PhotogRefers Blog

More Referrals For Smart Photographers

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Fill out my online form.

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With apologies to the Hair Club for Men guy… I am not just the founder of PhotogRefers.com… I am a member!



And I want to share my basic workflow and let you know how I personally plan to incorporate PhotogRefers into my social media strategy. Go ahead and print this out or bookmark this post for reference:



Shoot first (ask questions later)
Download
Back up to external drive
Back up again!!! (to a different drive)
Select faves (I use Photo Mechanic to cull)
Massage favorites in Photoshop and save PSDs
Export 20-30 images for the blog post.
Pick 5 or 6 of the VERY BEST images and prep them for PhotogRefers (I size them to 1600x2400 pixels so they’ll look good on a retina display)
Upload your 2nd favorite shot from the shoot to PhotogRefers. In the caption, link to your blog and tease that the blog post will be coming soon. Don’t forget to tag the image so it’s searchable in our gallery.
Go to that image on your PhotogRefers profile page and use the social sharing icons to post it on your other social networks (FB, G+, Pinterest etc…) There are two reasons to do this. When you image is shared social using the built in sharing buttons, it ranks higher in our gallery. And then the more your friends and followers click your images on other social networks… the higher your image ranks in our gallery! Smart right? (Don’t forget to tag your clients when you share the image on FB - just tag the post as you won’t be able to tag the linked photo) 
Blog. Link to the venue, vendors, etc… always networking!
Now that the blog post is up, pick your #1 favorite image and post it to PhotogRefers, but this time link directly to the blog post. 
Repeat step 10.
The next day, pick another image and repeat steps 12 & 13. Might take you all of 2 minutes once you get the hang of it.
Only post 1 image at a time. You don’t want your images to compete with each other for clicks and views. Also you’ll rank higher on our site by posting an image a day for 10 days than if you post 10 images in 1 day. Just make PhotogRefers.com your healthy social media habit that will actually help your business.
With apologies to the Hair Club for Men guy… I am not just the founder of PhotogRefers.com… I am a member!

And I want to share my basic workflow and let you know how I personally plan to incorporate PhotogRefers into my social media strategy. Go ahead and print this out or bookmark this post for reference:


  1. Shoot first (ask questions later)
  2. Download
  3. Back up to external drive
  4. Back up again!!! (to a different drive)
  5. Select faves (I use Photo Mechanic to cull)
  6. Massage favorites in Photoshop and save PSDs
  7. Export 20-30 images for the blog post.
  8. Pick 5 or 6 of the VERY BEST images and prep them for PhotogRefers (I size them to 1600x2400 pixels so they’ll look good on a retina display)
  9. Upload your 2nd favorite shot from the shoot to PhotogRefers. In the caption, link to your blog and tease that the blog post will be coming soon. Don’t forget to tag the image so it’s searchable in our gallery.
  10. Go to that image on your PhotogRefers profile page and use the social sharing icons to post it on your other social networks (FB, G+, Pinterest etc…) There are two reasons to do this. When you image is shared social using the built in sharing buttons, it ranks higher in our gallery. And then the more your friends and followers click your images on other social networks… the higher your image ranks in our gallery! Smart right? (Don’t forget to tag your clients when you share the image on FB - just tag the post as you won’t be able to tag the linked photo) 
  11. Blog. Link to the venue, vendors, etc… always networking!
  12. Now that the blog post is up, pick your #1 favorite image and post it to PhotogRefers, but this time link directly to the blog post. 
  13. Repeat step 10.
  14. The next day, pick another image and repeat steps 12 & 13. Might take you all of 2 minutes once you get the hang of it.
  15. Only post 1 image at a time. You don’t want your images to compete with each other for clicks and views. Also you’ll rank higher on our site by posting an image a day for 10 days than if you post 10 images in 1 day. Just make PhotogRefers.com your healthy social media habit that will actually help your business.

