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Photography Business Boundaries

August 16, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

Today I want to talk to you about photography business boundaries, and boundaries in general. In the 16+ years I have been running my photography business, the thing that has wreaked to most havoc for me and my company, has been difficulties with boundaries. And, I believe, that if you have problems setting and keeping strong boundaries in your business and in your life, then getting your boundaries established and strong will be the single best way to improve your photography business.

Why do I say that? Because boundaries effect everything. Boundaries are the limits you set on outside influences. Boundaries are your first line of defense against invaders, and boundaries are your protection from harm. As creatives, we photographers tend to have more permeable boundaries than other people. And this can really get us into trouble. Here are some examples.

Pricing – pricing is the boundary you set on what your photography business’s products and services cost. Do you ever find yourself discounting your pricing when someone tells you that they cannot afford you? Do you set your pricing so low that you can’t earn a decent living? Do you fail to stand behind your pricing as being fair and appropriate for the service that you provide? Then you have a pricing boundary problem in your photography business.

Hiring, Training and Managing – your employee policies are your boundary for human resources in your photography business. Do you ever find it difficult to confront an employee that is taking advantage of you and your generosity? Do you have a hard time firing employees that are not doing their job? Do you avoid discussing issues like tardiness, absenteeism and insubordination, hoping it will just go away, or take care of itself? If so, then you have an human resources boundary problem.

Accounting – your accounting practices are the boundaries you set on where the income is coming from and where the money is spent in your photography business. Do you jump every time you see a cute new little prop pop up in your inbox? Do you set income and expense goals for your business, but always find yourself breaking your own rules. Does your expense column outweigh your income column? Then you have a boundary problem with accounting in your photography business.

Marketing – your marketing plan is the system you put in place to keep your income high enough to stay in business. Marketing effectively and consistently, with discipline, is quite possibly the MOST important boundary you need working well in your photography business. Do you plan to make a certain number of calls or visit a certain number of potential clients each week, and then chicken out? Do you find every possible excuse for why you are unable to create enough time to follow through with your marketing plan? Do you bury yourself in “research” or “education” to avoid marketing? If you do any of these things… and I’m sure you can think of plenty other examples, then you have a really big boundary problem in your photography business. And this boundary problem is YOU. You are unable to set limits on yourself, and follow through on your promises to yourself. And this, my friend, will destroy your photography business.

Time Management – how you manage the time you spend in your business and the number of hours you work are the boundaries you set on time management in your photography business. Do you find yourself working so many hours that your kids have given up trying to even get your attention? Is your workflow disorganized or not followed? Do you convince yourself that spending hours each day on Facebook, Pintrest, Instagram etc. is the best use of your marketing time? Do you try to do everything in your business yourself, never delegating or outsourcing, and continually running yourself ragged? If you have any of these problems, you have time management boundary issues in your photography business.

There are many other places that you need boundaries in your photography business, but these are some of the biggies. I have had problems in all of these areas in my business at one time or another. Photography business boundaries, or my lack of thereof, has caused a lot of damage. And, I don’t want these challenges to cause damage to your photography business.

So, what can you do? Well, the truth is, boundary issues are not quickly or easily dealt with. If you have boundary problems, they are, to some extent, part of your personality. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements that will have a big impact. If any of the examples above ring true for you, you would be well served to find, and read a good book on boundaries. One of the best out there is “Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud.

But, if practically everything above rings true for you, then you are probably experiencing significant difficulties in operating your photography business. And, you need to get help right away! One, two or three of these can cripple your business, but if you are having a hard time with all of them (to some degree) it will literally suck the LIFE out of you and your company.

If you are in this place, you are probably feeling overwhelmed, and maybe even hopeless. But there is hope.

I am offering a FREE 30 minute photography business coaching session to anyone who needs help right now with boundary issues. I am in the process of writing a book for photographers to specifically tackle these issues, both in their photography business, and in their life. If you would like to receive your FREE 30 minute coaching session, and/or are interested in participating in research for the book, please call me @ 512-997-7429 to schedule your appointment. All participants will remain anonymous.

 

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The Loss Leader in Photography

July 31, 2015 in Business Tips, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Marketing Tips, Photography Tips, Photography Workflow by admin

Today I want to talk to you about using a loss leader in your photography business.

