The One Trick to Get Your Wedding Photography Clients to Follow the Rules

Have you ever had to deal with those kinds of nightmarish wedding photography clients that you just couldn’t convince to follow the rules, no matter what approach you took? You tried sweet talking them and they just got even more relaxed about the rules. You tried to be more firm about your principles (think punctuality, clear-cut decisions about locations, make-up, etc.). They failed to take you seriously – or, conversely, gave up working with you altogether, because you had turned ‘dictatorial’. If such conundrums sound familiar to you, you’re probably also wondering if there’s a way out of them. We’re here to tell you that there is: you can get your wedding photography clients to become more rule-abiding, with the aid of this single simple psychological trick.

Reverse that psychology on your wedding photography clients

wedding-photography-clients-rulesIf you’ve ever visited Trafalgar Square in London, you may have noticed the big signs that say “Please, don’t feed the pigeons – they cause damage and nuisance to the square”. Even if you have, even if you haven’t, try to imagine what such a sign would rouse in you. Be honest about it. Would you be tempted to do the exact opposite of what the sign would ask you? If so, it’s not because you’re particularly naughty or have a penchant for disobeying: it’s because rules like this one tell you two things. 1. That it’s not good to do a certain thing. And 2. That a lot of people are doing it anyway. So, the basic takeaway from this lesson, is that if you want your wedding photography clients to follow rules, you need to word them right.

As the old adage goes, people are social creatures. If a group of people does a particular thing, chances are others are going to follow in their footsteps. It’s the principle of social proof, deeply ingrained in our mentalities, which tells you that if other people are doing it, you should probably be doing it, too. Psychology has countless examples in this sense: for instance, when the IRS announced it was hiking tax penalties because tax evasion had been rampant during a particular year, tax fraud actually increased the next year. Because, hey, “if everybody else is doing it, why can’t I?”, right?

How to formulate rules your wedding photography clients will actually respect

If you’ve been following this post up to now, it’s probably quite clear to you. Combine reverse psychology with the principle of social proof and you’ve got yourself a good rule on your hands, which people are going to want to abide by. Here are a few examples and counter-examples.

Example #1: Late bookers

BAD: Don’t book me two weeks before your wedding! It’s annoying, unprofessional and messes up my schedule!

GOOD: Most clients I’ve worked with successfully in the past had booked me right after setting the date. This gave us a lot of time to get to know and understand each other, figure out all the details and come up with great ideas for photos.

Example #2: Sharing photos with no watermark

BAD: Do not share my photos on Facebook without a watermark on them!

GOOD: All clients receive a set of watermarked images, which they are more than welcome to share on Facebook. In fact, I love it when wedding photography clients share my work, because this basically works as free advertising for my business!

Example #3: The chronically late

BAD: If you’re always late for shoots and appointments, I’m going to become really annoyed and frustrated working with you.

GOOD: Most clients do their best to respect the set times of our meetings and this helps us work better together, since we’re all more relaxed.

4 Best Practices for Wedding and Event Photography

best-practices-for-wedding-and-event-photography01During the past few years, the recession and economic turndown notwithstanding, it’s become ever clearer that event photography in general, and wedding photography in particular, have turned very competitive. It’s not just the fact that money is harder to come by generally speaking – there are now more hobbyists turning pro than before, since (semi-)professional DSLR cameras have gotten more affordable and accessible to handle. So we though a guide of best practices for wedding and event photography was in order, which is why we’ve collected some of the most essential advice on this topic that we could find on the web. Check it out and let us know if you think anything essential is missing from our list.

The selection is up to you, not the client

Events (and weddings in particular) are occasions for shooting non-stop. You fire away and, before you know it, your memory card is filled and you’ve got hundreds of photos to choose from. Curating the entire raw material and selecting the best photos might sound like a drag, a bore, and a chore, but you still need to do it. It’s up to the artist to select their best photos and present them to the client; allowing customers to wade through dozens of blurry, out-of-focus or otherwise inadequate pictures is entirely unprofessional.

