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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 16 Oct 2011 (Sunday) 20:46
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Advertising - Where do you start?

 
huntersdad
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Oct 16, 2011 20:46 |  #1

I've had a number of my wife's coworkers ask me to do some work for them over the alst year or so. After some reflection and debating, I've decided to begin offering portraits -family, baby and so on - in my local area.

Where I am kinda stuck is how to advertise other than word of mouth. I've thought about Craigslist as a starting point. Any other suggestions to get some exposure?


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OwensSi
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Oct 17, 2011 16:29 |  #2

Facebook
Give out business cards
ModelMayhem.com




  
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PeaceFire
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Oct 17, 2011 16:55 |  #3

When I first started I asked my friends where they found their photographers. The #1 answer was always word of mouth. #2 was bridal shows (for wedding photogs) and baby expos (for newborns). But I think that was more specific to my area. I'd ask around and find out where other people find their photographers.

Oh, and be sure to learn all you can about SEO to get your website listed higher on Google.


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LBaldwin
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Oct 17, 2011 17:08 |  #4

One thing that is abundantly clear, adverts on CL will mark you as a "cheap" photographer. You will find that working as a pro is all about earning enough to make a profit. You first need to do a CODB or cost of doing business. Then set you prices including a reasonable profit from there. CL viewer are looking for cheap or free work. You will starve to death quickly by attempting to go cheap to start with. And you will also find out something else quickly - folks looking for cheap or free are often A$$holes to work with.


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Majik ­ Imaje
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Oct 17, 2011 18:39 |  #5

As stated above #1 way ... is word of mouth! That means you have to get out there daily, show your portfolio every place you go, TALK TO REAL PEOPLE and become a total pain in the neck... in a diplomatic manner with some class. You have to provide something 'different' that people want. I stress the fact that you have to think different only because of all the millions of others that are trying to do the same thing. - ALL OVER THE WORLD.

People go to work for their daily job for only one reason; they need that $$$

I didn't want to do it that way ! I was sick of doing that. I wanted to learn how to make $$ just by using my camera. That was the job I wanted. I had to actually create it and make it work.

I was a complete rookie in each and every sense of the word. MY work was terrible and I knew it.

MY OPINION: forget the internet. FOCUS all your attention on real people in your area where you live & work. Here are some of the things I used to do - .. .. Drive.. and look for a street with beautiful homes. Special times to do this .. When all the Christmas lights were on at night, When the flowers and trees were in full bloom, Fall colors if there were trees etc. I would find the best looking house on that steet. I would not approach anyone or talk to anyone. I would make several trips back and forth to my car to bring out the tripod and set it up.. go back and get the camera and take my time setting it up. I was very noticeable... (and people just love to assume things). I would create the photo and just leave. If I hung around long enough I would usually end up with a photo with someone in that house looking out one of the windows. (click) and I am out of there very quick.

I would come back to that house with a finished 11 x 14 gorgeous color print. And knock on the door... ... blah blah blah I sold a lot of prints that way. My name was on the back of every print with all information. That owner of the house.. ALWAYS show their friends. I soon began receiving phone calls to photograph dogs, skunks, cars, and every other thing you can possibly ever think of.

There are just so many other different ways to do this if you take the time to think. Where ever people gather. talk to them and show your images and give out business cards. You have to work at doing this full time. It will pay off (eventually) and you are going to learn a lot about salesmanship!!

Creating your images is one thing; Marketing your images is something totally different which many just do not understand. Advertising; That is a whole different field. You have to be very clever at times. To get people to notice.


Practice .. .. .. ... .. makes .. ... .. "better":cool:
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andrersa
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Oct 18, 2011 00:15 |  #6

I wouldn't even think of doing this in South Africa. Before even mounting the camera on the tripod you would be robbed and hi-jacked

Majik Imaje wrote in post #13263760 (external link)
As stated above #1 way ... is word of mouth! That means you have to get out there daily, show your portfolio every place you go, TALK TO REAL PEOPLE and become a total pain in the neck... in a diplomatic manner with some class. You have to provide something 'different' that people want. I stress the fact that you have to think different only because of all the millions of others that are trying to do the same thing. - ALL OVER THE WORLD.

