Most times, I talk about photography and the remarkable impact it has had on my life. I have a passion—you can call it the click passion. Whenever I am behind a camera, nothing matters. The good news is, I have made millions from my passion. Yet, I still meet people passionate about their craft who cannot make a dime from the craft. It’s a helpless situation—they have the skills but cannot convert their skills to money.
So yes, I have a passion—but I knew early on that I could be the best photographer in Canada and still have low-paying clients. I was determined to understand how to make money from my craft and build a business that will thrive long after I am gone. My lessons can be summarized into five crucial tips. I will reveal these tips in this article.
- Be Excellent in your Craft
I tell many people, ‘the difference between success and failure is often the difference between excellence and mediocrity—other things being equal. You either go hard, or you go home.
The sky might be big enough to accommodate all-stars; however, some stars (like the sun and moon) will shine brighter than others. Last year’s achievements are old news. It’s time to hone your craft, push yourself harder, and succeed more.
2. Get Training for Personal Finance
You will not successfully manage a business if you do not learn to manage your personal finance. Look after the pennies and the pound will take care of itself.
When I first started my career, I saved 80% of what I earned from shoots. I had no choice. I desired some of the best gadgets and kits my money could buy. I also had to do many free shoots for people to get the attention of clients that mattered.
3. Set Your Price Right
Some people sell themselves short. I have seen photographers will mediocre skills earning top-notch money for their works. What’s better? They hire photographers and pay them to recreate great shoots.
This advice may seem to oppose the first tip; however, they are two sides of the same coin. You do not have to wait until you become the Leonardo Da Vinci of photography before you charge a reasonable fee while you work on yourself. Below are a few tips to help you with charging a great fee:
– Take shots for influential people (even if you have to do it free): When I started my career, I offered free services to some of the most influential Canadian artists, politicians. I wrote formal letters to as much as I could and reached out to some personally.
I went to their offices or connected with them through their managers. A few agreed to me taking shots for them. Do you know the beauty of this technique? Everything in life works according to social proof.
If I take pictures of an influential person, other people will think that I am influential and will reach out to hire me. It was a simple trick that worked all the time.
– Be polite with clients: Do this, whether you have become a full-time pro or just a newcomer.
4. Build slowly, move quickly
When building your brand, you must be patient with the pace—yet you must move swiftly whenever speed is required. The trick to this is to swiftly work on your gadgets but be slow to build an establishment. I often see many businesses focus on big buildings and extensive networks of properties that only cost so much in rent or purchase.
Be wise! If your business can survive without a big building (and most service-based businesses can survive initially), don’t buy or rent one. Focus on delivering the highest quality of service to your customers. The capital projects can come through when your business has grown financially mature.