How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography

One of the questions that a lot of photographers ask, is how much I should charge for my images? It is very hard to do, and hence a lot of artists struggle with it. There is so much more involved, and many don’t quite understand. So, how do you go about pricing your photography?

How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography

Flinders Street Station, this image took me about 3 years to get and I spent hours processing it. Hence it would have a high price on it.

Learn from the masters

There is a great story about Pablo Picasso, the famous artist. It goes like this.

Picasso was sitting in a Paris Café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin – but not before asking a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked and asked, “How can you ask for so much? It only took you a minute to draw this.” Picasso replied, “No, it took me 40 years.”

Whether this story is true or not is hard to know for sure, but it has a very good point. Most people do not consider the experience of the artist. Along with that are many other factors, like your education, the cost of equipment, and not to mention the time you spend creating the photo.

How much to charge, as you are going to see, is a complicated question and does depend on many of those factors. They are often things that people don’t really think about. Many photographers just pluck a price out of thin air and go with it. If I’m telling the truth, I have to say I was the same. I would constantly give different prices for my images.

Now I have a system in place and it is all based on the following.

How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography - yellow flowers

I do macro for fun, so this was shot in my garden one morning and processed quickly. The price wouldn’t be high for this image.

Education

You have to take into consideration any education you have done to learn or improve your photography. It doesn’t have to be formal education, like a university degree, but if you have paid money for it, then you need to consider the cost.

Something like a Bachelor of Fine Arts will cost you thousands of dollars. You will never recover your money if you are only charging people $20 an image, for instance. How many will you have to sell to pay off the degree at that price?

What about other short courses you may have done? Ones that are just a few weeks long, or those that are done online. You need to think about how much they cost and the time you spend doing the classes and learning to do all those new skills. There are so many online courses, from learning how to use your camera, to how to edit your photos.

dock with blurry clouds - How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography

While I enjoy this kind of photography, it isn’t part of my main body of work. Therefore, it would never be editioned as it isn’t worth as much.

Gear

If you are anything like me, you have spent a great deal of money on your photography gear. Though you also need to think about what you have bought in the past and what you have now. For instance, how many cameras have you had? How many lenses have you had over time?

Consider all your accessories as well. Think about your camera bags, tripods, filters, memory cards, camera straps, etc. These are often forgotten, but they all add up and should be considered when pricing your photography work.

purple flower - How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography

This was taken with a good macro lens and an expensive camera so those factors should be taken into consideration when pricing the image.

Time

Every time you go out to take photos, how much time do you spend in the field? Don’t think just about the length of time it takes to take a photo. You need to think about how far you traveled to get there and back. Did you have to drive around quite a bit?

When I go out shooting I can be gone all day. I might leave early in the morning and not get back until late that night. During that time, I may have traveled over 250 miles or 400 km, and used a tank of fuel. Not to mention having to buy two to three meals. It all adds up and if you are selling your images you need to consider these things as well.

Then what happens when you get home? The images are put onto your computer and then processed. It is going to be different for everyone, but you will likely spend anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours on each image. All this time should be considered when you are pricing your photography.

You should be giving yourself an hourly rate so you can add that up at the end to add to the price. While you may have gotten several images to sell in that one trip, you can divide it up and spread it out over the series.

How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography - dark moody image

This image is a combination of two and I spent many, many hours on it. I would ask for a high price for this one.

Editions

If you plan on selling your work as limited editions, then it will be worth more as you can only sell so many. When you do a limited run of an image they must all be identical and numbered, according to where in the edition they are, for example, 1/10, or 4/10, etc.

An edition is where you decide how many of that image you will sell. The number is up to you, 10, 20 or 100, maybe more if you think the image will be in high demand. However, the more there are in the edition the lower the value will be.

You have to be very organized to edition work and keep very good records. Once the edition is sold, you cannot sell anymore. There is some debate as to whether you can rework the image so that it looks different, but that is perhaps for another article.

dark image of a city skyline - How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography -

This image would be part of my body of work and would definitely be put into an edition, perhaps with a limited run of 10.

Printing

Most know that you have to include the cost of printing. If you are selling the image you need to make sure the print is a good quality. Printing it yourself with a cheap printer and ink is never a good idea. Most of those will fade with time and you will be selling someone a print that won’t last a lifetime or more.

Make sure that wherever you get the work printed that it is archival. There is nothing worse than buying a piece of art from someone and then in 10 years it is gone because it was printed badly.

When you are preparing your work for sale, make sure you get the cost of a professional printing job and include that in the price.

- How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography - lighthouse at night

An image that was done for fun. It would still be printed well, but the price would be lower than others.

Working for free

This may seem like a good idea, it gets your foot in the door, but the reality is that it rarely works. Once people know they can get images from you for free then they will continue to expect that. When you stop, they will just go to the next person. You should always charge for your images and your work.

You should also not sell your images for next to nothing. Think about how you are harming the industry by doing so. If it were any other industry and people were selling their services or products for much less than others it would be considered wrong, or cheap would mean not good. You need to consider every aspect when pricing your photography

sunset lighthouse - - How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography -

This is a bit of a throwaway image, taken during a time-lapse with a few hundred others. Still, it would never be given away for free.

Next time

So when someone asks you how much is your image worth, think about all the things that have been mentioned here. Of course, you are not going to charge thousands, but you want to get some of what you have spent back. Each time you sell one photo you have to work out how you can start to recoup the costs you have outlaid for your photography.

Please share your thoughts, if you have anything to add, on pricing your photography tips in the comments section below.

The post How Much is an Image Worth? Tips for Pricing Your Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites – Which is Best for You?

One of the joys of photography is sharing it with the world. Once upon a time, a photography portfolio was a collection of prints, but digital photography and the internet have changed everything. Photography portfolios these days come in many forms, and they are almost exclusively online.

So, do you need a portfolio, and how do you decide where to proudly display your photos for the world to see?

Long exposure landscape photo of rocks at sunset, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand - photography portfolio

Why You Need a Photography Portfolio

You may be asking why you need a portfolio at all. Maybe you’re happy keeping your photos to yourself and never sharing or printing them for anyone else to see? It’s your photography, and you can do what you like with it. But, there are a few benefits that only come from sharing your work, though.

A photography portfolio allows other people to see and enjoy your creations. I’m betting you love not only the process of creating images but also the final product. So why not let others appreciate your artwork too?

You will be driven to stretch yourself and work on improving your photography if you put it out there for others to see. This is often a quiet voice nudging you to try a new technique or take a workshop or develop your post-production skills. A portfolio opens your photography up to critique, which is a little daunting, but I’ve found it to be positive and helpful most of the time.

noosa heads sunshine coast queensland australia - photography portfolio

A portfolio is also necessary if you ever plan to sell your photography. This isn’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t recommend that this be your primary motivation, but it’s worth considering. You may not think you want to make money with your photography, or not yet at least, but if and when that time comes, you will be better prepared if you already have an online presence and portfolio.

Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites

The options for displaying your photography portfolio online can be a little overwhelming. A quick google search for “photography portfolio website” returns 48 million results. The first question you need to ask is whether a paid or free service is best for you? There are many options within each category, but they each have their pros and cons.

It’s also worth noting that “photography portfolio” doesn’t necessarily look how you expect. In fact, you may already have a portfolio online, you just aren’t thinking about it in that way yet. Let’s look at a few of the options and you’ll see what I mean.

Free Services

If you’ve ever shared any of your photos online, whether on social media or on a photo-sharing website, then you already have an online portfolio. Although not generally considered portfolio websites, some social networks actually make great free portfolios.

Photo sharing websites are a great place to display your portfolio for free. They’re aimed more towards photographers than most social networks, so often include features that may assist you in using them as your primary portfolio.

Sunrise at Urangan Pier, Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia - photography portfolio

Pros

Other than being free, the biggest advantage of free services is the volume of traffic. The larger websites are among the biggest on the internet, so the potential for people seeing your photos is far greater. With all these visitors and traffic comes community. The ability to engage with other users is a huge advantage in my opinion. They have become the modern camera club. They are places where you can not only find an audience for your work, but other photographers to inspire you and network with.

Free services are constantly pushing forward with new features and technology, so you get to be on the cutting edge. The regular updates can be frustrating at times, but I think the good far outweighs the bad in this regard.

