I wrote a blog post in the first week of January this year titled “How to make money from photography – my 2019 business plan”. This is the end of year review of this post.
My photography business plan for 2019 – how did it go? It went pretty well, with some strong improvements and changes along the way. In this post I will go through each of the 9 key points, tell you what went well, and also what did no go so well. I will tell you what I have learned in 2019, and next week will tell you what I am going to do in 2020.
Who am I?
I am Rick. Hi. I am a professionally qualified photographer and also Chartered Construction Manager.
I photograph buildings, nice places and buildings in nice places.
I write lots of stuff about photography on my weekly photography blog, and also write for my two other websites, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini.
And I have been working hard throughout 2019 on some quite specific business targets which I will write about in this blog post.
So let’s get straight into the 9 key points of my 2019 photography business plan.
1 – Taking photos for clients
This is what I do. I photograph buildings for clients. In 2019 my work has been consistent, maintaining the high technical standards that I have built up to over a number of years.
My image capture has refined itself a bit this year. I have stuck with my core camera settings and how I approach photographing a building.
Working more efficiently
But I have noticed a difference this year. I appear to have got more efficient, taking less photos, having less rejects and spending less time sorting through the images.
This was always one of my goals, to use all the photos I have taken. If I gave a client 20 photos then if I took 20 photos I had completely nailed it!
Of course this does not happen, but the number of unrequired images has reduced.
And the quality of my architectural images I am delighted with.
Seeing things more clearly
I feel that I am now seeing things more clearly more quickly.
This is the result of repetition many times over, honing my eye and refining my thinking.
So the number 1 most important thing, the photos that I take, has improved over 2019 which I am delighted with.
This is the single most important thing to me – the quality of the photos that I take.
And some shiny new different gear
I have also introduced micro four thirds cameras this year and have settled on the Olympus EM5 and EM1 and the wonderful 7-14 and 12-24mm lenses.
I have now done a couple of commercial shoots using my micro four thirds gear and not my Canon gear and got some great results.
So a strong year taking photos for clients.
A new thing for 2020 is changing the skies. I write about this more under the affiliate heading, but for now just let me tell you that I love Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement!
And the bad things?
Saying yes to things that I shouldn’t
I committed to doing a shoot for a client a long way from home, which I regret doing. When it came to planning the shoot it was impossible to do with the variables of the weather, travel time and reserve days.
This was a mistake and taught me a harsh lesson. I did find another BIPP architectural photographer who was more local who I put in touch with the client, but this was not good.
And not being able to do local work
Apart form that I get many enquiries which are short notice which I just cannot accommodate, which pains me greatly. This tends to also be local work which I would love to be able to do but other commitments stop this from happening.
2 – Photos of Santorini website
Since January 2019 all I have done to my Photos of Santorini website is make it super-fast. It is something that I need to come back to once the next item is completed. I have made this website superfast using a WordPress theme called Acabado. More on that later.
3 – Paxos Travel Guide website
Paxos Travel Guide is happily a different story. I have completed the first batch of posts for this website. Traffic growth was excellent but tailed off at the end of the holiday season.
I thought that this might happen. And it did.
The question is when will it pick up? The New Year hopefully.
And I have a big list of new posts to write for this website.
And the accompanying You Tube channel needs some work on it.
I am looking forward to building on the excellent foundations of this year in the New Year when I am going to stuck straight into the next set of 30 articles, videos and get all the photos done.
And the big news for Paxos Travel Guide is that this website has been accepted by Ezoic to have ads on it. I am working on this right now and hope that this will happen in the New Year.
4 – Rhodes Travel Guide website
I have deferred this – I want to properly complete Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini first. And see if the work and pay me an income. And to be honest I think I have a better idea now.
5 – One more travel photography website. And then more websites?
Well having deferred the next website that meant not continuing with other stuff.
The bottom line is this – Paxos Travel Guide needs to make money before I do anything else!
6 – My main website, with increased traffic from social media, YouTube and my new blog format.
I changed the URL of my website to rickmcevoyphotography.com. This was in the summer of 2018. This made my website in effect a new website. And this has had a massive impact on the traffic to my website.
The immediate impact was very damaging, but now the traffic is stronger than ever, and I expect it to increase in the future.
