Embarking on a journey to cultivate a successful nature photography business requires more than just a keen eye for capturing the beauty of the natural world. In a competitive and visually-driven industry, aspiring nature photographers must navigate the nuances of entrepreneurship, marketing, and artistic expression to truly flourish. This article unveils the top 10 tips to propel your nature photography business to new heights, offering invaluable insights on everything from honing your craft to building a compelling online presence. From honing your craft and building a compelling portfolio to mastering the intricacies of marketing and client relations, this guide serves as a comprehensive roadmap for those seeking to turn their love for nature into a sustainable and flourishing photography enterprise.
1) Identify your nature photography business Customers
Delving into the core of your nature photography business demands a thoughtful identification of your target customers. Are you catering to art collectors seeking exquisite prints, aspiring photographers hungry for insightful eBooks, or beginners eager to master their camera skills through your teaching? Assess your strengths, passions, and aspirations, and then tailor your focus accordingly. Jay and I know that our primary audience is other photographers – people who want to learn how to use their camera. So, we target our posts to appeal to those people. We include brief tips in every blog posts. We speak in a variety of forums – sharing knowledge with large groups of people so they can get to know us and our teaching styles… and share our names with their friends. And we are constantly seeking avenues to engage with the photographic community, this article itself serves as a testament to our ongoing commitment to outreach and collaboration within the realm of nature photography.
2) Find ways to reach out to your customers
Facilitating seamless connections with your customers is paramount for fostering enduring relationships. The easier it is for your customers to connect with you, the more they’ll return to your world. From a vibrant YouTube channel to engaging on social media platforms, insightful newsletters, and captivating blogs hosted on your website—provide an array of options for your audience to choose how they want to engage. Our website content is syndicated to social media, our Nature Photography Newsletter, and web app notifications so our current and new customers can view the content on the media with which they’re most comfortable.
Effective customer connection doesn’t necessarily mean inundating inboxes with emails; rather, we cultivate meaningful interactions through social media engagement, our Nature Photography blog, website content, and our Newsletter.
- Facebook Page
- Nature Photography Blog
- Nature Photography Newsletter
By consistently delivering compelling content, including tips, techniques, inspirational stories, diverse photographic works, and steering away from exclusively showcasing our own photos, we aim to create an environment where customers are not just passive observers but eager participants, returning for content that genuinely piques their interest.
3) Make it easy for customers to do business
It is crucial is the recognition that the website representing your nature photography business must not only be visually appealing and professionally designed but, more importantly, it must be functionally robust and easy to navigate for both customers and visitors. A seamless user experience is key, fostering a positive interaction that encourages customers to explore and effortlessly transact on our platform.
At Visual Wilderness, simplifying the process for our customers to engage with and acquire our products is a top priority. We provide a hassle-free experience by offering the option to either purchase products for download or subscribe to our streaming service, granting access to all video courses on Visual Wilderness for an affordable monthly fee. Ensuring convenience extends to the payment process, with multiple options such as PayPal, Android Pay, Apple Pay, and credit cards, allowing customers to choose the method that suits them best.
4) Diversify your product offerings
When we started, we only provided nature photography eBooks. Today, in addition to our original eBooks, we proudly produce immersive nature photography video courses and curate video tutorials from other talented photographers in the field. Periodically, we seize the right opportunities to lead workshops, creating invaluable hands-on experiences for enthusiasts.
Recognizing that preferences and budgets vary, our product range spans a spectrum of costs, with eBooks representing the most economical option and workshops standing as our premium offering. This strategic diversification ensures that our nature photography business is accessible to customers across diverse income levels on a global scale.
5) Identify with Your Customers
When establishing and nurturing your customer base, it’s crucial to avoid placing yourself on a pedestal above others. Instead, we encourage you to embrace your humanity, openly admitting and sharing your mistakes. The transparency in sharing experiences, even the less-than-perfect ones, fosters a stronger connection with customers.
This type of openness communicates to our customers that greatness in photography is not an inherent trait but a result of continuous practice and learning, often accompanied by mistakes. Acknowledging imperfections is a powerful way to showcase the journey of growth. One more point – by sharing our experiences and mistakes with our customers, we can help them save time and money since they may then avoid the mistakes we made.
6) Use Social Media to engage your customers
Social media serves as an extraordinary marketing tool, providing small businesses like ours with the chance to stand out among corporate giants with substantial budgets. The beauty of it all is that we don’t have to spend a dime to connect with millions of people who are interested in what we are offering.
I spent more than a year writing regular blog posts before people really started to pay attention. There were lots of times when I thought maybe my efforts were wasted, but I knew that quitting was the surest way to fail… so I kept plugging along. As time passed, more people began to engage, leaving comments and subscribing. Simultaneously, I expanded our presence to Facebook, cultivating a robust community of “fans” who actively commented and shared our photographs. Pretty soon, I had a pretty solid collection of “fans” who would leave comments and share my photographs. The advent of Google+ brought about a transformative experience, sparking in-depth discussions among photographers covering everything from composition to marketing.
