How To Use Flickr To Promote Your Photography Business

4 04 2011

[So you’re wondering how to use the many online tools to market your business. This week I’ve decided to start a new How To series that does exactly that. We’ll take a look at many of the different online social sites –things you can do for little to no cost – and show you different ways to put them into your marketing mix.]

Flickr is one of the hottest online social tools that allows you to share your photographs. Flickr was started back in the beginning of 2004 by two game designers who wanted an easy way to share photos that featured their gaming project, and quickly blossomed into something much more. Yahoo purchased Flickr for $35 million in 2005, and the rest as they say is history.

How To Use Flickr To Promote Your Photography Business

So if you are a photographer, chances are you have used Flickr in some manner. You may have an account. You may have uploaded a few images. You may be active. But in the land of “free”, how can you use Flickr to attract clients to your photography business?

The secret lies in thinking of Flickr as an extension of your business. Its not just a casual site where you can put up a few images of your clients, share it with them, and allow them to send their images all over to friends and family – before they’ve paid you for your services. Instead, you have to look at Flickr as another sales tool – without treating it like a sales tool. After all, the worst thing you can do is get to salesy on any social networking platform.

Start With Your Flickr Account

How is your Flickr account set up? Is it based on a cute nickname (i.e. photogirl123)? Or is it based on your company name?

When you think of Flickr as an extension of your business, it’s easy to see how you should set up your account. Title it by your business, personal or website name – which ever makes the most sense depending on the way you market your business. Once your name is established, build your profile and your groups to support your branding and your business.
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10 Ways To Use Flickr To Market Your Photography Business

10 10 2010

1. Go Pro. If you haven’t set up a pro account, just do it. At just $24.95 per year, its one of the most economical ways of creating your portfolio online. With a Pro account, you get unlimited photo uploads at up to 20 MB per photo, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, statistics and the ability to post to up to 60 group pools.

2. Convert to a vanity URL that matches your business. From your profile, you have the ability to edit the URL that will take people to your Flickr stream. While you may have started with something simple like “Joe’s Photo Stream”, remember this is always about your business.  Flickr.com/VirtualPhotographyStudio is a lot easier to share and sounds more professional than Flickr.com/JoesPics.

3. Thumbnails matter too. Every set or collection you create is represented by a thumbnail. Your thumbnail is the first introduction people have to your photography – make sure its engaging and has the inspiration to make someone want to click. Remember you also have the ability to select which image will be the cover of your set or collection. Don’t go with the first one loaded – be selective and choose the one that will showcase your work the best.

4. Tagging is important. For many photographers, tagging is an afterthought. But tagging is the one thing that can help you market better than your competition – if you know how to do it right. Start by tagging based on the image itself – location, description, content, people in the photos, etc. Then spend some time finding out what people are searching for, and tag using those terms as well. If you haven’t spent some time using the Flickr search function, spend some time searching yourself to learn the ins and outs of the system.

flickr search

5. Join groups. Flickr is an amazing social site if you use it right. Just like Facebook, you can build your own profile, join groups, and share with friends on a regular basis. Make sure you’re logging into your Flickr account just as often as Facebook or Twitter. The more you share, the more you’ll gain.

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10 Things You Never Want To Do With Your Online Photography Portfolio

16 08 2010

As a photographer, your most important marketing tool is your online photography portfolio. On your website or your blog, this is what’s going to showcase your work, and get you hired. Yet I see mistakes all the time. And I have a ton of questions like, “Why isn’t my site getting any traffic?” and “Why aren’t people contacting me online?” Here are 10 mistakes I see frequently – do you see yourself here?

1. Enter Page

Do you really need to divide up your site, and dedicate one whole page to making your visitors choose? If they type in your URL, they want to see your site. They want to start learning about you immediately, not have to decide if they want to visit your Flash site, Mobile site, Fast site, Slow site, Blog, Flickr portfolio, etc. Yes, you can weave things into your site, and have things on the side of your content that allows them to navigate elsewhere. But don’t make your first impression just a choice.

