3 Reasons Most Wedding Photographers Fail

29 09 2011

We’re one of the few photography companies that actually created a lucrative business out of catering to the wedding industry. In less than two years, we went from a general photography company to one that specialized in wedding photography, making well into the Six Figure level. Then we doubled our business. And again.

But it wasn’t always like that.

In the beginning, we did what every other wedding photographer does.

We decided to offer wedding related services. We created our first wedding brochure. And we charged and shot pretty much like every other wedding photographer out there.

Dig Deeper: Doubt To Confidence: What Was Your Magical Moment?

But very quickly something started to change.

We studied what the top names in the industry were doing. We learned from the best. And we quickly changed and grew. And we discovered 3 things that most wedding photographers did that were actually holding them back. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Reasons To Blog About Your Photography Business

13 04 2011

Blogging has become the most talked about, significant marketing strategy available to small business owners today. If you are planning on growing your photography business into the future, you should be familiar with the latest blogging techniques available to you, and start using the powerful features that will put you light years ahead of your competition.

Currently 133 million blog records are indexed by Technorati, a blogging directory, with 900,000 blog posts being submitted every 24 hours. For many people the idea of blogging may seem a bit daunting. With that many people blogging every day, what are your chances of using it as an effective marketing tool?

A successful photographer for over 20 years, and a successful blogger for over 4, let me share with you my list of ten reasons you need to be active with blogging. shaking hands

[And if you’re already successfully blogging, feel free to forward this post to your friends and clients who would benefit from learning how to grow their business using a blog.]

1. Find clients.
Blogs allow you to give detailed case studies about each of your clients, including photographs. The more detailed you are, the more you’ll attract the attention search for similar characteristics. And if you’re trying to reach out to a more affluent client, blogging is a definite must.

2. Meet your peers.
Blogging isn’t just for people talking about their personal lives. In fact, blogging is one of the fastest growing tools online. Both women and men are seeing the benefits of blogging, and are turning to using it for business faster than many other forms of marketing. Jump on board now in its infancy, and learn how to capture interest with just a few minutes of work per day.

3. Establish yourself as an expert.
How do you become an expert? By sharing your knowledge. And with the ease and low cost of blogging, nothing could be easier.

4. Build relationships.
StudioPress Premium WordPress ThemesBlogging allows your personality to shine through. While your business blog is mostly business, the occasional personal post lets people develop an understanding of who you are as a person. Even if you’re thousands of miles away.

5. Build your visibility.
Have you ever been to a site with three pages, and just a few sentences on each page? It’s hard to develop an opinion. But with a ton more content, your clients and prospects can visit page after page developing their viewpoint. More content also means more connections in the blogosphere – allowing you to connect with many more people than with just a few pages.

6. Share information with your niche.
I’m willing to estimate that 80 to 90 percent of all photographers choose to have the same Flash website developed as their competitor. You know, the one with just a few pages where the content is fed in to an about us page, a services page, and a gallery section rotates showing the top 10 images. What set up a part was having over 20,000 images on our website, and hundreds of pages of quality information. All of that is easy to do with a blog.

Premium WordPress Themes

7. Inexpensive way to market your business.
Blogs are low cost, and easy to set up. In a short period of time, you can take charge and easily start sharing information with your readers. I would highly recommend creating your own blog instead of using the free blogging systems like Blogger. I’ve heard many nightmares of creating a very valuable blog, only to have it turned off because a service like Blogger misunderstands your intentions and deletes your files.

8. Easy way to get instant delivery of your ideas.
Have a new product? Blog about it immediately. Have a new client? Blog about it immediately. Because you have full control, you can add any type of content whenever you choose, 24/7/365.

9. Get noticed by the search engines.
Google likes blog posts, it’s a fact. And because it likes them, your pages will rank a whole lot better than similar pages on a website. And once you begin learning more about optimization and social networking, you can gain first page rankings on Google and other search engines again and again.

10. Give you a starting point to online networking.
Blogging is the tip of the iceberg. It has so many benefits, it would be impossible to list them in any one place. But the important thing is to get started now, learn this type of technology, and use it to help grow your business in the future. You’ll soon be as addicted to blogging as I am. And if you need help or support with your strategy, I’d be happy to help.

Have you ever tried blogging? Do you agree with these 10, or do you see something else as more pressing? Why do you blog?

image source yan=]

Wedding Photography – Be Prepared With A Checklist

13 09 2010

Photographing weddings can be rewarding, challenging and stressful all the same time. While most events conclude with little fanfare, some precautions should be taken to prevent disaster. After photographing weddings and high-end social events for over 20 years, few surprises followed me. I was very prepared. My equipment (which included cameras, lenses, flashes, memory cards and battery packs) needed to be in great working order. With every wedding I wanted to have a pre-wedding checklist on my equipment. To ensure my inventory was complete and in them great working order.

Just like a pilot about to take off for a long journey, they have a checklist to follow. There are so many items to worry about; a checklist is imperative to ensure success. My pre-wedding list included every piece of equipment needed for the job and if service was needed to be completed.

