189 business building ideas for photographers

(Last Updated On: April 9, 2009)

Here is a starting list of 189 business-building ideas for photographers:

After you review this list, check out the 2017 modern update. (here)

1) Join a professional organization. APA, ASMP, PPA

2) Start a photo blog.

3) Consider using per-image pricing.

4) Read John Harrington’s book:  Best Business Practices for Photographers. (not a NMP affiliate)

5) Define your target market.

6) Use Google reader to follow blogs of interest.

7) Develop your professional story.

8 ) Join your local chamber of commerce.

9) Comment on other blogs.

10) Enter photo contests.

11) Read the DAM Book by Peter Krogh.

12) Find a new photographer on the Web who inspires you.

13) Create a Facebook fan page for your photography business.

14) Attend a photography seminar.

15) Learn search engine optimization.

16) Take a successful photographer to lunch.

17) Open a Linkedin account.

18) Exchange links with other photographers.

19) Host an evening event for your clients.

20) Open a Flickr account.

21) Build a community around your work and Web site.

22) Keep an updated e-mail list of your clients.

23) Open an e-mail marketing account such as constant contact, vertical response, Icontact.

24) Create a vanity search (or Google yourself) regularly.

25) Send a press release to local media. (Save this for the important events.)

26) Rewrite your business plan.

27) Set up a Google alerts account.

28) Sign up for a meetup.com account for local event networking.

29) Take a successful business person to lunch and ask questions.

30) Read any book by Seth Godin. I recommend “Purple Cow.”

31) Make sure you have an e-mail signature.

32)  Visit a new town to take photographs and meet people.

33) Champion other photographers.

34) Be a mentor.

35) Volunteer your services to a worthy charity.

36) Make a 4×6 portfolio card to hand out at events.

37) Speak to local groups about photography.

40) Start a newsletter.

41) Focus on a new target market.

42) Explain to a friend why you are different.

43) Rewrite and improve you contracts and paperwork.

44) Face your biggest fear.

45) Create a plan to eliminate your debt.

46) Return all e-mails with 24 hours — if not faster.

47) Return all phone calls within four hours.

48) Place an opt-in e-mail request on your Web site’s front page.

49) Write an article about your photography style or tips.

50) Create a photo book to give to clients and friends.

51) Create an e-commerce photo gallery or stock site for your work.

52) Call 10 new prospects today for a portfolio showing.

53) Create a one-year marketing plan.

54) Learn a new Adobe Photoshop technique.

55) Upload a video about your photography to YouTube.

56) Create a new logo.

57) Define what success means to you.

58) Create a unique background for portraits.

59) Listen to photography podcasts.

60) Introduce yourself to local equipment representatives.  (Canon or Nikon, for example)

61) Develop relationships with photography bloggers.

62) Write a white paper on your photography techniques.

63) Go through all of business cards at the bottom of your desk drawer.

64) Create an online survey.

65) Call customers who didn’t buy and ask why (check your ego).

66) Create a name for your style of photography.

67) Create an affiliate program for your products.

68) Ask three friends to navigate your web site and report back.

69) Create a unique prop for your studio.

70) Find a good accountant.

71) Create a helpful non-photography Web site for your target market.

72) Increase your rates.

73) Create a list of 20 new target prospects.

74) Partner with companies serving the same target market.

75) Create an AdWords account.

76) Expore insights for search.

77) Train your own representative.

78) Send thank you cards after every shoot.

79) Ask current clients for referrals.

80) Create a risk-reversal proposition. (Put the risk on you, not the customer.)

81) Learn to golf.

82) Examine your usage and licensing guidlines.

83) Create and print a price list for reference.

84) Create a Friend Feed account.

85) Test, test, test (everything)

86) Create a memory hook. (a phrase that helps people remember you)

87) Sponsor a local sports team.

88) Network with photographers specializing in different areas of photography.

89) Teach five friends how to refer you.

90) Calculate how much it costs per day/month/year for you to stay in business.

91) Set 10 goals.

92) Ask a photographer you respect to review your portfolio.

93) Exercise for more energy.

94) Learn to say no to bad deals.

95) Make it easier to do business.

96) Review your communication systems. (Is there a better way to communicate?)

97) Follow up with lost or former clients.

