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.

How To Write An Ebook For Your Photography Business

“I notice a lot of businesses online use ebooks on their websites. Is that something I can do as a portrait photographer? If so, how do I go about creating one? Why should I do it? I’ve had it in my mind now for quite a while – just want to know your take on this ebook thing.”

eBooks, or electronic books, have been around for a long time. You probably have many of them sitting on your hard drive somewhere. And with Kindle, Nook and other e-reader tablets on the market, you probably bring a bunch along with you every time you leave your home or office.

Yet even if you have a ton of them, read them on a regular basis, you may have never considered having one for your own business. Today may be the day you change your mind.

The Concept

The purpose of an ebook is twofold. One, you can use it as a marketing tool to get your information into the hands of your prospects and clients. In this case your ebook would be for free, and used to direct people to take action in a variety of ways. Two, you can create information of value and sell it on the open marketplace. When you buy a book on Amazon and have it delivered to your Kindle, that’s an example of an ebook for pay and profit.

In reference to the question above, we’re going to stick with talking about a free ebook, one you use as a marketing tool to bring people in to your business.

How To Write Ebooks For Your Photography BusinessThe Title

The title of your ebook is the most important part of your marketing tool. Without a great title, one that jumps out and people and makes them want to download your information as fast as possible, it will be just another piece of content on your site.

In order to come up with a great title, think about your customers and their pain points. Why do they come to you? What are they looking for in this niche?

We’ll stick with the portrait niche for this example, and I’ll further define it by concentrating on the senior portrait niche.

Senior portraits are marketed to two people – the high school student and the parent. The high school student has to love the work so they will be happy handing it out to friends. The parent has to love it in order to be willing to pay for it. So marketing messages must speak to both. So your ebook title may be something like:

How Facebook Will Kill Your Senior Portrait And What You Can Do About It

It speaks to the kids, who want to share everything they do on Facebook. And it speaks to the parent who has some doubts about Facebook and obviously wants to keep their child safe. It touches on an unknown – which is exactly what your ebook title should do. [Read more...]

Is Your SEO Helping or Hurting Your Photography Business?

Want to know how to finish your knitting project? Trying to find the perfect restaurant for your anniversary? Or maybe you are looking for a new lens for your camera and want to find out other people’s opinions?

Whatever information you desire, it no longer takes days of research. Instead, you pop on your favorite search engine , make a few queries and you’re on your way.

More information is created every two days today as we did from the dawn of civilization to 2003. Yep, that’s a lot of content.

Yet if you’ve ever done a search, you know there’s some good content out there … and a lot of bad. By creating a blog – which you can do for free on sites like Blogger and WordPress.com – you have the ability to create as much content as you want, and say whatever you want to say.

Some people create legitimate sites for their business, planning to be in business years down the road. They do everything in a quality way, hoping their content will wind up I the hands of people that truly want to do business with them.

Then there is the other crowd. These are the Internet marketers that don’t care as much about quality and longevity as they do instant results. They want to leverage what they create today to bring in as much money as they can … today. They don’t care about tomorrow; they just want the money today.

How are you building your site? How are you creating your content? Do you do things to your website/blog in order to gain traction today? Or do you care about your impact years down the road? [Read more...]

5 Ways Yelp Could Help You Build A Better Photography Studio

When everyone talks about a certain social media site – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter – it’s easy to forget some of the other sites that may impact your business.

What about Yelp?

Launched back in 2004, Yelp is the cornerstone of building a successful online presence. Millions of visitors use this go-to resource to learn how others are talking about local businesses.

And since chances are you are trying to grow your local business, are you doing all you can with your Yelp account?

With over 60 million registered users and over 20 million review on the site, Yelp isn’t “yesterday’s news”. While many think of Yelp as a restaurant’s best friend – and they’re right – over 75 percent of the listings are not restaurant related. Which means while people may be heading to Yelp to find a new place for dinner on Friday night, they are sticking around to find everything local in their lives.

To get started on Yelp, search for your business name. Once you find it, click the link that says “Work here? Unlock this Business Page.” If you have any questions along the way, be sure to check in with Yelp’s support center.

Then take your Yelp presence to the next level. [Read more...]

To The Top Of The Search Engines … Two Months Free

Can people really make exorbitant promises and turn them into reality?

Or are they getting so desperate they are willing to try anything to bring in next months rent?

You’ve probably noticed this too.

Every day I get an email like this:

Huge promises. And because of what I know about SEO, I also know they probably can’t deliver.

We were out at a summer bash networking event last night, and while waiting in line to get in, a woman walked up and down the line giving out her “2 months free SEO” coupons. I wonder how many people are giving her a call.

While it sounds great, can she really accomplish anything in two months? And what will that truly do for you?

