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Tonight in Minneapolis: Photo Marketing Rehab Pt. 2-The Money Edition

Tonight I’m joining a panel of art buyers and producers on Kat Dalager’s Photo Marketing Rehab -The Money Edition.

We’ll be sharing our experiences on how to create proper paperwork for photography estimates and invoices–especially when working with ad agencies and design firms. If tonight’s event goes anything like the Photo Marketing Rehab event held in Chicago on Oct. 6th, it should be a blast–and full of great info! So glad to be joining in tonight.

Time: The event starts at 6:00pm with a Social Hour. Panel starts 7:00-ish.  $10.

Location: Shelter Studios
2112 Broadway St NE
Suite 150, Minneapolis, MN

Register here.

I’m also available on Thurs. 10/18/12  for private photo editing/marketing consultations for any interested Minneapolis photographers. Just give a call for more info to book a session.

Summer reading suggestions- books for photographers that aren’t about photography

As the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year approaches, it’s a good time to think about relaxing with a great book. This summer, instead settling into your beach chair with a best-selling mystery or romance novel, pack one of these paperbacks into your beach bag and you’ll have more than a tan when you’re done.

You’ll end up with some perspectives that can put things into a different focus for you regarding where photography is headed– and how you fit in. I think it’s essential for any small business owner to get a macro-economic business perspective. Reading outside your industry niche gives you the business equivalent of a liberal arts education vs. trade school education. Both kinds of education are very valuable. But added together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
In the same way, maintaining a well-rounded and broad business perspective can generate new insights about marketing your photography. In between reading the CS6 manuals, take a look at these.

The first few books will give you a wonderful dose of confidence about being in a creative industry

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by marketing guru, Seth Godin

These best-sellers by Malcolm Gladwell really make you think.The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference  and  Outliers: The Story of Success

Here are two of my favorite big-picture guides–one for a perspective on the global economy: The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Friedman

 and one to help you manage day-to-day priorities: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

And finally, for a different perspective on what might be really holding you back,have some fun examining your foundational beliefs with this help of this book: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie & Stephen Mitchell

Have fun in the summer sun!

 


Photography Marketing creative tip: Homework counts. Fearless, generous creators get an A+

When all of your other marketing efforts start to pay off and you’re in a bid situation for a photo assignment, there’s one more thing that will help you land the job:

Do some research about what you’re being asked to photograph.

If you take the time to read up on the product, company, or event you’re being asked to shoot (you know you can Google ANYTHING) you appear to be someone who will be a partner in problem-solving. Demonstrating that you’ve actually taken your own time to learn about the client’s product can be a powerful way to show that you’re truly interested in their needs–everyone finds that attractive and very compelling.

Your willingness to do some research may provide a creative insight which can add value to the assignment and set you apart from your competitors. If you really are a creative problem-solver and don’t just call yourself one, then demonstrate that trait at this point of the project and share that side of yourself with your prospective client.

While some fear that “giving away the solution before getting the job” is professional suicide, others know that there are far more clients seeking to hire a creative team member for their project than there are clients who only are looking to steal someone’s ideas without compensation. If you’ve really got some awesome creative chops, you’ll always have them. If you continue to support your “muse” (spend some time with your muse so she doesn’t die from malnourishment), you can use that creative well-spring to nurture a prospective client relationship––not just on the shoot, but well before you’re hired.

Fearless, generous creators are pretty impressive individuals.

Are you one of them?

Creativity: Do you bother to protect your most valuable business asset?

What it is your most valuable business asset?
Hint: Its not your camera gear. Nor your computer hardware and software- or even your image archive or your portfolio.

It’s your creativity. It’s what sets you apart from every other photographer; it’s the distinguishing value that is added to any great image you create. Without it, you could be replaced by a machine.

Ironically, this extremely valuable asset can’t be covered against loss by an insurance policy.It’s up to you-and only you-to take precautions that you don’t lose your creativity.

Are you spending even half the amount of time and effort that you take to protect your other business assets from loss?
You probably back-up your images on multiple drives on a regular basis. Your gear is probably protected by good security systems when it’s not actually with you. Your office probably has fire, flood and theft  coverage. You want to protect your business, so you’re prudent. And you’re responsible.

Why is it so important it is to keep your creativity safe? Without it you probably don’t have much to offer any client since creativity is an essential for problem-solving. Clients hire you because they have a problem they need solved; usually ones they don’t have the creativity to execute as well as you.

So what are you doing to PROTECT your creativity? Do you know what keeps it vital and alive?

What was your mental state when you had your last great idea for a portfolio piece?
Wasn’t it when you were relaxed, open, and receptive? I suspect you’ll also say it was when you “weren’t even trying”… it just “came to you.”

Do you know under what conditions your creativity is at risk?
Are you aware of how negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and worry significantly diminish the flow of intuition? Intuition is what most often guides you in what is necessary to take a shot from good to great.

In the current sea of negative emotions swirling in the photo business, are you pro-active enough to wear a “mental life-preserver”?
That is, do you have an effective strategy to keep your intuition afloat? Can it be saved it from drowning in the swells of fear and anxiety?

Here are some time-honored, extremely well-researched, and very effective strategies to protect your most valuable business asset
: Meditate. Spend time in nature. Pray. Jog. Swim. Politely refuse to spend time on the pity pot with those who continually spread evidence about how horrible things are. Be grateful for what you DO have. And finally, volunteer to help those who have less than you.

UPDATE on “Rebooting Your Business Brain” 2/9/10 in San Francisco

Since this month the 3-day early bird discount falls on a weekend, I’m extending the discount offer through Monday 2/8/10. If you’re interested finding out if you may be unintentionally shooting yourself  with your portfolio or web presentation, please contact me directly. More info is available here

In addition to generous sponsors LiveBooks and Agency Access, I’d like to welcome my 3rd and latest event sponsor, PhotoShelter. PhotoShelter enables you to create a professional online presence using a set of tools which include high-res file delivery, secure image archiving, and website creation tools.

