Town Hall Debate: Turnaround Times

Photographer Kevin Swan

Let’s bust a myth. There’s no right way to run your photography business.

Many self-proclaimed leaders make a boatload of money selling formulas for running your business. Well, here at The Photo Life, we don’t believe in secret formulas or overnight success stories. We believe the only right way of doing business is the one that serves your unique clients and grows your business the old-fashioned way. Hard work and happy clients are your foundation for success.

Different systems work for different studios, so the key is finding one that suits your clients and your business!

That’s why we’re eager to bring you the first of many “Town Hall Debates” here on The Photo Life. Town Hall Debates are a fun way of giving you an opportunity to learn how others do business.

This week’s debate is all about turnaround times. Kevin and David run successful businesses. Their systems work for them and …

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Learning Visual Vocabulary

Wedding Photography Tips from Rachel LaCour

It’s elementary: every sentence in a story needs a noun and a verb. The swimmer is swimming. The runner is running. The singer is singing.

Those basic elements of sentence structure tell readers all the information they need to know. Yet readers yearn for more. They don’t just want to know the facts, they want to feel something.

Consider these sentences:

The swimmer swam, shivering in the shallow, inky water that glistened in bright moonlight. The runner ran, quivering through the last laps of the steamy summer marathon. The singer sang, crooning with the fierce fervor of a song bird.

Suddenly, readers sense what the characters feel, see and experience. These sentences aren’t simply composed of nouns and verbs, they are peppered with adjectives. Words like inky, bright, steamy, and fierce boldly breathe life into a story. Without adjectives, sentences lack depth; stories lack emotion.

Adjectives are as essential to great photographs as they are …

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Four Ways to Bring Your Clients Into the Creative Process

Photography by Robert Evans


Getting your clients to be creative with you starts with good old fashion communication. Communication of today’s world such as email, Facebook and Twitter are no substitute for face-to-face communication. If an in person meeting is not possible, picking up a phone or making a Skype call is the next best thing. When you talk to your clients, ask questions about what their interests are such as their favorite music, favorite movies and art, magazines they read, clothing styles they like, the stores they shop in, and even the type of architecture they are drawn to. I also like to ask what other photographers’ work they admire. Getting to know your clients on a personal level will shed more light into the creative process.

In my experience, there are two types of clients. There are the clients that want to be part of the creative process and the clients that just …

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Three Business Books Every Photographer Should Read

Never Eat Alone

If you’re like most photographers, you got into the business of photography because you love taking pictures.  But as we all quickly realize, owning a photography business is about a whole lot more than understanding the in’s and out’s of your camera.

Over the years, I’ve heard the old adage that “leaders are readers” more times than I can count, and as cliche as it is, it’s the truth.  When I look back, the phases of life when I’m doing the most reading are the phases of life where I’ve grown the most and been most innovative in the work I do.  There are a lot of books that could have made this list, but here are three of my favorites that I think are a must read for any photographer looking to keeping growing and building their business.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

This book was a game changer for me. …

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Simplify the Sales Process with Pricing Packages

Professional Photographer Jared Bauman

Why would prospective clients that you’ve built relationships with, that love your photography, and that can afford to book you NEVER BOOK?

In one word, the answer is CONFUSION.

Purchase confusion can surface in a variety of ways such as pricing structure, upgrades, and overwhelming album options. And no matter which way it shows itself, purchase confusion will lead to delayed or eliminated bookings.

For brides and grooms, planning a wedding is a lot of work and involves an overwhelming amount of decision-making. When it comes to making vendor decisions, couples often choose the option with the least headaches. Simplifying the process for them will keep them happy and headache free! It will also allow them to focus on the products and services that you offer and decide which ones are right for them

The majority of portrait clients, don’t have a purchase deadline so for them purchase confusion will only delay their interest.

Bundling …

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People Without People

Photography Details Tell Stories

The tiniest things tell us the most about people.

A locket on a bride’s bouquet contains a black-and-white photograph of her grandparents, a hand-stitched handkerchief is embroidered with a groom’s monogram, ornate hats are testaments to traditional British wedding culture.

Seasoned photojournalist Alan Berner calls these details “people without people.” He explains, “For me it is the sense of people without them being there. It’s the part representing the whole. It’s the significant detail giving instant insight into the person, organization, the culture.”

Sounds strange, but it’s a powerful concept.

Details reveal key traits about people without actually showing them. These photographs are often tight, close-up shots that give our eyes a chance to linger longer on objects. As photographers, we have a responsibility to use our experienced eyes to capture details that add meaning and memorialize our clients. A bride spends countless hours carefully choosing the details of her wedding day. Each one …

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The Value of Routine

Photographer Chris Humphreys

When we think of athletes we typically think in terms of competition, power, speed, and grace. We remember greats like Michael Jordan sinking game winning shots, Tiger Woods nailing perfect drives, or Rodger Federer placing un-hittable serves.

What we rarely think of when we think of sports are routines.

That’s odd though isn’t it? If we think about it, sports are absolutely filled with routine.  In fact, we don’t have to think about it long before we realize that the very best athletes are those who have gone to great lengths to perfect their routine. Golfers go through the same motions every time before they hit a put. Basketball players dribble the ball the exact same amount of times every time they step up to the free throw line.

Shouldn’t we as professional photographers do the same?

Here are four reasons routines are valuable and should be integrated into our photography businesses:

1. By utilizing …

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Are You Choosing Success?

Who else is tired of the doom and gloom?

A few days ago Pictage set a record. We actually sold more in a single day then we ever have in the history of the company (outside of the Holidays). I got tweets and emails and Facebook and forum messages from people who were celebrating their unexpected emails telling them they’d closed a sale. I got one email that stood out.

“Hey Jim, I’m not sure you’re aware of how meaningful this is. I had a long day. I got home and opened my twitter stream to nothing but doom and gloom and clients don’t want to buy this or that or whatever. You tweeted in the middle of the day that it was a good day for Pictage photographers so I went and fired up my studio email. Sure enough, in addition to a couple of fun inquiries, there was an email …

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