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3 random ideas,
A deal with a Local chauffeur company to have planned stops by your studio on route to events?
Hiring out your studio to photographer groups.
Bring part of the Studio downstairs so that passing foot traffic see's it? Have a visible different themed background each month - walimex do interesting ones at about £150 ish. Little princesses & princes in front of a castle, Monsters in front of a scary castle scene? some might even come back each month for each new backdrop? cycle them each year.
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Training courses, run some starter courses for people new to photography.
Find local photo clubs and offer them a deal to use in the evenings, then a deal to offer a cheap rate to their members for when the studio is not busy.
Thank you for all the comments and suggestions so far, of which I have taken on board. Please keep them coming!
I agree Facebook is definately the way forward for free advertising and getting our name about, showing our photos and for creating a buzz so I am going to work on our fan page straight away to drum up some business. I notice that some businesses have thousands of "fans" but when you look into it most of their fans are in another country. I understand you can buy "fans" now but I don't think that is a good idea if they all come from abroad as this won't help a local business get more work, even though it looks good when people visit the page!
Even though our studio is upstairs I don't think that puts people off. Our gallery and studio are in an old building with the original stained floor boards with a grand staircase going up to the studio which most people love, and no one has ever mentioned it being a problem. The clients that do have a photo shoot all comment on how nice the studio is, they get on great with our photographer, and recommend us to their friends and family. We just need to push ourselves further, create a buzz, come up with some good ideas of our own, consider some of the ideas mentioned on here, and I am sure this will make all the difference to the amount of sittings we get each week, so thanks for all your replies and please keep your ideas coming as it might help others too.
Contact these people.
Come up with a good offer and Upgrade options once your customers have been in for a shoot and you will be busy and making money in no time. We have had a lot of success working with them.
Contact these people.
Thanks for the reply Paul, I have contacted them and they said they don't offer anything in our location at present which is a shame as I know one photographer who made a killing out of it.
Excellent advice, not to hijack the thread. I'm looking at setting up a studio, finding space is very hard. Anyway I thinking of doing studio evenings, local photographers pay say £20 and they get to take pictures of a model in a fully equipped studio. I have a mate that does this in his space and they are popular. Whether that will drum up more paying business for you I don't know.
You say you charge £20 for a sitting, don't you think you might be under valuing yourself? Cheap price cheap service? No way I'm say you do a cheap service but could people be seeing it like that, oh he only charges 20 quid, picture will be crap then.
Interesting point Britman : "£20.00 for a sitting which lasts up to an hour.... includes a complimentary 8"x6" photo presented in a 2" wide bevel cut mount."
Interesting point, I can charge more than that for just a low res CD of Images for a new model in my front room.
Joybrealey, as you have already figured Facebook is a great way to go especially with local photographers, a few clients start liking you and showing the pictures you took for them on facebook and it will spread around the local area much quicker than wildfire! a few local fans is far more use to you than thousands of distant ones!
I'm surprised Goupon don't cover Bedford? They cover Milton Keynes well, just over the border, (maybe ask them if they can push you in that area, it's not far?).
I assume you have a website for your businesses? I don't see a link in your profile though, how do people find you, are you well positioned in google? So much work comes from online these days it is crazy not to be well covered in this area.
You could also work with the local childrens' centres, toddler groups, pre-schools and parent group to offer sessions to their members, many will also have a social media pages/account so make sure you like/befriend/follow them as well to ensure whatever you put online is seem in their accounts as well.
I agree that your basic rate for a session sounds low and another possability might be offering luxury sessions and targetting a completely different market, perhaps combing with a local service - have mum's nails done at the same time or similar.
If you work with children you are likely to have to have a CRB check.
Quote: Even though our studio is upstairs I don't think that puts people off. Our gallery and studio are in an old building with the original stained floor boards with a grand staircase going up to the studio which most people love, and no one has ever mentioned it being a problem. The clients that do have a photo shoot all comment on how nice the studio is, they get on great with our photographer, and recommend us to their friends and family.
Now that is certainly a comment from an able bodied person and is very dismissive of those who are less able. Of course anyone who can not manage to climb up a staircase will be put off! You will potentially be missing out on a large market if the only people who can get into your studio are able to walk up stairs. The clients who do have a photo shoot think your studio is great because they CAN actually get into it.
You may not want to cater for the less able but from a business point of view it is not sensible to write off a large section of society just because your studio is inaccessible to them. It could also be a legal requirement to make your studio more accessible:
Reforms introduced by the Equality Act 2010 also make it unlawful to directly discriminate against someone wrongly perceived to be disabled or to treat someone less favourably because of an association with or link to a disabled person - for example refusing to serve a parent of a disabled child because the child is disabled.
Businesses that provide a service to the public are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to the physical features of their premises where they put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage compared to non disabled people. This is in addition to other duties not to discriminate and to make reasonable adjustments.
See this website for details:
From what you say you want more business, so look to other potential markets.
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