Instagram vs. Vine: Which is the Right Choice for Marketers?

6 seconds. 15 seconds. Filters. No filters. With Instagram and Vine both offering a wide array of features and limitations, it can be hard to decide which short form video application might be worth devoting time to. The fact of the matter is that each platform has pros and cons that should be carefully weighed before determining which application is right for your marketing needs.

Let’s take a close look at each.

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Image via Visual.ly

Vine

Once Vine was purchased by Twitter, it opened a new type of dynamic media sharing on the network. You could shoot and share videos with little to no experience. The application uses a touch interface that allows users to capture video in short clips, quickly and easily. The sum of these clips is no longer than six seconds and can be instantly shared on Twitter.

Pros

Though it doesn’t necessarily compare to YouTube, Vine does have its advantages. Its short video length is optimal for the fast pace of the Twitter feed. Six seconds automatically set to loop gives the user multiple chances to see the entire video while scrolling through other content. Users may miss the main concept of a longer video as they move on to other newer content within the stream. It’s also relatively easy to understand. Simply point, press, and shoot your video, write a quick description and post it to Vine’s network as well as Twitter and several others if you wish.

Cons

After being purchased by Twitter, the native Facebook sharing functionality was disabled. This means that if you wish to share Vine videos on Facebook, you must copy and paste a link. It also means that Facebook will not display your videos as dynamic content, making it much less shareable and less appealing to users. This can weigh heavily into your decision of whether or not to use Vine as the platform for your short form video marketing needs.

Clunky Facebook sharing isn’t the only drawback to using Vine, though. The app also doesn’t allow you to import pre-recorded content into its database. This means that once you shoot a video, you must share it immediately afterward. It essentially prevents you from being able to edit or review the video before it’s posted. Many marketing managers are not comfortable with the lack of editing before publishing and this may drive them away from Vine.

Instagram Video

Instagram began as a photo sharing application that became popular due to its unique filter functionality. After being purchased by Facebook, Instagram has seen a steady stream of updates improving the applications functionality and broadening appeal. Most recently Instagram launched video capability. It was immediately compared to Twitter owned Vine. It turns out there was good reason for comparison. The application functions in many ways that are very similar to Vine. Some might even say it is superior to Vine’s functionality.

Pros

Instagram offers many great features. In addition to the ability to add filters to your videos, it also has fairly high-end stabilization software that can help make videos less shaky and more impressive. It also offers the ability to import videos from your outside sources. This means a video can be edited and approved by a third party if necessary before publishing. The format is slightly longer allowing for a more developed story.

Likely due to the increased length, Instagram videos do no loop and require the user to hover or click on them to play. This is much less disruptive when scanning the feed. You only interact with videos that interest you and it does not cause bandwidth issues on mobile devices.

Cons

While Instagram is a great tool, it’s not without its flaws. Fifteen seconds often feels too long or too short. Videos sometimes feel cramped in the short period of time while others leave dead air. While this can now be corrected with simple editing before publishing, many small brands and marketers may need to experiment before publishing to their branded channels. Instagram video also has a much higher learning curve. More features can often mean more opportunities for mistakes. Import or upload errors could easily occur. Confusion between multiple versions of the same video could also cause confusion.

So, what short form video application is right for you? Well, I can’t tell you definitively, but my suggestion is to experiment with both. You may find that you use both applications, but for different purposes and on different channels. The best part is as long as you’re creating interesting and dynamic content, you really can’t go wrong.

Which application do you prefer? What are your tips and tricks?

Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the Non-Profit Partnership Liaison for Benchmark Email Marketing Services. Aidan advocates free email marketing services to assist with the flourishing of grassroots organizations.

5 Website Tips For Impressing Potential Couples

I get a lot of emails from photographers wondering what is “wrong” with their business:

  • business is down
  • it’s harder to book and keep weddings
  • people are spending less
  • potential client seem to be on a different page

I struggled with similar issues early in my career as well. We can blame it on the economy, or the new face of social media, or the access of digital cameras to the masses … but truthfully, the issues listed above have always been around. They are part of the growing pains of turning a hobby or dream into a viable, lucrative business. At some point, all small business owners hit these walls. Believe it or not, the fact that you are asking these questions means that you are ready for growth! And that’s exciting!

In many of my one on one coaching sessions with photographers, I have noticed that everyone has a blog or website, but many don’t understand how to use them effectively in order to grow and enhance their business.

