Hey, how’s it going? I’m Andy Jones, and this is episode 147 of the Photography Side Hustle podcast.

I hope you had a great week and you’re taking lots of photos. I’m in the middle of putting a Lightroom course together, and I have to say I hate seeing myself in videos. I’m actually considering filming myself like Wilson, the next-door neighbor in Tool Time. Hopefully, I can get over it and get the course finished.

Okay, this week’s episode is “6 Tips for a Stronger Business in 2024.”

Let’s start with …
Build a collection of lenses, not cameras
I’m including this because I get lots of people asking me whether a camera body is good enough and very few asking about lenses. In fact, I had six people ask me this week about camera bodies.

If you want to upgrade your entry-level equipment, start with the lens. A pro lens will greatly improve what your current camera body produces. A camera body captures the light that comes in through the lens, and if that lens allows you to use f/2.8 or better, then the images will be amazing.

When you are starting out, put the majority of your money into good-quality pro lenses. Once you have all the focal lengths you need, you can then think about upgrading your camera body.

I always tell people to buy a 50mm 1.8 lens for around $200 new or $100 used. The difference in your photos will blow you away.

Okay, next is …

Always over-deliver
It doesn’t matter what you shoot. Give the customer more than they expected.

This week, I heard a few photographers talk about customers asking for all the other images they took at the shoot. They took 400 photos during a branding session and delivered 25 images to the customer.
The customer thinks the photographer is holding back photos and under-delivering. It doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong. The customer is unhappy.

This is where communicating with the customer and setting out what you are going to do and what they will receive is crucial. Once both parties are happy, they sign a contract.

If this has happened to you, try editing all the usable photos. Once you have edited the best images, do a basic edit on the rest. It won’t take long.

When you present them to the customer, say these are the best 25 images we agreed on. Plus, I’m also including the other 130 usable photos.

I will say that this problem only seems to happen with photographers who only offer digital files.

Another way to over-deliver is with delivery times. Give yourself twice as long as it will take to prepare the photos. Then, surprise the customer by delivering them early.

The only way to get referrals is to impress your customers. Referrals make getting bookings easier.

Next …
Separate your niches
So, if you shoot different types of photography, keep them separate.

If you shoot Weddings and Family Portraits, divide your website into two parts. Don’t have the different types of images on the same page. When someone is looking for a wedding photographer, they want to see photos of the bride and groom on the big day, not someone’s grandmother.

Splitting your website, in this case, is acceptable.

Let’s say you are trying to build up your portrait business but to pay the bills, you have been shooting real estate. In this case, I would have two websites and keep them totally separate. Your two sets of customers don’t need to know about your other offerings.

It’s better to be seen as committed to the type of photography you are offering. You need to be an authority figure, not a jack of all trades.

Next is …

Now, I’m not talking about doing a simple basic edit here. I’m talking about editing every aspect of an image.

When you look at the top portrait photographers, their images are stunning. The subject’s eyes are sharp and vibrant, and their skin is soft and smooth. The background is soft and out of focus. In fact, everything looks perfect.

That image didn’t come out of the camera like that. It took time and effort to produce.

Every type of photography can benefit from going that extra step when editing. It’s the one thing that can place you head and shoulders above your competition.

If you can produce photos that stand out from your competitor’s work, then you will get more bookings and be able to charge more for it.

Your skill in editing can put you at the top of the ladder where the big money is.

Build a website to control your market
I don’t mean your business website. I’m talking about a website that helps people get information about your niche and other businesses related to your niche.

Now, I’ve mentioned this guy before in past episodes. Unfortunately, I have forgotten his name, but he is based in Western Australia. If you know who I’m talking about, please let me know, and I’ll add his details.

He is a wedding photographer in a town that gets lots of couples going there to get married. So, he made a website that did reviews on all the wedding and reception venues.

Each venue had a complimentary review, and the photographer used his own photos from when he worked there. At the bottom of each page, there is a contact form. When the form is filled in, it goes to the photographer.

He then contacts the venue and gives them the inquiry. He also contacts the customer and offers his services. The venues will always refer him to anyone making a booking. Genius!

Think about your niche and how you can do something similar.

Okay, last but not least …

Start using flash
Using a flash will revolutionize your photography. On or off-camera, it doesn’t matter. Your photos will improve.

Instead of doing a family shoot on a sunny afternoon, and all your subjects have harsh shadows across their faces, control the light with a flash.

A lot of people think of harshly lit photos when they think of flash photography. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t think of the sunlight plus the light from the flash.

The trick is to change your settings so the subject is under-exposed. Then, turn on the flash and gradually increase the amount of flash until the subject is well-lit. You have controlled the light.

Being able to produce portraits at any time of the day where the subject is perfectly lit is a game changer. The quality of your work just took a giant leap forward.

As I mentioned, it doesn’t matter if the flash is on the camera or off it. Off-camera allows you to be more creative with the position of the light.

I only used on-camera flash at weddings. On-camera doesn’t mean the flash is aimed at the subject. In fact, I never aim the light directly at the subject. The trick is to bounce the light off of the walls and ceiling. This lights the area around the subject with softer light.

I strongly believe if you shoot portraits of any kind, you need to use flash. If you do, then the quality of your photos will speak for itself.

People prefer to buy nice things. Things that look better than your competition. Work on improving your quality, and the bookings will follow.

Okay, those are my six tips for a stronger business in 2024.

If you need help with anything, you can join the Facebook group.

The transcript for this episode is in the show notes and also over at, and while you are there, you can support the show and buy me a coffee.

I’ll be back next week with another episode. Talk to you soon. Bye.