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Thread started 09 Jan 2011 (Sunday) 01:31
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2011 - I need to be awesome

 
dariussutherland
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Jan 13, 2011 05:03 as a reply to  @ post 11609427 |  #31

Im just reading through it all. You pictures look great from what I have seen but it's actually getting those bookings, setting your price at such a rate that it's competetive and you seal the deal. I wouldn't advise quitting work to start this business. I would work at doing it on the weekends to begin wth, which is when most weddings are. It will take years I think to possible build up regular business.

You need to advertise. The best thing so far if managed well is adwords. This can spiral out of control tho and can cost anywhere of $60 dollars a day. I may be wrong but you really have to have it running all day, because you could decide to run it say from 10-2 but come 3 o'clock you've then missed a client who would have booked. My aproach so far is to put any deposits for bookings back into adwords. It may cost me $400 a month say, but thats the cost, the profit may be $1200 so it's worth it.

Your cost for a bridal shoot does seem very very high.. My goal for this year if possible, is to enter some comeptitions if I win, I can then call myself an Award winning photographer bringing some prestige.

If your only means of support at this stage is your photography business, then you CANNOT quit your job until you are making enough regular income to support your day to day living. Start as many other photographers start, at the bottom, reasonably priced and working a normal job and doing weddings at the weekend. Maybe forget about the Bridal shoots for now.

All the best


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 13, 2011 06:36 |  #32

dariussutherland wrote in post #11630578 (external link)
it's slighty devious, dishonest and creepy but he who dares wins...

Devious... not really. I called in at the expo on my way back home having shot a wedding the previous day nearby. Opportunistic yes. Would I do it again... absolutely.

Dishonest... I don't really see how. I was up front as to who I was, why I was there and gave people my card when the opportunity arose. As you say he who dares wins.

Creepy... Not really creepy when there is a whole room full of sales people approaching potential clients touting for business. This is some of the feedback one of those clients gave in a review on my facebook page. The other client also gave me similar feedback.

"Well what can i say, i don't think words can Thank Pete enough for the job he did. When i went to the wedding expo i bumped in to Peter, he had just gone there for a quick look and gave me his card, after that i new it was just meant to be. He was just so nice and friendly and that's what i wanted..."

If some of you consider it creepy so be it... but I'll go with what my clients thought. ;)

At the end of the day people getting a business card from someone it is up to them what they then do with it. However I did forget to mention that all three were familiar with my brand from my facebook advertising and all instantly recognised my logo.

Putting a face/person to to a brand that they have come across can makes a big difference and as I mention previously in this thread if I meet with potential clients then chances are they book me. IMHO your personality is a big factor in getting bookings and wedding photography in general.


Peter

  
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jra
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Jan 13, 2011 07:07 |  #33

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #11630841 (external link)
Devious... not really. I called in at the expo on my way back home having shot a wedding the previous day nearby. Opportunistic yes. Would I do it again... absolutely.

Dishonest... I don't really see how. I was up front as to who I was, why I was there and gave people my card when the opportunity arose. As you say he who dares wins.

Creepy... Not really creepy when there is a whole room full of sales people approaching potential clients touting for business. This is some of the feedback one of those clients gave in a review on my facebook page. The other client also gave me similar feedback.

"Well what can i say, i don't think words can Thank Pete enough for the job he did. When i went to the wedding expo i bumped in to Peter, he had just gone there for a quick look and gave me his card, after that i new it was just meant to be. He was just so nice and friendly and that's what i wanted..."

If some of you consider it creepy so be it... but I'll go with what my clients thought. ;)

At the end of the day people getting a business card from someone it is up to them what they then do with it. However I did forget to mention that all three were familiar with my brand from my facebook advertising and all instantly recognised my logo.

Putting a face/person to to a brand that they have come across can makes a big difference and as I mention previously in this thread if I meet with potential clients then chances are they book me. IMHO your personality is a big factor in getting bookings and wedding photography in general.

I think it's an awesome idea. I see absolutely nothing wrong with networking at a bridal show as a photographer. I don't see how it could be dis-honest (assuming the practice of networking by attendees is not banned). Creepy?....not at all. You've got people there shopping for a photographer, why would it be creepy to introduce yourself and present your services (which they are actively shopping for)?

Obviously, the vendors who could afford a booth have a distinct advantage. If you can't afford a booth, just going there to network with the "crowd" seems like it could be a worthwhile use of time.




  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 13, 2011 07:34 |  #34

jra wrote in post #11630939 (external link)
If you can't afford a booth, just going there to network with the "crowd" seems like it could be a worthwhile use of time.

I'm thinking an additional approach would be to advertise my own "head shot" on facebook adverts a couple of weeks before a wedding expo saying I'll be at the expo so feel free to talk to me if you see me there.

