There’s a million other photographers out there. And that … well, that … can be a challenge.
So why would anyone hire YOU over the 999,999 other photographers?
One of the best reasons for someone to hire YOU is because she genuinely LIKES you. And because she truly LOVES not just your style of photography, but your personality, too.
Maybe it’s your quirky sense of humor. Or the fact that you dwell in a tiny home because you want to travel. Or maybe you live in a large family-style home and enjoy talking about decor. Or maybe it’s your obsession with poodles. Or Ramen noodles. (Side note: I totally thought of noodles because it rhymes with poodles.) Whatever it is that makes you YOU is the very thing that draws people in closer.
It’s not hard to imagine that a bride, for example, might specifically choose to work with a wedding photographer whose style of photography she adores … but who also shares a love of a certain clothing brand or vacation spot. It makes sense because the bride feels a connection with the photographer on a deeper level than simply that of client/photographer.
So, the short answer on how to stand out from the other 999,999 photographers is simply to just be you. Really, really, really YOU.
But let’s dig deeper.
What happens when you talk about something you love … a LOT?
Some people run away. They came to your corner of the Web for the pretty pictures (because of course you share your pretty pictures, like the other 999,999 photographers) … but now you’re wasting their time going on and on and on and on (again!) about that stupid clothing. Or your dumb dog. Or your velvet couch. Or whatever it is you go on and on (and on) about. But, you know what? It’s OK that those people who are repelled leave. They aren’t your ideal clients anyway.
Your ideal client thinks it’s absolutely charming how much you love your dog. And she too is DYING over that new Free People lookbook. She relates to you. Oh, and she also loves your photos. When it comes time to hire a photographer, she’s going to think of YOU before the other 999,999 photographers.
HOW CAN YOU HELP PEOPLE TO GET TO KNOW YOU?
There are lots of ways to open up and share more about yourself as a person. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are a few effective social media tools.
But have you noticed that they change from time to time? One minute your feed is in chronological order. The next it’s not. One minute all your followers see your posts. The next, they don’t (unless you pay).
Do you know what will NEVER change unless you want it to?
Your blog. You and you alone have total and complete control over your blog. And the simple truth is that blogs are one of the best ways to help potential and current clients to get to know you. That is … if you do it right!
Wait, though. Don’t the other 999,999 photographers have blogs, too?
Most of them do, yes. So HAVING a blog isn’t anything special. And HAVING a blog won’t set you apart. The only way to set yourself apart and to help people to get to know YOU is to be a good blogger.
Here’s the BEST part about being an awesome blogger …
- You don’t have to have the fanciest design for your blog. (Phew.)
- You don’t have to write the wittiest commentary. (Phew.)
- You don’t have to blog three times a day every day. (Although, this would certainly help your SEO.) (Phew.)
So what do you have to do?
Of course, you want to share photos from your latest sessions. You are a photographer, after all. And yes, you want to promote your business by letting clients know about promotions, specials, and booking limitations. You could stop there and your blog schedule might even be full. If you stop there, though … you will do EXACTLY what most of the 999,999 other photographers do. You will fit in.
You (and I) want to stand out, though!
In order to do this, you’re going to HAVE to share content that is original, interesting, and useful.
The goal is to …
ENGAGE your readers
You know how time just passes when you’re reading a good book? Before you know it, your eyes hurt because you’re still reading even though the sun set. You didn’t even realize it! But you were engaged. You might not be as talented a writer as the author of page-turning novels, but you don’t have to be. You just have to be interesting.
INTRIGUE your readers
“Hmm … she is always talking about quinoa flower and how much better she feels since removing gluten from her diet. I wonder if …” If your readers wander away from your blog still THINKING about one of your posts, then you’ve done a great job intriguing them. What you’ll find is that clients will show up to a session and start talking about the subject … which is always a great ice breaker.
INSPIRE your readers
People want to be inspired. The fact that Pinterest is SO popular is living proof of this fact! One of the best ways to inspire readers is to share your struggles and victories. Simply put … to be honest, authentic, and real even when the resulting blog post isn’t “pretty.” We get sucked into weight loss stories … especially when we see the before and after photos. Why? Because it motivates us to make a change in our own life. Other people’s successes make us happy!