What set this experience apart was the depth of connection we formed. These interactions transcended mere marketing; they transformed acquaintances into friends. They were becoming our friends. They were recommending our work to others, signing up for our workshops and webinars, and buying our eBooks! We met some of them in person, went shooting with them, and got to know them on a personal level. Those experiences took social networking beyond marketing. Today, we find ourselves ingrained in a dynamic community of photographers, exchanging ideas and inspiration, and fostering meaningful connections that extend far beyond the digital realm.
7) Be Flexible with your Photography Business Plans
Certainly, having a robust business plan is crucial; however, it’s equally important for plans to remain adaptable. Embrace the fluid nature of business, and be unafraid to modify your plans in response to shifting opportunities. Jay and I are constantly re-establishing priorities as we navigate the ever-changing world of photography.
While stock photography was once a lucrative venture for us, the evolving market saturation prompted us to reassess its viability. So, we tested new waters. We taught workshops, wrote eBooks, photographed events, submitted images to magazines… and as our business grew, we found out where we could make the most of our limited time. Through this exploration, we discerned where we could maximize our limited time effectively.
Currently, our primary focus revolves around creating online library of video tutorials. As times change, we will continue to refine our goals and shift our plans to meet the ever-changing needs of our business. The key is to be nimble and receptive, ensuring that our strategies remain attuned to the dynamic demands of the industry.
8) Know your Own Strengths – and Your Weaknesses
Undoubtedly, understanding your strengths is crucial, but perhaps even more vital is recognizing your weaknesses. When you are aware of a weakness, you need to focus your attention on it. If, for instance, handling finances isn’t your forte, invest time in research, take a class, or consider hiring someone skilled in financial management. Similarly, if your ambition is to write eBooks but your grammar and spelling skills fall short, the solution is simple – hire an editor. Facing challenges with website design or ecommerce? Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from the experts, such as the SmugMug Support Super Heroes. Ignoring the problem isn’t a solution… and it can cause all kinds of headaches in the future.
While many of us embark on the journey of building a business with confidence in our particular strengths, it’s equally crucial to acknowledge our weaknesses. You’ll need to spend extra time getting good at the things that are harder for you.
Consider a scenario where you possess excellent photography skills, are a proficient writer, and adept at financial management, yet struggle with motivation. The hard truth is that this lack of motivation can derail your best plans… no matter how good you are at other things. Personally, my significant weakness lies in marketing. I openly acknowledge that I’m a terrible salesman, and I know it. But I’ve dedicated considerable effort to enhance my marketing skills over the years. Embracing creativity and seeking help when needed have been key strategies in overcoming this weakness.
9) Know When it’s Time to Delegate
In the initial stages of my nature photography business, I took pride in managing every aspect independently, from client calls to website design and coding. Our nature photography business ran beautifully. Why? Because there wasn’t really that much to handle. As the business expanded, however, so did the complexity of maintaining the website. Despite having a background in IT, the manual upkeep became overwhelming, impacting my ability to focus on other crucial aspects like printing, marketing, finances, and content creation.
That’s when I knew I needed to delegate. I looked at the things that were taking up most of my time, and I looked at my weaknesses. I entrusted the back-end programming of my website to Jay and opted for SmugMug for prints and sales. Writing and editing was becoming a major albatross, so we hired an editor. It was an expense… but her help made it possible for me to focus on other things which brought in revenue.
It’s not easy to take that first step toward delegating. While delegating involves initial costs and the challenge of finding reliable help, it ultimately proved to be a very good long term investment. Taking that first step towards delegation might be daunting, but when faced with business stagnation, it becomes a necessary choice to grow our business.
10) Take your Nature Photography Business Seriously
Jay and I, as a husband and wife team, collaboratively manage our business endeavors. It’s so easy to lose sight of the goal in the face of the day-to-day requirements of running a business… especially when you have lots of other responsibilities that require your attention. To ensure the smooth operation of our nature photography business, we prioritize monthly meetings where we meticulously outline our plans for the upcoming month.
During these sessions, we make strategic decisions about allocating extra time to certain projects while considering which ones may need to be scaled back. We look at our sales and financial data and decide where we should focus our efforts. We make sure we are working towards the same goals – and that we are never working at cross-purposes.
In conclusion, venturing into the world of nature photography is an exhilarating journey, and these top 10 tips aim to serve as a compass for the growth of your business. They help to build long-term relationships, to keep traffic on your website high, and to provide repeat revenue. From harnessing the power of social media to staying adaptable in your business plans, each piece of advice is a stepping stone toward success. Remember that fostering genuine connections with your audience, continuously honing your craft, and staying attuned to industry trends will propel your nature photography business to new heights. Embrace the beauty of the process, be persistent in your efforts.