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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 09 Sep 2013 (Monday) 07:45
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Have you thought of giving up.

 
TETRAGRAMATON
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Sep 09, 2013 07:45 |  #1

Hi guys,

It's been several years since I started with my photography. During all of this time mainly I was investing plenty of money and time. Though the investments still continued through the last year and half, during which I was out of permanent work dedicated entirely on the photography. I did my own SEO for my website and I was ranking on the first page of mighty Google for some good keywords, I paid to companies like filefx.co.uk and several other directories website and still nothing.
I'm not sure where I'm doing it wrong but it seems to me like photography as a business is something that is out of its time especially here in UK.
I'm not sure also if is only me who feels like giving up on everything or is there more talented photographers out there who can not find their way throughout this turbulent industry.


London professional Portrait and Headshot photographer (external link)

  
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Nightstalker
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Sep 09, 2013 14:01 |  #2

I don't want to come across as harsh but everything you mention is web based, website SEO, business directories etc. What else did you do other than set yourself up a website and wait for customers to come to you?

Did you every just get out and put yourself in front of potential clients and ask for work?

Based in London you should have plenty of opportnities on your doorstep as the need for imagery in the UK is as great as it is anywhere and London is the center of the UK universe - you just have to find your niche.

Personally I don't have a "this is me" website, don't spend on advertising and get all of my work through referrals / word of mouth and I have the most important thing you can have - regular clients.


  
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ndelacova
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Sep 09, 2013 15:58 |  #3

You did not mention what type of photography you do. I just went to your website and your work is pretty good. I do however, suggest you find other ways to get your work known other than a website. To me, a website is where people go to verify your work after they find out about you. As with anything that I am looking for, my first place to find out about anything is through my friends and acquaintances. Social media, as much as it is a chore to keep up is another way to bring about your business. Ask friends to "like" your page and then update your page on a regular basis so as to constantly remind people who you are. This is just my opinion of course.




  
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1000WordsPhotography
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Sep 09, 2013 17:13 |  #4

Things are going exceedingly well for me in this, the first year, I've decided to make photography my primary focus. It's cyclical and that this month I'll make double what I make in a month at my day job but last month I had my lowest month ever, even as a part timer.

The key is keep doing the work, stop doing things that don't work. For me Google was kicking in about .62 leads a mont so I stopped it. It's constantly a grind of adjusting and fine tuning.

You also have to project into the physical world. With a stroke of luck or genius you can get there virtually but otherwise it requires meeting people. Force yourself to pass out 15 business cards a month but only after 5 minutes of good conversation. When you can comfortably do tha double your goal to 30 cards a month. In the last three months I've gotten 2 "referrals" from people based on those conversations who passed me on.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Sep 09, 2013 18:35 |  #5

The first thing I'd say is the industry isn't for everyone. The failure rates for new businesses are astronomically high and the majority of those that do make it through the first three years in business end up part time.

Looking at your website it isn't instantly clear that you charge for your work or what work you do. Only buried deep on the about page is there any mention that you offer professional services. You have to remember just about every man and his dog have a photography website these days. From your home page as see some pretty landscapes but my guess is they are the things you sell mainly. The portfolio has three holidays and a street photography section. I don't know if they were paid work or not but to the general public it seems you've just thrown personal stuff up for lack of content in a professional capacity. Show what you sell. The same goes with the 3D... here is a part finished piece and here is something I did whilst studying. People would want to see the finished articles from professional jobs if that is what you sell. Why would they hire someone with little experience over someone with a full 3D portfolio? I didn't watch the videos. By that point I had no idea what they were and nothing to tell me either. As a member of the public I'd just have thought they were another personal project.

The bottom line is the website about you or about what you sell? It seems very much the former.

You facebook page suffers from you putting personal content ahead of things you were paid to do. How many links are there on the page to other sites where your entire fan base has just ignored them? Why would your potential clients care about a new blog post about a flash?

As for the wedding site the pricing bracket you sit in is where all the competition lies. That is never going to be easy... far from it.

Even things like this page (external link) see you portray yourself and inexperienced and small fry. Reading in-between the lines is says... I don't get many weddings. A cathedral is a dream location? (It is a church, weddings happen a lot in churches, this says you haven't shot many at all). There were rules (you'll find that is standard you just work with them, certainly isn't worth talking about as it shows inexperience).

Your photography isn't bad at all. But your marketing material is falling flat in so many areas. The perceptions you create to potential clients matter. If you create an impression that you are inexperienced as a professional and have just started out then that is what people will think you are.

Being perfectly blunt (I always am). You've so far followed what is the standard formula for anyone who one day thinks they'll start a photography business. If I throw up a website, blog about stuff (any stuff), create a facebook page and do some SEO the work will come rolling in. The reality is there are hundreds of people in your local vicinity who will have done exactly the same. Before you get anywhere you are going to need to figure out how to differentiate yourself from them.


Peter

  
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Buchinger
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Sep 09, 2013 21:56 |  #6

^^^^great advice and info for anyone - I love it when I learn something new!




  
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sirquack
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Sep 09, 2013 23:10 |  #7

I am a rank amateur, but I have been around a lot of people that own businesses my entire life. Photography is not just about the images you produce. It is a business and based on your site, you take great photos. But it seems you are lacking in the aspect of the business. Some people have said that photography is 50% images and 50% promotion. I think the images are less than that personally.
You have to be able to get yourself in front of people that want to see the images, then sell them on the fact that you can provide the best cost for images they want. As others have said, including you, it appears you are relying on the internet to bring the business to you, but that is not the way it works. You need to be hitting the bricks setting yourself apart from the other photographers out there. Get to know the project management triangle of Cheap/Fast/Good. The customer gets to pick 2. Work at being the best at the 2 they pick and you will stand apart and get more business.


