During my time in college, the closest photography classes near me were the ones I was taking to finish my degree, but I quickly learned that there were thousands of people looking for free online photography courses to help them get into DSLR photography.
So Young Photopreneur was originally launched as a community for college photography students transitioning into their professional photographic careers.
However, over the years and gaining more experience in the industry, it has become a resource for both beginners and veterans.
Creating photography classes online and finding the best photography online courses worth sharing, has only been one part of my goal for you.
There are things I know now, that I didn’t know, BEFORE I ever:
- Took pictures of celebrities
- Got booked for projects in Hollywood
- Did photo shoots for events hosted by CBS, Disney and 20th Century Fox
It’s important that I share all that I know with you. One day, a young photographer will need to take my place.
So passing the torch to someone passionate about what they love, feels right and puts my mind at ease. I want to see you become even MORE successful than I have been.
Young Photopreneur.com provides information about starting a business as a photographer, interviews and case studies with college students and graduates that are working in the industry, along with a BUNCH of other goodies like:
- Branding yourself strategically
- Building a website that attracts millions of visitors
- Tips on successfully marketing your photography business
- Reviews on tools and equipment that will help you throughout your career
- Creating passive income with your images by sharing your knowledge about photography
My experiences (the good and the bad) can hopefully help you reach your DSLR photography goals much sooner than later and add value to your career.
If you’ve been looking for:
Free Online Photography Courses
Photography school NYC to “The OC”, in southern California, or anywhere else in this beautiful photographic world we live in,
…don’t think of this onine “photo class” as a basic DSLR tutorial, but more so, a beginners guide to photography on the popular topic: FINDING YOUR IDEAL CLIENT!
If you want to learn photography online, free of hefty entry fees, here’s some advice to help you well into the rest of your photography career.
In this photo tutorial, I want to walk you through how I found a niche in celebrity DSLR photography and how you can use the same process to build your business, no matter what niche in photography you’re interested in.
Learning how to photograph, registering for the best online photography courses and steadily practicing the photography techniques you’re learning, is a great start!
Downloading photography tutorials pdf, infographic (jpg) or even in mp3 audio format are all good characteristics of a growing photographer. Something photography schools institute as good practice.
Unfortunately though, even if you feel you have ALL the photography qualifications needed to shoot celebrities, events or ANY type of photography for that matter, too many photographers get hung up on choosing the “perfect” niche and end up losing valuable time and new opportunities on the table.
In the end, they have a portfolio of random work, with no focus or clear message on what they’re most passionate about shooting.
Just understand that any niche in photography you choose, you can find a creative way to make money from it, whether you invested in an expensive photo school or not.
If you properly learn how to do photography, you will always be in demand for something related to photography.
For example, I’ve shown people pictures of headshots, but end up getting hired for family portraits.
Or I’ll speak at my Alma Mater’s career day or their photography clubs and talk about turning DSLR Photography into a lucrative business.
From that exposure, I’d get booked by the students or their parents, for special events to senior pictures or headshot for their child who’s an aspiring comedian.
You never know how one thing may lead to another.
You just need to start somewhere and build a portfolio that showcases only your BEST work.
DSLR Photography Lessons Online:
Do You Know How To Attract Your Dream Client To Your Photography Business?
It starts with: (Targeting a Niche)
We started this photography lesson of celebrity portrait photography tips and tricks in a previous post entitled:
If you haven’t read it yet, you should start there, then come back here as (part 2).
…now, just as I mentioned in the previous photography tutorial, these tips aren’t exclusive to photographers wanting to shoot celebrities.
No matter what type of photography business you plan to build, premium AND free photography classes can be a great investment and help you have continual growth in your career.
It’s helped me create a process for attracting clientele, that can work for any DSLR photography niche you’re interested in focusing on.
There’s one thing I wanted you to understand and ALWAYS remember…
So repeating them here will only help you remember it.
There are only 3 MAJOR components to ANY successful business.
