It’s a sad and frustrating fact that one of the first things to go in times of crises is the creative arts. 2020 has shown us that a crisis can come out of nowhere and can be very damaging to a small business. However, this doesn’t have to mean that your photography business is dead in the water, even after several months of lockdowns and social distancing.
It’s true that for the most part, photographers have struggled to find work for a large portion of 2020. That doesn’t mean there isn’t work available, or that people and companies don’t need your services.
All it takes is a little bit of creativity—which is in no short supply for a great photographer—to keep your business on track.
6 Ways You Can Take Back Control
- Reach Out To Past Clients
Your past clients can be a great source of income, even in a time when you can’t take new photographs. Try reaching out and asking if they ever printed any of the photographs you took for them. You could offer them deals on printing and framing, or creating special photo albums that are ideal for gifts.
You can also look through your old work or previous exhibits and see if there is anything you could sell as prints or photo books to the general public. If you’ve done work for particular clients that you think could be sold commercially, contact them and ask if they’re happy for you to do so.
- Network Within Your Network
A photography business is usually freelance by nature. Most photographers will have a network of other freelancers with whom they work regularly. These people are possibly in the same situation as you, and could be a great source of support both mentally and emotionally in this trying time. You could be a great source of support to them too.
More than that, people within your network may know about small projects and could cut you in if there’s a need for another photographer. They may recommend you for other jobs that suit your talents, and you could do the same for them.
By staying connected to your network and checking in regularly, you can build a strong bond that will serve your business well. You’ll be front of mind for anyone who needs a photographer to join them.
- Expand Your Product Offering
Now’s the time to get creative and look for other ways to create income. Fortunately, you don’t need to stray far from the idea of photography when looking for additional revenue streams. In fact, it’s far better to stick to what you know best.
Look at possibly creating online courses or workshops that you can sell to people all over the world. These courses can be run on videoconferencing on programs like Zoom or Skype, in group sessions, or one on one.
Start with marketing to friends and family and crowdsource reviews on your performance ad coursework. This will give some much-needed practice too, and once you’re confident, you can open to the virtual public.
If you don’t like the idea of having to coach people virtually, you could always look to write ebooks or create videos you sell online.
The beauty of this kind of product for a business is that it’s not bound by place and time. It’s something evergreen that can continue to bring you income for years to come.
- Boost Your Skills
One of the side effects of our busy pre-pandemic lives was that we seldom had free time to learn new skills or hobbies. However, now we have nothing but time, so there’s ample opportunity to sharpen your skills in all aspects of your career. There are a multitude of courses online to choose from. Just like you could share your photographic expertise in this way, you can learn from other professionals in different sectors.
When deciding which skills to boost, think outside of the box. Obviously, improving your skills with your camera and editing will be a massive boost to your business. However, looking at courses to help you with social media marketing, improving your website or online portfolio, and running the business side of things will definitely improve your overall professional appearance.
- Get To That Admin You’ve Been Avoiding
If you aren’t keen to take online courses in your extended downtime, now might be the right time to catch up on all that admin you’ve been meaning to do.
Take a look at your business and workflow systems and see if you can improve upon them. Cleaning up your invoicing system and ensuring you have a proper system for your tax returns is something vital many small business owners put off. This can cost you more in the long run, as you may lose out on unpaid invoices you haven’t kept track of, or have to pay additional tax due to not having your paperwork in order.
Marketing is another big element that small business owners tend to wing rather than create a full strategy around. Take some time to look at your social media profiles, any adverts you run and any other marketing material or media. If there’s anywhere you can make positive changes or update your offerings—especially if you want to run a promotion for pre-orders or discounted packages—go for it.
- Show Off Your Safety Protocols
You should also take the time to learn the best safety protocols around COVID-19. Get all the correct PPE in place, and if you have a studio, invest in sanitizers and any other equipment that will keep your environment sterile. Then, create a procedures document that will ensure you keep your clients and yourself safe when you’re able to work again.
Once you have all of this in place, make sure this information is front and center in all of your marketing material. Let clients know that you have their safety in mind and they’ll likely work with you sooner than you think.
The pandemic doesn’t have to mean the end to your photography business. It can be a chance for a new beginning, you just need to rethink and rework your approach.