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  • 10 Essential Photography Books For Pro Photographers

    8:44 pm on February 3, 2014 | 0 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Photography Books, Photography Information, ,

    For budding photographers and professionals alike, learning something new should always be at the top of the agenda.

    Discovering new techniques and expanding your photography knowledge is an important part of finding success as a photographer.

    Here are ten photography books that would make a great addition to any photographer’s bookshelf. Adding these reads to your collection can help to develop your skills and grow as a photographer.

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    1. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures From Your Digital Camera

    Author: Tom Ang

    This is a great book for both beginners as well as those with more advanced knowledge, providing an easy-to-read overview of the basics. If there are any holes in your knowledge, this book will help you to brush up on your skills. Not overly technical; this book is full of beautiful photography examples.

    2. The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression

    Author: Bruce Barnbaum

    If you are looking to make a statement with your photography, this book is for you. An updated version of the classic book “The Art of Photography,” this book serves as both a textbook and a magnificent art book. But while this book is an in-depth guide on photography, it also goes beyond the technical instruction, and delves into the deeper issues as well, allowing the reader to discover the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography.

    3. Photo Inspiration: Secrets Behind Stunning Images

    Author: John Wiley & Sons

    If you are looking for an inspirational book to help you aspire to new levels of photography, this book is it. Featuring about a hundred different photos by different photographers, with explanations on how the photographs were created, this book is sure to inspire.

    4. The Negative

    Author: Ansel Adams

    A comprehensive photography book from the master himself. “The Negative,” by Ansel Adams contains everything you will ever need to know about exposure. This book is advanced, but it contains clear explanations. An important, informational guide.

    5. Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography Using Available Light

    Author: Ibarionex Perello

    Light is one of the most transformative tools that a photographer has. Great lighting can make the difference between a snapshot, and a powerful photograph. This book is filled with great photos, and addresses important elements that are essential for taking great photos.

    6. Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera

    Author: Bryan Peterson

    This updated, third-edition of “Understanding Exposure” provides photographers with everything that they need to get the right exposure, every time. In this book, Peterson explains the relationship between aperture and shutter speed in an easy-to-understand format. This book will help you learn how to achieve the right exposures, in difficult situations.

    7. On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide

    Author: David Hurn, Bill Jay

    This book isn’t a how-to guide on photography technique; it doesn’t even have any photos! It is, however, an inside look into the world of professional photography. This book is a transcribed version of conversations between two photographers at the top of their game, as they discuss common issues that photographers face.

    8. Successful Self-Promotion for Photographers

    Author: Elyse Weissberg, Amanda Sosa Stone

    This book provides expert advice for pro photographers on successful marketing, selling services, staying on top of market trends, and much more; providing pro photographers with the tools they need to thrive in this competitive field.

    9. The E-Myth Revisited

    Author: Michael E. Gerber

    While not a photography book per se, this book is essential for any small business owner, freelance photographers included. This book dispels myths and common assumptions on starting a business, and walks readers through the steps that a business goes through to reach maturity. Finally, it draws the all-important conclusion on the difference between working on your business and working in your business. This book can help any entrepreneurial-minded photographers to grow their business in a productive way.

    10. Best Business Practices for Photographers

    Author: John Harrington

    This book is designed to help photographers who are serious about growing their company. This book emphasises the fact that it takes more than just talent to get ahead -strong business skills are equally important. This book covers important business topics that are essential for a professional photographer’s success.

    What about you? Have a favorite book that we missed? Share your suggestions in the comments!

     
  • Photography Directories: Where To List Your Business And Showcase Your Photos To Win New Clients

    9:54 pm on January 27, 2014 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Image Bookmarking Sites, Online Directories, , Photography Directories, , ,

    If you are a photographer who is looking to gain some additional publicity online, you may want to consider submitting your portfolio to online directories.

    Online directories can be a great way for you to get noticed. Since people who are looking for a photographer often head online to search out photographers in their area, having your website listed in directories can help people to find you easier. Additionally, online directories can help to optimize your site for search engines.

