You are a photographer who has succeeded in your local market. You have an excellent product. You have setup your processing system so it is lean and mean. You have healthy profit margins. Your online marketing has been effective – you are getting referrals from your website, blog and Facebook. Many people who read your blog don’t live in your geographic location but love your work. You sense an opportunity.
This is the scenario in which many professional photographers find themselves. They wish to expand geographically but find it difficult because selling photographic services, unlike the sell of a widget, cannot be easily done all over the world. So what options does a photographer have to profit from this increased demand for his work?
1. He can raise his prices significantly and agree to travel. This is effective when demand for his work is truly expanding. By doing this he will be limiting the number of session he can shoot in a year but will be earning top dollar on the session he does shoot. Those who wish to spend a lot of time on just a few shoots but work those images to perfection find this option attractive.
2. You can partner with another photographer in the geographic location in which you are considering expanding. There are a number of different ways in which to structure this type of a business. The partner photographer can depend on you solely (in which you would have more control and may be able to limit his shoots to those you provide), or he can just shoot those jobs which come to you through your marketing under your name and shoot his other work under his name.
3. You can offer a service to other photographers. If your competitive advantage is the speed and quality of your editing team, you may sell your services to photographers across the country who love to shoot but find it to be tedious and uninspiring to spend hours in front of the computer. Your competitive advantage may be your marketing – perhaps you’ve got a system that allows a photographer to quickly get up to the top of the list on Google. You can sell that service to other photographers.
Although photography tends, because of the nature of the work, to be a local business, there are a number of ways a photographer can sell his expertise nationally.