Traits of a Successful Photography Business

Traits of a Successful Photography Business

Professional photography is a business, and like any business there are patterns and traits that exist when looking at what works and what doesn’t work. Here are a few traits every successful photography business shares that you can incorporate into your business.

Focus on Experience

Every successful photographer running a service-based business with clients will tell you that experience is key when trying to build success. Clients, whether they know it or not, are looking for and expecting a great experience from their photographer. Great photography is only a fraction of what adds value to a photographer’s services. Ensuring that your clients have a great experience with you from the moment they inquire for photo services through even after the photos are delivered will set your business up for success and can even create possibilities for bringing returning clients back and creating future business.

A few aspects to consider when trying to focus on client experience would be making sure your communication with your client is clear, and exceeding expectations. Leaving no ambiguity or room for assumptions while communicating will help pave the road for exceeding your client’s expectations in the future. When it comes to exceeding client expectations, there are many areas that can give you a lead in creating a great experience. Consider delivering the photos ahead of time, sending unexpected client gifts, or going above and beyond in an area the client wouldn’t necessarily think is within your scope of expertise (like helping in other aspects of the planning process of the photo session). And of course, exceeding client expectations always begin with setting good expectations from the very beginning.

Setting Expectations

A strong foundation for any successful photography business begins with setting proper expectations within the photographer-client relationship. This means ensuring that your communication with clients is crystal clear. When I mentioned earlier that clear communication is key, the goal of having clear unambiguous communication is having proper expectations for both the client and yourself. 

Without proper expectations, a client’s experience can be gravely affected by miscommunication. And oftentimes, complaints about a business arise from expectations that weren’t set properly. A great way to set proper expectations with clients is by having a solid contract and on boarding process with clients that allows you to explain everything, including the uncomfortable aspects of business, with clients ahead of time. By making sure that you’re conveying every aspect of what to expect with you as a photographer, you leave no room for miscommunication in the future.

Successful Businesses Are Always Prepared

When I say that successful businesses are always prepared, I don’t mean that you as a photographer should be all-knowing. There will always be unexpected elements that come into play when running a business. However, successful businesses are always able to adapt and face unexpected developments in a professional manner. As a professional photographer, your role is no different than any other professional. Unexpected events will come your way, and you will have to do your best to handle them. 

Being prepared means doing your due diligence in educating yourself as much as possible in what may go wrong when you’re doing your job as a photographer. I am a firm believer in that old adage “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Knowing what could go wrong will help you to handle a situation when it comes your way. This can make all the difference to a client and their experience and can make you stand out above your competitors.

I could list a hundred other traits that help to make businesses successful, but these are three actionable steps you can be taking right now that will strengthen the foundation of your business and help you to gain more clients and make current clients love you more. 

Lead image by Skitterphoto via Pexels.

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Adam Chandler's picture

Great points! I agree fully that focusing on the overall experience is at least as important as delivering beautiful images. Clear (and timely) communications as well as getting clear on expectations are definitely key components of that. Thanks!

Really good article. Wish I'd read it 3 years ago :)