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PPA Today: Photography Marketing Archives

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By Lisa Sharer

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Snail mail is dying. When it comes to marketing efforts, our world is moving towards the digital age. One very important marketing platform is email. While this should not be your only form of reaching your audience, it is a crucial part of any marketing plan.

It would be nice to just send a personal email from Gmail, but you may want to look into something that says "Professional Photographer." In this case, it's best to find an email-marketing platform that will help you navigate the world of email design, structure, and deployment.

"So, where do I start?" you make ask. Luckily, Professional Photographer magazine has already done some of the legwork for you. Here are 8 Email Marketing Options for Your Business. As is mentioned, you will want to pick the best service for your needs. So take advantage of free trial options, and decide what works for your business needs.

Looking for other ways to help get your name out there and increase business? Check out your FREE See The Difference resources. Not currently a PPA member? Find out more about all the benefits offered to PPA members and how you can join today!

Editor's note: This article was originally published in September 2017. It has been edited and updated for current accuracy.
Trends in photography styles, treatments, and photo editing can shift and change as fast as the wind blows. What is hot, exciting, and in demand one day might be considered out of style and dated in no time at all. Social media and high-speed internet feed the speed at which trends shift, and the fickle tastes of the public at large make keeping up with what people want to see a challenge for professional photographers. 

Getting a leg up on what is new and on the rise can give your photo business an edge, whether you predominantly do weddings and portraits, or you work in the fashion industry. Even photojournalism and artistic photography are driven by what people want to see in front of them. We will cover 5 trends that are on the rise when it comes to photography styles, edits, treatments, and equipment, to help you stay ahead of the curve.
 
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Media Soup (stay with us!)
Technology and the use of various digital devices have fundamentally changed the way photography is consumed... and how clients expect to get it. Even how photography is viewed, displayed, and enjoyed has changed because of today's technology. It continues to drive change in the industry, and as photographers, we need to embrace technology, or it could cost us dearly. Mixing media has become a trend that the public loves, and wants to see more of.
 
From weddings to high fashion, creating movement, adding video, and including music to create emotional responses have gotten an amazing response from the public. Slow motion, coupled with visual impactful still images, has become an effective advertising tool for some top fashion designers, and video has, for a long time, been part of the wedding scene. In sports photography, and even travel photos, adding movement to a slide show can make photos even more engaging to meet client demands.
 
Extreme Color
Remember a few years back, when everyone seemed to be demanding photos that were predominantly grayscale with one item, or area, a vivid color to make it pop out and be eye-catching? Editing of colors and photo treatments have been something clients have loved for years, but knowing what is currently trending, and what is "so five years ago," can make or break you. In the coming year, extreme colors that are eye-catching and make photos stand out is what people are looking for. 

When scrolling through an Instagram feed, or another photo-rich website, people are reacting to, and sharing, photos that are vivid and saturated. Not just extreme ethereal colors, but starker blacks and whites with fewer grays, making the grayscale photos more emotional and raw. In the past, people seemed to have been drawn to more muted tones, or they have chosen to add an LXC saturation. That romantic look has given way to something more fantastical. Vivid colors, drastic in their differences, are making a statement. This is what customers are leaning towards in the coming year. 2018 is a year of having fun with colors, and make your images pop!
 
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In the Eye of the Beholder
People tend to be drawn to the fantastic, and they are even more obsessed if they can't quite figure out how something is done. Sleight of hand or optical illusions continue to fascinate people of all ages and walks of life. Trick photography and creative editing are also things that are trending huge for 2018.Things like levitation photos and force perspective are drawing people in, but our creativity is only determined by our imagination. 

The more fantastic and impossible the photo seems, the more people are interested and want to share it with everyone, and best of all, get their own. So, 2018 is a year to get creative, play with our ideas, both during a shoot, and in the editing process.
 