Whether you are new to the industry, or have been in it for several years, one of the most important tools at your disposal is your website. This is your platform, your virtual storefront and your chance to create an amazing visual first impression. Your website is where you meet and engage your ideal client base.

Let me put it more directly … your website is where you let potential clients know who you are and why you are worth the money.

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© Laura Novak

In order to do this effectively, your website needs to have five main components…

1. Relatability: Your target bride should want to be the brides she sees on your site.

  • First … you need to know your target bride. Is she traditional and classic? Is she trendy and creative? Is she a statement destination bride or a classic country club bride? Does she want a farmhouse wedding with rustic accents or a five-star hotel wedding with high glamour?
  • Then… show her pictures of her dream wedding! If most people who hire you are getting married at the local country club – putting a photo of a destination wedding as your homepage might impress them, but it won’t create an emotional pull towards you … because it’s not relatable. Decide who you want as your client and then show images that speak to her dreams and vision for her wedding day.

2. Credibility: Press, testimonials, and other recommendations will help create credibility on your site. This is especially true if you are just starting out. People want to work with someone they can trust. The best way to show them that you are as fantastic as you look is to have someone else tell them! Here’s how to get the cred…

  • Are you new to the industry? Chances are you have photographed events for family and friends … ask them to write a 1 – 2 line testimonial of what they loved most about the images or working with you.
  • Have you worked a few weddings and made great connections with other vendors? Cross market! Ask them to refer clients to you, and offer to do the same for them! In the process, ask if they could supply a one or two-line quote to put on your website. It gives you credibility, and gives them a little extra marketing plug!
  • Have you been around for a while? Then you probably have a ton of testimonials right at your fingertips … the thank you notes your beautiful brides have sent when they received their images! Pull a quote from your favorite notes and show them along side a stunning photo from their wedding. The bride will be honored to be a feature on your site, and your potential clients will see what former brides have to say about you.

3. Emotion: As photographers, we often fall in love with an image from a technical or artistic perspective so we put it on our website. Stop!

Our clients are (typically) not photographers. They aren’t always aware of the technical or artistic perspectives. They are looking for emotion when they view your photos. Whether they know it or not, they are choosing you based largely on how they feel when they look at your images.

Let your website portfolio show the special moments and secret looks. The laughter and the tears. Once you have created a solid portfolio of the emotional shots, then sprinkle in a few artistic images of the dress and details to show that you can rock those, too! Think of the detail shots as the seasoning sprinkled throughout. Let the emotional moments be the main course!

4. Specialization: Many of us have a few different photographic specialties. Perhaps you have done corporate work in the past and are keeping that as a sideline to bolster your business in slower seasons. Or maybe you are dabbling with family portraiture as you follow your brides through the next phase of their journey. That’s great! Let me caution you about putting all of your eggs in one web basket.

If you are growing your wedding business and branding yourself that way, don’t dilute your message by showing all of your portfolios in one place. I know it sounds pricey, but I am a firm believer in separating out your sites.

Brides are in the midst of dreaming about their big day! They are emotionally tied to it and sometimes it’s all they can think about. While they may want to start a family, those images are not as compelling to them in this moment.

Similarly, once they are past the wedding, they will only want to look at maternity & newborn images and start dreaming about that milestone. Other people’s weddings will not seem as interesting. Show your clients what they are looking for, and put links to your other sites so that they can move along with you to the next phase.

5. Authenticity: Emotion cannot be manufactured. It has to be authentic. Your website needs to show authentic moments, and it needs to show that you understand the magic and power of those moments. Your potential client is trusting you with “ the most important day of their lives”. Show them that you get it! Be aware of the little things … the quiet moments, the butterflies in the stomach, the power of the first dance … put yourself in their shoes!

If you photograph weddings based solely on the latest looks from Pinterest the images will always seem hollow and in-authentic to your client. Dig deep!! Know what is in your heart!! Demonstrate your passion and connection through your photography and put that on your website.

SO there you go … website 101. You have the passion… you have the talent. Now go tweak that website and get the clients!

Laura-NovakThanks for reading. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information about specific topics! I’d love to hear how I can help you take the next steps!


Laura Novak has over 10 years of wedding photography experience, and her work has been featured on numerous national and international publications. Visit Laura’s site, www.lauranovak.com, to download a sample album that she used to generate over 1.2 million dollars in wedding business. Laura in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband, John, and baby, Andrew.

