Power to the People – Put Your Clients First

We’re sold the dream. Being our own person. Owning our own lives. Maybe it’s the idea if you work hard, you’ll get there. Maybe it’s the idea that it’s a birthright for being who we are. Maybe it’s just a burning desire to get somewhere. But slice it how you like, one way or another, we’re always beholden to someone. If it’s not ‘the man,’ then it’s the planner who passes you the business, the client who posts the reviews, or the blog that features your images.

Forget independence. Forget freedom. Forget the notion that going for the gold means we’re a hop, skip, and a step away from strutting down easy street, owing nothing to no one. Because the question isn’t whether you own your life. The question is who you want to be beholden to.

My bet? Go with the client. I’m not saying to forget the partnerships, skip the …

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Learn How to “Read” Light

Since there is so much to discuss, join me at Office Hours on March 5, 2012 (10:00 AM PT) for my FREE Webinar Series. The topic of discussion will be exposure, both in the camera and in post-production. You all know that I’m a Lightroom advocate, so we’ll be talking about Lightroom 4 and all the new exposure controls in this new release of the software. As always, this is a first-come, first-serve webinar, so sign up and show up early!

Jared Platt’s ‘Office Hours’ are Sponsored by The Photo Life and Pictage. For more information about Jared Platt go to http://www.jaredplattworkshops.com. For more information about Office Hours and The Photo Life, go to http://www.thephotolife.org/authors/jared-platt-authors-2.

Let me take you back a few years. Just ten years ago, we were transitioning from film to digital and twenty years ago, digital was still very Buck Rodgers and while it was a cool idea, everyone said that …

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Getting Goals – Divide and Conquer for Results

“Most have lists for their groceries.  Few have lists for their lives” – Robin Sharma

Something that often gets overlooked in our hectic world are our goals; the things we want and work hard for every day of our lives.  We all have them in some way shape or form, but are we really utilizing the power of ones goals?

Having done this myself at the time I transitioned into photography fulltime, I am a firm believer that successful goal setting can move your life forward in ways you might find hard to believe.

So what’s the secret to successful goal setting?

First, you have to divide your goals into all the categories of your life, not just one broad “life” category.  Next you have to actually write them down!!!  Putting them in writing does the trick!

Here’s how I break mine down:

Personal goals – What are my fitness goals this year?  How about the …

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Lessons Learned from a Photographer Planning his own Wedding

New Orleans by Paul Morse

Planning our wedding has been intense, fun, and quite a learning lesson. The experience gave me a much different perspective on what new clients see while searching for photographers and other professionals who make their wedding day special.

The First Impression

At the beginning of our planning process we met with the general manager of the venue where we wanted to host our wedding. We looked through their display albums out of curiosity and for decor ideas. There was strong work by local photographers, but surprisingly none of the albums had contact information for the photographers printed inside! The albums had the photographer’s name, but no phone number, email address or website.

The ‘A List’ and the ‘Black List’

After settling on the venue, we asked the general manager for recommendations for bands and florists. She presented us with an extensive list of people she had a positive experience working with. It was golden! …

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Five Tips for Dramatically Improving Reception Photos

When I shot my first wedding in 2007, I was lucky! The reception was pretty bright (and my camera was worthless above about ISO 400, so that was a good thing!) Since then, I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way – that not every wedding reception is inundated with light, and you know what? I love that.

Bright is great, but dark is full of endless possibilities. Consider a wedding reception outside at 2 p.m. under a clear sky (I know, not common, but play along). There’s not much you can do with that light, right? Your hands are pretty much tied; you’re not competing with a cloudless sky with the speedlights that most wedding shooters have in their bag!

Now take a pitch black 9 p.m. reception. Much more common, right? “Oh crap, the bride’s making her grand entrance in 5 minutes and it’s ISO, 12,800 at 1/2 a second in here!” …

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Pinterest for Wedding Photographers

Continuing the social media theme this month, The Photo Life team is sharing another helpful article about how photographers can use Pinterest to market their business and engage with their clients. Many photographers have asked us to keep sharing info about this new social network that’s spreading like wildfire! Special thanks to Wendy Roe and Matt Herron for their contributions to social media mega month!