These are also the places that you are likely to be found by buyers. One of my first magazine features was an image that was found on Flickr by a photo editor searching for a specific image to buy. Again, this isn’t for everyone, but something worth considering if you are wanting to sell your photos.

Landscape photo of Two Mile Bay, Lake Taupo, New Zealand - photography portfolio

Cons

There are downsides to using a free service, though. The biggest one for me is that you are depending on someone else’s platform to build your portfolio. Their primary interest is profit, not making you rich or famous. They can and will change things whenever they like and you have no say in the matter. If they close down or are sold to a new owner, that can mean a lot of hard work goes down the drain.

You have little or no ability to customize your profile page, meaning you have no options for how your portfolio looks. This may not be something you’re concerned about, but it’s worth considering. Free services make money by either selling ads (social networks) or offering premium features to users (photo sharing sites). This is fine, as it keeps the service free for those who don’t want to pay, but it means you’ll miss out on some of the best features the service has to offer.

You’re probably already using one or more free portfolio services, or are at least aware of them. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest ones and see if they’re right for you.

Flickr

The photo-sharing website Flickr has been around forever and was one of the first places I began sharing my photography when I started out. With around 75 million users, it is a giant in the photo-sharing world. Flickr’s biggest strength lies in its communities. I have been involved with many Flickr groups where I have met lots of other photographers and learned a ton.

flickr free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Flickr’s popularity has declined over the last few years as users have moved on to other things, and the Yahoo-owned website (recently acquired by SmugMug) hasn’t done itself any favors by being incredibly slow to innovate and keep up with the competition.That being said, it still has a thriving photography community and is worth considering.

500px

Like many Flickr users, I abandoned ship when I discovered 500px, a newer photo sharing website that offered many of the same features but with a fresh new user experience. 500px also used an algorithm that meant you were far more likely to see amazing photography on its “popular” page. The standard of photography seemed higher, so it naturally attracted a lot of photographers.

500px has never reached the same volume of users as Flickr, with current numbers sitting around 12 million, but the service has added new features like communities and their “Marketplace”, which is essentially a way to license your images to sell as prints or stock.

500px free vs paid photography portfolio websites

500px has made headlines recently in the photography world after it was sold to VCG, the “Getty Images of China”. This has been a hugely controversial issue for 500px users, and there has been a mass exodus of previously loyal users. Don’t let that be the deciding factor for you, as 500px still has a lot to offer as far as free portfolio websites go.

Instagram

You may think of Instagram as just another social network, but you might be surprised how many photographers are now using it as their primary portfolio.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Instagram is currently the world’s number one photography app, and for good reason. People want to go where the masses are. With over 800 million users, there is no question as to whether it’s a place to consider sharing your portfolio.

instagram free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Instagram can be used in many different ways, but if you choose to use it as a portfolio, you must learn to be selective about what you share. Try to resist the temptation to share every photo. Curate your feed well, and you will have a portfolio that will attract people to it. If you must share photos of your cat, try using Instagram’s awesome Stories feature.

Pinterest

Just like Instagram, Pinterest has grown into a social network with a massive number of users, and it has the added advantage of being heavily visual. It’s a great place to be able to share your portfolio with the potential of being seen by a large audience.

Pinterest allows you to create boards and then “pin” your photos to as many boards as you like. You can create a different board for each photography category or location, such as “Weddings” or “Australia”. You can even have a “Portfolio” board where you only pin your best photos.

pinterest free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Pinterest also allows you to pin web pages, so if you have a blog you can pin your posts. The ability for others to re-pin your pins to their own boards means your work can be seen by a lot more people. You can also create inspiration boards for re-pinning other photographers’ pins. With all these features, Pinterest is definitely worth considering as a place to share your photography portfolio for free.

Paid Services

When it comes to paid photography portfolio websites, there aren’t as many options, but the ones that are available give you pretty amazing bang for your buck. Most professional photographers use one of these services these days, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a professional to use one.

They all have a range of options that vary in cost and features, but if you are considering a paid service for your portfolio, I’m sure you can find something that will fit your budget and needs.

Pros and Advantages

As with the free options, these services have their pros and cons. The biggest advantage, in my opinion, is the ability to customize how your portfolio looks and feels. You can change colors, layouts, text, logos, etc., all without needing to know how to code websites.

noosa national park sunshine coast queensland australia - photography portfolio

Most of them include unlimited storage for your photos, meaning you can upload as many high-resolution images as you want. This not only means you never have to delete another photo to make space for new ones, but you also have a copy of your photos backed up in the cloud.

The ability to sell your photos as prints or license them as stock directly from the website is a major attraction for many photographers. Each service’s e-commerce system works differently, but if this is a feature you want, you will find something that works for you. Some paid portfolio websites also allow you to deliver image files directly to clients, which works great if you’re a wedding or portrait photographer, or if you want to deliver files directly to a magazine, etc.

If you have a blog, some of these services will allow you to integrate your domain with your portfolio. For example, you can make your portfolio URL something like “portfolio.yourdomainname.com” rather than “yourname.photoshelter.com”. Visitors to your portfolio won’t even know that they’re on another website.

Driftwood bench seat on sand dunes overlooking Mount Maunganui Beach at sunset. - photography portfolio

Cons or Disadvantages

As you’re paying for premium features, there aren’t as many disadvantages of using a paid service. The main one is that they don’t have the social element that you get with photo-sharing sites or social networks. Getting your portfolio in front of eyeballs is a lot harder without the ability for viewers to engage with your work like they can on social media.

Although you have far more options to customize the way your portfolio appears, you’re still at the whim of the website that it is hosted on, and therefore how it functions. If you don’t like the features a website offers, it’s take-it-or-leave-it.

The following paid photography portfolio websites are by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the largest and most popular amongst photographers.

PhotoShelter

This is the first paid portfolio service I used for my own photography. PhotoShelter offers some of the best photography portfolios money can buy. Their websites look and work great, and their e-commerce features are second-to-none.

You can sell and license your photos directly through the website, and they even offer self-fulfilled printing if you want to print and ship images yourself. Although it’s one of the most expensive services, PhotoShelter is a solid option.

photoshelter free vs paid photography portfolio websites

SmugMug

I switched from PhotoShelter to SmugMug a few years ago after running an experiment to see how the two big boys compared in terms of Google search traffic. SmugMug won hands-down, so I moved my portfolio over. The two are very comparable in terms of cost and features.

If you want a beautiful portfolio website that works well and offers unlimited storage, I would definitely consider SmugMug. They also offer a solid e-commerce system, although they let themselves down with their refusal to allow self-fulfilled printing, despite users requesting it for years.

smugmug free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Zenfolio

I haven’t used Zenfolio personally, but from what I’ve seen and heard from other photographers, it’s a service worth considering. Their websites look great, although aren’t as customizable as the competition. Zenfolio is one of the more affordable services available, especially if you aren’t planning to sell your photos. It’s definitely, worth a look.

zenfolio free vs paid photography portfolio websites

Editor’s note: I personally use Zenfolio (screenshot below) and have used their print fulfillment services for clients, as well as for file downloads. It all works seamlessly and you can set your own prices with the Pro or Advanced plans. So, I can add my recommendation for this service. 

Zenfolio photography portfolio of Darlene Hildebrandt, dPS Managing Editor.

Self-Hosted Website and Portfolio

The last option sits somewhere between paid and free, and is yet another option to consider. If you want total freedom to customize and run your portfolio website however you want, you need your own self-hosted website.

The easiest way to do this is with an installation of WordPress on your own domain. It’s cheap and easy to set up with a service like BlueHost. Once it’s up and running, the options for your portfolio are endless. There are many free and paid gallery plugins, and if you want to sell your photos you can do it directly from your own website with a plugin like WooCommerce, all without having to pay anyone else a commission, so you get 100% of the profit.

If you have time (and are technology savvy) and you like to have total control over how things look and work, this is a great option. It does require a lot more user input, though, so be careful about rushing into it. If you prefer something that’s easier to set up and does most of the heavy lifting for you, one of the paid services is probably best.

tea tree bay sunset noosa heads queensland australia - photography portfolio

How do you choose?

With so many options, it’s hard to know which is best for you. The good news is that whatever you choose, nothing is permanent. I have used almost all of the services that I’ve mentioned in this article. They all worked for me at the time that I used them, and then I moved on when they no longer served my needs.

