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Archive for October 2010

For boutique businesses: Why custom photography?

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As a photographer running a boutique business, it’s important for your target audience and potential clients to understand why you’re brand and skills should be valued so much more highly than what they could quickly get at their closest chain studio store.

That is why educating your target audience on custom photography is so critical. Most people don’t understand what custom photography is, why it is so much more expensive, or what they will get out of the experience; therefore, they likely face sticker shock when it comes time to purchase prints and products.

Custom photography is not the cookie cutter mall studio, sit, stand, pose, “say cheese,” experience. Custom is, well, just that: personalized to fit your clients and their fiancé’s, their family’s, pets, or their kids’ stories, personalities, and unique traits. Custom photography takes the power of a treasured keepsake the next level by combining clients and their loved ones with the artistic eye of a practiced professional. Custom photography also relies heavily on the use of lighting, location, clothing choices, and the emotional connection between subjects to tell a story. The outcome is the collaboration between all of these things and the artistic vision of the photographer (you) in the form of luxury art that will remind them of those moments on a daily basis.

Often times most people come to a custom photographer with the mindset of “I want some really cool pictures of my family/fiancé/dog and I, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with them…” Maybe they don’t have the end product in mind. It’s important to remember that the combination of the distinctive location with the customized experience allows for the creation of beautiful art. If your client is thinking fun key chains, a nice mouse pad for their office, 30 4×6’s to give as Christmas gifts, maybe custom photography isn’t for them. Most custom photographers offer their clients the ability to purchase gorgeous gallery wrap canvases, yummy gallery mounts, beautiful wall sized prints, and classy session albums for display in their home. These fun goodies are really what your clients take away (absolutely loving!) from the tailored partnership between you (the artist) and their family.

But not only do they get these high-end wall mounted art pieces for their homes, or the breath-taking album guests will see on their coffee tables, but they’re also walking away having been given excellent service, care, and attention to detail. Since custom photographers spend so much time really getting to know their clients and their stories, they aren’t seeing hundreds of faces a day like your neighborhood Sears or Target Portrait Studio. And clients aren’t calling their phone and each time getting a new, unfamiliar voice on the other end.

Photographer Christina Sloan sets expectations with her potential clients here on her blog so that they understand what they will be getting from their experience with her. It’s also important for clients to understand why custom photography is a much more expensive investment than what they might find at a chain studio. This article gives a good explanation why.

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October 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Social Media for Photographers

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Love it or hate it, it’s time to embrace the digital era, or as Dane Sanders calls it, the “digi-flat era.” Photographers who do not utilize the various tools the Internet offers are cutting back on the ability to easily and quickly spread the word about their services. Today the internet offers a social media tool for just about every type of photographer and it’s somewhat foolish to not even be educated about how these tools could help you as a new photographer!

Two of most popular tools that come to mind are of course Twitter and Facebook. Facebook gives the ability to link up with friends, family, and past clients and allows them to “suggest” your page to their friends and family, quickly exposing you to new potential clients. Another invaluable tool Facebook offers is the power to tag people in your photos, which in turn shows up on their wall and exposes your name to all of their Facebook friends.

Twitter is an enormous source of information and is a very easy way to network with other professionals and businesses who you may be interested in building a relationship with. TwitPic, which works closely with Twitter to allow photographers to share their photos on their profile, is also an important tool to use so that visitors hardly even need to leave your page to see your work.

Flickr is a booming website for photographers and Yahoo makes it easy for every member to upload and share their photos, get and give feedback, and have tight control over privacy if necessary.

Other popular social media tools include Picasa, EPhotoZine, and Picnik, but check out Lightstalking.com’s full list of The Top Ten Social Media Applications for Photographers to have a look at the entire list.

 

Written by brittanibowling

October 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

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Wise words on investing in new equipment

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Nikkor 50mm 1.8 (Photo by: Brittani Bowling/Towson University Student)

 

Starting out with a new photography venture can not only be intimidating and artistically challenging, but a little demanding on the ‘ole bank account too! As we all know, technology is expensive, however to be successful you don’t necessarily need to have the best, newest, priciest equipment.

However, even when making small purchases or upgrades, researching what other photographers use and started shooting with is an enormous resource that will save both time and money figuring out where to invest your precious dollars. Photographers such as Jasmine Star, Ravyn Stadick, and Amanda Pair are all candid in letting blog readers know exactly what is in their camera bag, why they love those lenses, and what type of lens they use for certain situations. Digital Photography School is also another great research tool, with up-to-date reviews and reader feedback on new and popular lenses.

One lens I have found and can personally vouch for that Ravyn Stadick also highly recommends is the 50mm 1.8. This lens is made by both Canon and Nikon, and at around $120.00 for the Nikon Lens and $99.00 for the Canon lens, it is an incredible asset at such a low price! With the large aperture opening of 1.8, the vast amount of light creates beautiful bokeh and creamy, light images, making it extremely suitable for portraits.

Also, another option worth mentioning is lens rental programs. Rather than dropping a large amount of money at one time on a lens you have no experience with, companies such as BorrowLenses.com, LensProToGo.Com, and LensRentals.com feature a wide variety of lenses available for rental and at a fraction of the price of actually making the purchase. Before making a huge investment, this is a safe and secure way to test the waters of new glass.

Written by brittanibowling

October 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

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Business sense is a must for new photographers

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To be a successful photographer, some business knowledge and sense is necessary. While most photographers get into photography to leverage their creative energy, in order to be successful, common sense business applications are a requirement. A photography business without a true business plan or financial analysis is a photography business on the road to quick failure.

Easy as Pie and Fast Track Photographer prove to be popular and informative resources for new photographers (Photo by: Brittani Bowling/Towson University Student)

As with anything these days, the Internet runs rampant with great resources for running a productive, efficient, and profitable photography business. Other blogs are great resources, and books and web documents can be found online for purchase. Many photographers are generous enough to give a no holds barred look into their business (such as Jamie Pflughoeft) to assist new photographers in setting their policies and pricing correct right from the get-go and in turn increase the value placed on the photography industry.

Last October, Monkton, Md. portrait photographer Jodie Otte wrote a guest blog for MCPActions.com which addressed pricing and basic business knowledge. Her blog triggered 195 comments, many of which ran something along the lines of “This is a reality check!” or “I’m re-writing my pricing and policies as we speak!”

Investing in such informative resources can in turn transform new photography businesses into a super profitable and fairly priced new photography business. Additional great resources include Alicia Caine’s Easy As Pie, Skye Hardwick’s The Workshop Workbook (currently on promotion today only for half off!), and Dane Sanders Fast Track Photographers. Also, The Joy of Marketing offers a free e-book on marketing strategies for boutique businesses! Get searching and find out what business policies and plans you should be implementing to improve your photography business…you might be surprised what you find!

Written by brittanibowling

October 6, 2010 at 5:01 pm