This is a step-by-step guide to getting your photography business online.
I will give you some free resources, and some that are not so very expensive, especially if you don’t have to invest in them, all at once.
Step one is to get an overview of how to run your business. The best resource is Gary Fong’s “Getting Rich as a Photographer”. While not free, it is the single most important tool in your camera bag. Written specifically for the wedding photographer, it has lots of good information for all photographers, regardless of your specialty.
I’m not going to cover everything that Gary mentions in his DVD, but I will tell you that you have to have a web presence. We’ll use the example of a Saturday wedding. By Sunday evening, you will have designed a collage from the wedding and posted it online. While you can create the collage using one of several pieces of software, my suggestion is to use the Album Designer and Collage Builder – also available from Gary Fong. If you are seeing a pattern, it’s because Gary was a well-know wedding photographer, for 20 years. Recently retired, he has been inventing and discovering tools to maximize his profits as a photographer since he entered the business. In recent years, he has made these tools available to photographers, both professional, and aspiring, from all over the world.
If you don’t have a website, yet, you may be asking how you are going to put your collage online. The answer is with a free blog. There are other sources, but I use blogspot.
When you apply for your free blogspot account, you will have to choose a name: www.yourname.blogspot.com, so it is important to pick a name that you can also use for your website. Even if you don’t have a website, yet, you can reserve a name (a domain name). You can check on name availability, and sign up for a web hosting account at many places. I use HostMonster.
Reserve your name, as soon as possible – even if you don’t sign up for a hosting account, you will want to reserve your website’s name. Let’s say that you registered “johndoephotography.com”. When you create your blog, you will use the name “johndoephotography.blogspot.com”. If the name you want is already taken, try using a hyphen: johndoe-photography”.
Back to the collage. Your collage can be approximately 12-20 images from the entire day, or just a portion of it. Often, you will have a series that tells the story of a particular portion of the day – for example, the cake cutting. It may be less the 12 photos, but it can make a nice collage. Put it on your blog, along with a paragraph or two about the couple, or the big day.
Be sure to have email addresses for the bride and groom, their parents, and members of the bridal party. Tell everyone to check his or her email on Sunday evening. Not only will the collage be a big hit with the bride and groom, but it will get your name in front of many of their family members and friends – some of whom my be looking for a wedding photographer in the near future. People buy form those whom they know and like. By getting to know family and friends, and showing them your great work, you will have the inside track when they are looking for a photographer.
This is the end of part one. If you haven’t already done it, register your domain name and get a blog started. For your first entry, just introduce yourself. Talk about your love for photography, the reasons you became a photographer, your specialties, your family, your dog and cat – anything that makes you human and give people a reason to like you. Put a photo of yourself on the blog.
In a following post, I’ll show you how to put a display album online and how to put all of your proofs online, at no charge. We’ll also discover how to create an e-commerce site so that you can sell photos to wedding guests and you will not even need to have a merchant account to accept credit cards.