Guest Post 1 of 4 By: Chamira Young
A successful portrait photographer once gave me an unexpected tip: a great way she gets new bookings is to conduct workshops teaching people how to take better photos of their kids, pets, and nature in general. I nearly did a double take. How could teaching families how to take their own photos help you book more portrait clients yourself? Talk about counter-intuitive!
She then revealed that while families (particularly mothers) found it useful to take better photos of their kids’ daily lives, it also increased the chances of them coming to her when they needed an actual portrait session, simply because they viewed her as the expert. They’d developed a relationship of trust with her as a knowledgeable photographer, and therefore felt they were in good hands. And you know what? They’d come back to her again and again for family portraits, high school senior portraits, weddings, and more!
When we’re elbow-deep in the daily grind of running a business (booking clients, doing photo sessions, finding more clients, and occasionally taking time to breathe) it can be tough to plan a workshop or post online educational tips. But now, chances are you have a bit more, ahem, down time than usual. Whether it be an online workshop or a series of short posts on social media, now is the perfect time to become the online photo expert in your community.
In fact, there are a number of benefits to this strategy. Let’s dig deeper.
The benefits of being an online expert:
It can potentially increase your bookings in the future
As mentioned above, when a family needs a portrait session, they’re going to choose someone they trust. Who better than the photographer who’s known as the community expert? Chances are they’re not going to want to take all of their own photos: if mom is taking the photos, how is she going to be in them? Sure, she could use a remote or timer, but there’s nothing like the touch of a professional to draw out those natural, fun expressions of an entire family interacting together.
It keeps you relevant in your community
Especially now, one of the most important things you can do is find a way to stay in front of your clients and potential clients. While doing that in person is not an option at the moment (i.e. social distancing), you can still put yourself in front of people online. It’s a great way to stay top of mind.
It’s great content for social media and your blog
This also solves another problem for photographers: the constant need to find content to post both on social media and our websites. It’s a natural fit. You’re sharing knowledge that’s already in your head anyway. And adding written content along with the visual content you post to your blog gives your website additional SEO power in general.
It helps YOU stay creative
Let’s face it: we all need some stress reduction right now. Creativity in any form is a powerful weapon against stress, as well as the resulting paralysis that often follows. So rather than be paralyzed by the news (yes, it’s okay to turn it off once in a while), go make fun, educational content to get your creative juices flowing.
So what type of content should you share?
Share the things that are second nature to you, such as:
- How to use the basic settings on your camera. While not everyone uses the same brand of camera, chances are there are many, many people who use your brand. Help them make sense of all those confusing buttons and controls.
- Basic photography principles, such as the exposure triangle. One of the most confounding and intimidating things for photography beginners is how to free themselves from the “auto” setting. You’re the perfect person to help!
- Posing tips. Posing is an art, and not one to be taken for granted. Folks will definitely appreciate you teaching them how to position their family for better portraits.
- Editing tips with popular software. For beginners unfamiliar with editing, it can be a mysterious process. So why not take a few minutes and record your screen as you talk through some basic photo edits? While fiddling with the contrast setting in Photoshop is something we do in our sleep, to a beginner it will seem like sorcery.
- Whatever else you want! The sky’s the limit.
Now is an interesting time in history. With social distancing, people are spending more time online than ever. Don’t be afraid to engage that captive audience. When the economy makes a rebound and people are ready to book a photographer’s services, you want them to think of you first.
About the author:
Chamira will readily admit it: she’s an art nerd, Photoshop geek, and photographer with an obsession for productivity and creativity. Through online teaching and podcasting, she loves helping other creative minds become more successful by empowering them with the knowledge and inspiration to up their game. Currently, ChamiraStudios.com is the hub of her creative mischief. It branches out to her other projects, and allows her to be an artist, photographer, podcaster at ProPhotographerJourney.com, and online course creator. You can also find her on Twitter.