Market yourself with deadlines

The above principle might sound counterintuitive, but it’s all about marketing your photography business properly in the digital era. You see, the Internet is altering purchasing mentalities as we speak – clients are much more prone now to put off a buying decision. However, with the right attitude and best practices for event and wedding photography, you can counter that. Set a deadline for yourself, create a special offer which expires after a certain date, and watch how your clients respond. Chances are many of them will react to this sense of urgency.

Business is business

Among the best practices for event and wedding photography is the fact that you need to remember you’re running a business. Sure, you may have gone into photography because it was fun, enjoyable, and you are passionate about it. However, at the end of the day you still have bills to pay, a studio to maintain, and equipment to purchase. Tailor your products and service cost planning according to your financial needs. Understand your market segment: take a good look at what sells and what doesn’t and always keep improving.

best-practices-for-wedding-and-event-photography02Build relationships

Photography is, to a large extent, a people-oriented field. If you work exclusively in non-wedding event photography, you probably already know how important it is to create a good relationship with your returning customers. The same applies for wedding photographers that regularly collaborate with a particular MUA, wedding planner, or wedding planning agency. So, what’s the best way to hone a successful professional relationship? It’s as simple as being personable, sociable, and friendly. Get people talking about you. Create word of mouth and work consistently toward building a reputation.

Looks like a pro, walks like a pro, talks like a pro…

Don’t dismiss the final item on our list of best practices for event and wedding photography as superficial. It’s important to present yourself as a professional photographer whenever you come into contact with (potential) clients. This means keeping your gear in good shape, having business cards prepared, and pitching your business – but not excessively and ad nauseam. What you want to achieve is to make (potential) clients understand that they need you. You will want them to seek you out, not the other way around, so do your research on trends, take part in wedding expos, and put your best foot forward, both in terms of professional attire, as well as in terms of professional portfolio.

Why Photography Contests Are Good for Business: 3 Arguments

photography-contests-are-good-for-business01Photo competitions have been around since the art of photography itself, but their history in itself doesn’t mean they are without detractors. On the one hand, there are those photo aficionados who tend to believe  that such contests are a sheer waste of time, organized by money- and rights-grabbing brutes with no real interest in the art. Yet, on the other, photo competitions do have value for the artists, since they prompt them to take an honest, objective look at their own work, cull it, curate it, and put their best foot forward. That’s why we at Virtual Photography Studio believe photography contests are good for business, no matter if you’re into wedding photography, glam, editorial, or photojournalism. They can help you carve out a niche and build a name for yourself and they can also do a whole lot more – join us as we explore three essential arguments in favor of photo contests.

#1 The money

It might sound petty, but one way to tell apart professional competitions from lame ones is the cash prizes. The winner of the International Photography Awards gets $10,000 in cash; the winner of the Deeper Perspective section within the same contest receives $5,000, and there’s also a $2,500 prize for the year’s best new photographer. If you win the grand prize of the Smithsonian Photo Contest you get $5,000 and there are also five $500 cash awards for the categories, plus a Readers’ Choice award worth just as much. The National Geographic Photo Contest awards its Grand Prize winner with $7,500 and each category winner with $2,500. Petty or not, when a serious chunk of cash is involved, one can’t help but think of how great money would be for making further investments into business.

#2 The exposure

Some photography contests are good for business even though they provide no actual cash prize, as is the case with the Photography Masters Cup. This competition asks for a $30 entrance fee and promises exposure in the PHOTO Paper Magazine, as well as several online media outlets. The above-mentioned IPA has had the work of its winners published on Buzzfeed, as well as on EYEMAZING. It goes without saying that some photo contests are great for exposure even only by sheer association (Smithsonian and National Geographic are two examples).photography-contests-are-good-for-business02

#3 The business leads

If you win the IPA, you get a trip to the prestigious Lucie Awards in NYC – and if you’re double lucky, you can even get your image selected for a 45-photo exhibition in the build-up for the show. And most local winners will get automatic exposure in local media outlets, irrespective of how prestigious the competition is – you can usually count on national/local pride to boost your prestige. Many previous winners of the contests mentioned above explained that photography contests are good for business because they allow you to become more connected with actual buyers in your niche. As such, winning the right contests is highly likely to ultimately boost your revenue.