I could build a relatively cheap ad campaign and already have people familiar with my work and brand and most importantly have some personal connection with me as they would know what I look like. Say a $100 spend in total for potentially a couple of hours and a few bookings. Considering I was at the expo I previously mentioned for less than 30 minutes I am yet to come across an investment of my time which has better returns.

With regards to the OP... Don't just stick to the age old methods. In this day and age the rules of engagement (on the business front) are constantly changing. Those who find new and innovative ways in which to market themselves can have a lot of success.


Peter

  
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Ray ­ Marrero
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Jan 13, 2011 08:33 |  #35

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #11630428 (external link)
Here is an idea for you... something which I did on the spur of the moment which proved very successful (and free).

I went along to a bridal expo but not as an exhibitor just more to have a look at the competition etc. As I was passing the photography stands I noted who was asking about wedding photography. I stood nearby looking at another exhibitor's stand.

When they moved on from the photographers stand I approached the bride to be and mentioned that I couldn't help but overhear that they were looking for a wedding photographer and I happen to be one. I explained that I was just having a nosey at the expo and ended up giving the bride to be my card. As I wasn't doing a hard sell like the exhibitors it seemed to work in my favour. I did this with three different brides to be... and two of them booked me a week or so later.

I've exhibited at expos before and this gave me a far better return and for no investment other than a couple of minutes conversation and a bit of courage just to approach a stranger.

I think that is not fair to the other photographers who paid to have a booth and market themselves.

If I ran the expo, I would throw you out. If I was one of the photographers who paid to be there, I would complain to the expo manager and have you thrown out.


Ray
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 13, 2011 09:21 |  #36

Ray Marrero wrote in post #11631322 (external link)
I think that is not fair to the other photographers who paid to have a booth and market themselves. If I ran the expo, I would throw you out. If I was one of the photographers who paid to be there, I would complain to the expo manager and have you thrown out.

Being deemed as "fair" or not by other photographers does not detract from the fact that as a method of marketing it worked. Some may argue it isn't "fair" when venues take a backhanders from photographers and will only allow or recommend certain photographers to work for them.

I look at it this way... if a photographer with a booth at an expo with all their marketing material etc on show can't impress a potential client with their work and value enough compared to another photographer having a 30 second conversation with the same client just giving them a business card, on a day which they will receive countless business cards and brochures. The potential client then having to go away and lookup a website and having seen no physical albums (as with the photographers who had a booth at the expo) then contacts me to book me I think it speaks volumes about 1) the quality of those exhibiting, 2) the value for money being offered by those exhibiting and 3) the impression made by those exhibiting.

The OP asked about ideas for growing his business. This is just one. At the end of the day other people are not going to pay his bills for him.


Peter

  
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Mundty
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Jan 13, 2011 09:31 |  #37

From everyone I've talked to this business takes patience. If you're confident with your work, you may just have to wait it out... work side jobs for extra cash. You will in all likely hood be able to expand your business with hard work and the right attitude.


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enrigonz
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Jan 13, 2011 09:38 |  #38

I'll keep it short..... don't dive head first into these waters, don't know how shallow they can be, specially at low tides, we're at low tides you know. I would definitely look into doing 2nd shooter jobs and getting your feet wet for a few years before you venture into something like this. There's no easy way, not in photography, if your work "stands out" above the rest then you might get lucky, you might...... it's almost like winning the lottery, you have to play to win, in this case you have to try to succeed, so I commend you for trying but.... be careful.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Jan 13, 2011 12:23 |  #39

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #11630841 (external link)
Devious... not really. I called in at the expo on my way back home having shot a wedding the previous day nearby. Opportunistic yes. Would I do it again... absolutely.

Dishonest... I don't really see how. I was up front as to who I was, why I was there and gave people my card when the opportunity arose. As you say he who dares wins.

Creepy... Not really creepy when there is a whole room full of sales people approaching potential clients touting for business. This is some of the feedback one of those clients gave in a review on my facebook page. The other client also gave me similar feedback.

"Well what can i say, i don't think words can Thank Pete enough for the job he did. When i went to the wedding expo i bumped in to Peter, he had just gone there for a quick look and gave me his card, after that i new it was just meant to be. He was just so nice and friendly and that's what i wanted..."

If some of you consider it creepy so be it... but I'll go with what my clients thought. ;)

At the end of the day people getting a business card from someone it is up to them what they then do with it. However I did forget to mention that all three were familiar with my brand from my facebook advertising and all instantly recognised my logo.

Putting a face/person to to a brand that they have come across can makes a big difference and as I mention previously in this thread if I meet with potential clients then chances are they book me. IMHO your personality is a big factor in getting bookings and wedding photography in general.