Filed under tips

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Dare to be Different by Dale Benfield
Every single session you shoot, do something completely different that you’ve never done before.It’s easy at first.  And then it gets really, REALLY hard.  I’ve photographed 350ish weddings and more than a thousand portrait sessions.  For that reason alone it’s easy to see how difficult it would be to do something new and that I’ve “never done before” for every single session.  Let me just say this, though: it is possible!  I know because I’ve done it.

Dare to be Different by Dale Benfield

Every single session you shoot, do something completely different that you’ve never done before.
It’s easy at first.  And then it gets really, REALLY hard.  I’ve photographed 350ish weddings and more than a thousand portrait sessions.  For that reason alone it’s easy to see how difficult it would be to do something new and that I’ve “never done before” for every single session.  Let me just say this, though: it is possible!  I know because I’ve done it.

Filed under Tip o' the day

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Your neighbor picked up a new Canon Rebel for Christmas, and now, a few months later has a blog and Facebook page and is running Mother’s Day “Get the DVD for $100” promo.  What’s up with that?Every day we see this happen. As a professional photographer, it is very common to be asked “How can I do what you do?”  Most of us are frequently asked how we got started. Many assume it’s a fun and easy business to own.  And more than a few inquiries are followed up with someone saying “My friends tell me I have a great eye.”So how does one evolve into a professional photographer?  Most photographers who have managed to survive for more than a few years, can look back and provide similar answers about what was important along the way.  Every experience is different, and there are many ways to peel the apple, but most pros resonate the same general thoughts…especially the most successful ones.Early years are spent learning the craft. Not booking sessions, designing logos and blogs, or setting up Facebook pages.  Just learning.  This might be formal degrees or classes, attendance at workshops, forum participation, receiving critique, studying style and methods and trends.  It starts in the camera, possibly a darkroom, extends to Photoshop, and then beyond.  Most photographers also move from building skills to building a portfolio or second shooting.  Portfolio building is that in between space where you want to be in business, but you don’t have real experience shooting end-to-end sessions for non-friends and relatives and you have not firmly established business processes and workflow.  It can be tiresome to be in this space, but it’s invaluable and should serve as a checkpoint to figure out if this is what you really want to do.Once you are in business, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to ensure that you have established your brand, that you are priced for profitability, and that you can deliver consistent images, session after session, that reflect the style show in your portfolio.  So while it seems like one should be able to pick up a camera, shoot great shots, and then go into business, that is not really the case at all.What are some components to this?  It’s demonstrating an understanding of:Shooting, exposure, composition, processing, and style.  What is technically correct.  What is artistic.  What makes your heart happy.  What rules you can break and what you must continuously improve on.Business and costs.  Knowing how much time you spend on a session compared to how much you charge for it, while also taking your true Cost of Goods and Fixed Expenses into account.  Whether you are charging $250 or $1,500 or $2,250 for your work, you HAVE TO UNDERSTAND what comprises your cost basis, and pay yourself for your time.Brand and style.  This comes down to WHO YOU ARE.  Everything you do has to line up with who you are. Before you even dive deep into your business, you should have a sense of how you shoot, how that translates into an image, what story it tells… and then line up your processing to enhance that.  Finding an identifiable style, and sticking with it, at least for your clients, is crucial because your clients will hire you for the consistent work they see on your site, blog and Facebook.Your offerings (what you are willing to offer, and what you love to offer, and what you won’t offer).  Inevitably, someone is going to ask you to give them something that you don’t.  You need to know how to gracefully say no, or figure out how to meet what they want. Figure out what you love to sell, and what products make you happy.  Your offering, like your brand, has to support who you are and what you do.The business.  This is SO MUCH MORE than shooting and processing. Unless you are extremely casual with it, you have to approach it as a business.  You have to understand that your shooting and processing will probably take up no more than 30% of your time, the rest will be maintaining your business.  You can be a FABULOUS PHOTOGRAPHER and love it and have all the passion in the world and shoot remarkable images… but to be in business, you need to do more than shoot and edit.  If you don’t want to do more than that, stay a hobbyist.  Once you go into business, you are in business, and it’s very difficult to make the statement “I am not in business anymore.”Your business is YOU.  And every single decision and work you produce is a reflection on YOU.  There is no corporation or bad boss to hide behind.  There are no co-workers (unless you are a larger studio).  If you produce a gallery that doesn’t make your client happy, that’s their opinion of your work (or you).  If you are late on orders, that’s a reflection on you.  If you can’t deliver what they ask for (reasonable or not), it is that YOU can’t deliver.  Understand how thick your skin must be to put yourself out there for EVERY SINGLE SESSION and risk clients calling your most beautiful work “not what they wanted.”  That, for sure will happen.If you can make it through ALL THAT, understand that you will experience the complete joy of delivering something to people that they cannot achieve on their own.  You will have the opportunity to stop time, and deliver images that reflect their life as it is today, which is more often than not invaluable.  You will develop lifelong friends and clients.  You will create a following of people that “get you” and your style and will come back for years.  You will smile on your good days, cry on your bad, but everything you do is YOURS and you own that.~ The F Stops Here is an exclusive collection of articles by Design Aglow, designed to be used and shared by photographers. Look for this column twice monthly here on the Design Aglow Blog and feel free to grab & share on your site, blog and/or social media pages with a byline and link to DesignAglow.com._____If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Your neighbor picked up a new Canon Rebel for Christmas, and now, a few months later has a blog and Facebook page and is running Mother’s Day “Get the DVD for $100” promo.  What’s up with that?

