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By Lisa Sharer

We've all heard that printing is more profitable than handing over digital files. We've all seen photographers with great galleries of printed photos. We all know the benefits our clients receive with tangible products. So, "where do I start?" you might ask. We've found five products that you and your clients will love.

Prints: First, consider basic prints. This option is for the clients that want to spend only a little extra money to hold the image in their hands but are trying to stay budget-conscious. Prints of photographs will make the perfect addition to your clients' homemade photo albums, an addition to their budget-conscious gifts, or self-framing displays.

Print Packages: Perfect for the graduating students! These days, high school seniors are getting some amazing and phenomenal photos. Images of this caliber cannot (rather should not) be contained to one small format. These clients are likely to want digital files, buttons, etc., but your biggest impact will always be through a larger framed piece. Think about offering this pack to your graduate's parents.

Mounted Photos: Mounting prints is a sleek and modern way to display photos. Many clients find that these types of photographic work not only enhance their home with timeless memories, but they also add a stylish element to any wall... and boost everyone's ego, which is always a valued yet not-spoken-about benefit. Consider making this part of your offering when pitching your services to your clients.

Booklets: This is a fun way to put a collection of photos together. Whether it's for the graduate or the family reunion, an array of pictures come together to make the perfect viewing experience. Consider including this in your studio to offer to any type of client!

Matted Albums: They're just like the albums a client would buy from a supercenter and stick their own photos inside. Except 100x better! These will catch the eye of any client that's looking to include a grand array of photos. Think about offering this after a family photo session, or to the client that is looking to include a lifetime of memories in one place.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can start positioning yourself as a print artist today and start making more money. Once your clients see the range of products you offer, they'll be inclined to learn more about your craft, and they'll respect you as a printmaker. At that point, you're likely to see a higher level of print sales, and a higher number of happy clients.

Learn more about bringing print back to the foreground of photography. Join the PRINT Movement today!


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Aout 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.

By Lisa Sharer

You can't just get out of bed in the morning, decide you're going to sell prints, and then become a millionaire. (If you have done that, send us a message; we have some questions!) For the rest of us, we could use some tools to help us learn how to sell more prints, as well as educate our clients; so they are the ones asking for these products. And these days, video is king.

That's why PRINT. The Movement has created an entire section on their website dedicated to video resources. Currently, you will find an assortment of content that helps photographers with some essential skills for in-person sales. You'll also find some videos that will educate your clients, and there's even a quick message from world-renowned photographer Anne Geddes!


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Check out these videos to help you increase and maintain your business as a print artist. Not only will you be helping yourself, you'll be helping the world...one beautiful image at a time. Join us, and become a part of the movement today at PrintMovement.org.


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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 Lisa Sharer

It's happened to all of us. Probably more than once. Someone asks you what your rate is, and when they hear it, they are appalled. You start to feel a little flush. You start to think, maybe I went too high. You start to want to back into the nearest bush.

We're here to tell you to kick that bush to the curb! Part of becoming a professional photographer starts with confidence. If every photographer folds, then no one gets paid. By demanding a solid rate, you're not only helping yourself, you're helping all the photographers that come after you.

Here's a recent, completely real, interaction that we applaud:

A photographer is out and about taking pictures. He is approached by a gentleman who notices him.

Gentleman: You take pictures?

Photographer: Yes.

Gentleman: How much do you charge?

Photographer: It really depends on what you want.

Gentleman: Just walking around downtown with you taking pictures of me.

Photographer: My portrait sessions start at $$.

Gentleman: (Laughs) Oh, come on, man.

Photographer: (Without hesitation) This is my full time job, and I'm really good at it. Here's my card. Check out my portfolio, and let me know if you're interested.

If you believe in yourself, your clients will believe in you. Set your prices, stick by them, and above all, do NOT be embarrassed by them. Remember that you spend many hours--collective portions of your life--perfecting your craft and building a business. You have every right to charge fairly for your service, and you should never be ashamed of it.

"Listen up photographers. Know what you're worth. State it with conviction. Know when to bend, but know that bending should be the exception. There will be clients that will see your worth and pay your fee." 
                     - Aaron Coury, Photographer.

