6 Steps to a Photography Business Plan 1 1

Photography Business Plan PDF in 6 Simple Steps

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Photography Business Plan PDF

When it comes to business plans for photography businesses it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing out a generic style business plan, the same sort of business plan you’d put together for your bank manager or if you were applying for business finance.

However, the one big fault with these business plans for photographers is they don’t give you any real goals or direction for your business, or tackle directly the key issues most normal business plan template fails to address.

For any photographer starting the main concern should be “How I’m I going to stand out in a very over-saturated photography market?”

The best way to stand out and create a desire for your photography services is to specialise or niche your offering.

This can be done by following this simple photography business plan layout, but you need to start at step one and follow it through in order. There’s no point in setting up a photography website or creating your photography social media pages if you don’t know who your ideal clients are and what it is they are wanting.

Creating a Branding Business Plan for Photographers

Whether you’re setting up a studio or going to start out in wedding photography, you need to decide on your main niche and stick to it.

Don’t be a Jack of All Trades and try to cater your photography to everyone. If you want to have multiple offerings, for example then create one brand for commercial photography and a separate brand for your wedding photography, because both sets of clients have completely different needs and expectations.

I’ve created a great little PDF that goes into more detail about photography branding; you can download a copy of the PDF from my free resources page.

6 Simple Steps to Designing Your Photography Business Plan PDF

So once you’ve decided on your niche, whether it be in wedding photography, commercial photography or opening a headshot studio, you then need to follow these steps in order and build an entire photography business based purely around your ideal client.

  1. Build your brand based around your clients
  2. Create a desire for your brand by knowing what your clients want
  3. Develop pricing packages that suit your client’s needs
  4. Design a website that solves a problem for your client’s
  5. Post social media content that your clients will totally love
  6. Track your goals weekly; be consistent, because consistency produces results.

Step 1. Photography Business Plan – Branding Your Business

If you want to be the Go-To Photographer that one everybody is talking about, then your brand must be based around your clients. Your brand is everything your potential clients think, feel and believe about your photography services.

A great way to get a real idea for your brand is to look at other service providers in your niche. Look at the leaders in the field, the Go-To Service Providers, check out their styles, colours, fonts and wording on their business websites and social media pages.

For example, if you have a wedding photography business look at some of the premium bridal shops and the high-end wedding venues. You’ll notice their brand probably has a feminine touch to it, light and bright colours, often using soft pastels and slightly scripted fonts. It rings with a feeling of romance, love and emotion, this is what appeals to a bride and this is what a bride searching out a wedding photography business will be looking for.

If your business plan is to set up a headshot studio or a studio for commercial photography then your brand will need to take on a corporate look. Check out some of the leading business service providers in your area like IT companies and business networking groups. You’ll notice their message is one of help, how they help their customers, solve a problem in their everyday business. The language on these types of websites is more direct, straight to the point wording, standard fonts, with prominent colours of blues, oranges and whites.

Step 2. Photography Business Plan – Creating a Desire for Your Services

To make your services sound appealing to a potential client your wording has to connect with them and offer a solution to their needs. You need to understand what is important to your customers and make a point of highlighting this right from the start.

Get your message out there plain and simple. Your customers don’t look at your images the same way another professional photographer does. Your wording needs to tell them what they want to hear to help them make that all-important decision to book you.

Let’s take a wedding photography business for example, most brides will be looking for emotion in the photographs they see. They can’t assess your images from a photography standpoint, but they can relate to pictures that show tears of joy, laughter and heartwarming emotion because that’s how they imagine their day will be.

Plan out your website wording carefully. Address all the areas that are important to a bride, she wants to feel relaxed, she wants everyone to have fun, she wants images captured in a hassle-free way, but with the attention to detail that will guarantee every special moment is recorded.

Step 3. Photography Business Plan – Pricing Your Services

Too many professional photographers focus on selling their time instead of selling the end solution, especially when it comes to commercial or even studio photography.

The problem with selling time, hourly rates or daily rates is it doesn’t address the customers need.

For example, a restaurant owner isn’t wanting a half days worth of photography. What they really need is attention-grabbing images to use on their website and social media that will draw people into their restaurant and put money in the tills.

By creating a series of packages that solve a solution then this appeals more to the user because it’s giving them exactly what they want. You could create a monthly social media packages that include 31 high impact images and an attractive banner photo, enough for a full month worth of engaging posting on Facebook.