- A system to attract the IDEAL person to you.
- A system to convert these ideal people (a simple one page website will do).
- A system for you to build a real (non-superficial) relationship with these ideal people.
I also brought up the 3 main problems most photographers have come to me with, that I also struggled with in the beginning.
PROBLEM #1 Not knowing your camera’s settings and understanding the math behind your manual controls.
PROBLEM #2 Defining yourself as an amateur (just because you’re NOT getting paid).
PROBLEM #3 Figuring out how much to charge for your work so you can stop low balling your rates, making it impossible to create a full time living for yourself.
Let’s focus on the details to attracting the IDEAL person to your photography business, by FIRST, discovering your niche.
…because even if you understand the 3 core components of a successful business and you’ve conquered the 3 main problems, if you don’t know WHO you’re taking photos for, you’ll be spinning your wheels.
It’s not enough to ONLY say you’re a photographer.
You need to be specific so you have a clear message when you speak to people.
DSLR Photography Tips
When you target a specific market, your message is better understood and can be easily shared, over confusing people and never or RARELY getting hired.
There are 3 Mass Markets that you can narrow down from and this holds TRUE for any business trying to segment a crowded market.
Those 3 Mass Markets are:
- Business & Money
- Dating & Relationships
- Health & Fitness
Stick to one and dig deep.
Once you’re comfortable AND profitable, you’ll be in a better position to create a targeted niche in several other markets (if that’s your goal).
Let me walk you through how I found my hyper-focused market:
I chose Business & Money as my mass market.
From there, I needed to choose my general mass market. Or in other words, what subject within Business & Money did I want to focus on?
I chose the music business.
Then, I drilled down even deeper and narrowed my niche.
I wanted to be a photographer for people in the music business, but specifically, independent artists.
When offering DSLR Photography services, defining your “Hyper-Focused Niche” is the secret.
For me, it was INDEPENDENT MUSIC ARTISTS who:
- Had their own label
- Had a marketing budget and
- Were in need of WORLDWIDE exposure
…but assuming and guessing will get you nowhere. You MUST get accurate information to move forward.
I needed to figure out exactly what their challenges were and find a way to solving these challenges for them.
FREE online photography courses are hard to find,
(well the good ones at least), so when you find ANY free online course with valuable information, take it seriously and put it into action.
Here’s some useful photography business tips from the “Fro Knows Photos” Guy, AKA: Jared Polin 🙂
He touches on topics like:
- Using a custom email address like CheriAmour@YoungPhotopreneur.com, instead of a free email account (gmail, yahoo, etc). Print this on your business cards and you’ll do two things at once:
- People will know how to contact you through your email address.
- People will know what your website is and how to find your work.
- Split test your advertising campaigns for the best results. One way doesn’t work for ALL photographers. So you must test, get out and make it your goal to become successful.
- To watermark or NOT to watermark.
From studying photography in college to taking advantage of the several photography classes near me and researching free online photography courses, I’ve used what I’ve learned and applied it directly to my photography business.
To dig deep on what problems my ideal client was having, I started researching and interviewing music artists.
I needed current, relevant and helpful information.
Interviewing music artists, music labels and entertainment companies I was already working with, was also extremely helpful.
It helped me find out the source of the problems, directly from the horse’s mouth.
Online research is valuable, but you’ll get even more value when you go directly to your ideal clientele and figure out the problems, from their personal experience.
So as a music artists future photographer, I wanted to provide any future client with the best solution by taking their expressed issues and offering a solution for them.
A lot of these artists had pictures they were using to promote themselves, BUT I discovered they lacked professional and marketable images.
They needed images that would help them sell their product better with a solid marketing strategy to back it up.
A lot of them also distributed their music, not realizing it was a watered down version of “worldwide” distribution.
They needed a way to get in with the BIG PLAYERS.
They needed to be backed by a MAJOR distribution company, outside of the “cookie cutter” options available to the public.