People go to work for their daily job for only one reason; they need that $$$

I didn't want to do it that way ! I was sick of doing that. I wanted to learn how to make $$ just by using my camera. That was the job I wanted. I had to actually create it and make it work.

I was a complete rookie in each and every sense of the word. MY work was terrible and I knew it.

MY OPINION: forget the internet. FOCUS all your attention on real people in your area where you live & work. Here are some of the things I used to do - .. .. Drive.. and look for a street with beautiful homes. Special times to do this .. When all the Christmas lights were on at night, When the flowers and trees were in full bloom, Fall colors if there were trees etc. I would find the best looking house on that steet. I would not approach anyone or talk to anyone. I would make several trips back and forth to my car to bring out the tripod and set it up.. go back and get the camera and take my time setting it up. I was very noticeable... (and people just love to assume things). I would create the photo and just leave. If I hung around long enough I would usually end up with a photo with someone in that house looking out one of the windows. (click) and I am out of there very quick.

I would come back to that house with a finished 11 x 14 gorgeous color print. And knock on the door... ... blah blah blah I sold a lot of prints that way. My name was on the back of every print with all information. That owner of the house.. ALWAYS show their friends. I soon began receiving phone calls to photograph dogs, skunks, cars, and every other thing you can possibly ever think of.

There are just so many other different ways to do this if you take the time to think. Where ever people gather. talk to them and show your images and give out business cards. You have to work at doing this full time. It will pay off (eventually) and you are going to learn a lot about salesmanship!!

Creating your images is one thing; Marketing your images is something totally different which many just do not understand. Advertising; That is a whole different field. You have to be very clever at times. To get people to notice.




  
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Majik ­ Imaje
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Oct 18, 2011 00:29 |  #7

andrersa wrote in post #13265401 (external link)
I wouldn't even think of doing this in South Africa. Before even mounting the camera on the tripod you would be robbed and hi-jacked

That is very sad to hear. So sad some people have to live in these type situations. I have never lived in an area with that many problems; It truly must be difficult to endure.


Practice .. .. .. ... .. makes .. ... .. "better":cool:
30 YEARS OF ARCTIC PHOTOGRAPHS (external link)

  
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golfecho
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Oct 18, 2011 07:30 as a reply to  @ Majik Imaje's post |  #8

Take a look at: http://www.gmarketing.​com/ (external link)

Somewhat generic, but always a source of interesting ideas . . .


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Hollywoodgt
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Oct 18, 2011 21:50 as a reply to  @ golfecho's post |  #9

Make up a nice flyer and put it in your local grocery stores. Have to be something short that catches a women's attention. List portraits, family gifts, X-Mas gifts, parents portraits etc. Most women control the pocket book almost all women shop. Direct marketing always works best. The let word of mouth take over.


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dho81
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Oct 19, 2011 13:45 |  #10

As much as people bash CL, I got started there. As you're starting out and building your portfolio, it's hard to justify charging "pro rates." While there are a lot of people that look on CL for bargains, there are a handful out there that do want good photography and simply cannot afford it. These are the clients I got and after a couple of nice gigs. I was lucky that I got some great clients that were photogenic and had pretty nice venues. I was able to raise my rates rather quickly after populating my portfolio with more relevant work.

In the meantime, I'm still passing out cards to friends who know I've been doing photography and keeping an updated blog and Facebook page so people know I'm taking the photography business seriously and friends/family/coworke​rs/clients are quick to confidently refer me to people they know that might have photography needs.


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Majik ­ Imaje
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Oct 19, 2011 14:18 |  #11

your name - your photos - now figure out a way to spread that info all over the place to real people in real time. not the internet. (as your main source). Get out there and meet real people. Place photos in stores and such with their permission. Note-cards & Post-cards do a lot of work for you; when you are not even around. Myron Rosenberg is the most famous successful photographer in all of ALASKA. He has literally hundreds of post card stands and note-card stands all over this entire state from one end to the other and every place in between. You cannot walk into any store in any part of this huge state, without seeing his work. Now take the time to do the same thing where you live; It is going to take TIME.. to go one step at a time. Myrons work is wicked expensive $650 for a print & up! He gets the money he wants for his work. He only uses 8 x 10 camera(s). His gallery on 4th ave in Anchorage for over 20 years was always very crowded from all the tourists. From just one photo he made over $500,000 in just one short summer. His work is online if your interested in seeing what a PRO can actually accomplish.