Try one or two of the free ones and see if you like them. If you think one of the paid services might be for you, they all offer free trials, so you don’t need to commit until you’re ready.

Whatever you decide, remember to have fun and don’t take it too seriously. Sharing your photos with the world can be one of the most enjoyable parts of photography. I would love to know about your experiences with portfolio websites. Have you used any of the websites mentioned? Are there any others you would recommend? Questions? Let me know in the comments area below.

The post Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites – Which is Best for You? appeared first on Digital Photography School.

4 Marketing Mistakes – How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

You can market your photography business in hundreds of different ways — some incredible effective, and some a total waste of your time. Here are four marketing mistakes or wrong ways to promote your photography business and what you should be doing instead.

How To Market Your Photography Business1

Mistake #1 – You’re Too “Professional”

By no means does this mean you should act or present yourself unprofessionally in your photography business — but often we hide behind a front of professionalism. If being a professional means a headshot on your website holding your camera (or no headshot at all) and a story about how you love love, and love photographing weddings, it’s unremarkable. Every other photographer does and believes those things.

Through trying to be perceived as a professional, you’ve becoming boring! Yes, you need to conduct your business professionally – but add some zest to your brand. What makes you unique as a human, and therefore, a photographer?

What 5-10 things could you talk about all day? Which things make you excited? What 5-10 things do you dislike? What are 5-10 ways you could describe your personality and your images?

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Brainstorm the list of you! Get clear on your interests, personality, photography style, brand, and voice and consistently communicate this uniqueness to your clients.

It’s simple to do a brand audit of your website, blog, and social media accounts. Within 30 seconds, would a new client know what makes you different? What facts will they remember? This is the key to non-boring, but still professional marketing.

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Mistake #2 – You’re Advertising Without Intention

In the name of honesty, I have never paid to advertise my photography business. But I’m not against advertising in magazines, wedding shows, or placing Facebook ads. However, advertising without intention is a big marketing mistake many photographers make.

Before you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for an ad, ask yourself this question, “Is my ideal client hanging out here?”

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

If you’re not clear on who your ideal client is, that will be the first step! Think back to some of your favorite clients and scribble a list of describing words about their personalities, wedding day, and photos. After you’ve reviewed at least 10 of your past couples, circle any common themes that occur.

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Testimonials are a gold mine for sketching out your ideal client. If you don’t have one already, start a document with feedback from your clients and look for themes. What are clients most excited about after working with you? A few more details to include in your client profile include their age, location, career, income bracket, and hobbies.

Once you get clear on who your ideal client is, then you can filter every advertising opportunity through your client profile. Would your ideal client be looking for a wedding photographer in that magazine, at the bridal show, through Facebook ads? If so, wonderful but if not, perhaps your marketing efforts and dollars are best spent elsewhere.

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Mistake #3 – You’re EVERYWHERE on Social Media

You have a limited amount of time to market your photography business, and you have to make your moments count. Before you get involved on Google Plus, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. – pause.

Is your ideal client finding their wedding photographer on that platform? If you’re not sure — a good place to start would be surveying your past clients and asking “Where did you find me?”

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Chances are that a few social media platforms (2-3 maximum) are bringing in most of your inquiries. The other platforms are a waste of your time. For photographers, I have found Instagram and Facebook to be front-runners, perhaps with Pinterest as a third. But you’ll have to investigate the stats for your business.

Once you’ve narrowed down the platforms you want to pursue, let go of the ones that aren’t working! On your chosen platforms, engage consistently with a mix of personal and business posts – sharing your face regularly, sharing work you love and calling prospective clients to action.

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Mistake #4 – You’re Sending Cold Emails

One of the best ways to market your photography business is building a strong network within your own industry. By this, I mean connecting with other photographers as well as wedding vendors and venues. However, sending cold impersonal emails is the wrong way to market your business.

If you want to send emails that not only get read but receive a reply back, make sure you do your research. Before you send an email, follow their accounts on social media, leave comments on their blog — so do that at least a week in advance of emailing. When you email, keep it short and to the point. Genuinely compliment their work. Share who you are, what you want and how you can help that person achieve their business goals.

4 Marketing Mistakes - How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business

Practically, this may mean helping a vendor by providing free headshots of their staff, photos of their storefront, or offering to help them improve their website or blog one afternoon. Most industry leaders want to help, they were new once as well – but not at a disadvantage to their own time.

If you want to connect with a fellow photographer, asking them for coffee for “tips” is a terrible way to get an email response. Instead, focus on relationship building, helping them in their business, sending a gift in the mail and asking to take them out to their favorite lunch spot. I guarantee your “cold emailing” success rate will increase if you follow these tips

Conclusion

What other mistakes have you make marketing your photography business, or seen others make? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

All the best to you as you work to market your photography business!

The post 4 Marketing Mistakes – How NOT to Promote Your Photography Business appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

Wedding days are super hectic, there’s no doubt about it. My couples and I agree on a wedding day photography timeline so we know exactly what is expected at every hour of the wedding day. Yes, we are flexible but having the order of the day written down is a must for things to go smoothly. This timeline is discussed well before the day and all the key people in the bridal party and key suppliers are made aware of the plan so we are all on the same page.

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

Plan it out

When I sit down with the couple to plan the day, I paint a picture of what a “normal” wedding day looks like and the expected timings allocated to each portion of the day. But I always explain to the couple that it is their wedding day and ultimately, they can do what they want and decide on the duration of each part.

This includes the portrait session of just the bride and groom, nobody else, which usually happens after all the other formals are done. Ideally, the portraits are done somewhere away from the guests so the couple doesn’t get distracted or pulled in different directions which only delays or extends the portrait session. Some couples opt for a “first look” which happens before the ceremony.

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

How much time will the couple allow for portraits?

From experience, depending on their priorities, the time couples allow for their own portraits vary widely, some allow for an hour and a half, but many slot in only 15-20 minutes. A reason for the latter is usually because they wish to spend time saying hello to friends and family especially those who have come a long way to be at their wedding. This is completely understandable and even expected.

I do, however, encourage my couples to always spare some time for bride and groom portraits no matter how little. That is the only time during the day they can be alone and have photos done of just the two of them without anyone else in the vicinity, or worse, in the background.

This doesn’t have to be done at a grand venue or separate location. This could be anywhere that is private, semi-private, quiet, or at the very least away from the guests. It can even be done at the very same location as everyone else, you just need to separate them from the crowd for a few minutes.

Work efficiently by having a plan

On average, my couples allow 15-20 minutes for this portrait session so over the years, I have learned how to get things done very quickly. In this article, I will share with you my secret – have a formula.

Having a formula is not a bad thing. If you worry that all your weddings might end up looking exactly the same, don’t! Each couple is unique and their wedding is unique to them. Besides, if they have booked you after having looked at your portfolio, that probably means they like your style and your work and they expect their photos to have the same look and feel as your other weddings.

Here is my 5 step formula for wedding day portraits

#1 – The couple together

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

I usually start the portrait session by taking photos of the couple together either holding hands, embracing, posed together for a natural look, or posed for a formal portrait. Being photographed with someone else is less daunting than solo and they have each other to hold on to or lean against in case they feel awkward especially at the start.

This part doesn’t have to be all posed either. It’s better if you can do some laughing and fun shots; just give them clear instructions or make them laugh if you are able.

#2 Just the bride

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

I then separate them and do portraits of just the bride. Usually, I ask the groom to help throw the veil or stand next to me so he can help make the bride laugh, have a natural smile, or look in his direction instead of straight at the camera.

Make sure you get close-ups of the bride as well as wide-angle shots showing the context or location (and her whole dress!) and a variety of angles if possible.

#3 Artistic shots

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

Use the opportunity of having the bride in front of you to take artistic shots like close-ups of the bouquet or veil, shoes, details, or some creative compositions. I try to minimize moving the couple from place to place too much. Instead, I do the moving myself and walk around them, finding various angles from which to shoot and adjusting to the light that is available.

# Just the groom

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

Now it’s the groom’s turn and this is simply a case of replicating what you have just done with the bride. Grooms are usually so much quicker to photograph and do not require a lot of posing. Just get them to stand naturally, lean on something, look at the bride, look at the camera, laugh, look sideways… done.

