2010 Wrap-Up #4: Top 5 Web Galleries, 6 Business Tips, 1 Dream Come True

Looking back at last year is so rewarding! It was such a fun and productive year, and there’s lots to celebrate. I put together some HBP website and biz stats – dedicated to the analytical nerds out there (like me). 🙂 At the end you’ll find some tips for other photogs and business owners.

2010 WEBSITE VIEWS
If all you do is read this blog, then don’t miss the party! 

  • Total Photo/Video Views This Year: 112,079
  • Top 5 Most Viewed Galleries:
    • Jack Brown Retirement Party
    • Swinging Fore the Spectrum
    • Home Page Slide Show
    • Baby Eva
    • Emerge 2010 Fundraiser

2010 FINANCIAL OVERVIEW


TIPS FOR ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHERS
2010 was the third year of official business for HBP, and we really established some momentum, as you can see. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing clients or without the selflessness of other photographers that mentored me along the way. So, in pay-it-forward fashion, I wanted to pass along these thoughts. Please share additional tips comments below! 

  • Consider Shooting Events
    • Events generated the most traffic to my website – for logical reasons. Lots of different organizations and people are usually involved in a single event, so the links get forwarded widely. 
    • Such exposure gains you visibility with large numbers of people…and they start thinking of you as a photographer.
    • Voila: word of mouth referrals, print sales, recurring gigs to cover, etc.
  • Network Like Crazy When On-Location.
    • When you cover events (or any job), keep lots of business cards in your camera bag within easy reach. Pass them out when people approach you, or leave a pile by the sign-in/entrance for people to grab.
    • Caveat: NEVER compromise your coverage of the current assignment by networking…this will not earn points with the current client. 🙂
    • Don’t have cards? Get them. They are like $15 for 500 on lots of websites.
  • Go Commercial
    • Very early in my photography career, I once met an accomplished LA-based fashion photographer. When I asked him for his advice about how to actually make money doing photography, his response was simply: “Go Commercial.” To me at the time, doing so seemed like selling out. But, he was right. 
    • As you can see in the chart above, most of HBP’s business income comes from Commercial jobs; if you add campaign & event income, that percentage grows to almost half the 2010 total.
  • Quantity Leads to Quality.
    • My good friend Mic Waugh of Level Image wisely advised: if forced to choose, it’s better to work more often for less money than less often for more money.
    • Why? Because by taking more jobs, you have more opportunities to improve (IF you study your results and identify the areas in which you need to grow).
    • This skill development in turn leads to more referrals, more jobs, and eventually, more credibility and more money.
  • Embrace Reality: We Live in the Digital Age
    • Many photographers fret about releasing digital files to clients. Instead, embrace the fact that digital photography has changed the expectations of photography clients. Customers want – even expect – to have access to their digital photos, and professionals that continue to resist this trend will be left behind eventually. Figure out a way to make this work for your business. 
  • When The Time is Right, Invest in High-Quality Equipment.
    • There is tremendous  competition among photographers to get the newest, best gear. Resist such ego urges in your early years, and you will experience more longevity.
    • As you can see from the expense chart above, I invested heavily in my camera bag in 2010; however, I shot for two years with pretty basic gear. In that time, if I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me “You take such good pictures! You have such a good camera!” I could have upgraded MUCH sooner. 🙂
    • The idea that a good camera makes a good photographer is a myth. Master your technique before investing in the highest-end equipment, or else, you may have a difficult time getting yourself out of debt. Once you establish yourself as a skilled professional, your business will be able to tolerate more financial risk because you’ll have solid client relationships and steady work. (And you’ll actually know how to use the expensive gear.)

If you have other suggestions to share, please post below! I would love to learn from you.

MY DREAM COME TRUE
Being a travel photographer has long been a goal of mine. In 2010, I took a step in that direction, reserving a significant portion of my budget for travel to NOLA and Europe. I sold multiple images from these trips after returning; so it’s official. I am a TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER. Booyah! (People still say that, right?) 

I am so, so, thankful – and humbled – that I am one of those lucky ones that gets to live my dream! Thanks for your support! And a special thanks to my amazing husband, who not only supports my pursuit of the dream, but recently became my official second shooter. 🙂 Couldn’t do it without you, love.

– HBA

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About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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