Verdict: Top photography contests are good for business every time

Yes, we did say top photography contests are good for business – because the shady ones can actually be detrimental. Here are a few guidelines, if you’re looking to expand the notoriety of your wedding photography business by entering a contest and don’t know where to start:

-          Be wary of contests that charge entrance fees, but don’t offer any cash prizes. These are the money-hungry leeches we were referring to in the beginning.

-          Always, always read each competition’s policy on copyright. You do not want to give rights to your work for free, no matter how otherwise prestigious the contest sounds.

-          Make sure you enter the right category, when applying – and also check out the profile of each contest. Some are geared toward editorial work, while others tend to lean toward photojournalism more.

5 2014 Wedding Photography Trends to Watch out for

The year is well underway, yet many in the field of wedding photography are wondering what the most relevant 2014 wedding photography trends are. Read on to see our picks, which include online advertising, printed albums, and a whole new esthetic, in terms of actual picture-taking.

2014-wedding-photography-trendsFine-art photojournalism is in, vintage is out

‘Fine-art photojournalism?!’, you might exclaim. What’s that? Just what it sounds like: a blend of styles that brings together the candid quality of photojournalistic shots with just a dash of the impeccable style you would expect from fashion and editorial shoots. In other words, it’s the type of photography that manages to look both glamorous and unscripted. The vintage style, popular a few seasons ago, is reportedly falling out of grace with an increasing number of photographers, who are striving for a timeless look, instead of one that just looks dated from the get-go.

Truly professional photography

It was bound to happen, wasn’t it? On the one hand, we’ve seen a virtual boom of DSLR ownership among non-professionals over the past few years. On the other, an increasing number of photography hobbyists are going pro. These two factors combined bring us to one of the most interesting 2014 wedding photography trends. The experts predict this to be the year when the professionals will need to learn to set themselves apart from the non-pros. What’s the best way to do that? By finding a niche all your own and catering to the tastes of clients who know that a friend armed with a DSLR (no matter how expensive) is not quite the same thing as hiring a professional photographer.

Spectacular wedding albums2014-wedding-photography-trends02

In terms of 2014 wedding photography trends, one thing is for sure: much like in 2013, high-quality fine-art printed albums will continue to rule. Yes, yes, we know: these days everyone and their grandmother has Internet access and is dying to share digital wedding photos on social media. However, while providing your clients with a DVD of pictures taken on the big day will remain the standard, what will truly set the professionals apart is the energy they invest into creating a beautiful book of hard-copy mementos.

Stagnant pricing

The economy is ever so slowly recovering, but while this doesn’t justify price increases, the afflux of hobbyists turned professionals in the field of wedding photography warrants that prices will stay the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it means the clientele is getting used to the idea that access to professional wedding photography services is something that comes at a price. In brief, the clients are becoming educated – and this is happening thanks to a handful of professional wedding photogs who are standing their ground, even in the face of economic sluggishness. What they’re doing actually benefits the entire field, since it means that emerging photographers don’t have to start out from the very bottom, in terms of fees.

2014-wedding-photography-trends03Wedding photography blogs

They’ve been around for just about as long as high-speed Internet connections, but the experts in 2014 wedding photography trends say that they’re here to stay for this year. It’s all thanks to the increasing weight and importance of online advertising. Social media has a lot to do with it, but so do the hefty prices that photographers are expected to pay, in order to have their work exhibited in bridal shows. Print advertising overall is declining and that’s obviously because there’s no comparing online publicity to what money can buy offline. As numerous professional wedding photogs are saying, these days a massive part of their business is coming in from their blog – so if you don’t have one already, you’d better get to it.