2. Photo Size
Have you ever gone to a photographer’s site, only to wait 30 seconds for it to load a huge file thousands of pixels in size? Boring. This is the web. You don’t need large files – the smaller the better for loading, and to protect you from clients downloading them to manipulate them. Stick to an image that is between 500-1000 pixels on the long edge, depending on how you are grouping them together.

3. Music

Um, no. Just don’t do it. There is no such thing as setting the mood or creating ambiance. If a visitor heads into your site at work on their lunch hour, you better believe they will back out quickly when the music starts. The web is visual, unless you find a video you choose to watch.

4. Photo Quantity
A portfolio is what you make of it. You can have a flash gallery that creates a slide presentation. Or you can choose to sort by category, client or niche, and showcase a great deal of your imagery. This isn’t a place to put every image from the shoot – showcase what made the shoot special. For a portrait setting, we may have put up 10 to 20 images. For a wedding, around 200 (we shot 2000-3000 images at every event PJ style). There is no such thing as too many photographs, IF you tell a story with what you have.

5. Fill It Up
Every photographer has to start somewhere. If you really want to get into weddings and you’ve only done one, by all means put it up. But don’t forget to quickly put up every other wedding you do as well. A potential client really wonders when they visit your wedding gallery, and only finds one bride.

6. Pay, Don’t Go Free
With all the options you have available to you today, there really is no reason to not have a classy, custom made web presence. Don’t opt for a Facebook or Flickr presence only. You have to control your portfolio, and give it your unique style.

7. Make It Easy
Create navigation that’s easy to follow. Don’t load it up with 30 choices; make it easy for me to decide where to go to next. Don’t label things with “cute” wordings. Go for the normal, and follow what the big stores do. People are used to commonality here, so don’t confuse them by trying to be different. Be different in your photography style, or the way you offer customer service. Don’t go for the cute on things you can’t control – like the way they move around your site.

8. Flash
If you’ve been on this site before, you know my feeling towards Flash sites. Don’t do it. It makes things difficult to control, difficult to navigate, and difficult for the search engines to find. I don’t mind the occasional Flash splashes to show off some of your work. But don’t put your entire portfolio into a Flash presentation. They will always have to start at the beginning, and can’t be specific about images they like. “I like the image at this URL, clicking the 3 category, the 15th image in” makes it a little hard to communicate.

9. Think Sales
I’ve been on photography sites where there is no contact information. Period. The idea of having a site is to make connections, and let anyone and everyone connect with you. Have a contact us form. Put your email on every page. Put your phone number right near your header. Put your address and a map to your studio. Put your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr connections on every page. Tell them how to connect with you.

10. Be Original
Don’t look through photographers sites to find one to mimic. Go to a different industry. Check out architecture, authors or sculptures. Look through Amazon, Oprah and Martha Stewart. Find things you like, and pull from a variety of sources. You don’t want a potential client to show up and say, “this site was just like X’s site”. You want them to say, “WOW”.





10 Publishing/Printing Solutions For Your Photographs

20 04 2010

How do you present your photographs to your clients? Do you hand them a CD – or do you present their images in an album or photo book? Digital technology has made album and book options available in a variety of formats. Take a look at these 10 publishing and printing solutions, and give your clients more options than ever.

Walter’s Publishing
From yearbooks, to prom books, to sports books and posters, to wedding books, you’ll have a full array of options through Walter’s Publishing to help you reach out to your clients.

Mpix
Mpix gives you a variety of options, from online album and sales, to photo books and greeting cards. Mpix is an online division of Miller’s Professional Imaging, and has the resources to help you with all your printing needs.

Black River Imaging
Black River Imaging offers a variety of album options. Check out their Mosaic albums, with color options to match any ideas you or your clients may have.