The portrait industry didn’t start out using loss leaders, but once corporate, multi location studios began popping up everywhere, the loss leader became the name of the game for portrait photography. I imagine most of you already know what a loss leader is, but for those of you who don’t, this is how it works. You run an ad. It’s a very attractive ad, because it offers a ridiculous number of portraits for a very small price. The photography ad draws in lots of business! You take lots of pictures. You even sell some. It works, right?

Well, let’s look a little deeper. It’s called a loss leader because is leads your customers into the studio… but at a loss. A loss, you say? Yes… you see, you can’t possibly stay in business offering portraits for less than they cost you to produce them. So, why would anybody do that? The supposed logic behind this strategy is that you will attract lots of buyers, and you will, but the only way for you to keep from losing your shirt in the process is for people to buy more than the deal. If they don’t, you will spend more money than you make, and that’s a terribly bad losing strategy for any business. You might as well be sitting on your butt watching tv rather than taking pictures at a loss. So why did the photography industry build it’s entire marketing model on this strategy? It sounds terrible, doesn’t it? The reason is that it works… at least it did for a long time. And, not only for photographers. The big box stores still use this strategy all the time. They advertise a few items at a big discount, knowing they will lose money, just to get you into the store. Why? Because, when you take the time to get your kids dressed and into the car, to drive all the way to Walmart in 100 degree heat (in Austin anyway), you sure as heck aren’t going to leave the store with just that one little item on sale. So yay for Walmart. It still works for them, and probably will continue to do so.

But the loss leader doesn’t work for photographers. It worked for the big chains at one point, but even they can’t use it much anymore. Why? I believe there are several reasons.

1. Digital has made it possible for people to scan their photographs and make more themselves. When Olan Mills gave you one 8×10, they expected you would buy more for friends and family… and you did. But, when your client can essentially steal your images from you, they have no incentive to buy more. Even some people who would never consider taking a piece of candy from a grocery store without paying, won’t think twice about copying and distributing your images without permission or compensation to you. That’s not a judgement about the morality of our clients… it’s just a fact about the way most of our society has come to view digital images.

2. One of the main reasons why the loss leader works for big chains is that they are BIG. They can spread out the risk. If 100 people buy their deal, and only 50 of them buy additional items, they are probably still going to come out ahead. But if you, as a photographer, only do 10 sessions each week, and half of them only take the deal, well, how can I say it… You’re Screwed!

3. Your work is custom. It takes a lot of time, energy, skill and creatively to produce a portrait. When Walmart’s client doesn’t buy an additional item, they might lose a dollar or two. But when you give something away for free, or, God forbid, at a loss, you lose $100’s or $1000’s of dollars. Why? Because you are one person, spending a lot of dedicated hours on that one client’s portraits, and you are not making any money. You also have an opportunity cost, because you cannot photograph another client or work on a paying client’s images during that time period. Walmart can spread out that labor, but even if you have an employee or two, your risk is extremely high.

4. Probably worst of all the loss leader is … well… deceptive. People are getting more and more marketing savvy. They can smell a rat. And they already know that the loss leader is a rat. They know you will want them to buy something else. Heck, they know you “need” them to buy something else. Even if they have no idea how much you really should be charging for your work, they know it’s more than what you are advertising. This sets up an adversarial position between you and your client, a psychological tug of war, and a very messy situation for both of you in the ordering appointment. Even if you get away with it and they do buy, you probably won’t get this client back in the future, and they sure won’t recommend you to their friends, because they won’t want done to their friend what you did to them. Ick!

So, is there ever a time to use a loss leader? Sure! I just used it a couple of months ago… and very successfully. But my goal wasn’t to make money or even produce a profit at all. My goal was to get images for my marketing, and FAST! So, what did I do? I gave it all away. I ran a Facebook ad for a FREE newborn session with 5 high res digital files. WHAT, you say? Kate!?!?!? How could you do that? I told you, I needed marketing images, and fast. I had just returned from an amazing class with Julia Kelleher at Texas School on newborn photography, where I learned a TON of new tricks for photographing newborns. And, I wanted to completely update all of my marketing and pricing with beautiful new images that reflected my heightened skill level. I also needed a test run for my workflow. How long was it going to take me to do a session with all these new props and wraps and such? How would I track everything with all the new steps I was putting in place? Would I need an assistant? I had lots of questions that needed answers, and photographing a gazillion babies in a short amount of time was going to answer a lot of questions and provide me with exactly what I needed. So I did it. I photographed 22 babies in  about a month and a half. I processed every image myself, presented every image myself, charged, tracked, culled, backed up, and posted to Facebook every image… myself. And I got exactly what I needed from that campaign. Did I make a lot of money? No! I had a lot of people take their 5 free images and go. But I also had a bunch who bought additional photographs, because I did a really, really good job for them. So, I said it was a loss leader, but as you can see, it really wasn’t. Because I was compensated in many important ways. And, I wasn’t being deceptive. I really meant it when I told them they were not required to buy anything and I wouldn’t be upset if they didn’t. Because I meant it. I knew I was getting something as valuable, if not more valuable, than the money. I set up a complete newborn studio system that creates repeatable, consistently beautiful images, that thrill my clients in less than two months, and I couldn’t have done that without using my Facebook “loss leader” ad. Will I ever do it again? Probably not. Everything I needed from that ad I got photographing those 22 gorgeous babies. And, my work got MUCH better because of it. So, now I’m worth more.

