View Full Version : Marketing Yourself
31st of January 2005 (Mon), 09:40
Awesome posts, Bloo Dog. As always ;) I shall keep this in mind when I start doing Weddings... :D
31st of January 2005 (Mon), 14:09
Yes indeed a great....another great post by BlooDog.
If you are thinking of getting into photography as a business, be it fulltime or a sideline, you have to have an idea of WHAT you are wanting to do. Once you figure that out findout what your target market is, i.e. weddings, youth sports, commercial, industrial, portraiture etc.
Now sit down and think of anyone and everyone who can use your service, make a list of these people. It doesn't have to be by name of course but in general.
Let's take weddings as an example. Since BlooDog is experienced maybe he can comment on how well my ideas would or wouldn't work.
Ok I want to do weddings so who is my target market? Younger people ages 21-30 I would think would be a good place to start. Where would you advertise? How about in a college newspaper? College sports programs would be another good source.
Contact bridal shops in your area. I am sure they already have someone they recommend but, get your name out there. What if the guy they normally recommends is booked solid for the weekend Shelia has set for her wedding? She may ask the gal at the bridal shop if she has anyone else she can recommend. Maybe that guy is a $3500 wedding photographer and Shelia is thinking more along the lines of $1000. Might be right up your alley. Ask if you can leave an ad sheet, make it look professional, clean and eye catching.
Another good place to start would be at local churches. Mention to the pastor that you would be willing to do one for a member of the parish, who is getting married but hasn't the budget for a photographer, for print prices and consider it a donation to the church. The Pastor/Priest/Rabbi will know of someone who fits this profile in the church. Explain that you are just starting out and would be willing to do one or two to show what you can do. Just don't get caught in the trap of "everyone of our parish members is dirt poor and can't afford a regular photographer." Your giving back to the community by donating your services once or twice a year not a month! When we got married our photographer was a member of the church and did a horrendus job. At the reception he took a shot of my wife and me up against a heating duct for our background. For $400 I could have hired a guy off the street and got the same or possible better results. I thought that price was cheap but, I didn't have any input, it was my mother-in-law who recommended him and my wife ran with it.
Check at local florist shops. Where do brides go to get their flowers? They don't get them at the floral dept of the grocery store now do they. If you already have some weddings under your belt, ask if you can leave a few sample photos in a portfolio behind along with some business cards.
Check with the local DJ services and caterers. Give them all a card and be sure to say if they are doing a wedding and something happens that the photographer is a no show, call you first. Beware, if they call you, you better be able to show up, unless of course you are already contracted out.
Also check with wedding planners. They have photographers but, a last minute bind that you can bail them out of will definately put you high on their list of recommended photographers.
Think of anyone who may be asked by a bride if they know of a photographer. People will use someone who has come recommended to them something like 60% of the time even if the referer hasn't seen thier work. I learned that in a seminar years ago.
Always keep business cards with you at all times. If you notice the gal at the grocery store has an engagement ring on she didn't have last week, ask her if she recently got engaged. Congratulate her and hand her a business card..."Well I am a photographer and I specialize in weddings. I would be interested in seeing what your needs will be and quoting you a price for your special day. Give me a call and we can set up a meeting where I can show you some examples of my work and be sure to have your fiance', if he is interested, and your mother present."
The thing is to try and identify each and everyone who would be a possible client in the future and go after them.
So BlooDog, any comments you can add or shoot down my wedding marketing ideas?
17th of March 2005 (Thu), 19:08
Another informative thread. Thanks to the person that collected Bloo dog threads in that other post. Ive erased the bookmark already so im not sure who started it.
I think that a lot of photographers (wedding photographers in particular) try to enter the market at the wrong price level and either never attract the target customer base, or initially attract the customer base and then scr*w up enough weddings to kill their business. Others start too low and remain low either by choice or because their own skills won't command a higher price.
So whats the recommended entry market for wedding photographers? Start out low, but charge enough to make some money, but not a ton? For a few at least to get a portfolio built up? Then once your confident in your skills, jump right to your target market or try to do it in a few steps?
Its appealing to deal with the higher end target market since money shouldnt be as big of a problem. With some markets you may have a hard time collecting the money in time, and then be forced to walk away from the wedding on the day, which wont give you a good reputation.
I relied heavily on personal hygiene.Photographic skills never entered into the equation for me.
