While Uncle Ned might be bragging that he can take care of the photography at his niece’s wedding with his D-SLR with built-in flash, amusing and sometimes bitter experiences have taught prospective brides that there’s nothing like an experienced photographer to do the job right. But getting yourself and your work in front of that group of brides and wedding planners can be a challenge, and that’s what this month’s column is all about. We’ll take a look at changes in the business model, including portfolios, marketing materials, networking with wedding vendors, and bridal shows.
As technology changes so do methods of presentation. In this article I set out to discover what type of portfolio photographers have found work best and, from the buyer’s perspective, what type or types they prefer. As I conducted the interviews among art directors, photo reps, and photographers it all began to boil down to this: how do you get your work seen by potential clients and how do you craft an effective portfolio that makes sense to them and represents your craft and passion?
The past few years have witnessed many challenges to those who want to earn money with their photography for both full-timers and those who use their talents to earn extra income. One area that has remained strong, indeed grown, is the family portrait business. Photographers have seen the need to adapt to changes in their clients’ expectations and tastes and, as importantly, the changing pace of technology. In addition, there are important marketing considerations that contribute to success as well. In this article I talk with Kim Campbell, Orit Harpaz, Vonda Hussey, and Michelle Tricca to gain their insight on the family portrait business. Please use the “Web Resources” listed at the end of this article to help you visit their websites so you can see more of their dynamic and exciting work.
The book publishing business is experiencing huge upheavals and transformations of late. “Physical” bookstores are closing, and for many photographers eBooks are an exciting option. While eBooks may become a preferred delivery system for creative content, with them come questions about creation, preferred content, and, perhaps most importantly, how to market your work. In this article we’ll look at how three photographers are working through this change and how it has altered the way they show their work to the world. Thanks go to Jeff Colburn, Bret Edge, and Guy Tal for their expertise and wisdom in this regard. Please check our links and contact information at the end of this article to see their work, and more.
There’s a long tradition of photographers doing pro bono work for charities. Now, with social media and the Internet in general, the marriage of photography and doing good for others has grown even more. NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) have been around since the mid-1940s, but in the last few years some amazing photography has further helped communicate their mission.
Does using social media as a marketing tool work for photographers? That’s what we aimed to find out by interviewing five photographers who have successfully used this particular marketing technique in very specific ways. Unlike advertising and direct mail, where you send out your material and wait for a response, and sales calls, which are more time-consuming, social media is a unique technique that can breed success, but only when properly and fully utilized. Many thanks to our photographers for taking the time and attention to share their thoughts and experiences (websites at end of column): Liz Cowie, Clark Dever, David Alan Kogut, Brad Mangin, and Chuck St. John.
“Imagine that you shoot something ‘fine art’ or ‘personal’ that you yourself think no one will ever want to use commercially.
You don’t bother to get a release…”
There are legal issues that concern all photographers—copyrights, contracts, and the law concerning privacy rights (model releases). In this article we’ll go over these matters with a panel of experts in the field, but of course not every issue can be covered completely, so I’ve included a host of web resources for further exploration and education.
I have always been a big supporter of joining and participating in professional groups. The growth of my career as a photo rep, teacher, and author all came from joining and participating in groups that brought together like-minded individuals. For photographers looking to enhance or initiate their careers there are numerous professional associations worthy of attention.
Gallery exhibit openings, fine art collectors calling, fine art book sales—all of these are every photographer’s dream for their personal work. Some even dream of fine art photography as a career. While creating art photography is one topic, selling the work is quite another. For as many high-tech changes as there have been in the art field (selling prints online!) there are still traditional marketing techniques such as research and print presentation that can make a difference. For this year’s focus on fine art we talk with an expert in the field, Mary Virginia Swanson.
The world of portrait photography is defined by its differences—all potential clients, whether they are individuals, families, or professionals, are different people with different imaging needs. There is a difference in style and approach in making commercial, professional, and social (family) portraits. Commercial clients have something to sell or someone to influence; consumer clients have something or someone to remember. And, at any point in time, a photographer’s style may be so strong or special that it transcends these categories and enters the “fine art” field.