Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

 

Lesson Info

Website Essentials

What do you need to have specifically on your website? This is the basics. You need to have an About Us. What is it about you that's interesting? And then, what do you want your client to do? I want my client to book a session or contact me. And I've said it twice, right on the home page. Do this, oh yeah, do this. Okay? Make it obvious, make it big and bold. Contact me, this is what I do, here's how you can do it too. Your best gallery. Okay? So it's funny, Peter and I work very differently when we're sorting images. I can think of my 15 favorite images of Peter off the top of my head. I'm like oh yeah, do that one, do that one, do that one, do that one. And Peter operates a little bit differently. He has to go through all of the images and pick his favorite ones and see them. So, when I say, "Hey, Peter, send me your 15 best images," it's a four hour process where he culls through everything and he gives me 400 images and I'm like (gasping). (laughing) And I think as artists, that is...

probably more likely the way that you guys operate as well, right. You're like, oh, I love that one and oh, I love that one. Oh, I love that one, I've got to include all of these images. Right? Okay, so, knowing that that is a problem and you can't put 400 images on your home page, your best gallery needs to have 10 to 20 images and there can't be a single thing wrong with those images. So, you know the 80% rule? It doesn't apply to this. This is really important to have your very, very best work. If there's anything in that image that bothers you, anything, get it outta there. It's better to have three really strong images that are perfect that it is to have 30 pretty good images. This is the only time I'm gonna tell you it needs to be perfect, I promise. Your very best gallery goes on your home page and it really needs to represent the kind of work you want to do. Don't put yourself in a box of what you think you should do. Open that box up, what is the work that you really want to do? Did I ever dream I would be paid to go on an adventure in the wild and take pictures of my family? No, but that's the kind of work that I like to create. That's the story that I like to tell. When I started putting that out into the world, all of sudden I realized that there were people that were interested in that kind of work. Who knew? If I wouldn't have tried it and out it out to the world as something that I'm passionate about, it would never have happened. So, think about that. Think about the kind of work that you want to do and start putting it out there. Whether or not a client pays for it, just keep putting it out there because somebody will love it somewhere. Somebody will appreciate it and then you need to figure out who that person is and why they like it and find more people like that, okay? All right. And then, a blog. You can have this or you can not have this. If you have an interesting story to tell, tell it. Tell it online. What is it that you do that's interesting? Why would people come to you? When we were shooting weddings, there was always an interesting story to tell about the last wedding that we did. There's always something neat about it. There's something we learned from it, there's something that we experienced, that we hadn't seen before. There are amazing people that we wanted to tell their story. There was an amazing venue that we went to. There was always something new to talk about. The same thing with portraiture. There's always a new client. Your clients are amazing. Tell their story. Why do you love a particular image? Is this the favorite image you've ever shot? What do you like about it? Did you just think of a new way to design a piece of art in someone's home? Take a picture of it, put it on your blog. Tell that story. Your other clients are going to see it and be like, "Oh, I need that. "I need to book another session. "That's new and awesome. "I didn't even know you guys could print on metal "or acrylic or whatever it is." So many different stories. Did you just create a brand new fine art image? Where was it? Why is it interesting to you? What did you have to do to get there? Were you having to stand precariously perched on the edge of cliff to get that image of bird right out here? Whatever it is, whatever kind of imagery you do, there's a story, there's an interesting story. Write about it, tell that story. Give your clients something to connect with. Okay? And it doesn't have to be all original content. You could share a story from someone else that you find interesting, that your clients would think are interesting. All of this is content for your blog. Give people a reason to come back and check out what's new with you. So, these are the essentials. These are the basics. Make it easy to see what you do, make it easy to contact you and make it interesting to come back and learn more about you. That's your purpose here. Okay, so the About Us. We've gone through many, many different iterations of About Us. Once upon a time, it was about Peter and I all dressed up in fancy clothes going out and shooting weddings. Now, it's all about us in pigtails and flip flops going down a river. Either way, it's relevant information that our client needs to know. Give 'em a way to fall in love with you. Let yourself shine through enough so that your clients are like, man, that is somebody I really want to spend time with. Remember, are you somebody that they want to do business with? Why is that? And if you don't know yourself, cause sometimes it's hard to figure that out about ourselves, ask people that know and love you. They can tell you immediately what they love about you. Ask your friends, ask your favorite clients that come back again and again. They can tell you right off the bat what it is that is lovable about you. Sometimes it's hard to see that about ourselves. And then, stand apart from your competitors. So, in the marketing plan, you did some research on your competitors. What is it that stands you apart from them and say it on your website. In a positive way that doesn't point any fingers at your competitors. Okay, you don't want to say, oh I'm better than so and so. You want to say I am so excited about these new products that we have that are, your features and benefits. Or, I am so excited about this