I find grooms tend to follow instructions quickly without worrying about how they look as they generally just want to get the portraits over and done with. Don’t forget to give them some indicators of time, letting them know you are nearly finished so they don’t worry about longer than they have allowed. This is important and reduces any worries about the timing of the day.

#5 Walking or do some action shots

I end the session with some walking or action photos. Be aware of your background for this as walking photos usually require being slightly further away. Be on the lookout for some nice light in the background and a suitable path they could walk on.

Ask them to walk slowly hand in hand for these photos. Position yourself behind them so you are photographing their backs. Then ask them both to stop in their tracks and look back at you, then again with just the bride looking, and finally just the groom looking.

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

Ask them to turn around in the same spot so they are now looking at you and walking towards you. Always instruct them to walk slowly. Again ask them to stop in their tracks and hold hands but stand further apart. Then say to take a step closer to each other until they are holding each other close or kissing if they wish. Depending on the background, this is when I try to do a silhouette, especially if there is sky or an open expanse in the background.

Sometimes, I ask them to practice their first dance a bit or pull each other in for a quick kiss for some movement and natural laughter.

Conclusion

On a small patch of ground, you will be able to cover several poses, include a variety of angles, do some formal portraits, some casual looks, and lastly some walking and action shots. And that is it! Wedding day portraits done in 15-20 minutes!

How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes

Don’t forget, just get on with it. Don’t stop to check your LCD for long or fuss about too many imperfections. You are under time pressure so have a formula and stick to it while allowing yourself wiggle room for some creative opportunities that may arise – as long as you are within the agreed upon timeframe.

As a side note, I always find that couples who have had an engagement shoot with me beforehand end up having a much easier and breezier portrait session. They know what to expect and what to do that they just do it without the need for a warm-up. They are quick to relax and be at ease in front of the camera and the best bit, they genuinely enjoy it!

The post How to do Wedding Day Portraits of the Bride and Groom in Under 20 Minutes by Lily Sawyer appeared first on Digital Photography School.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

Every decision you’ve ever made, each image you’ve ever shot, and each chance you’ve taken, has brought you to where you are now as a photographer. Think about that for a second. Regardless of what your goals might be or where you want to go with your photography, it all comes down to a series of moves. So really, all of your success and all of your failures are a beautiful mix of causes and effects. One action yielding one outcome big or small. For most of us, our love for all things photography points to one end and that ever-burning question of “How can I be a full-time photographer?”

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it takes to quit your job and become a professional photographer or how it feels to turn your love of photography into sustainable income, then this is your lucky day. I’m about to share with you some lessons I’ve learned during my three-year journey to become “one of those people”; someone who managed to turn their passion for photography into a full-time job and kiss the rat race goodbye. A few of these lessons are ones you might expect and a few might not be so obvious. So, sit back and get ready to hear some real-world advice from someone who actually made their dream happen, and how you can follow if you choose.

#1 – You have to want it more than anything

It’s easy to say you want something. But have you ever truly desired to make something happen? I’m talking about the kind of want that consumes your very being. Well, maybe not that dramatic but it’s not far off. If you are going to “make it” at anything then you will have to want it more than anything else.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

The happy upside to finding something that you so completely want is that the challenges you face don’t seem to matter as much as they might otherwise. And yes, there will be oh so many challenges. Which leads us to lesson #2.

#2 – You will have to sacrifice

Don’t get me wrong. The following words aren’t meant to be a deterrent but at the same time, they are quite true. To ultimately reach your goals there will have to be sacrifices made along the way. The nature and exactness of these sacrifices will vary greatly but there will always be things that you will have to give up in order to make your dream a reality.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

These sacrifices could be anything from giving up sleep and experiencing physical discomfort or missing time out with friends. Photography is a medium that literally requires you to be present for every shot. This means that to truly be there in the moment you won’t always be able to someplace else. It strains relationships and can take a toll on your body, your finances, and even your mind. But much like lesson #1, the sacrifices won’t seem so terrible if they are viewed as a necessary means to make something you truly want happen.

#3 – Understand the “calculated risks”

Taking calculated risks is sometimes misunderstood by some people who are looking to take a leap with their photo work. Let’s break down the very phrase “calculated risk”.

First, we have the word “calculated” which means something that is done with full awareness of the possible consequences. Then we have “risk” which refers to exposing something we value to danger, harm, or loss. So, when we say that we are going to take a calculated risk, it means that we are about to put something on the line knowing full well that the outcome might not be favorable. This is where I feel the point becomes lost with some photographers.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

To reach your goals you’ll certainly have to take some risks. While that’s true, I’ve learned that it’s the manner in which you take those risks that makes all the difference. When it comes to taking calculated risks, never risk anything that will ultimately prevent you from reaching your next goal.

I’ll admit though, this advice can be somewhat paradoxical. Meaning that in the end, you will have to take the ultimate calculated risk. That is going all in and attempting to make your living exclusively from your dealings in photography. Until that time comes, make sure your risks are of the non-terminal variety.

#4 – You will have to teach yourself patience

This is a hard one. You will have to be patient. Stay ambitiously patient, but be patient nonetheless. If you’re not a patient person then you’ll probably have to teach yourself to be one. And if you come to the conclusion that you can’t teach yourself to be patient then you’ll just have to fake it. I can tell you that there is no set timetable when it comes to reaching a sustainable goal.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

Being patient doesn’t mean that you should sit back and wait for things to happen. Instead, make every minute of every day count towards achieving the thing you want the most. But understand that there’s no guarantee when that goal will be reached. Just know that you will reach it if you are patient (and persistent) and don’t stop.

#5 – Confidence comes after the fact

This is something that I struggle to remind myself on a daily basis. Confidence is just as important as skill in some cases. Having the gall to try something new, to attempt difficult things, that’s what it takes to make big things happen with your photography.

Some people are born confident (or at least so it seems). But for others, confidence is a learned talent. What’s the downside to becoming confident in your work? Confidence only comes after you do the thing you’re afraid to do.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

Yeah, that’s a hard idea to swallow but it’s true. To become confident you will have to constantly step outside your comfort zone to varying degrees. This could mean being proactive with clients, taking on jobs that are just slightly outside your assumed skill set, and at times even talking your way into (and out of) a few situations.

#6 – Disregard secret formulas for success

The internet is chock-full of every kind of self-improvement website and video imaginable that all aim at making you better at photography. That’s 100% okay and none of us would know much of anything about making photographs if it weren’t for people who publish good educational information. After all, you’re reading this article on one of the best photo education sites online. But that doesn’t mean that everything that glitters is gold.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

A big red warning flag should go up whenever you hear or read something that tells you to, “Do this and you’ll be a great photographer” or worse yet, the dreaded, “I’m a master photographer so listen to me” line. Understand that your journey to finding success is completely unique to you. My goals and choices are likely totally different than those you will choose. At the same time, some lessons are universal. Just remember that there is no secret formula, only tested advice.

#7 – Grab opportunity by the throat

I love a good metaphor and grabbing opportunity by the throat is one of the best ones I can think of to describe what I learned about approaching opportunity. Learning to recognize opportunities for advancing yourself and your work is only a small part of the puzzle. You have to also aggressively seize those opportunities when they come along.

For me, there were three or four big opportunities that eventually put me where I am today. Narrowing it down even further, one of those opportunities hinged on a single email that I sent to someone. If I hadn’t sent that one message, things might have turned out much differently.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

Don’t just say, “I think this is a great opportunity but…” There are no buts when it comes to this sort of action. Unfortunately, you have to decide that for yourself whether not an opportunity is worthwhile. But if you do decide to go for it, do so with everything you’ve got. You never know where it might lead. Which brings us to #8.

#8 – Your destination will change

This is somewhat of a strange lesson which I’ve only come to grasp in the last year or so. The end all be all dream I had when I started making photographs was to take pictures of beautiful things, sell them, and repeat. I thought I would do this enough to make a living.

Well, the hard truth about photography is that it’s nearly impossible to make a living exclusively from selling prints. It’s not impossible, but even the established greats in the photography history books didn’t merely sell prints to support themselves. The ones who did often were only able to do so AFTER they became giants in the art.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

Don’t be afraid to allow yourself to evolve in a natural direction. Currently, I write for four to five publications, have authored two books on photography, host my own YouTube channel, and dabble in all manner or photo-related adventures. I still love making photos and do so whenever I can, but do I sell a lot of those prints? Not really.

