The challenge for the modern photographer is that everybody has a camera in their pocket or a cousin with a DSLR. It’s no different for Heidi Ram of Heidi Ram Photography in Toronto, Canada but she’s separated herself from the ocean of amateurs and built a successful business over the last five years.
‘Everybody is a photographer,’ says Ram. ‘You need to make yourself stand-out by consistently presenting outstanding images.’
Blogging as business development
The professional touch is apparent when you see the images Heidi produces, but it also comes through in her web presence. She has well-constructed website – basically a requirement for a photographer – but she’s found really interesting ways to turn her blog into one of her biggest sources of new business.
First, she commits to posting the finished product of each shoot on the blog within a specific timeframe. (1 – 3 weeks, depending on the type of session.) Second, she distributes the link to that post to her clients, so the flurry of traffic from friends and family is directed to her website rather than her client’s Facebook page.
Finally, she tags her images strategically and makes extensive use of metadata. It’s customer service, personal branding and solid SEO all in one.
Adapting to an evolving business
“As a professional photographer, it’s only a matter of time before someone asks ‘Do you do weddings?’” says Ram.
Though she initially focused on family photography, she officially added wedding photography to her services during her second year in business. She still splits her time 60/40 between family and wedding sessions and her business has changed along with her services.
The full lifecycle for a single wedding client can be up to three years, which can create cash flow issues under a standard ‘booking fee + final delivery’ payment schedule. As Heidi’s wedding photography business grew, the need to add second photographers meant evolving to a benchmarked payment schedule to keep things running smoothly.
It was an important change, since her recent focus has been on expanding her use of outsourced resources for editing and post-process work. It’s a move she’s glad she made, since shooting is her first love and the extra time enables her to photograph additional families or spend time with her own.
If you or anyone you know would make an interesting subject for Talking Shop, don’t hesitate to get in touch.