Wedding photographers – beware the ‘easy going’ client!

Wedding photographers beware easy going clients

This post explains why you should be nervous about prospects who say they’re ‘not bothered’ about their wedding photos.

I’ve only ever had two complaints about my photography and they were both from wedding clients who, when I first met them, said they “weren’t bothered about their wedding photography.”

On the face of it, it seems like the pressure is off when a couple says they’re not bothered. When I was a novice it sounded like music to my ears because I wasn’t confident in my abilities. If I screw up, it doesn’t matter, right!?

It’s a trap!

My second complaint was quite recent, actually. At first I was confused. Why do I never have problems with people who want something really special. Surely they would be the picky, troublesome clients, right?

I remember asking my wife about it.

As usual, she came up with the answer (or a big part of it, anyway).  Roughly translated, this Continue reading

How to create family portraits that sell

How to create family portraits that sell

Discover how to create family portraits that sell by learning some lessons from the old masters.

Family portraits can be one of the most profitable areas there is in the whole of the photography industry, or it can earn you a pittance. You can earn thousands for one portrait session, or you can struggle to make $100.

Without wanting to oversimplify the myriad of reasons why one family portrait photographer can bring in between 10-100 times more than another, a lot of it has to do with how you present your images and yourself.

Have a look at these websites and consider how valuable the images look.

Paul Linwood Gittings

Whitmire Associates

This is the kind of family portraiture that earns the big bucks. Look at how Continue reading

Photography customer service

Photography customer service

Part of my wedding photography customer service is that I scout venues and suggest poses several weeks before the wedding. This photo would probably never happened without a scout since this tree that frames the photo was a fair walk from the reception.

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from my new clients recently that they’ve been extremely disappointed with the level of customer service they’ve had from other photographers.

Time and again they talk about poor behaviour, such as: unanswered emails, a lack of enthusiasm, unprofessional language, arrogance, rudeness, being let down, going through the motions, overly defensive…    etc. etc.

Poor customer service is everywhere, not just in photography; especially here in the UK.

We bought a washing machine for my mother yesterday and the sales assistant did many things right. He was knowledgeable, he provided Continue reading

How I booked 13 weddings in a row

How I booked 13 weddings in a row

Booking weddings at a healthy profit isn’t a simple case of taking an order over the phone. It requires great customer service skills, enthusiasm and a desire to be helpful and unique.

Before I kick off, let me clarify something here. I didn’t book 13 enquiries in a row. Some people send me an email and never respond to me – even though I have a highly effective email response system.

What I did achieve was I booked 13 weddings in a row when I was given the opportunity to meet with the bride and groom. Just so you know, about half of my enquiries agree to meet me. Don’t forget, I have no prices on mywebsite and I don’t email price lists for reasons I’ve explained here and here.

Don’t dwell on price

Instead, I get the prospect away from thinking about price and onto thinking about their wedding. I ask lots of questions that are designed to help them think more emotionally about their wedding and to understand how important their wedding photography is.

When they’re asking about price on the phone I explain I’d like to ask them a Continue reading

How friends and family can help you grow your photography business

How friends and family can help you grow your photography business

Once you’ve seen this video you’ll understand how to use your network of friends and relatives to bring in a stack of new photography clients for you.

Nope, this video is not about giving away free or discounted sessions to friends – that’s for another day – this is all about growing your photography business by utilising your existing network of friends, family, colleagues and associates.

On average people know about 250 people. If you’re a Facebook junkie then you may have thousands of ‘friends’.

Even if you’re a bit of a hermit I’ll bet you know someone who could be very helpful to your photography business. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do any begging – it’s a win-win situation.

Take a look at the video and leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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How to get more photography customers – the 7 steps

How to get more photography customers

There’s a defined system for getting more photography clients and begging isn’t part of it (even though it seems to work well for dogs!).

For most people it’s even harder to learn how to get more photography customers than it ever was trying to wrap your brain around F stops, ISO, exposure bracketing and the law of reciprocity. Yep, this is the million dollar question.

You love photography and after years of infuriating trial and error / error / error / error you’re finally able to create beautiful images…     …yet no-one’s ringing. It’s like Bridget Jones waiting for her man to call.

There are so many photographer’s per square inch that it’s easy to feel like the desperate, clingy ex girlfriend / boyfriend when it comes to getting more photography customers.

So, let me see if I can turn you from Bridget Jones into Catherine Zeta-Jones (or Indiana Jones if you’re a guy!)

