No matter what creative endeavor you pursue, the challenge is turning that into a profitable business. The creative in us can work to perfect our craft, but there is a whole other skillset needed to turn creativity into profitability.
Enter Jim Garner.
Recognized as one of the Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World by American Photo Magazine, Jim has been at the forefront of wedding photography for years. What separates Jim from the pack, however, is his ability to create a hugely profitable business from his creativity. So how, exactly, has he done this over the years? By simply sticking to his most important photography business facts.
Art – Not Pictures: Photography is not just about pictures. In Jim’s world, photography is art. He notes that, in his estimation, fewer than 10% of photographers out there are using their photos to create art. By creating art, you can offer your client more than just photos – you offer them an experience.
Think beyond the value you offer today. If you want longevity in any field, you must be able to offer long-term value. You run the risk of fading out if your product does not maintain value. Your client should be able to look at your product years down the line and still feel that same connection to your art. Instead of capturing a photo shoot, creating a story of your client’s emotional experience can help your product maintain worth.
Find the story. Creating a story of the experience allows you to really key in to your clients. If you can touch your client’s heart, Jim says, the price no longer becomes the main issue. Identifying your client’s style, taste, and vision can allow you to deliver the product exactly how your client wants, which will make them more likely to buy into your business.
Don’t ever make it about you. One key concept that Jim abides by is the selfless nature of photography. In wedding photography, you should capture the event, people, and experience. But for many creatives, they focus on how they want to portray their clients, when in reality, the focus should be on how the clients want to see themselves.
Practice undivided attention. Instead of balancing multiple weddings in one week or weekend, Jim recommends focusing on one client at a time. By devoting all of your energy and effort to your client, you will show them just how dedicated you are. Spend the time before the wedding, and even after, to find out the details of what they want, and find what moves them and what’s special. That way, you can capture the perfect experience, which makes your client more likely to spend more to purchase your product.
Push yourself every day. One of the most important tips for longevity is knowing how to continually change. If you do not reinvent your product regularly enough, you will fall behind and eventually fade. By adding product improvements and offering more features per package can keep you relevant and profitable for longer. If you capture a story and an experience, you can give your client much more than a photo album – you can give them art. Though he is running a very successful photography business, Jim knows just how important it is for the industry to change. But that change should not be a competitive edge. Instead, it should be about fostering a community amongst photographers and helping the industry push forward as a whole.
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