And the growth of keywords in search is very slowly improving across all areas.
What changes have I made?
Less pages, less confusing and generally focussing on what I do – I photograph buildings. I have rewritten the key pages, so it is clear what I do.
I even had an enquiry from an artist who said that my website clearly said that I do not do weddings! Mission accomplished.
And my photography blog?
My photography blog is the cornerstone of my website. In late 2018 I switched to weekly blog posts. I was creating daily blog posts, posts which were short and of little quality. Ok they were rubbish.
Since then I have written longer form blog posts trying to answer a specific question.
I have had some great successes, along with the highest levels of traffic to my website ever.
My most successful blog post is this
Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019? which received 2,470 page views in the last 90 days alone! That is more page views than my website as a whole was getting in the same time period.
My blog now focusses on a small number of subjects.
My photography work
Micro four thirds
These are all longer posts that will hopefully drive traffic to my website now and for years to come.
A word about my writing
A year of consistently creating new, longer form blog posts has paid dividends in 2019. I am much more efficient at creating longer form blog posts and have a system and format that helps me create new posts.
My content is created with mobile readers in mind, who are an ever increasing proportion of my web traffic.
And the big news about my website
I am in the middle of moving my website to WordPress and a new, rapid theme. I am quite literally in the middle of this, with my plan being to get this done and live before Christmas 2019. This is looking unlikely at the moment, as I have been having problems getting the data from Squarespace to WordPress.
If I can fix the export/ import process I might be good to go though, although I do not want to rush this as everything has to be working properly – I do not to undo all the hard work to date by rushing this.
So in 2020 you will at some point see my website super-fast with a new look.
This should help in Googles eyes and give my web traffic a boost in the New Year, just when things should start to increase.
The other big bit of news is that the web traffic to my main website is such that I have been accepted by Ezoic to have ads on this website.
I am going to proceed with this once I have moved the website to Squarespace.
7 – Affiliate marketing
This has moved on nicely this year.
I am now receiving a regular, albeit modest income from some of my affiliate arrangements.
I have written a number of articles on Luminar 4 AI Sky Replacement. Luminar 4 was released in November 2018, and I was a beta tester having the luxury of being able to play with it before general release.
My Skylum affiliate income is my main affiliate income at the moment, and it is lovely seeing money coming in for work done in the past.
This is what it is all about.
Now I know that I am probably not going to make a living from affiliate marketing, my websites are too small for that. My plan is for this income stream to grow and add to other income streams providing we with passive income in the background.
It is about putting different income streams together, this is what all the hard work to date has been all about.
And there are other affiliate arrangements that I need to spend more time on – the work on my website has dominated everything recently to be honest.
8 – Commercial partnerships
I am still working on this in the background – check out my photography blog to find out more about this.
9 – Freelance writing
No plans here. This is not where the money is, writing for other people. No writing for my own websites is all I am doing so this one drops off for now. It will only come back once I am famous and people are prepared to pay a lot for me to write for them!
So how has 2019 gone for me?
I have worked consistently all year. I am pleased that I have produced a weekly blog post and accompanying video every week throughout the year – this has been hard going at times, but the consistency has been there which I am delighted with. Just three posts to go for 2019.
Next week I am going to write about my plan for 2020, building on this review of my photography business in 2019.
The good from 2019
Positive changes to my website
Moving my website to WordPress is a big thing and will put my website on another level. This has taken a lot of time, but I am getting there.
Getting ads on websites
I am very excited to be getting adverts on my websites – this has always been the long-term goal that I have been working to.
The affiliate income is another massive plus for 2019. Sure it is not big money, but it is money in all the same.
And the bad
I feel that I have strayed from my niches and produced blog posts that were not quite the right subject matter.
And taking on work that I cannot really deliver was a big negative for me.
Things are moving in the right direction I am excited for 2020 and building on the strong foundations that I have laid. I am hoping that 2020 will be the year that things change in big ways to get me to the point that I want to be at.
And what is this?
Time and financial freedom.
That is my end game. That is what keeps me going.
Thanks for reading this post – check out my blog next week to find out exactly what I am going to be doing in 2020 to move towards my dream.
Rick McEvoy Photography
#photographybusiness #photographybusinessplan #photographybusiness2019 #photographybusiness2020