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    Successful advertising and marketing for photography studios


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        Being a successful photographer: Marketing means (almost) everything

        The profession of being a photographer has until today been very attractive to people who love to work on a creative and independent base. Nonetheless the job as photographer or in a photo studio has significantly changed for the past years (local photo shops anyway). In the past having a central located photo studio or shop seemed to be enough, nowadays special creativity and constant re-orientation are a must-have concerning marketing.

        Today technical qualities of a good photographer aren’t enough in order to serve as a solid base for success. In case of doubt the better marketer will defeat the better photographer. But those who doubt their marketing skills don’t have to worry: great photos require talent but marketing can be learned. On the following pages you will find out more about the basics on promoting a photo studio:

        Marketing can be learned!

        1. Positioning

        Who am I and what do I want to offer my customers?

        No matter what your current situation is – being a photographer for the past 20 years – or starting your own photo studio. Everything starts with positioning. As the profession of being a photographer offers so many different fields that no one can credibly offer all of them. Food photography can hardly be combined with wedding photography.

        Common positionings of a photographer

        Classified by business and private target groups:

        Business customers

        • Company portraiture
        • Commercial/product photography
        • Food photograph
        • Fashion photography

        Private customers

        • Portraiture
        • Wedding photography
        • School/kids photography
        • Application photography

        In addition to that there are exotic positionings as well which will often be represented by just a few specialists: travel photography, aerial photography.

        Your very own qualities in terms of handling customers should influence the choice of your positioning. If you are having trouble with guiding people the private customer positioning won’ t be the best choice for you. As non-professionals often need understanding instructions in front of the camera which you might have to repeat during one session.

        The cooperation with business customers won’t necessarily be easier but more professional. As professionals will work on both sides of the camera and your client has know-how.

        Positioning a photo studio

        In the past the activities of photo studios were much more event-related then today. Several years ago there were clear, socially specified occasions which gave reason for going to a photo studio, whereas today the photographer is even more responsible for realizing or creating those occasions.

        Typical private occasions for professional photography

        Traditionally occasions

        • Wedding
        • First day at school
        • Confirmation, Bar Mitzwa, communion
        • Family anniversaries
        • Job interview
        • Passport photography

        New occasions

        • Hedonism (Styling Shootings)
        • Internet, social networks, dating platforms
        • Pregnancy
        • Sedcards
        As you can see on the comparison of old and new motifs for going to a photographer the occasions have been changed – from social obligatory occasions to the chance of individual fulfilment. This change will provide an opportunity to flexible photographers. Only those who manage to combine the customers’ needs of individual fulfilment with the joy during the shooting will successfully offer their services in the future. Studios that exclusively go for clients with social obligatory occasions will have a hard time. As the meaning of those events is continuously decreasing.
        Free marketing plan for photo studios

        2. Offer new products

        As a photo studio you are primarily offering services. Only after that the results of your shooting will be printed on photo paper or on high-quality photo products like canvas, acrylic glass or alu-dibond. In order to make your services physical you have to create product packages. Bundle three packages for each offer:

        Mini package

        The smallest package should contain the minimum standards which the client is expecting. This will be the cheapest package and it will additionally be devalued by its name. Only sell this package if absolutely necessary.

        Regular package

        The regular package is your actual sales target. It contains the minimum standard expected by the customer. The name of the package should reveal that this is the “normal” package. It is the most selected package.

        Premium package

        The “large” or “premium” package contains attractive special services which will give the client the chance to buy plenty of extras. Especially attractive goodies will only be available with the premium package.

        Plan your packages in a way that you will sell your favourite package as the regular “normal” one. This package will be chosen by most clients if they have to decide between “mini”, “medium” and “premium”. You can easily check that in any coffee shop. While the “mini” package only satisfies basic requirements the “large” package offers attractive additional services which are only available with this package. Everyone who has already seen the price list for additional equipment of premium cars knows this principle.

        Product definitions for „Styling-Shooting“

        Shooting NameStyling Shooting MiniStyling Shooting RegularStyling Shooting Premium
        Length45 minutes90 minutes120 minutes
        Shootsca. 50-100ca. 100-200ca. 250
        Photo prints
        Change of outfit-12
        Make-up-Make-up artistMake-up artist
        Hairstyling--Make-up artist
        Each extra printX GBPX GBPX GBP
        Price A49 GBP119 GBP299 GBP
        Price B99 GBP189 GBP299 GBP
        Price C249 GBP399 GBP749 GBP

        What’s the difference between selling and giving away for free?