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Moin
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Sep 10, 2013 08:02 |  #8

Wow Peter, that was spot on!


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Sep 10, 2013 10:18 as a reply to  @ Moin's post |  #9

agreed that your marketing copy leaves something to be desired.

the first thing on your wedding site is copy about pricing and compromise. That has to go.

You need to put yourself in the client's shoes when you sit down to write copy. They don't want a compromise between price and quality, they only want quality.

Positioning yourself and your product line is one of the most difficult things for any business. I've worked with many, many people who face the same dilemma. Hell, I have a very hard time marketing myself and it's what i've done (for others) for two decades.

You might consider hiring a professional to rework the written stuff on your website. Just do your research and find a good one that can approach it from the point of bride. I'd probably even recommend avoiding using a male to write the copy.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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1000WordsPhotography
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Sep 11, 2013 13:07 |  #10

hes gone wrote in post #16284736 (external link)
=he's gone;16284736]agreed that your marketing copy leaves something to be desired.

the first thing on your wedding site is copy about pricing and compromise. That has to go.

You need to put yourself in the client's shoes when you sit down to write copy. They don't want a compromise between price and quality, they only want quality.

Positioning yourself and your product line is one of the most difficult things for any business. I've worked with many, many people who face the same dilemma. Hell, I have a very hard time marketing myself and it's what i've done (for others) for two decades.

You might consider hiring a professional to rework the written stuff on your website. Just do your research and find a good one that can approach it from the point of bride. I'd probably even recommend avoiding using a male to write the copy.

Seconded. I'm a big fan of doing what is essential about your business yourself but wherever possible bringing in qualified help you can afford for tasks that are not essential to your business.


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TETRAGRAMATON
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Sep 13, 2013 10:52 as a reply to  @ 1000WordsPhotography's post |  #11

Hi Guys,

Thank you for the good words of wisdom!!!
The content on my website was mainly optimized and designed mainly for online visibility...keywords etc. I never thought that a potential client would be so influenced by the little details of the written content, as I was expecting that the quality of the photography presented there could've been clear indicator of how experience or how good is my services...


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tim
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Sep 13, 2013 14:32 |  #12

Ok well your main site like has been said doesn't sell you. It just shows photos. What do you mostly do? What do you want to do? If I have to ask then your website has failed.

Your wedding site's a subdomain, which is generally bad for SEO (given you have a main website) and looks funny to people. The SEO is acceptable, but look at word order - "London Wedding Photography by (you)" may work a little better. Text on home page is good for SEO, but awful for people - it says you're not that good which is why you charge little. The images on the home page aren't great - show your best. Look at my home page for one way to do things.

Your portfolio gallery's awful. The first image isn't good, why would it be bridesmaids? The people buying photography are brides and sometimes grooms, show great photos of the two of them together, photos of family with emotion. Ditch the awful gallery, make it easy for people to see more work - people will scroll down a whole page, but won't click constantly or wait for a stupid slow slideshow.

Your photography, from what little I could be bothered looking at your gallery, is high end amateur standard, professional. Work on your skills in posing, lighting (it doesn't have to be obvious), and capturing emotion and events. Processing needs work too. Avoid the black hole look, try to balance foreground brightness with background brightness better.

Under pricing put "no hidden costs" at the top. Your pricing page is a bit ugly, at least bold the package names. Again you could look at mine. Also offering albums would be a good thing, I have a tutorial here. Albums can be profitable.

Lower end customers tend to be the most demanding and the most difficult to photograph. Starting out's hard.

So my overall advice is improve or replace your website, make it obvious you're a professional for hire and what you specialise in, and work on developing your skills even if it means working cheap or for free.

But to answer your question, yes I have considered giving up given the proliferation of photographers and pricing pressures, and I'm pretty experienced and not bad at photography.


Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

  
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madhatter04
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Sep 13, 2013 15:39 |  #13

Nikolay,
I think your site is actually laid out in a great way; it's not very similar to the plethora of other photography websites out there. With the suggestions above to market yourself a bit better, I think you'd be set.


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1000WordsPhotography
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Sep 13, 2013 15:58 |  #14

madhatter04 wrote in post #16294263 (external link)
Nikolay,
I think your site is actually laid out in a great way; it's not very similar to the plethora of other photography websites out there. With the suggestions above to market yourself a bit better, I think you'd be set.

I'd belay that advice.

Let's say the advice you've been given is the PERFECT photography site. Thats still only going to do the trick 1-2 times out of 100. You still need to greatly increase and improve your ACTIVE marketing. huge established businesses can rely on passive marketing. Most small businesses need active marketing to be successful. Figure out how to push yourself in front of more people. and get out there and shake hands and kiss babies.


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Snydremark
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Sep 13, 2013 16:15 |  #15

TETRAGRAMATON wrote in post #16293542 (external link)
Hi Guys,

Thank you for the good words of wisdom!!!
The content on my website was mainly optimized and designed mainly for online visibility...keywords etc. I never thought that a potential client would be so influenced by the little details of the written content, as I was expecting that the quality of the photography presented there could've been clear indicator of how experience or how good is my services...

It sounds like this was a good lesson to learn; think about this no differently than if you are applying for a "normal" job, though. The marketing text and the things you write in your blog, etc are all part of your resume, along with the images that you actually produce.

The way you portray yourself in text lends a lot to the image people form of you and how they are going to interact with you. If you come across as inexperienced and unsure then they're probably going to skip over to someone else that can give descriptions and answers with confidence.

If your writing comes off as clunky, ill-formed or otherwise "odd", so will you. And since that seems to be your primary form of initial "address" of your potential clients, you'll need to work on that presentation a bit.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
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Have you thought of giving up.
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