7 Plugins Worth Installing On Every WordPress Photography Website

You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover – but everyone does. In fact, a great cover design can more than double the sales of an ebook.

The same is true for your WordPress site. With the click of a mouse (or the swipe of a finger on a touch screen) your hard-won visitors will be gone if you don’t give them a good reason to stick around – and that means creating a great design that lets your beautiful image galleries and slideshows shine.

The first step is choosing the right theme (you learn all about installing and customizing a variety themes, including Photocrati’s theme) during my free creativeLIVE course August 5-6).

After you get your theme set up, you can add loads of other features by installing and activating Plugins. In the world of WordPress there are now 26,000 themes (and counting). If you’re a photographer, you should definitely start with the NextGen Gallery plugin (now also owned by Photocrati). With more than 7.5 million downloads, it’s one of the most popular plugins in the world of WordPress.

Here are 7 other plugins I recommend for anyone with a WordPress site:

1) WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast

Optimization helps you stay ahead of the game. This plugin provides an easy platform to optimize content, the titles of your images, meta descriptions, and more.

2) AddThis Social Media Sharing

This single string of code is easy to install and lets your visitors share your content easily. It’s a non-intrusive, data driven tool. It’s especially great on mobile devices.

3) WP Super Cache

In technical terms, this plugin generates HTML files pushed directly by Apache without the dealing with PHP Scripts. This means that you can use this plugin to speed up your site significantly.

4) NextGEN Gallery

This is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It includes multiple gallery styles, albums and lightboxes. Recently updated with an improved user experience and a premium version with additional styles and an exclusive lightbox and all fully responsive.

5) LightBox Plus Colorbox

There so many light box plugins too choose from, but this is one of the most popular options. (worth noting that the Photocrati theme has a lightbox built-in)

6) Regenerate Thumbnails

One of the hardest parts of building a great site is having the time to make it great. That said, you need all the time savers you can get. this plugin lets you regenerate the thumbnails for all your image attachments no matter if you’ve altered them previously.

7) Backup Buddy

Arguably the most popular option for creating regular backups of your blog, this plugin can also help you move a WordPress site to a new server (which si a lot more complicated than most WordPress novices realize).

Bonus tip: Gravatar: It’s not a plugin, but create a profile at gravatar.com and your profile photo will appear next to your name when you post comments on your site, or anyone else’s who supports Gravatars, which is most sites.

Janine Warner is the author of 25 books, including Web Sites For Dummies, Mobile Web Design For Dummies, and Social Media Design For Dummies (Jan. 2014). If you want to learn more about all of Janine’s WordPress tips and tricks, watch her free online creativeLIVE course August 5-6.

Special Note: On the first day of her creativeLIVE course, Janine will be interviewing Photocrati’s very own Scott Wyden Kivowitz!

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Top 10 Things New Photographers Need to Know and Do

Ever wanted a check-list to take away the mystery of starting out in photography? Can’t be that easy can it? Sure it can! Here are the top ten things new photography business owners need to know and do when setting up shop.

1. Pick a good name

Once you hit the ground running with business filings to the government and marketing yourself you don’t necessarily want to go back to the beginning. Start off with a good name to represent your business and your market. In a creative industry the use of a name connected to your legal personal name is a surefire way to brand yourself from others. Another aspect to consider is researching federal trademarks and local business names to ensure there is not a pre-existing business in play with that name. This does not mean you have to choose to use your legal name but can definitely help lend some credibility and name recognition in your market.

2. Get legit

Getting legit encompasses setting up business structure and securing the required permits to engage in business. Ignoring these structures demonstrates an unprofessional and immature business owner that can bring along many fines and penalties. Each jurisdiction varies on how to set up and maintain your business legally so be sure to check with local laws (Or hire an attorney to do it for you!)

3. Pay taxes

Taxes vary on location but at the core are federal income, state income and state sales taxes. Rates, schedules and methods of remitting vary depending upon jurisdiction.

4. Get insurance

While selecting a business structure that separates out liability for your personal assets, having insurance will help to cement professionalism while protecting yourself and clients. Insurance types include liability, equipment, disability, life, rental/owner property (such as for studios), and other miscellaneous insurances available through various providers.

