Photo Notes

August 1, 2010

Photography For Business

Filed under: Commercial Photography — John Siskin @ 8:20 pm

All of my clients are businesses. I would estimate that three quarters of my students at BetterPhoto, or more, want to be professional photographers. The strange thing is that almost none of my students want to work for businesses. The business model that most photographers have involves working for individuals doing portraits and events, like weddings. There are a number of reasons that I don’t go after that business: first your clients don’t do much repeat business. Second your clients have limited budgets, because they aren’t making any money off your photographs. Third you do the same kind of jobs all the time.
Any business needs to communicate with its clients. While a family might want a new portrait every couple of years many businesses HAVE to make a catalog four times a year. Even if a business only has a dozen clients it needs to tell them things about capabilities and products. So I get more business from a business client then I would from any individual. I help businesses to show what they do, how they do it and what they can do; these are important stories for any business.
While any healthy business is very concerned about the bottom line, it is the bottom line not the actual expense that should concern them. So, while the costs of doing a printed catalog may be large, the potential profit is also large. Businesses value experience over price. They want to know that the provider has delivered in the past. Both these attitudes make my job more profitable. Since I have worked with a lot of different businesses I bring a lot of experience and capability to the table. If you are starting out you’ll need to offer attractive prices and perhaps prove yourself with a sample shoot. Still getting any new business client can be important for any photograph, so it is usually worth any extra effort.
My favorite part of commercial photography is the variety of work I can do for clients. I have experience in shooting, products, portraits and microscopy. If I shot for individuals I would rarely get to do more than portraits and events. I find shooting the same sorts of work is boring.
I use a variety of tools to find my clients. I think my favorite is html mail. You can see samples here and here . This gives me a way to show clients what I do in a professional way. Also I can help businesses to use the same tool. I also use direct mail and the phone, but not as much as I used to. You can see samples of html mail here and here.
I teach a class in commercial photography, as well as classes in lighting and portraiture at BetterPhoto.com. I hope you will check out the classes soon. My first book: Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers will be published in the fall you can pre-order it. I have a new magazine article coming out in September about strobe power. You can see it in Photo Technique Magazine.

Thanks, John
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1 Comment

  1. This is a really great blog. Thx to the auther

    Comment by Sydney — June 25, 2011 @ 10:59 am

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