rocky. What did my prep look like for that session? Where did the rockiness occur? How could I have better prepared them?
I will also review sessions that went amazingly well. What did I or the client do or not do that resulted in a smooth session? Identifying what makes sessions go well will let you repeat those results again and again.
Then I’ll create content — blog posts, blurbs in client emails, etc — that will help future clients avoid the past mishaps.
Another thing you can do is improve your client communication workflow. Look at where you were getting a lot of questions, or where you were spending a lot of time typing out emails, then create templates to fill in those gaps in your workflow.
#6: Get fresh headshots
You already know you need to be showing up on social media, writing blogs, and displaying your best photos on your website, but did you know that having updated, on-brand headshots can also help give your brand a boost?
Clients who come across your photography business want to get a feel for who you are and what you can offer them. If your style is minimal, or perhaps leans into magical realism, consider taking some headshots that reflect that!
If you’re not into self portraits, the slow season is a great time to team up with another photographer and take each other’s headshots.
#7: Take a course where you think you are weak
Do you need to improve your technical skills more before increasing those prices?
Do you struggle in low light, overhead light, or with studio light?
Do you lack any marketing or blogging skills?
Then find an online course to address that lack and learn something new! When you invest in your own learning, you open doors for business growth.
It’s vital that you not only complete the course, but that you put in the work to get the most benefit out of it! I know I’ve been guilty of letting a course sit on my hard drive, hoping through osmosis I would learn the new skills I needed!
One trick I’ve found is having an accountability buddy helps staying motivated. Even if you’re taking different courses, checking in with each other, setting goals, and pushing each other will help you get across the course finish line.
Which leads me to the next tip for a more profitable year.
#8: Find a community of other photographers
The saying is true. You will go farther with others.
Being a photographer can be a lonely job. Having a group of people who understand the ins and outs of running a photography business who offer support is priceless.
A good community offers a safe space to vent, to ask for help, to inspire each other, and share wins. Someone may have tried something you haven’t that works really well for your business.
The final tip takes this one step further.
#9: Find a mentor to push you and your photography business
Often we get in our own way when it comes to growing our business. It is easy to miss where we are missing the mark in our photography business.
A mentor can show us where to push, where we aren’t taking enough risks, or what could help us grow our business.
Personally, I have had a variety of mentors throughout my 13-year journey. Each one has served me in what I needed then, and helped me make the changes to grow my photography business tremendously.
Are you ready to make this year more profitable?
Start implementing these tips above and you’ll see growth for your photography business for years to come!
Written by Neyssa Lee