Birds Eye View
Again, technology has come along and changed the way we do things. One of the things that is beginning to be embraced by our industry, is drone photography. Drones have been used in sporting events and news media photos for years, but they are starting to make their mark in the wedding and high fashion scene. People seem to be fascinated with seeing things from a whole new perspective and vantage point. Looking down on things to see it's entire beauty, and being able to take things in from a higher angle is opening peoples' eyes to an entirely new world. It opens up exciting new challenges for us, as photographers, to be able to get higher perspectives, without a ladder. In 2018 look to see photos from drones popping up in all areas of photography.
 
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Big Things Come in Little Packages
Hand in hand with drone photography, photographic equipment has had to shrink to meet these demands, and photo technology has answered that demand in amazing ways. Drones require lighter cameras in order to be able to get off the ground. We don't want to sacrifice the quality of the images, in order to accommodate the need for lighter and smaller equipment. As professional photographers, we all want to have the best equipment, and we, as with many people, often get stuck in the mindset that bigger means better. That no longer needs to be the case. Imagine if you will, a time when going to a shoot doesn't mean lugging around bags of heavy photographic equipment. With this smaller and more powerful equipment, there is another thing to keep in mind. The demand for prints is also a hot selling point for photographers. Whether it be artistic, or portrait prints, small prints, or large, clients are spending their money for photographic prints to decorate their home or office. In addition to on-location fees and sitting fees, it is a good way for photographers to make more money. 
 
There is no doubt that yet another whole new set of trends and customer demands will crop up in just a matter of months. For now, these are some trends that you can count on to make your customers happy, increase sales, and boost word of mouth advertisement, which is the most effective way to get your business growing! Another way to keep ahead of the trends, and find out what is driving sales, is to network with other professionals to brainstorm, discuss projects, or just get advice. Professional Photographers of America, aka PPA, is the only place where working photographers can safely do that all day, every day online and offline alike. The best way to take advantage of all PPA has to offer is by becoming a member. A resource like PPA can be as invaluable as a crystal ball for keeping ahead of upcoming trends that drive photo sales. This is why more than 30,000 photographers are already part of this business-minded, photographers-only, nonprofit association. Consider joining or read more at PPA.com!

 
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By Lisa Sharer

Word-of-Mouth Marketing is a recommendation from a satisfied client that is either verbal or written. That means your clients are going out and getting more clients for you! It is usually best used between friends and family, but it can also be referrals to complete strangers. So, how do you achieve that for you and your business? Let's break it down.

First and foremost, CUSTOMER SERVICE! Your clients are only going to recommend you if they had a good experience with you. Make sure you are offering a unique and "shareworthy" experience for every person that walks through your door. Make sure you are checking in with your clients, addressing their wants, and keeping a happy and upbeat exterior throughout the process.

Now, once you know things are going well, it's time to ask for feedback. (Yes, that means if someone is obviously not happy, it's probably not the best time to ask them for referrals.) Ask your happy clients for testimonials. Ask them for a service or product rating on your website or on your social media outlets. Ask them if they'll share your information with friends and family.

(Side note: also ask your unhappy clients for private feedback, which could help improve your future client experience.)

If you've already gotten your clients going online, go ahead and encourage user-generated content. You can do that in several ways.

1. Start a Hashtag. If the public jumps on board with your hashtag and starts having fun with it, then you are potentially throwing your name all over the internet. Come up with something fun, and give people a reason to use it. For example: #ppyay, use this hashtag with images of people having the MOST fun, and we'll feature you on the website! (This is an example; please do not bombard our social media specialist with this. She will be very upset at me.)

2. Incentivize. Many consumers will respond to a little incentive. If you can offer gift cards, discounts, photo sessions, or some other form of prize, people will post and repost for you. You've probably seen some emails like this yourself. Maybe you've even reposted for some sweet little gift.

3. Showcase User-Generated Content. Some people are dying to be part of a social community. When you give them an extra boost by showcasing something that they did, you're giving that person some great fodder to repost and to talk about with their friends.
Another proven tactic is the referral program. You don't have to spend money creating keychain cards. It's as easy as telling your clients about discounts available to them if they send you more clients. You could also offer things like additional prints, special cards, etc. You have endless options to set up a program that will be enticing, that is little cost to you.

