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If photography is how you make a living, as a business owner you face a whole new set of challenges. How do you get your name and business information out there? What is the best way to approach marketing for your photography business? Where are the most effective places to advertise in order to create the buzz about your business? 

All of these questions can be tricky to answer and can be answered a number of ways. Here are some basic ways to boost the impact of your photography business, so you can get the most out of your marketing efforts. 
 
Alphabet Soup - SEO, CTA, and CTR's

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These days, one of the largest advertising tools is the internet. With websites, social media, online reviews and such, it is an avenue too large for any business owner not to take advantage of. The first step when it comes to marketing on the web is understanding the meaning behind the acronyms. There are plenty of blogs about how to effectively market online, and many of them use the same language, or in this case, letters.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting as much 'organic' (non-paid) traffic to your website. With the use of keywords, tags, metadata, and many other factors, you can generate traffic to your website for free, just from simple search engine searches. You can track what works and what doesn't, and tweak all the meaningful data required to put your site on the top of the search page.

Calls To Action (CTA) are those little buttons placed all through a blog, or website. They are on the top, in the middle, on the bottom, and sometimes they pop out at you, but all of them have one purpose... to call you to action! They are strategically placed clickable links to your website, asking customers to go to your page and check out your stuff. And if you have any control over the placement, there is some scientific research as to where is the best place to put them. Don't be shy about your Calls To Actions: Book Today / Request a Quote / Meet the Photographer / etc. Almost every page of your website should have a call to action!

Click Through Rate (CTR) is another group of letters you will see, and this is something that anyone who uses the internet to market and sell should be aware of. It is the rate at which your Calls To Actions and search engine searches generate clicks through to your website. Using SEO data points to increase your CTR is crucial, as once you know what sections of your website or what pieces of content generate more clicks, then you'll have the key to  generate more website traffic,  more qualified leads, and more business!

Know Your Demographic

Often times, people think that to catch a lot of fish, you need to cast a wide net. This is true, but it is also true that this approach does not always bring the best prospective clients. This is why there is something to be said about professional photographers fishing in very specific pools. For example, if your specialty is weddings, you're probably not going to generate a lot of business advertising on auto supply websites. Find out where your clients spend their time, what social media outlets they are most drawn to, what groups they belong to and trust,and focus on marketing on those sites. Target the right audience to get more meaningful and productive prospects.

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Become An Exhibitionist

No, we don't mean run around in public naked (!), although that will probably attract attention as well. We mean exhibit your art. Get the word out there by putting on a show in a small local gallery, cafés or even local restaurants and bars. Not only will it get your work out there for the public to see, and possibly generate some print sales, but it is a feather in the cap of any photographer to say that they had a showing or an exhibition. Additionally, clients always get pride in knowing that their photographer is getting well known. This gives them the prime insider's feeling and elevates your brand and value in their eye. So advertise about your showing, and invite friends and customers, as well as critics and reviewers.

The Magic of Social Media

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Thanks to sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, getting your pictures out there to be seen, is as easy as clicking a share button. These avenues can't be ignored for photographers to market themselves. Create an artist page, put links to your website where your contact information is in your bio's and start sharing yourself. Connect with your followers on a personal level, by responding to questions or comments on your work. Create buzz by posting about showings and exhibitions, or contests you've won along with other accomplishments. Share, and share again. Also keep in mind that these sites have options for paid advertisements, which can be affordable even if you don't have a huge marketing budget.

Word of Mouth

This has been, and will always be an effective marketing tool. People tend to choose a business more often if someone they trust recommends it, or if there are a lot of people who have good things to say about you or your work. Allowing for reviews on your social media page is one way to create feedback. Also creating a testimonial page on your business website, and asking people to review their experience and your work is an excellent way to get your word of mouth machine running.

Create a Connection

When we say create a connection, we don't just mean choosing to showcase your most emotion-provoking work. We mean connect with your clients, and other photographers, on a personal level. Put a personal bio on your website and social media pages, respond to questions and comments personally and in a friendly manner. Using emotional trigger words can be an effective marketing tool, can help to create relationships with clients, and can also generate more positive word of mouth action. Networking with other professional photographers through PPA.com can also be invaluable. Getting advice, or referrals from other professionals is something that every business owner needs. Because in the end, people always do business with people they like. This is valid for clients to do repeat business with you, for them to refer you, or for other vendors to refer you. Connections will help your business soar on its own.

Ask For The Sale!

In the midst of all these marketing strategies, networking tips, and promotion tactics, one thing we can't forget is to ask for the sale! It can be one of the hardest things to do for salesmen. They can talk to people, create rapport, and build a solid relationship with their customers all day long, but when push comes to shove, they are unable to simply ask for the sale. Sometimes that can mean the difference between creating an income and watching customers walk away.

All in all, marketing for professional photographers is similar to marketing many other types of services. Just track the results of your efforts, and be willing to change and acclimate to do what brings in the amount of business you want to see for yourself.

For more information and help to take your photography business to the next level, check out PPA's See The Difference® campaign. Not currently a member of PPA? Then, use the nonprofit that helps photographers be more profitable with a vast array of benefits and join today!


