3 Easy Techniques to Turn Portrait Leads into Bookings by Molly Marie

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We’ve all received leads from potential clients that we feel REALLY excited about, right? We start to paint the picture in our head of just how amazing their shoot would be! We’ve also all felt super bummed when they don’t respond or end up booking with us. We make up a scenario in our heads as to why they didn’t book, blame it on price, blame it on the email wording, etc. The fact that everything lies in one email is crazy sauce.

Have you ever felt this way? What if I told you there are more things you can do to get this lead to book aside from that ONE EMAIL?

I own a woman’s portrait studio (we specialize in boudoir) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, called Molly Marie Photography. At my studio, we have three techniques we use in order to get these leads booked.

First, did you know that 80 percent …

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Creating Memories with Family Reunion Photos by Robyn Perrin

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If family photography or portrait photography is your primary focus, there is an often-overlooked market that may be a natural fit: family reunions. Traditionally a harbinger of summer (though they can occur any time of year), reunions are the reason millions of Americans travel each year, and photographs are critical. After the corn-on-the-cob has been eaten and the water balloons tossed, photos remain to document growth and change. The fleeting nature of a family reunion gives just one chance to capture these important moments; then they are gone, perhaps forever.

Clint Thayer, photographer and owner of Focal Flame Photography, says of family reunion photography, “Those tender moments last only seconds. Being ready to see those moments and capture them does not come when you buy an expensive camera, it comes from studying your subjects and environment and crafting an effective photo – one that tells a story rather than just being a snapshot of a scene.”

When marketing your services to family reunion organizers, clearly explain the benefits of hiring a professional photographer. The advantages are many, including:

• All family members will be included in the photos. Reunion planners don’t have to wonder if Uncle Bob’s cell phone camera will get the job done, and the person with the camera will not be left out of the image. • A professional photographer is an objective outsider. They notice details that might be overlooked by family members. Whether those moments are cousins swimming or grandma and grandpa holding hands, a professional comes into the family with the purpose of documenting the vibrancy of family life. • A professional photographer has the necessary equipment and expertise for taking reunion photos and editing them afterwards. An amateur simply cannot duplicate the photographer’s investment in gear or experience.

Approaching family reunions from a background in action photography, Thayer brings a unique perspective on how quickly the right moment passes and the shot is lost. “When you deal with a large group, time is golden. Everyone has places to go, things to do. For posed group shots, you have at most 45 seconds to get everyone adjusted, smiling and ready to show their stuff. Any longer and smiles fade, eyes roll, kids dart – trust is lost. Effective image composition has to happen in the tightest time constraints. It’s the photographer’s ability to connect with the subject that makes the difference.”

The photographer’s expertise continues to be valuable after the reunion, when families want to view and purchase photos. Online photo gallery and e-commerce systems offered by professional photographers mean that no matter where family members reside, they have the freedom to purchase products that meet their preferences and budget.

4 Tips to Ensure a Good Working Relationship with Family Reunion Photography Clients

• Ensure that one one family member is assigned as the primary contact to work with the photographer prior to, during and after the reunion photo shoot. • Communicate early and often about the shot list. Make certain that all parties are clear about desired photo style, the number of people at the gathering and any other special information that will inform the shots. • Ask the reunion organizer to designate preferences between posed and documentary style. You might consider requesting that they assign a percentage of time desired for each mode. • Encourage the family to schedule fun activities during the shoot – a squirt gun fight between the cousins, grandpa playing checkers with a granddaughter or grandma showing her wedding dress to the younger generation.

How do you find clients? Consider partnering with Convention and Visitors Bureaus. According to a survey of 4,000 reunion organizers by Reunions magazine, 25 percent of respondents worked with a Convention and Visitors Bureau to plan their event and 82 percent planned to do so again in the future.

Emphasize to potential clients that family reunion photos do not need to be left to chance. By hiring a professional to join the celebration for a few hours, everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the reunion – and have fantastic photos afterwards.

Have you offered family reunion photography? What tips to you have to share?

About the Contributor: Focal Flame® Photography is dedicated to Art that Moves You. This multi-photographer studio offers sport event photography, commercial photography, headshot photography and videography. Focal Flame Photography was founded by Clint Thayer and is based in Madison, WI. Visit us at www.focalflame.com.

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11 Tips to Bridging the Gap between Photographers and Wedding Coordinators by Debra Gulbas

As a wedding photographer, some of the most important relationships you can build are with wedding coordinators. If you are just getting started in the wedding world, these tips are a fantastic way to make a great impression on wedding coordinators. If you have been in the wedding industry for awhile, these tips will help you strengthen your relationship with wedding coordinators. This will also help your shoots go much more smoothly!

I recently sat down with two successful wedding coordinators in Austin, Texas, to discuss the relationships between coordinators and photographers. Thank you to Rosa Gibson, of Austin Wedding Planners by Rosa, and Amy Mader, of Amy’s Platinum Weddings Coordinating and Consulting Firm for their help and advice.