Some of the most influential and profitable photographers will tell you that they got their start by sharing their own stories. This is what they call being a Thought Leader. If you have some success, and you share your success story with others, people are bound to buzz about you. The more influential you become, the more stories you share, the more people will recognize your name. A recognizable name is much more enticing to the public than someone that doesn't have a presence (physically and socially) every time.

In the end, you are running a business, and that takes time, money, and energy. The best way to make this easy for yourself is to use tools that can help you automate the process. For example, use an email system that will help you create automated campaigns, or use the rating system on Facebook to help show how many stars your clients give you. Do some research on which tools can give you the most bang for your buck, and get you on the path to Word-of-Mouth Marketing today.

For more information and resources on sales and marketing for photographers, be sure to check out our marketing program that is FREE to PPA members. If you're not a member yet and want to learn more about how PPA can help your business grow, you can find all the information here.


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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 other rollergirls or volunteering with the Weloveatl Project. Or really - snuggling with the dogs.


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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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By David Eun

Clients are the lifeblood of any business, and the same applies to you and your photography studio. Convincing them to do business with you, though, isn't as simple as it sounds. Whether you are veteran in the game or a brand-new photographer who just opened up a studio, everyone can use help in bringing new faces through their doors.

So, here are 7 ways to garner more clients:

1) Referrals
• This is the oldest/most practical method in the book. Referrals from loyal customers are cost-efficient ways to gain more clients fairly quickly. Offer incentives, such as punch cards or discounts, to encourage more referrals!

2) Customer Service
• The client experience needs to be top-notch. Not only will that further incentivize current clients to refer you to others positively, but it will also ensure they don't hate you. Even one nasty review on Yelp can tarnish your image.

3) Networking
• With the exception of direct competitors, networking with other photographers and vendors greatly increases your reach in regards to finding prospective clients. Shoot out some emails or leave business cards in person. Network! You can get started on theLoop, PPA's members-only social network.

4) SEO
• Search Engine Optimization plays a significant role in the amount of exposure businesses obtain in the digital realm, which virtually everyone uses. Take a quick - and cheap - SEO course online (there are several great PPAedu videos on the subject you can watch) or hire a professional. It helps a lot.

5) Live Feeds
• Social Media, such as Instagram and Facebook, allows you to host live videos with your followers. You can show your audience behind the scenes work in your next photo shoot or hold a Q&A session. People love connection!

6) Social Media Advertising
• You can run a business without social media presence, but doing so is ill-advised. The world is becoming more and more digital every year, so having a few advertisements on social media platforms gets your name out there immensely.

7) Magazine Advertising
• If you're going to advertise, investing in more traditional methods still works. Make sure to advertise in magazines that are related to your client's interests. Also, double check to see a lead list is also included!

PPA takes pride in seeing its photographers succeed in their business endeavors. People will come up with crazy, unorthodox marketing schemes, which do have their place. But, we believe by following at least these 7 tips, your path to a profitable profession looks clear and straight. Looking for additional ways to help get your name out there and increase business? Check out your FREE See The Difference resources. Not currently a PPA member? Find out more about all the benefits offered to PPA members and how you can join today!

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By Lisa Sharer


If you've read our previous article Marketing 101 for Photographers, you may have a general idea of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Now, let's break it down to exactly how it works, and what you can do to optimize your websites for search engines... and ultimately get more clients from improved search results.

Top Level Search Engine Marketing Factors

You probably know of some widely used search engines like Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Bing.com. These sites decide what rank to give to your website amongst the other photography businesses out there in the world and this directly impacts how far up your studio's name appears in a search results page. How they do that raking is a more involved process that you might want to learn to help you improve your own SEO ranking.

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Search engines sort the search results they serve based off a few different factors:

  • Content - Does your content match the search of your potential client?

  • Site Structure and Internal Links - Is it user friendly, and do all your links work?