Photography marketing essentials: who’s your web site for?

In my photography marketing consulting business, one of the first things I do when I work with a client is to review their web presence. When a photographer doesn’t fully understand the wants and needs of the present-day image buyer, their site usually reflects what makes the photographer happy vs. one that will makes the buyer happy.

When I see one of these kinds of sites and have to tell the photographer that to increase business they’ll need a new web site or major re-design, one of the first things they think –if they don’t come right out and say it– is “What’s that going to cost me?”

Of course, in this economy, that’s a question that lives in everyone’s mind. But that should not be the FIRST question that comes to mind when thinking about reaching more clients via your web site.

“What’s the business objective of my web site?” has to be answered before you start pricing any solution. As visual artists we’re primarily drawn to the play of light, shadow, color and contrast as they often serve as the basis of our sheer delight. We’re also easily distracted by bright, shiny, and pretty things.

A marketing trap that one can fall into is to simply emulate the web design of a photographer whose photos and web site we admire. Award-winning web sites with lots of stunning visuals suck us right in and lead us to ‘be inspired” (i.e., copy them) when creating our own site; often there’s  little if no attention paid to asking if the design is resonant with our own branding and the needs of the people we want to attract. Read more

Whose bank account pays for productions now?

Yesterday’s article in AdAge “Agencies Duck Liability for Clients’ Production Costs” reported on a growing trend that is placing more of the financial risk of production on the side of photographers and production companies.

Many art buying departments are issuing “heads up” emails to photographers letting them know that the policy of issuing advances on big productions in many cases will cease. Simply put, if the ad agency hires you,  but the client they’re working for stiffs them, you have to go after their client to recover your money. Unfortunately, the PO you get from the agency won’t be giving you contact info of the person on the client side to call if you don’t get paid.

While I understand that the ad agency doesn’t want to get left holding the bag if their client (e.g., General Motors or AIG) doesn’t pay them for 120 days–or more– but can you imagine the photographer  having to call the GM switchboard asking to speak to the person in A/P at GM who can issue a check for an outstanding $85, 000 unpaid invoice originally submitted to the ad agency who issued them the PO for the assignment?

I think that if photographers are to accept that enormous financial risk, the quid pro quo for accepting those pay terms should be to at the very least have the contact information of the ad agency’s client clearly stated in the Purchase Order.

See “ReBooting Your Business Brain” in Detroit area on 3/19/09

The Michigan chapter of the ASMP will be hosting my photo marketing talk: “ReBooting Your Business Brain…” In this talk I focus on how the business of photography –particularly as it applies to marketing– has changed for those who grew up in an all-film photo business.

The event will be on Thursday evening 3/19/09 at Foto/Life Studios, 9709 Joseph Campau, Loft #3 (Between Edwin and Evaline, enter via alley) ?Hamtramck, MI
View Larger Map

Register here
I’ll be discussing how these changes have particularly affected photographers who’ve been shooting for over 15 years. These  photographers are the ones most deeply concerned that in this economy, they can’t afford to “not know what they don’t know.” They suspect that things are different when it comes to promoting their work in the digital age, but are not sure which things they should implement and which things they can ignore.

Nothing changes faster than online promotion. What worked great last year is not what works the best this year. At this event I’ll provide some tips, guidelines and resources, on how to stay current.

Read more

“Rebooting…” will be in Union, NJ Thurs. evening 2/12/09 on Lincoln’s & Darwin’s birthdays.

I’ll be presenting my “ReBooting Your Business Brain…”  talk which focuses on the  changes and evolution of the photography business–particularly as it applies to marketing— to ASMP NJ on Thursday evening 2/12/09 at Kean University in Union, NJ.

I’ll be discussing how those changes have particularly affected photographers who’ve been shooting for over 15 years on the birthday of two of the biggest names in history connected with change and evolution: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. What a nice bit of synchronicity…..

The event will be held at 7:30pm to 10:00 pm at the Little Theater of University Center – Kean University 1000 Morris Avenue Union, NJ 07083 map Registration info is here.

My Bi-coastal Event schedule

My next event is this Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009 in Los Angeles.

I’ve been invited to participate in the APA LA’s portfolio development program. If you’re in the LA area, sign up for a free portfolio review. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter it’d be great to meet you in person.

More info is available on the APA LA website.

Building a Successful Book: Portfolio & Website Consultations

Saturday January 31, 2009
Registration begins at 8:00am
Reviews begin at 9:00am
Helms DayLight Studio, 3221 Hutchison Ave., Los Angeles 90034

*Parking is Located on the North Side of Venice Ave and Helms Ave.

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On Thursday, Feb. 12th, I’ll be presenting the latest version of my talk:

“ReBooting Your Business Brain: 21st-Century Marketing Tips for Photographers Who Weren’t Born Yesterday”

to the New Jersey chapter of the ASMP.

The event will be held at 7:30pm to 10:00 pm at the Little Theater of University Center – Kean University 1000 Morris Avenue Union, NJ 07083  map   Registration info is here.

The event sponsors are providing some GREAT door prizes: Agency Access is providing a Tri-State membership to their list service with a retail value of $595 and it is for a full year. LiveBooks is providing an $800 credit towards one of their web site packages. BlinkBid is providing a copy of their estimating software.

I will be doing a limited number of private 1-hour review sessions on the days surrounding the evening event. Invest in your career and find out if your current presentation is helping or hurting you in today’s radically changed assignment market.

Call me directly for details and to take advantage of

a 20% early-bird discount that is available until Feb. 10th.