Happy Monday everyone! We are starting our second and final week of the series on how to become a wedding photographer. I hope all of this has been helpful. I know just writing and thinking about it has made me refocus my efforts in some areas, so even I’m getting something out of it. If you haven’t read all the posts, go back and check them out, especially Friday’s post about wedding photography being a business. That’s where we pick up today as we continue to learn to run a photography business.
Learn to Run a Photography Business
So this is part two of the business side of a being a wedding photographer. I’ve tried to pick out all the things that beginning wedding photographers struggle with and jam it into these two blog posts. There will still be other things you need to look out for and fix. Also, I couldn’t go into great detail about each one, so there will be more posts this week which focus on some of these topics.
People are crazy. I remember when the lady sued McDonald’s because she spilled coffee on herself. Yes, I understand it was hot, but still, it’s coffee, so don’t spill it. There are stories like this all over, and companies are always getting sued. It is extremely important that they have insurance, so they can be protected, and so should you.
Insurance can protect you in several different situations. You’ve got all this expensive gear. What happens if it all gets broken or stolen? Will you be able to pay to replace all of it? I have equipment insurance through the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and if my gear gets broken, I pay $500 and everything gets replaced. As a wedding photographer, you’re also around people all the time, many of which are drunk or are little kids. It might not be your fault, but these people might trip on your equipment and do something silly and get hurt. You could be to blame for this. I have general liability insurance through PPA that will protect me if something happens. What if a memory card goes bad and you lose a bunch of images? Again, you could be in trouble. PPA includes another type of insurance that includes lawyers and data recovery that could be a lifesaver.
There are plenty of insurance providers out there, but I do everything through PPA. They are a professional organization that’s been around for a long time, and they have my best interest in mind. I spend somewhere around $550 on insurance a year with them and besides getting all of that coverage, I also get a membership to PPA and all the benefits that come with that.
Have a Website
Yes, websites might be considered old-fashioned by some, but wedding photographers need a website. It’s a place where you can show off all your work, put information about yourself, and attract clients. You’re on a website right now reading this, so I think that should tell you how important it is.
Leads are going to want to see your work before hiring you. A website is a great place to have all of those images. You can organize them how you want and there are plenty of different options for how they are displayed.
A website is also a great place for information. I’ve got information on my front page, an about page, and hundreds of blog posts. If a lead wants to get a feel for me before contacting me, it’s extremely easy with my website. All of this information all helps with the next point: SEO
Search Engine Optimization is basically saying getting found on Google or other search engines. A website is the best way for this to happen. Google goes out and looks for information for people, and a website is filled with information.
All of these things could be done through social media, but a website gives you more control over everything and will produce better SEO results.
Social Media for Photographers
I know I just said a website is important, but you also need social media. In today’s world, it’s expected that you have a social media presence. I know for me, if I’m looking at a business and I can’t find anything on social media, I get a little concerned.
Social media is another opportunity to get in front of potential clients. These people are already on social media doing what they do, and they might come across your work. It might take some time, but after seeing consistent good work, they might reach out to you.
Social media can be overwhelming. I wish I had more time and space to write about it all on here, but I don’t. I did write a whole article on social media for photographers on the Improve Photography website, so feel free to check that out for more details.
Branding for Wedding Photographers
When you think of BMW or KFC or Walmart, there are certain things and feelings that pop into your head immediately. What if I said, Just do it, or Melts in your mouth and not in your hands. Do you know the companies? All of this has to do with branding.
Branding is the process of building a brand or all the things people think about a company. It involves pretty much everything you do from the logo you use, to the colors for the company, and even the words used in advertising and emails. Do you want to be seen as funny or serious, for everyone or for the upper class? This all comes down to branding.
Branding can be extremely complicated. You have to think of every aspect of the business and how people will perceive it. The hard part is getting the right message out there. Sometimes you think you are sending one message but you’re sending another. Other times something bad happens and automatically people start looking at you differently. Think about Lance Armstrong. For the longest time, people looked at him as a hero. Now that he’s been exposed, his brand has changed dramatically.
The easiest way to go about branding is to think about how you want to be seen and who you are selling to. Start with your ideal client and think about what would attract them. Then do all the things to get there.
Finding your Ideal Client
Walmart serves a large portion of the population, but still, there are some super rich people that have never been there and never will. I’m middle class and I go there all the times. There are other stores though, that I try to avoid. The point I’m trying to make is that every business has a clientele and it isn’t every person in the entire world.
Stop trying to sell your photography to everyone, and instead, focus on a much smaller group of people, your ideal client. When you do this, you will know how to brand yourself and you can stop chasing after every single person.
So who’s your ideal client? That’s really up to you. Is there a certain type of person that you love working with? Do you seem to attract the same type of client over and over again? It really is different for each person, but try to imagine the person you want to sell to. What does he or she look like? How old are they? What are they interested in? Once you have a strong picture of this person, you can start making choices to attract these type of people.
That’s it for our general photography business discussion. I hope it has helped you learn to run a photography business. I know I didn’t cover everything in a ton of detail. In the next few days, I’ll go into more detail about building a website, having a workflow, finding the ideal client, and marketing. Make sure you come back to learn more.