Want To Be A Published Photographer?

I wandered over to the Lensbaby site today, and noticed they are having a call for submissions. Do you use Lensbaby? Have you taken a great photograph that you would like to share?

Lensbaby guru Corey Hilz is putting together a new book featuring “how to” and inspirational content, along with photos taken by some of the best Lensbaby photographers in the world.

lensbaby submission

Corey will be taking at least 12 of the submitted images to include in the book. You can submit only two images, so make sure they are your very best. Submission deadline is December 31st at 6pm PST. Popular voting will help determine the winners, so head over and take a look at some of the fantastic images already posted.

If you’re featured in the book, your photo will be credited with your name – and you’ll receive a copy of the book itself. And also the bragging rights that you are a published photographer!

Love Social? Give Us Your Best Twitter and Facebook Tips!

With the New Year just a couple of weeks away, I thought it would be fun to roundup the best tips for using social, specifically Twitter and Facebook, to promote your photography business.

In order to participate, I invite you to submit a tip. Then we’ll include them in our future post, “Getting Clients: How Photographers Are Using Facebook and Twitter”.

To participate, all you need to do is answer ONE of the following questions:twitter-logo-s

Question 1 – What’s the right way to use Twitter to promote your business?
Question 2 – What’s your best tip for getting followers on Twitter?
Question 3 – How do you manage your time on Twitter?

Question 4– What’s the right way to use Facebook to promote your business?facebooklogo
Question 5 – What’s your best tip for getting followers on Facebook?
Question 6 – How do you manage your time on Facebook?

Pick one of the above questions and answer it. Then send your answer to us in one of the following ways:

Pick one question and reply here in our comment section

Email it to me at Lori@VirtualPhotographyStudio.com

Or tweet it to me at @LoriOsterberg

It doesn’t matter how you get your tip to me – I want to hear from you. You’ll get full credit, great exposure, a chance to share advice with other photographers, and a chance to learn from those around you.

Then once we have all the tips, we’ll compile them into a post and downloadable document you can share. What are you waiting for? Deadline for submitting your tip is December 24, 2009.

The Secret To Getting Your Photo Business Up To Number One On Google

My Monday mornings are filled with catching up on email from the weekend, and organizing my to-do lists for the week. I also spend some time brainstorming topics for my blog posts for the coming week.

My blog posts undoubtedly come from emails and conversations I had during the previous week. In today’s email was an email from David, and after answering something similar several times in the past week, I decided this would be the best way to start out this week. David asks:

“I’ve been reading this blog for the past couple of months, and am so glad to have it as a resource. I am already using quite a few of your tips. But one thing I’m having trouble with is understanding how to get Google to notice me. I know you’ve mentioned how quickly you can get Google to rank your posts. Please tell me what your secret weapon is for getting Google to notice you. I really want people to find me easily when they search Google.”

Well David, let me tell you the secret. The secret to getting ranked number one on being number one on googleGoogle is … understanding there is no secret weapon, easy system, or hidden tricks to getting ranked on Google.

So if you’ve been getting a ton of email promising you overnight results, hit the delete button. It’s not going to happen, and you shouldn’t be spending time or money investing in anything that promises you otherwise.

The only way to get the top of Google is with hard work and persistence.

My site ranks well because I’m dedicated to it. I write on it several times per week. And I’ve written posts over the course of the past five years, which means I have hundreds of pages of content within my blog.

Google ranks me well because I have shown I’m a leader in the photography field, and that I’m consistent with my content. It gives me the rank because I produce what it wants.

The only way for you to rank well is to give Google what it wants. If you’re a wedding photographer, write about weddings. If you’re a children’s photographer, write about children. Build up your content – a simple 5 page website won’t cut it anymore.

Photographers On Twitter: How To Use It

Twitter has become a major phenomenon this past year. But with everyone singing the praises of Twitter, most photographers are still questioning how to use it, and if it really is beneficial to your business. One of my readers, Michael sent me this email over the weekend, and summed it up quite nicely:are you on twitter

“…I signed up for Facebook and Twitter this past summer. But I guess I just don’t get why I need to be there. I’ve written a few things, but it’s never brought me a client. Is all this stuff really important to my business?”

Let’s look at 5 ways to use Twitter to help grow your business.

1. Have a desire to connect.
Do you attend networking events regularly? Why do you do it? Networking events work because you meet people face to face, and connect with them on a personal level. You attend meeting after meeting to establish a relationship, show people your true value, and make people comfortable being around you. People do business with friends. The same goes for online as well. You have to be there and be committed to making connections. Many people are “lurkers” – they watch what others say and rarely participate. I’ve had many lurkers become clients after following me for many months.
[Read more...]

One Great Idea – Meet Mandie Haberman

There are two things that make a great online marketing campaign:

1. Make it seasonal – something that attracts people because of its timeliness

2. Gives you a reason to come back to your site again and again

Yesterday I found a photographer out of Wisconsin that is meeting both of those requirements with her newly released 25 Days of Christmas.

Mandie Haberman with Red Gecko Studio started the campaign on December 1st, and will run it through Christmas. Each day she offers her readers one great deal that they can use anytime from the purchase date through the end of 2010. Each deal comes with a few simple rules:

You must pay immediately through her site – a simple buy now button connects up with PayPal.