By openly sharing with your readers the different journeys you’re currently on both in your business and personal life, you can draw them closer to you. Can you talk about your fitness journey? Can you share with readers challenges and successes you may be having homeschooling your kids? Perhaps you can share the steps you’re taking to live a greener lifestyle. Or how about your quest to become a better photographer? Can you share what books you’ve been reading and the exercises you’ve been engaged in to facilitate growth? What’s going on in your life? That’s the very thing you need to turn into a regularly updated feature on your blog.
The Pioneer Woman started out simply sharing stories about her life on a ranch. She shares recipes, too … but it’s the stories about her family and their ranch that keep people coming back for more. She didn’t have to change anything in her life to become a successful blogger. She just had to regularly SHARE what was going on in her life and that was enough to capture readers’ attention and INSPIRE them to want to try her recipes and regularly check out her blog posts.
TEACH your readers
People like to learn. And we especially like to learn online. Some of the biggest changes I’ve made to my health and well being have come from things I’ve learned online. Not everything published online is accurate (far from it.) But people’s stories and thoughts have led me to dig deeper and deeper and to eventually learn and grow.
What can you teach your readers? Maybe you have a lot of Moms that visit your blog regularly. Can you share tips to help them improve the quality of the photos they take of their kids with the smart phones? Or how about offering them tips on how to decorate their homes with photos? Or how to choose the appropriate outfits for a successful family photo session?
There are many subjects you can address. If you’re not sure what your readers would like to learn about, ask them! If you ask and are met with cricket chirps, then try out some subjects and measure the response you get from them. If you can see that comments, page hits, or shares go up with certain topics, then you know that you’re on to something! Once you find the topic your readers enjoy, include articles on this subject regularly. It will take some time, but your efforts will not be in vain. Your readers will appreciate the knowledge you’re sharing with them. They’ll hopefully even forward it to others!
HELP your readers
There’s nothing we as humans like better than to have a problem solved for us. We as photographers get a little frustrated with the fact that there are 999,999 other photographers in our area. But imagine for a moment how our potential clients feel. It can be OVERWHELMING to scroll through page after page of photographers in the hopes of finding someone to hire. They, no doubt, begin to wonder why each photographer has such different pricing. And why some go to homes and others have studios. Which is better …at home or studio? Can you help your readers by answering some of these questions. Help them understand your pricing. Help them understand the type of photography you do and WHY you do it. What are the advantages to coming and hanging out with you in your studio versus staying home for a session? If your education leads a client to actually book another photographer, don’t worry. That’s ok. It means they weren’t the right fit for you. And nothing is more stressful than trying to please a client who just isn’t the right fit for you and your business.
Of course, you need to share your photography, too!
One of the beautiful things about sharing stories about your own life, is that you’re (hopefully) including photos along with each post. These are photos taken by you (hopefully) and are yet ONE more way to show off your talent as a photographer and storyteller.
Along with all this wonderful and interesting content about your journeys, successes, etc., your blog is a fabulous place to connect with your clients through client shares. But be careful. Don’t do what the 999,999 other photographers do! They stick up their favorite photos from the session and say … “I LOVE this family! We always have the best time!” And that’s pretty much it.
When it comes to client posts, don’t be BORING! With their permission (of course), you can share things like …
- what you appreciated about their interactions together as a family
- a silly story about what happened on your session
- why the location the family selected means so much to them
- how the family plans to enjoy their images
- the family’s favorite part of the session
- the family’s favorite shot from the session
- why the family chose you as their photographer
- an interesting fact about the family (e.g., their all-time favorite movie is Star Wars because …)
- why you loved their outfits
- a look back at a few photos from sessions past to see how everyone has grown and changed
As previously mentioned, YES, you will have to get their permission first! But most family’s LOVE to have tid-bits of information included with their post because it makes the post that much more special. Which, of course, makes it that much more shareable!
YES, it takes some time to collect the information needed for the post. You’ll have to contact the client and have her respond to your question(s). But, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to have a client share post that is special. It’s worth it to have client share posts that set you apart from the other 999,999 photographers.
So are you ready?
Are you ready to start working hard on your blog? It takes time, effort, thought, and trial and error to get it right. But really, in order to stand out in today’s saturated market, successful photographers understand that it’s necessary. It’s necessary to show people why you’re special. It’s necessary to show people WHY they should hire you.
Now it’s your turn … we want to hear from you! Do you have any questions or thoughts about blogs? What do you enjoy sharing on your blog?
p.s. Here’s why you shouldn’t take money from your husband or other family members for your business.