With pricing, your business plan should be to have a series of 3 or 4 packages, each increasing in value, but the higher the price the better value for money the package appears.

This type of business plan for pricing is used frequently online, especially by service providers. You’ve probably seen it many times before and always been attracted to the higher packages because the deal looks better, think of SKY TV for example.

Step 4. Photography Business Plan – Designing a Website that Solves Your Customers Problems

We’ve already discussed how your brand and wording should be a solution to your customer’s needs and this is really important when it comes to your photography business website.

Most professional photographers opt for a portfolio style website with very little text and no “Call to Action” buttons that encourage visitors to “Book a Call” or “Schedule an Appointment”

The average website visitor will hit the back button in under 2 minutes
if the website they have visited doesn’t appeal to them.

Your text needs to connect with your visitor immediately and give them a clear “Call to Action” to do something, like book an appointment or check their wedding date is still available.

One of the best ways to layout your photography business website is in the Storybrand format. If you’ve never heard of Storybrand check out the book below just click on the image to see it in Amazon.

It’s amazing and makes so much sense, this website and my other website Focus on Marketing are both designed in the Storybrand format, its a MUST for photographers wanting to stand out, I can’t recommend the book enough.

Finally, remember that if you want to start ranking on Google then a website with limited text is going to massively work against you.

In order for you to start showing up in the searches, you’ll need to have your keywords in the headlines, subheadings and body text of your website. If your site is a photography studio portfolio-style website the same as many photographers use then that’s not going to help you rank on the internet. What’s the point of having a flashy beautifully designed business website if no one can find it on Google?

Step 5. Photography Business Plan – Posting Social Content Your Followers Will Love

If your social followers have taken their time to like your page, then it’s up to you to keep them engaged and coming back for more on a daily basis. Social media is essentially a storytelling platform, especially on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Many photographers post content as if they were sharing with other photographers, talking about the camera, lenses, shutter speeds and f-stops used in the image they upload. This is usually of no relevance whatsoever to your followers.

What your followers want to know is a simple “Who, What, Where, When and Why”. Think of this next time you create a post. Look at your image and tell a story, who is in it, what are they doing, where are they, when was it taken and why. This approach creates far more engagement than simply popping up a post with a load of hashtags and your camera settings.

Always post content with your followers in mind,
don’t overdo the sales posts, keep them to 1 in every 10 you make.

Don’t just talk about yourself, share news, tips, advice and what’s on-trend in relation to your niche. For example, if you’re a pet photographer you could share funny pet stories, dog training tips, reviews of local dog groomers or dog walkers and great dog walks in your local area etc.

You can use your social media page as a tool to network and make connections with people who already serve your potential customers. Over the years I’ve built some great relationships with other businesses that have helped me to connect with potential customers for my business through their own social media and network.

I had a fantastic joint venture going with a bridal dress business who I’d reached out to through Facebook. The owner referred me over 30 weddings per year on a commission basis and if she ever needed any photography for her business I would happily do it for free.

Step 6. Photography Business Plan – Track Your Goals, Be Consistent.

When it comes to business you’ve got to have goals if you want to get ahead. You need to have a clearly defined set of goals for your photography business and make those goals a huge part of your business plan going forward.

Your business goals need to be big ones, there’s no point in setting average goals, you have to push yourself if you want your photography business to be a success.

Most people set goals once a year then rarely look at them again. Each year I set my 10 big 12-month goals then break those goals down into trackable 90-day goals I can work on each week.

I always print out my goals and have them pinned to my office wall, it’s no good just having them as a PDF or Word Document hidden away in a file on your desktop that you rarely look at. You need to keep reminding yourself where you are heading and take small steps each week to get to the bigger picture.

I’ve put together a Goal Setting PDF that explains my 12 months and 90-day tracking routine you can download a copy of the PDF at my free resources page

Over the years I’ve worked with 100 photographers from around the world to help them develop their businesses. By far the photographers that achieve the greatest level of success are those who have a defined photography business plan and then work on their goals every single day.

Even something as simple as posting to social media or adding new connections to your LinkedIn Profile on a daily basis added up over weeks and months makes a huge difference.

I hope you’ve found this Photography Business Plan PDF blog post useful, you might also like to read my blog on How to Get Your Photography Noticed which covers some great tips on social media and joint ventures with other businesses in your niche.

Remember I’m always here to help, and if you’re serious about taking your photography business to the next level why not book a Free Business Advice Call with me by filling out the contact form.

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