Black River Imaging

Renaissance Albums
Take a look at Renaissance’s new SOHO albums. Designed to offer panoramic spreads throughout the entire album, they are perfect choices for your coffee table albums.

Albums Inc
Looking for a complete album company to help you with all of your album needs? Check out Albums Inc – now carrying Zookbinders albums too.

Zookbinders
One of your best choices for albums, Zookbinders offers you a ton of sizes and options for your designs.

Vision Art Book
Looking for a true hardback book with dust cover and all? Check out Vision Art Book.

AsukaBook
AsukaBook gives you many options, including their NeoClassic and Zen book, with lay flat pages.

Neil Enterprises
Neil Enterprises has some great options for giving your clients a CD or DVD. With leather bound cases, multiple images on the cover and/or inside, these are great additions to go along with your album sales.

Bay Photo
Bay Photo has a wide variety of album options in many sizes, shapes and colors. Check out their Bay Boxes to put loose prints in.

Price and package your photography





Photographers – Linking Your Photography Website With Other Sites

21 10 2008

photography directory
Have you ever heard the term link strategy?

Link strategy simply means connecting your website up with other like-minded websites. Over the years, there have been many thoughts on this strategy. Link farms were built to add a ton of links to your site in a very quick time frame. Resource pages were added to sites to give reciprocal links. Trading links with community sites was used to boost up your rankings.

But today, links are used to connect you up with other sites that can drive your visibility Read the rest of this entry »





Photos Ripped off Your Website?

9 06 2008

Are some of your images removed off your website and placed within another? There are so major concerns that the creator of the images is loosing an uphill battle within the web venue.

Now that I have your attention, here is an answer to limit the theft of your images. Tineye is a new service, while still in private beta testing, will offer users a way to test the theft of prized images. (check out the video to see how the system locates duplicates)

Here is an exert pulled from within the beta testers information –  Idée’s goal with Tineye is quite simple: to be the image search engine. And although you’ll never hear anyone from any company (think Google and Photoshop) officially admit it due to trademark diminishment concerns, it’s a safe bet that Tineye is secretly hoping to be “verbed” in the image-search space: “Can you Tineye yesterday’s lead photo to see which blogs picked it up?” And there’s already a Firefox extension, making it easy as a right-click to launch a Tineye image search.

Tineye is a different sort of search engine. Instead of using captions, filenames, and surrounding text to search for images using words as the criteria, Tineye employs actual images as its search input criteria. Either upload a file to Tineye or point Tineye to the URL of the image online, and it instantly creates a digital “fingerpint” via a number of proprietary algorithms — and searches this on-the-fly fingerprint against its database of crawled and indexed image fingerprints. Their database of images is currently around 487,000,000 — still just a fraction of the tens of billions of online images and the four billion-plus images Boujnane estimates Google has indexed via syntax to date. Boujnane expects to pass the billion-image mark “very soon.”





Use Digital Photography to Create Slideshows for use on the web

28 05 2008

Create Cool Slideshows from Your Photos
Upload photos from your computer into our interactive drag-and-drop slide show creator. sliderollFrom there, you can build slide shows with smooth pans, zooms, and fades. Create documentary-style slideshows with that famous “Ken Burns Effect”. 

Publish to the Net
You can publish your slideshow on this site, or get code to embed the slide show on your own site. They are in Flash SWF format, so they are small and anyone can see them, even over dialup! There are privacy options so that only your friends and family can see your slide shows.

Publish to Video for DVD or YouTube
With Slideroll Video Creator, you can turn your slideshows into video that you can use for your DVDs, or upload to YouTube. You can even add your own MP3 Soundtrack. With Slideroll™, you can turn those static photos into wonderful stories! Best of all, basic membership is completely free!

Helping your photography business, how to start a digital wedding photography business and wedding photography business visit virtualphotographystudio.com and keep up-to-date with all of the photography happenings via our free newsletter.