Success Stories: How to Create Your Own Photography Niche

In a day and age where social media and other media consumption habits gear users toward a torrent of visual information, how does a commercial photographer go about creating a lucrative business? The answer, according to more than just one accomplished pro photog, lies in knowing how to create your own photography niche. This is, of course, about personal branding to a large extent, but it also has to do with finding what you love, catering to an already existing audience, and getting noticed (and paid!) for it. Easier said than done, huh? Well, it might take a bit of soul-searching, market research, and adapting, but it certainly is feasible. Here’s how:

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Create your own photography niche by providing quality products to ideal clients

Do you happen to know at least one photographer who does it all? Product shoots, events, concerts, architecture, fashion, travel, babies – they know all about it and dabble in them all. While, on the one hand, it’s perfectly acceptable to sometimes step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at a type of photography you’re not entirely specialized in, this is not a very good business strategy. See, the reasoning behind such a ‘smorgasbord’ approach is that the photographers in question believe that if they have something to offer to everyone, then someone will surely want to do business with them. Key word: someone. Anyone. On the other hand, though, the process through which you create your own photography niche starts with knowing what you love to photograph and who you can sell it to, ideally.

So, in your quest to create your own photography niche, start out by identifying the following:

  • The perfect picture. What segment of photography do you feel most comfortable with? Narrow it down as much as you want. It could be a particular type of wedding photography, or something exotic like pet portraiture. The important thing is that you’ve got the technical skills, gear, and experience, to create great pictures of this kind. Finding this segment will take an honest look on your part at your current portfolio. You can also gauge social media reactions to your photos, for an indicator, as well as ask for unbiased second opinions from your peers.
  • The perfect client. First and foremost, a perfect client in any photography niche is one that trusts their photographer and knows they’ve chosen the best person for the job. Then come the specifics. Perhaps you like to work with couples in your area, or with big brands, or not-for-profits. Whatever tickles your fancy is entirely acceptable.

In order to create your own photography niche, you need to find that point of intersection between the two narrowed-down groups above: the perfect product you are able to deliver, and the ideal person to pay for it.

The benefits of creating your own photography niche

There’s far more to gain from specialization in photography nowadays, than just mere monetization. Of course, this aspect is not to be ignored, but here are a few other things you’re likely to gain in the process:

  • Confidence. By working with and for people who appreciate the kind of work you do, you will also gain more self-trust in your own skills and value. This way, you’ll be able to price your shoots at a fairer value.
  • Identity as a photographer. When you stand out from the crowd, when you’re no longer just another photographer on the virtually endless list of online artists, you’ve got yourself a personal brand.
  • New business. This almost goes without saying – when you know what you’re about and what you can deliver to discerning customers, you will also know where and how to go looking for them. If it hasn’t already, you’ll start seeing your photography business take off.

4 Infomercial Selling Techniques You Can Steal And Use To Improve Your Photography Sales Methods

You’re sitting up late at night.

You switch the channel, and before you know it you’re hooked.

Can you really do all that with a knife? Can you really have a body like that with just 20 minutes of exercise a day?

You know you shouldn’t believe what they have to say. You’ve even laughed about the sales tactics of infomercials with your friends – who buys that stuff anyway?

Then before you know it, you open up your wallet, take out your card, place the call, and have your “new” thing is on its way.4 Infomercial Selling Techniques You Can Steal And Use To Improve Your Photography Sales Methods

Wow. Did you just fall for that?

Yep. And so do millions of other people every single day.

That’s why infomercials are so successful.

Yet for most people, they get caught up in what the whole thing is about – what they’re selling – and they forget that there is another side to it. If you’re now a small business owner, never look at things strictly through the eyes of a consumer ever again. Instead, look at things through the eyes of a business person as well.

And when you look at infomercials through the eyes of a business owner, you will see things in a completely different way. Yes, there are things you can take right now from any infomercial you watch and incorporate into your own photography business model. Here’s how.

1. Emphasize the problem

The problem with most photographers’ marketing programs is they focus in on the basics. “I’m a wedding photographer.” “I capture memories.”

