Monday through Friday Money Part 1: The Philosophy

2015 PWP Studio Corporate Event Photographers

So, there you are… A bag full of expensive gear that is worth less every day… Mad skills… Eager to shoot… Ambitious… Looking forward to a lifetime of amazing experiences behind the camera ….annnd you are sitting in front of your computer editing the weekend’s images, posting to social media, writing a blog post, answering emails, drooling over another photographer’s Instagram account, planning your next lens purchase, and doing all of the other behind-the-scenes things that running a successful photography business requires you to do. I was there, too. I was working 80+ hours a week for years – convinced my overworked struggle would pay off with success + less to do later.

© 2015 PWP Studio Corporate Event Photographers

It took me 7 years of working way too hard before I figured out my happy place in the photography market, and another 4 years to find my ‘success with …

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The Power of Personal Projects

© Jane Ammon Photography

Every year since I launched my photography business, I’ve carved out time to pursue a personal project. It’s a part of my art that has helped me flourish as an artist, a person and as a business owner. Ranging from a large project that took over 2 years to complete and culminated with a gallery show to a small project I completed in 15 days with iPhone only pictures, each personal project has existed solely to help me create work that speaks to my heart and show the world the space I was in at the time.

Personal projects are exactly what they say: personal. They exist to give you a channel to explore parts of WHO you are and WHAT interests you with only parameters you set for yourself. With no money or time pressures and no voices of others in your head, they give you permission to make something …

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Make More Money with Event Cards

customeventcards

If you’re an event photographer, there’s no better opportunity to reach your target market than at an actual event. No matter what kind of event it is — a wedding, mitzvah or birthday party — most of your client’s guests are potential NEW clients for you! Traditionally, client communities consist of similar socioeconomic classes and aesthetic preferences. So, the guests at that event this weekend are prime examples of your target market! And if your client liked you enough to hire you, then many of their guests might too. Don’t pass up an opportunity to market directly to them.

Spread the word at the event – use event cards! Not only will you give them a take-away with your contact information, but you’ll also give them the keys to access the photos from the event.

Many companies, like Pictage, provide turnkey solutions for event cards. Or you can make them yourself. Here are …

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Using a Camera as Your Voice

When did photography become just a job?

Have you ever asked yourself this question during the dark hours of morning when you’re in a drowsy dream state? Do you want to tap into the power of personal projects, using a camera as your voice? You’re not alone. Many creative people who turn their passion into a profession ask themselves this same soul-searching question. 

Ji Lee, former creative director at Google Creative Lab, summed up this frustration: “I really wanted to not only think about ideas but also make something happen!” For photographers, making something happen means using a camera as your voice.

To explore the power of personal projects, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who have embraced risk and pursued long-term personal projects.

Rebecca Kiger knows exactly how terrifying it can be to speak your truth privately, much less openly to the world. But just as surely, she knows two …

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How To Crowdfund A Personal Project

Photographer Amy Toensing is a frequent contributor to National Geographic, but even reaching that pinnacle of professional recognition doesn’t mean she’s able to do whatever projects she wants.

“I consider myself an artist and I have work that I need to do to stay sane. I need to make sure that I’m doing my work,” she says. As we all know so well, even working for major publications doesn’t mean money to fund personal projects. So Amy is taking her first steps to crowdfunding her next personal project.

She’ll photograph the lives of urban refugee children in Africa, some of the most vulnerable people in an already disturbingly disadvantaged population of Africans driven from their homes by war, persecution, famine, or disease. It’s an attempt to draw attention back to the plight of refugees.

Amy has shared what she’s learned about using Kickstarter, encouraging other photographers to step up and declare their work …

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Learning How To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

learn-how-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick

Running a small business is hard. When you hear people talk about a “work life balance,” you probably laugh. As small business owners it seems there is a lot more work than life! Over 11 years in business, I have been there too. New Year’s resolutions are great but too often they are left behind to die. Learning how to make your New Year’s Resolutions stick is the real challenge.

Have you ever been to a seminar and left with pages and pages of ideas just waiting to be implemented? You’re fired up, inspired, and then you get home. Back to life and back to work and your inspiration list dies. It’s okay to say “yes,” we have all been there.

Here are a Few Goals that I’ve Made Stick:

Work less than 25 hours a week Shoot 40 weddings in 1 year Spend $0 on advertising Run 3 marathons in 1 year Coach my boys’ soccer teams

There’s no better …

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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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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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The Merits of Mobile Photography Part 3

An Instagram image is definitely worth more than 140 words. In August, Instagram officially passed Twitter in daily active users on mobile for the first time, according to new comScore data provided to Mashable. Instagram had 7.3 million daily mobile users for the month, while Twitter had 6.9 million. The merits of mobile photography are clear.

The data reveals that the average Instagram user spent 257 minutes accessing the site via mobile devices in August, while the average Twitter user over the same period only spent 170 minutes viewing. That’s a lot of connected, photo-sharing users coming back to the site often! Unlike Twitter which maintains a website, Instagram is mobile-first and mobile-only. This enables easy access to sharing features. That’s exactly why many media savvy companies have used Instagram as part of their online marketing strategy.

Consider this:

When we shoot a picture with our iPhone, we can share it with our followers within minutes. It …

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What Wedding Photographers Can Learn from Documentarians – Part 2

Dorothea Lange and Jack Delano

Do you remember a time when photography was your way of experiencing and explaining the world?

This week’s series was inspired by Annie Leibovitz and the FSA Photographers of the Great Depression. The articled asked some challenging questions.

Is it possible to do the work that we are moved to create while we are doing commissioned work? What if we started looking at lists and schedules and the routine of shooting wedding after wedding as an opportunity rather than a hindrance to creativity? What if the shooting script expanded our creative options rather than limiting them?

The FSA required its photographers “to be more than an artist, more than an adequate mechanic. He must be something of a sociologist, something of an economist; he must be a good deal of wangler, equally at home with a hostess or a farmer’s wife; he must have a healthy nose for news coupled with a thorough skepticism of biased …

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