5 Major Shifts That Helped Grow My Family Photography Business
These 5 decisions were the most strategic steps I implemented to grow my family photography business since I started 10 years ago. Over time, they built upon each other to help me not just “get seen,” but to get to work with clients who were truly a great fit for my style, personality, and profitability.
Fine, roll your eyes, but hear me out.
This is something you can do that your future self will thank you for.
I started blogging early on and in my current workflow, I still refer clients back to several blog posts I’ve written as far back as 2016.
Yes, it’s good for SEO, but also for answering your clients’ questions as they’re searching for a photographer, and for the simplicity of your process.
Blog posts with purpose can exist as a living, growing resource of reflection, examples of your expertise, opportunities to build trust with your potential clients, and more.
When clients have everything they need and your process is smooth, you’re slowly getting found more easily and building trust, which with lead to growth in your photography business over time.
In my workflow, I refer clients back to several blog posts I’ve written as far back as 2016.
Things to do in Charlottesville with kids (I send a link for extended family sessions or out of town clients)
I won’t force your kids to smile (this goes to all families in their confirmation email as a final reminder of what to expect and how to approach the session with a more simplified attitude than what they may be used to!)
School photography was the thing that exploded growth in my photography business. I started learning and thinking about school photography because it aligned to an avenue of connecting with my ideal clients…but I didn’t actually have any schools asking me for this service.
It was by complete happenstance that a local branch of 3 daycares reached out and I dove in. It’s a lot of work to set up initially, but aside from small improvements behind the scenes each year, it is extremely replicable. And for someone who loves photographing children, it’s really fun, too!
Since then, I’ve taken on 2 private and 1 Montessori school in our area and love it!
Because of a positive experience with school photos, they have a direct line to me and a reference of the quality they can expect. It’s an incredible avenue for natural growth in your photography business. These families have been to my website, they’ve seen my face, they’ve experienced my work for themselves.
It’s marketing that’s based around shooting and connecting and serving in the process, so in my book, it’s a game-changer.
It’s always been important for me to include printed products in my offerings, but for the longest time I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it in a way that served my clients and was profitable for my time and business.
Every client has a credit included in the collection they purchase, so they can use it however they want – no packages, no minimums, just service that feels good and works well for everyone.
Again, it’s a real commitment to think through the logistics and set this up smoothly, but it is SO WORTH IT.
A good CRM helps make this possible – I use Sprout Studio for beginning to end of the client experience and highly recommend it! (use this link for 20% off your subscription after a 21-day free trial)
When clients are happy with a smooth, enjoyable experience, referrals will go up and you’re far more likely to see that organic growth in your photography business than with any paid marketing out there.
For the first 7 years of my business, I tinkered with shotty logos and colors that never really fit the vibe I was going for. I wanted something that felt professional but approachable, but I was missing the mark. And I couldn’t build any kind of brand awareness because I changed it so often.
The designer I chose did an amazing job. It was way less expensive than I expected and only took 1-2 weeks total. I walked away with a clearer set of tools to up-level my online presence and set the tone for my clients.
When people land on your website, they’ll move on right away if it feels disjointed before ever digging deeper into your work.
When I (not-so) boldly claimed “I’m a photographer!” for the first time as my career choice, I was desperate to be taken seriously.
I was 23 when I began my business and had no actual idea what I was doing, constantly overexplaining or over rationalizing my work to compensate for my lack of experience.
In reality, people trust other people who are honest, generous, and real.
When I stopped speaking AT people and started speaking WITH people, the clarity and simplicity of my message carried into my content marketing, my work, the way I wrote to my clients in email, and the way I directed and engaged with them in a session. It carried into all areas and helped me attract clients who truly aligned with the style of photos I wanted to make, helping me grow my photography business in a truly authentic way.
Remember, wherever you are in your journey, it’s a process of making one smart decision at a time, learning from your challenges, and continually noticing. You can’t implement all the things at once, and you shouldn’t try to!
Hop in with the growing community over there to chat more in-depth about creatively photographing families and building businesses that serve from a place of joy overflowing.