Are you serious about becoming a professional photographer? Or are you dabbling in the world of hobbyist?

While a hobbyist loves to photograph, and spends most of his or her time behind the camera shooting, a professional realizes there is more to it than shooting. They have to focus on the business too. If you are building up your business, or trying to revive it in a flailing economy, make sure you have these 8 things in place.

Niche Your Business

When a person tries to find a photographer, they don’t head out and Google “General Photographer”. They look for the specifics. They want a wedding photographer in Paris. Or a portrait photographer in Miami. Even if they are focused on a local community, and ask around their friendship circle, they will still ask for specifics – “Hey, do you know any great wedding photographers? Jason and I just got engaged.” In order to attract clients, you have to focus on the clients you would like to have.

Plan For Customers

What do you want to sell your customers? What do you want them to buy? It takes more than figuring out a price when someone calls or emails you. You need to have it calculated and put into package plan so you know exactly what to charge your clients, and what you will ultimately deliver. Part of knowing how to sell is knowing what you will sell. It’s easy to get them excited about things when they can “see” it too.

Focus On The Number Of Customers You Need

How many customers would you like this month? This year? Guessing and saying “one or two would be nice” won’t allow you to create a business. Knowing you need 32 weddings or 125 portraits will give you a target number to work towards, and will keep you on track all year long.

Talk To Your Customers

What does your marketing say about you? What does it say to your customers? I was on a website of a photographer a few days ago that was simple design, little content, and even fewer photographs. It took me three clicks to see any photographs. His home page mentioned a variety of things he could do for his clients, including photography, web design, and video. Why would I want to hire this person? He isn’t speaking directly to any one person. I wouldn’t want a web designer photographing my wedding. And I wouldn’t want a photographer shooting my video. Each is unique and requires special skills. When you talk to your customers through a format that’s one way communication, make sure it speaks in the highest regard about you and your business.

Be Where Your Customers Are

If you place an ad in the yellow pages hoping for phone calls from brides to be, you may be waiting a long time. Twenty-something’s are online and use social daily. They are attached to their mobile devices, and share just as much through texts as they do in person. Think like your customer first; market to them in that format second.

Treat Them How You Want To Be Treated

When we started our wedding photography business, a lot of our services came from what we didn’t get with our own wedding photography. We sat down and listed out why wedding photography was important, what it means to a couple at the time of the event and years into the future, and the most important aspects of the entire process. Then we created our marketing and our messages from that list. In other words, we gave our clients exactly what we wished we had throughout our own wedding. We didn’t skimp on anything; and we always gave 110 percent.

Pay Attention To What Other Photographers Are Doing

While you do need to blaze your own trail, it’s also important to learn from your fellow photographers. How are they building their packages? What are they doing to attract today’s client? You can learn valuable skills by watching the industry.

Strive To Be Better

No one will ever “know it all”. There is always room for growth and change. Be willing to tweak everything you do along the way, and actively go out to find something new. It can be as easy as buying a magazine to browse the latest trends. Or heading out on a photo safari half a world away. The key is to learn and grow, and use it to change your perspective.

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