They wanted an exclusive offer a part from the ones ANYONE could distribute their music with.
Now that I knew exactly what my target niche was in need of, I was on radar for the right collaboration.
…and eventually, along came the perfect opportunity!
I started shooting photography for a music label and was given the ability to offer ALL of my clients worldwide distribution with Warner or Universal.
This meant I could take local artists’ pictures and introduce them to the entertainment company that would then distribute their product in MAJOR outlets.
One of the first artist (Andre Lafelle) whose album art I designed, was the best experience and case study!
Within 2 weeks of sending in the artwork, his music was flooded in the search engines and for sale in every major outlet from Amazon and iTunes to vendors in countries thousands of miles away.
This distribution deal, coupled with offering photography, was a powerful combination to getting my clients MASS exposure.
From retail stores like Macy’s, Footlocker, AMC Theater and Hard Rock Cafe…
Video outlets to include MTV, Vh1 and BET…
Online stores, apps and cellular providers like Spotify, Google Play and AT&T.
Basically, I now had a VERY unique selling point to offer my target market, outside of just telling people I was a “photographer”.
To take it a step further, it also separated me from JUST a “music photographer” as well, due to offering a very unique service that paired perfectly with my photography.
My clients’ music assets could now be distributed in all formats including digital, physical, streaming, subscription and mobile!
Creating a unique offer will attract attention and new projects your way.
If you have something exclusive, it makes it so that people shoot with you for a very specific reason.
Not just because you’re the closest photographer in the area.
YG, 50 Cent & Lloyd Banks…
Online photography courses free of charge, that are packed with valuable content on how to market your photography business, is a great gem to keep close to you and often refer back to.
…but if you’re able to touch the actual source, the ACTUAL type of client you wish to be hired by, their insight can change the direction of your entire marketing strategy.
Red Bottom Events invited me to shoot YG at Def Jam Records in Santa Monica, California.
So it was the perfect opportunity to ask him about his grind and how he pursues success in the music industry.
We all have only 24 hours in a day. The outcome is simply how we leverage our time.
The research in finding my target market, finding out what they were in need of and partnering with a label that could provide these services as a supplement to my photography, was the PERFECT recipe to defining my ideal clientele.
That’s where the fun really begins.
Once you define WHO you’ll focus on when building a solid DSLR Photography portfolio, you’ll have a clearer view on how to move forward.
From business cards, to your website to just casual conversation with people you meet, you can confidently let people know how they can use your services BEST.
So there you have it…
My hyper-focused niche became a specific person in need of something also very specific.
Let me repeat that, because it’s important…
My hyper-focused niche became a specific person in need of something ALSO very specific.
I knew I could build my portfolio around shooting music artists, offering them a distribution package as one of my services and then guiding them on advertising their music from there.
When you know who you’re speaking to, your message becomes effortless and crystal clear.
So the next time you’re asked:
“What do you do?”
In my case?
I USED to say,
“I’m a photographer.
I just love to shoot.
So if you’re ever in need of pictures, give me a call!”
That description didn’t pack a punch… AT ALL!
Yes. I got hired for photography work, but few and far between.
…and I DEFINITELY wasn’t getting hired by music artists or labels who had a $20,000 budget set aside for the growth of their career.
…but once I understood how to FOCUS on the market I was most interested in and I could actually bring value to them, my elevator speech become A LOT more colorful.
I started saying:
“I’m a music photographer! I help my clients’ music get distributed worldwide, assist them on branding their image and consult them on how to gain raving fans through strategic online advertising campaigns.”
…and THAT was a game changer for me!
Feeling like you’ve typecast yourself is normal though.
Don’t be afraid of putting yourself in a box (by choosing a hyper-focused niche) no matter how counter-intuitive it seems.
It felt strange for me to specify that I shoot music artists, over telling people I’m a photographer in general.
Here’s the great thing about defining your niche.