Would I ever have imagined myself as a writer? Absolutely not! But when the opportunity came along I took it, and it’s all been one amazing ride to where I am now. The takeaway here is to be flexible with your attitude and accept that you always understand that a glorious outcome is out there, but it may not be the one you originally set out to achieve.

#9 – Think big but have realistic expectations

Set huge goals for yourself. Dream big. Think big. Never let anyone tell you that something is impossible for this or that reason. While you should never set strict limitations for yourself and your dreams it’s also important to live in reality. This is a reality, isn’t it? The point is to never expect great things to happen quickly or without a lot of work (remember #2 and #4 above) supplied on your part.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

The most saddening thing that can happen to those who have unreal expectations is that they quit. They stop chasing after what they love and resign themselves to an existence they don’t really want. If you want to go full-time in the photography world always remember that success finds us at different times and with different outcomes. Think as big as you need to but keep your feet firmly on the ground.

#10 – It’s all worth it in the end

As we close out our list, #10 is the lesson that I want you to understand with the most clarity. Of all the lessons I’ve learned on my journey to independence with photography, there is one that had to wait for until the end and it’s this – it’s all worth it. All of it. All your hard work, all your sacrifice, everything that you poured into making your dream of being a working full-time photographer will ultimately lead to one of the greatest feelings imaginable.

10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer

Honestly, any description I can give of how amazing it feels to make photography (or photo related) your full-time job will ultimately fall miserably short of its mark. So, if you’re struggling with whatever you happen to be doing with photography let this final lesson fortify you enough to keep going. Believe me, it will all be worth it.

Some Final Thoughts

These lessons are just a small portion of a nearly indecipherable culmination of trial and error, ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Your particular path will be different than mine, as it should be. I managed to leave a successful, albeit unfitting, career in healthcare to go on to make a living doing what I really love. The best part? I’m no different than you.

I’m ecstatic to tell you some of the lessons I’ve learned so that you might understand that you can do the same thing I did. It may not happen quickly and it might not be exactly what you originally planned, but when it finally happens…and it will happen, it will be better than anything you can imagine.

The post 10 Lessons from a Guy Who Quit His Job to be a Full-Time Photographer by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

No photographer wants to get into the photography business with the aim of becoming a marketing expert. But the reality is that if you don’t focus on the marketing and business end of photography, your business will not be able to survive long enough to do the fun stuff. It stinks, but this is the truth.

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Luckily, the learning curve at the beginning is the toughest part, and as you get used to the business side, everything will come much more naturally to you. Eventually, you might even learn to enjoy it, or at least appreciate the work, after you see how powerful it can be in getting you where you want to go.

So here are 10 of the most important strategies you can start right away to make sure your photography business succeeds.

1. Use Your Personal Network

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Nobody wants to be that annoying marketer that always pushes their business on their friends and acquaintances. However, this fear can push photographers way too far in the opposite direction, never working with the people that have grown to trust them the most. Your personal network is your strongest asset and even more so at the beginning of your photography business. These are the people who will give you your first jobs and introduce you to your first clients.

Photography is unique in that no matter what genre you are involved in, people in your network will most likely need your services at some point, whether it’s wedding or event photography, business portraiture, family portraiture, or print selling. So let your network know what you do and how you can help them.

Create a mailing list and send out an announcement to your network. Show your best work, talk about your photography business, and make sure to explain how you can help people. How can your business benefit them? They will not know unless you tell them. In addition, make sure to ask for referrals.

2. Take Advantage of Local Marketing

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Whenever you say the word marketing these days, for some reason everyone immediately starts talking about social media. That is funny, because as important as social media is, it should be one of the last steps to think about for any marketing plan.

Your first step should be working within your local community. Similar to the last point, these are people who know you. You are just down the street from them. There are businesses of all types in your community that can probably use your work, so create a plan for how to get in front of them.

Make a good impression

Keep in mind that you only get one first impression, so be smart about how you reach out. First and foremost, figure out how you can benefit them. If you are going to reach out to someone, you need to know how their business or life will be better with your services and explain how you can help. Always be kind and courteous with their time, and if possible see if you can get an introduction before contacting someone cold. Does anyone in your personal network know the person you want to contact? That’s always a great first step, but if not, just reach out yourself.

The more you are seen, the more people in your community will notice you and start to think about working with you. Whether it’s local events, business events, fundraisers, you name it, you should make the point to be there, particularly at first. This is the way to create new relationships and to spread your reach.

Similarly, reach out to the other photographers in your area. Many photographers will assist others when they need help and vice versus, and this will help strengthen everyone as a whole. It can be easy for photographers to feel competitive with each other but avoid this. The ones that work together and refer each other will do much better in the long-run than the ones who try to do it all on their own.

3. Create a Mailing List

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Use a mailing list provider such as MailChimp or Aweber to keep up with your clients, personal network, and fans. Email lists have the highest engagement of any form of marketing, and it is the way for you to stay on people’s minds.

Ask people if you can add them to your list, and always have them opt into the subscription. Put signup forms or popups on your website that encourage people to join. Consider giving away something to encourage them to do so, such as free computer wallpapers of your photography.

When sending out emails, create content that your list will enjoy. Do not sell too often with it. The more benefit and interest that you provide for the people on your list, the more they will enjoy it and the more they will like you. Then when you sell, they will be primed to purchase your services or product. When it’s time to sell, sell.

4. Create a Personal Project

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

This image is part of a personal project I’ve been working on involving talking to and making portraits of people in my community.

Personal projects will not bring new clients to you right away, and they will take away time from building your business and making a living. This is the tougher side of doing projects, but they are immensely important for the long term growth of your business and for growing your voice as a photographer. A project can be done slowly over a long period of time, so you can build it into your weekly schedule.

Think of an idea that will resonate with both you and your community. This is a way of keeping your passion for photography alive. It will also help to set you apart from the other photographers in your community. It will show people that you are an interesting person. They will be more interested in working with you, even if the paid work you do is a completely different genre. It will be a way for you to gain press coverage and something for you to talk about to engage people. All in all, a personal project will make marketing yourself so much easier, and it will feel much more natural.

5. Respond Quickly

There is no point in building your photography business or marketing your work if you are not going to respond quickly to inquiries. Respond quickly at every step of the process throughout a job as well. Responding quickly does not have to mean within the hour, although sometimes that can help when getting a new inquiry. It can mean responding within 12 hours or a day, as long as you are consistent and prompt.

Fortunately for you, a lot of photographers are terrible at this, so this will quickly set you apart. It will show people that you are a responsible person, and it will make them more comfortable working with you.

6. Build Your Connections (Both Local and Online)

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Building your network is a lifetime process. As you go further and further in your career, you will begin to create connections with people who can do more and more for you (and who are tougher to get in contact with).

Whichever point in your career you are at, and whatever level your skill level as a photographer, start at that point and build connections there. Then over time, work your way up the ladder. Be patient, be smart, and don’t try to push too hard at first, particularly with people who don’t know you. First impressions are impossible to get back. Grow your network carefully and consistently.

7. Keep Your Existing Clients Coming Back

It can help to create a client management system. You can start off with an excel document at first and eventually grow to a more robust system, such as Sprout Studio. Keep in contact with your best clients, and even consider sending them holiday cards or a small gift to stay on their minds. A small gesture can go a long way, and it is much easier to get an existing client to come back than it is to reach a new one.

8. Makes Sure Your Website Sells

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Think about your website as your number one selling tool. Whatever your primary service is, your site should be developed for the specific purpose of leading people to hire you for that service or for purchasing one of your products.

Study the basics of copywriting, create specific sales pages for your offerings, and even consider creating sales funnels that lead people to an end goal. These can be very powerful ways of priming people to want to work with you.

9. Take Advantage of SEO

SEO, or ranking highly in search engines, is a long term strategy that takes some studying to understand how to do (beyond what we will be able to cover completely here). My belief is that you should always focus on local networking first, as that has the ability to get you very quick gains, whereas an SEO campaign can take years to truly get you where you want to be.

But that being said, SEO should not be ignored, because most people will use Google to find the right photographer for them. Always remember, the goal of Google is to serve up the most relevant websites for the query topic. If you want to rank for a specific term, make sure to create the best possible page that will answer that query. Without this, an SEO strategy will not work.