    Here are some of our top picks for online directories, as well as image bookmarking sites that you can use to help get your name out there.

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    Online Directories

    Help your website to get noticed with online directories. While it’s best to exercise caution when signing up with online directories -the last thing you want is to subscribe to spam!- legitimate online directories can help customers to find you easier.

    It’s estimated that 70% of people go online first to find local business information. This means that as a local photographer, having an established web-presence may be more beneficial than an ad in the Yellow Pages!

    Listing your website in various online directories can increase your chances of being found.

    • Photographer HQ is designed to help people find professional photographers in their area. This site allows photographers who offer photography services to sign up, and helps to connect them with clients who are in need of wedding, events, business, fashion, or portrait services. This website allows you to post ten of your best photos, and a brief overview of your services, to give clients an idea of what you offer.
    • The Photographer Directory brands itself as “The web’s most complete, search engine friendly list of talented professional photographers.” The Photographer Directory prides itself on featuring only high-quality photographers on its website, so make sure you clean up your portfolio before submitting it. It’s free to register, all you they ask is that you link back to the directory from your website.
    • Cool Photo Blogs is a directory of…well…cool photo blogs. If you have a photography blog, you should consider submitting it to Cool Photo Blog. The top picks are featured in the CPB “hall of fame.” There is also a featured spot for newcomers as well. It’s free to register at Cool Photo Blog, but not every blog is accepted.
    • Photographers.com is a worldwide directory that allows users to search for photographers in their area. They also have a “featured photographers” section with photographs from the top photographers on the site. While this directory isn’t free, they offer reasonable monthly or yearly plans.

    Image Bookmarking Sites

    Image bookmarking sites are another great way to get your photos noticed. Like directories, image bookmarking sites allow users to view your work, but unlike directories, image bookmarking sites focus on allowing users to search by photography type, rather than location. This means that image bookmarking sites may be a better option for photographers who sell prints and stock imagery, rather than photography services.

    With image bookmarking sites, popular photos get featured on the front page; not bad for free publicity. Just make sure your profile links up with your main portfolio or website.

    • Flickr is one of the most well-known image bookmarking sites. Flickr’s recent update has given the site a modern interface. Flickr allows you to license your images to Getty, allowing you to easily sell them as stock. You can also license your photos under a selection of different copyrights.
    • Deviantart, the famous hang-out for artists and other creative types can help your photography to get noticed. Free to join, and popular work is sent to the front page. Deviantart also allows you to sell prints directly from the site.
    • Photography Sites.com is easy to join, and allows people to search for photos by category. Photography Sites.com also features popular photos, and latest photos. This directory is very social, and allows photographers to interact with each other in the forums. Photography Sites.com is also free to join.

    With any online directory, the goal is to drive traffic back to your main website or portfolio. Because of the review process that portfolios usually undergo before being accepted into a directory, it’s important to make sure your website or portfolio is up to standard before submitting your site to directories.

    At Photoswarm, we offer free portfolio hosting, to help you to showcase your photos beautifully. Why not try us today?

     

     
  • Want Or Need - How To Invest In New Photography Equipment

    10:58 pm on January 20, 2014 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , New Photography Equipment, New Photography Gear, , Photography Gear, Photography Gear Investment, ,

    Most photographers are of the opinion that new gear, or a new camera, will drastically improve their photography skills. After all, new gear is….well….new! And it’s shiny. It’s also different, which makes it just that much more appealing. It’s tempting to think that new gear just might be able to solve all of your photography woes and turn you into the next Ansel Adams!

    Newsflash: a better camera won’t make you a better photographer. It may improve the quality of your photos, but for improving photo composition, lighting, technique, and all-around skill -gear has almost nothing to do with the results of your photography.

    Of course, there are exceptions, and in many cases new gear may be great, or even necessary. While new gear won’t necessarily improve your photography skills, in some cases it may be just what you need to advance in your niche, and it may even prove to be a valuable investment.