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By Lisa Sharer

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As a photographer, your main job is creating images that make your clients happy. However, if you don't have clients, how can you do your main job? Check out Marketing 101 for Photographers to learn some basics. But for an easy, go-to strategy, Facebook is where it's at. Here are 5 reasons why you should start advertising on Facebook right now!

1. It's Cheap and You Can Cap Your Spending
If you don't have a high budget or a next to nothing budget, Facebook allows for low-cost ad buys. You could spend as little as $1 a day, or go as high as you want. This is great for starting out your advertising, as you can test to see what works and for how much.

2. Reach an Audience Actively Looking for Photography
With Facebook, you can pick and choose the type of audience you want to reach. You can target local clients, set ads with keywords like "portrait photography" or "wedding photography," choose demographics, and so much more. The advertising is set up so that you can reach the perfect audience for your specialty.

3. You Can Customize Your Advertising Campaigns 
Facebook allows you to make your ad campaign do the most for you. You can change your campaign objective, as in are you looking for site traffic or engagement with your Facebook posts? You can change up the amount you want to bid on your advertising. So if you started cheap, you're feeling more confident, and now you want to add more, then you can just add more! And these ads can also be optimized so that they are more likely to be seen by your target audience.

4. The Tools to Set Up Ads Are Actually Easy to Use
If you've never created an advertisement in your life, Facebook has a very intuitive platform. (For a little more help you can always check their FAQs.) It's easy to navigate, and you can always change things should you decide that you chose the wrong target, campaign, or design.

5. You'll Get Quick results
Analytics come free with your advertisement. You can quickly see how many views, clicks, likes, etc. that your ad receives. And again, if you're not seeing the results you want, it's very easy to change up what you're doing and test a new strategy.

Traffic and engagement from your Facebook advertisements will help to make you Be More Visible- which, in the long run, will help you to Be More Profitable.  With all the reasons above, it's hard to figure out why you wouldn't use Facebook as part of your marketing strategy

If you are looking for more ways and resources to help with marketing and advertising for your photography business, check out PPA's See The Difference® campaign. If you're not yet a member of PPA, find out more about how you can take advantage of all of the member benefits and join PPA today!

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About the author:
Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.
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If you are a professional photographer, you are a business owner, and as such you need to protect your work, and also ensure your clients are getting what they need. Here are 10 'need to know' guidelines to think about specifically for contracts between a client and a professional photographer. 

1. Have One! Always Sign a Contract!

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The first rule of thumb for protecting your work is have a contract and have it signed. You may think that you don't have to worry about contracts -- that stating everything clearly and upfront is enough. Unfortunately, that's  never enough. People will forget what you say, and some people can even be unscrupulous when it comes to things like this. You need to protect yourself and your work. The best way is to get it all down in writing. This might seem like a daunting task, but don't worry! There are many options as to contract templates for any type of event or situation, you just need to choose the one that best works for you.

Professional Photographers of America provides lots of useful contract and model release templates for free! Consider joining today for a lot more resources that will help you be more protected and more profitable. 

2. Keep Your Contract Simple and Clear!

If you can't find a template that has everything you need on it, or you're just not satisfied with the wording, you can always edit them or create your own. If you create your own, it's always good practice to have a licensed attorney take a look, especially since laws differ from state to state. When you do this, make things as simple and clear as you can. It can seem a bit intimidating, but it doesn't need to be. Start by making a list of everything you need to include, like pricing, timeframes, revisions, and payment methods. You can add other things depending on the situation or event, just cover all the pertinent information, and make sure that both you and your client are covered. The best contracts cover all the bases clearly so that the artist and the client both feel comfortable with signing it.

3. Make it Easy to Read

Your contract doesn't need to be a convoluted mess of big words and phrases. You shouldn't need to include a dictionary when you present it to prospective clients. Don't get too wordy with legal jargon, and make sure that the people signing it understand exactly what you are proposing for the potential job. It's always a good idea to be mindful of the fact that if you aren't a lawyer, and you can read it and understand what it's saying, then the client probably can, too. Still, make sure they know it's okay to clarify things if they need to. Just make it easy for them to ask you.

4. Make it Yours - Adapt the Language to Your Services 

Your work is unique and stands out; that's why you are marketable. Your contracts should be as uniquely yours as your work is. There are several ways to make a contract "yours." Here are a few:

  • Create a unique letterhead
  • Include your pricing, payment options and timeframes
  • Make your own schedule and timeline based on your work habits
  • Create different contracts based on events or client needs
All of these things, when added in, will help make the contract unique to you and your client's requirements.

5. Document Changes (Make Sure You Have a Paper/Email Trail)

No matter how thorough you are about writing your contract, there will be times when the unexpected happens. Life, nature, and even equipment can all be a factor in things changing at a moment's notice. When these things affect you to the point that changes need to be made in the contract, things can get tricky. But you can still keep everything under control if you just document every change that has been made. Changes that should be well documented include:

  • Changes in deadlines
  • Pay schedules
  • Any modifications made to the original contract
Avoid unnecessary stress by keeping things organized from the start. For example, there are times when changes have to be made and agreed upon via email. When this happens, keep all emails relating to revisions in a unique, label each client's folder clearly so they can be accessed easily, and not accidently deleted. If possible, also have your client sign off on changes (electronic signatures will suffice).