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

Listen to Google

Google runs on links, so you need to figure out how to get other related websites to link to yours. It’s interesting because while it may seem annoying to gain these links, Google is actually forcing you to do things you should be doing in the first place.

Network with websites that you would like to be featured on, and figure out how you can provide that site with some value before you contact them. You will get nowhere if you just ask for something, but if you contact them willing to help them out, it will help immensely. As you grow with your abilities and your marketing, your opportunities for getting covered will grow as well. Internet marketing gets much easier over time.

This is another area where a personal project can help grow your business. People want to share interesting topics, so even if you are not generating income from the project directly, you can use the project to get covered on websites and to make people more aware of you, which will ultimately help improve SEO and grow your network and mailing list.

10. Create a Daily Plan

The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business

All of this is way too much to do in a feverish month of working. Similarly, your marketing skills will grow gradually, so take your time and be strategic about how you work through your marketing plan. You do not want to spend a whole month contacting everyone you can only to burn out soon after.

Set aside a daily block of time to build your business. Contact a few people every day or every few days. Use the feedback from those to tweak your next pitch. Over time, you will figure out what works and what does not work. A small amount of work each day will eventually snowball into much bigger things.

Conclusion

The main theme throughout this article is that you need to put yourself out there. The work will not just come to you. Create an organized plan, stick to it, and go for it. Be both careful and relentless. That is what is needed.

It may seem like there is a huge wall in front of you that is impossible to cross. But if you chip away at it a little bit each day, within a few years you will find that you have opened up many paths through it.


For even more business help – join the Focus Summit 2017 Online Business and Marketing Conference for Photographers on Sept 26-28th 2017. We will cover marketing, business development, law, SEO, branding, blogging, and much more. Use the code “DPS” for a $50 discount.

The post The 10 Most Important Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Photography Business by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Create a Successful Local Marketing Strategy for your Photography Business

The internet has taken over most aspects of our daily lives. We can talk to the world at a moments notice, promote our services instantly, and sell anything we want day or night. However, in the quest to grow as many followers and fans as we can, it can become easy to forget about one of the most important opportunities that exist for your photography business. There is so much potential right outside your front door.

Think local

No photography business can afford to forget about their local community – so you need to create a complete marketing plan that addresses both the internet and your own local community.

Photography Business Marketing

You don’t need to reach an audience around the globe to receive a job from your neighbor down the street. How many people cross your path in a given day? How many of them know what you do or could potentially use your services? How many of them might be interested in what you have to offer?

Through local marketing, you want to create a daily strategy for your local connections to grow consistently.

Photography Business Marketing

Be informative not intrusive

You do not have to be overly intrusive about it. You do not have to sell to your friends, colleagues, or acquaintances directly. Have you ever had a friend that you haven’t seen in years suddenly contact you out of the blue asking to talk or to get together? Then you speak to them and realize that they have just gotten a job as a financial planner (or some other such thing) and are trying to sign you up as a client.

This is not what I mean by local marketing, but you do have to be effective at making people aware of what you do, whenever the situation presents itself. You want to intrigue people. When people ask what you do, help them understand your photography business. You are in a creative field, so make it sound as exciting as possible.

Photography Business Marketing

Just let people know what you do

If there is a crossover that might help the person, mention it. For instance, what type of photographer are you? What are the specific services that you provide? Depending on who the person is, tailor what you say to them or their situation.

Send out an official announcement letting everyone know about your photography business. Briefly, explain what your services are and how you might provide potential customers with assistance. When done correctly, this will not be intrusive but informative. People will congratulate you and celebrate your endeavor.

If you are trying to grow your family portrait or corporate business, the people you know will be a huge help. How many of your friends work for businesses or have families? I am assuming most of them. Why would these friends want to seek out a stranger to provide these services when they could work with someone they know? You can be that person.

Photography Business Marketing

Build relationships with other businesses

How many businesses do you frequent on a daily basis? From restaurants to law firms to local shops, there is a wealth of opportunity right under your nose. It is simple but can seem so daunting at the same time. Smile, talk to that business owner you have seen for years and tell them about your services and how they might benefit from them. Bring a brochure of your work.

For businesses that you do not have a prior relationship with, try to locate the person in the company who would be in charge of hiring out the type of work that you want to do. It can be much less effective to just walk in the door blind with the aim of speaking to the first person you see. Your prospective chances will improve significantly if you can make a pointed and direct contact with an influential person within a business.

Exhibit your work

Seek out gathering spaces, such as a coffee shop, a bar, or an event space to hold a show. This is good for their business as it provides art on their walls and a reason for people to enter their establishment. For you, it provides a fun space to show your work. If you live in a smaller community, where a lot of people who know you will come across the work, then this can be a great strategy. If you can draw people to the space to help show and sell your work, then that is a good thing. Many gallerists hold pop-up galleries in addition to their permanent spaces for just this purpose. Consider doing similar pop-up events of your work.

If you live in a smaller community, where a lot of people who know you will come across the work, then this can be a great strategy. If you can draw people to the space to help show and sell your work, that is a good thing. Many gallerists hold pop-up galleries in addition to their permanent spaces for just this purpose. Consider doing similar pop-up events of your work.

Photography Business Marketing

Make sure it’s on your terms

However, there are some pitfalls to this strategy. Providing your work to a business for an open-ended period of time at no cost doesn’t necessarily mean that your work will sell or that it will help you get noticed. I see artwork covering the walls of coffee shops all over New York, and most of it never moves. This is just giving the establishment free art with little or no benefit to you.

You need to select the correct establishment and have a way to draw people there with the specific purpose of seeing your art and hopefully purchasing it. Without that, this strategy can be as much of a drain on your time and resources as it can be a success. If these benefits are not there for you, the establishment should pay you for your work (or pay a rental fee) since you are providing a service to them. You are giving them an ambiance and improving the experience for their customers.

Photograph students at a local school

Another thing you could consider is contacting an acting or music teacher at a local school and offering to photograph the student’s headshots. If you do well, it will help build your portfolio and both the students and the teachers alike will tell others of your services. Hang an advertisement in a local business, do work for a local website, sell your work at a local fair; there are many creative ways to integrate what you do into your community.

Photography Business Marketing

There is an infamous and successful example of this type of strategy employed by a guitar teacher named Dan Smith in New York City. Beginning in the 1990s, Dan hung small ads in doorways and vestibules in businesses all over Manhattan. You could not walk into a diner or coffee shop without seeing one, and these ads persist today. He has built a business out of this single marketing strategy, and it lead him to be so ubiquitous that even The New York Times ran a profile of him.

The repetition is what worked for him, and it was not annoying; it was almost humorous and became a defining characteristic of growing up in the city. This is an example of the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of your income can come from 20 percent of your marketing. Dan found a strategy that worked and pushed it to the extreme. It only worked because of the extreme measures that he took in plastering so much of the city with his ads. Other music teachers pasted their ads around the city, but none did it like Dan.

Conclusion

By working on a variety of local marketing strategies, these endeavors will combine to create an overall awareness of your business in the community. Some of the individual pieces might seem small, and all of this may seem tedious at first, but all together they can be very powerful.


For even more business help – join the Focus Summit 2017 Online Business and Marketing Conference for Photographers on Sept 26-28th 2017. We will cover marketing, business development, law, SEO, branding, blogging, and much more. Use the code “DPS” for a $50 discount.

The post How to Create a Successful Local Marketing Strategy for your Photography Business by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

7 Common Mistakes That Every Photography Business Needs to Avoid

Everyone makes mistakes. When growing your photography business, you will make more mistakes over than the years than you can count – and some of them you will even look back on and cringe.

Mistakes are all part of the process. But also part of the job of being a photographer is figuring out how to minimize these mistakes, especially the ones that can set you back a long way. Learn from your peers so you can avoid their mistakes.

Photography Business Marketing

Here are some of the main pitfalls that plague photographers. Just fixing these alone can save you a lot of money, and even more importantly, a lot of time.

Mistake #1 – Not Charging Enough

When you are first building your portfolio, certainly you might have to do some jobs for free or at a reduced rate as you build your skill level. That part is fine, but once you have that portfolio and are a full fledged business, you do not want to sell yourself short.

