As an artist, it’s natural to want your prospects to appreciate the quality of your work. After all, you’ve put a lot of energy into perfecting your craft. It’s also the reason you feel justified in charging top rates.
Let me ask you a serious question.
Do you know what’s going on with your photography website traffic?
Like how many visits? Where they’re coming from? And what they’re doing on your website?
It’s tough evaluating our own websites. We can’t help it, we’re a little bias. We put a lot of time, thought and effort into launching our site that it’s sometimes hard to admit that it actually might be doing us more harm than good. If you’ve fallen for any of the following five website faux paus, that might be the case.
Apple wasn’t the first to launch a smart phone, but it was the first to create a clear and distinct divide between the old, clunky Blackberries and the new age of mobile technology. Apple was the first to step up and give people what they really wanted: a rich mobile life.
When I was contacted by an up-and-coming New York wedding photographer to assist with their SEO strategy, one of the first things I noticed is that she was using her blog as her portfolio. At first glance, there is nothing wrong with this approach. However, the problems began when I saw how she was naming her posts.
Good old fashioned relationship marketing still works. I love the Internet for growing a business, but it doesn’t eliminate the power of local promotion.
For instance, when I was pregnant with my daughter I started seeing a new chiropractor for the sudden back pain my big belly was bringing on. One of the things I loved about her practice was the modern, zen decor that put me at ease and especially the gorgeous lifestyle canvas prints hanging everywhere.
When I had my bridal and fashion jewelry business, getting press was a big part of my marketing strategy. I really didn’t know much about PR until I dove into it. As my pieces started to get featured more and as I became a writer for some of these publications, one of the things I learned is that established magazines typically have a photographer on call or on staff to shoot their featured articles for each edition.
Finding photography inspiration without direction is often challenging. If I am not commissioned to photograph subjects for a client, I am often hard pressed to come up with fresh material on a daily basis. For that is what I do: photograph every day. It can be far less demanding to see the Eiffel Tower on a trip to Paris and take some great images, but to work on my own photographs day in and day out in a familiar place requires commitment. What do I shoot? Where does the inspiration come from?
When we have a client interested in our services, we’re finding more and more that we’re booking people over the phone and not necessarily after we meet. We do still meet a lot of our clients, but we always try to have a phone call first to make sure they’re a good fit before we schedule a meeting.
When we’re planning for a client phone call there are a few goals we have in mind:
Scripts will help tremendously when you’re starting out to do client phone calls. It might feel a little robotic at first, but after a few calls and revisions to your script, you’ll be doing it like a pro.
A lot of people (myself included) have a hard time remembering all they need to say on a client phone call or in a meeting. We’ve found that creating a script has made our calls go SO much smoother, and it’s also helped us in our meetings as well! Using a script can also make it easier to decipher if you and the lead are a good fit.
When I first started in this business, I did a little happy dance every time a lead aome into my inbox. Of course, they weren’t coming in as often as I would like, but I treated them with care (or so I thought) and would send out information and then wait for their response. And I would wait, and wait, and wait. Sometimes a response came, but often I’d only hear crickets.
Over time we’ve developed a process that not only helps us book clients better, but even if we don’t book them we still get a response back from them letting us know. It’s helpful to know one way or another, and this way we can close out the leads if they’re not interested.
Marketing is the art of supplying products to people when you know their buying preferences. It’s an easy sell, unless you don’t know what they want.
GettyImages.com has solved the problem. The company owns millions of photos. They have figured out how to turn their massive old-school photo agency into a giant Internet advertising network.
Getty Images (soon to be called by a different name), has devised a method of learning the preferences of a social site, blog, website or an individual. A lot of revenue can result from their simple formula.
Yes, I am indebted to photojournalists around the world who dare to donate their skills, sometimes their lives, to bring me non-fiction reports on how it’s going out there.
I am no longer one of them.
I learned to develop black and white photography in my college darkroom decades ago. Back then, we didn’t shoot or develop color photographs. Instead, we hand-tinted black and whites if we wanted to colorize our images. I learned a lot about values, composition, form and line in those days by using black and white rather than color to express my subject.
How can you photograph only what appeals to you and still survive economically? Very often, a working photographer will say, “I’ve got to put bread on the table, so I find myself shooting subjects that will pay the bills, and these usually aren’t subjects that are of burning interest to me.”
Making Money by Shooting What You Love IS Possible
Thanks to the Internet, communication has fragmented the world of photobuyers into more accessible targets. Most photo researchers and buyers in the editorial world are specialists. They don’t stray from their specialty because they need to stay with the brand they have established throughout the years.
When looking at implementing a new marketing strategy into your photography business, or even evaluating current marketing strategies, it’s important to know what your goals are with the strategy. I’ve been re-evaluating some of our marketing over the past few weeks, and I’ve found three questions that are important to consider when looking at different strategies.
I turned 70 this year and realized I had been making photographs for 45 years. Of everything I’ve learned during this time, the most important is realizing how little I really know. I consider myself a pretty good photographer, but not a week goes by where I discover some new detail that makes my work, and my vision, just a little bit better.
Some musicians use the Internet to creatively borrow from compositions of others and mix these elements into their own original versions. These new songs are sometimes called a mash-up or bootleg.
Mash-ups are songs that combine parts of different hit songs without adding any original music. This might represent the first significant new musical genre to be lifted out of the underground, developed, and then spread, mostly via the Internet. (Remember sampling in the 90′s — Oribital’s “Halcyon & On & On”?) The songs typically match the rhythm, melody and underlying spirit of the instrumentals of one song, with the a cappella vocals of another.
I recently took a solo photography trip to Germany to shoot architecture and look at art. It ended up being a wonderful experience, but I had some trepidation before I left about traveling in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Hopping on and off trains can be harrowing and challenging if you can’t understand the signs, read the timetables or converse with the conductor. Thankfully, all travel was fairly easy and most all the people I met were very kind.
Let’s talk about photography for a while. Not about how to take pictures or how to sell them, but just about photography. There has been a lot said, and written, about it in the past hundred years, and every attempt to define it in simple terms has failed.
I talk to a lot of wedding professionals. When I ask what it is they need help with it’s always something like ”I want to book more weddings” or “I want to make more money this year.” Sounds simple enough, but the problem is that these aren’t clear, specific goals. Do you know how many more weddings you want to book? Do you know exactly how much money you want to make this year? If you aren’t specific about your goal, you’ll never know when you reach it.
Ever look at the “Photographers” category in the AdWords of a Google Search? A lot of competition, isn’t there? What makes the difference then, between a “successful” photographer and a mediocre photographer? Talent is certainly necessary. So is energy, action, and desire. If we can assume that every photographer listed in an SEO search possesses all these attributes — don’t you question why some go farther than others?
Relevant photography keywords are necessary for healthy search engine rankings, and a key part of how to market your photography business to the right people at the right time, but they can be a real pain to deal with sometimes!
The concept is simple enough: People search online using keywords and phrases, and your website pops up like magic in the results, right?
Think of your favorite photographer. Can you describe his brand in 25 words or less?
If not, he’s got a problem.
Selling directly to photobuyers is becoming the transaction method of choice for freelance stock photographers. This idea was originally pioneered by Napster, the company that created a way for users to download MP3 music files directly onto their hard drives instead of buying a CD. In essence, Napster cut out the middle man.