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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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We've all had that same thought...portraits? Maybe after I lose 10...20...30 pounds. You are your own worst critic, and it can hurt you in ways that you're not even thinking about. Specifically, when it comes to getting your photo made.

Maybe it's true. Maybe you have put on more weight than you would like to admit. But don't miss important parts of your life because of it! A lot of people get a little uncomfortable in front of the camera, but that doesn't mean you should forgo ever capturing the precious moments of your life. Many times we forget that people love us - for us. Your parents, your spouse, your children are not thinking about a number on the scale. They are thinking about capturing moments that will last a lifetime.

Don't miss mom and daughter photos through her entire childhood, because you don't want people to see you. Don't miss that once-in-a-lifetime portrait of a generational family because you think your arms look too big. Just remember that those near and dear to you love you and want to remember you the way you are. No matter how big or how small.

You can keep waiting until that moment when you've lost those last 5 pounds, but does that mean you missed an entire graduation or a newborn's first photos or dad's retirement? It's time to love yourself and to capture life with those around you. While you still have the time.

So, once you've convinced yourself to take the plunge, how do you get past the nervous feeling of being in front of a camera? You hire a professional photographer. PPA photographers are skilled craftsmen that know all about the nature of a client's comfort. They know that we are not all models and that it takes some understanding and direction to make their clients look their best. They even know some tricks of the trade to help you feel and look like the best you.

Photographers who are members of Professional Photographers of America (PPA - a nonprofit that has been developing professional photographers' talent for almost 150 years) will work with you to find the best clothing to suit your figure. They'll find the perfect locations to accentuate your best qualities. They'll know how to pose you and use lighting techniques on you so you get the most flattering portraits. A PPA photographer will do whatever it takes to make sure you are comfortable and that you get the best possible, quality photographs.

And it turns out when you receive those final photos, no one is looking at how fat or thin you are. They're looking at your beautiful face and your bright, shining smile. They're looking at this capture of a beautiful moment in a time of your life and that feeling will last forever. That's exactly what a professional photographer is looking to bring out in your photos: the you that everyone loves.

If or when you're ready to get those photos made, you can find an entire list of PPA photographers near you at FindAPhotographer.com. No matter the occasion, there is a professional photographer looking to help bring your moments to life in a way that you can cherish forever. So, forget those last few pounds, and find the perfect fit for you and your family. Time to find a photographer and get these portraits done!

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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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By Sarah Ackerman

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PhotoVision's latest release has a wide range of photography topics to help you become a better photographer! In addition to the hundreds of videos already available to PPA photographers, we're adding the following in the next few weeks:

Parker Pfister gives a tour of his beautiful studio in downtown Asheville, NC. Parker talks about his progression as a photographer and why he has been focusing on large format imagery. He shows off his antique lenses, including one that is technically radioactive, and tells why he enjoys the look he's able to achieve with the use of these older lenses. Parker talks about his inspirational sources and how taking on a collaborator has enhanced his work after years of going solo.

John Pyle shares his exposure tips for broad daylight when using off camera flash that will ensure balanced lighting between your subject and the sky.  At a sports track photographing a high school senior with a javelin for kinetic sports images or in a quaint downtown area capturing gorgeously lit fall portraits, John explains how to manage your camera settings to enable clear, blur-free imagery when photographing moving subjects.

Melanie Anderson shares her techniques on how to pose newborns in a way that's natural and comfortable for them. Melanie discusses the newborn portion of her business with PhotoVision correspondent, Janine Killian, then takes us inside her studio to photograph two of these sweet new arrivals She talks about why she sometimes prefers photographing two different newborns at once and where she finds some of her specialty items that help ease the process. Melanie demonstrates how to light babies using only natural light and reflectors to achieve a soft and sweet look.

Amy Doerring explains why she loves photographing hands and what inspires her to pick the objects she does.  She then photographs a young girl holding various sentimental items. Most importantly she explains how she markets her hand art photographs and how they can make for great seasonal gifts. Amy is always inspiring photographers to give a personal touch to every image.

As a PPA photographer, you have immediate access to 24/7 streaming of PhotoVision and PPAedu content! Not a member? Join today! Check out the latest from PhotoVision on the newly redesigned website at photovisionvideo.com. Be More Educated!

