When Isaac and I moved to St Louis, I was starting from scratch. I had no potential clients, a poor brand, and I had no idea where I should begin. It can be hard to grow in a new market (or pick a market to expand in)! Today I am sharing how you can move your photography business to a thriving market!
Select a market where you feel you can add something unique
Give yourself a clearly defined goal. I want to build my photography business in (location) by (time). This looks like (number) of shoots each year with a profit of (dollars).
By giving yourself this measurable goal, you will be able to measure your success. If you haven't reached your goal by this time, then it's time to reevaluate the goal. It might be time to brainstorm new ways to grow or it might be time to try a different market.
Give a shoot away in that market
If you want to break into a market, it's great to work with a team of vendors on an inspiration shoot or even give a shoot away. I would suggest giving just your time away and then giving people the option of purchasing prints or the USB. This isn't because you need this income, but because it somehow makes the work more valuable if it costs something.
Include Travel Fees
If you are traveling to your ideal market/location for your photography work, be sure to include that in your costs up front. So instead of giving them the price and then adding on travel fees, you want to include the cost of travel in the package from the beginning. Don't make them even think about travel costs if you are trying to routinely shoot work in that area!
Know that you have something to offer
You must first believe that what you have to offer is valuable before you can convince anyone else of that! If you are traveling into a city routinely for work, don't keep it a secret! There is an advantage there... you just have to find it!
I love that we don't live in St Louis anymore. Driving into the city feels like it's the first time every time. Or maybe it's just that I try to approach it as if it were new each time. I think this gives me a distinct advantage because I have time in the car to prep for the wedding and do all that previsualization stuff! :)
Connect with local photographers
I love the photographers I'm connected with in St Louis (and need to work on my connections down here in Springfield, MO)! I know a few from a great referral group, a few from Pursuit 31, and a few are past #jbbrides! Connecting with other photographers helped me with pricing (so that I knew what was going on in the market) and it helped me book weddings (because we refer weddings to each other)!
Price yourself competitively
I want to say this first: this does NOT mean that you undercut the photographers you connect with. This means that you have comparable pricing because you understand how the market values the work you're doing. Be patient while you're growing your business because if you price yourself too low or too high, it will be hard for you to really grow! Do the research and it will pay off and save you lots of time!
Related: My Pricing Guide