How to Relocate Your Wedding Photography Business in 3 Steps

No one’s saying they’re easy steps, but we’re saying it’s definitely feasible to relocate your wedding photography business. Now, if you’re interested in wedding photography and the business aspects of this field, you already know that the issue of location is very important. It’s relevant for a wedding photographer’s digital marketing efforts (think location searches), for acquiring new business leads, for building a brand identity and for raising brand awareness. As such, with location being so inextricably connected with the very nature of the wedding photography business, how does one successfully transition from one location to another – without killing the business in the process? Check out our three helpful tips below, with input from real-life photographers.

relocate-your-wedding-photography-business

1. Future-proof your business for location changes

This is one step to start working on as much ahead of the time when you actually relocate your wedding photography business as possible. Your plan should be to target global audiences, even before your physical move. If you do this successfully, you will have already built a bit of a reputation for yourself, by the time the move comes around. Easier said than done? Perhaps. But in the digital age of social networking, it’s not that difficult either. Update your website and/or blog regularly, announce your upcoming move via social media profiles and keep your online presence pleasant and likeable. The Internet basically works as a global market place, so drumming up a bit of hype before you relocate will allow you to step forward with that much more confidence.

2. Get to know your new market

This second step in your plan to relocate your wedding photography business is all about pricing. The thing about different markets is that… well, they are different, in terms of pricing, client expectations, and requirements. Get a feel of the market by gauging the experiences of local photographers. They’ll give you a fairly accurate and comprehensive idea on what to expect. Should you stay at the wedding until the very last guest has left? Are your current prices too high for a different market? Yes, bear in mind that you might have to lower your prices in order to penetrate a whole new market; however, it’s important to know what the local expectations are, as you don’t want to go too low. Once you get there, your mission will be to get as many weddings booked in as short a timeframe as possible. Since most weddings are booked for about a year in advance, you will probably have to sacrifice making a profit in the beginning, in order to build a locally relevant portfolio. If you play your cards right, though, this will only be temporary – so grin and bear it. It’s definitely worth it!

3. Network, network, network

The third and final step in your efforts to relocate your wedding photography business is also probably the most difficult one to complete. That’s because the effort of networking needs to be sustained and ongoing, in order for them to be efficient. Not to mention that having like-minded peers as friends in a new market is good for your mental health. It will make you focused, accountable for your work, and will also provide a regular dose of inspiration. A word of advice, though: you might be tempted to follow the big names, the big shots, the big leaguers in your new market. Don’t. Keep an eye on them, to stay in the loop, but spend most of your energy building genuine connections with people you respect and look up to. In the long-run, that’s where your support system and life-long friendships will come from. Also, chances are that’s where your referrals and gig leads will come from, too.

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.

6 Common Mistakes for New Wedding Photography Businesses

common-mistakes-for-new-wedding-photography-studiosSeasoned photographers, who have been in the niche of shooting weddings for several years now, will come to you at various points in your career, with advice that’s more or less welcome, valid, or solicited. Now, most of them mean well and should be taken at face value, as well as with a pinch of salt. But, occasionally, you will also come across the revelation of committing common mistakes for new wedding photography businesses. There are those errors which are part of the learning process, and which you probably need to go through, in order to evolve. And while the list below does not, by any means, aim to be exhaustive, it is meant to save you at least some of the trouble these mistakes come with. So read on and try to take some of them to heart.

Common Mistake #1: You don’t use the manual mode

Don’t get us wrong – it’s not like using the Aperture and Shutter Priority modes is wrong. They do serve their purpose, when there simply isn’t enough time, or the situation is too complex to set your camera right on Manual Mode. However, if you’re serious about becoming a professional wedding photographer, this is one of the foremost common mistakes of new photography businesses you’re going to want to avoid. If you don’t use Manual Mode, there’s no way you’re ever going to learn anything about lighting, as well as about your camera in general.

Common Mistake #2: You’re only a photographer

That’s also one of the more serious common mistakes of new photography businesses. You see, when you go into this business, you should walk in assuming that you’re going to be doing so much more than just taking pictures. You’re going to become, in turn, a social media expert, a marketing expert, a treasurer and accountant, a PR person, a secretary – and just about any other business running role you can think of.

