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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Your Personality is More Important than Your Camera by Joe Krummel

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Do you wonder sometimes how other photographers’ clients look happy and beautiful at the same time? Are you sick of deciphering technical photography jargon? In the next five minutes, I’ll teach you how to make your personality your strongest tool. Don’t think you have what it takes? Trust me, you do.

I. Surprise your clients by redefining the process

Many people would argue that having their picture taken sucks. It’s awkward and you have to get all dolled up for no reason. Well, this is a challenge I love taking on every time I pick up my camera. Use the following tips to redefine what it means for your clients to have their pictures taken.

1. Make sure your gear is more compact and less intrusive. 2. Your personality rocks, so use it. 3. Keep things lighthearted and moving quickly. 4. Have an assistant help direct people.

II. Comfortable means profitable

Photographing people is inherently intimate. Whether you’re …

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Creativity Under Pressure: How to Shoot More (Creative) Wedding Details by Julie Foskett

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As a wedding photographer, your job is to create amazing images of all the wedding details. However, it seems like there’s a conspiracy again shooting these images – the cake is delivered late, the centerpieces and bouquets haven’t arrived! Delays drastically shrink your time to capture the amazing details. Suddenly, sixty minutes of scheduled shooting time turns into six minutes. How do you overcome this challenge and still deliver creative images?

My unique solution is to have a formula that allows me (and my team) to systematically shoot all the details quickly and efficiently, while still keeping our creativity high. These formulas keep our detail images consistent and creative. I believe creativity is not only about WHAT you’re shooting, it’s also about changing your perspective and composition while you’re shooting. Our goal as creative wedding photographers is to show the unique way that we viewed the event.

Here are my “Foskett Formulas:”

(Above …

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There’s no such thing as a “Perfect Photo” by Joe Buissink

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5 Ways Blogging Beats Traditional Advertising by Katie Humphreys

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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 is searching for.

If you’re strategic in your blog strategy and include relevant keywords within your post, the post will naturally get indexed in search engines. That’s just another way that potential photography clients can find you. Pay per click ads can certainly help with growing your brand, but blog content is far more cost effective AND can help you rank for more organic search phrases. As a bonus, because you have an unlimited number of pages for your blog posts, you have endless opportunities to rank for these terms!

3. Blog posts are naturally attractive to your target audience.

If you’re providing your audience with practical, actionable content that solves their problems or meets a need they have, you’ll naturally attract potential photography clients, because you’re offering them content that helps them. Not only will you earn their trust and show that you’re an expert in your field, but with compelling Calls to Action, you’ll be incentivizing potential clients to receive more content from you and learn more about your photography business. A well written, informative blog post that naturally leads the reader to the next step is much more effective than an intrusive ad.

4. Blog posts are effective for generating qualified leads.

Since blogging is an effective way to drive your audience to specific Calls to Action, blogging is also naturally effective for generating leads for your photography business. A lead “qualifies” herself when she opts-in to one of your content offers. And when she opts in, you can determine that she’s at the very least interested in the topic you’re writing about on your blog. From there, you can develop a lead nurturing campaign (a series of emails and perhaps phone consultations) to convert her from a lead into a paying client. This is more effective for qualifying your leads than a pay per click ad or banner would be.

5. Blog posts attract inbound links.

High quality content is a great way to attract inbound links. That’s because people want to link to great content and share it with their friends and followers! Therefore, if you’ve got something worthwhile to share, blog posts are a powerful way to generate referral traffic, which of course makes for better search engine rankings! One of the benefits of this being tied to your blog is that the content is there permanently. You aren’t relying on traffic from a banner or advertising spot that is just temporary. You can invest time creating great content on your blog and know that it’s there to stay.

Photo By flickr user SalFalko

About the Author:

Katie Humphreys is co-founder and Chief Action Officer of MatchStick Strategies. Find more musings from Katie on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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

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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 to go about monitoring social channels.

