The exercise below is a quick one but super important. It will help you arrange your photography catalogue into a simple visual structure so you can see at a glance exactly what you have in your catalogue and what your business is all about. We’ll work with that to get totally clear on who your target markets are and exactly what they need from you.
Mapping Your Key Subject List
Most photographers tend to be so busy shooting, publishing and selling their work, they don’t ever get a whole lot of time to stop and think about the big picture…
They’ll know the images that make them the most money and they’ll have a basic catalogue system in place so they can find images when they need them… but they rarely get time to consider everything they shoot, the markets for each of those subjects or more importantly… what those buyers specifically need.
This exercise below is simple, but it will give you some valuable insights into your photography, plus a road map for much of your photography marketing, publishing and business development. Don’t let the simplicity fool you… this could be the most important 30 minutes you put into your business this year!
Step 1. Write down everything you photograph!
Do this old school and do it right now.
Grab a pen and paper and just start writing all the broad terms you could use to describe the subject matter you photograph…
- What subjects do you shoot most often?
- What subjects sell best for you?
- What are the areas where you do your best work?
- What are the subjects you’d like to explore in the future?
- Every subject, every location, every style…
Think about your images themselves, the shoots you’ve done, the people who’ve bought or admired your work, the photos you would like to create… someday. You’ll have plenty of time to add any you miss at the next step, so don’t overthink it. Just let it flow for a few minutes.
Don’t go any further until you’ve done this…
Step 2. Identify key subject areas & themes.
You should now be able to look at your page and see some natural groupings…
Depending on your interest it might be broad subject areas or fields of photography… Landscape, Wildlife, Portraiture etc. Other photographers might tend to view their work as different styles. Others might group their work by specific regions or locations.
The demo below uses the first option, but take a moment to think about the most natural way for you to group the items you have on your list? Once you’ve got that, watch the video below to see how we can transfer all your to a visual catalogue structure.
3. Create A Visual Map Of Your Content
This demo uses the Mondomo Mindmapping Software. I prefer the Desktop version because I use it a lot and I like having it at my fingertips… but there is an online version available if you prefer. You can set all this up online now and export your Key Subject List to a desktop installation later on or you can just grab the desktop version and be ready to go in a couple of minutes.
There are plenty of other options for mindmapping so by all means look around, but be warned, most of the free versions you find will be lite editions of the pro/paid software.
Mindomo free does that as well, but as mentioned in the video, if you give it a Like on Facebook, you can remove the limitations for one month, which will be plenty of time to complete this exercise. If you find it useful, you can consider an upgrade after that.
Step By Step Guide
Just to summarize… we want to make a list of all your key subjects and then put that into some sort of practical order, so you can see at a glance exactly what you’ve got, where your strengths are and what you can offer your clients.
- Free write for 2-3 minutes everything you photograph, everything you want ot photograph, what you do best, what sells the best and what you’d like to do more of.
- Find some natural groupings of those subjects and break your list up accordingly. You can do this with the mindmapping software above, in an Excel spreadsheet or with good old pen and paper if you prefer.
- Highlight various subject categories and sub-categories according to image volume, top sellers, best work and your passions for easy reference.
You now have a simple visual reference to your photography catalogue. As we start various marketing tasks, you’ll find this is a valuable tool for identifying key subjects and themes. More importantly, it will help you get clear your primary business purpose and what you can offer your clients.
Over time, you should refer to this often and add a lot more information…
- Notes to the top level subject categories about possible buyers-types and the kind of content they’ll be looking for.
- Notes about existing Clients… what they need in particular, what you’ve offered in the past and what you might shoot in the future to build on your relationship.
- Notes about prospective Clients… what they already use and ideas on material you can shoot and show to them, to try and create a new business relationship.
- Notes on specific subject categories… details you might need for captions and keywords, extended information you can use for blogging and social media, links to sites where you might be able to link back to this specific subject matter.
- An Ideas File… any photo ideas you come up with related to any specific subject. This could be a couple of images you’d like to add to complete your coverage, or shots you didn’t quite get right first time around, or even whole new approaches to the subject. Write this stuff down when you think of it or you will forget!
Hopefully by now you can see this is so much more than a simple list of photos… it’s an admin tool, a marketing tool and a creative tool. Before long you’ll also see it’s a key component in your work plan and publishing schedule, but we’ll come back to that shortly…
Please Leave Your Feedback When Your Done!
Please help us, help you… when you’ve completed this training, please share your comments below… Was it useful for you? Did you get any unexpected results? Was there anything you had trouble with? Anything we could explain better?
Thanks in advance for your input!