5. Use lawyer drafted contracts

You’ve done all this work so far, why put yourself at risk? Contracts are way more than individual business policies. They include contract law principles that are specific to business transactions. Consider finding an attorney that is involved in the creative industry to ensure the business transaction contract you are using covers all areas you need and avoids a basic base-line contract. Search your local state bar websites or ask for referrals.

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A word to the wise business person, don’t borrow from another. To ensure you know the legitimacy of the contract and the law behind it research and engage in a reputable attorney

6. Set up a website and/or blog

Time to get your web presence going since where is everyone these days? On their computer. Their phone. Their tablet. Your market is connected. Find a website and/or blog set up to display your work and market yourself to your target clients. Both will provide information to your clients and act as an online store-front for your business.

7. Set up social media

Going along with the website and blog presence your business NEEDS to be on social media. The various social media platforms out there provide a low-cost marketing tool with a high rate of return on investment of your time and costs. Miss the boat on social media and you’re missing the boat on gaining clients.

8. Define your policies and prices

Before even marketing to potential clients you need to have policies and prices in place. Going along with #9 (know your market) define this information to be able to provide potential clients a full view of your products, services, prices and policies up front. No surprises should be waiting for them. An informed client has a higher probability of a better customer service experience.

9. Know your market

All of this work is no good if you don’t define who your market is. Don’t just passively market. Get active by knowing who they are, where they are and what they want.

10. Know and control your business costs

Finally, but not last as there is way more to go along with building a business, for this top ten you should know and control your business costs. Having a pulse on what you have to spend and what you need to spend are important to ensuring you’re turning a profit. This is a good way to identify leaks and control the prices for your clients.

Photographers Need To Know (More)

This top ten isn’t all inclusive of everything you need to get your photography business going but it is a good start. In fact, it’s more than a start. Business owners should run through this check-list routinely to ensure they are up to date on all legalities, policies and business aspects to keep a smooth running business.

The LawTogFor more legal help for photog’s snag The Law Tog’s free eBook “The Legal Lens” here.

Rachel Brenke is the lawyer/photographer owner of The Law Tog, a site is dedicated to providing legal, marketing and biz advice to photography businesses with maximum efficiency and results. Through business consulting services and her published book “The Laundry List: A Mother’s Guide to Balancing Family and Business” Rachel provides guidance in practical ways for photography business owners to succeed.

Please also join Rachel on Facebook!

Featured Member: Giorgio Baruffi

What kind of photography do you do?

Mainly wedding photography, I would do just that!

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Story behind this image: The Bride (in black) is the woman in center and i like this shot because I think it is very fresh and show how friendship is beautiful. And then, how many black brides we can photograph?

How would you describe your style?

With my style of photography I try to offer a new perspective on wedding photography: I try to capture moments as they happen by themselves. My goal is to use photography to tell the story of your wedding day as it unfolds spontaneously. I prefer to let the day’s events take place naturally, trying to always be ready to capture them in real-time, occasionally I like to create a little fun involving couples and / or guests in photographs unexpected, witty and funny. However, for most of the day, I try to stay “in the background”, as a silent observer, paying great attention to the interaction genuine and sincere ready to capture them.

What’s your approach to post processing?

Well, i think that post processing is an important part of digital photography, as well as in the analog photography period I develop my files to reach my taste. I try to bring back my sensation and the emotions that I’ve seen on the scene with my personal taste with all the instruments that are available today, I’m not a purist. Every time is a little different, depends on type of person I’ve photographed, someone deserve more post production, someone else less.

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Story behind this image: I love this photograph because I’ve captured a real surprise moment, they are so beautiful!

What or who inspires you?

all great wedding photographers, I look at hundreds of pictures every single day, everyone has their own taste, but I love this kind of photography, I never enough, and always I learn something new.

JPG-HR-3437

Story behind this image: love has no boundaries, I really loved this wedding day, Raffaella and Mauro are very much in love and I was touched by this.

What gear do you use?

is not so important for me, photographs are made with the head and the heart, I eventually chosen Nikon professional equipment.

Links:

Website: http://www.gbfotografia.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GiorgioBaruffi.Photographer
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GiorgioBaruffi
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/giorgiobaruffi/

Featured Member: Carl Shubs

What kind of photography do you do?