  • Geographical Location - Are you in or nearby the city where the client is looking for photography?

  • Mobile Optimization - Is your site easy to use on a mobile device (phone, tablet, e-reader, etc.)?

  • Loading Time - How long does it take for your site to load its content (photos, videos, etc.)?

  • Social Signals - Are you getting traffic from social media platforms?

Search engines have "bots" or "crawlers" that visit websites and check each of the items above. Once they have tested those items they then compare your website to other similar websites. Your ranking will depend on how you fare against those sites, which is why it's imperative that you make sure each item is performing at its best.

Improve Your Ranking with Authority & Relevance

Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Bing.com all use two common criteria within the algorithm used to produce search results. And while they all evaluate them differently, there are two key factors for you to understand as they will help with your optimization: 

Authority- A website shows its level of credibility based off how many links tie it to other websites. This is what search engines call the level of 'online authority' and this is where you look to other sites and influencers to help raise your site's authority. When a search engine finds your site through an outside link, it's showing it that you have enough authority that other people/sites trust your content. Beware though, it's not the quantity of links that helps you but their quality. For example, a direct link from PPmag.com would fare better than JoeSchmoPhotography.net.

Relevance-  The content on your site must be relevant to photography or some version of your expertise (portraiture, wedding, etc.) in order to rank higher. That means you'll need to use keywords that speak directly to what your photography business offers to your prospective clients. It's not just the words on your landing pages that you'll need to keep an eye on, though. You'll also want to make sure that your URLs and text formatting are shouting about your business. For example, when PPA wanted to tell you how insurance could help protect photographers, then we created the link PPA.com/BeMoreProtected. Likewise, to emphasize the content relevance of a blog post, it earn will you more SEO brownie point if you embed keywords in the headlines of your blog post, and it is even better yet if you bold keyword-related phrases. Make sure to keep those small things in mind when creating any kind of content, as they make a large difference to the search engines that crawl your site.

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Keywords

When someone does a search online, they generally type in a few keywords. For instance, photographer or family portraits in [location]. These keywords are important to make sure you are attracting quality leads. Of course, it would be amazing to rank #1 for photographer, but if you're not Wikipedia, that's not likely to happen. That's why long tail keywords have become more important than ever to your SEO strategy. You'll need keyword lists in order to run search ads, but it's also important to think about these keywords when creating content for your site.

Remember, those search engine results pages are looking for relevant and authoritative information to improve your ranking. So you will want to include information and keywords that are specific to your specialty and locale. Rather than just "portrait studio," maybe you'll want to include things like "outdoor family photography in [city]" or "high school senior photography in [area]," etc.

Most photographers overlook the power and importance of long tail keywords. Getting by on the basic short tail keyword is fast and takes little to no research. So, of course, we want to get things done quick and easy. However, if you take that route you're missing out on a huge opportunity. Optimizing for long tail keywords will make your site stand out over the quick solution photographers.

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By Tristin Vaccaro

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Having to justify your prices to clients is always nerve wracking, but why should it be? You work tirelessly to ensure quality service and you already know your worth, so don't be afraid to help others see the value in what you do as well! Yes, it's unfortunate that you should have to justify yourself in the first place, but when the inevitable conversation comes up, remind clients of these very valid reasons for your pricing structure. 

1. The Quality of Your Work: Your photos speak for themselves, and the quality of your photos should be the number one factor clients consider before even thinking about price. Your portfolio is the purest reflection of you and how you, specifically, capture people's fondest memories. This is really your chance to show off and explain to clients what you can do for them. Showing clients your previous works and describing their quality should be your go-to example of the value you bring to the table.  

2. Testimonials: Word of mouth and customer referrals can play a huge role when validating your pricing to a potential client. If every one of your customers enjoys working with you and loves the photos you've provided, why not brag about it? Consider adding a "Testimonials" page to your website or ask satisfied clients to leave a five-star review on your Facebook page.

