May 28, 2020
With the COVID pandemic having such a profound impact on this year’s wedding season, we see photographers all over trying to find new ways to generate revenue to make up for lost income. While selling prints or teaching an online course are great ways to try and diversify your photography business - at Focal we’ve had a lot of success helping our photographers grow their business through booking more small shoots. In 2019, our top photographer grew their income by just over $10,000!
Small shoots are the untapped potential for many photographers. This is because as photographers, you are already doing them! You just need a bit of marketing to help you do a LOT more. Furthermore, small shoots can supplement your income without cannibalizing your main wedding income because you can focus on them in the off season or days when you don’t have bigger shoots.
The way the photography industry currently operates makes it particularly difficult for customers looking to book small shoots. Think about it this way:
It’s your mom’s 70th birthday next weekend and the whole family is going to be in town to celebrate with a big outdoor picnic. You realize that it’s a great opportunity to hire a photographer to come and capture the celebration and get some priceless photos of the whole family together. So you go on google and search for “family event photographers near me”. You click on the first couple links and it takes you to a photographers’ website. The problem is that the website has nothing to do with photographing a family event. It’s filled with wedding photos and a biography about themselves. Now you have to email that photographer through their contact form to ask them if they even do family events, what their prices are and if they are even available. Compound this situation with the last minute nature of your family event and you can see the problem.
Customers don’t want to have to spend hours researching and contacting photographers in order to book them for a small shoot. With things like weddings, it makes a lot more sense to spend hours - even days researching your purchase. But for smaller shoots, customers simply don’t have the time or energy. They want it easy. They want to know how much it costs, that you’re available and that you can do what they want well! After that they’re all ready to book.
Imagine for a second that you’re walking down the street and you see a shop with the sign “shoe store”. The sign spurs your memory and you’re reminded that you could really use a new pair of runners, so you walk into the store - only to find out that all the shelves are empty except for one. The shelf that’s full only has high end designer shoes. Confused, you go up to the shopkeeper and ask “do you have any runners”? The shopkeeper says: “Sure I do, what size are you, what brand do you want and what’s your budget?”. You then have to explain that you’re a size 7, you’re looking for Nikes and preferably white. The shopkeeper has to go into the back and bring out a couple pairs that they think fit. This goes on until they bring you the right pair.
While silly, this “shoe shop analogy” is how a lot of photographers run their websites. They stock the designer shoes shelf with weddings because they are the biggest earners but leave all the other ones empty. When a customer comes into the store looking for a photographer to cover their family event, it’s nowhere to be found so they have to ask for it! From a business standpoint, this makes absolutely no sense. You want customers to be able to see what you offer, otherwise you run the risk of them leaving because they don’t know that you have what they need. Just stock the shelves and you’ll have customers bringing the pair they want up to the counter and paying!
It’s really not that hard, all you have to do is make it easy for customers to understand what you offer. Here are some suggestions:
Corporate Event Photography
Office Branding Photography
Family Event Photography
Don't forget to put your packages out there! Whether on your own website or on Focal, we think you should be proud to show what amazing photoshoots you’re offering. You never know who might be planning their next family event, needing headshots or trying to brand their business. More than ever, our communities are coming together to support local businesses. Go out, build some amazing small shoot packages and share them!
Here are some channel ideas for sharing your packages
With Focal waiving subscriptions fees for photographers. There’s no better time to join our community and try out our closed beta. We are working extremely closely with our photographers to build a platform that serves them as much as it serves our customers. If you’re interested, we are slowly opening up the platform across Canada. Feel free to get in touch and our team would be happy to meet you and figure out how we can work together.
Customers are accustomed to online shopping, so why not let them shop photoshoots? With Focal’s photographer portfolios, you can easily create tangible photoshoot packages by adding photos, detailing what to expect, what’s included and setting things like cancellation, weather or payment policies. After you’ve built a portfolio and packages, you can easily share them with customers by sending them a link. Plus, your portfolio and packages are beautifully optimized for mobile!
With Focal’s booking platform, you can easily attach your photoshoot packages to an invoice, add line items like add-ons or discounts and then send it to your customer by email. You can also designate a meetup location, time and any instructions for that particular booking. After the customer pays securely through the Focal platform they can easily reference their online booking anytime by using their email link. If it’s a bigger booking, easily split the payment into a 50% deposit and then a remaining balance due at your designated date. Focal’s booking and payment system makes it seamless to book shoots and take payments.
At Focal, our goal has always been to empower photographers which is why we designed our platform to give photographers full autonomy over what goes up on the platform. This means things like getting to put your logo front and centre so you can build your brand, setting your own prices and having full management over your portfolio and packages.
We're so happy you took the time read our post, so thank you very much. We hope that we were able to give you a bit of inspiration on how to grow your photography business. If you're interested in applying for Focal, you can use the form here. But, if you're not quite ready for that just yet, feel free to just drop us a line with any questions you may have at email@example.com! Whether it's getting a bit more info about Focal, or even passing on some suggestions from your years of experience in the industry, we're always just happy to chat and hear from all you amazing photographers out there.