Common Mistake #3: You believe success will come quickly

Get that out of your head pronto. It’s going to take years before you start making a comfortable amount of money. That’s because, no matter how much your heart is in it, there’s still a lot you need to learn – and not just about wedding photography, but also about all those other skills and lines of work we mentioned before.

Common Mistake #4: You have no people skills

Photography in general, but wedding photography in particular, is all about knowing how to work with and relate to people. People are your clients, prime material, and everything in between. Without them, you have no business to speak of, so if you really want to turn your pipe dream into a success, then you’d better get cracking at honing those people skills – it will pay off tenfold, time and time again.

Common Mistake #5: You spend a lot of money on gear

Yes, we know – it’s hard to hold back from buying that one lens/tripod/case you’ve always dreamt of. However, if you don’t control your purchases, especially in the beginning, you risk running yourself into debt and a very sad case of business failure. And that is just about the opposite of what you want to do, especially since it’s never just that one purchase. It’s a vicious circle and you know it, so practice some restraint.

Common Mistake #6: You don’t have referrals to rely on

In entrepreneurship, getting business to come your way is all about word of mouth, references, and referrals. Yes, paid advertising can help to, but there is no publicity like the one a satisfied client can provide. So always make sure to encourage referrals, or even ask for them upfront.

6 Common Mistakes for New Wedding Photography Businesses

How To Use Emotions To Sell Your Photography

Whenever you hear of a forest fire ripping through a community, the news sources knows where the story is. It’s within the people affected by the fires.

So they start interviewing people with their homes in the background burned to the ground.

“I’ve lived there 30 years. I can’t believe it’s all gone. I have what’s important – my family and my pets. But I can’t believe I lost all of my photographs.”

We all have faced fire damage at some point in our lives. Maybe our home hasn’t burned to the ground, but chances are there is a story around you. And every time it happens, we begin to think – “What would I take in a fire situation?”

How To Use Emotions To Sell Your Photography

There is even a fascinating site and book entitled “The Burning House” in which the author asked that very question as he drove around to different states in the US. He asked people of all social classes, ages and occupations. They answered and provided a photograph of what they would take. And of course the results are pretty much as expected – things you simply can’t replace.

Photography isn’t a product. It’s a service. And because it’s a service, people buy because of their emotions – their feelings – and nothing more. If they fall in love and deeply want what you do, they will find a way.

But because of that, you have to give them something they can’t get anywhere else.

You have to give them great photography that’s above and beyond what they can do on their own.

And you have to market it to them so they understand its importance.

Once you have everything in place and you have identified your target audience for your marketing messages, using emotional triggers can help you connect on an entirely different level. Try out these triggers when creating your next marketing piece.

Fear – Fear is an emotion easy to use because we all can buy into the concept. It can be used with the fire concept – “My house burned to the ground, but luckily I saved my photographs.”

Trust – No one wants to leave the “used car salesperson” impression on anyone. Turn it around and you can teach your audience you are there for them through it all – “no hidden fees, no hard sales”.

Value – People will pay anything if they feel they are getting value for their money. Concentrate on your customer service and talk about it again and again.

Competition – People live where they do and own what they own in order to keep up appearances within their community. By showcasing others you’ve photographed in your community – especially recognizable people – will give others the desire to have “the best” as well.

Instant Gratification – Words like “now’, “today”, “by Friday” or “limited edition” gives people a sense of limited access. They know if they don’t act soon, they may lose the opportunity all together.

Belonging – When people love what you do, they want to be a part of something bigger. That’s why memberships, clubs and referral programs work so well. If you reward them well, they will be back.

Time – The biggest thing we’re all missing in today’s world is time. If anyone offers us a way to get more out of the day, we’ll happily take them up on that offer. Marketing messages that appeal to that desire for more free time or a time to enjoy an experience are extremely effective – “don’t come to a studio, we come to you and photograph you anywhere you desire, giving you any experience you choose to have”.

8 Reasons Some Prospects Will Never Buy Your Photography

8 Reasons Some Prospects Will Never Buy Your Photography

What’s the number one thing you hate about selling?It’s probably rejection.