        Depending on your target group, your qualities and the location and design of your studio you can set various prices for your services. In a stylish downtown loft studio you can of course set other prices then in a bed sit in a small village. Attention: If you calculate your prices that you cannot cover all your costs, you will give away your job performance.

        This example price list can be used for various products. You can of course change content and prices and conform them to your requirements. So if you offer 4 different shootings your price list has, based on this scheme, 12 positions. But avoid to put shootings artificially in this scheme: A small, regular or premium passport photo shooting in 3 different price classes doesn’t make any sense, indeed.

        Today the following shootings are quite common

        Which doesn’t mean that you have to offer all of them and define them in different products.

        • Portraiture
        • Nude photography
        • Baby/Pregnant belly
        • Fashion
        • Family & Friends
        • Application/Business
        • Passport/Documents
        Keep attention on your price list. If it’s too long your client can hardly make a decision. The main shootings should definitely be in your price list.
        Free marketing plan for photo studios

        3. The price – What is the value of your job?

        The value of a product or a job can easily be found: by its sale. A product`s value is only as high as someone is willing to pay. There a various possibilities for calculating a price. One possibility is the cost method. You add the costs for the production of a product or a service and then add a certain profit. As the costs structure of photo studios is mainly affected by fixed costs there will barely be variable costs occuring by service provision. This results in a quite common error in reasoning. As many photographers think it’s better to shoot for less money than gaining no money at all. Invest your time when having no shooting in the promotion of your studio. For example the installation of cooperations or the improvement of your website. This way you will profit from your work in the long term.

        What is one hour of your job of value?

        photographic studio rates
        Fig.: In order to get a daily turnover of 400 GBP you can either work 8 hours at 50 GBP or you work one hour at 400 GBP. Calculate your costs in order to find your break-even point (on that point you will start making a profit)

        This idea of “Better one than none” leads to the fact that in trouble times many photographers offer their services below its actual value and in the end cannot compete anymore when setting higher prices. Be aware of online deal providers. They will promise you numerous new customers on the web if you noticeably reduce your prices. With help of additional sales and customer loyalty you would profit from your one-time bargain offer in the long term. Experience shows that deal offers don’t attract customers but solely bargain hunters. They won’t become your loyal clients and just move on to the next cheaper deal that will appear in the mailbox the next morning.

        4. The studio – Convincing without words

        Several years ago small photo studios became photo shops. By accepting photo print jobs, selling frames, photo albums and other accessories they have tried to create a second source of income and to get shares of the photo shop market. Special photo shops are barely existing today and professional photo developers are “dead” due to the digitalization of photos. Thus in some photo studios you still can find photo albums and frames made in the 80s and 90s as an impressive proof for the unwillingness to change. They’re not just only covered with dust but automatically devaluate the photographer’s qualities and services.

        Those who are working in an old-fashioned studio will have problems to prove the modernity of their photos to the customers. As today the motivation for booking a photo shooting is based on hedonism. The lust for luxury, consumption and self-expression doesn’t match old-fashioned, derelict and dreary. If you’re lacking the money for new studio equipment there are good news as well: many old-fashioned studios can considerably change their look without investing in completely new capital goods. For most part it is already enough to say goodbye to old stuff. Just follow some simple rules.

        How to update your photo studio

        Say “goodbye” to everything you don’t need any more. Take products out of your studio that you haven’t sold for several years. As you will not succeed to sell it in the future. Abstain from selling junk goods in your studio – try to sell them as balancing items via online platforms. Last possibility is to just through them away. After having relieved yourself from those products paint your new and sober studio with bright and friendly colors. If you keep an exotic piece of furniture for the new modern studio this will be a welcome accent.

        Proof your qualities with help of large format prints. As large formats will break your customer`s usual habits of watching and already enthuse by their unusual dimensions. In order to get a basic set of large format prints your XXLPIX consultant can submit to you a special offer on your basic set. At the end of your studio make-over only one product should take the center stage: Your photography.

        Free marketing plan for photo studios

        5. Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive

        Being a photographer your advertising budget is rather limited. Thus large format newspaper ads, radio or TV are generally dismissed. That’s not too bad as the photographer won’t be let into temptation to accommodate vanity, and to book expensive ads in order to read his name in newspapers or hear it in a radio spot.

