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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 20 Nov 2012 (Tuesday) 16:19
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jskwarek
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Nov 20, 2012 16:19 |  #1

I was hoping to get your help and feedback. Back in September I found myself on the unemployment line after 14 years of dedicated service to the company I worked for. It's truly been a journey of reinvention and finding my true self since that time.

I've been a hobbyist photographer for a few years now and as a part of this new journey in life, I want to see if I can do a little more with this hobby. I enjoy website building and today, I created a Facebook Page to do a little advertisement to my family and friends. Could you all take the time to peruse my website (external link) a little and even better, take a look at my Facebook Page (external link) and give me a like (external link), then give me your thoughts and opinions?

TIA,
Jason


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gonzogolf
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Nov 20, 2012 16:32 |  #2

Jason here is my take on your website. You have some nice images. But your galleries are full of some pretty mediocre stuff. I would consider the concept of less is more. You dont have to include the full gallery of every session in your web site. You can set up separate galleries for clients to review images. If I were a prospective client randomly clicking into some of your galleries there are lots of images in there that wouldnt sell me on your services.




  
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jskwarek
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Nov 20, 2012 16:42 |  #3

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I agree, I need to do a lot of thinning. Now that I've got the tweaks worked out of my client links, my plan is to move everything there for those that want to get to them and only post those images I find "special", or that I've spent time to do a little more processing to. I've got years of photos to go through and now that I've got the time, I want to get some better content up there.

Thanks again,
Jason


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gonzogolf
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Nov 20, 2012 16:47 |  #4

Honestly I would get rid of the little league photos with the color treatment and the flag football ones as well. Pick the better shots from those sessions and present them straight up, with maybe one sample of your special treatment.




  
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jskwarek
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Nov 20, 2012 16:54 |  #5

I just removed those two galleries altogether. They were really there for no good reason and are no longer needed.


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Scrumhalf
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Nov 20, 2012 16:57 |  #6

Maybe you have a different angle on this, but I don't see the blog adding anything to your photographic credentials. It is one thing if you were talking about things photographic, but a windows vs. mac discussion isn't imo adding anything, and any strong opinions may only typecast you to one side or the other.


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jskwarek
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Nov 20, 2012 17:01 |  #7

The Blog has been another project that's been sitting on the back burner. My hope is to one day get the site complete with good content and then use the blog to talk about the day to day goings on and used as a different outlet for photography. Although I'm starting to think that Blogs are on their way out and being replaced by other Social Media outlets, IE: Facebook. That's the reason I made the decision to setup a Facebook page today. I've never been really active on Facebook but feel that's a better outlet than pushing people to another BLOG.

Thoughts on this?

PS - Maybe it's best I remove the blog link all together until I decide if I'm really going to use it or now. I've got too many creative projects going on, HA!


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HLxDrummer
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Nov 20, 2012 17:11 |  #8

I would agree with dumping the blog. A lot of the time I'll be on someone's site and I click their blog and it is out-of-date/nothing useful and just seems like a waste of time to me. If someone is interested in seeing what you are up to they can follow you on Facebook if you keep that up to date with cool tips/specials/etc.

Good luck!


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jskwarek
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Nov 20, 2012 17:14 |  #9

Done! I went ahead and removed the link in the banner, if I ever get around to finishing the blog and really start adding content I can add it back.


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glumpy
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Nov 20, 2012 20:20 |  #10
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I'm afraid to say, Looking at your sire critically from a POV of getting you work, I think it's very poor.

First thing where it fails is it dosen't say where you are. How do I know if it's even worth contacting you when I can't tell if you are on the other side of the country or are next door?
DON'T underestimate this. I used to get 10 enquiries a month at least from people overseas on my site even when I put my location in Fluro green letters right on the front page.
A lot of people won't write to ask where you are or presume you are far away because they haven't heard of you.

Next thing is you site has no selling strategy what so ever. It's really a glorified price list with too many pictures in galleries I think.

