As 2016 approaches, you may find yourself contemplating the past year, reflecting on your accomplishments as a photographer, and thinking ahead to how you can boost your photography business in the New Year. StudioStyle.com is here to offer up a few New Year’s resolutions for Photographers. Make 2016 the year you set goals to improve your photography, and distinguish yourself amongst your competition!
1. Define Your Strengths and Weaknesses. Take a step back and think about the past year. Where did you excel with your photography? Where did you feel you could have done better? Now make a written list of 5 strengths, and 5 weaknesses. Are you great at delivering beautiful photos to clients in a timely fashion, but not so great at pulling in consistent gigs? Maybe you’ve got a knack for marketing yourself, but are struggling with your digital file organization. Writing out a list of a few things you excel at and a few things you could improve upon will help you plan your 2016 goals.
2. Networking. Always think about where you can make connections! Do you volunteer for a local nonprofit? Let them know you are a photographer, offer to lend your skills to better the organization, and hand out business cards to other volunteers. Let them know what services you offer in a causal way. Many people prefer to hire someone they know for an engagement or family photo shoot. Ask other photographers you know for advice. Find local photography and freelance groups on social media to engage with. Offer your own advice, ask for feedback, or set up an online or in person critique among photography friends.
3. Show Your Photography Locally. Many schools and communities host local art fairs and shows throughout the year to showcase local artists. Consider renting a booth or some gallery space to display or even sell some of your work to the public. This will allow you to make more connections, and practice your pitch.
4. Attend a Photography Trade Show or Expo. Try to make it out to at least one convention or trade show in 2016. It’s beneficial to see what is hot in the industry, observe new gadgets and trends, and get new ideas for ways to market yourself and your work. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new, and get ideas from what other successful photographers are doing. Most expos have a handful of workshops and well know speakers in attendance, so there is always something to learn.
Top 2016 Photography Expos:
- ImagingUSA: Jan 10-12, Atlanta, GA
- PhotoPro Expo: February 4-8, Covington, KY
- WPPI Conference + Expo: March 3-10, Las Vegas, NV
- Photo Plus International Conference + Expo: Oct 20-22, New York, NY
5. Branding Refresh – Have you developed a cohesive brand and marketing strategy for your photography? How does your logo reflect your style and image? What about a tagline? Can you put your brand essence into words – in two sentences or less? Once you have it written out, make sure you practice your elevator pitch. How would you market yourself to an audience of potential clients? What does your photography do? What feelings and emotions does it invoke? What elements do you focus on in the moments that you capture with your photography? Find more helpful photography branding tips here.
6. Update Your Website. If your photography website is outdated, or if you don’t have one yet, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business. A quality, professional looking portfolio website is a must have for any serious photographer in the market today. The web is the best place to showcase your talents, and get found by new customers. Use your website to highlight your work, and to tie in your branding elements that we mentioned above. Use your website to collect leads for customers, and to host a preview of your clients’ photos. Whether you’re a wedding photographer, portrait photographer, sports, nature, fine art, or abstract photographer, a clean, well optimized website will make all the difference in your business.
7. Take Charge of Your Social Media Presence. Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr are the top social media outlets for photographers to engage with their fans and get their work seen. Another great platform for photographers is 500px.com, which allows photographers to “showcase their work, license amazing photos, and stay inspired.” These platforms are highly visual and allow for great content sharing. Don’t forget about Twitter and Pinterest, they are also great platforms to share your photography and get others to share it too. Make use of relevant hashtags on your posts to help users find your work, and use these platforms to connect with other like-minded photo professionals.
8. Brush up Your Editing Skills. You want to put your best photos out into the world, right? Even if you’ve mastered the craft of composing the best shots, you’ll have some that just won’t make the cut. You’ve got to narrow down the top photographs that showcase your talent for you clients and your portfolio. After the shoot, do an initial quick edit and sweep to determine which photos to put the final touches on. Then, take some time away from the photos and revisit them a day or two later for a fresh viewpoint. This will allow your brain to refresh and hone in on the details you may have missed the first time.
9. Plan a Passion Project. While getting booked for more paid shoots is great, it’s also important to keep your passion for the craft of photography alive. Plan a project for you—not for money. Is there a story you’ve been dying to tell with your photos? Maybe you usually do portrait photography, but have had an itch to start a nature photography blog for fun. Think about what first got you interested in photography, and why you chose to make it your profession, and make 2016 the year you revive your passion with a photo project that fulfills your creative aspiration.
10. Organize Your files + Backup Your Photos! This might not be the most fun photography resolution, but it is an important one that will make your new year feel less hectic, and more organized. Set a consistent file naming method that includes the date and name of the client or project, and keep photos organized in separate folders by month and by year. Most file import programs allow for bulk file renaming, so you don’t have to waste time doing this manually. Invest in a high quality external hard drive for backups and keeping archived photos to free up space on your main device. Be sure to do backups on a regular basis so your hard work is not lost. These storage drives have come down drastically in price, so it may be worthwhile to invest in a couple for multiple copies of your images.
Best wishes for you and your photography in 2016! Studio Style looks forward to helping you present your photographs with our full line of personalized photo folders, photo cards, photo frames, photo gifts, and party supplies in the New Year.
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