Every day we see this happen. As a professional photographer, it is very common to be asked “How can I do what you do?”  Most of us are frequently asked how we got started. Many assume it’s a fun and easy business to own.  And more than a few inquiries are followed up with someone saying “My friends tell me I have a great eye.”

So how does one evolve into a professional photographer?  Most photographers who have managed to survive for more than a few years, can look back and provide similar answers about what was important along the way.  Every experience is different, and there are many ways to peel the apple, but most pros resonate the same general thoughts…especially the most successful ones.

Early years are spent learning the craft. Not booking sessions, designing logos and blogs, or setting up Facebook pages.  Just learning.  This might be formal degrees or classes, attendance at workshops, forum participation, receiving critique, studying style and methods and trends.  It starts in the camera, possibly a darkroom, extends to Photoshop, and then beyond.  Most photographers also move from building skills to building a portfolio or second shooting.  Portfolio building is that in between space where you want to be in business, but you don’t have real experience shooting end-to-end sessions for non-friends and relatives and you have not firmly established business processes and workflow.  It can be tiresome to be in this space, but it’s invaluable and should serve as a checkpoint to figure out if this is what you really want to do.

Once you are in business, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to ensure that you have established your brand, that you are priced for profitability, and that you can deliver consistent images, session after session, that reflect the style show in your portfolio.  So while it seems like one should be able to pick up a camera, shoot great shots, and then go into business, that is not really the case at all.

What are some components to this?  It’s demonstrating an understanding of:

Shooting, exposure, composition, processing, and style.  What is technically correct.  What is artistic.  What makes your heart happy.  What rules you can break and what you must continuously improve on.

Business and costs.  Knowing how much time you spend on a session compared to how much you charge for it, while also taking your true Cost of Goods and Fixed Expenses into account.  Whether you are charging $250 or $1,500 or $2,250 for your work, you HAVE TO UNDERSTAND what comprises your cost basis, and pay yourself for your time.

Brand and style.  This comes down to WHO YOU ARE.  Everything you do has to line up with who you are. Before you even dive deep into your business, you should have a sense of how you shoot, how that translates into an image, what story it tells… and then line up your processing to enhance that.  Finding an identifiable style, and sticking with it, at least for your clients, is crucial because your clients will hire you for the consistent work they see on your site, blog and Facebook.