Here are three best practices to guide your check-ins:

1. Choose terms to monitor.

The first step to effectively monitor social media is to identify the terms you want to monitor. Don’t fall into the trap of only monitoring conversations that mention your company or your company’s products. You’ll miss out on a boatload of conversations with potential buyers. Make sure you’re monitoring for terms relevant to both your company as well as your prospective buyers.

So, what terms should you monitor? Just like when you’re choosing keywords, it’s important to monitor terms related to your industry that your audience is searching for (or at least paying attention to). For example, your ideal audience may consist of brides, so you should monitor terms like “weddings,” “wedding planning,” and “wedding photography.” All of these terms are relevant to your audience and the services that you offer, but they don’t limit you to conversations about your company.

2. Segment your audience.

The more you segment your audience, the easier it is to understand their conversations and pinpoint words and topics that are relevant to them. You’ll want to monitor different terms for different buyer personas, as well as the various stages of the sales funnel. When you have a limited time to monitor social media and respond, segmenting your audience will help you prioritize what to do during that time.  You’ll find it helpful to monitor different terms for each of these contact lists:

• Customers • Buyer Personas • Marketing Qualified Leads • Leads at the Top of the Funnel

3. Personalize your response.

When it comes to conversations you have on social media (just like in email marketing), personalization is key. When you communicate with a prospective client, pay attention to what makes their situation unique and customize conversations to cater to their idiosyncrasies. When you do, you’ll find your messages will:

• Give your company a human voice • Make your contacts feel cared for • Encourage your audience to engage with you again

All of these responses will lead to more positive relationships with your audience, leads and customers. And that’s the point of taking the time in the first place, right? Right.

So what are you waiting for? Take the first step to becoming a social media guru.

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Quantity of Light is not the same as Quality of Light: Part 2 by Casey Fatchett

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I’m here to dispel a myth. Quantity of light isn’t the same as quality of light.

There’s a common misconception that the more light you have, the better your photo will be. But an accomplished photographer knows the difference between ‘quantity of light’ and ‘quality of light’.

In my first post in this series, I shared some tips on using reflectors on your shoots. In this post, we’re going to talk about when to use flash. Get ready to break out your strobes. Here we go…

I once worked with a photographer who told me, “I never use flash!” His way of dealing with low light situations was to crank up his ISO and open his aperture as wide as he could – usually f/1.2 or f/1.4 in rooms with very little ambient light. Why is this a bad idea? Well, it depends on what type of result you want to get.

If you want …

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Quantity of Light is not the same as Quality of Light: Part 1 by Casey Fatchett

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I’m here to dispel a myth. Quantity of light isn’t the same as quality of light.

There’s a common misconception that the more light you have, the better your photo will be. But an accomplished photographer knows the difference between ‘quantity of light’ and ‘quality of light’.

Here’s a great example of this myth in action: a client calls you to schedule a portrait session. Immediately, they think (out loud), “Let’s do our portrait session at NOON because that’s when there’s a lot of light!”

Of course, this is actually one of the worst times of day for portraits, because the direct overhead light is very harsh. Early morning and late afternoon (the ‘golden hours’) are much better, because the light is more complimentary and doesn’t cast harsh shadows on the subject’s face.

But how can you overcome harsh light in the middle of the day? Well, the easiest and cheapest way to handle …

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The Professional Photographer’s Guide to Content Marketing by The Photo Life

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Does your blog bring you real job leads, ideal clients and incredible shooting opportunities?

Well, it should! When you started your photography business, you heard that your blog could serve as a valuable marketing tool. So you’ve been putting yourself out there, and have been spending enormous amounts of time and energy to keep your blog active.

But building your blog and posting consistently isn’t enough.

It takes more than authenticity and consistency to convert blog readers to paying clients; you need a disciplined process and approach. This guide will help you successfully use your blog as an effective marketing tool. It’s a three step process:

1. Creating and freely sharing valuable content 2. Building authentic and relevant relationships 3. Guiding potential clients toward the purchase decision

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