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Building Your Business by Building Relationships


Though photography is our passion, it is also a business – and it needs to be managed as such to make a living while continuing to do what we love. In other words, what goes on beyond the camera is just as important as what we see through the lens.

The process of creating images is a collaboration between the photographer and their client. It’s during this process that we build relationships and these relationships are the building blocks of our business. We will want to continue to nurture them for them to grow.

This should be easy, right? After all, it’s what we love about our industry – working with creative minds, brainstorming, and creating memorable images for the world to enjoy.

There is something very refreshing, comforting, and reassuring about working with a familiar team where everyone can immediately dive right into the work at hand. We should welcome the opportunity to form these relationships and make it a top priority of our business plan.

Tip 1: Follow Up

Follow up after the job has been produced and make sure that the client was happy with the final result. Ask to see your image in its final layout so you can see your vision fully realized. Within your own team, take the time to discuss the job and evaluate the production and the outcome. Figure out what you did well and also discuss what you could have done better. Then take those learnings and improve your process for next time.

Tip 2: Continue Relationship Building

Stay in touch with your past clients via email or hand-written notes and make sure to keep them on your mailing list for future marketing. They’ll be excited to see your new projects and you can stay top-of-mind; it’s a win-win!

Tip 3: Know Your Customer

Build a profile of your past clients. Stay in tune with what they’re working on: the current brands and past projects, look at what type of media types they or their clients are currently using, and whether they are doing more print and/or the web. If perhaps their clients are interested in branching out into video as well, this might be a service you can provide them. Do your research and learn how you can fit into their future projects.

Tip 4: Pitching New Work

Pitching new work can be done in all different forms. It can be a conversation with a client, an email, or a formal proposal. Choose the best way to get your ideas in front of them successfully based on the nature of your relationship. Trust me, they will appreciate the collaboration. In short, let your existing clients know that you care about their business and are there to help. Always be available with ideas and willing to lend your expertise whenever they ask. They’ll consider you an extension of their business and an integral part of their team – making you top of mind and putting you at the top of the heap.

Remember – building relationships means building your business. Learn to nurture your clients and keep them coming back with assignments with some of the techniques below. These are great tips for creating an ongoing business relationship with clients you worked so hard to get in the first place.

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