    So how can you tell if it’s time to invest in some new gear?

    Weighing up your options can help you to determine whether an investment will be well-worth it, or if it will fall flat.

    Read on to see some questions that you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether to invest in new photography equipment.

     
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    Will New Gear Bring More Revenue?

    For professional photographers, it’s important to consider whether the purchase of new gear will bring in more revenue. While it can be easy to assume that new customers will come flocking in once you have a new portrait lens, lack of customers is often due to other factors. Low publicity, insufficient marketing, or even failing to have a distinctive signature style can all result in a low customer count. While the amount of gear that you need will vary depending on the type of photography that you do, don’t count on a new purchase to bring in new customers.

    Alternatively, if you know what you’re doing and you’re great with your camera, but you need to branch out and your gear can’t accommodate your needs, it may be time to spring for some new equipment.

    Will New Gear Capture Photos That My Current Gear Isn’t Capable Of?

    If you feel that you have reached the stage where your current gear just can’t keep up, you may think that it’s time for some new gear. However, it’s important to make sure that you are using your current gear properly, and utilizing all the settings in order to determine whether or not your camera –or lens- is actually being used at its maximum potential.

    Purchasing new photography gear can help you to progress once you reach a stage where your current camera, or lens, just isn’t capable of everything you need it do. Remember though, that in order to reach that stage, you will generally need to have had extensive experience shooting, to understand the limits of what your gear is really capable of.

    Should I Focus on Improving My Skills or Updating My Gear?

    While many photographers think that an investment in gear is the best way to improve their photography, many professional photographers agree that one of the best ways to improve the quality of your photography, is to invest in your skills, before upgrading your gear. Take some online photography courses, or read tutorials, get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

    While new gear can help you branch out with your photography, it won’t necessarily make you a better photographer. Knowledge and skill though, are invaluable. Sharpening your photography skills will prove to be worthwhile, and you will notice the results in the composition of your photos.

     

    If you’ve reached the point where you feel that some new gear will help take your photography to new levels, you may want to consider renting gear, before you buy. This allows you to test the gear and see if it’s really everything you imagined it would be. Renting is also a good way to test two, or more, options, and see which one works best for you.

    While new gear can be a great addition to any photographer’s kit, just remember, it’s not the gear that makes great photography –it’s knowing how to use the gear that does!

    “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” –Ansel Adams

    What about you? How do you determine whether or not to purchase new gear? Share your strategies!

     
  • Do You Make These 7 Pro Photography Mistakes?

    11:58 pm on January 13, 2014 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Photography Mistakes, , ,

    Looking to take your photography to the next level?

    Many photographers are looking to enter the professional realm in hopes of earning some money off of their passion. Unfortunately though, an estimated 85% of professional photographers go out of business within their first five years; which begs the question: what determines whether someone will succeed?

    What separates professionals from amateurs isn’t always the quality of their work, in many cases it’s their business sense that sets them apart.

    Knowing common mistakes that pro photographers make can help you to avoid making them. Read on to see seven common business mistakes made by pro photographers.

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    Not Updating Your Website

    It’s easy to get busy with life and forget about updating your website/blog/portfolio. This is a mistake that all too many photographers make. Before you know it a week turns into a month –or longer- and the website still isn’t updated.

    Don’t make this mistake. If your site doesn’t have new content, visitors will think that you are out of business. It’s important to take the time to update your website with fresh, new content. One way to ensure that your site will be updated is to set up a weekly publishing schedule, and stick to it.

    Sharing Every Photo You Take

    Many photographers make the mistake of posting loads of photos from the same shoot. Even if you’re a professional, photo overload can cause your portfolio to look amateur -and messy.

    Don’t share every photo that you take, just choose your best ones. You want your portfolio to look its best, so be relentless with your selection process. Think of your portfolio as your storefront, you want to show the world the best of what you have to offer. In many cases, less is more –especially when it comes to showcasing your photos.