My preference is what I have come to call “found images.” That means shooting what I see as I go out into the world, without studio setup or extra lighting. The subject matter covers a wide range of topics and perspectives including people, street photography, objects, night scenes, nature, iconic landmarks, and unusual perspectives on life and the city around us. Sometimes I do shoot in a studio, especially with nudes.

My inclination is to let each image speak for itself and ellicit in the viewer whatever it might, allowing it to stand alone in a Rorschach-like fashion. One of my joys is seeing or hearing whatever that might be as someone looks at it for the first time.

Some of my photographs have been described as “edgy” and may feel somewhat disturbing to a viewer. That tells me I’ve succeeded in evoking some emotional or psychological connection, which also happens when someone bursts out laughing. Sometimes the response is not disturbing but more curiosity or puzzlement, as someone likes a photo and asks, “What is that?” when the image presented is actually as it came out of the camera without any major Photoshop manipulation.

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Story behind this image: I titled the image, “Car, Cowboy, and Astronaut.” It is one I found many years ago on the Venice boardwalk in Los Angeles, and I shot it with film, which is what I was using at the time (Nikon FG, 50mm lens, settings unrecorded). What I loved about it was seeing the juxtaposition of time periods, settings, and what was real and unreal in the image, all of which create a new reality. The car was parked in a lot, up against a mural, and the combination was just sitting there. The photograph is part of a solo exhibition running in Los Angeles.

How would you describe your style?

The style varies, depending on what I find and then what I’m after with what I’ve found. When I’m going out to shoot in the world, without any preconceived intention, which is what I love to do, it is more of a combination of street photography and photojournalism. The photographs vary in appearance between those that are traditional presentations and what I have come to call Contemporary Art Photography.

What’s your approach to post processing?

I always start out with composition. I try to get it in the camera, but I might refine it in post. Or, I might find an alternative composition in the image that’s even better than what I was originally going for. Then, I’m making overall and selective adjustments for things like tone, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and color. I might use plugins like those from NIK, Topaz, or Imagenomics to enhance the image without essentially changing it from what I see. One of the most valuable things I have found is to be working from a perspective of “What can I do with this image?” That doesn’t mean jumping to compositing but rather exploring between color options, black and white options and styles, and generally exploring all that Photoshop may offer without compositing. It’s been a part of my effort to expand my knowledge of Photoshop, which I’m still doing, and it’s often led to some of my favorite results.

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Story behind this image: I titled the image, “Nun in Self Reflection.” It came from a grab while I was on the Metro in Los Angeles (Nikon, D80, with pop-up flash). There was no Photoshop manipulation in this photo. It was unposed, of a stranger, taken on the subway, and handheld. I was drawn to the contrast between her relatively calm and placid face and all of the emotional intensity in her reflected image in the window. The photograph was displayed in “Mirrors of the Mind,” an art exhibition sponsored by the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, in 2012, and it will be included in the upcoming book of images from that show.

What or who inspires you?

In the last few years, I have been most influenced by Vivian Maier. Seeing her photographs totally changed my thinking about composition. I was always very aware of lines, curves, contrasts, shapes, balance, and movement in the image, but her photographs changed my ideas of how to put them together. The images shown here were all done prior to that awakening, but they still work within it.

Graffiti-Washroom-1-72dpi-600w-j@12

Story behind this image: I titled the image, “Graffiti Washroom -1.” It came from a shoot at an abandoned building in Los Angeles. The room had no color in it, and that version was “Graffiti Washroom -2.” The color here was all painted in with light, not done afterwards in Photoshop, so this is what came out of the camera, with only minor adjustments in Photoshop.

What gear do you use?

A few years ago I upgraded to a full frame camera and switched to a Canon 5D Mark II, with a full set of 2.8 Canon lenses, including a fisheye and 2x extenders. I am still exploring all that this wonderful equipment can do, and I’m loving it.

Links:

Website: http://carlshubsphotography.com

Featured Member: Claire Milton

What kind of photography do you do?

Weddings and special events; portraits; equine portraits and sporting events.

Foal

Story behind this image: New foals are so intriguing – all legs and discombobulation. This fellow was sleeping in hay and dirt and I was struck by the monochromatic quality of the scene. The shallow depth of field highlights the downy soft quality of his coat. This photo was enlarged to 24″ width and was printed in metallic – the sheen and framing of the piece is stunning and I was very proud to give this shot to the owner of the baby.

How would you describe your style?

