A PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TO

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01A PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TOCREATING AMARKETING PLANRe s e a r ch the Ma r ke t & I dentif y Your Areao f E x p e r tis e02Fin d Yo u r Ta r g e t Ma r ke t03Ge t a n All- in - On e We bs ite04C r e a te Yo u r Ma r ke tin g Strategies & Tactics05De v e lo p Yo u r S e llin g Strategies06S e t Fin a n cia l Go a ls & E valuate Your Results

Creating a marketing planthat outlines your goals anddetermines a course of actionfor achieving them is essentialif you want to have a successfulphotography business.Even if you are already runninga n e s t a b l i s h e d c o m p a n y, y o ucan benefit from organizing yourefforts into a well-thought-outm a r ke t i n g s t r a t e g y.In this guide we’ll give you thesteps to put together an effectivemarketing plan.2

01RESEARCH THE MARKET &I D E N T I F Y YO U R A R E AOF EXPERTISEChoose a SpecialtyDetermine What Sets You ApartLearn About Your CompetitionThe first step is to determine what makesyour work unique and who you arecompeting against. That way, you’ll beable to show customers why they shouldhire you over someone else.It is important to set yourself apartfrom your competition. For example, ifyou want to carve a place for yourselfas a wedding photographer, decidewhat types of weddings you want toshoot. When considering this question,think about your strengths. If you loveshooting with natural light the most,or you adore black and white images,think about whether you can build yourbusiness from this angle.It’s always a good idea to see who you’reup against. Some basic research of yourlocal competition and their specialties cango a long way. However, you shouldn’tbe daunted by what others are doing.For example, if there are a lot of familyportrait photographers in your area, thisdoes not mean that you have to choosea different genre. Instead, think of waysto approach family portraits from anunexpected angle. This could be shootingin and around the families’ homes wherethey are most comfortable, or at thebeach with natural sunlight. The key is tocombine areas you are comfortable andskilled in and turn them into your niche.While you may enjoy all genres ofphotography, choosing an area of focus ishighly recommended. Trying to representall genres of the industry in your portfoliocan communicate a lack of focus and afailure to master any one area to potentialclients. By choosing a specialty youcan become a respected expert in yourchosen genre.Find a specialty that you enjoy, and trustthat what makes you unique will make yousuccessful. Wedding photographer SteveBridgwood says, “Take inspiration fromothers, but stay true and have faith in yourown creative vision and in developingyour own style. This is ultimately what willmake you different and stand out.”Whatever area you choose, be sure thatit has room to grow. Choosing a focus isuseful to help you refine your craft andgain skill in a specific area. But don’tnarrow your scope so much that you willnot allow for opportunities to expandyour business over time. The key to manysuccessful businesses is their ability togrow and adapt to changes in the market.If you live in a rural area, but yourpassion is fashion, it may not be a goodidea to choose fashion photographyas a focus. Instead, consider shootingportraits and weddings using fashionlighting. Brainstorming what you loveto shoot and how to make a practicalchoice for your business based on thisis time well spent. Keep in mind thatmany photographers shoot more thanone genre.Looking at your competitors’ pricing willhelp you determine your own pricingstrategy. Is your goal to be competitive,premium, or have the lowest price inyour geographical area? Do you have theexperience, skill, or provide an addedvalue that would warrant a premium price?It is helpful to do a thorough analysisbefore setting your prices.Get the Scoop on the Competition What market do they serve? What products do they offer? How are their services andproducts priced? How do they promote themselves?“Ta k e i n s p i r a t i o n f r o m o t h e r s ,but stay true and have faithin your own creative visionand in developing your ownstyle. This is ultimately whatwill make you different andstand out.Steve Bridgwood3

02F I N D YO U RTA R G E T M A R K E TStart by asking yourself who your clients are. Are they male, female, or an equalpercentage of each? What is the largest age group? Where do they hang out? Whatactivities are they engaged in? What clubs or organizations do they belong to? Whatwebsites do they visit? This will give you a very good idea of where to start when you areready to advertise and market to this demographic.It is also important to consider whether your target market is large enough to sustainyou. If your focus is shooting headshots for actors, you will need to determine how manyworking actors there are in your area and how often they need headshots. You also needto know how much revenue you’ll generate from each headshot session and determinehow many of these you will need to keep your expenses paid. Be conservative with theseestimates, and don’t count on repeat clients for your long-term planning. You shouldalways be working to increase your client list.G E T A N A L L- I N - O N EWEBSITE03As a professional photographer, it is an absolute must that you have a well designed andeasy-to-navigate website. Look for a full-service option that will enable you to display yourportfolio and includes an e-commerce platform, marketing tools, and an easy-to-navigateclient interface.If you do any type of consumer photography you will want the option to sell online as wellas use online proofing tools. In-person proofing is a great way to make and close printsales, but that method doesn’t allow you to reach all of your client’s friends and relatives.By offering an online proofing gallery to your clients, they can share it with friends andfamily, opening up new revenue streams for you. Your site should also be mobile-optimizedso that it looks great on any device.If your website has built-in marketing and selling tools, it will save you valuable time andhelp boost your sales. Look for a platform that offers SEO tools, a blog, visitor sign-in, ashopping cart, and customizable price lists.Zenfolio offerseverything you needto create a dynamicand beautiful websitewith a built-ine-commerce platformto showcase and selly o u r p h o t o g r a p h y.4

