Business Trends

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Maria Piscopo Posted: Jan 10, 2013 Published: Dec 01, 2012 33 comments
In my workshops and classes the most common concern is about marketing and getting business. It’s a sign of the times, and folks are asking: “Everything seems different these days in the photography business, what should I do?” My first and foremost answer is to have a business plan and then work that plan. It is simply not enough to put up a website, send out a few mailers, and see what happens. The best advice I can offer is to study up on creating and implementing a marketing plan and make the effort as important as learning and improving your craft.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Dec 18, 2012 Published: Nov 01, 2012 10 comments
Technology and availability of “good enough” images has seriously cut into the income potential of professional travel photographers. Even though the lure of travel photography is still ever present in the minds of many photographers, the question needs to be asked—can you still make money shooting travel in today’s marketplace? The answer is “yes…and” due to the qualifiers today’s market has placed on this field of photography. Yes…and you may need to seriously look at stock sales. Yes…and you may want to add value and sales by becoming a writer as well as a photographer. Yes…and you may need to consider adding professional services like video capture to your business plan.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Nov 09, 2012 Published: Oct 01, 2012 15 comments
One of my favorite topics is helping you find ways to make money with your photography. Greeting card and calendar clients seem “hidden” only because most photography marketing articles usually focus on the bigger and broader markets like advertising, editorial, or even weddings and portraiture. But the “paper products” companies are still publishing, even moving into e-cards, and they still need images. I will confess, surrounded as I am by photography and photographers, I am still a Gold-Crown-card-carrying Hallmark club member!
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Oct 10, 2012 Published: Sep 01, 2012 99 comments
“Doing Well by Doing Good” is how you might describe the subject of this column. It’s one of my favorite topics—photographers working for nonprofit organizations and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and finding a way to both make a living and make a change in their community. Whether it is local or global, photography has always been used to advocate for social change. There are many local and international communities and organizations you can serve.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Aug 14, 2012 Published: Jul 01, 2012 15 comments
Yes, there are staff jobs for photographers! Not as talked about as those who earn their living working freelance, this career path proves to be still viable today. The seven photographers interviewed for this column have a variety of job titles and work for a broad range of companies, including newspapers, big corporations, educational institutions, and hotels/resorts. Though they work in very different environments, it was interesting to me how much they have in common. As I learned, you will find that just being a technically competent photographer is not enough for a staff photography job. Also, make note of their employers’ use of freelancers. You’ll find that freelancing (working as a stringer) is one path to a staff job.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Jul 23, 2012 Published: Jun 01, 2012 18 comments
Advertising photography could be thought of as simply making images designed to sell a product or service. Traditionally, this meant a company hired an advertising agency to create ads to sell their products and services, so the ad agency hired a photographer to do the shoot or sought stock or other image sources to fulfill their image needs.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Jun 07, 2012 Published: May 01, 2012 6 comments
Clients buying location photography can include those from the travel, fashion, editorial, corporate, and even architectural fields. You might well ask—why don’t they just use stock? With so many sites and so many agencies and photographers offering images from every imaginable corner of the globe, hasn’t stock killed this market? Stock photography for this market is a topic for another day—this is about companies that need location photography because they need their people or property photographed and they know that stock will simply not fit the bill. As a related sidebar, we’ll also cover how you can rise above the iReporter-type shooter who often degrades the market by offering travel and lifestyle images for a “dime a dozen.”
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Maria Piscopo Posted: May 15, 2012 Published: Apr 01, 2012 51 comments
“With any marketing campaign you need to excite potential clients so they will want to contact you, and you need to keep current clients interested and be sure they think of you first.”
—Jeff Colburn

There are so many choices today for online and social marketing. Here’s a partial list: Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, Online Groups, Twitter, Tumblr, Myspace, Digg, StumbleUpon, and of course your website. How effective are these new marketing scenarios in helping you sell photography services? We asked four photographers using social media to share their experiences. Thanks to Jeff Colburn, Karen I. Hirsch, Gail Mooney-Kelly, and Ian L. Sitren for their helpful opinions and advice. Please see their web addresses and visit their websites to see their work.

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Maria Piscopo Posted: Apr 24, 2012 Published: Mar 01, 2012 21 comments
Finding clients for your professional wedding photography work can be a challenge. In this article we talk with seven wedding photography pros about their business today and how they find clients, what portfolio formats work best, and where they think the wedding business is heading in the next five years. We interviewed photographers from across the US; their styles range from beautifully posed portraits to wonderfully natural candids.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Mar 16, 2012 Published: Feb 01, 2012 106 comments
We have been concentrating on copyright issues in this column of late because of its importance to photographers. (See July, 2011, available at www.shutterbug.com, search Business Trends.) One topic we felt needed coverage was access to and use of images available on the Internet, including some background on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and some updated Internet educational resources that you might want to explore. We also wanted to touch on issues of public domain and image theft, and protection. Though many copyright infringements are non-malicious or unintentional, it remains an issue to be studied in order to defend and protect your images on the web.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Feb 08, 2012 Published: Jan 01, 2012 10 comments
For the New Year, I talked with a handful of working photographers willing to share their tips and techniques on building a photography business. We discussed portfolios, new media marketing tools, how often they market to their clients, and their recommendations for starting (or restarting!) your photography business in today’s marketplace. As you read their responses, please note that though they are in different fields of photography—consumer and commercial—there are remarkable similarities in their business building techniques. Also, check out the online references section at the end of this column. Online marketing is already big and will be even bigger in 2012! In the interest of form and continuity, all online marketing references for each photographer are listed in this reference section.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Jan 17, 2012 Published: Dec 01, 2011 1 comments
Editorial photography has always been a glamorous and sought-after career with many dreaming of National Geographic-type assignments. The reality of selling editorial work today is the focus of this month’s column, and as you’ll see it’s not all glamour and glitz. Finding and keeping editorial clients is hard work, requiring marketing expertise as well as good people skills.
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Maria Piscopo Posted: Dec 06, 2011 Published: Nov 01, 2011 3 comments
How do you define photographic success—by making money or by creating works of art? If both appeal to you then there is a way to reconcile what might seem by some as polar opposites: doing both by selling your work as fine art images.

Everywhere you turn—from assignments, self-assignments and from personal work—you can create opportunities for fine art images. Creating fine art photography can add a revenue stream to your commercial photography business. While the goal of selling images as fine art might be seen as unreachable, in fact the marketing and self-promotion methods and techniques for commercial work and fine art are very similar.

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Maria Piscopo Posted: Oct 17, 2011 Published: Sep 01, 2011 21 comments
“Day rate is not an accurate measure of photography cost, as it does not include expenses. Day rate does not transfer usage or licensing rights, the real sale in commercial photography.”

“What do you charge?” There is something about that much anticipated, yet dreaded question that causes many photographers distress. There are probably a dozen psychological reasons for this feeling. Rather than take on those feelings, which is beyond my ken and that of this magazine, I’d like to look at specific actions and steps you can take to improve your behavior when it comes to pricing and asking for money.

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Maria Piscopo Posted: Sep 27, 2011 Published: Aug 01, 2011 21 comments
While the destiny of the commercial photographer is still in the hands of the current corporate and advertising economy, the pro-active consumer portrait photographer seems to be doing well, even considering the times. Yet challenges remain from the shopping mall photo studio (26 photos for just $7.99!) to the DIY market, where everyone with a D-SLR gets in on the act.

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