    Constantly Needing New Gear

    It’s fine to want new gear, but many photographers feel that they need new gear in order to take great photos. New gear won’t make someone a better photographer though. Likewise, a great photographer won’t let their gear hold them back.

    New gear is great, but don’t allow this perceived need to hold you back. It’s best to consider whether your photography business is making enough profit to merit an extra purchase, rather than purchasing new gear in an attempt to gain new business.

    Underestimating the Importance of Networking

    Many photographers make the mistake of thinking that they can go it alone with photography, but this is a mistake. Networking can open up new opportunities for a photographer, that wouldn’t be available otherwise.

    Networking can help you to expand your contacts and meet new people who may be interested in hiring you. Getting out and meeting other photographers and networking with vendors can help you to gain new clients; something that’s essential for any business’ success.

    Underestimating the Cost of Running a Business

    Underestimating business expenses is a tragic mistake that can lead to business failure. Many pro photographers drastically underestimate the costs that are involved in their day-to-day business operations, which leads to inadequate pricing. Without correctly estimating your expenses, you will have nothing to base your pricing strategy on.

    It’s important to calculate your estimated yearly expenses; including supplies, advertising, equipment, upgrades, and taxes; and formulate a pricing strategy based on your cost of doing business.

    Thinking That Running a Business Will be Easy

    A photography business involves a lot more than just taking photos and selling them. It involves doing many tasks that have nothing to do with photography. Running a business takes hard work, dedication, and persistence. It involves facing a lot of setbacks, criticism, and discouragement.

    Being a professional photographer can be a rewarding career, but there’s a lot more to it than just taking nice photos. It’s important to make sure that you want the responsibility of running a business, before taking the leap.

    Letting Your Passion Die

    Never lose your passion. There’s a big difference between doing photography because you’re passionate about it, and doing it as a job. Many pro photographers find that they start to lose their enthusiasm for photography once they start doing it for a living.

    To combat complacency, try to take time off from paying gigs to work on photography projects that are all yours –without having to work within the boundaries of client specifications. It’s important to take the time to let your creativity run lose, and to focus on projects that will allow you to reignite your inspiration.

    Thinking of taking your photography pro? Photoswarm offers beautiful portfolio hosting for professional photographers. Try it today, it’s free to join!

     
  • Photography Trends To Watch In 2014

    10:45 pm on January 6, 2014 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: Photo Trends 2014, , , Photography Trends, , ,

    2014 is officially here, and we have to admit, we’re curious to see what’s in store for photography this year.

    From extreme photography and candid photos, to make-your-own photography gear, 2014 looks like it will be full of exciting photography trends. Here is a look at some of our predictions for this year.

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    Extreme Photography

    Look for extreme photography in 2014! Underwater photos, extreme weather photography, or pictures of polar bears swimming in the artic; photography in 2014 will push the limits. Extreme photography takes center stage as more sports enthusiasts, adventurers, and travellers are documenting their adventures with photography, and sharing their photos on social networking sites, blogs, and other online platforms.

    Candid Photography

    Capturing candid shots rather than the standard posed photos of yesteryear is what photographers in 2014 will be doing a lot more of. Many couples are hiring photographers to take a candid, journalist approach for their weddings, and we predict that this trend will carry over into lifestyle photography, with photographers branching out and taking more candid style photos, or shots that are staged to look candid, rather than the typical posed ones.

    Bokeh

    Love it or hate it, bokeh appears to be one trend that’s here to stay. Bokeh photos were popular in 2013, but we predict that this trend will carry over into 2014 as well. With the availability of DSLR cameras continuing to grow, more and more people will continue to discover the cool things that their new cameras are capable of –among these inevitable discoveries is bokeh, in all of its blurry glory.

    Macro Photography

    Macro photos are continuing to grow in popularity. Macro photography is easier to capture than ever before, and there are tons of macro photography workshops available online which can only mean one thing: photography enthusiasts and professionals alike will be trying their hand at macro this year.

