Everyone follows a guideline to success, regardless of the career they’ve chosen. For freelancers in a creative career, a guideline is the essential step-by-step path to making a living. In fact, in a creative career, it’s more important than ever to have a solid base to rely on for growth. Contrary to office jobs, the chances of promotion are nil. So you need to find out the best way to grow your creative photography business.
#1. Value and promote visual arts
The time where photography was good enough to be mentioned as a hobby and not a serious professional career is long gone. As a photographer, you need to take your activity seriously, and therefore you need to understand that the art is your business. What this means is that you can’t be discussing only the importance of team photos with your clients. You need to address the essential connection between visual art and building an impression. Using photos in an office can help to create an atmosphere and bring inspiration. Sitting in the same room, day after day, season after season, can be depressing and creatively draining. It’s your role to explain to your clients why it’s so important to change the visuals in their office to keep their team motivated all year long.
#2. Stay organised
When you work with long-term clients, it’s not uncommon to receive odd requests. You know the kind: the phone call on a late afternoon asking for the pictures of a shooting from five years ago, preferably urgently too. So you need to use an organised and effective cloud storage solution to get access to everything you need in a matter of clicks. Additionally, you should also keep offline copies of your work in case your cloud server went momentarily offline. Besides, keeping all images is only one side of the coin. The other side is about the correct labelling of your pictures according to the location, date, event, client, etc.
#3. Find your niche
The competition is harsh amongst freelance photographers. In fact, almost every second Instagrammer has dreams of photography success so that you will find competitors almost everywhere. Therefore, it’s important to define very early your specific market. In the business world, it’s called your niche. Don’t aim for every possible kind of photo but instead focus on highly specialist creative services.
#4. Be able to build an offline portfolio
As a freelance photographer, meeting clients is part of your acquisition strategy. Clients will need to get to know your work and discuss their requirements and visions with you. More often than not, decisions need time, and it’s not uncommon for clients to stay silent for several weeks after a first contact. That’s why you need to make sure that you’ve got everything to stay on top of their mind by bringing samples of your offline portfolio – make sure to use high-quality printers with photo-friendly ink such as HP ink cartridges to get the best result. As a rule of the thumb, 3 to 5 printouts are great to bring with you on a first meeting.
#5. Be visible online
While offline portfolios are ideal for face-to-face meetings, you need to keep your online presence on top to attract new clients. Online portfolios support your business growth, and that’s exactly why you should be using a professional website to display your work. Behance and Wix are two extremely active platforms that can bring your work to fame. A little tip to go further: Combine your presence on Behance with a website and a social media platform for better results.
#6. Develop your personal touch
In an artistic profession, the personal touch is what makes the difference between you and your competitors. It’s the reason why clients want to work with you instead of picking another photographer. So you need to develop not only your photography skills but also your personal touch with each shot. The more you work on your photos, the more your style will develop, and the more you will differentiate yourself from competitors. For this freelancer, for instance, each flower photo is editing in a paint-like style, which gives it a unique touch. All you need to do is to find your style!
#7. Know about trends but don’t follow them all
As a professional photographer, you need to be aware of the latest trends in photo and imagery. Why so? Because some of your clients will have heard of them and will want trendy pictures. Defining your personal touch implies following your own rules and not obeying all the trends. But for the sake of business contracts, you will sometimes have to embrace trends to stick to a client’s brief.
#8. Be reactive and email-savvy
As a freelance photographer, you will receive different requests from clients and have to stay in touch throughout projects. In other words, you need to keep an email etiquette with your clients. For a start, forgetting to include an attachment, while it’s a common mistake, can be perceived as a lack of professionalism. Keep your emails short and to the point, and avoid complex signature with graphics. Finally, always wait at least 24-hours before sending a follow-up on your initial email. Otherwise, you look a little too desperate!
#9. Keep a good network
Do you know what the best advertising campaign is for the creative profession? Words of mouth marketing relies on your ability to network. Getting to know your clients and the industry they work in can help you to boost your brand awareness and spread your work. Additionally, networking is a great way of promoting your skills to like-minded businesses. Sticking to a specific sector in which you’ve made a positive impression is the guarantee of finding further projects from competitors of your clients.
#10. Be confident in yourself
If you don’t believe in your work, nobody else will. You need to be confident about your skills and your creations. Of course, not all clients will like your work. But don’t let their comments hurt you. Have faith in your talent.
Freelance photography relies on skills and creativity. But you also need to establish your professional business, keep an eye for storage and display facilities, and make the most of your creative finish within your network. Good luck and may the best shot win the deal!