Let’s assume you have a very small niche and maybe, just maybe, she can pull you up in the rankings in two months. How is she going to do it? Is she going to destroy your reputation in the process? What methods is she truly going to use?

Unfortunately, unless you know something about SEO and search engine placement, its easy to get lost in the promises. You want more business. You know being at the top of Google will probably bring in more business. So you look for someone promising to get you there.

Yet what you might not realize is there are many ways to get you there – legitimate and otherwise.

If you get to the top in a natural way, you’ll stay there with regular effort.

But if you get there in any way that Google may question, you may be slapped down in the rankings, or worse, banned forever.

That’s what these type of SEO companies don’t tell you.

And frankly that’s what hurts the industry.

I’ve seen classes that can teach you how to be an “SEO Expert” in 30 days. Learn a few techniques and you can begin charging customers $1,000, $2,000, even $3,000 instantly

Yet I guarantee you can’t learn all you need to know in 30 days. I know because I’ve studied this stuff for my own business now since the late 1990’s.

It changes all the time. What worked last year doesn’t work this year. And what works today may not work tomorrow.

SEO in many ways is just like your marketing. In fact, I consider it to be a part of your marketing. I think of where I want my business to be in 5, 10 even 20 years from now, and plan everything I do for my company based on those goals.

If something promises me quick results, I really have to think about how that will impact me 5 years from now.

If you’ve been tempted by one of these same letters or coupons, let me help you determine if it’s the right step for you.

1. What Do You Want To Accomplish?

First of all, ask yourself why this interests you. Is it to bring in more customers? Is it to build your reputation? Is it to make your business stronger?

They may all be in there, but focus on the one true reason this has peaked your interest. Then ask questions about how this service will help you.

If it’s a “fly by night” SEO firm, they won’t have answers that can help you long term. If you are concerned about your reputation, for example, they won’t be able to tell you how their services will help you years from now. Their “canned” presentation will keep focusing on how quickly you can get to the top, but what will that do for you? What key terms will you be under? Will you stay there “forever”?

If a company truly is an SEO firm AND a marketing firm, they will marry the two together and have the desire to help you build a strong company overall. They will look for ways that sustain longevity, not just the quickest way to the top.

2. Legitimate SEO – Not Black Hat

Google is smart. Over the years, they have built a company that provides the best results possible for their customers.

So when people figure out how to override the system and get things placed using “quick” methods, Google sees this and works in a block feature to take those placements out of the search engines.

Google understands what people want – top quality search results every time they search. So they are always striving to deliver top quality content for every search performed – which is in the billions every single month.

So who’s going to rank higher – a URL that offers quality content throughout their site and continues to add quality content every week, or a URL who uses questionable practices?

If a company doesn’t understand that and is “stuffing” your pages and site full of questionable data that may have worked a short time ago, Google probably knows about it. If they haven’t built that into their algorithms already, they will shortly.

Google cares about one thing – original quality content. Everything else is at risk.

And a company that tells you otherwise may put your business at risk.

3. Think Long Term

Here is your choice. You can have 100 clients immediately today that will do nothing for your reputation – possibly even hurt it. Or 10 clients a month for the next 10 years, all who love you and feed into your 10 new clients every month. Which would you choose?

If you want to build a successful business model, you picked the later of the two.

Yet most people don’t think from that approach today. They want the quick client right now to bring in a few extra bucks.

Successful businesses are built on a successful foundation. You have to build your system, put it into play, and let it work from this point forward.

SEO is not a stand alone business. Its something that needs to be a tool within your marketing strategy. You need to understand how it will impact your business today … and 10 years from today. If a company can’t tell you that, or makes promises that seem a little too good to be true, they probably are.

Help, My Photography Business Is Being Blackmailed

You probably know the old marketing adage: a happy customer will tell no one, but an unhappy customer will tell 20. When we’re happy, we’re complacent. We just exist with what we have. But when we’re unhappy we tend to need to blow off steam – and the unhappier we are, the louder we get.

If you’re talking around the office or at your kids soccer practice, people listen and forget quickly.

But what about in today’s world with online reviews? Write a bad review and it can haunt a business forever.

Online reviews sound like a good thing in theory. There are many different places you can leave a review, and they really can help a person make a decision. For instance, on our recent trip to Europe, we relied heavily on reviews for the apartments we rented. We only chose places with a number of reviews that for the most part had positive things to say.

But like everything, good things can turn bad.

This week, all kinds of bad review scams have been brought to my attention.

A friend here in town runs a service business. He had a customer come in last week and ask for all kinds of services. The work was done, only to have the customer come back in for payment and ask to be comped on everything. His threat was he would write a bad review if he didn’t get the services for free.

My friend did the right thing, asked for full payment and showed him the door.

Restaurants are also reporting a record number of people coming in and eating a meal, only to ask for the meal for free as the bill arrives. If not, they threaten, they will write a bad review. [Read more...]