04W E B S I T E M A R K E T I N G S T R AT E G I E SUtilize SEOOnce your website has the look and setupyou want, the next step is to make sure thatpotential clients are able to find it. When aperson is searching online, they usually usea search engine such as Google, Bing, orYahoo. Search engines crawl the internet forthe keywords entered, and provide resultsbased on that search.10TOP PHOTOGRAPHYSEARCH WORDS1. Photography2. Portrait3. Boudoir PhotographySearch engines look for keywords that arefound in the text on your website. In orderfor your site to appear in search results forpotential customers, you need to make surethat you include the information you’d likeyour customers to be know about you onyour website pages, such as your location,your genre of photography, pricing, etc.This process is known as search engineoptimization (SEO).4. Wedding PhotographyHow can you improve your SEO? As aphotographer, your website might heavilyfeature images, with less focus on text. That’snot a problem—as long as your site allowsyou to tag each of your images with sometext-based information like titles, captions,geographical locations, and keywords. Themore detail you can attach to these images,the better. Remember that if there isn’t anytext data attached to your images, your sitemight be virtually invisible to search engines.A small amount of effort adding tags canprovide a big payoff.8. Street Photography5. Newborn Photography6. Landscape Photography7. P h o t o j o u r n a l i s mZenfolio offers built-in tools and additionalhelp with SEO to make this process aseasy as possible. You can use the browserbased drag-and-drop uploader to uploadimages directly from your computer,or you can use a variety of third-partyupload tools such as a Lightroom plug-in.However you decide to upload, your SEOfriendly metadata such as keywords willalso be imported. You can also add or editkeywords as a batch using in your Zenfolioaccount.Even if you have all of your images taggedwith information, it’s wise to include pagesthat feature more detail about you andyour business, like Pricing and Packages,About Me, and Contact pages. The moreinformation you can provide for searchengines to comb through, the better. It’salso a good idea to do keyword researchon your local market using Google Trends.9. Food Photography10. Ca n d i d P h o t o g r a p h yMAXIMIZEYO U R S E OSEO TIP“Photography” is searched five times morefrequently than “photographer” worldwide.Use photography in your business name andRE AD50 Sh ad es of SE OLink UpThe more times a link to your website isclicked, the better your site ranking will beand you’ll appear higher in search results. Howdo you get more people to click on your link?Share it everywhere. We recommend that youadd links to your site in your email signatures,on photo forums, on social media, websites,and anywhere else you can think of.You’ll also want to have other services linkto your website as much as possible. If youbelong to any photo clubs or professionalorganizations, make sure you have a profilelisted with a link to your site. This can reallyhelp to boost your search ranking.Blog Your Heart OutMost photographers use an integrated blog toshow off their newest images and let visitorsknow what they are currently working on.These blog posts help show off your recentwork, which is one of the best ways to increasebusiness. When clients see you as a prolificprofessional in your field they’ll want towork with you. What’s more, a blog is a free,effective marketing tool that can boost yourSEO. Make sure you share your blog posts onsocial media and tag your clients so that theycan share it too.About page info to optimize your SEO.U S G o o g l e Tr e n d s5