Photography may seem to others like a passion job – that you just show up for an hour or two, take some photos, and send them over. But it is about so much more than that. It’s about building your skills, learning about light, composition, fixing mistakes on the fly, editing, and learning how to work with clients. It’s traveling to and from the location, paying your expenses, spending the time to market yourself to get the job, paying the bills to keep the lights on, and feeding your family. And it’s about having some time left over to enjoy yourself.

Photography Business Marketing

Create a spreadsheet and calculate these costs so you know what you have to make per job to survive and thrive. This will give you the confidence to ask for what you are worth. If you’re not able to cover all of these costs, then you’re not running a true full-time business, you won’t survive in the long run, and you’re lowering the value of the work itself.

Stay away from the cheap jobs and the cheap clients. They will just suck your time away and demand more and more. If the requirements for a client on a particular job suddenly change halfway through, ask for more money.

Sometimes you will want to do work for less than you are worth if it is the right type of job or the right type of client, but this should only be situational. There will be many points in your career where it will be more valuable to spend the time on your marketing and business development than on the job itself.

Mistake #2 – Not Reaching Out to People and Being Proactive with Marketing

Photography Business Marketing

Jobs are not going to come to you at first, no matter how good your work is. You will have to go out and find your clients, so create a list of your ideal client types and of the best ways to reach each of them.

Work within your personal network, canvas local businesses, attend events and offer your services to individuals. The more you put yourself out there, the more business will come to you. But at first, every job you receive will come as a direct result of you proactively contacting someone or figuring out a strategy to get your work in front of them.

Mistake #3 – Not Collaborating and Working With Other Photographers in Your Space (i.e. Your Competitors)

Photography Business Marketing

Other photographers can be one of the biggest helps to you along your journey. They’ve been there before, they have a lot in common with you, and they could become great friends. Learn from them and offer to help them.

Often you will get some of your first jobs from other photographers, whether it be assisting them or taking some of their overflow. Many established photographers still have a portion of their income come from helping out other photographers in their community.

In addition, accountability can be extremely important for your growth. Find a photographer in a similar place (level and business-wise) as you and work together. Have strategy sessions and share what is working and what is not. Having someone in your life like this can be integral to your success and for getting you through the hard times.

There will be a portion of photographers who see you as a competitor. They will not want to talk to or worth with you. That’s their problem, and the collaborations that you do with the willing photographers will help you both jump ahead of the ones who don’t.

Mistake #4 – Not Responding Quickly Enough

Why don’t photographers respond as quickly as possible to job inquiries? Either way, it makes things easier for us when the competition is slow to respond. I hear it all the time, how surprised people were by how quickly I responded to them, both at the beginning and throughout the entire job process. This shows a level of dependability, and in addition to helping people to want to work with you, it will also make them want to refer you. The more dependable you are, the more your clients will want to help you out however they can.

Even if it’s not a job inquiry, respond quickly. You never know when a casual conversation or advice that you give will turn into a job or reference. Often, it will turn into nothing, but when those one or two out of 10 turn into jobs, in the long run, those will add up.

Mistake #5 – Not Spelling Out the Terms of a Job from the Very Beginning

Photography Business Marketing

Being a skilled photographer is not just about creating beautiful pictures. A big aspect of the photography business is how you handle the job from start to finish, and often the most important part is the very beginning when you spell out the terms and requirements.

It is really tough to know exactly what a client is envisioning for the job, so it helps to ask a lot of questions. This will even help them figure out what they want, as many of them will not have any experience with hiring a professional photographer. It will also help you justify your price when you talk out the steps of a job with them.

Make sure they know that if the parameters of the job change (through their decisions), you will have to charge more for the extra work. Most clients will think it is not a big deal to add something that was not specified ahead of time, but this is just more work they are giving you that was not spelled out originally. It happens a lot of the time, so it’s very important for your photography business to learn how to handle it correctly.

Mistake #6 – Not Having a Contract

Similar to the last point, while you both need to come to an agreement on the scope of any photography project, you also need to spell out those terms in a contract. Without a contract, you can easily be screwed over, and many photographers learn this the hard way. Hire a lawyer to give you advice, and look into thelawtog.com, which provides a variety of photographer contracts. These can save you a lot of time and money.

Read this on contracts: The Biggest Legal Mistake Photographers Make

The contract is important for setting the boundaries of the project. It will be easier to ask for more money if the scope of a job changes when you have a contract that spells out the exact requirements that were drafted.

Mistake #7 – Not Having an Efficient Workflow

Photography Business Marketing

Efficiency is one of the most important aspects of running a photography business, and unfortunately, speed is something that is learned over time. Create a speedy and organized system for how you work. Import a job, cull the selects, crop, do the post-production work (light, color, contrast, etc.), export, deliver, and invoice. The more efficient you are with this, the less you will procrastinate. There is nothing that will cause a photographer to procrastinate more than staring at a mountain of unedited images.

While this tip may sound simple, jobs that might take beginning photographers three hours to edit, can take an experienced photographer an hour. It took me much longer to edit a job when I started, and this organization and efficiency can give you so much more time to spend on everything else.

Also read: Photography Workflow Tips – From Memory Card to Computer and Beyond

Always tell a client that you will get a job to them a couple days later than you think you can. This will allow you time to screw something up and still get the work to them on time. Usually, you will get it to them early which will make you look even better (this is called under promise, over deliver).

Mistake #8 – Bonus Tip: Learn When to Say No

Photography Business Marketing

It’s hard to say no as a photographer, especially if you are growing your business and are under booked, but some jobs or some clients are just not worth it. If you are not being paid enough and the job is not good for your portfolio, if the client is tough to work with and overly demanding, save that aggravation and pass.

Some of these clients will prey upon young photographers to squeeze as much out of them before the photographer wises up. Just avoiding these jobs alone will save you so much time, and allow you to put it towards marketing and business development efforts that will set you much further ahead than by taking a less than desirable job.

Your time is very, very important, so don’t waste it. Saying no can be one of the best decisions you make.

If you have a photography business and have any other tips for newbies just getting started, please share in the comments below.


For even more business help – join the Focus Summit 2017 Online Business and Marketing Conference for Photographers on Sept 26-28th 2017. We will cover marketing, business development, law, SEO, branding, blogging, and much more. Use the code “DPS” for a $50 discount.

 

The post 7 Common Mistakes That Every Photography Business Needs to Avoid by James Maher appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Do You Need a Photography Resume?

In the photography world, there is a lot of emphasis on having a portfolio, but hardly any attention is ever given to the photography resume. So do you even need a photography resume at all? The question is largely debatable and boils down to the type of photography you are aiming to do. In this post, I’ll highlight some scenarios when you might need a photography resume (along with what to include in it), and when you do not likely need one.

When You Might Need a Photography Resume

In my seven years of working as a freelance corporate photographer, I’ve been asked to present a photography resume only a handful of times. Each time, it was when I was being considered for a part-time or full-time photography role. If you’re applying for a salaried photography position within a company or being listed with a creative agency, this is when you might need a resume.

Do You Need a Photography Resume?

While it’s rare for any commercial client to require a resume for a freelance photography job, it’s still good to have one on hand just in case. But if your target client is non-commercial with a focus on something such as weddings or families, you probably won’t ever need to submit a photography resume.

When You (Probably) Don’t Need a Resume

For most freelance photographers, it’s rare that a client will ask for a resume in order to be considered for a gig. Typically, the emphasis for freelance photo shoots is more on your portfolio and how you handle your correspondence (i.e., email, phone calls, in-person meetings). This is true for both consumer (eg. wedding, family) and commercial (eg. corporate event, headshot) photographers.

Can you imagine a bride asking a wedding photographer for a resume? Or better yet, can you imagine what a wedding photographer’s resume might look like? Having a list of all of the weddings a photographer has ever shot doesn’t matter unless you’re aiming to be a celebrity wedding photographer.

Do You Need a Photography Resume?

Keep a Resume on File

The good news is that resumes aren’t terribly difficult to create, especially with the existence of LinkedIn. For all of the naysayers who don’t find LinkedIn relevant, I admit that it may be more or less useful depending on where you’re located. Here in Seattle, LinkedIn is a very active recruiting tool and social network where you can also store your electronic resume for anyone can see. As a full-time freelance photographer, I think it’s a good thing to have my professional resume seen by as many prospective clients as possible.

