In a recent Skype chat with photographer Joey Jones, we were casually discussing how he runs his successful portrait photography business. At one point, he casually stated, The camera is just a tool. Its what you do with it that counts. Needless to say, Joey was spot on. It was something I myself had only realized in recent years. Where were those wise words when I was going through my lengthy "equipment insecurity phase? For many of us trying to make money off of our photography talent, there can be constant pressure to collect expensive, … [Read more...] about Your Camera Is Just A Tool: YOU Are The Secret Sauce
I browse lots of photography forums in search of ideas for articles to write. I came across a post from a photographer offering to give up a job because he wouldn't be in town to shoot it. He writes: Hey! I was just contacted by a client about shooting a Sweet 16th unfortunately I will not be in the area and had to turn her down. She isn't looking to spend too much, about $50 to be more precise (I know... It's quite low); but is there anyone that would possibly be interested in taking on this client? Another photographer replied: That's the … [Read more...] about Photographer Wanted $5 per hour – should you take the job?
One of the most common posts I see in photography forums and groups are those upset about the prices other photographers are charging. While this may be a bit of a controversial post, I'd like to offer another way to view this oft argued subject. It never fails, after a year or two of charging for your services, you start running into the novice shoot-and-burn photogs. They sprout up out of nowhere and seem to multiply like rabbits. You see post after post of sessions for $50-$100 with a CD full of images. Immediately, your hackles rise and … [Read more...] about Every Photographer Has a Place
This post is going to be my little PSA for all photographers out there. Whether you consider yourself a professional or not, whether you have a ton of equipment or just a body and a lens or two, please, for the love of all images, get yourself insured!!! This friendly PSA comes from experience. Several years ago there was around a dozen photographers in my area that experienced break ins where nothing was taken except their photo equipment. I was one of them. After coming home from a conference where Canon had cleaned all my equipment, I had … [Read more...] about Be Smart: Get Insured
As a photographer you should consider building and maintaining your brand. Not only will building your brand help you as far as business recognition goes but it gives you the ability to market yourself and manage your reputation both online and in your real life. Your interactions especially online build up an image of who you are presenting yourself to be. Im sure you want to be in control of that reputation. Here are four keys to building your brand. 1.Your Identity One of the first things you need to consider is defining who you are. Are … [Read more...] about Four Steps to Building Your Brand
Years ago when I first started growing my photography business, I was contacted by a potential client to shoot her medium-sized wedding. It became quickly apparent to me that this was going to be a larger gig than Id ever handled up to that point. She offered the standard initial details over the phone, such as the date, location, and party size. Before I knew it, we were setting up a time to meet in-person so we could get the ball rolling further. Hanging up the phone that day, I was pumped, to say the least. The Challenge However, a few … [Read more...] about To Rent Or Not To Rent Equipment
It was an all-too-familiar scenario for me: It was the weekend, and my back was hurting. My eyes ached from staring at the screen for too long, and my legs were numb from being immobile for hours. Even my brain was throbbing. And still I sat at my desk working, convincing myself that the more time I spent completing the post-processing on my latest batch of photos, the more I would ultimately accomplish. Never mind the fact that I was bone-tired and the quality of my work was suffering right along with my body and mind. The Problem Have you … [Read more...] about Running On Empty? Lifestyle Design For Photographers
Browsing through the photos on 500px is always a humbling experience for me. If you ever want to get a quick punch-to-the-gut ego check, all you need to do is spend a few minutes perusing that vast site. Im constantly amazed at the sheer volume of photo talent from all over the world, including many enthusiasts who craft better photos than some of the professionals I have seen mine included. Increasingly affordable high quality DSLRs have opened up the photography market to include anyone with a camera and ready talent. On the flip side of … [Read more...] about Which Wins – Arts or Smarts?
I feel so fortunate. I get to travel all over and meet thousands of photographers each year. Each of them is different with a unique view of the world, and it's a privilege to be inspired and shoot with them. Some of the people I meet are full timers, like me, and some make a portion of their income with photography, while the majority are hobbyists. I hope they are all amateurs, because that's all that's required to be successful in photography. Amateur means they love making pictures so much that they spend all the time and money they can … [Read more...] about There’s Only One Prerequisite to Be a Photographer
I recently spoke at an ASMP event in Michigan on how photographers could increase their business opportunities as well as expand into video. The goal was to offer practical advice. This class is unedited, so you hear the occasional things that go wrong in a live presentation (like people coughing in the audience). But the content is good and I hope super helpful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKOUvc9msWI Please share if you know a photographer or video professional who would benefit. … [Read more...] about An In-Depth Look at Selling, Budgeting, and Planning Video Projects
As a professional photographer in the digital age, protecting your data is one of the most important things you can do for your business (or hobby). Having come from a very heavy Computer and programming background, when I started shooting professionally, my backup routine was top priority! The first thing we'll cover is how to store and organize your files which covers the first of the Three C's. Copy First and foremost you have to copy your files from your camera to your computer. There are dozens of ways to do this i'm sure you're all … [Read more...] about The Three C’s of File Management – Copy, Clone, and Cloud!
