9 Things Every Professional Photographer Should Know by Jason Aten

120,000.  Apparently, that’s the number of new photographers in the last year.  120,000!  That’s a lot of new photographers.  That’s a lot of new businesses.  That’s a lot of new people working hard to build a business around this photography thing we do.  So, for those of you who find yourself in that group – here’s a few thoughts that no one really tells you when you start your own business in your living room.

For those of you who’ve been around for a while – I’d love for you to share some more thoughts at the end of this post!

1. Stop buying lenses.  Hire an accountant instead.

Yes, fast lenses are great.  Yes, a great camera is sweet.  The truth is, neither will make you a better photographer.  They might make you feel good today, but they won’t change your chance of making a living at photography.  Wanna make better …

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Lightroom Catalog Portability and Syncing Tutorial by Jared Platt

If you are using lightroom on more than one computer, say a laptop and a desktop, or perhaps you have an assistant to does some of your post processing work, or you have outsourced your post processing to Shoot Dot Edit, you will find that knowing how to share, transfer and sync Lightroom Catalogs as well as image XMP data will be invaluable.  Most often, I am using this feature to take a little work with me on my laptop as I am traveling to teach a workshop.  But many of you will also find this lesson useful in outsourcing your work to someone like Shoot Dot Edit.

To learn more about the best workflow methods and Adobe Lightroom, go to  www.jaredplatt.com.  Watch for the Adobe Lightroom Workflow Workshop Tour coming to your city in the late summer and throughout the fall.

Lightroom Catalog Portability and Syncing from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Written …

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Tips From a Blogger: Avoiding Writer’s Block by Elizabeth Villa Ippolito

I’m sitting in the new “creative room” here at the Pictage office, on a stool facing a new IKEA tall writing desk. My iPod is in one ear, silence in the other, with eraser dust everywhere, and I mean everywhere. This is the perfect scene for my mad scribbling on a large yellow legal pad of paper- writer’s block gone.

For the past few weeks I have been struggling with one of my least favorite things in the whole world, writer’s block. Although I don’t write much on the blog here at Pictage, we are fortunate enough to have great photographer contributors, I do a lot of writing every day at work. For the past few weeks I have been in a creative dry spell, the words not quite stringing together into sentences the way they normally do. The thing about writer’s block is that as you become more and more …

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Lifestyle Photography Part Two: Client Relationships by Amber Holritz

Real life is beautiful. I believe wholeheartedly in this philosophy, and after reading my last article in this series, you may acknowledge the idea… but does the average consumer embrace this concept?

When an expecting mother decides that it is time to cross the “hire a photographer” task off of her “to-do before the baby arrives” list, does she immediately think, “Ooooh! I know… I’ll have a photographer come to my house and document our real lives!” Probably not. It’s very possible that this mother has never been exposed to the idea of Lifestyle Baby Photography, and even if she has, she’s probably plagued with doubts about it, rather than excitement.

“Our house isn’t nearly as nice as the one on that photographer’s site.” “I’ll definitely need to lose weight first” “We don’t really do anything fun. What will she possibly photograph?” “I’m not very photogenic”

And the list goes on and on and on…

If I …

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Get Out of the Woods: Hire a Guide by Kevin Swan

Photographers are, nearly unilaterally, horrible business people.

Most have grown organically without much thought or training. They are passionate about photography, and believe their passion equates to ability in all areas of business.  They run illegally (“I don’t need a state sales-tax ID; I use my social security number.”). They do their own taxes (“I totally write off my car, it’s so sweet!”). They design albums without paying themselves. They cobble together contracts that would make most lawyers lose their lunch. They don’t plan for retirement. They don’t have adequate insurance.

And, inevitably, they do their own marketing and branding.

Too many forums begin, “Check out my new logo design—what do you think!?” For years, I tried telling people what I thought. Long, thoughtful posts about what a logo should do and be, and why the one they were exhibiting wasn’t working. This led to the predictable pile-on fights about subjectivity of art …

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Mutual Networking for Boudoir Photography by Kelly Segre

Just like weddings, if you want to get in on the business of boudoir photography you are going to have to find a way get potential clients. When I first started boudoir photography I naturally just advertised to my brides.  But with only an average of 30 brides a year I was barely able to get enough clients to make my venture worthwhile, especially when being a bride doesn’t automatically make you a candidate for a boudoir session.

So I had to ask myself “if I was looking to get boudoir images done of myself, where would I look?”  The answer came pretty easily…go to where a woman would go to prepare for her boudoir sessions! So my next stop was the local lingerie boutique. I personally made the decision to only network with limited stores, this way I could develop a stronger relationship with them and potentially get more clients than if I were to give my promotional material to every store in town.