One important check for me was to ensure that my camera body’s internal clocks were synchronized with each other. Imagine what a headache it would be to reconstruct images taken at the same event, on two separate cameras and the order and out of sync. For example, using two cameras during the bridal procession taken from you and your assistant. Every image was perfect, sharp and exposed correctly. Perfect, but you discover that your clocks were out of sync. After the event you return to your studio and download your masterpieces into a common folder on your computer, sorted by date or time and realize that the timestamp was not correct. Every file would be off! What a headache it would be to correct this. All of these issues could be avoided by one simple task. This new task is listed on your new checklist.

We had a pre-event checklist to ensure that everything was set up correctly. This is how my checklist was born to cover every aspect of the event and, every piece of equipment. All listed inventory was included; each camera body, each lens and ensure that all of the memory cards were accounted for and formatted prior to the event. Battery packs are charged and ready. Flashes and sync cords are in working order. Cameras opened and checked for dust and stray hairs. Yes, I once had a dust particles show up during a wedding and produced a white line in the many images, which created lots of additional Photoshop work for me.

The key to creating a worry free event is to have all your tools in place in the checklist is imperative. Let your next event to become profitable easy workflow and uneventful, through good planning.

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.

3 Lessons I Learned Building My Wedding Photography Business Past the $100,000 Level

23 07 2010

A few years back I started doing research for a book I was writing on photography. And I was shocked to learn that in the photography industry, the top 10 percent of all photographers earned in excess of $53,900 per year. That meant 90 percent of all photographers where earning less than this. I knew then something had to change, and my entire VirtualPhotographyStudio concept was born.

building a wedding photography business

Inevitably when I teach or am around a group of photographers, someone always asks about my lessons learned. “What do you wish you knew as a start up that would have helped you jump to the Six Figure faster?” So here are my top 3 lessons learned.

1. Getting To $50,000 is much harder than getting to $100,000
The most difficult thing about building a photography business from the ground up (or any business for that matter) is figuring out what it takes to make it a full time success. If you are earning $10,000 or $20,000 per year from your photography, you have to have a supplemental income from somewhere. But once you hit the $50,000, you’re beginning to look at it more with a full time status. (Yes, there are still all of your expenses you have to subtract, but you’re still earning a pretty decent fee.)

In order to grow from $0 to $50,000, you have to put your systems in place. You have to build your marketing materials. You have to build up a good clientele. You have to have your prices and your products well defined. And you have to devote enough time to everything in addition to your supplemental income source.

Once you move past the $50,000, things are in place – it’s just a matter of taking it to the next level. If you’re struggling now to break into the $50+ level, what do your plans look like? How are you going to achieve it? Make sure you’re thinking at a full time level to achieve full time success.

Read the rest of this entry »

How To Handle Too Many Photographers At The Wedding

26 04 2010

I received an email from a frustrated photographer this week. This past weekend she photographed a wedding. As she started setting up for the formals, the “paparazzi” started setting up too, with cameras flying out of purses and bags all over the church. She spent several minutes posing the groups, only to step back and have family members actually step into her path trying to get the best shot. Every image took a ton of time, and by the middle of the formals, the bride and groom were looking frustrated. Every image has someone looking away from her camera, confused on where to look.


How do you handle too many photographers at the wedding?

First and foremost, remember you are the professional. It’s your job to take the situation under control, and make sure you get what you need. Your client is the bride and groom (okay, sometimes it’s the brides mom too). Your goal is to make the bride and groom happy, not the great aunt on the mom’s side.

The problem shouldn’t be solved at the wedding; it should be solved at the time of booking.

Start with your contract. Place a clause specifically dealing with multiple photographers right into your contract. (check with your lawyer to make sure you are covered) Our included:

… will be the sole professional still photographer employed for the wedding day.  Simultaneous photographic coverage by another contracted photographer releases us from this agreement and will cause a forfeit of all paid service fees.  A $250 posing fee will be assessed if we are continually interrupted by other photographers during the formal portraiture sitting.  This fee will be collected before album creation and design is completed within our studio.

Don’t hide the clause hoping they won’t notice; be right up front with it and tell them why. You may even have a sample – we did. Show them a large group photo with people looking in all directions. Having 10 (or 20) photographers is a distraction and will cause them to be late to their own reception. If they want their photographs completed in a timely manner, you need full attention.

This usually stops the problem before the wedding even occurs. You may still have a mom pull out her camera, but she’s off to the side quietly photographing. And if you do have several pull out their cameras, stepping into your line, the bride and groom will be the first to tell them to put the cameras away. You won’t be the bad guy – they will. They will understand the importance of having you work quickly, and will be ready to give you their full attention.

Photography – How To Overcome Your Fear Of Becoming A Six Figure Success

23 04 2010

When you decided to become a photographer, what process did you go through? Did you establish goals for yourself? Did you commit yourself to the business with all your heart, knowing you would find success?