3. Education: There's nothing wrong with being a self-taught photographer, but there is something to be said for an individual who continues their education in the photography industry. Whether you have a Bachelor's degree in photography or participated in PPA's Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) program, higher photography education shows clients your dedication to the craft. Let your clients know about your photography background and how those experiences have made you a better photographer. 

4. Personal Investments: Those questioning your pricing probably don't think about all the investments you've made yourself. The expensive camera equipment, editing software, and gas to and from locations probably cost you a pretty penny. Not to mention all the time you've spent researching the client, replying to inquiries, creating the images, and meticulously editing the final photographs. Your time and money are valuable too, which may help you explain just some of the costs of doing business. 

5. Differentiate Yourself:  It's easier to justify your prices if you can explain why, exactly, you're different from your competitors. Perhaps it's a fresh perspective or your use of exclusive equipment that other competitors simply don't have. Whatever it may be, find out what makes you different from others and effectively communicate this with your clients

6. Final Products: It's a basic economic fact that people will pay more for something that looks expensive. If you have nicely matted, high-quality prints or beautifully bound albums to physically show potential clients, the products will speak highly for themselves. Also, consider taking a second look at your website and ask yourself if there is anything you could do to make it more professional, elegant, clean, etc. The quality of the little details in all aspects of your business could make the largest difference. 

7. Confidence: All of the above methods to justify your pricing don't really mean anything if you don't believe in your pricing in the first place. You know that you are worth the money because of your skills, dedication, and personal investments. The key here is getting others to see your worth. Communicate your value effectively, politely, and with confidence. Never settle for less than you are worth just because someone wasn't able to see your value. Not everyone is your "ideal" client and it's ok that price turns some people away.  YOU ARE WORTH IT! 

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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.

By Lisa Sharer

First, let's define exactly what brand means. According to Wikipedia, "A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer." Simply put, it's the 'je ne sais quoi' that consumers perceive about you and your business and make them turn to you before your competitors.

Since that 'je ne sais quoi' is by definition, undefinable, you'll need to try out different strategies to see what will make you stand out. If you're new to the marketing game, try starting with the basics. After many tests, you'll eventually figure out how to reach your target market, and exactly what is bringing in the clients.

So why is branding beneficial to all this when you're busy trying to get more clients? Well, once you have a style, a unique customer service experience, a familiar name - you'll be the go-to photographer for your brilliant kind of images and the experience you offer. For example, you are looking for a certain home product and you want it to be mailed to you as quickly as possible, what's the first company you might go to look for that product? Did someone say Amazon? They have built their brand over many years to coincide with those exact thoughts that you might have as a consumer. Now, it's time for you to be that special photographer.

Here's what you can expect with a great, stand-out brand:

  1. You Will Be More Visible. Your logo or your name will become familiar to the potential clients in your area. They will already know who you are before they are even looking to hire a photographer. They'll even compare others to you, and in the end, come back to you because it's your brand that attracts them.
  2. Trigger Referrals. Once you've dazzled one or two clients with your unique customer service experience, captivated them with your beautiful images, and delighted them with the quality of your products, you'll have already started your branding. Getting referrals is like going viral - except it's offline and brings in more credibility and...real cash.
  3. Be More Profitable. It goes without saying that once you have more clients, you'll make more money. But you should also note that once you are displaying amazing products, your sales will soar as well. And photographers with an established, strong brand will all tell you: the sale happens most often when people are attached to your brand and come in with a pre-existing understanding of the larger scope your artistry offers.

So, invest in developing your brand. Are you the quirky high school senior photographer? Or are you the incredibly laid-back family photographer that can make anyone feel comfortable? Wherever your brand fits, stick with it, develop it, and let your photography flag fly!

Next month we will be featuring See The Difference and the PRINT Movement as they are two very useful benefits for PPA member to grow their business. We have some very exciting things to help you build your brand and sell more products. So be on the lookout!

Not yet a PPA member? Find out about the amazing benefits PPA has to offer, and join today!


Lisa Sharer_Profile.jpg

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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This page is a archive of recent entries in the Photography Marketing category.

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