8 Questions That Will Lead You To Quit The Photography Business

20 10 2010

8. How will I find the money to buy more equipment?

Photographers love equipment. The newest camera body or a really great lens has been known to send shivers down a passionate photographer’s spine. But when you find yourself starting to book photo gigs just to have enough money to buy the latest gadget, you know you’ve reached a whole new level with your photography.

Pricing Your Photography

7. Why do I have to market my business?

I get it; photographers love to photograph, but they hate to market their business. It’s time to get over it. If you are in business, you have to market, and you have to sell. That’s the only way to bring in money, bring in profits, and survive as a professional photographer. Read the rest of this entry »

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”.

25 Questions That Will Make You A Better Photographer

28 05 2010

Questions That Will Make You A Better Photographer

Today I found a great blog post entitled 50 Questions That Will free Your Mind. As I read through them, each one made me think a little differently, and allowed me to expand on the direction I want to take my personal and professional life over the coming years. It really is a great list – one that I think you could read through every day, and gain something new from it.

So after I read through each question a couple of times, I started thinking about what it would take to become a truly happy, successful photographer. What questions would you have to answer to set down the path for this endeavor? This is the list I cam up with.

1. What’s holding you back from starting your photography business?

2. What steps would it take to go from part time to full time?

3. How many clients have you made happy this week?

4. What makes your photography different from other photographers in your niche?

5. What do you love more than anything?

6. If you could do something all day long, and not have to worry about money, what would you do?

7. What would your perfect client look like? What type of photography would they be interested in? How much would they spend?

8. What photographer do you most admire? What steps could you take to make them your mentor, and follow in their footsteps?

9. You’ve taken a great picture. What would make it better?

10. What words could you use to tell your customers how special they are to you?

11. What words do you want to hear from your customers when they talk about your photography?

12. What’s your favorite store? Why? How can you bring their ideas into your own business?

13. What does your ideal workday look like?

14. What does your ideal workweek look like?

15. If you knew you only had 10 years left to live, how much action would you take to make your photography dreams a reality?

16. What’s more important, being a great photographer, or having a successful studio?

17. What could you do this week that would bring you closer to your goals? Don’t have goals? What could you do this week to set your goals?

18. What do your friends think of your idea of having a full time photography studio? Are they holding you back?

19. What group or place could you visit this week to bring in one new client?

20. What could you do to make sure you are on track to make your photography dreams a reality?

21. What are you doing differently today than you did one month ago? One year ago?

22. What do you want to be doing differently one year from now?

23. Where could you find an extra 30 minutes today to do something towards making your photography dreams a reality?

24. In 5 years, how do you see yourself spending your perfect day?

25. When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?

What would you add?

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Photography – Putting Your Eggs Into One Basket

19 01 2009

So you have a photography business. And you decide to do weddings.

eggs in a basket So you find one reception site and work there a time or two. You start building relationships with the planner, and they begin referring you again and again.

So you begin relying on them to fill up your summers. They send 15 clients over your way every year. Your goal is 20 weddings per year, so you’re happy with the 15 from a strong referral.

Now let me ask you a question.

What happens the day that reception site goes out of business?

If you have a strong relationship with the on site planner, its easy to get the 15 wedding clients with very little selling. The event planner has already talked you up, and has possibly let the prospect see some of your work. Why wouldn’t they book you?

But by relying on them for a huge part of your bottom line, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

If each client brings in $2,000, and your total profit is $40,000, what will it do to your business if you suddenly lose $30,000, with no quick way of replacement?

Instead, make it a goal to have multiple sources for bringing in your income.

  • 5 reception sites each sending over 2 clients per year, plus
  • 2 bridal shows bringing in 4 new clients per year, plus
  • 1 ad in a local bridal magazine bringing in 3 new clients per year, plus
  • 3 referrals from clients you’ve photographed in the past

Now you have a bunch of sources bringing in clients from different places. If you lose one source, it will be easier to replace. The dire necessity won’t be there, and you’ll have the time to expand another source, or look for a new one all together.

image source truemitra

Photography, Watch The Pendulum Swing

6 10 2008


Think of how a pendulum works. It slowly swings back and forth. From one side to the next. It never stops, just swings from one point to the next, and always returns.

Business works in much the same manner. At some point you’ll have the best of times, with money flowing freely. And at some point you’ll have the worst of times, with financial crisis looming in the horizon.

Now let’s talk photography. At some point the photography industry is at Read the rest of this entry »

Photograph Emotion – Get Inspired – 14

17 03 2008

Photography emotion – When was the last time you concentrated on how someone looks. Are they happy, sad, laughing or feeling defeated? All of these emotions can be captured into a relation to your photography session. Have you ever seen a photography display or art showing that focused on one emotion? To make your first session easy, grab your digital camera and concentrate on happy people. Shoot as many images that show happiness and see what develops. By adding a goal to your day of photography, amazing results will be achieved. – Get Inspired!

Photography Convention – How to get inspired with your photography #10

13 02 2008

Out of ideas? Do you look through the view finder of that expensive digital camera and see nothing? Get inspired again with your digital photography. Check out a photography convention. Meet and greet other photographers, see the latest images on display, check out all of the latest ideas from top photography industry vendors or sit through some education seminars. These conventions can inspire any photographer, from the amateur to the top professionals. Check out the upcoming events at WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International),  PPA (Professional Photographers of America) or see if there is a local chapter in your state or area  – Get inspired today!

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