The loss leader does permanent damage to your brand. If you train your clients to expect a deal, they will expect a deal, every time. Be straight with people about why you charge what you charge, and don’t discount it. Can you run a special every now and then. Sure. But I would run specials that add value, rather than take away money. Then it is more like you are giving gifts. And most clients would rather receive a gift than a “gotcha” any day.

 

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Marketing for Photographers

July 24, 2015 in Photography Marketing Tips, Photography Tips, Uncategorized by admin

What fishing on my vacation taught me about marketing for photographers.

I had the pleasure of spending a week and a half in Pennsylvania this month for my family reunion. My aunt and uncle live on a beautiful little lake out in the boonies, and I just love visiting them there! One of my favorite things to do is go fishing. It reminds me of fishing off my grandmother’s pier when I was a kid, and it’s a rare chance for me to relax and reconnect with nature for a while. This trip was no exception. Even though the entire family would be expected, my boys and I had almost a week before the rest of the family got there, and fishing was the first thing on our minds as we drove down the steep driveway to my aunt and uncles house.

But there was something different about fishing for me this time, and I don’t mean the fact that it took me three nights of basically no action before I landed my first large mouth bass. This time, while I was out there on the lake thinking about life and my photography business my mind wandered to marketing. I knew that I was going to return to Austin soon, and that my first priority would be marketing. So, I figured I had better put a little thought into it while I was waiting for the fish to bite. Both of my boys had abandoned me due to the slim pick-ins, so I was out there on the lake all by myself. The first real fish that we caught was a 15 inch bass that my 5 year old pulled in, to everyone’s amazement (before he decided he was “bored” and went back up to the house). The funny thing about this catch was that little Max caught it with a fake worm. Now, if you know much about fishing, you know that bass aren’t typically what you catch with worms. Sunnies is what you catch with worms. As a matter of fact, you can pull in sunnies one right after the other with live worms. Worms are what I learned to fish with as a kid. Practically all I ever caught from my grandmas lake was sunnies… because of the bait I was using. Later, when I was in high school, my grandmother got us some live minnows to fish with, and I caught my first bass. Wow! Was that ever exciting! I didn’t use minnows very often, but I had a lot more fun when I did, because the fish were so much bigger and better to eat. The other thing though about using minnows was that I caught less fish. Bass simply don’t bite as often as sunfish… or at least they didn’t where I fished. My grandmother’s lake was stocked with sunnies, and they seemed to be everywhere. The bass were few and far between.

So what does any of this have to do with marketing? Great question! A lot actually. Marketing is a lot like fishing. When you think about it, fishing for fish requires bait… so does marketing. If you don’t have the right bait, you might not get any bites at all. If you use worms, you will get lots of little fish, and if you use minnows or lures, you will catch a few bass. So how does the bait apply to marketing for photographers? Well, what kind of bait are you using to catch your clients? Are you using worms? What is the marketing equivalent of worms? I would say Groupon is a good example of a worm. You will attract lots of little fish with Groupon. But will you catch the kind of clients that you want? Will you attract clients that can afford you? Maybe what you want to do is to attract bass. You know, big fish that are good eating. It takes courage to fish with lures and minnows instead of worms. Worms will get you fast results… like Groupon will, so they seem great. But, when you take into consideration the amount of time, effort and energy you put into each of your clients, do you really want to do all that, just to end up with a big bag full of sunnies? Lures and minnows will bring you long-term clients that are right for you and your photography business. It scary to fish for the big fish. Why? Because to do so, you have to take your focus off of the sunfish (the clients that want cheap photos) and spend all of your efforts on catching the bass. This can be hard to do when you aren’t seeing instant results. Instant results are fun! They are encouraging. And having three nights of no success can make you want to pull in a few sunnies, just to keep your spirits up. I know it was frustrating for me, going three nights without a single bass.  And, I actually did break down and fish for sunnies for a while. But pulling in sunfish, one after the other, gets pretty boring. Not only did I know they weren’t big enough to eat, but the whole time I was fishing for them I was neglecting the bass. So I went back to my lure.

