Once competitors, now friends; two wedding photographers discuss the benefits of competition…friendly or otherwise…
Without marketing or advertising, how would anyone know about the existence of a professional photographer, studio or business, let alone the services each provides? Fortunately, marketing strategies don't have to mean multimillion-dollar TV commercials. After all, there are plenty of ways for a professional photographer to market him- or herself and their studio or business. There are also a variety of tax deductions to help make that marketing and advertising more affordable.
It's the million-dollar question: How do I sell killer packages while still making a profit? The answer is simple. Offer customers unique services of great value that don't cost you a fortune in time and money to produce. Ah, but it's the execution of that plan that you really need to know. I've been fortunate in my business to work with many of the top photographers on the cutting edge of the industry. Here are some of their tips to get you in the black. Let's break that answer down point by point:
As we travel around the nation consulting with studios, we are discovering the shocking evolution of what appears to be referred to as the "new albumless bride." Years ago, our studio and many others found success because we had the distinct ability to offer more to our clients then images alone. Studios once had the ability to separate themselves from their competition by providing a seamless production process along with high quality albums and frames in an award-winning style. They now face the challenge of their competition using those qualities against them.
When Joe and Sue decided to open a photography studio, they also decided to incorporate. The reason: They wanted to receive the legal benefits that are available only to a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC) and not to a partnership or sole proprietorship.
By incorporating, they created a separate legal entity that protected them from personal liability. If someone were to start a lawsuit because a business debt was unpaid, Joe and Sue wouldn't have to worry about their own personal assets—their homes, cars and bank accounts. Only the assets of their studio itself would be at risk.
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Sometimes, particularly for photographers just starting out, leasing or renting a studio space can be a much more viable option than buying. But who drafted your studio lease? Chances are, it came from your landlord or your landlord's rental agent. It's probably printed and is half a dozen (or more) pages long. Your landlord likely filled in a few blanks — your company's name, some dates and the rental amount — and presented the lease to you for signature.
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