What ONE THING Would You Change?

Now that 2012 has come to a close, hopefully you had some much needed  reflection and R&R and are ready to dive headfirst into 2013. When you think about your successes and mistakes over the past year, are there things you wish you’d done differently? Probably. But that’s the beauty of a new year – it’s a fresh start!

To get you started, we asked YOU to share ONE THING you’ll do differently in 2013. Every week, we’ll be spotlighting one photographer and the ONE THING that they’re doing differently this coming year.

What will you change? Here’s what wedding photographer Katelyn James said:


About Katelyn James Katelyn James is a Wedding Photographer & Blogger based out of Richmond, VA. She started her business as a sophomore in college and has been shooting for over 4 years. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is slightly obsessed with their new puppy, Bokeh. Yes, …

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How to Make One Kid’s Year by Just Taking a Picture

Jane Goodrich has a simple question: “Can I actually make one kid’s year just by taking a picture?”

Turns out she can – and you can help too, by supporting her work and sick children who need us.

Jane loves photographing children so much, she’s made a career of it. She specializes in portraiture of newborns and children. And as an identical twin herself, she particularly enjoys making images of twins. (Turns out parents of twins are often reluctant to have a photo session, fearing it’ll be twice as crazy as regular studio appointments; Jane makes house calls to help simplify things for families.)

Lately, though, she’s engaged in a project that has become almost as dear to her heart as her DNA-matching sister.

Jane had known for years that her grandmother (and namesake) died of lymphoma in the 1950s. (It’s a type of blood cancer.) In the late 1990s, the daughter of a …

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Your Guide to Building Business Systems (An Email Course)

You Don't Have to Be a Super HeroSo, you want to be a successful photographer? We want that too!

That’s why we’ve designed this email course. It will act as your guide to building a strong foundation for your business. Running a successful photography business isn’t easy, but it gets easier when you have a clear vision and solid business systems. Sign up for this email course for the complete guide.

You don’t have to be a super hero

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by daily decision-making and tasks. Sometimes it seems that you’re expected to be all things to all people – and do a good job wearing many different hats!

The reality is that you can’t do it all. Successful photographers understand this, which is why they begin with a clear vision for their business. This vision guides them to set specific short term and long term goals. From there, they set up systems …

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Your Photography Business is Not About You

photographer erin youngren

Your photography business is not about you.

That’s not something we hear very much these days. In fact, I feel sometimes that one of the strongest messages we hear during this rapid growth of the industry is the exact opposite. We hear that it’s all about us. That we need to market ourselves in order to stand apart from the crowds. That it’s not about the photography, it’s about the photographer. That it’s about our unique personality, our particular eye, and our ability to make photographic art that nobody else can create. It’s YOU that defines your brand and separates your business from everyone else in the market.

I would agree 100% with those statements. But I still submit to you guys that your business is not about you.

Let me explain.

Your branding, yes, should reflect what makes you a unique individual and a distinctive artist. I think that successful photography businesses are …

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The Photographer’s Guide to Content Marketing

Content Marketing for Professional Photographers

Just as your sales process should gently guide your clients toward a common goal, so should your blog. Your blog is an effective marketing tool when you use it to connect with ideal clients and guide those clients to a common destination.

This Dispatch will explore the principles of Content Marketing, a concept that uses valuable content to turn potential clients into clients, and clients into repeat clients.


The Content Marketing Field Guide by The Photo Life An In Depth Look at Your Sales Funnel by The Photo Life You Don’t Fit Into a Box by Elizabeth Villa Creating a Client Focused Content Strategy by Erin Youngren 5 Tips for Killer Content by Katie Humphreys


When you started your photography business, you heard that your blog could serve as a valuable marketing tool. Forum participants and industry peers preached that if you were authentic and consis- tent in posting content on your blog, you …

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The Difference Between Good and Great Photographers

Photography by Jared Platt

I have always said that the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is in what they choose to show to the world.  Cartier-Bresson said that “showing your contact sheet is like taking your pants off in public.”  The photographer who is willing to show everything to the public, puts their weaknesses on display and waters down the potency of their vision.  When photographers flood their portfolio with inferior images for the sake of volume, the images become an albatross hung around the neck of the collection and they drag the work down.

On the other hand, when a photographer is a harsh editor and honest with himself when selecting his portfolio, he will reject the simply adequate in favor of the great, resulting in the elevation of the entire portfolio.  The public then sees each photo in the collection as brilliant, and they then assume that everything the …

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In-Person Sales for Portrait Photographers

**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!**

Be a Shepherd, not a Salesperson.

Don’t be shy, get to know your clients. Help them fall in love with you. Guide them gently.

Portraiture is a high-touch genre of photography that requires rapport. The more time you spend personalizing the photographic experience for your clients, the more you’ll sell. Rather than assume the role of salesperson, think of yourself as a guide, shepherding clients through an important acquisition. The photographs you create for them are significant milestones in their family history, so they deserve expert attention and customized care from a professional photographer like you.

Imagine you’re sensitively guiding your client …

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How To Bring Out Authentic Emotion in Your Shoots

the youngrens engagement photography

Jeff and I were just in San Francisco this past week and in the course of four days we shot three engagement sessions for three incredibly unique and beautiful couples. Each couple was very different from the others – their stories were distinct and their personalities were one of kind.

We absolutely LOVE that all of our couples have such unique stories and personalities – we wouldn’t trade this job for anything – but photographing so many different types of personalities can also be challenging, right? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if every one of our couples responded the same way to our jokes? If they all looked great in the same type of poses? If their senses of humor all clicked perfectly with ours? If every groom thought that Jeff’s monkey dance was super awesome and NOT totally lame?

The truth is that we have to connect with each of …

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Get Your Life Back: A Simple Guide for Organizing Your Business


**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!**

Passion and Productivity Can Coexist

Balancing passion and productivity is a hallmark trait of successful creative professionals.

When our workday becomes driven by extraneous elements and dangerous distractions, both passion and productivity suffer.

How do we combat distractions and channel our creative energy into meaningful, productive work?

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison advises her students that discovering when they are at their best creatively is one of the most important things they must learn.

She prompts them with some questions: “What does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos or serenity? What do I need in order to release my imagination?”

These questions may seem simple, but they reveal a core truth: we must build systematic …

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How to Make a Customized Facebook Fan Page for Your Photography Business

Install the Static HTML App on Facebook

UPDATE: Check out Wendy Roe’s articles, “How Photographers Can Use Facebook Timeline” and “Five Facebook Features Every Photographer Should Use” for up to date tips on Facebook for Photographers. Also, don’t miss out on Lawrence Chan’s PDF “The Professional Photographer’s Facebook Strategy Handbook.”

Since the last Photo Life Dispatch was all about Social Media, I thought I’d follow up with a post on some specific enhancements and strategies you can use to increase the effectiveness of your Facebook business page. Facebook recently made several changes to the way it handles Business Pages that allows business owners to interact more directly with our “fans.” The new features can be used to your advantage to help beef up your Social Media strategy.

The most impressive new feature is the ability to navigate and interact within Facebook as your page. This new feature lets you leave comments, “like” other pages and communicate with other users …

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