So back to the story… Max caught the first bass, on a fake worm. What’s that? What did you say, Kate? I thought you said worms were for sunfish. Well… that’s normally true, and technically, since the worm was fake, it would actually be considered a lure. But I digress. The reason I brought up the fake worm was to teach you something else about marketing. You see, Max caught that big bass on a fake worm, and it was the first time we had thrown that lure in. None of the lures I typically catch bass on in that lake were working, but low and behold, Max lands a bass. So what do you think I did? Your darn too-tin! I strung a fake worm onto my line and tossed it out. We caught five more bass on that lure over the next two days… each one bigger than the last. And we had fish for dinner two nights in a row, which was a huge treat for my boys, my mom and my aunts and uncles (and, of course, me). Why did we finally have some luck? Because we were flexible. We started with our standard lures, then moved to minnows, then worms (just so we could catch SOMETHING), then to the fake worm. Marketing is like that too sometimes. Especially in today’s fast-paced world. You never know what bait is going to pull them in. Start off with the tried and true marketing efforts. But, you’ve got to be willing to try new things, if those aren’t working. I remember direct mail used to be HUGE in photography. But I haven’t been able to get a direct mail campaign to work for three years now. Groupon… that will work… and it will work fast! Especially if you give everything away. But running a Groupon deal can kill your photography business. Think about it, do you ever shop at Bed Bath and Beyond? If you do, you know that it’s crazy to pay full price for anything there. All you need to do is wait for them to mail you a coupon. You don’t want to get that reputation for your photography business.

The final thing I learned while out there fishing on the lake, is that I can learn to be more patient with my marketing. I can trust that the fish will come (the clients), if I use the right bait, and keep putting it out there. And I don’t have to hate marketing either, as I always have. Because I LOVE fishing… and marketing is a lot like fishing. 🙂

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Time Management – Concentrate

March 4, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips, Time Management by admin

Time Management – Concentrate

Today is our last day talking about Rory Vaden’s time management focus funnel from his book “Procrastinate on Purpose”. Today is when you finally have something that you get to do. Yesterday we talked about procrastinating on purpose. And the procrastinate step is a great way to set aside tasks that don’t need to be done right now, so that you can do tasks that do need to get done now. I’m not talking about putting off something that you know you should do. I am talking about doing something that you should do, instead of distracting yourself with something that is not as significant right now. If you ask yourself the question “can I put this off?”, and the answer you get is “no”, then what you have is a task that needs to be done now. Now it is time to concentrate. This is when you turn off the phone, close your email, shut out all distractions, and give yourself a set amount of time to really focus. Focus on that one task… that one significant task that is going to create more time for you tomorrow. Focus on creating your sales system. Or focus on setting up your social media structure. Concentrate on writing the copy for your new book, or whatever it is that is going to make a big impact… long term. If your task is a big one, you may need to schedule many sessions to concentrate. If it is smaller, then you might be able to complete the whole thing in one big chunk of time. But concentrating is about shutting out distractions so that you can get that significant task completed.

Did you know that each and every time you are interrupted, it takes 15 minutes to get yourself back to a true state of focus? Think about how many times during the day you are interrupted. For some of us that means that we never really have a chance to focus on anything. If we have our email setup to notify us every time we get an email, or our Facebook page to signal every message we get, then there is really never a time during the day that we can get real concentrated focused time. What about the buzz of our cell phones? Even on vacation, few of us are willing to be very far away from that little buzz. No wonder we all feel so overwhelmed, and yet still feel like we aren’t getting very far. We have become incredibly impatient these days. We want everything now. And we get it NOW! But we are paying a high price for that. We are paying the price of not being present where we are. The people that are right in front of us get precious little of our attention, while we defer to the email, Facebook and ringing phone.