    Light Painting

    Light painting is a cool technique that involves using slow shutter speed photography and a flashlight or other light source to “paint;” creating artistic photographs. This technique has been around for a while, but it has really grown in popularity in the last couple of years. We imagine 2014 will see more unique, and strange, light painting techniques.

    HDR (High Dynamic Range Imaging)

    High dynamic range imaging is growing in popularity. HDR is a set of techniques that involves using software to mesh three or four -or more- images into a single image. The results of this are a more dynamic photo, or when done correctly, one that looks more realistic; almost how you would have seen the scene with your eye. With advances in software, HDR is now easier to achieve than ever before, making it a popular photography technique that we’ll be seeing a lot more of in 2014.

    More Instagram

    More photography-based social networking is on the agenda for 2014, and it’s no stretch of the imagination to see why. With smartphones continuing to grow in popularity, we imagine that 2014 will see more camera phone photos than ever before; and yes, that means more pictures of cats -and lunches- on Instagram.

    DIY Photography

    The DIY culture is taking over the world! In the world of photography, this is certainly no exception. We expect to see more photography enthusiasts, passionate about capturing their own photos, and anxious to learn more. We also expect to see a rise in DIY photography gear, homemade lightboxes, reflectors, and more. Advances in digital equipment, and the affordability of photography are making photography available to anyone. Watch out for a whole new world of photography enthusiasts.

    What do you think? Which trends do you predict for 2014? Share your predictions with us below!

     
  • Secrets of Pro Photographers: 5 Tactics That Keep Them on Top

    8:29 pm on December 30, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

    Professional photographers have to stay on top of their game if they want to make it in the competitive world of photography.

    Today we will uncover some of their secrets. Read on to find out how the professionals stay on top!

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    Focus on One Niche

    The best photographers are usually skilled in one niche. Whether it is wildlife photography, wedding photography, or stock photography, these professionals get good at what they do because they practice: over and over again. They are skilled because they don’t give up; they stick with it until they become masters in their field.

    Advertise One Niche

    Following on from focusing on one niche, pro photographers also focus on advertising their specific niche. You often find successful photographers advertising their wedding photography services, but it’s less common to find a pro photographer advertising wedding, scenic, macro, commercial, and pet portraits! Diversify too much and you risk not standing for anything at all. Niche marketing involves narrowing your business to specialize on one demographic, service, or subject matter. This allows you to “own” your niche –your goal is for people to think of you when they need a specific photographer.

    Do What You Love

    Do what you love and the rest will follow. Ok, it’s a cliché by now, but it became that way for a good reason: because it’s true. If you’re not focused on something that you don’t absolutely love, you will get bored, and fast. Your passion and drive to succeed will eventually run out if you are doing something that you don’t enjoy. The professionals are the photographers who are doing what they love, and you can’t compete with passion.

    Outsource

    Having the luxury of outsourcing all those boring jobs, and focusing on the ones that you enjoy doing is one of the best parts of being a pro photographer. As a bonus, this also allows pro photographers more time to perfect their craft, and even more time to enjoy a break here and there –something that is needed in order to refuel creatively. While some photographers outsource post processing and even some of their photography jobs, many pro photographers find that tasks such as social marketing, blogging, admin, and book work, are better things to outsource, since having other people perform these tasks won’t compromise the style of their photography.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

    If you’re afraid to fail, you won’t ever take risks. Risks are what make great photos. Being bold enough to take creative risks is what separates everyday photography, from photos that are truly spectacular. Professional photographers aren’t afraid to try new things, and to take creative risks. Doing this allows them to grow creatively, and learn. Don’t become stuck in a rut, get out there and try something new. Taking photos in a different style than you are used to, taking a class to learn more about photography, or approaching venders and asking to partner with them -each of these things involves risk-taking, something that is needed for growth.

    What about you? Do you have some pro photographer secrets that you don’t mind sharing? Enlighten us in the comments below!

