A Recession Guide for Photographers

You've heard your industry colleagues say it. You've read the news articles and listened to the business pundits. The economy is in a recession, and your photography business is suffering.

It's true, but that doesn't mean you can't find delighted clients and grow your business. This video gives six very effective tips that will help your business grow in a recession. I know, because all of the tactics helped my business grow. 

1. Adjust Your Photography Payment Schedule

Money is the primary concern for all in a recession. What can you do to ease the concern of your photography clients?

Let's focus on making the payment structure easier for them. I personally charge 50% down, 25% on the day of the shoot, and 25% on delivery. Sometimes a simple three-payment system versus two payments can help a client sign the contract.

People still want family photos or need things for their business. If you make it easier for them to buy, they will support your business. By the way, my business structure is the one that I listed above (50/25/25), and it seems to work just fine!

2. Clients Want Solutions in a Recession

It was 2009 and social media was blowing up, but many record labels did not have a plan in place. They needed help getting on social media with great videos and photography. I saw the need and suggested to Usher that we do a YouTube channel that showed the BTS of his life on tour. It hadn't been done on a platform like YouTube before for an artist of his size on social media. We called them webisodes at the time; I think it was before the vlog term was even coined. And if it had been done, it was rare.

The solution was a YouTube channel to help promote the upcoming album and world tour. It provided me with a job that wasn't already on my plate. I was Usher's personal photographer, and now, I was also his videographer because of this suggestion. You can also gain many jobs by simply suggesting ideas to your clients. That requires you to maintain relationships with them. As you see growing pains, start suggesting and see how doors open up for you.

3. Friends of Friends

If you haven't heard the saying "birds of a feather flock together," it basically means that people tend to hang out with similar types of people. The idea behind this concept is simple. If your clients hang out with other clients who would also be a perfect fit for you, then chances are, you'll be able to get them to hire your services.

And if you're offering a stacked discount deal, then you definitely won't want to miss out on stacking up those photoshoots. As long as the logistics work and everyone can agree on the date and time, then this kind of campaign could save your business quite a bit of money while providing you with some pretty great exposure.

One tip, though: Instead of offering them a lower rate, try to offer additional items that won't take away from your profit margin. For example, instead of 20% off, you could try one extra hour of shooting or three additional photographs. 

Watch the rest of the video to see the other great points. The recession is coming, and whether you lose or win is entirely up to you. Small pivots can save your business and help you grow beyond your dreams. 

Walid Azami's picture

Walid Azami is a Photographer/Director and creative consultant from Los Angeles. He got his start working with Madonna + Co by contributing to her many projects. It was then he realized his place in the creative world & began teaching himself photography. He has since shot Kanye, Mariah Carey, Usher, Bernie Sanders, JLO, amongst others

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While your advise is spot on, there is no recession at this time. There is definitely inflation. We are not close to stagflation with such low unemployment numbers.

Some will say we have a recession. Some will say what you said. To me, I just want photographers to do well in any stage of the economy. Thank you for your words.