How’s it going?

If things haven’t turned out quite the way you thought they would, you’re not alone. I talk to photographers every day that set out to create an extraordinary business, and fall short somewhere along the way.

The reason we fall short is we build up false fears in our minds, which ultimately stop us from achieving our desires. In fact, through my years of helping photographers, I’ve discovered 5 fears that most business owners have at some point in their career.

1. Fear of failure.
Sometimes it’s easier NOT to do something than risk it all. Unfortunately, that’s why most people never achieve their dreams. It’s scary to have people around you say, “I told you so”. It’s easier to have the dreams deep down inside, and never share or acknowledge them. But failure can be a good thing. Think back to your childhood. How many things did you attempt for the first time? Failure doesn’t enter our minds until we’re heading into adulthood, and then it hits with a vengeance. Put aside your fears, and give it a try.

2. Fear I might lose money.
Many photographers start their businesses on a Read the rest of this entry »

5 Cool Ways To Make Your Photography Stand Out From The Competition

16 04 2010

Have you ever photographed something full frame, that’s perfect edge to edge? Then you try and frame it and you end up losing some of the nuances of the image? Try floating your image instead. With fotoflot, you don’t have to worry about glass, mats or frames. Your image can be seen side to side, with nothing to get in the way of your true meaning.


Business are using video to promote their products and services at record levels – almost 85 percent of all businesses are using video in some manner. If you want to move ahead of your competition, and put something brand new to work for you on your website or Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Pricing Your Photography To Stay In Business?

14 04 2010

“I’m new at my photography business. A friend asked me to photograph her wedding. Because I didn’t know what to charge, I found a few sites online and used their packages to build mine. Then I lowballed it because they have been at it longer and have portfolios in place, plus a website and other marketing. So I have a couple of packages in place, but I’m not sure if this is the best method. What else should I do to come up with my pricing?”

I get questions like this all the time.

When you head into a store to buy a new pair of shoes, the store doesn’t guess at its price. The price is established by looking at: materials, expenses, production, marketing, and business expenses. It’s a refined process to make sure that every time a pair of shoes sells, all costs are covered AND the store makes a healthy profit as well.

Without a profit, there is no way a business can stay in business. And if you don’t plan for it upfront, you’re on the road to failure. Read the rest of this entry »

Photography Lighting Tips

21 01 2010

How can you take a few photography lighting tips, and change the way you look at images forever?

Wedding Photography
Weddings are by far the most difficult to shoot, and will test your true capabilities as a photographer. In one event, you may have to deal with harsh, bright sunlight streaming onto the wedding party, and trying to capture the bride and groom in a nearly dark reception hall. All with the extremes of a bride in a white gown and a groom in a black tux.

Start by finding the perfect location outside to take advantage of natural light. Whether you are at a church or a reception site, get there a few minutes early and walk around, noticing the direction of Read the rest of this entry »

What All Photographers Are Really Missing

14 01 2010

One of the things that hit me today was his talk on abundance. One of his ending questions was, “What would abundance look like for you today if you were to have everything you want?” and “What makes me wealthy today?”

Wealth isn’t something associated with money, although that may be a part of it. Wealth is how happy you are with every aspect of your life. It’s more than just financial; its also about your relationships, your physical well being, and your overall happiness with life and career. You can have a ton of money, but if you have no relationships and no one to share it with, is it really worth it?

As a photographer, you’re probably passionate about your photography. But even if you love doing what you currently are, what would make you even happier?

If you are currently photographing a variety of things – weddings, portraits, commercial, models, etc – what would make you happy if you could do nothing but that all day long every day?

Surfing around today I found an upcoming photo festival – Maui Photo Festival. Where else can you go to a seminar, use it as a business expense, and learn about what you love in an incredibly beautiful area?

I also began looking at some of the speakers. The creator of Maui Photo Festival, Randy Jay Braun, has an amazing business in Hawaii. He sells his artwork out of his own gallery, and off his website. He runs photo safaris and workshops throughout the year. And he does a select amount of portraits when he has the time. His portraits are anything but unique – instead they are an experience. He works with hula dancers, and provides them with the experience of creating a unique hula lei and skirt, and providing a complete photo session built around the dance. At $1650 per session, it’s not your average portrait.

randy jay braun

Randy Jay Braun has found a way to do what he loves and build a life around that love. I know plenty of photographers that have followed in his footsteps. And I know plenty that have not.

If you are jumping into photography because you love taking pictures, and are letting the idea of a general photographer dictate what you offer, you haven’t found your true happiness. Ask yourself these questions.

  • If I could spend every day photographing, what would it be of?
  • Who would see my photographs?
  • Who would buy my photographs?
  • Where would I live?
  • How would I live?
  • How much money do I need to sustain the type of lifestyle I’m dreaming of?

Once you have answers to your questions, how can you build a business around it? Remember anything is possible. Being able to do what you love and get paid for it too is an amazing thing to have in your life.

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