Today I’m going to explain how a simple 7 step marketing process from www.ducttapemarketing.com can apply to your photography business. By the way, Duct Tape Marketing have a bunch of useful free ebooks on marketing you can download here.

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The best way to help your prospects understand the value of photography

The value of family photography

I have no digital photos of my late father and only a handful of small poor quality prints. This lovely photo is one of many I’ve created of her since I’ve become a photographer and appreciated the value of what we do.

A family portrait is never more valuable than when someone in the photograph has passed away. My father in law has just had a heart attack. He’s back home now, but it’s still quite serious. Within 96 hours of finding out about his situation my wife and I had travelled from the UK to Malaysia to go see him. Nothing is more important than family.

When chatting with my final client before our trip I mentioned our family crisis so he would be able to understand why his family portraits wouldn’t be ready to view as quickly as they normally would.

As I explained things to him his 13 year old daughter was listening and she became a little emotional and gave her big ol’ dad a hug. In that instant the whole family seemed to become closer. As they hugged I said “I guess ultimately that’s what portraits like these are all about, bringing the family together and creating treasured memories”.

It reminded me that stories like this are the best way of helping people FEEL the importance of portrait and wedding photography. My own father passed away in 2004 (before I knew anything about photography) and I have no digital photos of him and no decent prints either. I’d pay a fortune to acquire just one lovely portrait of my whole family together, but it can never happen.

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Dangerous opinions about the photography industry

 

Opinions about the photography industry

Your own thoughts and prejudices could be preventing you having the success in the photography industry you desperately want. Photo copyright of John Eisenschenk

I’ve said before that your biggest competitor is in your head. We all silently talk to ourselves (even out loud if we think we’re alone, or are a little bonkers!). We’ll think things like:

“I could never do that.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“I’m not confident enough.”

“I don’t have time”

“That’ll never work.”

“What if someone complains about the price.”

“Oh god, what if they don’t like the photos.”

“I need to reduce my prices to get more clients.”

“The photography industry is dying.”

“People don’t have money anymore and everyone just cares about price.”

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How to pose portraits, by the great Jerry Ghionis

How to pose portraits

This video on how to pose portraits by the awesome Jerry Ghionis reveals how to get the perfect balance between beautiful posing and natural expressions.

You spend years mastering your camera skills until your fingers can instinctively and fluidly caress the appropriate button like a pianist prodigy.

Your Photoshop artistry dazzles the viewer while still honoring the subject’s natural essence and spirit…

…and then you realise everyone you’re photographing is standing there like a sack of set yogurt.

Many photographers call their style ‘reportage’ as an excuse for not knowing how to pose portraits. Capturing a special moment as it naturally unfolds is wonderful and I don’t wish to downplay the skill at all. However, if you’re photographing a wedding, for example, the bride is going to want to look elegant and fabulous in her photos. If you’re going to just follow her around all day and hope that at some point she’ll stand in the perfect pose, in the perfect light, with the perfect backdrop then you’ll probably be very disappointed…   …and so will they.

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Should photographers advertise?

Should photographers advertise

This is the typical type of advert I see in magazines all the time. I’ve scrawled out the contact details to save their blushes. Sadly an advert like this is a huge waste of money – read the article to find out why and what you can do instead.

First up I should explain that I’m talking about advertising in magazines and newspapers. If you have a website then you’ll have received one of those phone calls or emails from the local magazine who want to offer us a ‘special price’ for a half page advert in the Worcestershire Bugle (I chose ‘Worcestershire’ just to tease my American readers! It’s easy ‘Wuss-ter-ssher’).

Anyhooo, it’s easy to get tempted and give it a go. If you ever have then you’ve probably had terrible results.

If you want my short answer to ‘should photographers advertise’ then I’m going to have to throw you a ‘no – run away screaming’. I’m not saying it can’t work (read on for some tips on this), I’m saying you need to be very savvy to make it work. If you’re not extremely experienced in advertising and copywriting then you’ll almost certainly fail with your photography advert.

To make advertising your photography business effective you’d have to have a very persuasive, unique and attention grabbing benefit that’s so powerful people would feel compelled to put down their magazine and call you immediately. For example, if you could say ‘My mate George Clooney is in town and he’s offering a free lift to the church in his helicopter for any weddings you book with me in August’. That would work. No arguments there! There’s a danger George might run off with the bride though…

How many photographers are able to offer something so unique, so amazing, so emotionally compelling that no other Continue reading