If we can use Rory Vaden’s focus funnel to eliminate things that don’t serve us, automate things that can be systematized, delegate things that are better handled by someone else, procrastinate on things that we do not need to be doing yet, and concentrate on the things that really matter… our entire lives and businesses can transform. We can get back to spending our lives on things that make a difference, on things that are fulfilling and meaningful. And for me, a chronic driver and over-achiever, maybe even finally find peace. 🙂

Here’s to you and to your peace… today and everyday moving forward.

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Photogenesis 2015

January 17, 2015 in Business Tips, Goal Setting, How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Tips by admin

I am just now catching up from my trip to SanMarcos, Texas to attend and speak at Photogenesis 2015. 2014 was my year to start this blog, and begin connecting with photographers and photography entrepreneurs around the world. And now… 2015 is my year to start speaking. Photogenesis was a great place to get my feet wet, since they needed speakers for walkup workshops. I did my 2015 Success Roadmap class, and it was so fun! There were several other walkup workshops happening simultaneously at Photogenesis, so I didn’t have a ton of people. But that was ok with me ’cause I had more time to spend with each photographer personally. If you were able to attend Photogenesis and see my class, thanks for attending! It’s wonderful to have attentive excited photographers listening to grab a bit of inspiration. If you weren’t able to be there… never fear. While getting your 2015 plan done in January is always ideal… February is a great time to put new systems in place as well. And I am going to videotape my presentation from Photogenesis (obviously I won’t actually BE at Photogenesis, but it will be that presentation) and put it up here on my blog. Anyone who wasn’t able to attend will have the opportunity to get a plan into action for 2015, and if you were lucky enough to have joined me, and hundreds of other photographers, at Photogenesis 2015, then you can watch the video and get a refresher.

This video will be packed with the big picture for your business for the year. This is the best place to start from… what you want your business to be, do and stand for. And it will get down to the details of your strategies and tactics for creating your vision in the real world. It’s going to be exciting, so stay tuned.

Happy New Year everybody!

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Photography business tip – Speak to grow your business

November 1, 2014 in Business Tips, Fear, How to start a photography business, Photography Tips by admin

Today’s Photography business tip is to speak to grow your business.

This week I had the honor of speaking for the Digital Divas of Precision Camera here in Austin, and it reminded me of one of my favorite photography business tips… Public speaking. Public speaking has been shown in studies to be higher on the list of human fears than even death. So don’t be surprised if the idea of doing this sort of thing on a regular basis makes you break out into a cold sweat. But, if you really think about it, the fact that speaking to groups strikes fear into the hearts of most people , is really a business advantage…To You.  Since setting yourself apart from all of the other photographers is quite possibly the best way to grow your business, if you can learn to speak, then you will have a distinct advantage over them.

Ther are lots of opportunities and reasons to speak as a photography business owner. Here are some of my favorites.

Opportunities: PPA Guild Meetings, mother’s groups, event networking groups, photography enthusiasts groups, photography conventions,mand wedding and bridal planning events.

Reasons: networking, be seen as an expert, become known as someone who gives back, share ideas with other speakers and photographers, earn additional income, and many others.

This January I will begin teaching at Precision Camera. While this is a great way to position yourself as an expert, you don’t necessarily need to create a course or formal class to gain big from speaking. Just developing a twenty minute presentation to a mother’s group can be a great way to find new clients.

And, if speaking does scare you, you will get the added bonus of overcoming your fear…which can give you a great feeling of accomplishment…not a bad bonus!

My speaking experience this week was a ton of fun! What a fabulous group. These ladies sure know how to throw a party. And, it didn’t hurt that it was a Halloween party, and most everyone was dressed up. I can’t remember the last time I spoke in front of people when I wasnt nervous at all… Well maybe a tiny bit. But all those costumes kept me from having to picture the audience members in their underwear.

If you want to grow your photography business by speaking, you can start slow. Join a networking group and ask for five or ten minutes to tell the other members about what you do. The more you talk in front of groups, the easier it will be, and someday, like it has for me, it may even become fun!

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Free Photography Business Coaching Sessions still available

July 18, 2014 in Business Tips, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

I still have a couple of free photography business coaching sessions left, but they are almost gone, so click on the mini coaching session button the right to register and claim yours today!

We will be taking next week off to implement on some things for the new blog direction. We are very excited about where we are going, and we hope it is going to be hugely transformative for your photography businesses as well.