     
  • 7 Common Issues Pro Photographers Have And How To Overcome Them

    6:24 pm on December 23, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , Photographer Issues, Photographer Tips, , , , ,

    Looking for some ways to improve your photography? Photography issues aren’t just something that beginners encounter; pro photographers face a set of challenges all of their own.

    Don’t let photography issues hold you back! Here are seven common issues that pro photographers face, and tips and suggestions for overcoming them.

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    1. Lack of Perspective

    Lack of perspective is a problem that many pro photographers face. This can cause your photos to lack originality.

    Solution: Great photos are not accidental. Remember that each time you push the shutter; you are taking an entirely new photograph. Think about the composition of the photo –before you take the shot. Having a fresh perspective will give your photos more depth and meaning, and will help your photographs to turn out better.

    2. Stuck in a Creativity Rut

    Not pushing yourself, and simply relying on the same framing techniques for capturing shots can cause you to find yourself stuck in a creativity rut.

    Solution: Push yourself to continually try harder and reach for better. Experimenting with different types of photography is another way to get the creative juices flowing. Unique, inspired, and extraordinary photos are the only way to stand out in this increasingly competitive industry.

    3. Letting the Client Make all of the Decisions

    Giving the client a say in what they want in their photographs is a great -but don’t stop there. Use the client’s ideas as a jumping point for your own ideas.

    Solution: Give the clients what they want, but be sure to incorporate some other fun, creative ideas. After all, a client wouldn’t come to you if they already knew what they wanted and how to capture it. Make it fun and unique. Give them something that they didn’t know they wanted, and let them walk away wanting more.

    4. Subcontracting too Much 

    Subcontracting some of the styling or post processing can be a welcome change, but it can also be risky. When it comes to subcontracting, especially for the post editing process, you run the risk of your signature style being compromised.

    Solution: Finding a happy middle ground that allows you to subcontract while not sacrificing your style is the best option. Subcontracting can be a great way to lighten your load, but don’t run the risk of subcontracting yourself out of a job. Try to maintain some level of control over the work that you are subcontracting, to ensure consistency, and maintain your signature touch.

    5. Dealing With Too Much Administration Work

    Dealing with too much admin work can take a huge toll on your productivity. If you are at the point in your career where you are spending too much time behind the desk it may be time to consider hiring someone to help you with your daily tasks.

    Solution: Try a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant can help you with everything from social media marketing and SEO, to blogging and even bookkeeping. Hiring someone to help out with the day to day tasks can free up your time to focus on photography.

    6. Too Much Time Spent Editing Photos

    Editing and post processing is an important part of every photoshoot. Unfortunately though, post processing can be extremely time consuming –especially if you are working with a huge amount of photos from multiple photoshoots.

    Solution: Try to automate the post processing process as much as possible. Photoshop allows you to automate just about anything using actions. This tutorial explains how to automate easily by setting Photoshop actions.

    7. Over Working

    Every photographer reaches the point in their career where they are, inevitably, overworking themselves. Between photoshoots, post editing, sales promoting, website building, and more, running a photography business is a full-time job. While it may be necessary to work hard in the beginning when you are first establishing your business, eventually overworking can cause burnout –and lead to less than inspired photos.

    Solution: Give yourself time off. It might be difficult, but it is important for not only your photography, but for you as well. Taking the time to focus on your own personal photography projects allows you to go with your creativity -without any limitations. An important part of keeping inspired!

    What about you? What challenges have you encountered as a photographer?

     

     
  • How Pro Photographers Can Use Instagram to Grow Their Business

    12:43 am on December 16, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , Instagram Photography, , , Photography Online Marketing, , , ,

    Instagram is a fast-growing social networking application that allows users to share their iPhone, or smart phone, photos to an audience of over 150 million users.

    With major brands such as Coca-Cola and BMW already benefiting from Instagram accounts, smaller companies are now starting to notice the publicity that an Instagram presence can generate.

    Instagram can be a great marketing tool for photographers. Read on to find out how you can use Instagram to grow your photography business.