The social media to-do list gets longer every day. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging it seems like there are a lot of platforms on the modern wedding photographer’s daily list. Well, get ready, because there is one more to add – Pinterest.

Since Pinterest hit the social media scene it has become hugely popular with home decorators, exercise and beauty buffs, and above all, brides. It’s the new “place to go” for wedding inspiration, so wedding photographers in a moving marketplace should get familiar with the platform quickly …

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How Social Sharing Can Improve Your Photography Business

You say your work speaks for itself.

But does it?

In an age where every website that matters is connected in some way to social media, is your work strong enough to speak for itself? On an internet saturated with photographs, how do your photos get attention?

Do you want the truth? Even if you win the National Geographic Photo Contest, there’s a good chance that announcement will be drowned out by social media noise. People would rather look at ‘LOLCats’ or tweet about Justin Bieber. Guess what was trending on Twitter when I wrote this? #OnlyGhettoPeople and “Happy Chocolate Day!”

Your work can’t speak for itself anymore. Not on the Internet, anyway. Too many people are talking, and you can only “Like” yourself on Facebook once.

So how can you make social media as useful for your photography business as it is for asinine trends? Get your fans to speak for your work, too!

1. Connect Your …

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The Mashable Movement Part 2

**Great news! We’re hard at work updating this guide and will be re-releasing it shortly. In the meantime, check out The Photo Life Social Media Guide!**

What if Photographers Stopped Trying to Combat Change and Embraced it Instead?

It’s a question worth asking again and again. And again! That’s why this Dispatch seems familiar to you. It is. Re-releasing “The Mashable Movement” is a challenge to you to consider this inescapable question and find your unique answer.

What if YOU stopped combatting change and embraced it instead? What would that look like in your unique business?

Let’s take a look together.

What’s Inside:

A challenge to look at your photography business in a different way, to see your clients as collaborators rather than consumers. Inside you’ll also find practical tools for identifying the collaboration methods that work for your business.

Take a Look:

Collaboration can’t be formulaic, which is a good thing because neither can your business! In …

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What’s Pinterest and How Can I Use it for My Marketing?

If you haven’t been introduced to Pinterest, you’re in for a treat!

It’s the newest, hip social network that cracked the top 10 of popularity…while still being INVITE only!  Inspiration boards of styles you like, goals for your future, books you want to read, cute DIY wedding ideas have always been around but up until Pinterest, they were created with paper, scissors, tape and poster board – I know, we’ve all been there!

Pinterest is a gold mine for photographers, especially wedding photographers, because brides-to-be are there, pinning images from their favorite websites to showcase ideas while categorizing their favorite wedding cakes, details, dress and even their ‘something blue’ for crying out loud!  As photographers, we supply images that they pin (you can pin ANY web image and brides are scouring wedding websites and blogs for new images). Then, their followers and friends see our work...and boom…in comes a job lead!

Things to …

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Lifestyle Baby Photography Part Three: Overcoming Insecurity

Real life is beautiful.

We established that in Part One of this series. But although this philosophy sounds wonderful, it can be hard to follow through with, particularly when it’s personal. In my last installment in this series, I explained that I believe there are two major barriers to overcome in Lifestyle Photography – ignorance and insecurity. I outlined ways that I work to combat ignorance by cultivating true relationships with my clients. Once the barrier of ignorance has been removed, and people become aware of Lifestyle Baby Photography, we are still left with their insecurities. Even if my potential clients embrace the concept that Real Life is beautiful, in a global sense, they have probably not truly grasped that their Real Life is beautiful. My job is to prove this to them. I have to help them see beauty in their own everyday experiences.

My clients are amazing customer evangelists. (Side note: …

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