by Joy Vertz
*image courtesy of CMpro Elena Blair
Flexibility has never been more important in the photography industry than it is today. More competition, vendors, marketing approaches, social media outlets…you name it!
Someone recently asked me how I keep up with all the changes without going crazy. Since this is a topic that’s relevant to all photographers, I thought I’d go ahead and share my answer with all of you.
It’s just like yoga – it’s all about balance and routine.
Ok, I’m the first to admit it – I’m not a yoga girl. At least, not in the traditional way. I’d say my yoga is more of a photography yoga/business yoga hybrid.
Here’s what I mean by that: I strive for my shooting and my studios to have both strength and flexibility. The ideal spot for me is when I see that my business is strong, but it can adapt to new trends.
First things first: Make sure your pricing is stable. Yoga poses are built on stability and strength and pricing is the core of that!
Here are some great tips you can use to keep your business both strong and stretchy as a regular practice.
1. Prepare well. Study which parts of your business are “core” by doing an analysis to see what types of sessions are getting booked and the products that most people are buying. Also keep track of requests you’re saying no to: what are some gaps that you could fill? Knowing both what to keep and where to expand is invaluable information.
2. Build on your core strengths.Know what kinds of sessions you like to do and what clients you work with most successfully. Build any new ideas on those fundamentals.
3. Be aware of the outside world, but fully present in your own space. Pinterest and Facebook can really feed a creative soul and generate great ideas. However, they can also make a photographer spend too much time and money chasing an image that doesn’t fit with your reality. Stockpile ideas, but plan any actual changes around your current situation and your plan to go forward.
4. Make freshness and creativity part of your routine. Predictable businesses are easier to buy from. So if you want to try new and funky ideas, make it a fun routine. Ideas you could try to include: using one Saturday per month to try out new session themes, offering a new product as a booking bonus each month, or doing regular “field trips” to off-beat locations. Track which of your options get the most attention!
5. Unfocused and haphazard moves can cause injuries! Making huge changes – and not taking time to consider why you’re making them or how they fit into your plan – can be worse for your business than doing nothing. Ditto for changing too many things at once.
The bottom line: Start with solid information, then build a business routine that includes a plan for trying new and creative things on a set basis. You’ll allow your photography business to be creative and adaptable without changing what clients love about you!
Joy Vertz, Wisconsin
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Joy’s photography experience starts more than a dozen years ago. From a one-person shop run out of her basement, Joy has grown her studio, Shoot the Moon Photography, into one of the premier studios in the region. With two locations in Mequon and Delafield, Joy and her staff now handle more than 700 shoots annually and have clients across the nation. Over the years, Joy has found that she has a particular fondness for numbers and strategy. So many of the things that she first thought were up to chance in the photography industry can actually be put on paper and changed using strategy and thoughtful decision-making, not luck!