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Become an Image Warrior at Imaging USA - PPA Today

Become an Image Warrior at Imaging USA

shirk_headshot.jpgBen Shirk of Shirk Photography in Wilton, Iowa, has become recognized for his creative high school senior portraits. In fact, the sports posters that he creates for his senior athletes have helped increase his average sale from $600 to $3,000 in just a few years! Sound like an increase you'd like to see in your business?

Well, aren't you in luck. Ben's going to be at Imaging USA on January 20, 2013, teaching you how to create those unique photographic products for high school seniors, including composites and posters! Just mark your calendar for his "Become an Image Warrior" class. In the meantime, check out the adventures he had on his own path toward becoming an image warrior...

Throwing Down the Gauntlet of Inspiration
Like many a photographer, Ben's photographic journey was inspired by the birth of his son. In fact, when Ben's wife took their son to a mall photographer for portraits, he was disappointed that he wasn't the one to take his son's first portraits.

shirk1.JPG"My wife simply laughed at me and told me that I couldn't take as good of portraits as they did (and back then, I probably couldn't have). But the gauntlet had been thrown," Ben recalls. "I borrowed a friend's digital camera and that began my adventure into photography." It's been seven years since then, and he's been a full-time photographer for the last five years. (And it's probably safe to say his wife lets him photograph his son now.)

Facing Those Pricing Challenges
Like many photographers new to the business, Ben at first struggled with pricing his work correctly. "I was giving away everything for nearly nothing and was basically happy that people liked what I was doing," he remembers.  

After attending several business workshops, though, Ben faced the hard truth that he needed to change some things.

shirk6.JPG"We raised our prices quite drastically and found out quickly that the key was making sure your clients were well-educated in everything that was going to happen," says Ben. "If they know exactly how everything works and what to expect, then nearly all the objections and complaints are addressed beforehand." And the unique portraits he delivers to his clients help justify those prices, too!

"Creativity is my specialty," he adds. "I have become known for my sports and senior composites, but I think that's simply because I have more chances to make those kinds of portraits. I enjoy just about anything as long as I can have fun and be creative."

Teaching You How to Become an Image Warrior
Take a page from Ben's book of inspiration, and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done. If you're ready to boost your creativity, elevate your senior photography business, and learn to make those creative composites and posters (especially those for senior athletes), be sure to attend Ben's "Become an Image Warrior" class at Imaging USA.

shirk3.JPGAfter all, as Ben says, "Creating something unique can be a lot easier than you think!"

Ben Shirk was named Top Non-Master Photographer for Iowa in 2011 and 2012. He was also a 2011 Diamond Photographer of the Year in the Master Artist category of PPA's International Photographic Competition, and he placed third at the 2012 Grand Imaging Awards. Learn more about Ben here.

Get the full scoop on Imaging USA and all the other classes and inspiration for the taking.


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This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on November 13, 2012 2:44 PM.

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