Your offerings (what you are willing to offer, and what you love to offer, and what you won’t offer).  Inevitably, someone is going to ask you to give them something that you don’t.  You need to know how to gracefully say no, or figure out how to meet what they want. Figure out what you love to sell, and what products make you happy.  Your offering, like your brand, has to support who you are and what you do.

The business.  This is SO MUCH MORE than shooting and processing. Unless you are extremely casual with it, you have to approach it as a business.  You have to understand that your shooting and processing will probably take up no more than 30% of your time, the rest will be maintaining your business.  You can be a FABULOUS PHOTOGRAPHER and love it and have all the passion in the world and shoot remarkable images… but to be in business, you need to do more than shoot and edit.  If you don’t want to do more than that, stay a hobbyist.  Once you go into business, you are in business, and it’s very difficult to make the statement “I am not in business anymore.”

Your business is YOU.  And every single decision and work you produce is a reflection on YOU.  There is no corporation or bad boss to hide behind.  There are no co-workers (unless you are a larger studio).  If you produce a gallery that doesn’t make your client happy, that’s their opinion of your work (or you).  If you are late on orders, that’s a reflection on you.  If you can’t deliver what they ask for (reasonable or not), it is that YOU can’t deliver.  Understand how thick your skin must be to put yourself out there for EVERY SINGLE SESSION and risk clients calling your most beautiful work “not what they wanted.”  That, for sure will happen.

If you can make it through ALL THAT, understand that you will experience the complete joy of delivering something to people that they cannot achieve on their own.  You will have the opportunity to stop time, and deliver images that reflect their life as it is today, which is more often than not invaluable.  You will develop lifelong friends and clients.  You will create a following of people that “get you” and your style and will come back for years.  You will smile on your good days, cry on your bad, but everything you do is YOURS and you own that.

~ The F Stops Here is an exclusive collection of articles by Design Aglow, designed to be used and shared by photographers. Look for this column twice monthly here on the Design Aglow Blog and feel free to grab & share on your site, blog and/or social media pages with a byline and link to DesignAglow.com.
_____
If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Filed under Tip o' the day

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Joe Photo on investing your earnings:
The party train does not keep rolling in forever. I used to believe that it would. It doesn’t. You must plan for the rainy season. When it is pouring money, you must invest in something outside your photography business. When the rain of blessings slows or stops, it’s gonna be real muddy. Pay yourself, invest, and save. Trust me, you will be happy you did.
The #1 rule from the Richest Man in Babylon: Pay Yourself First (and by pay yourself, they mean pay your savings account).

Joe Photo on investing your earnings:

The party train does not keep rolling in forever. I used to believe that it would. It doesn’t. You must plan for the rainy season. When it is pouring money, you must invest in something outside your photography business. When the rain of blessings slows or stops, it’s gonna be real muddy. Pay yourself, invest, and save. Trust me, you will be happy you did.

The #1 rule from the Richest Man in Babylon: Pay Yourself First (and by pay yourself, they mean pay your savings account).

Filed under Tip o' the day

1 note

Become a trusted adviser:
In order to get clients more committed and engaged with your brand, which will in turn lead to more word of mouth referrals and therefore more business, you have to establish yourself as a trusted adviser (see the book The Trusted Adviser by David Maister). What this means is that the client sees you as an expert in your field, trusts your recommendations, and is happy to recommend your services to others.  The first step towards this “trusted adviser” status in the minds of your clients is to actually be a trustworthy expert in your field. That’s the easy part and I think that most of us have already achieved that. But the next step is where many photographers fail: they need to successfully communicate their confidence and expertise to the client. This involves carefully directing the client in every interaction that they have with you, your studio, and your brand.If you are a wedding photographer, for example, you can offer the bride advice on wedding planning when she describes the wedding to you.  You can ask if she needs recommendations on other vendors (which also helps build your referral network). You, after all, have photographed and witnessed many weddings from a vendor’s perspective, whereas this is the first (and hopefully last) wedding that the bride will plan for herself.  Therefore she will assume that you know what you’re talking about—she is already positioned to trust your advice, and you should take advantage of that situation by offering her good, sound advice that will serve her well as she plans her wedding, and at the same time it will reinforce her perception of you as an expert that she will want to refer to her friends and family.Author’s bio: Dale and Jill Lempa are Lempa Creative, a husband and wife team of photographers in Cary, NC, specializing in wedding and engagement photography.
_____If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Become a trusted adviser:

In order to get clients more committed and engaged with your brand, which will in turn lead to more word of mouth referrals and therefore more business, you have to establish yourself as a trusted adviser (see the book The Trusted Adviser by David Maister). What this means is that the client sees you as an expert in your field, trusts your recommendations, and is happy to recommend your services to others.  The first step towards this “trusted adviser” status in the minds of your clients is to actually be a trustworthy expert in your field. That’s the easy part and I think that most of us have already achieved that. But the next step is where many photographers fail: they need to successfully communicate their confidence and expertise to the client. This involves carefully directing the client in every interaction that they have with you, your studio, and your brand.

If you are a wedding photographer, for example, you can offer the bride advice on wedding planning when she describes the wedding to you.  You can ask if she needs recommendations on other vendors (which also helps build your referral network). You, after all, have photographed and witnessed many weddings from a vendor’s perspective, whereas this is the first (and hopefully last) wedding that the bride will plan for herself.  Therefore she will assume that you know what you’re talking about—she is already positioned to trust your advice, and you should take advantage of that situation by offering her good, sound advice that will serve her well as she plans her wedding, and at the same time it will reinforce her perception of you as an expert that she will want to refer to her friends and family.

Author’s bio: Dale and Jill Lempa are Lempa Creative, a husband and wife team of photographers in Cary, NC, specializing in wedding and engagement photography.

_____
If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Filed under Tip o' the day

1 note

Zach Prez on Better SEO:
The biggest popularity contest in the photography industry is the one happening on Google. The #1 ranked photographer in Google is often perceived as the best in that region. How much attention are you paying to the benefits of search engine optimization:• Get more clients• Attract the right clients• Grow your business to a point where you can charge the fees you deserve• Scale back paid marketing activities• New business that starts in search engines multiplies through repeat clients, referrals and reputation.Don’t wait to climb the ranks of Google so you can be seen as the best.
The fastest way to rank is through a Google+ profile. The social network Google+ is now essential in SEO because Google integrates it with search results.Think of your Google+ page as your brand hub. Your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, is eligible to show on the right-hand side of search results when relevant to a customer’s search. Relevant posts can also show up within search results for your page’s followers. This hub connects your entire Internet footprint together for the purpose of search. Things like your address, website URL, Facebook friends, reviews and blog posts all intermingle to present a holistic and personalized search experience for each user.A Google Plus business page is becoming as important as your website. Get started at http://www.google.com/+/business/get-found.html  
_____If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Zach Prez on Better SEO:

The biggest popularity contest in the photography industry is the one happening on Google. The #1 ranked photographer in Google is often perceived as the best in that region. How much attention are you paying to the benefits of search engine optimization:

• Get more clients
• Attract the right clients
• Grow your business to a point where you can charge the fees you deserve
• Scale back paid marketing activities
• New business that starts in search engines multiplies through repeat clients, referrals and reputation.

Don’t wait to climb the ranks of Google so you can be seen as the best.

The fastest way to rank is through a Google+ profile. The social network Google+ is now essential in SEO because Google integrates it with search results.

Think of your Google+ page as your brand hub. Your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, is eligible to show on the right-hand side of search results when relevant to a customer’s search. Relevant posts can also show up within search results for your page’s followers.
 
This hub connects your entire Internet footprint together for the purpose of search. Things like your address, website URL, Facebook friends, reviews and blog posts all intermingle to present a holistic and personalized search experience for each user.

