What ONE THING Would You Change? by Katelyn James

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 by Jeff Inglis

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)

So, 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 by The Youngrens

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 could not only boost SEO, but also connect with a large

audience of prospects. Then, hopefully, this audience would fall in love with you and become paying clients.

With that in mind, you’ve been putting yourself out there, and have been spending enormous amounts of time and energy to keep your blog active. You’ve hoped for good traffic, loyal readers, and eventually interest from prospective paying customers.

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. In this Dispatch, we’ll explore how to successfully use your blog as an effective marketing tool using a three step process:

1. Creating and freely sharing valuable content

2. Building authentic and relevant relationships

3. Guiding prospects through the purchase decision


Continue to connect with Volume 5 of The Photo Life Dispatch by sharing your thoughts here on The Photo Life Blog, and on Facebook and Twitter, #ThePhotoLife.

What is your biggest content creation challenge? What is your biggest challenge when creating your sales funnel? What are your goals for using Content Marketing moving forward on your photography blog?

Our lawyer wants you to know that… This newsletter contains content provided by third parties. The views and opinions of such third parties do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Pictage or its affiliates. Pictage does not warrant or make any representations regarding the use or the results of the use of any materials in this newsletter in terms of their correctness, accuracy, timeliness, reliability, or otherwise. To the fullest extent permissible pursuant to applicable law, Pictage disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

Limitation of liability. Under no circumstances, including, but not limited to, negligence, shall Pictage, its subsidiary and parent companies or affiliates be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, any materials in this newsletter. If you are dissatisfied with any such material, or with any of Pictage’s terms and conditions, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue receiving this newsletter.

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The Difference Between Good and Great Photographers by Jared Platt

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 photographer shoots is brilliant.  When in reality, the number of images the photographer shows is only a fraction of one percent of the number of images taken.

This is not a trick or a marketing ploy to fool the public into thinking you are a better photographer than you are.  This is a simple recognition that photography is more than just selecting a subject matter and exposing the image.  It is continued in the act of post-production selection, which is as important to the process as is the act of taking the picture itself.  Whether this act is accomplished by one person or a team of people, the act of photography is incomplete without both the capture process and the culling process.  The sooner a photographer realizes this and puts his or her mind to perfecting the skill of selection, the sooner that photographer will be seen as truly great.

Jared’s Lightroom Workflow Workshop is back on tour. Kansas City, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Savannah and Orlando are all on the schedule Starting on May 4, 2011. To learn more and sign up for the workshop, go to www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

About Jared Platt

Jared Platt is a professional photographer and photographic educator. He studied photography at Arizona State University where he earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Photography. He teaches college photography courses as well as workshops for professional photographers and provides online education for photographers and photo enthusiast throughout the world.

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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 by The Youngrens

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 our couples on a level that makes them comfortable and allows them to relax, but it’s not easy discovering what those levels are when everyone is so unique.

But over the years, Jeff and I have found that there’s one commonality between our couples that we can bank on. They love each other. They want to spend the rest of their lives together. They’re planning a wedding and they’re preparing to make a unique and lasting commitment to each other. As ordinary as that sounds, it’s actually a pretty remarkable thing.

And when it comes to photographing a lot of different couples, this is one thing that in almost every circumstance we as wedding photographers can rely on.

So Jeff and I like to get in touch with that emotional side of our couples when we photograph them, and we like to call this emotional connection, “Grounding.”

What Does Grounding Mean?

When Jeff and I meet a couple at the engagement session, they’re lives are usually insanely busy. I’m making a global statement here, but most couples are working full-time jobs, planning a wedding, maintaining social lives, and juggling a mountain of life responsibilities while trying to pick the perfect outfit for the engagement session and somehow stay connected in their committed relationship.

This is the baggage that couples are carrying into the engagement shoot. It’s a lot to handle, and by the time the session arrives, engagement photos can unfortunately become just another piece of luggage that gets thrown into the life/wedding mix. Our job as photographers is to bring our couples back to earth – to strip the baggage off of their backs and bring them back to their core feelings for each other.

We need to remind them of their love story.

So when a couple arrives at the engagement session, Jeff and I begin the session by “grounding” them into those emotions. And we do that by telling them a couple of things.