There is nothing to impress me why I should hire you over the guy down the road.
And thats a really big but simple thing to keep in mind. You make no rapport with the reader, you do nothing to show you can fulfill a need or solve a problem or otherwise motivate the viewer to email you..... And why the Fk is there no phone number???

I often see something on the net and want to know about it now so I'll ring so I can get the info straight off. Aside from that, not having a Phone number does not make you look very established, reliable or professional.

Next I get to the services page and the first pic I'm greeted with for headshots looks to me like the girl has a stone in her shoe and is in pain standing there. It's not a pic that anyone is going to look at and say " That looks nice, I should get this guy to do a headshot for me". What market are you going after anyway? If it's for business, this is a poor example to address that market IMHO.

To me, if you want to do Business headshots, relying on them to find you will yield a poor amount of enquiries. Forget about the website and go find the people yourself. I'd be having a brochure made up and hitting the streets giving them out. At least do a page on it and email potential businesses around you.
This is a market where the targets are easily visible. You can go hit them rather than wait for them to somehow find you.

You family portraits page has a nice pic but not nearly enough info. There is nothing to motivate the reader, it's just an instruction list basically. The session starts with a phone call ( on a number you don't list!) and then I discuss what you want and the potential problems with weather and travel etc.

BFD!
That is more effective at boring me to tears rather than getting me emotionally involved or motivated in any way. How about tugging at the heart strings a bit?
" They are not going to be adorable little cherubs forever, before you know it they will be smart arse teenagers driving you nuts so make the most of it now while they are cute and you can still stand to have them around".

" Granny was 95 last birthday, how many more years do you think she has left? When Was the last proper family portrait you had with her? Maybe it's time to get one last one before it's too late!"

Now as tongue in cheek as that is, I'll bet my backside I could say those very words and pull more booking than you could with what you have written.
That's not good is it?

As has been touched on, Don't have people wading through hundreds of ho hum pictures ( ho hum because they are only important to those for whom they were taken) and put up the tearjerker/ wow factor stuff in some galleries.
I would suggest a page for each of your market segments and have a gallery of say 20 Killer pics if you have them, less if you don't, for each page.
Add plenty of text that inspires the reader to call you by getting to them at an emotional level, not something that reads like a shopping list and has the same excitement value.

Now all that said, I'm crurious if you want to make a go of this what sort of research you have done for potential markets in your area?
It's all well and good to say I'm going to do portraits and cars and whatever, but do you know if there is a market and more importantly, a NEED for a/ another photographer to be doing that?

If there are 500 portrait photographers in your city, what are you doing that's so different that they will want to come to you? Do you have enough marketing out there in that segment to reach a decent number of people.
If you put in POrtraits , Your town( wherever the hell it is) into a search engine, are you on the first page or the 1387Th? If your not near the top, are you putting all your eggs in the faceache basket?
That would not be a marketing strategy I'd want to be putting my livelihood on that's for sure.

Have you looked around at where there are Niches/ needs? It's all well and good to be shooting cars but if that market is small in your area and well covered, your wasting your time.

Perhaps there is an opening for wedding shooters offering a 2 hr coverage in the park for couples whom are getting hitched for the 2nd time? Some years back I did well out of that because all the other 1000 vultures around me were trying to flog packages which these clients didn't want.
What about event work? That's usually well saturated but there are always little niches you can look at. Get on the net, see what groups are out there, find out how many are in the groups and if they have anyone covering whatever they do and go from there.

If there is a large market in your area that is well (over) serviced, find out what the other shooters are doing. Then go to the potential clients and say " I'm thinking of doing this work, is there anything you would like that the other shooters don't do you'd like or could make things easier for you or is there anything they do that pisses you off?"

They will give you the answers to get you half way in the door ahead of all the other vultures straight off. You incorporate the thing they like, the things they want they can't get now and eliminate what they don't like.
Viola! Instant marketable business.