If you would like more help on how to sell yourself and your service, check out PPA's See The Difference® resources. PPA members have access to a plethora of sales and marketing tools to assist in promotion and in-person sales. If you're not a member, you should join today!

by Lisa Sharer


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Many times we find ourselves believing that the industry is to blame for the reduction in printed-product sales. But what is the industry actually made up of? It's made of you and me. As photographers, you set the bar for making PRINT Art a part of your everyday lives and a very important part of your client's lives.

So it starts with you. Having tangible objects to see and hold has a value that hasn't changed over generations, and that isn't poised to change either. Print Artists understand the timeless contribution of their work and printing their work (and selling it!) is something that can become second nature. Consumers' approach to photographic products is shifting, and this is why Print Artists can thrive. They are offering the effortless quality of timeless pieces that consumers can't get in a couple of clicks through their drugstore. It can be as simple as starting to help redecorate a client's home, and then follow along in their progress through life. Every home in America and around the world is starting to remember why that tangible piece of memory makes such a difference in their minds and in their lives.

And the Industry is changing.

Thankfully, the printing options for professional photographers are changing as well. That's why it's more important than ever to learn these options from a Print Artist standpoint. Understand the paper preservation methods; develop the vocabulary to educate consumers on options (that no drugstore can rival with); speak influentially about the intrinsic worth of a print investment; have it become second nature to be a print artist; and the list goes on. But it all starts with you. 

Become a part of PRINT. The Movement, and see how you can help change your business and the industry. You'll receive updates and stories about the PRINT Movement, but also new sales tools to help you when presenting printed pieces to your clients.


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So far you've learned the basics of Marketing and figured out how to recognize your target audience. Now, what do you do with this information? You can't just willy-nilly start throwing ads out there or hitting social media without a plan! So, the next step is to get organized and create that plan. Just follow these easy steps, and you'll be ready to start marketing your photography business!

Step 1: Situation Analysis

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It's as simple as, what is your current situation? Where are you and where do you want to be? Start with a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


Strengths and Weaknesses are qualities that currently exist within your business. Is your photography great, but your bookkeeping could use work? Do you work really hard, but for too many hours? Are you strong with event photography, but need more practice in the portrait discipline? If you take a little time to reflect on your work, you will know where you excel and where you could use a little help. If you have outside mentors, friends, or even members of your business that you trust and respect, you can ask for their help in identifying some of these areas with you.

Opportunities and Threats are forces that are working outside of your business. Is there an opportunity to expand your market, but there's more competition in those markets? Can you include different types of photography, but maybe you aren't fully educated in that area? Think about what you want to accomplish as a business owner.  What conditions in the market are favorable or will help you reach those goals?  Opportunities are everywhere.  They can be relationships you're building with influencers in your area, a new photographic niche that's becoming popular or even technology advancements.    Finally, identify those outside forces that could hinder you.  Threats could be an economic downturn, discontinued product items and again, changes in technology.

Once you've done that, think about what makes your photography unique. How can you set yourself apart from your competition? Maybe you specialize in print photography. Maybe you're the only high school senior photographer in your area. You know what makes your work special, so just pause and identify what sets you apart from the rest.

Step 2: Describe Your Target Market

Lucky for you, you've probably already created an outline for this. If not, take some time to create your buyer persona. Once you've done that, you can write a short paragraph about your target market. Make sure to detail where (geographically) your audience resides, their age, gender, etc. Make sure to identify their wants and the challenges associated with providing solutions for said wants. Make it clear for yourself, and anyone else that might not be fully invested in your business (for example, a freelance marketing assistant).

Step 3: Identify Your Marketing Goals

When thinking about your marketing goals, remember that they need to fit into your overall business goals. Also, don't forget to create S.M.A.R.T. goals.

So, what are your studio's goals? To increase your bottom dollar? To expand the reach of your business? To tell clients about new products or services? Make a list of your goals, from most important to least important, and attack each goal individually. Make sure you are clear about each goal, so you have a clear path on how to effectively reach it.