As humans, no is the hardest word to hear. We want people to say yes. We want them to like us. We want them to fall in love with what we have to offer – we love it, why shouldn’t they?

When they say no, it fills us with doubt. Then we start questioning everything around us.

Is our business set up wrong?

Are our prices to high?

Are we not offering the right stuff?

Do they not like me?

Did I come across as too [rough, mean, uncaring, etc]?

It’s hard not to take things personally. But as a business owner, there is one thing you need to learn:

Prospects aren’t rejecting you; they are rejecting the offer you are making them.

It isn’t about you; it’s about them.

They could be rejecting you because:

1. The offer isn’t right for them.

2. The price is wrong for their budget.

3. They don’t believe in your message.

4. They already have someone else in mind – they’re going through the steps of looking at other photographers simply to confirm they are making the right choice for them.

5. They don’t like your photography – that’s okay, your unique style should never please everyone.

6. They are bad at making decisions.

7. They have no idea what they really want.

8. They are having a bad day and aren’t ready to make a decision.

And in every one of these cases, it’s okay that you don’t close the sale. This person isn’t right for you. You are better off spending your time on someone who loves what you do and what you have to offer.

Remember, a no isn’t rejecting you. It’s simply a way of telling you that they aren’t ready to close the sale. Leaving room for someone else who is.

10 Ways Your Sales Presentations May Be Hurting Your Sales

I recently wrote a post 13 Ways To Make Sure 2013 Doesn’t Suck For Your Photography Business. I’ve been doing a lot internal planning with my own business for 2013, and I used that post as a trigger for all of you to start thinking about what you want the New Year to bring into your own lives. In order to stick with that theme, I’ve decided to run a “13 Days Of Photography” feature throughout December to help provide you with a ton of ideas and tips on things you can do for your own business starting on January 1st. Here is 10…

One of the hardest aspects of running a photography studio is the sales process. Most of us aren’t born with sales skills. And though we can learn it over time, it may be the one thing holding you back from success. If you can’t sell, your business can’t thrive. Take a look at these ideas to see how you can improve your sales process.

1. Your selling process isn’t defined

What do you hope to accomplish during your sales process? How long is your sales process? Do you have clearly defined goals along the way? The only thing that builds and grows your business is sales. Yet that’s probably the one area you leave to chance and just “go with the flow”. You take classes to become a better photographer, and to learn how to market your business. Why not take a sales class too?

2. Your selling process isn’t planned

Instead of leaving it to chance, create a program that puts your sales strategies down for each stage of the process. How will you introduce your services? How will you get them to say yes? What will you do to keep them happy with their yes decisions? How will you get them to say yes to more throughout the process? The more you define in your strategy, the more successful you will be with it.

3. Cold selling has evolved

Remember the days of getting a list, picking up the phone, and making a “cold” call to someone? Nope, me neither. That’s because traditional cold calling hasn’t been around in a long time. Yet that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist – we just approach it different. Thanks to the Internet, the customer is now more educated than ever before. They do their research, they understand your business, and they educate themselves on exactly what they want. Your job is to be the expert and help them bridge the gap between what they know and what they need to know in order for you to close the sale. [Read more...]

12 Words That Will Change The Value Of Your Photography

How Many Photos Is Too Many To Post

You just finished a great portrait and are excited to share your images with the world.

You created around 100 images during the portrait session. When you look through and edit them all, you have around 25 that are extraordinary – they really are your best work to date.

Two days after the portrait, you place 25 images on Facebook to showcase your newest work. Your client is super excited – she LOVES them. She starts tagging them, sharing them and talking about them with all of her friends.

Then comes ordering day – the day she is supposed to come in to order her prints. She calls in the night before and cancels – something has come up.

You finally get her on the phone three weeks later and set up a new date. That too comes and goes with no client orders.

And so on. And so on.

What happened?

They were your best work yet? You really thought this client would be different and want the images you created. They were your best work to date. And you’ve booked several other new clients just by showing off these images. They were great! So why no orders?

Let’s step back and analyze the situation.

When is a client most excited for their images?

At the time you take the images.

