After spending the last 20 years as a Yorkshire wedding photographer, the last 10 offering a business advisory service direct to photographers, one of the things that has cropped up time and time again is peoples priorities.
I spend a huge amount of time with photographers each year who come to me for my photography business 1-2-1′s. In the majority of cases, though not all, their problem is the same – they have spent months if not years and many thousands of pounds learning to become a better photographer. They have honed their skills in the art of photography, learned how to use a camera inside and out, bought all the kit costing untold thousands of pounds, been on every photography training course they can – but then still struggle to sell a single image.
A good friend of mine, who is a Barnsley wedding photographer, recently came to me totally puzzled and frustrated. He has spent the last 5 years on training courses, spent thousands on the latest camera and lenses, yet wasn’t selling anything or taking any bookings. When we sat down and went through his business plan, the solution was simple – he hadn’t spent ANY money on being a better business person. My question was really simple: “What is the point in being a wedding photographer in Barnsley if no one knows you are there?”
I am not talking about advertising per se, what I am talking about is marketing, brand awareness and the simple fact he had not spent enough time or money or becoming a better business person.
I have always believed that the key to running a successful photography business is not just the ability to take an amazing photograph, but the skills needed to run a business too. With costs analysis, profit margins, customer retention, attracting new clients, keeping old clients, sourcing products all playing their part, running a successful Barnsley wedding photography business is more, much more than simply being able to take a good photograph.
After we had sat down for a full day and gone through his business, he went away with a much more clearly idea of what he needed to do to improve his turnover, to attract the new clients and increase his bookings.
For all of you that have already developed the photography skills yet still seem to struggle in getting the work, take a long look at your business skills. In the majority of cases, that’s where the answer lies.