One thing I think we often forget is that networking is not one-sided, so for networking to work, the company we are working with needs to benefit from our services as well. Just giving your promotional materials to a lingerie store is not mutually beneficial for them. One idea I came up with was that every time a client books a boudoir session with us they receive a small gift certificate to the lingerie store as part of their package. This gives them the opportunity to get some great new lingerie before their session and the lingerie store benefits as well.

Since I started offering gift certificates to the lingerie store as part of package I have found that my boudoir inquiries have increased tremendously. Additionally, what often happens is that the client returns to the store for future lingerie purchases and at that time gives the storeowner feedback about how great their session was. Although the lingerie store has books of several boudoir photographers, because of this feedback the storeowner has mentioned to me that she feels more comfortable recommending me to her clients.

Once I realized how beneficial mutual networking could be, I started including it in other aspects of my boudoir business. I now also include professional hair and make up with all of my sessions. I have the fee of the hair & make up artist figured into the price of the session. Because of the large amount of referrals my make up artist is receiving she also gives me a slight discount on her fee. Including professional hair and make up has been a win – win situation for everyone. My hair and make up artist gets extra referrals, my client feels like she just received a mini makeover, and I have less post-production!

Join the Conversation:

What other networking relationships have you found work for you? Share your comments below.

Written by Kelly Segre

Kelly’s photography career started many years ago in her father’s darkroom. With a love for film and timeless, classic images, she strives to bring this style into every session she shoots.

By creating an environment that allows her clients to feel sexy and glamorous before ever stepping in front of her camera, Kelly is able to get the most out of each and every session. Using simple techniques and literally showing her clients how to pose, Kelly is able to set a fun, playful and sexy mood for her clients, turning a girls night out into a sexy boudoir session!

Kelly will be leading shooting workshops at Pictage U- San Diego, May 25 and 26. See pictageu.com for more information. Only 5 spots left!

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How to Start Optimizing Your Website for Search Engines by Wade Holloway

The idea here is to explain a couple of the basic, though often overlooked, components of SEO, specifically keyword research and creating title tags, while also giving you specific tips on how to get started optimizing your own site.

Keyword Research -

Any good SEO strategy begins with keyword research. Keyword research allows you to find keywords and combinations that people are searching on.

Although there are a plethora of keyword research tools out there, Google has made it easy for us by offering a great free tool you can access here: http://bit.ly/9u0oNP.

We will be referencing this tool in the rest of this post so please take a moment to familiarize yourself with it.

To begin, insert a few words that relate to what you do. In this case, “Wedding Photographer”, “Wedding Photography”, etc, then press ‘Search’.

The first thing you should notice is that there are approximately 1,220,000 Global Monthly Searches. Since we’ve chosen …

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The “D” Word: Selling High Res DVDs by Eric Cotter

Other than selective color and the dutch tilt, The “D” word (DVD) has to be one of the most polarizing topics for photographers in the last 5 years.

In a world where we as photographers work so hard to balance and maintain a high level of quality control while maximizing effective business principles, you must be very strategic about the way in which you decide to deliver high resolution files to your clients.  While you have the ability to increase your revenue per event by $400-800, one wrong move can put 30 by 40 inches of garbage on your client’s wall.  To that end, I’d like to walk you through a few things our studio has succeeded in doing, maximizing client satisfaction, profit, and quality control through the delivery of  high resolution files (in form of DVDs).

When a business offers a product to clients it must ask itself a few things.  …

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Top Ten Ways to Increase Boudoir Sales by Christa Meola

1. Make it Meaningful Keep in mind that you aren’t just taking pictures — you are creating how your client wants to be remembered… and the more you nail that, the more she’ll love it, the more she’ll value it, and the more she’ll want to pay for it.  Customize each shoot so that it is unique and full of personal details and emotional elements that will be meaningful to her.

You can start during the first phone call by asking questions like “What do you love about yourself, your body?  What do you think is sexy? What are some of your favorite things that make you happy? What does your husband love about you?” etc. and use all of those personal details to create an emotionally meaningful story told through your pictures.

I could do a whole other Top Ten list on how to make a shoot personal and meaningful – this …

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How to Prep Your Clients to Use Pictage by Jim Collins Pictage CEO

One of the real benefits of my job is that I get to meet with successful photographers all the time.  One of the challenges is that I also get calls from folks who are struggling.  Some folks I can help.  When it comes to ideas for marketing your business, dealing with sticky situations or just the need for a quick pep talk, I’m your man.   (Just don’t ask me to help you take better pictures.  There are lots of people who can do that better than me).   With this said, there is one question I get asked all the time.  How can I sell more products?  My answer is simple … (and therefore probably counter-intuitive).  Use Pictage more.

Here’s what I mean.  When I ask photographers if they talk with their clients up front about Pictage many (most?) say no.  That’s a mistake, and I mean that in the empirical, this …

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