As creative professionals, we often build a network that spans outside of our area. Sometimes that leads to a job that might require travel. The big question is whether to charge for that travel time and any fees associated with getting to the gig? To Charge or Not to Charge? This is a true story of an event that caused me to question if I should charge a fee when shooting outside of my geographical area.This fee would be assessed for shoots when traveling a certain number of miles outside of my town. The money would be used to offset any … [Read more...] about Should you Charge an Out of Area Fee for Jobs on the Road?
Have you encountered any of these statements from a potential client? I didn't realize your services would cost that much! Could you retouch an extra photo for me? Itll only take a few minutes. I don't think I need a professional photographer for my wedding. My Uncle Bob has a good camera. Hell take some photos for me. From a high level view, these statements demonstrate a clear lack of understanding when it comes to the value and effort that should be associated with professional photographers. Encountering people that just don't get it can … [Read more...] about Photographers: A Little Client Education Goes A Long Way
Recently, a portrait photographer I know shared in an online group that he had been approached by an acquaintance who wanted him to shoot their upcoming wedding. After giving it careful thought, he eventually came to the firm decision to turn the potential client down because, not only was it was outside of his target genre, but he had no interest whatsoever in breaking into the wedding photography. He thoughtfully shared online that he would not be seen as a good portrait photographer, but a bad wedding photographer. Simply put, it would have … [Read more...] about For The Sake Of Your Sanity, Say NO
Guest post by Kylee Ann. Outfit choice can make or break a photo. As the photographer, we are supposed to be the experts. We take pictures ALL the time, but this is a very special occasion for the family. It might be their annual session or their first family session ever. It is our job to help our client's feel comfortable and at ease with the entire family picture taking process. This starts with choosing their outfit. The best way I have found to help a client choose what to wear for family pictures is to provide them with a guide. 1. … [Read more...] about 3 Steps to Creating a “What to Wear for Family Pictures” Guide
It seems like it was just yesterday that I was signing papers and filing forms with our attorneys to get our company registered and official. It was an exciting and nerve wracking time having finally made the decision to "sink or swim" by doing photography full time. In reality, that was over 9 years ago! As I look back and reflect on my progress as a photographer and businesswoman I can definitely say that I've grown in so many ways but perhaps the most growth has happened in the area of delegation. I am Type A to the core. I was that kid … [Read more...] about Let People Do Their Job (so you can do yours)!
If you are in business, odds are that you aren't the only person trying to make money in your field of work. Whether you are a wedding photographer or provide professional photo editing services, odds are that your job is not "cookie cutter". You create something special for your clients, and that "something" cannot be replicated by other businesses. People copy ideas. It's human nature, and some even say it's the highest form of flattery. I'm not talking about plagiarism or copyright infringement here. What I am referring to are ideas for … [Read more...] about Embrace Your Competition
A wedding photographer colleague of mine came to me the other day bummed out. She had gotten a less than stellar review on one of the bridal industry's most used websites for brides to find vendors. She was frustrated and I was surprised. I know her work well and she's exceptional. She's cultivated a style that is uniquely hers and I can recognize her images in an instant. She tells me that this client claimed to dislike her photos because they weren't the style she was expecting and she wanted more "candids". I asked my friend to show me her … [Read more...] about How Client Meetings Change Everything
There are millions of portfolio websites in the USA alone. Finding ways to get people to visit your site can be a challenge. But there are tools you can use and the good news is you probably are already familiar with them. Getting Registered Lets start with some really basic ideas. You should notify both Google and Bing that you have an online portfolio. Next, if you are a Premium Business customer at Zenfolio, you can also activate a free account on Photographer Central, an online directory of professional photographers available for hire. … [Read more...] about Drawing Attention to Your Online Portfolio
Editors Note: If you're thinking about attending Photoshop World, today is the last day to get the early bird rate of $200 off. If you've been sitting on the fence, check out the registration page now. This Photoshop World will mark my 30th event Ive attended in the past 15 years.In that time, Ive transformed from a beginner into an instructor. Youre probably wondering, why are you still attending if you know this stuff. Its simple, I get to network and build connections with others...not just other instructors but attendees as well. First … [Read more...] about Building Connections at Photoshop World
I recently found out that Photoflex has closed its doors (https://photoflex.com.) While I never had a close relationship with Photoflex, and they weren't ever sponsors here at Photofocus, I used many of their products over the years and even often referred new photographers to the Photoflex lineup of affordable, high-quality products. They consistently offered good value. For three decades, Photoflex filled photography studios around North America (and the world) with gear. I am sure I am not alone in my sadness over this sudden news. For … [Read more...] about When It Comes To The Photography Business, Things Change