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    Show Your Photography Services

    Photos are an effective way to increase sales. If you offer portraits and wedding photography, share photos from your photoshoots on Instagram. Make sure you tag them effectively, with hashtags like #wedding, #portraits, etc.

    Share Photos on a Regular Basis

    Try to set a plan to post photos on a regular basis. By sharing photos consistently, you can appear more often in your followers’ feeds. Start by posting one photo per day and working up from there. Appearing in your followers’ feeds means that you will be fresh in their minds when they need a photographer.

    Use Hashtags

    Using the hashtag (#) in front of words that describe what your photo is about allows people to find your photos easier. Use one or two hashtags per photo, and try to use tags that relate to your local business.

    Use Filters

    Instagram users prefer photos with certain filters over other photos. By taking a look at which filters are trending, and trying out new, popular filters you can help increase your publicity! Take a look at the top trending filters.

    Promote Your Website or Blog

    Your website, or portfolio, is where you want to drive all of your traffic. Make sure you link your Instagram photos back to your website, online portfolio, or blog.

    Like Other Photos

    Liking the photos of your target customer is a great way to build your Instagram following. Leaving comments is another good way to gain followers. When you like photos and leave comments, people will be more likely to follow you back.

    Locate Your Photos

    Instagram integrates with Foursquare, which allows users to locate their posts. This, along with Instagram’s photo map gives local businesses an advantage over companies with no set location.

    Keep it Professional

    Remember, while Instagram is known for its casual approach to photography, it’s always best to keep it professional. Maintaining a high level of quality with your Instagram photos will give people an idea of the quality of your work.

    Use Other Instagram Tools

    Using other tools can help you to get the most out of Instagram. Followgram is a great web interface that allows you to manage your Instagram presence. Ink361 is another web interface that allows you to view photos easier, and engage with other Instagram users. Ink361 is also starting to allow users to sell their photos -a great feature for professional photographers. Photoswarm is another great tool to use with Instagram. Photoswarm allows you to import your photos from Instagram to Photoswarm; a simple way to fill your Photoswarm portfolio with your Instagram photos.

     

    Do you have an Instagram account? What are some ways that you promote your company with Instagram?

     
  • How To Negotiate Your Pro Photography Price With Customers

    11:21 pm on December 9, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    It’s something that most professional photographers will have to deal with from time to time: a customer who wants to negotiate! While many clients will be appreciative of your work, and some would never dream of negotiating, there will be the occasional client or two who will try to get you to lower your prices.

    Here are some tips to help you when a client wants to negotiate. Being prepared can help you to make solid, fact based decisions –without selling yourself too short.

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    Know Your Value

    The first rule of being able to negotiate, is understanding what your services are actually worth. To find out what prices you should charge, you will need to calculate your cost of doing business. Add up all of your yearly expenses, and add in your salary that you hope to make, then divide this figure by the number of jobs or photoshoots that you would like to do each year. Keep it realistic, and keep in mind that just because you set a goal for 20 photoshoots per month, this doesn’t mean that you will necessarily reach this goal. This figure allows you to know exactly how much you need to make per photoshoot, and gives you a figure that you can hold onto, rather than just charging a customer what “feels right.”

    Compromise

    Compromise is the golden rule for many situations in life. If a customer wants to negotiate, be prepared to compromise –but not on the price. The best way to handle a negotiation is to offer a lower price –that also includes less time/photos/services. Stay strong on your price, and don’t allow someone to talk you into giving away your services. This will not help your reputation as a professional photographer; it will only help you to gain a reputation as a “cheap photographer”- something that no photographer wants to be branded as!

    Know When to Walk Away

    Knowing when to walk away is an important part of the job. Negotiations are two-way streets, and if you allow a customer to talk you down too low, you are just as much to blame as they are. Hold firm to your price, offer to provide less for a lower price, but don’t allow a customer to negotiate your price down too low.

