Five Reasons Your Photography Business Is Failing

Five Reasons Your Photography Business Is Failing

You’ve got a solid website, your photography skills are on point, you’ve been around for awhile, but you still aren’t getting any clients. Peers’ businesses are booming, you know there are plenty of clients to go around, and yet, you’re still struggling to get by with your photography business. There are a ton of factors that go into why a business fails, but here are a few reasons why your photography business may be failing.

You’re Not Creating Good Content

With how readily available technology is, and with how connected potential clients are, everyone is craving good content. For years Google has been looking for a way for businesses not to be able to “game” the SEO system, and they’ve finally found it with content marketing. Nowadays, Google considers good content to be way more valuable than any SEO technique we could master. Creating valuable content that speaks to your target audience will give you much better results in Google than trying to insert your ideal keywords onto your website. 

The biggest problem photographers have with content marketing is they find the idea to be overwhelming or intimidating. Put yourself in your client’s shoes and address common pain points that have occurred with past clients. You’ll always have something to say. Make a blog post, create a FAQ section on your website, or send a newsletter. Better yet, do all of the above.

Another quick tip would be when starting out with content creation, we feel the pressure that we have to create something totally unique and new every time. That's not true. You can repackage and re-purpose old content when you’re not feeling inspired. The key to good content marketing is not creating new and unique content every time, its to create content on a regular basis. Consistency is key.

You’re Not Putting Yourself Into Your Brand

This is a mistake I see most often with photographers, and I totally get it. For a lot of us (including me), we aren’t comfortable in front of the camera. I’ve heard so many excuses for why a photographer hasn’t included themselves within their brand. I promise you, however, that as much as you think you’re connecting with potential clients, if you’re not including plenty of personal info, photos, and videos of yourself within your brand on a regular basis, you’re not connecting with potential clients as much as you could be.

People crave connection with brands. We don’t have the luxury of being an instantly recognizable corporation, and we’re merely courting our potential clients and target audience. They’re not married to our brand. In order to be successful, you need to build trust, and trust starts with connection. Clients need to know you, your personality, how you communicate, and what to expect out of an experience with you. 

You’re Focused More On Photography Than Client Experience

How many times have you seen a photographer whose work isn’t technically good, but they’re killing it with their photography business? There are a bunch of factors as to why this happens, but one of those factors definitely has to do with client experience. 

When people purchase our services, whether they know it or not, they’re not just purchasing nice photos, they’re purchasing an experience. For clients who aren’t photography experts, what adds value to the photos we give them is the experience that occurred while the photos were being taken. You could be the most technically adept photographer on the planet, giving clients photos that could merit the most prestigious photography award in the world, but if the experience the clients had while taking the photos with you was negative, they’re not going to love their photos.

Client experience defines our brand from the moment a client discovers our work and our business, to the last email we send our client once our services have been rendered. Not focusing on the journey our clients take with us throughout the entire process, and addressing pain points, and creating moments to surprise and delight our clients, is a terrible mistake from a business perspective. 

You’re Not Utilizing Email Marketing

Email marketing is probably the most powerful marketing tactic, and yet, it's also the most under utilized type of marketing for photographers. For some reason, photographers do not like the idea of email marketing. Whether they don’t feel they have anything of value to offer, or they find the idea invasive, photographers are not hopping on the email marketing bandwagon. 

Email marketing is so powerful because it allows us as business owners to take the ball out of a potential client’s court and put it in our court. When someone gives us their email address, it allows us to share valuable content with them often, and most importantly, it allows us to remain at the forefront of their mind. This is invaluable especially if you work in a competitive local market where your target audience may be shopping around. By staying at the forefront of their mind and sending consistent and valuable emails, you’re giving yourself a better chance at booking a client. You’re also opening avenues for passive income in the future from past and current clients. 

You’re Not Following Up

If you’re anything like the majority of people, you don’t like pressure sales. When a potential client inquires with you, you respond never hear back, you may feel that sending a follow-up email checking in may be pushy. It's not, and if you’re not following up with clients, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Often, potential clients may be looking at other photographers to hire, or they’re overwhelmed with day-to-day life, they could very easily lose track of their communication with you. By sending them a follow-up email, you’re bringing yourself back to the forefront of the mind, which as I mentioned before, is important to do.

Moreover, a good follow-up strategy with clients creates a better client experience. Communication is key when building strong relationships in business, and having a strong followup strategy is essential to great communication.

If you’re struggling in business, try reassessing some of these areas. Even if you are utilizing everything I mentioned, you may want to refortify some of your tactics, or change a few strategies. Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. We all go through slow seasons, and perseverance is key. You got this.

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Allen Butler's picture

Great article. Well written. Excellent content. We need more from her!

Those are some great tips and you really highlighted some key aspects of how photographers should behave with their clients. Having a good experience (in any field of services I think) is the main reason you would engage with that company again.

I would like to add the fact that maybe some photographers are not paying attention to social media enough. From my point of view, platforms such as Pinterest or Facebook can make the difference. You don't just promote your portfolio and your services, but you also can interact with your clients. A great social media campaign can be a really valuable resource.

My friend, Karen Haden, wrote an article about Starting a Photography Bussines and I think some users may find some tips really useful.

Seagram Pearce's picture

This is probably one of the best 'real world applicable' articles that Fstoppers has had in a while. Great reminders, because you often do a couple of these things... for a while... and then get distracted & gradually stop doing them.