In our area if you are caught promoting your services you will be asked to leave. As a legitimate vendor we are not allowed to roam the floor and pass out promotional material. We are limited to our paid booth space. You may not have been aware of that. But if you were, then I would consider it devious as well.

It definitely is dishonest. The bridal show promoters pay a lot of money on advertising the show and putting together the event. The vendors who have booths there pay top dollar to be put in front of hundreds of potential clients. You are sneaking in and sniping clients.
If it was not creepy and dishonest everyone would just attend and not pay the dough for a booth.


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ImCBParker
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Jan 13, 2011 13:09 |  #40

Agree with Zagiace. In Boston, Chicago, and NY, you would be escorted out if caught. It is all of the above.


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jra
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Jan 13, 2011 15:44 |  #41

zagiace wrote in post #11632829 (external link)
In our area if you are caught promoting your services you will be asked to leave. As a legitimate vendor we are not allowed to roam the floor and pass out promotional material. We are limited to our paid booth space. You may not have been aware of that. But if you were, then I would consider it devious as well.

It definitely is dishonest. The bridal show promoters pay a lot of money on advertising the show and putting together the event. The vendors who have booths there pay top dollar to be put in front of hundreds of potential clients. You are sneaking in and sniping clients.
If it was not creepy and dishonest everyone would just attend and not pay the dough for a booth.


If there are rules against it, I would agree that it would be dis-honest to try to skirt the rules. On the other hand, if the promoters have no rule against networking on the "floor", I think it's a wonderful idea. I guess it would take a little research to figure out what and what isn't allowed at the event.




  
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Ray ­ Marrero
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Jan 13, 2011 16:25 |  #42

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #11631633 (external link)
Being deemed as "fair" or not by other photographers does not detract from the fact that as a method of marketing it worked. ...

... This is just one. At the end of the day other people are not going to pay his bills for him.

Although it may work, I'd rather earn my money in a fair and honest way.

Although no one will pay my bills for me, I won't go around and "steal" clients from other photographers, in effect stopping them from paying their bills.

Hey, but that's just me.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Jan 13, 2011 16:33 |  #43

jra wrote in post #11634198 (external link)
If there are rules against it, I would agree that it would be dis-honest to try to skirt the rules. On the other hand, if the promoters have no rule against networking on the "floor", I think it's a wonderful idea. I guess it would take a little research to figure out what and what isn't allowed at the event.

there's a thought for you memoriesoftomorrow, next show contact the show producer and request permission. My guess is you will be denied. But at least at that point you will know for sure if it is dishonest.
(sorry about the bold type, couldn't get it to turn off for some reason.)


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dche5390
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Jan 13, 2011 17:27 |  #44

LOL, this thread sure has evolved.

A lot of great information. Especially targetted advertising. I'm pretty much sold on offbeatbride. Just need to come up with a good ad.

Previous client has been spreading good words about me. Last night she sent me a heads up that a colleagues friend may be contacting me as both she and her colleague had been recommending me. Nice to know that my previous clients still love me so.

I'm reviewing my pricing and dropping the base rate. Volume is what I need. Yet my pricing will remain above average so that I don't seem overly cheap.

I'm back in a 9-5 job for the next 3 months. And having 11 hours of the day spent at work or in transit to work, leaves very little time for anything else. But yes, bills need to be paid.

I have a family portrait booking in a few weeks. So I am venturing out. Although I am wary of trying to be an all-in-one photographer when I'm clearly not.

Keep the discussion rolling. There has been great insight thus far.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jan 13, 2011 17:41 |  #45

There were no rules against it so no to the old dishonesty and devious "charge". Opportunistic, innovative yes... but each to their own with your opinions.

As for stealing clients... as I said before potential clients are people who make up their own minds. If exhibiting photographers have that bad a display etc not to get those clients then they really ought to be re-examining their sales materials etc. If you have all your promotional material at your disposal and you get trumped by a business card... you are doing something wrong.

I take a similar line with my packages that I offer. I am yet to come across any local competition who even gets close to what I offer in terms of value for money. Because of the way I have structured by business and the skill set I have in house I can work the way I do. It may well rub a lot of other photographers up the wrong way as potential clients making a comparison in terms of value for money would have to question why other people's prices are as high as they are.

I'm not in business to make sure I don't upset other photographers. I'm in business to 1) because I love what I do 2) to the best I can for my clients 3) to earn a living

Bottom line for the OP or anyone is that business won't come to you. The time it takes to make a name for yourself is down to you... granted there is a little lag but that doesn't mean you can't push to get to where you want to be sooner.


Peter

  
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2011 - I need to be awesome
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