How Do Struggling Photographers Become Successful Photographers?

What would it be like to be a successful photographer?

Maybe you would travel around the world, photographing the most remote places on the planet.

Maybe you would create photo layouts for some of the most successful fashion houses in the world.

Maybe you would photograph celebrity families.

Or maybe you would be content to have a small photo studio, and have hundreds of local clients put you at the top of the list when it comes to a hometown photo studio.

Everyone has a dream; and no one dream is the correct way to success.

Yet in order for every dream to come true, you do need to follow a certain path.

Where Is The Path?

With all of the changes we’ve been experiencing over the past few years, its no wonder people are beginning to wonder if the dream is even possible any more.

  • The average photographer makes $29,440 here in the United States.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor, around 152,000 people listed photography as their profession in 2009.
  • Over 50 percent are listed as self-employed, a much higher percentage than any other occupation.
  • Most are self-educated, meaning they have no formal training. Instead, they rely on self-teaching methods to pick up the skills needed. This includes both photography and business skills.

So when I tell people we’ve consistently made $200k, $300k and more every year, they tend to find it almost unbelievable. Can you REALLY make that much from photography?

Yep. Its possible.

Which is why we started up our Virtual Photography Studio blog back in 2003. We wanted to give back to the community, and offer tips, resources and strategies to the majority of the photographic industry that was just starting out, and really hadn’t found a way to turn their dreams into reality.

A lot has changed over the last 8 years. For instance,

Traditional marketing is all but dead. If you are still paying hundreds of dollars a month for a phone book ad, or paying thousands of dollars to be listed in a bridal magazine, you probably have been questioning your sanity for quite some time.

Online marketing has grown by leaps and bounds. Google has over 31 billion searches every single month. And Facebook has over 39 billion unique page views a month. That adds up to a ton of searching. Which means your clients are there.


The problem is reaching out to them.

Why Marketing Sucks

Marketing is a love/hate relationship. You may hate it, not understand it, and doubt if it will ever work for you. Yet if you don’t focus on it and do it again and again, one thing is for certain: your business will fail.

A great photographer and a lousy marketer will quickly shut their doors.

Yet a great marketer and a lousy photographer will be in business for years.

Why is that?

Because great marketers knows one thing.

They know how to get people to love buying. Not just do it because they have to. They get people excited about the process, wow’d by the experience, and more than anything have a desire to hand over their money happily.

As we continued to build our business, we became better and better at the marketing side. And that made all the difference in the world.

We quickly understood that the easiest way to success is to stand out from the crowd. Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Stay ahead of the pack, and give potential customers something they’ve never seen before.

So we looked at everything we did. If it met those qualifications, we did it. And if it didn’t, we abandoned it.

If You’re Interested In Marketing – Don’t Miss This

During the last hundred years, things have moved rapidly.

I’m sure when phone books were first introduced, having a large ad was cutting edge. Those that took out an ad were almost guaranteed success.

Then magazines and guides came along. I remember when the first bridal magazine was introduced here in Colorado – Colorado Brides. We were one of the first photographers to advertise, and also helped fill the magazine with our images. The business came pouring in because it was cutting edge – nobody else was doing it.

Then the Internet. We were one of the first photography studios to be listed on The Knot. Not only did it bring local business to us, but allowed us to grow our business nationally as well. Very quickly we were getting calls from New York, California, Mexico and even Germany. It was new. It was hot. And it made us stand out from the crowd.

If you are the first to jump at a new opportunity, you’re at the head of the pack. People will automatically find you because you are the originator, an innovator.

But just as quickly as opportunity shines its light, the entire crowd bursts onto the scene, and the opportunity is gone. So while opportunity can be magical, the most important part of an opportunity is being first in line.

As a business coach here at Virtual Photography Studio, that’s what I watch for every day. I watch for the next opportunity. The next magical innovation that allows you to spring forward from your competition, and helps you reach out in a way that makes your clients and prospects say WOW.

And that’s what I’ve found in Mobile Marketing Photography.

The Next Biggest Opportunity

Before I wrap up this blog post, I want to share with you a snapshot of why Mobile Marketing is the next big wave.

Did you know right now, there are over 1.8 billion Internet users on earth, ready to look for you in the online world? Sounds impressive, right.

Nope. What’s even more impressive is there are over 5 billion cell phones currently in use around the world. And because people carry their cell phones with them everywhere, that makes mobile a much bigger force.

If 1.8 billion people access the Internet regularly through a desktop application, imagine what they will do when they can access Internet with their mobile devices. That means you’ll quickly have 3 times the audience. And because that audience will spend much more time with their mobile devices than they ever would sitting behind a desk, you have a huge opportunity just waiting for you.

I was so excited when I started learning about mobile marketing, I quickly implemented this technology into my own business, and have gained multiple clients using this method – this year.

But that doesn’t mean this will last forever. You know how quickly new technology comes on board. And when the masses use this new method, it will quickly become old technology. Back to the “been there, seen that” philosophy.

But for now, it’s brand new and very exciting. If you quickly take it, create a new marketing method with it, and use it to grow your business, you’ll find a ton of customers waiting for you. You’ll be the leader. You’ll be the innovator.

So if you’re ready to make 2011 your year, and you want to be at the front of the pack instead of following behind, this may be your opportunity.

This may be your shot at jumpstarting your business, and seeing how far you can go with it.

It only takes one step. Are you ready to find out what I’ve been using for several months now, and what I know is going to be the turning point for more than  a handful of photographers?

Lori Osterberg

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