Recently, this was posted by another photographer in my free Facebook group (In Re: relocating your photography business…):
She said… “Ever feel like hanging things up? My husband is in the military and we’re both new to the lifestyle, and since moving, I’ve lost all my business. I’m basically having to start all over and no one is showing interest in my services. I’m very distraught. Anyone else ever felt this way or in a similar situation? Trying to stay positive and get my work out there. I’m also a believer, so I’ve been praying a lot but no results.”
Well, I’ve been here a few times, actually.
I moved from Texarkana to Florida, where I worked for 6 months. Then, we received orders to Okinawa, Japan; so we moved there and lived there for three years. And now (as of March 2020,) we’ve moved back to Texarkana, Arkansas.
Being a military spouse isn’t easy. And even just moving your business across the country, (or the literal WORLD in my case,) isn’t easy either. You’ve worked so hard to build up your clientele and serve them well, and then boom. You just have to leave everything you’ve built and hope for the best in the new place.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s super hard. It’s literally the furthest thing from smooth sailing. It requires a ton of prayer, waiting, and trusting — and some serious hard work.
But it’s doable. I promise.
And I say that because I’ve done it. Not just because I “think” it’s doable.
Before anything, you have to decide how much you love it. You have to decide if you love it enough that you’d do it even if you never got paid again.
If you love photography as much as I do, it would hurt you much worse to allow your camera and dreams to collect dust, than it would for you to dig in and MAKE this work – no matter how hard it is, or how long it takes.
So if you feel this way too, we can move forward with some tried and true strategies! Here are a few things I did whenever I found out I was moving my biz, and they helped tremendously.
5 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY RELOCATING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS: (make this heading 2 and centered)
1. Change your name on your Instagram page (or put it in your Instagram bio,) to include the place you currently live, along with the place you’re moving to BEFORE you officially move.
For example, mine read “Okinawa & Texarkana Photographer” before I moved back to Texarkana.
The reason being, when people go to search for a photographer on Instagram, they tend to type in things like “Texarkana photographer” straight up into the search bar. If you have this in your bio, it ups your chances of getting leads that are interested in booking sessions in that area!
2. Start using geotags and location-based hashtags in the images you’re already sharing on social media, even though you don’t technically live in the new location yet.
This will help you to get leads before you move, so you can hit the ground runnin’! So if you’re uploading a session that you’ve done in Location A (where you currently are,) add both the hashtags for Location A, as well as location-based hashtags for Location B (where you’re moving to.)
Then, when someone reaches out about working together, you can say something like, “Oh my gosh yes! I’d love to take your photos!! I’ll be there [[INSERT DATE HERE!]] Would that timeframe work for you? If so, I can send you all the info on sessions with me!”
You can totally start taking on sessions there now, even though you’re not “there” yet! I think sometimes we think we have until we get there, but I highly recommend starting this before you arrive.
3. Reach out to a few people in the area who look like they could be ideal clients, (or wives of your husband’s new squadron if you’re military,) and offer to shoot a session for them for free.
I know, I know. Sometimes photographers like to really make shooting for free a taboo topic, and I so understand. However, point is – when you’re moving to a new location, you need sessions from that location in your portfolio. And if you’re not getting a ton of leads, then sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and do it.
It was so helpful for me for marketing/SEO purposes to have a few sessions under my belt with recognizable Okinawan landmarks in them, so when I shared them to social media, people actually recognized I was, in fact, available for work there! I shot a free couples session for my husband’s team leader and his wife, at a waterfall in Okinawa, and it made a huge difference in bookings for me! Plus, it was fun. So… why not!?
4. Dig deep into your process, and see what’s missing.
Is there anything in your on-boarding/client process that could use some attention?
Take this time to really dig in and find the gaps. Do you think there may be a reason you’re not getting leads, and/or getting ghosted? Maybe it’s the way you communicate yourself and your services. When people inquire are you just hitting them with numbers? Is there a friendly/conversational tone to your emails, or is it pretty stoic and doesn’t truly reflect the experience of working with you? All of these things TOTALLY matter. 😉
5. Revamp your brand.
Chances are, your brand could be lacking in the aesthetic department. Maybe you haven’t updated your website in ages, and you’re honestly just not super proud of it. Now would be the perfect time to invest in a new website to get you a brand designed that you’re super flippin’ proud of.
I had my first “official” website built by a professional designer right after moving to Japan, and it changed the game for me. But you could get started without even hiring a designer, and use one of Showit’s FREE templates! They’re beautiful! (Showit is my #1 fav platform for websites!)
If you’re already thinking about getting a website, check out these two blog posts:
- Things to Know Before Creating a Website For Your Photography Business
- How to Create A Website For Your Photography Business
These are just a few strategies that’ll get the ball rolling towards more bookings, which means… more money in the bank. And we could all use that, right!? 😉
Try these on for size, and let me know how they work for you! In the meantime, I’ll be over here brainstormin’ up some more tips for ya to get booked out solid.
Wanna work with me 1:1 to get my eyes on your photography business, and create you a custom relocation strategy?
You got it, friend! Click the link below to schedule a free discovery call to see if we’d be a good fit to work together! I’ll start prepping your strategy in a Google doc now! 😉🥂
Looking for more helpful photography tips? Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼
If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.
Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