98) Have a studio reopening party.

99) Make sure all digital files are backed up and easily accessible.

100) Fire bad clients.

101) Follow successful people on Twitter.

102) Offer a referral fee.

103) Attach a portfolio link to all image review Web sites.

104) Submit your Web site to photographer directories.

105) Ask for client testimonials.

106) Create a poster for clients to display.

107) Sponsor a client event.

108) Answer photography questions on Yahoo! Answers.

109) Research prospects who have great photography.

110) Research prospects with bad photography.

111) Write an article for a trade publication.

112)  Write an e-book.

113) Join ifreelance or Elance to find new opportunities.

114) Create unique promotional items with your printed logo.

115) Trade services with select prospects.

116) Rewrite your biography. Make it interesting (and truthful).

117) Ask to be a guest blogger.

118) Invite guest blogger to your blog.

119) Create a voiceover slide show of your work.

120) Get a StumbleUpon account to share content.

121) Read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell.

122) Teach an adult education class. (develop name recognition)

123) Publish a book through LULU.com.

124) Make sure your Web site’s “about” page is full of quality information about you.

125) Use Website grader to make sure your site is of quality in Google’s eyes.

126) Define and focus on attracting your ultimate job.

127) Take a second look at all the business tools Google has to offer and apply them to your business needs.

128) Investigate the business-building options Paypal has to offer. (more than you think)

129) Discover project management systems like Basecamp.

130) Track your time spent on tasks.

131) Create Photoshop actions to save time.

132) Create a list of policies that benefit your customers.

133) Call your competitors to keep tabs on pricing.

134) Ask your customers to be honest about your service and how you can improve.

135) Wear a name badge at every event.

136) Attend a Tweetup.

137) Print custom CD/DVDs with your logo for final image delivery. (looks more professional)

138) Open a PhotoShelter account.

139) Conduct a survey about your industry.

140) Develop a new benefit for customers using quality photography.

141) Understand why people are fans of your competitors.

142) Don’t try to pass a card to everyone at an event. Build quality relationships with a few people.

143) Dress appropriately.

144) Look at your prospect’s Web site before you call for an appointment or bid on a project.

145) Test e-mail headlines.

146) Make eye contact.

147) If you are shy, bring a guest with you to events.

148) Always stand in a “V”  so others feel welcome into your conversation.

149) Introduce people. (even if you just met them)

150) Send a follow-up letter or e-mail to every business card you receive.

151) Don’t shy away from talking to insurance sales, financial people or real estate agents at events. They talk to new people and businesses every day.

152) Set up a booth at a trade show.

153) Spend an entire event looking for referrals for your networking partners.

154) Ask friends, clients and associates the powerful question: “Who do you know?”

155) Send clients cards on their birthdays.

156) Write testimonials for your best customers.

157) Write testimonials for your best vendors.

158) Give framed photographs to your favorite clients.

160) Ask to speak to your client’s staff. (group learn and share)

161) Create a contest and give away something cool.

162) Review your budget.

163) Replace beat-up photography accessories. (makes you look more professional)

164) Get a toll-free number.

165) Hire a live, personal answering service.

166) Package your services with networking partners.

167) Join a local BNI Group.

168) Create a “vCard” and share it — often.

169) Create and review your model and property releases and keep them with you at  all times.

170) Keep a backup camera with you — always.

171) Read the copyright laws and register.

172) Create an easily accessible electronic portfolio on an iPod or Smart Phone.

173) Look for a new niche.

174) Explain to a business owner how poor photography is costing her money.

175) Give a service certificate to a charity auction.

176) Review your insurance.

177) Make sure your passport is up to date.

178) Plan play time to refresh yourself.

179) Hire a good business coach.

180) Keep a list or file of photographers’ Web sites or photography that inspire you.

181) Ask yourself: Would you hire you? Why?

182) Be Positive. Yes, it does matter.

183) Gather your junk mail and call on the senders for opportunities.

184) Develop a powerful sales letter.

185) Buy an e-mail list for your target market.

186) Give more than expected.

187) Remember your copyright has value. (If it didn’t, people wouldn’t be asking for it.)

188) Use your @ twitter name in your online signatures.

189) Create a list of 189 things you can do to improve your business.

This list is just he beginning. What items would you add?

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