new service that I offer because it is cutting edge and I'm the only one doing it in my area. Okay? Fine line between bragging and saying what needs to be said, so you have to find a kind, graceful way to say that. But, get it out there. All right, so, you have to make it convenient to contact you. That's why it's two places on our home page. Make it easy to contact you. Is it convenient? And then you need to come up with the plan on how you're going to respond. We talked earlier about the sales strategy. For me, I always pick up the phone. Okay? If it's a client I want to do business with, I always pick up the phone. And, then you also need to give them an idea of when they're going to hear from you. If you are not constantly monitoring your website or your email, you need to let them know that. I'm a one person business, my office hours are from nine to five, I will contact you as soon as I'm back in the office. Okay? Or in my case, it says on the Contact Us, I am typically out on location without cellular service. I will contact you as soon as I come back within range. Okay, I need them to know that if I don't respond for three days, it's not because I don't care about them. It's because I'm in the middle of the woods and I have no way to reach back out to them. And once I say that, they're like, okay, I can wait a couple of days to get back to you. And then, if it's going to be longer than a reasonable amount of time, I have it on my voicemail and I have it on my email. So, when we kayaked the Grand Canyon and we were gone for 25 days, all of my email and message and website said that. I'm not going to contact you until the beginning of April. Okay, just be clear, let people know what to expect and they will understand. All right, so your gallery. We talked a little bit about this. How many images is the right amount? If you've been doing this for along time and you have a lot of images, it's fine to put more than 10 or 20. Just make sure they're stellar. Make sure that every single image reflects that niche that you've carved out for yourself. Okay? Every single image needs to say specifically what your specialty is visually. I always go through that gallery multiple times, maybe 10 times, see if there's anything I can pull out. If there's a flag. If it doesn't exactly match my niche, even if I love that image, it's outta there. It's not about loving that specific image. It's about communicating your style, your brand and your business model to your clients. Is your style and your specialty obvious? Remember earlier when we laid out that group of 10 images and we said, "How do these align?" We looked if there was an obvious style. We looked if there were obvious color patterns, composition, content, all of those things. Do that with his gallery, even if you have to print them out physically and look at them. Lay them out in front of you and make sure they all go together as a cohesive story about your business. And then, for your blog, what information do you have to share? There's a lot of things you can talk about as a professional that your clients are interested in. Everybody takes pictures. Everybody wants to take better pictures. You could have a tip of the day that goes out on your blog on how to do something better out of your camera, out of your DSLR. Whatever, whatever niche you want to do. You could make it instructional, your blog, and give people online tips to help them become better photographers. So, what information do you have to share? And how often do you post? This needs to be a plan. Because if you say, oh, I'll post whenever I have time, time and money have a way of slipping away, right? So, if you don't make how often do you post a priority, it's gonna be one of those things that falls off your radar when you're busy. So, if you say I'm gonna make a post every week, or I'm gonna make a post every month, or whatever that is, write that down, put it in your calendar, give yourself a deadline, a reasonable deadline. And if there's anyway you can get ahead on your posts and have like three or four waiting so that when you are really busy, you just hit post. That will help you even better. Sometimes we're good at that, sometimes we're not good at that. But, that's a great way to operate. On your blog, is your style and specialty obvious? Are you talking about things that are unrelated to your brand, to your business? To your business personality. And, will prospects leave wanting more? So, remember, this is the handshake. This is the introduction to you. Are they poring through this wanting more or did they do a quick glimpse and leave? If it's your target client, looking at this information, hopefully they want to dig deeper and deeper and learn more about you and what you can do for them and it'll get them excited and it'll prompt them to click that Contact Us. That's your goal with our website with these essentials. Okay? So, the primary goal of these essentials is to motivate the buyer to contact you. And then if you think back to our sales process, then you have a system in place once they contact you. You pick up the phone, you do the planning consultation. Get them all excited about what you do. Then, they'll hopefully book the session. Once they've booked the session, they've committed to a product that they like. Once they committed to that, then all you have to do is take their order and they pay you. See how this is a cycle that just keeps repeating and repeating and repeating. And if you're doing all of these things right, it's a cycle that's very simple and straight forward and it works every single time. If you find that this cycle isn't working for you that means there's a piece out of place. It's like the Legos when you tip them over and they all go dit, dit, dit, dit. If they're all aligned properly, you have this fun little thing that works. Otherwise you have three pieces that go and then the whole thing doesn't work. Right? Okay, so your primary goal on your website is to motivate a buyer to contact you. That doesn't mean that's all that you have to do. So, that's the cognitive part. This is where they are assimilating new information. Now, we're gonna go back and look at the website again and I'm gonna talk to you about how we can go into this constructivist phase so that once they know that you're the right person how can they apply this information to your life?

