Case Study: Why ShootQ Makes Sense for Anne Almasy

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Photo: 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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Why Every Photographer Should Lose “Weight”

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If you do wedding photography year after year, the physical labor takes a toll on your body. Photographers often carry multiple camera bodies, along with multiple lenses, flashes/studio lights, tripod/monopods and other accessories. Wedding after wedding, we’re carrying fifity to sixty pounds of equipment – plus we’re on our feet all day long!

I remember carrying all my gear and hiking half a mile to a mountain-top ceremony in Muir Beach. It was exhausting, and I knew I couldn’t carry on like this for years. So, for the past few years, I’ve focused on shedding equipment weight and improving efficiency, while delivering the same quality (or better) results.

Here’s what my toolbox looked like in 2010:

Bodies: Nikon D3, 2 Nikon D700, D300, D90

Lenses: 24-70, 70-200, 17-35, 35, 50, 85, 105 Macro, 18-55, 19-35

Flashes: 3 SB-900, SB-800 and SB-600

Accessories: Tripods, monopods and other accessories

As you can see, I had overlapping lenses and camera …

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Vacation Portraits – Tap into the Multi-Billion Dollar Travel Industry

www.karmahill.com

When do you have money burning a hole in your pocket? When do you save money just so you can spend it in one short period of time?

Vacation!

I learned how to tap into tourism and capture some of the billions of dollars that flow through the travel industry by treating my photography as a vacation activity instead of a traditional portrait session. Tourism exists in all 50 states and all over the world. Whether you’re in a tropical locale or next to a natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, there is a market for vacation portraits.

When I first moved to Maui and decided to start a photography business, I did an online search to see what was out there, and I found pages upon pages of photographers, almost all of them focused on wedding photography. At first I felt a little discouraged, then I decided to …

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The Fantasy vs. Reality of Becoming a Professional Photographer

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When we fall in love with photography, we go on an amazing journey of self-discovery and creative expression. Some of us begin to imagine a career as a professional photographer, filled with days of capturing glorious sunsets in remote locations across the globe, or attending glamorous parties and living the high life, all the while getting paid to do what we love. What a dream!

And it can be, absolutely. But for most of us, it takes many years of hard work, long hours, little pay and lots of business and marketing savvy in order to truly realize the dream.

One of the main reasons I started Photomint and decided to write Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More is to counteract all the “feel-happy” business advice out there that highlights the glamour and omits the reality. There is a lot of fantasy concepts floating around, and …

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The Power of Realism in a World that’s Addicted to Perfection

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We live in a world where people expect perfection. We are fed perfection through the media, through magazines and advertisements. Pressure to be perfect, look perfect and act perfect are everywhere. So, what’s the power of realism in a world that’s addicted to perfection? I didn’t realize the expectancy of our role as photographers until I photographed a client with a roll of film. She seemed less confident, unsure of herself and didn’t like the idea of not having Photoshop to ‘touch up’ her images afterwards.

I assured her; I told her she was beautiful and not to worry about changing a thing. Afterward, when the film was developed, she looked at them in awe and was excited to see that she loved how she looked with no “touch-ups” at all. It was like she was surprised to see herself in a ‘real’ light.

I see this mentality not only in my clients, but …

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How to Create a Home-Based Photography Studio: Part 2

In Part One of this series, I talked about the merits of having a home-based business and shared reasons why you might want to have a studio space for your home-based business.

Now, let’s get down to details: how can you create a home-based photography studio?

The short answer is: SPACE. You have to have some kind of space that you can create or convert. In the beginning, I converted a spare bedroom into a studio; it was tiny, but it was better than nothing! Now, after three years of planning and construction, I have over 450 square feet dedicated to my photography business.

Throughout these two processes, I spent months analyzing my business and trying to identify ways to address my needs and my clients’ needs — all while staying within my budget and physical space constraints.

The following inventory can help you analyze your own studio needs. Your budget, your existing …

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How to Create a Home-Based Photography Studio: Part One

When I started my photography business, I dreamed of the day that I would be able to move my business out of my home and into a bright and shiny studio space. In my mind having a storefront was the true distinction of a “real” photographer. Oh, how silly I was!

Thank goodness, in the years that followed, I did some serious research about the business of being a photographer before I pursued a retail space for my business. I learned that there are lots (and LOTS) of incredibly successful photographers who not only operate a home-based photography business, they prefer it that way. Even more compelling, the Benchmark Surveys done by the Professional Photographers of America reveal that overall the most financially successful photography businesses in the United States are home-based!

As my knowledge of the photography industry evolved, I began to see my home-based business not as a stepping stone …

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The Pro Photographer’s Guide to WPPI

Headed to WPPI this week and next? Like 15,000 wedding and portrait photographers, you are headed to one of the biggest gatherings of people from our industry, that you’re ever likely to encounter. Whether you’ve been a dozen times, or are headed out for your first time, the entire experience can be a bit overwhelming (to say the least). Between the platform classes, master classes, impromptu classes, shooting experiences, mentoring, and of course – the parties – there’s a lot happening. Want to come back in one piece?

Here are my WPPI Survival Tips:

1. Don’t try to do everything. You’ll hear this a lot from many people who have been there, but seriously – DON’T try to see everything. You can’t. It’s too big, and you’ll end up robbing yourself of the benefit of what you DO take in. Be picky about where you spend your time. You’ll get the most …

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How Photographers Can Take Their Sites from Functional to Unforgettable

The problem with most websites isn’t that they don’t look good. It’s that they don’t work well. Sure, you can see the portfolio, you can find the information – that’s all there. But being professional and fulfilling the basic functions of a site are the worst standards imaginable. These things should be the bare minimum a site needs to work, not the measure of success. The real question is how photographers can take their sites from functional to unforgettable. The most important question is, “How well you are connecting with your potential clients.

When it comes down to it, if you’re going to run a business, you’ve gotta do the legwork. Period. It’s all about going beyond where others have gone. In a competitive marketplace, where everyone is gunning for the same, good enough isn’t going to be good enough. Mind you, that’s not to say you have to blow through …

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Meeting Client Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 1

Most small businesses realize the importance of meeting and exceeding client expectations. But when we strive to do this, it’s based on the expectation that we, as a business, have established. 

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you weren’t aware of, or expectations that seem unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations?

In my experience, these types of client expectations come from four sources:

The market norm The client’s first exposure to the type of product or service you offer Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures Poor communication between you and the client During my next series of blog posts, I will share these sources with you, show you how to contend with unknown expectations, and outline how you can stop perceiving your clients as difficult, irrational, or crazy. Win-win! Today, we start with the first source of potential client confusion – the market norm.

Part 1: Contending with the Market Norm:

When enough …

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