05S E L L I N G S T R AT E G I E SServices and PricingStart with EmailsSpread the Word with Social MediaMake sure your website has a built-inshopping cart, whether you plan to offerproducts from integrated labs, selffulfilled products, or digital downloads.Although photography is a creativepursuit, you will need to put on yourbusiness hat when determining pricing.Shari Warren has a great article onpricing strategies to get you started. Yourpricing should give you enough profitto be able to thrive as a business whilealso keeping you competitive. Zenfolioprovides a pre-filled price list to makeit easy to get started. The pre-filledprice list features the top-selling photoproducts and includes suggested pricingthat you can easily customize and refinefor your market and business needs.Marketing your work through yourwebsite is easy if you have the rightplatform. If your site has visitor sign-in/email capture, having that informationautomatically stored in a contact list willsave you valuable time when you wantto send marketing emails.Social media is an effective way toincrease your business. Allow your clientsto share the images you have taken ontheir Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram,Twitter, and Google pages. If they loveyour work they will likely share it withan ecstatic compliment and their entirenetwork will see it. One thing to keep inmind if you go this route is to be surethat you brand your images with a logo orunobtrusive watermark so that potentialclients know who you are and can easilyfind you. Logos and watermarks will alsohelp protect against illegal reproductionof your work.You should also consider offeringpromotional coupons, and sell packagesand gift certificates through your site.Packages can be a great way to boostrevenue. If you want to sell packages butdon’t want to spend time setting themup, Zenfolio offers customizable prefilledpackages.Channels to Reach Your ClientsWhen it comes to targeting yourmarketing and selling efforts, it ishelpful to define the channels you’d liketo implement such as email blasts ornewsletters, direct mail, social media,events, and paid advertising.Promotional email blasts are efficient,cost effective to produce, and easyto target. Spread them throughoutthe year to your contact lists usingseasonal promotions, reminders of priorpurchases and products reviewed, andtimely offers. To maximize efficiency youcan set up triggered emails, which aresent automatically using customizableemail marketing templates. It’s also agood idea to take advantage of freefull-service email marketing campaigns,such as the ones offered by Zenfolio.Also, plan to send a certain number ofregular newsletters that highlight yourlatest work, new available products,or anything else your current clientsmight find relevant or interesting. Don’tforget to provide a way for people tounsubscribe if they choose.Don’t be afraid to share some of yoursuccesses on your own social mediapages. If you were recently featured ina publication, share this news on yoursocial media outlets to help you getthe word out. Or if you decide to run apromotion, announce it on Facebook aswell as through newsletters, email blasts,etc. Your successes will more easily buildon each other if people know about them.Think about using a service like HootSuiteto automatically add social media posts sothat you can schedule them in advance.Consider Paid Online Advertisingand Direct MailYou will need to take your budget intoconsideration when planning a directmailer, so consider creating a few differentstrategies for different groups within yourcontacts. For example, consider creating awell-designed, but inexpensive, postcardto send to all clients while reserving moreexpensive promo pieces for your top20 leads.You may also want to consider paidadvertising, which has become easierin recent years with companies likeGoogle lowering the barrier to entry.Google AdWords can be a great way totry out online ads without spending a lot.However, if you do not have the budgetfor advertising like this, don’t let it getyou down. There are so many ways toreach clients these days that your othermarketing efforts can more than make upfor it.PRICINGS T R AT E G I E SRE ADPricing Strategiesfor PortraitPhotographers6

05“S E L L I N G S T R AT E G I E S(CONT)I know lots of greatphotographers who can’tmake a living doingphotography because theydon’t know how to hustleand aren’t smart in business.Likewise, I know severalmediocre photographers whokill it because they havegreat business, social mediaa n d b r a n d i n g s k i l l s . Yo u h a v eto do be willing to do it alland all the time.G i n n y D i xo nNetwork in PersonEvents in your area are great way to get infront of your target market. For example, if youshoot weddings, find out if there are any bridalfairs in your area and get involved. Also thinkabout approaching bridal stores in your areaand other vendors who may have events orpromotions you can be a part of. Trade showsand other industry events are valuable aswell. Having the opportunity to meet potentialclients in person or through other companiescan be a huge help in selling your services.Whether it is done digitally or in person,networking and building relationships is akey component of success, according todocumentary photographer and photojournalistGinny Dixon. “I know lots of greatphotographers who can’t make a living doingphotography because they don’t know how tohustle and aren’t smart in business. Likewise,I know several mediocre photographers whokill it because they have great business, socialmedia and branding skills. You have to do bewilling to do it all and all the time,”she said.FINANCES ANDE VA LUAT I N GYO U R R E S U LT S06Having your own business means you will also need to delve into thefinancial logistics of budgeting expenses (insurance, equipment, retailspace, etc.), how to pay yourself, managing cash flow, and more. Planfor the short term and long term by determining your projected costs,sales and profits for the next month, the next year, and up to threeyears into the future.As stated earlier, the purpose of a marketing plan is to set achievablegoals for yourself and your business. But we know it is easy to getcaught up in the day-to-day madness of keeping everything going.That’s why we recommend updating, or at least evaluating, yourmarketing plan every year. By taking the time to carefully plan whereyou are going and how you will effectively get there, you’ll be able toavoid bumps in the road and track the progress that you’ve made.With all of this helpful information at your fingertips, you now have thefoundation to create an effective marketing plan. So take the first stepto put the wheels in motion and you are on your way to success!7

Photography 2. Portrait 3. Boudoir Photography 4. Wedding Photography 5. Newborn Photography 6. Landscape Photography 7. Photojournalism 8. Street Photography 9. Food Photography 10. Candid Photography SEARCH WORDS 10 TOP PHOTOGRAPHY WEB

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