Business Guides for commercial photographers
We know that commercial photographers are facing a tough time at the moment, and have been doing for a few years. The challenges in this industry are numerous, and these are some of the most popular issues that the many photographer’s that we speak to regularly tell us:
‘The availability of free images on the internet which create easy access to low-cost images for businesses and agencies to use, are pushing me out of business’
‘The amount of competition out there now includes amateur photographers, who are winning jobs off us professionals’
‘I don’t know how to make good connections with new businesses and potential clients’
‘I have real difficulty in finding the time for marketing my own business, whilst trying to actually run the business; take photos and do the other admin’
‘How can I know which advertising and marketing works for photographers, and how best to use it?’
‘I have a dilemma in knowing how to position myself, when I don’t specialise in one area – I feel like a Jack of all trades.’
‘How should I pitch my prices and defend them to clients who are always trying to save money on photography services, without risking losing the client?’
‘How can I stick to my guns on copyright, without putting off the client?’
Combining our own experience in this market with the experiences of many of the commercial photographers we speak to as part of our business, we have developed some valuable insights into common areas of commercial photographers’ businesses that many photographers need more specific advice on.
This has lead us to develop a new series of photography business guides for our members that offer practical and proven ideas and advice to help commercial photographers make the most of their existing assets to focus on getting clients more effectively. They are designed to help members make effective changes in their own businesses, quickly and easily, to improve their chances of business success.
Our first guide looks at an asset that most photographers have is a website. Many commercial photographers view this as an online portfolio, but in actual fact they should think of it as a critical tool to attract quality traffic and to generate leads for them. Few photographers tell us that their websites generate leads for them, and assume that it’s because websites don’t work.
The truth is that websites do work, but it is the type of information that is on their websites that affects whether they work or not.
Notice that I said ‘type of information’ not ‘quality of information.’ Having high quality images on your site isn’t enough to make it work – you have to get a better balance between what you want to show and what buyers want to see.
Commercial photographers need a business to business website
As a commercial photographer, the people you want to target and attract are a business audience – other professionals, who are buying in products and services for another business. So your site needs to stand out very clearly to distinguish you from a photographer who is targeting consumers; offering services such as wedding photography, makeovers or family studio portraits, with maybe a bit of corporate work thrown in.
We spend a lot of time researching commercial photographer’s websites and we’ve noticed that often we have to spend a relatively long time on a site before you can work out the type of photographer you are looking at, or the type of work they do. When we are on a site, we’re researching, so we’re prepared to spend longer to work this out, but this is not how a potential client will – they want to know straight away.
In fact, when things like this are researched, the time it takes for buyers to make their minds up about other businesses are miniscule – in reality you have a couple of minutes at the most to make the impression you want.
Portfolio sites can look amazing, and we know that its important for your images to look as good as they can, and that your images are very important content for your site, the problem is that there are many other things that a business who is looking for a photographer will always want to know, and this is the information that is lacking on many sites.
The digital revolution in photography has had a huge impact on the sheer volume of content that can be created, both in the camera, and then displayed on your website – and this gives rise to the temptation to hedge your bets and overdo the number of images on your own website.
You need to think carefully about information that buyers are looking for when they are researching commercial photographers, and this is the key to making your website work for you.
If you would like to receive our Guide to getting a better Commercial Photography Website you can join Eposure as a member. We still have a two-month free trial period in place, but this is closing soon. To look at how to join Eposure, then please go to www.eposure.com/register