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tomd
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Oct 19, 2011 14:21 |  #12

now is a good time for x-mas portraits. Get some models to sit for a few portfolio shots, and then distribute your best shots. Grocery store boards, FB via friends, church, etc.


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nathancarter
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Oct 19, 2011 15:15 |  #13

We've had a lot of success using BNI to network and find clients:
http://www.bni.com/ (external link)

I'd be surprised if the photographer chairs in your local chapters aren't already full, though.


http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

  
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GadgetRick
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Oct 19, 2011 15:49 as a reply to  @ nathancarter's post |  #14

There are a lot of different ways to market yourself. Note I said market yourself not advertise, there is a difference.

With an advertisement (most of the time), you're looking for an immediate response. Whereas, with marketing, you'd like an immediate response but you realize you need to get your name out...build your brand so to say.

So many people will tell you how not to do it (e.g. don't do CL, don't do Facebook, etc.). Honestly, if CL works for you, then go for it. Some people find things to work which others may not find works. So don't totally discount ideas without some investigation.

I recently moved from NJ to FL and am now reinventing myself and my business down here. It's (basically) starting from scratch down here. How am I doing it? Here are some things I've been doing:

-Networking groups--you'll meet lots of people this way. You may build some good relationships. You just need to be able to talk about what you do without rambling. Figure out how you'd tell someone what you do and make it short and to the point. If you're not to the point, you'll lose them.

You also need to know why someone should do business with you rather than your competitors (or nobody). This is an important concept and something you need to think about. Telling someone, "Because I take better photos," just doesn't mean anything to most people. You need to come up with tangible reasons.

I've been involved in various networking groups over the years. The biggest mistake new people in these groups make is expecting to go in there and get a ton of business. It just doesn't (usually) work that way. You have to build a relationship, show you know what you're doing and that you're serious about doing it before people will refer business to you. You also need to refer business to them so learn to be a good referrer, it'll get you business...I promise.

-Facebook--I use my Facebook page to post what I'm doing, information, etc. You need to be in front of someone when they need/want what you offer. Since you don't know when that might be (usually), you need to constantly be there (just be careful about being annoying). This goes for ALL types of marketing to be quite honest.

-Get involved--have kids in school? Get involved with the PTA. Volunteer for helping out with various things. Have kids who play sports? Do you do sports photography as well? If so, show up and shoot. Volunteer to coach. You'll meet the other parents and you'll have a chance to talk about what you do.

My sons are in a school which just had a fall festival this past weekend. I volunteered to set up a photobooth as a fundraiser for the PTA. I charged $5 per photo and am donating half of that money to the PTA. Not doing this for the money, rather, the exposure. I had flyers and cards to hand out. I expect to get some business from it. I've have had some parents come up to me in the days since to say they plan to schedule a session with me--this may or may not happen but that's not the point here. The point is, these people now have seen me, know what I do and have even seen me doing it! Also, the school is allowing me to put out a flyer to ALL of the students for my services.

-Build an email list--the key to getting regular business is about being in front of the customer(s) at the right time. An email once a week (or so) is an easy (cheap) way of staying in front of potential customers. It's also non-invasive. I use mine along with my FB page to let people know what I'm doing.

-Stop looking for business--yes, I said stop looking for business. Start looking for referrals instead. Think about it, how many sessions can you do for a family? But how many people does that family come into contact with who may be able to use your services? Google, "referral based marketing," and you'll find lots of info on this. You'll be surprised at how much more business you'll wind up finding once you stop looking for it and, instead, looking for referrals.

An example of this is don't send an email soliciting business, rather, send an email and tell your list about a great senior session you just shot or a tough situation you were able to power through and get great shots. I may not need you to do that sort of thing but I may know someone who does need you. Trust me, it works.

Sorry to ramble on a bit. I have been in sales for 18 years and I see so many people (not just photogs) making the same kinds of mistakes when trying to build a business. It's not about the sale, it's about the referral.

There are many other things you can do but I just wanted to give you a few quick examples. I think you get the idea.

Hope this helps and good luck!




  
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KCMO ­ Reefer
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Oct 19, 2011 20:14 |  #15

^^^^^^^^^^
Great post. Thanks!


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