Yada. Yada. Yada.

Yes, anyone who wants to hire a photographer knows what you do. If they are planning a wedding, they look for a wedding photographer.

But what they don’t know – and who they really look up to once they find – is a photographer that stretches beyond normal words and actually gives them advice too.

With every type of photography, people are looking to hire someone that can give them something they can’t get on their own. They have a “problem” and you have the solution.

But if you don’t emphasize the problem and show them how you’re the perfect solution, you’re just thrown into the bucket with the majority of other photographers that have no idea how to sell.

Are you a portraits photographer? You can play up so many problems in today’s market. How about selfies – do you really want an arm in all of your portraits? What about big box locations – do you really want cheesy backgrounds and “stand on the x” fake smiles?

The key is finding something that separates you from everyone else out there – and play it up in every way imaginable.

2. Details and repetition

If you haven’t watched an infomercial in a while, do it. You’ll quickly notice that there isn’t a lot of script there. Instead, they take a concept and repeat it again and again from every angle imaginable. You can do that tool.

Set up the problem. Show your solution.

Then talk about the problem in a different way. And again show how everything leads back to your solution.

Have your favorite client talk about their problem. And how you were the only one they could find that solved it perfectly.

Rinse. Repeat. Do it again. On your brochures. On your website. On Facebook. In your client meetings. Everywhere.

3. Prove your scarcity

There is only one of you. And there is only so much you can do.

Yes, that’s always the underlying assumption. But like an infomercial, call action to it.

“There are only 52 weekends a year. We only photograph 52 weddings a year. That’s it. No more. Will you be one of the lucky ones to have your wedding captured by John Smith Photography?”

See? Obviously if someone thought about it, they know there is only 52 weekends a year, so of course you could only photograph during that time frame. But by saying it out loud, it creates scarcity. It makes you a little more daring, a little more “I gotta have him”.

That’s what infomercials do well. And that’s what you should do with every campaign, every offer you ever make.

“Want one of our fall portraits? We only have three weekends available, and two clients per weekend. Will you be one of the lucky ones?”

“All holiday orders must be placed by November 1st. Miss the date and you’ll have nothing to give your loved ones this holiday season.”

Yes, it works with everything.

4. Huge call to action

I once had a photographer contact me and leave a message. But he forgot to leave a phone number. So I went to his site to look for his contact information. Guess what? There was nothing there. No phone number on his header or in the sidebar. The contact us was just a fill-in-the-blank form.

Yes, I could use the number he called in from (and I did). But the point is ease of use. How do you expect your clients to get a hold of you when you make it difficult?

I quizzed him on it. And he said he hates spam and doesn’t want solicitors calling him. So he uses a form.

Not acceptable. When you’re in business, everything is about ease of use for your customer. They should never have to hunt for everything. In fact, you should be blatantly obvious as to what you want people to do.

“Fill out this form to see if your wedding date is still available.”

“Call us for your free consultation.”

Yes, it might seem over-easy. People should know that, why should you have to tell them?

Yet calls to action are triggers. If they are subconsciously thinking “I like this photographer”, a simple call to action may push them to take the next step.

Be specific. Take them by the hand and lead them exactly where you want them to go.

And the more you do it, the more success you’ll have down the road.

A Businessman’s Approach to Photography : The Best Method for Signing New Clients

Guest post by Topher Kelly

Photographs courtesy of Jared Bauman

In a world of salesmen who assure clients that they know “what’s best,” the Socratic sales method, one that revolves around listening and asking questions, isn’t the most popular approach. That said, there’s something to the Socratic sales method that most modern businessmen, whether they are a small town photographer or a Fortune 500 CEO, often underestimate. The art to of listening can uncover a potential client’s key fears, objections, and interests. This is information vital to making a connection and transforming a potential client into an impressed customer and loyal advocate.

