Cause Marketing for Photographers

As we move towards the coming new year many of us are beginning to implement a new marketing plan. Also, as the holiday season comes to a close many of our thoughts are on giving. Cause marketing is an opportunity to combine the two. For those unfamiliar with the term, cause marketing is a form of marketing that allows two organizations, one for profit, and one non-profit, to work together to further each of their individual marketing/development goals in a cooperative fashion. Think of the (product) RED campaign, or the partnership between the NFL and United Way.

Cause marketing can be as simple as offering a sponsorship to a local charity event, or as involved and complex as you care to make it. Below are some examples of actual cause marketing campaigns I’ve seen photographers in my market employ”¦

  • A local portrait/wedding studio holds quarterly workshops for photographers on various business practice issues. They host at their studio and usually bring in a guest speaker. They don’t charge attendees directly but ask that they make a donation to a specific charity ($40 to the local food bank or so.)
  • A commercial photographer sponsors a hole-in-one contest at a charity golf outing. If a participant scores a hole in one, they win $10,000. He gets a bond each year to cover it for about $100. He’s at the tee of that hole, shoots a photo of the foursome and mails each of them a print (with his logo and web address of course.)
  • A fine art photographer gives 25% of sales of a series of images of the Chesapeake Bay to a local environmental charity.
  • In lieu of holiday gifts for his corporate clients, an industrial photographer makes a donation to the USO (many of his clients are in the defense industry and are veterans). He then sends the clients a note thanking them for their business and letting the client know that he’s made that donation. (more…)

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Printed Portfolios

Even in this world of online meetings, websites and blogs we need a printed portfolio book to show prospects. I’m in the process of re-doing my books so I’ve been researching this pretty heavily.

My old (current) book. Moab Chinle 8x8
My old (current) book. Moab Chinle 8x8

The format and styling of your book will depend greatly on who you’re marketing to as well as your own personal style. A wedding book is not going to be anything like a commercial book which won’t necessarily look like a pj book. In general here are a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve been able to scrounge in my research. (more…)

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TimeLapser app for iPhone

One thing that many buyers of commercial photography like to see are behind the scenes videos of a shoot. It allows them to get a sense of how you like to work and what kind of shoot you might run if they were to hire you. Even for photographers working in the retail and personal fields, behind the scenes video can be a great marketing tool, showing potential clients and customers what their shoot might be like.

Of course, like photography, productions vary widely. You can shoot a scripted narrative with voice overs and scores. You can shoot a time lapse of the shoot and simply post that. The latter is certainly the easiest to shoot, and the TimeLapser app is designed to make that easy.

TimeLapser uses the built in camera to shoot individual frames, at a user-determined rate and resolution, then stitches those images together into a .mov file (at a user determined frame rate). At its heart, it’s basically an intervalometer that will combine the individual files together for you. (more…)

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Book Review: Tell the World You Don’t Suck

Tell the World You Don’t Suck: Modern Marketing for Commercial Photographers by Leslie Burns Dell’Acqua

I’m a big fan of marketing and advertising my business. I really try hard to put my work, my business and my name out there as much as possible. With that said, sometimes I get stuck. Getting stuck in your marketing is no different from getting stuck creatively. It happens to all of us and learning how to break out of that rut and into more productive areas is important for any business owner.  It’s at times like these that books like this one come in very handy indeed.  Sometimes we need a creative kick in the pants, sometimes the foot is more business oriented. (more…)

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A few words about postcard marketing

A simple show annoucement postcard

I’ve got a show coming up soon (a two-person show, I’ll be showing a new set of dune abstracts), so for the last week or so I’ve been spending a fair amount of time on marketing the show. I’ve sent out an email to my on-line mailing list, updated my web site and my Facebook fan page, and so on. It would be just so easy to stick with electronic marketing, but I think in this case that would be a mistake. Even in this modern age, there’s a place for the postcard.

Designing a simple postcard isn’t that difficult if you have moderate graphic design and Photoshop skills. For announcements of photographic exhibitions, the front of the card should contain one or two eye-catching images and your name, it should also suggest that the card is about an exhibition and not waste ink on a whole lot more.  Save most of the time/place details for the back, the more “real estate” on a small card you give to your own work, the more it will attract the notice of your customers. What goes on the back of your card– which is heavily constrained by US postal regulations– all of the major postcard vendors provide templates so you know what areas you need to leave blank, and so on. (more…)

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Truth in advertising

I’ll admit that “truth in advertising” is a bit of a contradiction in terms. But one of the great advantages, as well as responsiblities, of photography is that most people view photos as representations of reality. Or at least they do on a subconscious level. Those of us in the industry, and certainly anyone who’s spent 7 hours making a shrimp cocktail look just right, know that reality is flexible. Deciding how flexible is where you can get into trouble. (more…)

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