6. Discuss Payment/Pricing and Terms of Your Services

Pricing and payment can be a difficult subject, especially if you haven't clearly defined your brand's worth, but it is one of the most important parts of the conhttp://bemore.ppa.com/free-release/tract. It can't be overlooked, or glossed over. Pricing and payment terms need to be laid out clearly. Once you have decided how much your work and particular brand is worth, you need to cover how you will get paid in the contract. It can be broken down so you get a percentage of the payment up front, and some full payment after all work is completed, or in steps throughout the process. It's up to you, but make sure it is stated clearly. Some things to consider when covering pricing are:

  • How much is to be paid
  • When it is to be paid (include the terms and payment over time options, if applicable)
  • How payment will be accepted
  • If there is a grace period on any payment due date
  • Consider if money paid upfront is a retainer or a deposit (varies by state, most are retainer)

7. Have a Model Release

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Often times, photographers work with models. This adds an entirely different element to the process. Whenever you are photographing a live subject, have them sign a release. If you don't, it may come back and bite you in the end. People can be very particular about having their images or likeness spread around. But if you have a model release clearly stating that you own the copyright for your work, also include purposes the image may be used for (marketing/social media/competitions, etc.). Phrases like "including, but not limited to" also help, within reason.

For customizable model releases and access to plenty of copyright resources, consider becoming a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

8. Copyright and Release

When covering copyright and licensing laws it can be confusing, and a little tricky to navigate. This is where it would be prudent for you to do some research. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to be able to do with your art, and what you will allow others to do with it. It's important to establish that you own the copyright for your work, and that you decide how it will be shared. There are many resources published by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) where copyright laws are covered. Knowing and understanding the laws will ensure that you and your work are covered as well. A quick visit to PPA's copyright resources can be helpful (and free!), but when it doubt, it's always prudent to check with a local copyright attorney for a contract review. 

9. Get. Your. Contract. Signed!

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We cannot emphasize enough how pointless it is to have a contract if it is not signed. Until you have signatures from your clients showing they agree to the terms and conditions, your contract is just a piece of paper. A signature from your client shows you are hired, and a signature from you commits you to the job, and confirms that you are the righteous copyright owner. So... GET. IT. SIGNED!

10. Jointly Review the Contract, and Update It as Needed

As a final step, make sure you review all the important details of the contract with your clients, and update anything that needs to be updated. Make sure that all the bases are covered to avoid any conflicts or confusion later. For any updates that need to be made, refer back to point number 5, document them, and keep those updates well organized and accessible.

Having a contract does not just protect you and your work. It is every bit as important to your clients, making them feel that their investments are well protected. Your clients should be just as happy and comfortable with the arrangements as you are. Keep these 10 guidelines in mind to keep happy clients, while protecting yourself and your work as well.

Looking for a contract or model release template? PPA has created the basics to start you off. Give it a try! Interested in finding out about all the other benefits that PPA has to offer its members? Check out the photographers' bullet list of benefits, perks, and savings that come with being a part of Professional Photographers of America, and then consider joining today!

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By Lisa Sharer

With PPA's See The Difference toolbox, you'll find tools, resources, tips and examples to help photographers work on marketing, branding, and sales! These tools include everything from enlightening videos to photo-style quizzes that are fun and informative for photography consumers and prospects alike. The variety of resources you'll find is to help you show potential clients why hiring a professional photographer is smarter and more cost effective than hiring an amateur. It's all about upping the value of your offering and positioning so you can stand out from the crowd. PPA continuously adds new tools for PPA member to easily add to their marketing collateral pieces, website, social media, sales presentation, etc. This month you will find a brand new resource to further enforce that concept.

In this effort, a contest was held on theLoop (PPA's members-only social network) to find some fun images that may remind you a bit of your childhood ventures into Highlights magazine. The idea is for your potential clients to see two side-by-side photos, and see if they can pick out all the differences between a photography snapshot and a professional portrait. Studies have proven that games like this one, as simple as it may seem, help people integrate concepts in a deeper and faster way. As the saying goes, a picture (or two, in this case!) is worth a thousand words. Simply put: let them play a little and they will see the difference between a pro and an amateur shot.

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You will find one spot-the-difference postcard for each photography specialty: Wedding, Family, Newborn, Seniors, and Pets. Simply print out, and keep them in your studio or share them on your website. Your potential clients will find themselves enjoying a little puzzle, while also learning the talents that a professional has to create beautiful photos.

Use this or one of the many other See The Difference resources to help market your brand and sell your services and products. It's just one of the many ways that being a member of PPA can help you Be More. If you're not a PPA member, check out all the benefits you could be receiving and then join today!


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About the author:
Lisa Sharer is the Marketing Campaign Manager at Professional Photographers of America. As a Creative Writing graduate, she loves any chance at getting pen to paper. When she's not being creative in the workplace, she can be found skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.


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