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The reasons for employing the Socratic business method boils down to three simple benefits. Professional photographer and business coach Jared Bauman sums it up nicely: “When you ask the right questions and take the time to listen, the client will tell you what you need to know, you’ll learn about all their reservations and objections, and most importantly, you’ll gain their trust.” The key to achieving the benefits Bauman mentions depends on connecting with the potential client and asking the appropriate open-ended questions. “Try to keep them talking and relate to them whenever possible…the goal is to make them feel at home,” says Bauman.

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According to Bauman, the most rewarding part about this method is when that person is so involved in the conversation that they literally lean forward to you, their new acquaintance, and say “I can’t believe I’m telling you this!” With that in mind, your goal should be to make them feel at ease with you, so that they feel comfortable talking about where they are from, their engagement story, and as many other details as your time permits. Find out their style, income, and how big their family is without asking those questions directly. If you can do that, they’ll trust your vision of their special event and, more importantly, your pricing sheet.

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For photographers, the Socratic method is about more than just locking down a client. It’s about finding out if you and the potential customer in front of you are a good fit. “Most photographers, especially if they are just starting out, can’t shoot 300 weddings in a year. This process helps you solve the equation quickly – do I want to work their event? Do they want me to work their event?” says Bauman.

“What people often forget is that in the photography business, like any business, customers buy people, not the brand. You need to be genuinely interested in your potential clients and sell them what makes you unique as a person, not your Jared Headshotphotography service. That’s the step you need to take to be successful in this competitive industry.”

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With a background in business, Jared Bauman provides the photography community with professional coaching and education. He is an expert in photographer pricing, and has toured the country speaking about how to maximize profits through a clear and simple pricing structure.  Jared is teaching a free live online course on creativeLIVE August 1-3.

5 Quick Things You Can Do This Week To Fix Your Sales Process

Where do you look for new clients?

If you’re like most photographers these days, you’re heading online more and more. And why not? Facebook has over a billion people. Pull up any key term in Google and you’ll find millions of results just waiting for the person to search and find.

But just because there is a lot of potential doesn’t mean you’ll find it IF you aren’t approaching it in the right manner. To find clients, you have to have a dynamic web presence. And a dynamic web presence means the ability to take a potential client from one point to another, walking them from just finding out about you to signing up and becoming a happy and satisfied client.

If you don’t have a dynamic web presence, or any piece of the process isn’t in place, you’re missing out on HUGE potential.

Look through this list; do you see any offenders in your business? If so, clean them up today.

#1: Your call to action is missing

I worked with a photographer a couple of years ago who couldn’t figure out why no one ever contacted him through his website. So I agreed to spend some time going through it and give him some pointers on things to change.5 Quick Things You Can Do This Week To Fix Your Sales Process

It took me 30 seconds to find out what was wrong.

Nowhere on his website was a phone number, an email address, or any way of connecting with him. He didn’t even have what city he was located in and was willing to do business in. He had a fill-in-the-blank form – and that was it.

When I questioned him about it, his response was “I don’t want all that spam or people contacting me about anything other then doing business with me. This is my way of weeding out the spammers and the marketers so I only have to deal with potential customers.”

The problem with trying to make it difficult for spammers and marketers to get a hold of you is you are doing the same thing to your customers. And if things are that difficult for your potential customers, I guarantee you they are going somewhere else.

Never, never hold back on giving people ways to connect with you. In fact, the more ways they can connect, the better.

  • Tell them to Facebook you and respond immediately.
  • Give them your phone number so they can call when they’re ready.
  • Give them an email and check your account all the time.
  • Create open comments on your blog (with your approval of course) and respond as soon as anyone comments on things you have to say.
  • Put your phone number bold and in the header of your site. Make sure they can find it easily as soon as they want to connect with you.
  • Give them free information to find out more about you. Those free report and sign up boxes you see on SO MANY sites online? Yes, they work. And you should be using it too.

Your homework this week: Look through your site and see how easy it is to connect with you. Can a potential client connect with you in many different ways, and be able to find those connections the second they decide to move forward? [Read more...]

4 Reasons Someone Is Stealing Your Photography

Guess what? The photography industry is changing. But I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.

