Friday, August 20, 2010

The business of Photography


This is a very large topic, large enough to be covered by plenty of excellent books. I'm actually going to start off by recommending buying or borrowing the book "Best business practices for photographers" by John Harrington. I'm sure there are plenty of other books out there but this one I've read more than once and I can really recommend it.

But what is the business of photography? I'm not going to try and say I know the secret everyone else is missing, the harsh reality is probably the opposite, but I'm still young enough in the business to not be to upset about it.

I've been serious about my photography for a little more than a year now, I've loved photography for plenty of years and I started with studio photography a couple of years ago, but it was about a year ago that I knew I wanted to do something serious about it. With that in mind, here are some of my insights. And I know for a fact that I'm not alone with these insights.

Aimless business plan.
A business plan is crazy important and, at least to my experience, one thing that doesn't work is to live by the sentiment, "I love photography I'll go to any lengths to be shooting anything". Don't get me wrong, I'll shoot almost anything for money, but where I invest my time, energy and marketing is very narrow.

Passive marketing
Waiting for someone to discover your website for example will take forever, since I came online I have not been contacted once due to a random visit to my website, and I have had plenty of visitors.

E-mail marketing
Sending out masses of emails dosen't work. I spent weeks digging up e-mail adresses to some 50 art directors and photo editors in Stockholm and also some 100 record labels in Sweden. I've used those email lists a few times, thus far I've recieved 2 replies where they politely declined my services but wished me good luck.

E-mail communication with clients.
Sweden have since the beginning of internet been one of the most well connected countries in the world. Yet it's only a small percentage of the clients I've needed to communicate information to that knows how to use and behave over the net. OBS! I don't blame my clients, I've shifted my methods towards normal snail mail and telephone even though it's uncomfortable and expensive.

I'm sure that I could continue this list for a long while, If you have anything else that would fit this list, please share it in the comments.

Right now I have to figure out and work more on methods that do work and I will share some positive strategies in a later post. For my next post however I'm thinking abut writing about pricing and the economy of photography.

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