    Finally…Stick to Your Guns

    Know the value of your services, and don’t let anyone “talk you down.” If you are dealing with someone who only wants cheap services, then it is very likely that you are dealing with someone who doesn’t understand or appreciate the quality of your services that you offer. In cases like these, it’s best to politely –but firmly- refuse to lower your prices.

    Know what you’re worth, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you present yourself as a professional, and you expect to be treated like one, your customers will have no choice but to take you -and you’re your prices- seriously.

    How about you? How do you handle customers who want to negotiate? 

     
  • Should Pro Photographers Run Holiday Sales?

    1:41 am on December 2, 2013 | 0 Permalink
    Tags: , Holiday Photo Promotion, Holiday Photography, , , , Professional Photographer Holiday Sales, , , , ,

    It’s that time of year again! Most of us are on the lookout for gifts for friends and family, and when it comes to buying presents, who doesn’t love a good sale? Many people are bargain hunters who love the idea of getting something for less.

    As a pro photographer, it’s likely that you may want to get in on the action and start running your own holiday promotions.

    But before you send out emails advertising portraits, three for the price of one, it may be a good idea to take a few things into consideration first.

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    What’s the Risk?

    While offering holiday sales can be a great way to get some extra promotion, it’s important that you don’t sell yourself too short, and end up giving everything away.

    As photographers, most of our services -or prints- aren’t marked up too high to begin with, so lowering the prices too drastically means that you may run the risk of actually losing money.

    Another thing to consider is that while many people love a good bargain, there are also some customers who may not care so much about sales. Why sell yourself short if your customers would be more than willing to pay normal price anyways?

    Should Pro Photographers Offer Sales?

    It all depends on your photography business, and your target customer. If you are pretty sure that your client base is one that would take advantage of a sale, then you may be able to benefit from running a holiday promotion. Just make sure that you don’t discount your services or products too much!

    Ideas for Holiday Promotions

    If you do decide to go with a holiday promotion, here are some ideas that you may be able to benefit from.

    • Online Promotion

    Create a page on your website for holiday gifts that you offer –such as prints- or gift card options if you do portraits and photoshoots. Since shoppers are busy people, you can benefit by making gifts easy to find. Creating a landing page with “gift guide” or “Christmas gifts” as keywords can also help your website with search engine rankings.

    • Consider Free Shipping

    If you sell prints, offering free shipping for the holidays may be the way to go. Free shipping is the number one feature for many people who are shopping online. According to comScore, almost half of respondents said that free shipping was the most important service offered by online retailers.

    • Turn to Social Media

    It’s a good idea to start using social media to promote holiday specials –and starting early is always a good idea. More than half of retailers (54.8%) will increase their use of Facebook in November and December. You can post contests to increase publicity and interaction -and of course holiday promotions and discounts!

    • Offer a Special Holiday Product

    You could offer gift cards, photo ornaments, Christmas card portraits, and holiday products that you don’t normally offer. This will encourage people to take advantage of your limited time holiday offer.

    • Schedule Promotional Photoshoots for the Slow Time

    Your discounted photoshoot sessions can be scheduled for your off-season. Rather than trying to book clients in for discounted photoshoots during your busy time, keep these promotional discounted sessions for times when your business is slow.

    • Consider Giving Away Gift Certificates

    Giving out a few gift certificates to your very best customers is a great way to say thank you this holiday season –plus it’s great for promotion. Make sure you specify that the gift certificates can be redeemed by the customer, but can also be given away as holiday gifts to their friends! This is a great way to get valuable word-of-mouth referrals from your favorite customers.

    Success!

    Remember, your holiday sales should be about promoting your company –not selling yourself short. Avoid discounting products or services too heavily as this will cause you to lose out, and may also cause people to question the quality of your services. Instead focus on promoting your photography as an exclusive, high-quality service, with a focus on limited time offers and promotions.

    Repeat customers are the goal with any promotion. By getting the word out about your services, you have a chance to show people the quality of your work -hopefully creating repeat customers in the process!

    Have you had success with holiday promotions? We’d love to hear your tips and suggestions in the comments below!

     

     
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