In many ways, photography has changed because of our technology. Mobile, tablets, social media – its all played into the way we want our photography.

But another contributing factor is how we approach photography as a business – or lack there of as the case may be. There are only so many times a photographer can reduce their fees before they hit the $0 mark. And there are only so many days you can survive making the $0 mark.4 Reasons Someone Is Stealing Your Photography

How many of these traps have you fallen into this year with your own photography?

You haven’t valued it properly

Take a look at your current packages. Do you offer to shoot 1,000 images, edit it down to a file of 100 fully Photoshopped, edited images in perfect shape. And of course you hand over the large digital files so they can print to their hearts content. All for $50? Yes, I see that all the time. Let the excuses fly. “I can’t charge any more than that, no one would pay for it.” Or “Not in my area, we’re hurting around here.” But the truth of the matter is if you aren’t charging what you’re worth, if you don’t find the value in what you do and what you offer, neither will your customer.

They don’t know the value of it

Have you ever explained to your customers the value of your work? Do they know about your expertise? Do they understand your education, what makes you professional over every other photographer? Do they understand balance, color composition and posing? Have you pointed out mistakes in other work, and showcase what value you have in the art world? Some clients prefer to work with professionals. But you have to prove your expertise in order for them to want to pay for it. Otherwise they will move on to your competition, looking at things solely through price.

They are from a different time and place

No, I’m not talking about extraterrestrials here. What I mean is if you are a 40 something photographer expecting your 20 something clients to respect copyrights, you’re in for a world of shock. 20 somethings have grown up under different times. They expect different things, different rules. If they want a song, they copy it. If they want to watch a movie, they find it and watch it. If they want to read something, they find a way to do it for free. And if they want a photo, they copy it and use it. Yes, I know copyright issues are in place for a reason. But right now we are seeing a huge turn in the structure of a lot of industries, photography being one of them. If they don’t want to pay, they won’t pay. And they’ll find someone willing to give them what they want at the price they want. Which means we have to think of our business model in a different way that allows us to stay in business and give the customers what they truly want.

You’re giving it to them for free, why should they pay for it?

What do you do for your clients? Do you shoot their session, and head home to put all of the best work online for the world to see? You share it on your blog, on Facebook, you Tweet it, and share it on Instagram. And once they are online, the world can view them, share them, even “copy” them and put them into their own viewers for free. Why should they come back in and pay for an image when it already exists on their iPhones and iPads – it will be there forever. In order to get paid for what you do, you have to get paid first, share second. It’s the only way it will ever work in this technology-happy world.

The One Sales Tactic You Should Never Do To Reach Photography Clients

What if someone gave you these statistics:

  • Do this and you’ll have 98% rejection rate
  • Do this and you’ll have 100% of the people annoyed with you from the beginning
  • Do this and you’ll have 100% of the people talking about you – in a VERY bad way

With those kind of statistics, would you do it?

Of course not. Yet many, many people in business still do this every day.

What is it? Cold calling.

Cold calling was once a popular method of getting your foot in the door and building a relationship with a potential customer. Then things started changing – namely the Internet came around. And with social media, we changed the way we find things to buy. And we changed the way we build relationships.

Yet millions of people with old school ideas still believe in old school strategies. Some people pick up the phone and cold call. Some people knock on the door and cold call. Still others drop an email or a post and cold call.

And guess what? None of them work.

Cold call by phone and you’ll likely be hung up on. Cold call in person and you’ll likely be shoved out the door. Cold call online and you’ll likely be banned, deleted, screamed at, or worse, have your information go viral and influence your business in a very BAD way.

The One Sales Tactic You Should Never Do To Reach Photography Clients

What should you do instead?

Build relationships. Your number one potential for more business is the people you already do business with. Send them newsletters and postcards. Visit them. Send them birthday cards. Give a quick phone call of congratulations when you see them in the news. Send gifts. This is your number one source of potential revenue – treat it like its your pot of gold. [Read more...]