And quantities are limited. In order to get the deal, you have to act fast as she’s only offering a few certificates for each deal.

red gecko studio

And in the first two days alone, the savings is adding up to be pretty substantial for her clients. A $225 portrait session for only $25. And a $200 gift certificate for only $100 – to use any way you choose.

As a client or potential client in the Wisconsin area, these two special value items would be reason enough to check back every day, and invest in something you know you’ll use during 2010.

Even though Mandie is fairly new to being a full time photographer, with promotions like this, I know 2010 is going to be a very good year for her.

Takeaway Idea:
[Read more...]

Is It Art … Or Is It A Camera Toss?

I love finding new ways of using a camera or taking pictures. So as I read my Wired magazine over the weekend, I was intrigued with one of their How To articles, How To Take a Camera Toss Photo. The directions were in the magazine, but you could head online to see the actual images. Watch the video too, it explains how to do it (just don’t try it with your mega-expensive SLR).

From there, I headed over to the Flickr camera toss pool to see what people are doing.

camera toss on flickr

Some of the images are amazing – like this:

camera toss photograph

And this:

camera toss photograph 2

It also reminded me of William Wright’s Light Threads that I wrote about this summer after attending an Arts Festival. Could you turn your camera toss images into fine art – it’s a definite possibility.

With over 7200 members in the Flickr group, I guess there are a lot of people out there tossing cameras. Have you ever tried it?

How To Fail In 12 Easy Steps

How do you define success? As a small business owner, I’ve had my shares of success. As I sat down over the weekend to write about success, I discovered something interesting:

Every time you meet with a big success, there are several failures that lead up to that success.

So in essence the more you fail, the more you’ll succeed.

Building a successful photography business

Here are 12 of my top failures that actually helped lead to my success.

1. Talk is cheap.
Spend a week listening to what you say. Do you tell your co-workers, “Someday I’m going to start my own business.” Or “I really want to work from home to spend more time with my family.”

What have you done to work towards that goal? If you truly mean what you say, then you need to create some action steps to make sure you accomplish it.

“Someday I’m going to star my own business.” Is completely different than “I’ll have my first client for my own business by April 1st.” Give yourself solid goals with timelines you can manage on your current schedule.

2. Listen to your own advice.
Ever heard the phrase, “A shoemakers children have no shoes?”

What advice do you give your clients regularly? Do you follow your own advice?

For me, I always talk about creating systems and making sure you have everything in place to run effectively. Yet I still have to stop a couple of times per year and analyze my own business to make sure I have my own systems in place. It’s easy just to do things yourself, and put off creating an easier way of getting things done. But in the long run its this small tasks that will end up eating away all of your time.
[Read more...]

Photography Disaster Protection and Recovery – Are You Prepared?

Being a photographer means you have many dollars worth of valuable equipment and inventory. Camera bodies. Lenses. Meters. Tripods and light stands. Computers and flash cards. The list can go on and on.

Have you ever thought about what would happen if your studio burned to the ground, your bags were stolen from your car, or you left a bag at a reception site? Photography Disaster Protection and Recovery

While all of your equipment should be covered through your business insurance policy (that’s your first item to check), there are other things you can do to make sure recovery and replacement happen quickly.

Start by inventorying everything you have. Create a list of:

  • The piece of equipment – brand, make and model
  • Serial number

Also photograph each piece, and keep the photographs together in your file.

While it is important to keep this list handy, make sure it’s secure and separate from your equipment. If you store it on your computer in your studio, make sure the backup is off site. Google now offers up to 20 GB of storage for only $5 a year, which definitely can be an affordable solution for you.

Like most photographers, there are the occasional times when you are in a hurry, and move from one location to another quickly.

When you’re out photographing, another tip is to get camera bags with specific compartments. Our favorite has always been the Porter Cases with wheels – they give you the flexibility of pulling in multiple bags with their special cart feature. Always make sure each compartment is filled before you leave the site. Also count your bags in your car before leaving to ensure you have everything with you.

image source

Developing a Raw File with Photoshop

As a photographer, do you shoot in raw capture mode? According to some of our recent surveys, the majority of photographers do. Raw images take large camera sensors and plenty of storage. But with todays digital equipment, file storage has become incredibly inexpensive.

Raw files allow photographers to adjust settings like exposure, color and saturation after the image is captured, giving you the ability to always go back to the original file if you decide to do something different. If you are new to processing Raw images, check out this video. Processing can take time; but with a little knowledge and expertise, you can quickly finish editing and move on to your next photo shoot. Check out this video: [Read more...]

8 Keys To A Great Engagement Portrait

The holidays are upon us. The time for celebrating, spending time together – and gettin’ engaged.

Engagement portraits are more than just a quick shot to have something available for an announcement or a display at the wedding. They are a way for the bride and groom to get to know you as a photographer. It’s an open invitation to learn more about how you operate, and what type of customer service you bring to the table.

Keep these 8 things in mind before you book your next appointment for an engagement portrait session.

1. Never include your engagement session as a part of your wedding package. By making it a separate entity, you are giving it more value, and you are also taking away the bargaining chip for wedding clients that may not want or be able to use an engagement session.

8 Keys To A Great Engagement Portrait

2. Many photographers have different pricing structures for weddings and for portraits. Keep your pricing structure the same for any enlargements within the engagement shoot as you have for your weddings. The last thing you want to do is confuse a bride and groom on pricing when they are deciding on whom to hire for their wedding.
[Read more...]