If you have a website to highlight your work, certainly you've heard the dreaded term SEO before. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it's essentially the tactics to get your website noticed by Google and other search engines. The Essentials of SEO Now before we get started, I want to mention again that this is just a basic guide for SEO. There are thousands of techniques within SEO, and it would be impossible to go over everything in a single short guide. If you read this article and decide you want to know more about SEO, I highly … [Read more...] about Basic SEO Guide for Photographers
Note: We've got a great event toady Justin and Mary Marantz. This event is totally free. Don't miss today's Google Hangout. The event is today, Wednesday, January 28, 2015. Its absolutely free to attend thanks to Adobe, SongFreedom and Drobo. It starts at 3PM Eastern/Noon Pacific. Join Skip Cohen and Richard Harrington and special guests Justin and Mary Marantz. We'll explore practical advice for working with a business partner. There are a lot of challenges when teaming up for business (and it gets even tougher if you have a personal … [Read more...] about Don’t Miss Today’s Business Hangout — “Working With a Partner”
"What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship." Seth Godin At the bottom of this post, you will find a video recently posted by a good friend of mine who owns small game publishing house. He and his partner are well-respected in their industry for delivering quality products that their audience love. So, when he posted this as a call to all creatives, I had to make time to watch. I wasn't disappointed. As creatives, we live and die by our ability to see the world, real or imagined, differently than the average … [Read more...] about Ship or Shut Up
Thanks for all the great questions you've been sending in to the Photofocus podcast. This week Rich Harrington and Kevin Ames tackle some great topics to help photographers. Remember, you can post those questions via Twitter with the #pfqa or send us a note here at Photofocus. The music in our podcast comes from the cool folks over at SongFreedom, be sure to check them out! Get the show here or get it on iTunes Don't forget to post a review on iTunes. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/186279036" … [Read more...] about Photofocus Q & A Podcast with Kevin Ames — January 15, 2015
There are millions of photographers in the world. A good number of those are hobbyist or amateur photographers trying to break into the business. Others are full-time photographers. In an oversaturated market, how are you different? Why should you get hired? Its not about the gear, or the settings, but your creative vision. After all, youre the artist. . . Here are some ways that you can be different: Establish a Brand The first step to a successful photography business is establishing a brand. Your brand is made up of your personality, your … [Read more...] about Stand out from the Crowd | How are you Different?
Don't miss our next Google Hangout. The event is Monday, November 24, 2014. Its absolutely free to attend thanks to Adobe, SongFreedom and Drobo. It starts at 4PM Eastern/1PM Pacific. NOTE: We will be giving away a copy of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan to one viewer during the event. You must be watching live. Join us for our newest Google+ Hangout for photographers Mind Your Own Business. This event is produced in partnership with Skip Cohen University, Drobo, SongFreedom and Adobe. Sign up here. This months … [Read more...] about Mind Your Own Business: Advice to New Photographers Starting Out and Seasoned Artists Headed in New Directions
A lot of self-employed creatives work from home. Photographers, web designers, graphic designers, video guys . . . me included. Its convenient, cost-effective, and is a great option if youre just starting out. But working from home is one of the hardest things to do. There are so many distractions . . . the internet, the television, the animals, the children . . . you get where Im headed. Its important to hold yourself accountable every day and make sure you get your tasks done. Enter iDoneThis. iDoneThis isn't new, but it's simple. Its a … [Read more...] about iDoneThis • A Key to Accountability Success
Recently at Adobe MAX, I was speaking to some other professionals. They wanted to know what they could due to attract more clients and retain existing ones. I shared a simple piece of wisdom I try to teach to all of my employees and partners. When given a choice, people will work with those they like and respect. I know... not that deep and profound on the surface... but let's break it down a bit. Choice. Ultimately, our clients choose us. Sure, you can fire a client... but no matter how much you want to work with someone, it's ultimately … [Read more...] about Are You Losing Photography Clients?
Don't miss our next Google Hangout. The event is Wednesday, August 20, 2014. Its absolutely free to attend thanks to LensRentals.com. It starts at 3PM Eastern/Noon Pacific. Join us for our newest Google+ Hangout for photographers Mind Your Own Business. This event is produced in partnership with Skip Cohen University and LensRentals.com. Sign up here. This months topic is Quality. A simple concept that many compromise on. You'll learn how to stand out in a crowded market and create passionate fans of your work. Were joined by … [Read more...] about Mind Your Own Business: Why Quality Matters in Professional Photography (with Tony Corbell)