"If you are serious about starting and running a successful photography business... this IS the road map to follow!"
-JB Photo Design, CreativeLive Student

When starting a new business, you will make hundreds of decisions, and many of those can be costly and affect the future of your business. Most photographers have little direction available on how to take these critical first steps to set themselves up for success.

Kathy Holcombe and her husband Peter have built multiple photography businesses over the last 15 years. Kathy will share what they have learned so that you won’t waste time, money and resources trying to find the perfect formula.

You will learn how to:

  • Define your brand
  • Set up social media channels and a business website to support the vision of your brand
  • Develop an effective strategy for marketing to your ideal client
  • Develop a product line and profitable pricing structure
  • Develop a sales strategy to maximize your time and sales average

This class is for anyone who is standing at a crossroads, wanting to start a photography business, but not sure exactly how to go about it. You’ll not only learn how to get you started, but also how to turn a profit through your photography in your very first year of business. Skip years of trial and error and invest your precious startup dollars in strategies, tools and equipment that will immediately start making you money.

"You don't need to be a beginner to get great info from this class, it's packed with ideas and tips that even an experienced pro can put to work and take to the bank literally the next day. I highly recommend this class."
-Jeph DeLorme, CreativeLive Student

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Kathy was a wonderful instructor. She was engaging and someone who was precise and incredibly helpful. We have a full time photography business and are always looking for new ways of running our business. Her information was insightful and forced us to have conversations about our business that we have haven't had in several years. She is fantastic and someone who has the information needed to help you start or expand your business. Thank you for a wonderful class!!
  • Thank you Kathy for yet again another very thought provoking class. You are such an inspiration, teaching us the right questions to ask ourselves so we too can be brilliant photographers / entrepreneurs. I was a fulltime RVer for seven years, traversing 44 states and seeing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. It gave me a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and to hone my photography skills. Now I have put down roots in Stapleton - Denver, CO and am soon to launch my own Family Lifestyle Photography business. Your course has definitely given me the courage to just charge ahead and go for it!
  • I am VERY impressed with this class! The structure of the class is well done. Each segment was thorough and backed up some knowledge from the previous segments. Kathy breaks everything down into understandable knowledge and also makes it very enjoyable to watch. I HIGHLY recommend this class if you're unsure about what to do to start your photography business. $3000 may sound like a lot of money, but you'll going to find yourself in a determined state to raise that money if you're REALLY passionate and serious about starting your photography business. Thank you, Kathy & Creativelive, for this class. I'm excited to get the ball rolling and build my photography business. <3