If you came to see a photography or business tip, we have lots of previous blogs still posted that you can review by just scrolling down. 🙂

If you registered to receive a coaching session, but didn’t receive the phone number to book your appointment, feel free to contact me at our studio @ 512-997-7429.

See you in about a week!

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Photography Business Tip – Get a support team with outsourcing

July 14, 2014 in Business Tips, How to start a photography business, Photography Tips by admin

Creating a great support team is not only about hiring employees. As a matter of fact, unless you really have the volume for employees, I don’t recommend you hire any at all until you have to. Employees bring with them their own set of business challenges, and there are lots of ways to get some of the less fun and more detail heavy items handled without ever having to hire an employee at all. Nowadays, many of your photography business details can be handled online. Companies like Fiverr  and Retouchup can be great resources for outsourcing things you may not like to do or don’t have time to handle in your photography business. The truth is that, as the business owner, you shouldn’t be handling things like retouching images or copyrighting (that’s writing copy… not image protection)… things that you can outsource online. You should be focusing on creating your photography, growing your photography business, and serving your clients. Outsourcing can be an inexpensive way to get some of your time and life back. Make a list of all of the things that you could turn over to someone else, and then start with the thing you hate doing the most. Maybe that’s getting a virtual bookkeeper. Trust me… it will be well worth setting some of these systems up, and it will make growing your photography business a lot less painful.

If you want to read a great book on this Timothy Ferris’ book The Four Hour Work Week is a great read!

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Photography Lighting Tip – Look for light in the environment

July 11, 2014 in How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

Todays’ photography tip is to look for the light that is naturally occurring in your environment, and find creative ways to use that light. Leave all your flashes, strobes and reflectors at home, and go find creative ways to use the naturally reflective and subtractive surfaces in your environment to create the lighting you desire. The more you can practice being resourceful as a professional photographer, the better you will perform when you are under pressure in difficult photographic situations. So practice finding the light. It’s good to know that you can always add light if you need it, but you can leave those flashes in the car from time to time, and push yourself to create what you want with what is already there.

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Photography Tip – Switch to In Person Sales

July 9, 2014 in How to start a photography business, photography education, Photography Entrepreneurship, Photography Tips by admin

If you are experiencing issues with low sales or other problems related to online sales, the solution to your problem is In Person Sales. Get your photographs off of the web! You will never be able to do your client or your work justice by selling them in an online portrait gallery. You are the expert as the professional photographer, and most, if not all, of your clients are not knowledgeable enough or skilled enough to plan out an appropriate display of their photographs. Most of them cannot visualize how amazing a 30×40 or beautiful series of three 20×20 framed museum matted portraits would look on their wall. Most of them would have no idea how to pick an appropriate size or frame for their images. And, even if they do, there is hardly anyone who has the courage to order a large framed wall portrait without the support of a professional telling them that it’s going to look great. Online photo galleries take all of the emotion out of the purchase, and emotion is what sells portraits. It’s the emotional connection that they get from seeing the images for the first time, and being excited by how fabulous they are going to look on their walls. When you put those same images online… they lose something. Now your client can look at them everyday. It’s like my momma used to say “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” They have no motivation to purchase, and to create any motivation, you have to give them a deadline, which makes you the psychological bad guy… not to mention all that time it takes for you to repeatedly follow up with them. Do yourself and your clients a huge favor and spend the time to take them through the process. Help them make their selections. You know the best way to display the images you have worked so hard to create for your clients, so don’t leave them out on a limb to purchase them by themselves online. And… that doesn’t even cover the other major issue online… copyright infringement. All I have to say about that is… if the photographs aren’t online… they can’t steal them.
As a caveat to my entire rant… let me add that even with a topic like this that I feel passionately about… there are always exceptions to the rule. When we photograph graduations, if we are unable to convince our clients in the value of delivering those photographs onsite, then we will upload them to a web site gallery. Disseminating 400 5×7’s to 1200 family members in the 30 minutes between the end of graduation and the time the venue closes is not my idea of a fun evening. So, even though we always make considerably more and run into far less customer service concerns, when we deliver onsite, in these type of events, we do upload to an online gallery. But NEVER for a single family. That family is going to get my full attention, and they are going to know that in that moment, they are the most important client in the world to me. I am going to be present, and I am going to do everything that I can to use my expertise to their benefit. I want those portraits to be a source of pride and joy for their family for many years, and I know that isn’t going to happen if they order two 5×7’s and 8 wallets from my web site.

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