She’s worked hard to get the portrait sitting on the books. She’s shopped for the perfect clothes. She’s motivated her family (if it’s a family portrait) to be looking and feeling great. Everyone is at the top of his or her game that day.

If they walk away from the sitting without seeing their images, life settles in. Things happen and they move onto new thoughts and ideas. The water heater breaks. The car needs new tires. Registration opens up for the kids for school – books and uniforms and signups for sports. The money flows to different areas.

And when they log onto Facebook two days later and see 25 of the best images. Wow! They get to see the best of the best … for free! What could be better than that? And what they really wanted was wallpaper for their computer, a few images for their iPhone and iPad, and a way to blast the latest portrait around to family members around the world. You accomplished that for them – they simply shoot a message to their family and friends to check out Facebook.

Now you’ve eliminated the two things that motivated them to buy – excitement for seeing the images, and timing to spend their allotted budget on images.

How do you get around this? Put the two motivation items back into your selling routine.

First, learn to sell ten minutes after you shoot. If you’re out on location, sell through your laptop in a coffee shop or back at the clients home. If you’re in your studio, have them wait in your sales room while you do a quick edit and put a presentation together. Either way, this is when they are most excited about their images. This is when they will buy the most. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

Second, never, never put images on Facebook before the order takes place. Use Facebook to entice them to buy – never to release the excitement ahead of time. If you really want to entice them, one image with a “wait till you see the rest…” is more than enough. Make your Facebook (or blog, or SmugMug, or whatever you use) a part of your package – you get the online images after your order has been placed. To do it before hand is sales-suicide.

Social media hasn’t killed the photographer; not knowing how to sell has killed today’s photographer.

Take back the way you sell and you’ll quickly find your business thriving.

How To Build A Photography Business You Intend To Sell

1. You love photography.

2. You hate your job.

3. You decide to make photography your career.

4. You open a studio and bring in clients.

5. You quit your job and begin building a successful photography business.

The above may sound like your plan. But do you have the 6th step in place?

6. Sell your business for a healthy profit.

Photography is an art form. Because its so personal, so much a part of who you are, very few photographers go into business dreaming of the day they will sell their business.

Yet in many ways, every business should be started with the intent that you will one day sell it. When you approach your business through that mindset, you begin to notice things you would never notice on your own. And you make changes to improve it so its more efficient and more valuable over all.

Lets look at this from another angle. Look at your business as you would your home.

When you buy a home, you go into it with the intent of living in it for a long time. Yet everything you do along the way you probably say something like “this will add to the value of my home”. So you happily improve the landscape in the summer. And add granite counter tops to your kitchen. Why not spend the money; you can enjoy it now and benefit from it in a few years when you decide to sell.

So why is your business any different?

If you make improvements along the way, you’ll increase your odds of attracting future buyers. You won’t look at your business through the eyes of “I just want to make money”, but instead you’ll say “how will this make my business more healthy, more profitable and highly attractive to others”? [Read more...]

How To Book Clients Without The Face To Face Consultation

I recently had a question come through on a post – What Are You Selling On Your Website?

“Thank you for the info here. How would you go about creating a call to action for a product not yet created? For example, how would one get a client to book or purchase a package through a website without a consultation? I’ve struggled with this concept and would really appreciate your perspective.”

Really there are two answers to this question. You need both in order to complete a sales process online.

1. Content

2. Action

Lets start with content.

The one thing I write on probably more than any other topic is content. And in many ways, I’m showing you how to do it by actually doing it.

If you’ve spent time on this site, you know there is a huge amount of content – hundreds and hundreds of posts for you to search through and learn from. If you come in and read a post and like it, I’ll lead you to more content in a variety of ways. I love using Dig Deeper’s:

Dig Deeper: Why Every Small Business Owner Must Now Be A Content Provider

At the end of each post you’ll find additional posts related to the content you’ve just read:

And of course you can always head back up to the navigation and find specific information on just about anything related to building a photography business.

By reading content, we’re developing a relationship. You read and learn. And hopefully trust me to continue providing quality content that can given to you in a variety of ways. Including some things for sale.

The same applies to your prospects and customers. [Read more...]