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Sarah Ackerman manages all things social media for PPA and Imaging USA. When she's not living on the internet, she loves improv comedy, going on wilderness adventures, gallivanting around the globe, knitting, wood working and yoga. 

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Written by guest blogger Danielle Brooks

If you have ever been to a circus you have run across a professional juggler. The fact that these people can concentrate on three things at the same time amazes me. Typically they have someone add more items to the mix until they are juggling six or seven things simultaneously. 

I am not the most graceful person. I trip going up the stairs, I run into things, and my high heels get stuck in the sidewalk cracks. So the thought of juggling seven things at the same time is intimidating. But this past week I had to juggle more things than I've ever had to... 

Here is what my week looked like:

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Sunday, April 5th: Wedding in the morning. Sports photos for local gymnastics team in the afternoon.

Monday, April 6th to Thursday, April 10th: I was hired to travel with the Admissions Department of my Alma Mater, Flagler College and take photos of their East Coast Tour to welcome newly admitted students. We flew to Baltimore, Virginia Beach and Long Island. 
Friday, April 11th: Sunrise family session on the beach in St. Augustine.

Saturday, April 12th: Sunset wedding in Tampa.

Did I forget to mention that I got food poisoning on my flight home? Also, Sunday the 12th was my 26th birthday. Needless to say, I had to wear several hats that week. I needed to be a wedding photographer, event photographer, family photographer and a sports photographer. 

But through this experience, I was able to pick up a couple tips and tricks that might come in handy for you. 

For starters, I would not have made it through this week of craziness without creating multiple checklists. The equipment I needed for the sports photos was drastically different than what I used for the family shoot on the beach. In order to keep track of everything, I created a list of things I needed to bring. I proactively packed for my events. While I was getting my equipment together, I thought about potential issues I could encounter and packed things that could come in handy. In case my battery died, I had a back up and the charger. In case my backdrop got ripped or needed a quick fix, I had a mini sewing kit handy.

Secondly, I would suggest investing in multiple CF/SD cards. This is kind of a no-brainer. However, I didn't really see the importance of it until recently. Normally all I need is one card while on a job, but while touring with the admissions department, I didn't have the time to upload all of my photos. So they ended up staying on the cards until I got home to edit them. It's also good practice to bring extra memory in the event something goes wrong with the one you are using. 

Another tip is to always maintain composure. Things will go wrong, but your clients don't need to know about any potential problems. Hear me out. If the issue is going to affect the final product, then yes, you should talk with your client about it. But if you let them know about every small glitch it makes you seem less experienced, and invites them to insert their opinions. You are the professional. Maintain your professionalism. 

When I was shooting the sports photos, I had to get 40+ people in front of a backdrop. Not everyone fit in the small space I had to work with. I knew I could Photoshop the backdrop in behind some of the girls that were just on the edge of the backdrop. It wasn't the best situation to be in, but I made the best of it.

Lastly, it's important to remember your audience. My game plan was different for each type of session I did. For the weddings, I was in go mode. I had a lot of photos to take of the bride, groom and family, and a short amount of time to take them in. For the family session, I could take my time composing the shot, but I had to make a fool of myself to get the one year old to smile. For the sports and event photos, I had to balance between go mode and taking time to make sure I stayed organized with paperwork. 

For you more experienced photographers out there, these tips might seem kind of basic. But for those of you who are still fairly new, I hope some of these will help you out in the future. What have you all learned in your years of photographing multiple events? How did you deal with the stress and stay organized? 

It should be no surprise that February flew by. Fast. Didn't have a chance to check in on theLoop this month? We'll we've got the top five discussions right here! Check them out, chime in and see where you fall in these popular topics:

Are you contemplating switching lighting systems? It can be a challenging and mind -boggling task! Weigh in to see what the best fit is for you and your fellow photogs. 

Do business cards make a difference? What designs work well and what designs might drive potential clients away? See if your cards are helping or hurting your business here

Sometimes Google doesn't even have the right answer. Talk turkey with F-stops and DOF while using an 85mm. 

Do you work with large groups in the out of doors? Discuss how to use fill light to correct those spots where the natural light falls short here!

This is always a hot topic. What do you do when a client asks for digital files? What are some good alternatives? What's some key language to use to drive your point home? Get in on this topic that impacts almost every photographer here. 

Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? It's easy: join today!
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Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. To make those six weeks fly by, check out the top discussions on theLoop from January. Hopefully, some of these discussions will bring some inspiration, education and networking!