Once I narrowed it down and made it SPECIFIC, I inadvertently started getting work OUTSIDE of the music industry.
Actors wanted me to take their pictures.
Comedians, Authors, Families, Athletes, Professionals…
Defining Your DSLR Photography Services:
Clearly defining my DSLR Photography services, offering a unique and valuable product and focusing on a niche is how I’ve been able to build my reputation and gain credibility when I’m meeting someone for the first time.
So I defined my hyper-focused target market:
– Independent Music Artists
…and I narrowed my ideal client down specifically to:
Independent Music Artists who have a label, at least a $20,000 budget toward investing in their career and who have been struggling trying to weed through the so called “shot callers” saying they can make all their dreams come true.
The beauty of being SO specific, is that I would get inquiries from music artists and labels that fit exactly what I was looking for, or far exceeded my expectations.
Some labels had $1,000 budget for each of their 20 best artists and all they needed were promotional images to get started.
Or I would get calls from managers needing to take their artists’ career to the next stage, had $100,000 budget for the next 12 months and wanted to make sure their artists’ music was released to as many outlets as possible.
Getting booked for work, receiving inquiries from labels and managers fitting my ideal criteria and getting approached by magazine editors and bloggers to be interviewed was a drastic difference from the days I would shoot for pennies.
One interview that I still go back to often, is this one with Zack Arias on how he would start his photography business today.
There are so many golden nuggets in this interview outside of just finding clients. Definitely worth the hour listen. Enjoy!
Marketing Your DSLR Photography Business
So how did I market myself to my new target market?
Well… Here’s 3 things you can start doing now, if you aren’t already:
* Start positioning yourself in your marketplace as an authority and someone worth listening to.
* Start attracting your ideal customers into your “sphere of influence”.
* Start engaging with them.
I’ll discuss all of this in future photography lessons online and detail photography basics for beginners. Sort of like a digital photo school!
I’ll break down how to create an authority blog that over time, naturally ranks high in all the major search engines.
I’ll also walk you through how I increased my Twitter following to over 9,000 followers and how I attracted over 25,000 views on my YouTube video in just a couple weeks time.
- Photo tutorials
- Studying the lighting setup of the best photography online
- Taking ideas from cinematography tutorials
- Valuing the University I was learning photography from
…and combining that with the knowledge passed on to me from famous photographers, allowed me (and IS allowing me) to share my information here, like our own digital camera school.
Until next time, your homework is to choose your Hyper-Focused Niche Market.
This should be a person or business that you want to offer DLSR photography services to.
Then memorize how you’ll introduce yourself when people ask what you do.
Are you a photographer that only shoots newlyweds under the age of 40?
Are you the photographer that offers a free consultation with a talent agent after taking their head shots?
Maybe you’re a small business photographer specializing in taking the most creative images of the CEO of the company.
- Choose your MASS Market
- Narrow it down to a GENERAL mass market
- Hyper-focus and narrow your niche
Finding your target market can be narrowed down to an easy process:
Mass Market: Business & Money > General Mass Market: Music Business > Hyper-focused Niche: Independent Music Artists Who Need MASS exposure.
Understand your markets’ greatest needs and desires, speak to them directly, IGNORE everyone else and watch what changes happen in your DSLR Photography Business.
DSLR Photography Courses (Online)
Creating and curating free online photography courses is one of the goals here on YoungPhotopreneur.com.
The information here comes from my personal experience, to help you avoid any mistakes I’ve mad and help you speed up the process of your success!
I also want to give you information that isn’t typically spoken about in photography classes. Something outside of just the “how to use your camera” tips.
Entrepreneurial advice, is the mission.
The closest photography classes near me are at the click of a button (from my laptop).
In case this is the same for you and you simply don’t have the time or resources to take college level courses, I’ll continue to share all that I know, all that I’ve learned in college and all that I continue to experience in my career, with YOU.
Now let’s move on to a camera tutorial about choosing the right camera for your DSLR photography journey and building your photography website!