It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2014, right? But the good news is there’s still over 200 days left to bring in business, make more connections with potential photo clients, and end the year strong. To help you out and provide a little inspiration, we’ve also launched PhotoShelter’s Guide to Conquer the Rest of 2014 — a compilation of our best business advice to help you make the next six months count.
On top of that, we also wanted to know what some of the most seasoned photographers are doing to rev up their businesses before the year is up. Are they focusing on marketing? Reworking their websites? New projects? To find out, we caught up with a few top photographers including Joe McNally, Jeremy Cowart, Ami Vitale, David duChemin, Stacy Pearsall, Dixie Dixon, and Gary Arndt to ask one question: How do you plan to grow your photo business over the next six months?
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Joe McNally
“There’s a couple of things we are resolved to try and do before the year ends. One is to stitch together a more coherent way for our social media efforts to work together, so that we can hopefully continue to attract awareness to the studio and the projects we are shooting this year. Another effort we are making is to make appointments and show our portfolio to companies that are local to our area. I always associate getting jobs and doing work with getting on an airplane and going elsewhere. So this year we are trying also to increase the visibility of the studio to more local, tristate area companies, which are numerous.”
“In the next 6 months I plan to keep the gas pedal floored, as usual. Personal work, experimentation, updating the website, business ideas, expanding the audience on my iPhone app, OKDOTHIS. This industry, more than ever, continues to be an unpredictable roller coaster. I think people assume that guys like me are on cruise control and have it all figured out. But I’m hustling and working harder than ever, even when the jobs aren’t coming in. You simply have to these days to make it all work.”
3. Ami Vitale
“Perhaps the most important aspect of building my business is continuing to develop existing bodies of work on the subjects I care deeply about. I think one of the biggest mistakes photographers make is not having a body of work that defines their interests and strengths. So rather than doing a number of small assignments, I prefer to invest in larger projects where I can delve more deeply into the subjects I care about. For example, I’ll be headed back to Kenya this year to work on my crowdfunding campaign: It takes a village to raise a rhino.”
“I’ve always found more success concentrating on personal projects and then leveraging those into sharable work (books, blog posts, social media, etc). It’s taken me years to recognize, but that’s what grows my audience and brings in new work and new opportunities. So before the year is up, my marketing budget for time and money is all going into my new work in the Canadian arctic and continued work on humanitarian projects in Africa.”
“I’ve been working on the Veterans Portrait Project (VPP) since August 2008. Steadily, I’ve also been increasing my portrait engagements across the U.S. As of October 2013, I’ve covered around 25 cities nationwide. My six month goal is to continue my travels while also collaborating with a documentary to add a video component to the Project. Once my 2014 tour wraps up, I’ll look to arranging printed exhibitions of the VPP, perhaps begin work on a book and arrange more shoot locations. After all, this is a never-ending endeavor.”
6. Dixie Dixon
“This year my business has been growing quite fast, so in the next six months I plan to take time to re-organize and master my marketing plan. This will include sending out unique promos and setting up more meetings with my dream clients ranging from advertising agencies to brands. I also plan to update my website and portfolio with all of my recent work and continue to build my lifestyle portfolio and directors reel through personal projects. In the commercial world, it’s so important to always be shooting personal work because it keeps your vision fresh and attracts your dream clients to you.”
7. Gary Arndt
“I will be doing quite a lot over the next six months. I’m cutting back on travel for the rest of the year and will be launching a new website and podcast dedicated to travel photography. I’ll also be focusing on launching some photography tours, workshops and online courses for people to improve their photos on vacation.”
Image credits: Header photograph by David duChemin and used with permission. Remaining photographs courtesy of PhotoShelter and credited on an individual basis.