Top Three Photography Business Resolutions For 2018

Dec 16, 2017

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand.

Top Three Photography Business Resolutions For 2018

Dec 16, 2017

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand.

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2018 Photography Business Resolutions

It’s that time of the year again – New Year’s resolutions!

In this article I am going to take a look back at the photography business goals I set for myself last year, and re-calibrate my resolutions for 2018.

Everyone has different goals and business targets so I hope you’ll leave a comment and share yours too!

Let’s re-cap: here are the Five Photography Business Goals I set for myself in 2017:

1. Quintuple Passive Income

In 2016 approximately 20% of my gross income came from passive sources. Passive income is money that is not dependent on an hourly investment of time – such as selling stock photography online (passive) vs. photographing an assignment (hourly).

My long term goal is to generate 100% of my current income from passive sources (and therefore double my total income) – which requires generating five times as much money from those sources.

This goal was always a long shot – and as you might have guessed, I got nowhere near my passive income business targets. I ended up earning about the same in 2017 from passive sources as I did in 2016.

Although growing revenue by a factor of five within a single year might sound un-achievable, my failure really came down to the fact that I was unwilling to put in the extra work required to get ahead.

2. Stay Up To Date On Book Keeping

In 2016 I switched to PayPal invoicing and Quickbooks Online, which really streamlined my business bookkeeping in 2017.

Right now I am mostly up to date on my bookkeeping, so I’ll call this resolution achieved.

3. Inbox Zero

Last year my goal was to unsubscribe from all social media notifications, sales lists and subscriptions, automate as many day to day responses as possible and respond to email right away – eventually working towards inbox zero (no unread, un-filed or un-responded email at the end of each day.

I got very close to achieving this goal in 2017, but in the end I was unable to keep up with the daily deluge.

4. Focused Social Media and Branding

In 2017 my goal was to re-focus on my core brand – my website by keeping my business website and blog up to date with current work and simply using social media as a multiplier – driving traffic to me and my brand instead of the other way around.

I rebuilt my website in 2017 and added a lot of newer content. But, it’s still not done and there is a lot more that I need to add.

5. Sell Unused Gear – Only Purchase Gear That Makes Money

Throughout 2016 and 2017 my goal was to sell as much unused and underutilized gear as I can, and only purchase new gear when I have generated enough cash from selling used stuff to pay for it.

I had a few relatively large photography business purchases in 2017 – a new DJI Mavic Pro ($899 B&H), a new Zhiyun-Tech Crane Gimbal Stabilizer ($549 B&H) and used Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens ($797 new from B&H) were the biggest, but I also sold $1200 worth of old stuff on eBay – so I’m roughly half way there.

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Top Three New Photography Business Resolutions For 2018

So given my business achievements and failures in 2017, here are my new top three photography business resolutions for 2018:

1. Make 5x More Money

The same as my number one goal from last year, quintuple my passive income.

I have come to the realization that I will never achieve this goal on my own – so this fall I hired a photography studio assistant to take over all of the day to day tasks that have become a bottleneck for me – culling, editing, deleting logos, keywording, metadata etc.

I’m also looking for someone to take over my social media (more on this in a moment) and a video editor, but it’s harder to find competent people than you might think.

Hiring assistants to take over things that slow me down frees up my time to do things that are more profitable (and enjoyable), such as creating new content and launching new business outlets (like cutting out the middle man and selling my own stock photography directly from a dedicated stock website).

2. Quit Social Media

I have to admit, I love Instagram and Twitter (and I tolerate Facebook for mostly personal stuff) – but from a business perspective they are a complete waste of my time.

Right now I have my photography business blog and I share content to Instagram, Twitter, 500px and Facebook.

Most of my social media posting is completely automated through Later.com and IFTTT – but it’s still a big time suck that I can’t afford to be drawn into.

I do think that it is important to get new creative content online and posted to social media on an ongoing basis – it’s just a part of the cost of business for creative professionals.

However, I think that if you shift your focus away from thinking of social media platforms as social networks and to thinking of them as advertising outlets, it helps to clarify that a more hands-off approach is necessary.

So, for 2018 my goal is to quit social media and hand off most of my blog and social media posting to an assistant.

3. Sharpen My Branding

The three tenets of the modern photography industry are: specialize, show your best work, show the kind of work you want to be hired for.

I have been reviewing a lot of photographers lately and I’ve noticed that many might have a great website, but terrible Instagram feed or amazing work on Instagram or 500px but completely different work on their websites.

For example, it is super confusing to find an amazing travel photographer on Instagram but when you go to their website to contact them, you find a weird jumble of family portraits and boudoir photography (this happens surprisingly often).

In other words their branding is inconsistent and unfocused – right down to their domain names and social media handles.

Keeping my branding tight is something that I personally struggle with too.

It is a major hassle to keep the look and feel of your work consistent across all of your online outlets – but it really makes a big impact on potential clients when they can see the same great quality with the same style of images with the same processing across all of your channels.

My goal for 2018 is to make sure that I only share my best work, the genre and style are consistent and my website, blog and social media channels are all up to date.

drones eye view of anti-aircraft fire from fireworks drone

What Are Your Photography Business Goals for Next Year?

What are your top photography business goals for next year?

Make more money? Book more clients? Capture better photos?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

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JP Danko

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand.

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