And good hygiene, hopefully that goes with out saying for most people. :0) What was your outfit for weddings?
17th of March 2005 (Thu), 21:09
One way to break into the wedding photography game is to work as a second-shooter for an established photographer. At first, you are doing the goon work. Slowly, you are doing part of the shots. Finally, you are doing many of the shots and the big guy is there just for the show. When the big guy's ticker finally quits or he otherwise croaks or retires, you are there.
Jon, The Elder
18th of March 2005 (Fri), 06:06
Seems to be a preponderence of Wedding Shooters talking here. I work in another somewhat seasonal market so I guess that puts me in the "side line" catagory.
Horse competitions are big here in Michigan - April thru September.
Everything that has been said before DOES apply. There is no substitude for face-to-face !
I address the BOD members before the first event. I show them my previous work, explain how I operate, present my price list and a explain the different options available. Each member gets a copy, that way you have eye-to-eye with each person.
Weekend of the events I'm there EARLY. Post flyers in the barn announcing my presence and how to contact me anywhere on the grounds. When I am not shooting a customer, I walk the barns taking candids for later display. It really boils down to getting their confidence and trust. Set your standards and stick to them.
I always include a business card in my mailed deliveries along with a HAND WRITTEN thank you.
Somebody with a new camera shows up and stalks me - I confront them and settle the situation on-the-spot.
If they try to undersell me - let'em. You can't stop them, just wait them out. When they see that shooting is only a small part of the overall procedure and they are not making a profit they eventualy just fade away and "lost" customers generally come back with sheepish expressions.
I use first rate equipment and set my output standards high.
So far it works well and business is increasing nicely.
18th of March 2005 (Fri), 11:11
What's your wedding rig?
Well, I started in as a second-shooter with an established wedding photographer. He shoots mostly medium-format film (Mamiya) and a little 35mm Nikon. So, I started in shooting my Canon D60. That way, our two different technologies kind of backed up each other. I mean, it is possible to have a failure of one, but you won't have a failure of both.
I used my Speedlite 550EX with the D60, and real quickly I found that I had to have it on a flash bracket. Also, I shot mostly on a tripod. The only time I would go hand-held was at the wedding reception dance floor. After a while, we got it figured out which one of us was going to stand on which side. Since he had prime lenses and I had medium zooms with a 1.6 factor on the camera, I would generally line up to get the same shot that he was getting, more or less.
We did a little wireless flash stuff. The other guy would use his Wizards, and I would use my Canon wireless flash system. That was mostly when we would have a very large group photo and needed to spread the light out a lot with two or more flashes.
You know how sometimes you like to get garden or park shots prior to the wedding. You know, something like the bride with her flowing white gown next to the grass and flowers. Well, I was always better at scouting out those scenes and figuring out where to get out of the mid-day light.
However, suddenly (about ten days ago) my D60 met with an unfortunate and sudden demise, so it was replaced by a 20D.
I need to test with all of my wedding flash stuff, just to make sure that everything works the same way as on the old rig.
18th of March 2005 (Fri), 14:58
Where do you guys get your wedding album materials? The album and all the parts. Ive looked in this area and theres nothing that I would really want to offer future clients, between fake leather, ugly looks, and the way the pages are doesnt look like quality. I think their meant more for scrapbooking.
18th of March 2005 (Fri), 16:26
Try Art Leather, online.
18th of March 2005 (Fri), 17:50
I seen some nice ones in a store in california, but they were reaaaaaally expensive, and that didnt come with the page inserts, and those were way over priced.
Im checking out the art leather site, well what ever www.artleather.com gives me.
29th of December 2007 (Sat), 18:53
I know this thread is old but Leather Craftsman has popular mainstream designs and we also use Queensberry in New Zealand and Asuka Book. ALl are really popular with our customers (you can see album samples here: http://www.orangeexposure.com/weddings/services/index.jsp#id=28&num=27)
Also on marketing yourself, I'm actually in the process of finalizing my presentation for Imaging USA/SEPCON so am working on this topic and one thing I'll be mentioning is working with non-profits. It's a good way to break in and puts you in touch with a good audience depending on the non-profit.
Anyhow, not sure if this thread is a bit old so I will be checking out other posts now...
29th of December 2007 (Sat), 23:31
Here is who i use.
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