Saturday, April 16, 2011

Newborn shoot tomorrow....

We are going out tomorrow to shoot newborn pics of Kourtney. We shot Jason and Kimmy's wedding last year and now we get to shoot their first baby! Pics will be up as soon as I can get them edited tomorrow night....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Look.....

This past weekend I spent a lot of time in front of the computer watching Jasmine Star explain how to build up a wedding photography business. I absorbed as much of the information as I could and have started implementing some changes in how I present my work and my sites.
If you haven't already noticed, the blog has a new look, so does the website. More changes are in the works. Hopefully when it all said and done everything will flow together better and the branding will be stronger. Keep your eyes open for all the upcoming changes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

15 ways to get more inquiries....

I found this on a forum I frequent, its from a post by Matt McGraw, his contact info is at the end of the post. There is a lot of great information in this article, some of which I am going to start using myself.

1. Vendors vendors vendors, vendors are important: From reception people to cake makers… I do a pre-questionnaire for my brides and grooms. In that questionnaire I find out who I am working with from DJs to Florist to cake people to ministers to reception places etc. I obtain all the contact information for these vendors. After the wedding I compile a list of photos that each vendor would find interest in. I splash my logo on the photos and email them the pictures and say if you would like any of these photos in high res and without my logo let me know I can email you those photos. For reception places: if it is somewhere I have never worked I'll send them a 20X30 print with my logo splashed all over it and 4X6s of the same photo with my contact info to pass out to potential brides. I'll also send them a disc with images they might be interested in and tell them they can use whatever photos they would like to… Become buddies with the vendors too. For example, I’m on a “hug basis” with the sales directors of 5 major hotels in town. Their cell numbers are in my phone. I shoot their kids… I'll sometimes meet them for a beer or 2… I never talk about my photography it's always buddy talk. Sure we talk shop sometimes but it's not my goal. They feel comfortable around me.

2. Newsletter/blog: Start one… I use constant contact set up a page and send mine out once a month. My email list is 5600 strong. Most photographers have a webpage set up. We do not.. I’m not opposed to that but I just prefer the email newsletter. Next question for you is how we get 5600 people on there. Anyone that emails me gets on the list. The only people who do not get on my list are emails that are inquiring where I am not available. Also I advertise in 2 magazines where they provide a lead sheet. I'll copy and paste emails of brides and grooms where I am not booked. I do this once a month right before I send out the newsletter.

3. Advertising: spend most of your advertising money online as opposed to print. Print is just name recognition. They'll see or hear your name and see an ad and say I've heard of this photographer…

4. Online advertising: There are a lot of free resources to advertise. Go online and be a consumer find out what wedding sites come up first. Type in your city and photographers … these are common search words for brides and grooms. You can also add the word weddings.

5. Search engine placement: There are companies that specialize in this. I use localpull.net and partypop.com I spend about $80 a month on the two to make sure my name stays on top of the search engines.

6. Every person you meet represents 10 people: Sounds cliché… but when I introduce myself I always say "Matt McGraw". I hear all the time that they've seen me or heard my name somewhere. My wife gets asked when she says her last name if her husband is a photographer. It gets on her nerves.

7. Local publications: Not just wedding magazines. Local magazines are always looking for material. In my case there is a local magazine that has a wedding section. So once a month I submit photos from weddings that I've shot. I ran into the editor one day and she said I was the only photographer that sends in photos and she was very appreciative. If they don't have a wedding section send some anyway. And suggest they start one.

8. Bridal shows: I do one every year. The same one… I’m the only veteran at these shows, and when asked why I continue doing them… I say that it's because it's an opportunity to keep my name out there. I don't want to become a photo snob. I don't need to do a bridal show… but I do anyway. I was talking to a veteran photographer the other day and he asked me how many weddings we had booked next year for he was way down. He said he only had 1 booked. He never does a bridal show never puts his name out there never goes the extra mile. He thinks his name will get him through. Never never have this attitude. Never think for a second that you don't need to market yourself. And never never never think your better than everyone else. There are a lot of good photographers out there right now.

9. Website: make sure you have your best stuff on there. It’s a first impression. All too often I'll look at a website and see subpar material. I know these guys too and know they have much better material. It boggles my mind.

10. The drip rule: … There is not one in particular marketing rule/campaign that will work above all others. Meaning you will not get immediate results… but do not think that they have failed. I read on my "how did you get my name" question a lot…"from a few places friends etc.

11. Business cards: throw away your 2X3 cards… Everyone uses them. Do you know where the business cards that people have given you? I use a 4X6 photo with my contact info all over it… When I shoot a wedding I'll use a photo of them for my business cards. It is a 4x6 photo of the couple or of a bridal photo with my contact info. I'll put them out on a table somewhere. It's a photo it will not get thrown away. Do not use the traditional business cards.

12. Email management: I use Microsoft outlook. Do not have a @hotmail or a @gmail acct for business. Your email should be @yourphotocompany.com… be professional and be a business. Treat it like a business. I have a very detailed and organized contact cards. I have a vendor folder, client folder… if I need to get a hold of someone it takes me just a second to find the contact. This is a must in marketing. It keeps you organized.

13. Be accessible… nothing bugs me more than leaving a message. I use my cell number. If I don't answer the phone one of my guys answers it. Someone sends me an email they'll get a response fairly quick. On my contract it gives my cell number and below it says put this in your cell number and feel free to call me anytime.

14. Be creative in your marketing. For example: mywedding.com, they called and asked me to advertise… I did a little research and what I found was there were 45 photographers advertising in this particular city. That’s crazy and a waste of money. I asked if it would be ok if I advertised on the reception site. It was a good idea. I was the only photographer on the reception page and got a number of calls.

15. Always always have a good attitude at weddings. Have fun. You'll be known as a fun photographer. If something doesn't go your way, who cares… its part of life. I hear stories of photographers blowing lids for the most stupid things. You'll get a ton of referrals because of your fun attitude.
Matt

www.MattMcGrawPhotography.com
matt@mattmcgrawphotography.com

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How much to charge.....

This is something I have been struggling with ever since I decided to start charging for my work. Especially since the area I live in is not one of the wealthiest areas in the state.
I recently have been watching Jasmine Star on www.creativelive.com and she gave a lot of insight on how to build up a successful wedding business.
She also mentioned a forum she frequented whn she was starting out, www.opensourcephoto.net
While I was on that site I discovered a link to "The Greatest Pricing Guide Ever"
As the name suggests its a guide to helping you establish your pricing. I haven't read it all the way thru yet, but what I have read of it, its awesome! I highly suggest taking a look at it if you are having problems with your pricing. You can find it here.... Pricing Guide