1. Send a Welcome Email

Ask your client if they have a wedding coordinator at the initial consultation. Once the client books with you, email the coordinator to tell them you’re excited to work …

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3 Ways to Keep Track of Contracts & Invoices Without Losing your Mind by The Photo Life

You didn’t get into photography so that you could manage paperwork.

But between all the invoicing and contracts that you manage for your various shoots, it’s easy to feel like you spend a majority of your day managing those tedious details! So how do you keep your desk and brain clear of the clutter from this pile of paperwork? Here are three tips for streamlining your workload, so you can get out from behind your desk, and back behind the camera.

I. Put everything online.

Contracts and invoices can all be done through online systems or services, making it quick and easy for your client to sign and return things to you. Plus, down the road, it’s easy to find all the contracts and invoices under each client’s online folder!

II. Automate as much as possible.

Invoices should be sent out automatically online through your studio management software. If clients pay by credit card, you …

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How Teaching Photography Helps You Go Pro by Dan Waters

Are you one of the thousands of photographers out there who’s talented enough to go pro, but still need a few more clients or pieces of equipment to make the leap? It might sound counterintuitive, but I believe teaching photography ticks both boxes brilliantly.

Here are 7 reasons why teaching photography will boost your business, and help you go pro!

1. Your students can become your brides and grooms. If you’re teaching photography, sharing your knowledge openly, your students might actually become your best clients. For example, what if one of your students is a twenty-something in your city, who gets engaged six months after taking one of your classes or workshops? Who do you think she’ll call when she starts thinking about a wedding photographer? And the same principle applies to parents who might want family portraits or baby photos.

Photography lessons are like a sales session. The student gets to witness firsthand …

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Why Workflows Were a Lifesaver for Sara France & Made ShootQ Her First Choice by The Photo Life

Before finding ShootQ, Sara France was drowning in spreadsheets to track tasks, and wanted workflows that enabled her – and her team – to stay organized without passing bulky files back and forth.

Now that she has ShootQ, she’s able to automate almost everything!

Her studio’s workflows are automated. Everything from invoices, emails, to new lead generation is automated and cloud-based.

According to Sara, “I didn’t want to do that work and needed to focus on growing my business. It’s much more efficient and takes less time. I don’t know how anyone has a studio without this program.”

In this case study, we’ll take a look at Sara France’s business and explore the ways that:

• In order to focus on growing your business, it’s important to have a solid management solution in place • Taking the time upfront saves countless hours over the long haul  • Cloud-based services allow photographers to access key files from anywhere …

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Keeping Tabs on Your Leads (and Turning them into Paying Clients!)

Have you ever had a sales lead fall through the cracks? Maybe a bride emailed you about her wedding, but her email got pushed down so far in your rapidly-filling inbox that you totally forgot to reply to her? We all know this feeling; it’s frustrating for you AND your prospective clients!

Losing track of leads can cost your business – big time. You may lose jobs when you don’t respond quickly to leads, or when you simply forget to follow up. How can you ensure that you’re keeping tabs on your leads, so you can turn them into paying clients?

I. Centralize your notes

When you get a new lead, enter it into some kind of system (ShootQ, Excel, etc.) ShootQ is ideal because it checks for date conflicts and automatically fills out all the fields for you and creates a contact card for that person.

You can …

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Case Study: Why ShootQ Makes Sense for Anne Almasy

Anne’s search for a solution that would streamline her growing photography business led her to ShootQ. Because of ShootQ, Anne has been able to set up a faster booking process, better contract management, and streamlined business operations.

In this case study we’ll explore:

• Why early investments in your business do make a difference. • How keeping track of your business in one place, with access from anywhere, streamlines operations. • Why it’s important to find the best solution to manage a thriving photography business. • How to quantify the savings ShootQ provides.

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5 Ways Blogging Beats Traditional Advertising by Katie Humphreys

Considering dumping dollars into traditional advertising? Think again. Try blogging instead. Of course, blogging isn’t a new concept, but you may be surprised to find out that it can be even more effective for your business than traditional advertising tactics. If you’re strategic in your approach, your blog may be your best source of advertising – and save you lots of money in the long term. Here’s why…

1. Blog posts help you reach other networks through social media channels.

By adding social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc to your blog posts, it’s easy for readers to share your blog content with their own networks. This is a free way you can extend your reach beyond your own network. Traditional online advertising isn’t shareable in the same way, since conventional ads aren’t usually compelling enough to share.

2. Blog posts can help you rank for terms that your target audience …

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3 Keys to Effectively Monitoring Social Media (without losing your mind)! by Katie Humphreys

Let’s face it: social media is an essential part of doing business today. But if you don’t want to waste hours on Facebook and Twitter, scheduling social media messages in advance is a smart practice for staying active on social media channels.

But if you’re trying to build real relationships with your audience of prospective clients, simply scheduling messages in advance isn’t enough. You’re not a robot after all and you’ll miss out on real time communication! Therefore, it’s also important to monitor your social channels for timely, relevant conversations.

But monitoring social media doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Start by setting aside thirty minutes at the beginning and end of your work day to monitor and respond to social media conversations. You might find that time to be sufficient!

To maximize the return you get on those 30 minute check-ins, it’s important to have a clear idea of how you want …

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