Step 4: Decide on the Marketing Strategies You'll Use

Your buyer persona will again help you in this area. Many of these strategies will be based solely off of age. Does your audience relate to Facebook, or are they more Snapchat savvy? Would your target audience pick up a magazine, or would they be more likely to see a sign at the local coffee shop? By knowing the likes and recreation habits of your target audience, you can decide the best and most effective outlets for your message.

The most effective strategies will be multilevel. What do you mean MULTILEVEL?! Multilevel refers to engaging your potential client at every moment of their buying journey. You have probably made a decision about a big purchase before. Did you dive in and buy, let's say, the first car you came across? No, you probably did your research, picked your favorite kind, and then shopped your options. That's exactly what your potential clients are doing.

For example, maybe a potential client does a Google search for photographers in their area. There's your first outreach opportunity. Maybe that potential client then checks out your website, but then leaves to run an errand and forgets about their family portrait. Maybe the next thing they do is surf Facebook. Boom! There's your next opportunity to reach out. Maybe later that night your client goes to the local coffee shop to get a late night mochaccino. Did you remember to hang up a flyer there?

Think about all the paths that your buyer persona might take during their buying journey and plan accordingly.

Step 5: Set a Budget


Piggy.jpgIt's time to set some money aside. If you run the finances, make sure that you are putting the appropriate amount aside to achieve your marketing goals. Also, make sure you aren't setting too much aside in order to protect your profits. If you're a little nervous about creating a budget, the PPA Business Challenge and the Square One tool are great resources to get you on the confident budgeting track.


If you're the creative, and you have a partner or a financial advisor, they may be a huge help in this area. Talk over your plan with that person, and let them know your intent and your ideas on how much you might need for running a marketing campaign.

If you're just starting out, this may mean that you'll need to incur some costs up front. In this case, you should monitor your spending and still try to keep to a budget. If you see that some things are proving to be expensive with not much return on your investment (ROI), that's when you start adjusting your plan. Don't worry about keeping a hard line on the original plan; it should always be flexible and serve your business needs. As our marketing director at PPA always says: "Test, Test, Test!"

Once you've followed these steps you should have a clear outline of your next steps. If you're looking for additional marketing tools, check out the See The Difference┬ę campaign and PRINT. The Movement campaign. If these intrigue you, find out more about becoming a PPA member today!

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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.

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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This week the third annual Southeastern District Photographic Competition results were announced. The 2013 competition had over 800 entries, with 310 photographs earning a Seal of Approval with a score of 80 or above. The sealed images can then be entered into the 2013 International Photographic Competition to earn a merit and they will automatically be accepted as part of the PPA's prestigious General Collection.

For the photographers who received high enough scores to merit, now is the time to ramp up your marketing and public relation skills! Issue press releases (we have press release templates to make it easier for you!), promote your achievements across your social media channels and add a mention on your website! Go ahead and toot you own horn - you earned it!

As Sandra Pearce, M. Photog. MEI. Cr. of Sandra Pearce Photography says, your customers might not completely comprehend what earning merits means, but they will recognize that your work has been honored by some hard to impress judges. Like most competitors, Pearce has had both successes and what we'll call "opportunities for improvement" with photographic competitions.

"Competing gives photographers those extra credentials," said Pearce. "Clients can read an article about your awards and--though they may not understand what the awards are--it shows that other people think your work is great, too. I believe I've done well in photographic competition because I love what I do. And even if I don't win, it won't ruin my life or make me stop competing. I do it to become better."

If your images did not merit, please don't be discouraged! Remember that shooting for competition is not the same thing as getting a fabulous image that your clients will want ten 30x40 copies of. It's a different kind of beast and learning from this experience is a great opportunity to discover areas that may require some continuing education to meet the inexorable 12 elements! To boost your chances, explore PPAedu for online support, or see if there is a Super Monday class in your area that covers areas that need a little extra attention. Practice does make perfect (or we should say practice makes a merit worth image)!

To continue to perfect your passion, the International Photographic Competition is now accepting entries through June 28, 2013. Why wait to show the world what you're made of?

Photographers who requested critiques from the Southeast District Competition will be notified when they become available. 



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