For weddings, I strive for natural, elegant and timeless. I strongly believe in getting it right in the camera, and I don’t want to rely on post-processing to fix mistakes. Post-processing is for enhancing something that is already beautiful.

What’s your approach to post processing?

See above. I use Lightroom and Photoshop but I want to use these tools to enhance photos that I am already happy with out of camera.

Wedding

Story behind this image: The wedding couple chose to marry in an old movie theatre that has been reconfigured as an event space. It was so dark in the theatre that I feared it would be a photographic challenge that I wasn’t up for – especially since the couple did not want flash and extra lighting to interfere with the mood they had created. I love this shot because it perfectly highlights the bride and reveals the happy anticipation in the faces of the guests.

What or who inspires you?

The beautiful natural environment of Nova Scotia, Canada. The sheer joy and emotion of people experiencing the important milestones in life: weddings, engagements, celebrations of all kinds.

Magnolia

Story behind this image: This little creature was nestled inside a magnolia blossom in early spring. Using a 100mm macro lens, I was interested in capturing the dense lucidity of the magnolia petals and the beautiful detail in the heart of the flower. Something about the juxtaposition of an ugly bug and a beautiful flower was also interesting.

What gear do you use?

Canon: 5D Mk II, Canon Rebel XSi and several Canon and Sigma lenses.

Links:

Website: http://www.equiluminance.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.milton2
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EquiluminanceP

Your Photography Website Is Pretty, But Will It Get You Clients?

I’ve seen photographers spend piles of money on lovely photography websites with lots of fading images, music tracks, pretty pages and more.

I often wonder how good those websites are at converting a visitor into a potential client?

The “pretty factor” helps, sure. But what other elements can help a photography website: generate a visitor, engage them enough to cause them to stick (or return), and, ultimately, to get them to convert into a phone call, email or web form submission.

I spent the past eight years studying a variety of websites across hundreds of industries, not just photography. I’ve put together a list of things that I’ve seen be the most successful.

Three ways to ensure your photography website is performing to its fullest potential

1. Is anyone visiting?

A pretty website is worthless if no one, or not enough people, visit it. How much is enough? There is no “enough”.

I personally believe that in order to continue to be successful in your business, your website traffic should be higher this month than it was last month or higher this year than it was last year. For those of you in seasonal businesses, perhaps the comparison of same months within prior years is most relevant, where more steady photography businesses can just look month over month within the same year.

If you have no idea how many visitors are coming to your website, use Jetpack or Google Analytics or see if your hosting provider offers a stat package.

How often should you watch your website traffic?

Once a week is sufficient. You should be looking for a few things:

  • Where are people coming from? (ie what sources are they coming from? Facebook, Pinterest, Email programs, etc?)
  • What search terms are they using to find your website? (i.e., are people only Googling your name? Or are they searching and finding you using more general terms?
  • What is the quantity of traffic and how does it compare to last year, last month, etc?

2. If people aren’t visiting or finding you, fix something (or a lot of things)

Obviously I could write a dissertation on website SEO. If you’re really into optimizing your website for search, check out this amazing community here. I would write about SEO more, but I’d rather leave that topic to the experts. :)

People not finding you could be because of poor SEO. It could also be because of any number or combination of the following:

  • Your overall reach in social media needs to be improved (get more fans or followers!)
  • You need to post more links from social to your site (give those fans and followers a reason to visit your site!)
  • You need to get more links to your website listed (naturally) on other websites (a great way to do this is by guest blogging!)

3. You need to blog (or blog more)

Most photographers run a blog on their own website. But I believe the target audience for future clients is often lost in the process.

Take a look at your own blog and evaluate it based on these simple questions:

  • Does my ideal future client find anything of value in my blog?
  • Do my posts help my ideal future client make a better decision about purchasing photography (hopefully from me)?
  • Does my blog truly speak to the needs of my future client?

Editors note:  What’s your blogging strategy?

If the answer to those questions is “no”, then you may be using your blog as a diary of what you’ve done.

Instead, consider using your blog to diary ways in which your clients prepared for a shoot, participated in a shoot by holding a prop or light reflector, added to the fun of a shoot or any other idea that might help your future client see what a shoot with you can be like.

Educating your future client is key.

There is an insanely overwhelming list of things that new photographers need to learn as they launch their photography business. A website that converts visitors to potential clients is just one of them!