First, we tell them that we realize that there’s probably a lot going on in their lives right now. At this stage of the wedding plans, they’re probably not getting a ton of time just to hang out and connect with each other. Just getting ready for photos can be stressful, so we can only imagine how much they’re juggling beyond that. But the beauty of the engagement session is that it’s the one item on the long list of wedding to-dos that doesn’t require them to actually DO anything. Our job is to create gorgeous photographs of them – and we’re going to make that happen – and they’re only job for the next couple of hours is to connect with one another. We’re going to provide the space and freedom for them to connect emotionally – the evening is blocked off, the phones are in the car, the outfits are perfect, and the hair and makeup is beautiful. They don’t need to think, they don’t need to make any decisions – all they have to do is be in love.

His job is to love on her and her job is to let him. And the more they do that, the better.

We’re not going to host a therapy session or anything like that – we’re photographers, not counselors for Pete’s sake. But they are going to do a lot of touching, hugging, and kissing for the next few hours while we pose them, and that’s enough to make anyone feel super loved.

And finally, here’s the key statement that we tell our couples just before we begin the engagement session: we tell them that the goal for the session is for them to go home that night more in love with each other than when they came. That’s all. If that happens, then we’ve done our job.

And it’s remarkable how different couples from all walks of life respond to this. It’s like an emotional switch gets flipped on in their hearts as the layers of life get left behind in the car. Many couples get giddy and happy. Others get reflective, and a few just get downright emotional. But all of them get excited.

It’s the simplest way to introduce a couple into a photo shoot. Just by starting off with their emotions in mind, we’ve found that it’s easier to connect with a range of different people on a deeper, more authentic level. This isn’t a new way of doing things – it’s definitely not revolutionary – but if you’re looking to bring out more authentic emotion in your shoots, then this is one method out of many to throw into your toolkit.

Written by Erin Youngren

Jeff and Erin Youngren are international wedding and lifestyle photographers running one of the fastest growing boutique studios in the competitive Southern California market. Although based in San Diego, their deeply emotional style and passionate partnership has taken them from the streets of San Francisco to the canals of Venice to the family suburbs of Chicago to photograph extraordinary weddings and incredible couples. As leaders in the photographic community, they are passionate about helping other photographers build viable, authentic businesses, while building a photography community built on integrity and honest leadership.

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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 by Phil Thornton

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 using your page identity not your personal Facebook identity. This is extremely helpful when communicating with clients and making vendor connections. This feature also allows you to setup new forms of notifications for your business page. For instance, you can now see when a new user “likes” your page and you can also be notified via email when a user comments or post to your page (long overdue). This, along with some other enhancements makes keeping your clients “brand aware” even easier than before.

Another thing I thought I would share in this Facebook themed post is how to customize your Facebook landing page. When a user “lands” on your Facebook business page they see the page Wall by default. You can enhance this experience and create a more robust and branded landing page for your visitors with minimal effort. You can see what a custom landing page looks like by visiting our page at http://facebook.com/phindystudios (don’t forget to “like” us while you’re there!)

Here are some quick and easy steps to follow to get you started on your own custom page:

1. Install the Static HTML: iframe tabs App

a. Go to the app page here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=190322544333196&sk=app_190322544333196

b. Click on “Add to My Page” as seen in the screenshot below.

2. Once you have installed the app, go to your business page and click “Edit Page.”


3. Click on “Apps” in the left navigation. 


4. You should now see the “Static HTML: iframe tabs” app in you Added Apps list. Click on Edit Settings to name the new tab whatever you would like. I stuck with the default, “Welcome.”


5. Next we are going to make the new fancy welcome page be the default landing page for your visitors so that it’s the first thing they see (optional). Just click on “Manage Permissions and change the “Default Landing Tab” to your new page. The name will be whatever you selected in step 4.


6. Now you need to make the page have some content! Click on the new tab from your Business Page.

7. Once you get to your new Welcome page you will see an editor, here you can enter your HTML code for what both the new visitors see and the page that people that have already “liked” your page will see (optional).

While building your page keep in mind you will need to limit the width to 758 pixels. This includes images. If you aren’t a HTML ninja and you don’t have a friend or web designer to help you out then feel free to modify the code we are currently using on our landing page. You can download code as a txt file below and you should be able to just copy and paste into your code window.*

Download Phindy Code Text File {link: http://www.mindyandphil.com/temp/phindy_facebook_code.txt” }

*WARNING: you will have to modify the code so that our images and links don’t show up on your page!

Written by Phil Thornton

Phil Thornton and his wife Mindy run one of the most successful wedding photography studios in the Nashville market, Phindy Studios. Before entering the photography industry, Phil was a web developer and internet marketing professional. He contributed to several international web marketing projects for clients ranging from Disney to Madonna. He has also helped develop internet marketing strategies for celebrities such as Clint Black, Martina McBride, and Sarah Evans.

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