(Editor’s Note: We welcome Bryan Linden to Photofocus. Bryan is a photographer focused on photography for the music industry and landscapes. His work has appeared in magazines, on billboards and on sites like apple.com. He is also the owner of Pacific Inkjet, an inkjet paper company that was created by artists for artists.)
Let’s face it, the times they are a changin’. Due to events happening in our world, many are facing long periods of time inside and avoiding events and gatherings where photographers would typically be able to connect with clients and potential clients. These long periods indoors can lead to frustration, boredom, anxiety and depression.
While I don’t have a cure for the pandemic we’re all experiencing, I’m hopeful the tips below may help you get a better handle on your business and be best prepared to make up for lost time when normalcy returns — hopefully soon!
1. Tend to your backup
Make sure you’re protecting the memories of your clients and your family. If you value your images they should be backed up in no less than three places, including at least one that’s offsite and cloud-based. The reason for this method is that all drives will eventually fail — that’s what the MTBF number (Mean Time Between Failure) represents anytime you purchase a hard drive.
If all backups are in your home or even nearby, then you’re subject to losing your images should a natural disaster occur in your area. By having at least one of your backups in the cloud, you protect yourself against local natural disasters. Another benefit to having a backup in the cloud is that you can access your images anywhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out in public and because of my ability to bring up images from any shoot I’ve done, I’ve been able to do social networking that leads to clients.
Pro Tip: Amazon offers unlimited free photo storage for Prime Members and that includes RAW photo files. Amazon limits how much free video storage you get but they have options to add more video space if you need it. For the most comprehensive guide to backing up your work, check out the The DAM Book by Peter Krough.
2. Update your website
If your website doesn’t have regularly updated information and interaction it will lose traffic. Make things easy to find, easy to order, interesting!
Consider guest posts by clients who’ve used your services. Their testimonial about your services will have the highest value and they’ll likely be honored to do a post for you. They will also likely share the guest post with their friends and family who will be that much more likely to trust you and become a future customer.
If your website isn’t regularly bringing you business then having time on your hands is a great reason to do some research and find out why. Visit other’s sites and see what they are doing and view it as you were a potential customer. Do not steal, but do get inspired by websites you think potential clients would have a positive reaction to. The better experience they have the longer they will stay on your site. Style matters content matters and load times matter.
3. Create mail marketing pieces
Create mail marketing pieces for existing and potential clients and 5×7″ business postcards you can keep on hand to present to potential clients. Many people forget about the mail in these times of digital, but more people are home these days and some against their wishes. How about sending a cool session outtake from the past to a client. that makes them smile and reminds them about your business?
A 5×7″ with an inviting call to action is a great way to increase business while also spreading smiles. The easiest way to do this is with a desktop inkjet printer. This way you can do one-off designs with products like Canva, Promo and Desygner and create drop areas to quickly change out photos in your promo pieces. The inkjet printer you use for these marketing projects need not be top of the line and I personally often use a sub $150 all-in-one for this stuff and also for event work because I can have a beautiful print in under 30 seconds.
No, the print won’t be archival, but it will look great for a few years at the very least and the purpose of the prints is to get business now, not be a forever keepsake. That’s what they HIRE you for. Give it a try and see how it can impact your business.
I’m the owner of Pacific Inkjet Paper, and matte papers like our Premium Matte or Premium Matte Double-Sided are perfect for projects like this. This paper is 230 GSM vs. 190 GSM as many others are. The extra thickness of Pacific Inkjet Paper makes it resistant to warping even with heavy ink loads.
Because it’s a true matte surface you can write on or embellish your prints for an added personal touch. Sign up for the newsletter at pacificinkjet.com and you can save $10 right away on your order so you can try any Pacific Inkjet paper or get 5×7″ Premium Matte delivered to your door for as low as $7.
4. Attend a webinar and/or watch educational videos
With so many people having unexpected time available it’s the perfect time to brush up on your skills or learn something new. As photographers we are a community and learning from and supporting our community when you can will be very important in the months to come.
Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and attend webinars on things you are interested in but haven’t tried before. Learning can set off positive synapses in the brain when achievements are made and learning and trying are achievements.
Photofocus regularly sends out info on webinars and learning opportunities we think you’ll like. Additionally, there’s a whole history of articles, posts, and videos by our staff and contributors covering a huge variety of topics.
5. Make some prints
Let’s face it, the back of a phone can’t compete with a beautiful print. Take some time to print some portfolio images for showing to prospective clients. Print off some favorite photos for select friends and family. Print some personal work for your own walls.
Seeing images of your loved ones while editing will make you smile, printing them either at home or getting them back from your lab will make you smile. The compliments you get for the beautiful photos and unexpected gifts will make you smile. See the pattern?
Do it to spread the joy that is in your heart and in your photography. We work hard in our craft and it’s important we remember to take time to enjoy our work.
There are several things you can do to beat the doldrums and these are just a handful of suggestions. I’d love to hear how you’re staying productive with photography and your business. Let’s keep it positive out there and help each other however we can.
A photographer’s greatest asset is his or her ability to adapt to changing environments. Your right now is not your forever. We will adapt, we will overcome, we will thrive. Now go inspire others with your images, words and actions.