After three days of education, your brain can be jam packed with information, ideas and changes you want to make to your business. What will you implement first? 

Want to bust into the world of commercial or food photography, but don't know how? This thread is for you! Get advice on where to start, what to read, and what to avoid. 

Do you love wall portraits? Hate them? They have turned into a polarizing topic amongst portrait photographers. Weigh in with your opinion here!

Your hard drive's getting full. What's your process for storing images of days (and clients) gone by?  Dump them? Spend the money for additional storage? Know your options!

Great models are hard to come by. How do you help them get out there, without throwing them to the wolves? 

When you frame your wall portraits - do you do so with our without glass? Without glass cuts down on glare, but leaves your image open to the elements. What are your options? 


Don't forget, theLoop is PPA's safe and secure online community where members PPA photographers can discuss various photography topics! Not a PPA member? Join today .

It's Friday, which means it's time for an update on some of the great photography content we've found around the web! Here are five posts from the week of January 19, 2014 (they might have a theme...you know that awesome conference that happened last week? Yep. It was that cool!):

A first timer's perspective:
James Lout came to Arizona both a PPA and an Imaging USA newbie. Read about meeting his photographic idols and all of his experiences here.

Video blog:
You may have heard, Kenny Rogers was at Imaging USA! He accepted his honorary masters of photography, presented a Q&A with John Sexton (Imaging USA speaker) and was gracious enough to do some press. Check out the press room interview here!

Phoenix: Through Imaging USA's eyes:
Did you Instragram all over Phoenix? Check if your pics made the Downtown Phoenix Journal blog here! They did a compilation of their fav photos, plucked from the social web. 

Escape from Wisconsin:
Ellie and Emily escaped the frozen tundra of Waupun, Wisconsin to head to Phoenix. See how they experienced the show and some of the great images they captured while taking advantage of their new surroundings! 

Live from the Expo Floor:
The fine folks over at B&H made the rounds, talking to folks on the Imaging Expo floor. Check out what they discovered in their video blogs here

And for more behind the scenes content, video wrap ups and photos, visit facebook.com/imagingusa! We'll be uploading more content throughout the week, so check back often! 
In a short 72 hours Imaging USA will kick off with 10,000 of your closest pro-photographer friends! How can you get in on the conversation and connect with other attendees? Let us count the ways...

#IUSA14: This is our official hashtag! Use it to tag all of your content across all of your social media! We'll be sharing your stuff as the show goes on, because who better to tell the story than you, the attendees?

Facebook: Like Imaging USA on Facebook to see behind the scenes content, share your own images and stories from the event! This content will also be broadcast on the various Social Monitors around the Expo and registration. We will be closely monitoring Facebook during show hours, so if you have questions and can't find an Imaging USA orange shirt, feel free to send us a message and we'll respond ASAP! Remember to check in to Imaging USA from Facebook places! 

Twitter: We'll be live tweeting the whole show! Tips, tricks, announcements and more - follow @imagingusa or our official hashtag (#IUSA14) to get all the great access. This information will also be broadcast on our Social Monitors - the more you tweet, the more famous you'll be! If you can't find an orange shirt and have a question, feel free to tweet it at us too! We'll do our best to keep responses under 140 characters.

Instagram: It's a photography conference, so you better believe we're on Instagram, snapping photos! Same rules apply from Twitter - follow us @imagingusa or #IUSA14 to get photos from command central, the parties and maybe a few candid shots with Kenny Rogers!

FourSquare: Want to be the Mayor of Imaging USA? Check in on FourSquare! Connect with other attendees and find neighborhood deals for lunch, dinner or post-show fun!

theLoop: Join in on the conversation on the Imaging USA community on theLoop! Find last minute roommates, friends or session buddies. 

The Imaging USA App: Head to Imagingusa.org/app to download the app. Once you've registered for the conference, you should receive an email from Imaging USA 2014 with your login credentials--these are different from your standard PPA information. If you can't find it, just call our Member Care line at 800-786-6277 and they'll get you sorted out. Log in, create a profile and start searching for members with similar interests! Send messages, schedule meet ups, and connect face to face! (Check out our handy app videos to get all the details!) (LINK)

So there you have it! We can't wait to see how you experience Imaging USA 2014! Get packing & we'll see you in Phoenix!



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