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How to start a photography business: Amanda Campeanu

A few years ago I was made redundant from my job and decided I wanted to take financial control of my life.

I own Timbre Media House with my partner Alistair where we offer both commercial photography and videography for beauty, lifestyle, and wellness brands. At the time I had an online blog where I’d “try” to take nice photos for it. During this time I bought my first camera and fell in love with the process of taking photos. Over the last 4 years, Alistair and I have built up the company to where it is today.

I don’t believe you need to have a formal education in photography to become a brand photographer. 

I’m completely self-taught. I learned a lot from Youtube, I’ve bought a lot of online courses too, and there has been a lot of experimentation with my process myself.

Marketing yourself as a professional photographer is all about building trust with your audience.

Amanda Campeanu Online Courses
Amanda Campeanu Online Resources

I do this through showing my face, using video marketing, and sharing more of my personal life so I can relate to others on a deeper level outside of business, as well as having a professional website that clearly represents who I am and what I have to offer. 

You can’t get by in photography relying on free content. So I decided I was going to help other photographers by putting everything I know into an online course.

As my business grew, I started receiving a lot of questions on my photography. Questions like “how do I price my work?”, “how do I achieve a certain style of photo?”, “what gear should I buy?”, “what do I put in my contract?”

The product photography industry can be hard to navigate and eventually you’ll need some sort of education whether it’s 1:1 mentoring or a course in order to further your skills. I’m still blown away by the response.

I think if you’re going to build a course though, you need to ensure it’s the right time for both you and your audience. I sat on the idea for a year before I felt I was ready to teach and I’m glad I waited.

I think you have to be confident, willing to help others and have enough knowledge to teach in the area. Along the way, students will have heaps of questions and they’ll look to you for answers so it’s important you have enough knowledge to be able to either answer directly or give guidelines on how they can further their education. 

My community enjoys content that is transparent and real and so I try to share as much as I can about my own journey.

I’ve built my audience via Instagram and Youtube and I believe it comes down to being consistent and knowing what your audience wants from you. Overall though, consistency truly is key.

Business shouldn’t be done in the DMs. Your website is an incredibly powerful tool to educate and convert your leads. 

Your website is your home on the internet whereas I think your social media acts more like a gateway to your website. For example, if someone finds you on Instagram and they enjoy your work they’ll most likely want to know more about your business and what you offer and therefore, will be looking for a website to visit. Without a website, you’re not giving your potential lead the opportunity to find out more and enquire.

We were receiving heaps of enquiries from small businesses who just could not afford our prices. That’s when I knew it was time to give our website a major upgrade.

For such a long time we had neglected to update our website. There were a few things it was lacking: our recent portfolio of work, clear and concise service offerings, and a professional feel that reflected the quality of our work and the end-to-end production service we offer our clients.

Since redesigning our website to make it look more professional and clear, this is the change we saw:

  • Higher quality enquiries — this includes clients that we really enjoy working with and much higher budget projects so we can ultimately take on less work.
  • A reduction in people questioning our prices — we don’t hear anymore “oh you’re too expensive”. Instead, we hear “I’m sorry that’s out of my budget but I can’t wait to work with you one day. 

Ultimately, we’ve positioned ourselves as a premium service and our website does a lot of the work for us in giving people the right impression. 

The main reason we didn’t update our website in a while was because of how technical it can be to update your website. This is a huge reason I love Zyro because it makes it so easy to update everything from the design of your website to SEO and your portfolio.

You can literally do it all in under an hour as opposed to spending days trying to get it done. It just takes all the ‘technical’ work out of designing a professional and attractive website. 

The ability to drag and drop is such a game-changer.

I think Zyro is very intuitive and the design of any website is super important. So by having a design feature like drag and drop, it just makes it easy to take what’s in your head and build it on Zyro. 

I also love that it has 24/7 customer support. In my past experiences of building websites, I’d often be up late working on it, and given my timezone of being in Australia, it wasn’t common that someone was available at my time of day. And so I’d have to wait until the next day for an answer when I’d rather just get on with it. So the 24/7 chat feature is amazing.

My advice to anyone building a website for the first time? Map out all your pages on paper first — trust me.

List all the pages you need to include and the main features you want to highlight as well as your website copy. Gather the photos you want to use as well and put them all into a folder. This way when you go to create your website you have a plan of exactly what you need to include and you’ve thought about your customer journey. Preparation helps really helps a lot. Then you can just focus on the design side as you’ve already done the grunt work like sales copy and finding all your photos. 

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Damien is a self-professed, semi-obsessed word-freak that wants nothing more than to tell small-business stories in a big way. Always scouring the market to find the right tools for the job, he is focused on finding creative ways to bring them to the people. When not writing, Damien is known to be a massive music bore, amateur radio enthusiast, and woodland wanderer.

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