Facebook Ads versus Google PPC: Which Is Better For Your Photography Business?

Let’s say you have a little extra money this month and you want to take it and use it for advertising your photography business.

Should you invest in a Google PPC (pay per click) campaign? Or should you use it for Facebook Advertising?

On the surface, both have incredible backing and a lot of statistics to support them.

  • Facebook has 845 million active users, who as a whole post over 1 billion posts per day.
  • Google is said to have around 1 billion searches per day.

Which puts the two fairly equal when it comes to people you can potential market to. Yet that’s where the similarities end.

When you head to Google, you are actively looking for information. You head to Google with a question or thought in mind, ready to find the answer. You add in keywords looking for results. Which means you’re just as likely to click on an ad as you are natural results – if it provides you with the answer you are looking for.

With Facebook, they rely on “push” marketing when it comes to getting their ads in front of visitors. People on Facebook aren’t raising their hands asking for information; they are there to keep up with their friends. They want to hang out. Clicking on an ad means removing themselves from the conversation. And in many cases its not something they are willing to do.

So the two right off the bat are completely different. If you’re going to jump in an advertising campaign on either one, you have to approach them differently.

Google

With Google, you have to think like your customers. What are they searching for? What could you advertise to make them want to click on your ad?

Dig Deeper: How To Run A Successful Pay Per Click Campaign

Let’s look at an example to see how you should approach a Google campaign. We’ll assume we are a photographer trying to boost up our clientele for model portfolios.

Our average client will head into Google and use keywords like “model portfolio photographer” to find someone to help them. We want to be there. And if we know they are using the key phrase “model portfolio photographer”, chances are that’s exactly what they want. They need someone with the experience and expertise to help create a dynamic portfolio that will help get them modeling jobs.

So we know our ad should use keywords that showcase our talents as a model portfolio photographer. When I typed that into Google, this is what I found:

Google makes it easy to create as many ads as you desire, and focus each ad to select keywords and phrases. Yet we can see a wide variety of the results here simply don’t match up with this keyword. Would someone looking for a model portfolio really trust a dog photographer? So these are wasted ads. They aren’t targeted enough to attract attention. And more than likely won’t be clicked on. [Read more...]

Does Email Still Work To Find Photography Clients?

I opened up my email program to find 350 new messages.

Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t use email like most. I don’t have them downloaded into my mobile so I can keep a pulse on what is happening at all times. I usually open up email three times per day – morning, after lunch and before I turn off my computer for the day. If I’m out on appointments, that may decrease by one.

Out of the 350 email, I deleted around 340 of them just by looking at the subject line and the recipient. And I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve read statistics that show email is now around 90 percent spam related – 10 percent true email. And I can definitely attest to that.

Which means to get an email opened, it has to have a great subject line and be from a trusted referral. Without one of those two items, it doesn’t stand a chance.

Do you use email in an attempt to gain photography business?

After reading that question, you probably went one of two ways.

Yes, and I gain new clients every time I send an email.

No, email is now a complete waste of time.

If you are in the yes crowd, congratulations. You’ve learned that email is a long way from dead, and it still offers a lot of potential in connecting up with potential business.

But if you are in the no crowd, now may be the time to rethink your approach to email. [Read more...]

Google Places Policy Change Can Have Big Impact On Your Photography Business

As a photographer, you run your business in one of three ways.

1. Your business is a brick and mortar studio where all of your clients come to your studio for your photography. Everything from photography to sales is completed at your location.

2. Your business is home based and serves some customers at your home and some on the road.

3. Your business is home based and does not serve any customers at your location.

All are an acceptable way to run your business. But if you’ve ever inputted your information into Google Places and you don’t have it set up correctly according to your business model, you could be at risk for having your account deleted.

On March 22nd the official Google Places Quality Guidelines were updated to include the following:

If you don’t receive customers at your location, you must select the “Do not show my business address on my Maps listing” option within your dashboard. If you don’t hide your address, your listing may be removed from Google Maps.

Google has decided to do this to make the content side of Google Places more accurate. Several years ago when Google Places was just starting to grow, people experimented with placing their businesses into the Places feature, no matter what type of business it was. And it worked. If you checked the “hide address” feature back then, it was like checking the box that said “hide my business” as well. So word quickly spread that in order to receive the benefits from Google Places, it was better to include your location no matter what type of business you had.

As Google keeps changing, they now want to provide the best results possible. Which means if you have a brick and mortar business, your address is of benefit. If you don’t, it’s a hindrance. By adding this new policy change, it is believed that the “hide address” feature will no longer negatively impact your local focused rankings.

While this policy change isn’t widely known, it can impact you if you don’t comply immediately. Many businesses suddenly find themselves “gone” from rankings simply because they aren’t following the new policy. If you’ve ever created your Google Places profile, head back and check to make sure you comply.