A Google Plus business page is becoming as important as your website. Get started at
http://www.google.com/+/business/get-found.html 

_____
If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Filed under Tip o' the day

5 notes

Zach & Jody on creating systems:

If you want consistent results in anything (the way you shoot, the way you edit, the way you manage your clients) then you need a great system. Great systems are art, they are creative processes that produce results each and every time. Don’t be afraid of systems because you think they will destroy creativity. They ARE creativity!

Zach & Jody on creating systems:

If you want consistent results in anything (the way you shoot, the way you edit, the way you manage your clients) then you need a great system. Great systems are art, they are creative processes that produce results each and every time. Don’t be afraid of systems because you think they will destroy creativity. They ARE creativity!

Filed under Tip o' the day

1 note

Jessica Claire on sharing:

Sharing images has been a bit of a hot button for photographers over the past few years.  I’m always surprised when a photographer is reluctant to give images to the other vendors that were involved with a wedding or shoot—the florist, coordinator, cake designer, venue, etc.  Sometimes a photographer will say that they can’t share those images because the wedding is going to be published, but for me, the vendors come first.  This is because I think it is about a billion times more likely that a local vendor that I actually worked with and provided photos to will refer me another wedding than a random person who just happens to see that photo on a blog somewhere.

Blogs are a wonderful way to increase your brand exposure and get your name out there, but I’ve found that the vast majority of my weddings come from people I’ve met personally, or are friends of friends.  Your local vendors, the people you interact with on a frequent basis and whom you are going to work with again are a very very valuable resource. Getting images to them promptly and without conditions (payment, watermarking, etc) is not only a way to increase goodwill and the likeliness that they will refer you, but also is the fastest way to get your images in front of their next client!  

So before you tell that coordinator that you can only share images in a few months after the wedding is published, think very carefully about where your next wedding might come from, and that’s who should get the priority on your images.

Happy shooting!
_____
If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Jessica Claire on sharing:

Sharing images has been a bit of a hot button for photographers over the past few years.  I’m always surprised when a photographer is reluctant to give images to the other vendors that were involved with a wedding or shoot—the florist, coordinator, cake designer, venue, etc.  Sometimes a photographer will say that they can’t share those images because the wedding is going to be published, but for me, the vendors come first.  This is because I think it is about a billion times more likely that a local vendor that I actually worked with and provided photos to will refer me another wedding than a random person who just happens to see that photo on a blog somewhere.
Blogs are a wonderful way to increase your brand exposure and get your name out there, but I’ve found that the vast majority of my weddings come from people I’ve met personally, or are friends of friends.  Your local vendors, the people you interact with on a frequent basis and whom you are going to work with again are a very very valuable resource. Getting images to them promptly and without conditions (payment, watermarking, etc) is not only a way to increase goodwill and the likeliness that they will refer you, but also is the fastest way to get your images in front of their next client!  
So before you tell that coordinator that you can only share images in a few months after the wedding is published, think very carefully about where your next wedding might come from, and that’s who should get the priority on your images.
Happy shooting!

_____

If you haven’t reserved your customer user name at PhotogRefers.com yet, be sure to do it now. We’ll be launching soon!

Filed under Tip o' the day

1 note

Rachel Brenke, The Law Tog shares some sound advice:
Capitalize on the marketing actions with high return on investment. Eliminate or revise your approach for marketing on those with little to no return. My favorite marketing action to cultivate is word of mouth. You never know where your next referral will come from. Never discount connections, whether through formal websites or in passing through social media.  Word travels quicker than your business card will!  
Also, be sure to visit her site for a FREE legal eBook for Photographers.

Rachel Brenke, The Law Tog shares some sound advice:

Capitalize on the marketing actions with high return on investment. Eliminate or revise your approach for marketing on those with little to no return. My favorite marketing action to cultivate is word of mouth. You never know where your next referral will come from. Never discount connections, whether through formal websites or in passing through social media.  Word travels quicker than your business card will!  

Also, be sure to visit her site for a FREE legal eBook for Photographers.

Filed under Tip o' the day