Basically I think when you are starting out especially, You need to be doing a damn site more than putting up a website and relying on facewaste to get your business in. Get off your butt and go bring the work to you. Trust me, it's infinitely easier and more profitable in a majority of markets where it's practical.

Also I suggest if you are serious, don't say you are going to do this or that till you find out if it's worth while. I discovered a market that I'm making more money than I ever dreamed of this year but the thought of doing this work had never entered my head in my entire life 12 months ago.

Be a business person first and a photographer 2nd if you want to make a living out of this game because that IS what it takes, especially when you are starting out.
Forget about what you WANT to do and go figure what people will pay you money to do and you can find those people easily.

Seriously, If I could find someone to pay me what or above what I'm making now to photograph dog Turds in the street, I'm there.
iT is useless to say I want to be a dog turd photographer if no one is going to pay me to do it OR, if there are 1000 other people already doing that have already photographed all the dog turds available.

I hope my well meaning sarcasm does get the points across I'm trying to make here.
Business is what you need to be looking at first and what market your business caters to 2nd.
That is a fact sooooo many shooters either can't or don't want to comprehend.
The long term successful shooters know and understand it real well though.


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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jskwarek
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Nov 20, 2012 20:33 |  #11

I truly appreciate your words Glumpy. You've given me things to think about and reconfirmed things I've already thought about, just haven't reacted on.

THIS: " Business is what you need to be looking at first and what market your business caters to 2nd." is something that I continue to remind myself of, then seem to put my cart back in front of the horse again.

Jason


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golfecho
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Nov 21, 2012 07:43 as a reply to  @ jskwarek's post |  #12

To me your FaceBook banner is glaring. Just huge letters stating your name (logo-ish) sort of assaults the eyes when it loads. How about a more subtle montage of a few of your best images? This would show the images, but also some photoshop skills. The name and web address can be a small and more subtile part of the banner image. Just my impression . . .


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Nightstalker
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Nov 21, 2012 11:47 |  #13

Firstly good luck in your new venture.

I watched about 5 minutes of the slideshow on the website home page to see what you were about and it wasn't at all clear. There was nothing pulling the images together into a theme that would define your artistic vision and let me decide if I like your style. There are nice images there for sure but it appears to be all over the place.

Secondly when I started looking through the information parts on the website (not the images) I struggled to find out what country you were based in, let alone where abouts in that country.

I eventualy stumbled upon a comment "I am willing to travel anywhere inside the DFW area; inquire about areas outside the metoplex." From this I guess you are in the USA and are based in the Dallas area but it took a lot of looking. Not having this information on the website will hurt SEO even though you have Dallas and Plano referenced in your Metatags.

BTW - Do you mean Metroplex rather than Metoplex?

Your pricing and packaging needs some work as giving digital files away will definately undermine upselling prints and enlargements. Your headshots are priced very low especially as you are committing to :

a consultation meeting (lets say an hour plus travel)
1 hour shoot (may not be at the same time as the consultation) plus travel to location
2 digital Images (unlikely to sell more)

With the time to set up the online gallery, deal with orders etc. I would conservatively say that you could be into 3-4 hours of work including travel for $75 from which you have to deduct all of your taxes and travelling expenses.

That's before you take into account your other business expenses - you do have Public Liability Insurance don't you?


  
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habro
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Nov 21, 2012 20:32 |  #14

My piece of advice is: never ask people who aren't potential clients to like your FB page. That's not a moral gripe, it's because FB screws you over when you hit 400 Likes (at that point, only 7-10% of your Likers will see your posts unless you pay to Promote), so why waste a bunch of those Likes on chumps who will never pay for your business? I've had to go through and delete >100 "friend/colleague-Likers to get back under 400


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jskwarek
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Nov 21, 2012 20:35 as a reply to  @ habro's post |  #15

Thanks Habro, can you expand on this a little more. I've never been a huge fan of Facebook marketing but started yesterday at the advice from a friend.

Jason


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