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I recently wrote a brief e-book titled: The Art Of A Photo Business: What Every Photographer Wished They Learned Before Starting Their Photography Business. It contains marketing advice, business tips and miscellaneous motivational “umph” for every single photographer seeking a better way to approach their business. Photocrati readers get it for just $7 until 4/30/13. Buy it by clicking here and use coupon code LH48A.

Angela Pointon is the founder of Steel Toe Images, which offers marketing advice and inspiring motivation for photography business owners. She recently published her first book, The Art of a Photo Business. Find her on her blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Fine Art Photography Exhibition by Carl Shubs

Carl Shubs is a Photocrati member and asked to share a short announcement about his fine art photography exhibition and some of his thoughts of the WordPress theme. If you are in the West Hollywood area, please check out his work in person. Over to you, Carl.

I’m happy to announce that my solo Fine Art Photography Exhibition is now up and running in the Los Angeles area. It opened February 9 and will be continuing through May 15, 2013, at US Bank, West Hollywood Branch, 8901 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. You can view it Mon-Thurs., 9-5; Fri., 9-6; or Sat., 9-1. There are 14 images on display, ranging in size from approximately 8×10 inches to 5×4 feet. Subject matter covers a wide range of topics including iconic landmarks, people, nature, and unusual perspectives on life and the city around us. The largest is the one below.

fine-art-photography-exhibition-carl-shubs

Please see Press Release for more information. While you’re there, feel free to visit the rest of the site and to forward the press release to anyone you think might be interested.

There will be an open house reception on Thursday evening, April 11, from 6:30-9:00 PM, so save the date if you’ll be in Los Angeles. If you’d like an invitation with all the specifics of the evening, just send me an email, and I’ll be happy to send one along when those are ready though you can also just come on in that night. In the meantime, you can stop by the bank during their regular business hours.

So what does this have to do with Photocrati, you might ask? Well, for years I had been looking to create a web site that would give me the professional look, aesthetic style, depth of photo database, ease of functionality and editing, and e-commerce capabilities I had been looking for. As I was starting to have my work shown, I was feeling hopeless that I’d ever find a template that would give me that, and then I found Photocrati. It gave me all that and more. When this opportunity with the bank came along, I was ready for it. I had the site I wanted. It let me show some of the diversity of my photographs as well as giving the people at the bank the sense of professionalism that helped to close the deal.

One of the other things I like about Photocrati is the sense of help and support among their team and this community. These are things I believe in and want to be part of. So, come visit the exhibit and the website, and please let me know about yours.

Best,

Carl Shubs

www.carlshubsphotography.com

Featured Member: Cecil Holmes

What kind of photography do you do?

Landscape, Scenic, Travel & HDR

Behind-Sougahougdee

Story behind this image: This is a waterfall located in Bankhead National Park in Central Alabama. The name of the falls is Sougahougdee Falls. Yeah, so most locals call it Scooby Doo Falls. This particular images was several exposures blended together in Photoshop in order to retain a proper exposure throughout the image.

How would you describe your style?

This is hard for me to do. I’m sure I have a style, I just don’t know how to describe it. If I had to, I guess I’d say it’s conservative with a hint of “on the edge”. Wait, did that make any sense?

What’s your approach to post processing?

It’s a simple approach. I like to spend more time behind the camera than behind the computer, so I utilize presets and plugins often.

Eastpoint

Story behind this image: This image was made in a little oyster community near Apalachicola, Florida called Eastpoint. These oyster boats litter the shoreline and await their captains for an early morning launch. This image was made moments before sunrise. The sky really put on a show that morning.

What or who inspires you?

Seeing great images inspire me. It could be on a TV commercial, billboard, photography magazine, book or online. It doesn’t matter the photographer so much as the image that inspires me.

Chrysler-Interior

Story behind this image: I am an avid HDR photographer. I know those three letters tend to start a war, but I have embraced and enjoyed it. This shot was taken on a friend’s property near Mobile, AL. The story goes it was a daily driver until a few years ago. When it quit running, it was parked here and not touched again.

What gear do you use?

Canon bodies, Canon and Tamron Lenses and Vanguard Tripods and bags.

Links:

Website: http://www.cecilsphotos.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cecilsphotos
Google Plus:  http://plus.google.com/107885421773779758674/posts
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cecilsphotos/