        The successful promotion of your photo studio intensively depends on your commitment. Only by regular promotions and sales approaches you will successfully push your photo studio.

        The 5 most successful promo possibilities for photo studios

        • Social Media
        • You and your studio
        • Word-of-mouth
        • Networking
        • Monthly promotions and direct marketing

        Distinguish between advertising that contributes to the development of your studio in the short and long term. Both ways have their qualification and will lead to a successful development and extension of your services over the next years.

        Customers pay attention to: You and your photo studio

        Your studio is the show room of your company. As photography is a rather abstract service whose quality can only be evaluated by a small number of people. Thus you have to rely on other helpful impressions. In the first place, this will be you and your studio. As apart from the studio your personal look and attitude will form the customer’s impression regarding your services. No matter what your personality is about to be, conservative or eccentric, never act unfriendly or be bedraggled. In case of being eccentric and have colorful hair, this is no problem at all, as people love individualists and associate creativity with the job of the photographer.

        marketing strategy für photo professionals

        Word-of-mouth marketing

        The tremendous power of word-of-mouth can easily be seen on online social networks like facebook. Stunning contents will be shared with friends and recommended within seconds. Offer an unique photo shooting to your client and exceed his expectations. The likelihood of your customer recommending your studio to others will be very high. Moreover, you can considerably increase the number of recommendations by using a simple trick. Just ask enthused customers to recommend you. After a personal request the rate will multiply. Give-aways in form of advertising material will help to get your clients on board for your promo. (XXLPIX will provide those free ad materials) Enthused customers will be happy to do this. Give them the chance.
        With help of a simple trick you can increase the number of recommendations: Ask your customers to recommend you.


        As a freelance photographer or owner of a photo studio you are part of the local community – only highly specialized photo studios are nationally known. Socialize with other local companies. This will help you in terms of co-operations and will thus bring new orders. As other entrepreneurs require photos to present their products and company as well.

        By business clubs, associations and round tables you will additionally get access to corporative deciders and events. Events have to photographically be documented as well, which will bring you again new contacts. You don’t necessarily have to start playing golf in order to build your network. Networking and its long-run impact is probably the most important tip for leading your photo studio successfully in the long term.

        Socialize with other local companies. Those contact will be very precious for you in the mid and long-term.

        Internet – How to attract new customers

        To open a photo studio without having a website is unimaginable. As today, the majority of researches on photo studios start on the internet. That’s why the website is a standard for modern companies.

        Although the internet undoubtedly belongs to the most important instruments of communication for photo studios, many websites are rarely designed functionally. Especially the preference for graphics reduces the photographers’ possibilty of getting found by their customers on the web. Online search engines can only find texts written in HTML. A text stored in a graphic will be hidden.

        In addition to appealing photos you should, of course, extensively write about your services offered. Especially content management systems like WordPress are perfectly suitable for creating and updating your own website. Those system are quite easy to learn, support the constant extension of your website and are available on the web for free.

        Moreover, you can use the internet for attracting new clients with help of search engine marketing. But before investing money in search engine marketing you should obtain explicit info on this topic. As otherwise your budget will fulminate on the internet without any effect.

        Promotions and direct marketing

        As photographer you are offering a personal service. In the course of the shooting you will establish a personal relationship to your customer. Make use of this relationship and stay in touch with your clients. A the biggest treasure of your photo studio will be laying in the thousands of addresses you’re about to have in your mailing list.

        Ask each customer if you can use the shooting results for your advertising and enter this in your data base. You will build up your own stock library of attractive photos.

        Take the chance and offer your clients regular promotions and create desire by sending current shooting results via mail. Long-term arrangements such as studio development, word-of-mouth marketing or networking are the base for starting attractive promotions in order to get your clients into your studio and achieve an additional turnover which you will need for your annual target. For this you should use a marketing/promotion calendar. Your clients will then be able to download the annual promo calendar for your studio. The more successful you will be offering monthly promos the faster your studio will expand. As by powerful promos new enthused customers will appear and recommend your studio. Why not start promoting your photo studio today?

        Fee marketing plan for photo studios

        Distinguish between advertising that contributes to the development of your studio in the short and long term. Both ways have their qualification and will lead to a successful development and extension of your services over the next years.