What to put on your resume

What should you include on your resume? There are a few staple items that should definitely be included, but the rest of the details depend entirely on why you’re submitting the photography resume in the first place. Personally, I have zero educational background or full-time employment that has anything to do with photography. Yet I still include my education and work experience to show that I have some.

As for my position as a full-time freelance photographer, I list that as my most current work experience. Writing the description for this position was rather awkward at first, but it actually became quite interesting when I put all of the skills I actually perform as a photographer into words. Consider every single part of your photo shoot workflow, from scouting and booking locations to post-production and delivering final photos to your client under tight deadlines. There are a lot of professional skills that go into being a photographer, so detail it out for both yourself and prospective clients. Include the following:

  1. Your name and contact info.
  2. Educational background.
  3. Any relevant experience you have.

Do You Need a Photography Resume?

Focus on Your Portfolio

Instead, what should matter to are these things:

A Curated Portfolio

As a photographer, your portfolio IS your resume. It should contain only your very best work that visually showcases your skills. How many images you choose to include in your portfolio is completely up to you, but generally, 15-20 images per category is a good amount.

Testimonials From Clients

Testimonials are basically your references. They should be short, accurate statements that reflect your process and what your client liked about working with you. Although it’s rare for anyone to actually call and verify your testimonials, they’re still important to include as they give the potential client a glimpse at what others think.

Do You Need a Photography Resume?

By James Royal-Lawson

Client List

Most consumer (wedding, family) photographers won’t need a client list unless the names of the couples and families are recognizable. However, commercial or corporate photographers may want to include a list of notable clients with whom they have worked. Typically, it’s okay to just make a list of client brand names, but you can also include tear sheets (a screenshot or copy of your published final product). This helps prospective clients get an idea of the types of clients and projects you’ve worked with before.

Case Studies

Consider taking your portfolio a step further than the average photographer by including a few case studies. Simply pick your top 3-5 photography clients that you’ve worked with, and include the best 5-10 images to showcase from each project. Use those images along with some personal written commentary that describes how you decided to tackle the photo shoot. Also, consider adding any behind-the-scenes photos or diagrams that show any setup details. Use these case studies to show off how you approach a photo shoot. After all, a prospective client wants to know not only that you can create an image, but what it’s like to work with you.

Do You Need a Photography Resume?

In Conclusion

Depending on your ultimate goal as a photographer, you may or may not ever have to create a photography resume. It depends entirely on what you strive to achieve as a photographer. What are your thoughts on having and using a photography resume?

The post Do You Need a Photography Resume? by Suzi Pratt appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

I am an amateur photographer, but I make around $500 in revenue from my photos each month. Photography is a hobby for me, but it can be an expensive hobby at times. This money pays for photography software, computer hardware, and lenses, so the hobby I love doesn’t cost a dime. This article will discuss how I did this with microstock, and provide tips on how you can do the same.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

Making your first buck

In 2010, I wanted to improve my photography so I purchased an entry-level DSLR and started to actively study how to become a better photographer, mainly from resources on the internet. As I tried different techniques, compositions, and camera settings, I posted my photos to sites like Flickr, Facebook, and 500px. In the beginning, I didn’t get very many views or likes but still enjoyed posting and learning from other photographer’s photos on those sites.

After shooting, learning, and posting for two and a half years, a design company saw a photo of mine on Flickr and asked if they could purchase a commercial license. I did a couple of quick searches about licensing and pricing on the internet, then sold my first commercial license for $75. This is the first photo I ever licensed.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

Pay for your hobby

Before this first sale, I hadn’t considered selling licenses to my photos. However, I had gotten to the point where I wanted to upgrade my entry level DSLR and lenses to a full frame system but couldn’t justify the cost for my hobby. However, I could justify the cost to myself (and my wife) if the money for the upgrade came from licensing my existing photos.

Microstock

So, I started researching photo licensing and learned about microstock sites. These sites are websites that act as an intermediary between buyers of photo licenses and photographers. They are called “micro” because they typically sell photo licenses for less than where professional photographers have historically set their prices.

As a result, there is a lot of negative information about microstock sites on the Internet. Despite this negative information I decided to try posting my photos on Shutterstock, one of the most popular microstock sites. At the time, I had only made one sale ever so I felt that getting a small payment for each sale was better than no payment at all.

The first month I made less than $10 with 55 photos accepted by Shutterstock. However, I kept uploading my photos when I had time. A monthly later I had 100 photos on the site. In my third month, I checked my stats one morning and found I made $56 dollars from selling extended licenses from these two photos.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

A work in progress – keep at it

This was a bit of beginner’s luck because after that I didn’t have a day with more than $50 in sales for many more months. But it kept me motivated to continue uploading my photos to Shutterstock and even upload to multiple other microstock sites as well.

I also started uploading my better photos to art-on-demand sites like Fine Art America. These sites allow you to upload your photos, set a price, and create a storefront for anyone to purchase prints of your photos. When someone purchases the art, these sites handle the payment, printing, and shipping of the photo and send you money from the sale.

Lastly, I upgraded my photo blog to sell licenses directly from my website. Despite the fact that my photos are available on all the popular microstock sites, stock photo buyers continue to see my photos on social media and purchase licenses directly from my website.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

Realistic numbers – don’t expect to get rich

Two years after my first photo license sale, my monthly revenue from photos was about $500 a month. This $500 is an average, with my biggest month was $1400, while some months have been lower. Now that my photos have been posted, they can continue to get sales indefinitely. In 2016, I did not have much time for photography and only posted eight photos over the course of the year. However, I still averaged $460 a month in revenue from the photos I had posted in previous years.

These revenue numbers are for all the photos I have posted online. I only post my best photos from each day out shooting. My current online portfolio of all my photos is around 700 total. Microstock sites don’t accept all of my images, so on some of the sites, I only have 300 photos accepted and up for sale there. Doing the math, my photos earn less than $1 a month on average (per photo). And in reality, it is even less because I have one photo that has earned over $4000 over the years, while others have gotten no sales.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

However, I am fine with this because I take the photos I want to take and then post to stock sites to see if they sell. Photography is still a hobby and the pleasure it gives me comes first, making money is secondary. Often, the photos I like best are not the best sellers on microstock sites. For example, I prefer the photo of me and my shadow below because I really enjoyed making it, but the snapshot I took of a split trail while on a hike, sells much better.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

What sites work best

Although I have posted a portion of my collection to over 20 sites over the years, all of these sites can be categorized into one of two types; microstock and art-on-demand. 75% of my photography revenue has come from microstock sites, while only 8% came from art-on-demand sites. The remaining 17% is through direct sales from my photography website.

I have tried a number of art-on-demand sites over the years but currently only post to Fine Art America because it is the only site where my images consistently sell. I have also tried many microstock sites. Typically, if I hear of a new one, I will upload 100 of my best photos to begin. If I start to get sales, then I will upload the rest of my collection. Here are my top five microstock sites based on earnings. I currently only post to these five sites as I have found the other ones aren’t worth the time it takes to post the photos.

  • Shutterstock
  • 500px
  • Fotolia / Adobe Stock
  • 123RF
  • Big Stock Photo (Owned by Shutterstock)

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

Last tips for you

If you are an amateur photographer who wants to make additional revenue from photo licenses, here are the steps you can take:

  • Post your photos to social sites. My favorite is 500px, but I have also started posting to Instagram, and I still post to Flickr, which was my favorite a couple of years ago.
  • Setup your own photography blog. My blog does not get as many photo views as my social sites, but all my social sites link back to my photo blog. It makes it easy for potential buyers to purchase licences if they see them on social media. I used Squarespace for my blog because it was easy to set up in one day.
  • Upload photos to Shutterstock. Most microstock photographers who post their revenue on the web list Shutterstock as a top earner. So it is likely that if your photos will sell, they will sell on Shutterstock more than other sites, making it a good place to start.
  • Upload photos to other stock sites. Once you see some success on Shutterstock then go ahead and post your top photos to other microstock sites.

How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock

Conclusion

It has been seven years since I decided to take photography seriously and I have improved a lot over the years. However, I still have a lot to learn, but these days the software, courses, and gear that help me make photos are all paid for by revenue from the sale of photo licenses, rather than out of the family budget from my day job.

 

NOTE from the dPS team: Check out our Going Pro Kit with more stock photo success tips and other ways to make money through your photography

The post How to Make $500 a Month From Your Photography Hobby with Microstock by James Wheeler appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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