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Old 10-18-2013   #21
Alpaca
 
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Default Re: How to attract customers

Having a camera, some lights, a website, Facebook and a business card does not make you a professional photographer. The things you are lacking include a business license, tax license, liability insurance, filing and paying paying state and federal business and income tax from the revenue generated, property tax on your business property, cameras, lights, computers, desks ect. Legitimate businesses have and pay all these things every year.


Believe me I do have a business license, tax license and most definitely took care of the legal issues and wouldn't think about running a business without it. I just didn't think it necessary to put that on the post as I feel it would be insanity to try to run a business without taking care of the legal aspects first and foremost. Some may skip the legal aspects of a business but to me that is just asking for trouble and many problems.

Thanks
Debbie aka PhotoNana
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Old 11-08-2013   #22
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Default Re: How to attract customers

They are lot area in which we attack the Customer. Such as give best service, quality, projected on time, best offer, make build Relationship.
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Old 11-11-2013   #23
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Default Re: How to attract customers

PhotoNana, I attract work by offering quality looking portraits, sometimes these portraits show the style I've gain over the years with lots of practice. As a Black & White photographer I show alot of BW work and it sells. I have a retail portrait studio in my downtown area and I make sure I cover all of my costs in doing business, which translates to not being CHEAP! Just like your area there are tons of $25 photographers in my area also and their works shows why they are so cheap. My marketing is getting in front as many people as I can on a regular basis. I've become the County Fair Photographer, Our Irrigation Festival Photograher, I show up at Historical Events with my camera of course taking photos, I get hired for Ribbon Cutting Events, go to our Chamber luncheons, today I'm attending our Veterans Day Celebration here on the Olympic Peninsula. Lots of folks constantly see me out and about. Halloween Portraits at my studio, donating the proceeds to the High School Band & Choir this year. Setting up a studio at last Sat Boys & Girls Club Auction, etc. etc. It all takes time, slow yourself down and show quality to your clients.
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Old 08-23-2014   #24
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Default Re: How to attract customers

Howdy Camels

I began my photography business in March & have found this biz is more about business than photography!

I began asking friends to pose for my portfolio in return for the digital images. As I began posting them, other friends asked how much I charge. I begin with, "I normally charge...but I would be glad to do it for you for..." The amount I would charge them was a friend rate and would guarantee the job as it would be less than a professional would do it for. I do this for the publicity, more pictures to show, and the experience and feel I am quickly growing into the experience and the pay rate I would like to be at.

To attract more customers, I am going to use holidays and seasons. My thought is to publish a flyer on the social networks to advertise upcoming specials, the first being school portraits.

I live in a rural community and would like to hold a portrait session in a more central location. I was thinking of having it on four dates, and customers can book a time, on one of the four dates, and pay right on my website. This way I can charge an affordable fee and not have to drive to a location per customer.

My question is: What location would you choose? My first thought is to meet at a park, but afraid I may be confronted and that would be BAD, really BAD.

Any other advice on how to hold this type of special is appreciated thanks...
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Old 08-23-2014   #25
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Default Re: How to attract customers

Choosing a location for something like this can be tricky. For instance, there is a private museum/garden around my area that used to let people shoot bridals, senior portraits, etc., especially when the azaleas were blooming. It got to be such a zoo of photographers and wannabees out there that I stopped going, because there was so little space without tripping over each other. Also, I think some photographers were offering the same thing as you, scheduling clients one after the other for 20 min/half hour each, one after the other, and for several days. The museum finally barred all photography from the grounds, they had had enough. Granny can take her P&S and shoot the kids but that's about it.

So, be careful what kind of park you choose, and make sure it has decent lighting for all of the hours that you want to shoot. What's in nice open shade in the a.m. might be in the super bright sun for the afternoon and evening.

Ideally, you could find a friend with a nice backyard or with some open woods and work with them to use that property.

Other than that, I think we would have to know your area to be able to give you much more help about location.

Also I wanted to ask about your commenting about doing school portraits first. I am wondering why you think that would be a good starting point? Are you talking about senior high portraits? In that case, I think you're right. But if you are talking about all grades of school portraits, most schools contract with bigger chain studios to fill that need, and I think I would reconsider this target. If you have a big homeschooling population in your area, that would be a good place to advertise.
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Old 08-23-2014   #26
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Glad to hear you're aware of this: "I began my photography business in March & have found this biz is more about business than photography!" Some folks never quite figure out that sage wisdom.

I shoot on locations frequently and I've done that in various parts of the USA in major cities like Chicago, NY and San Francisco where I live and in smaller cities. I nearly always have an assistant to watch my 6 O'Clock position when I'm not looking and when working in a metro area, depending on what we're doing, I usually drop the dime and get a shooting permit, sometimes they may come with police protection, sometimes you have to pay for it and just pass the cost on to the client.

I know what you may be thinking. Permits are extra and people (clients or customers whatever you want to call them) balk at added costs. But once you prove you have an insurance rider (really cheap) indemnifying the city you're working for any losses you may incur for injuries or property damage (local laws may require you to have a permit anyway) the city may provide you with an officer to keep an eye on things while you work. That can be a handy deterrent to would-be thieves, hecklers, muggers, rodents, touristas and other park place vermin.

You can find out from the local municipal clerk's office or the police dept whether a filming permit is required for shooting commercially or just portrait work with a light or two and an assistant. Chances are in the latter case, no. But since fines can be heavy it pays to ask. And if they are required and you don't have a permit, a cop can cite you and the fine can be heavy, much more than the permit would have cost. And if you get popped for not having liability insurance even if no one is injured, that can be bad news. Afterall you acknowledged you're running a real business and real businesses need and are required in many instances to have liability insurance that covers at least injuries to customers and assistants and vehicles.

One other thing. If your city has a film permit requirement and it's run by a particular office, if you become known to that office, if location scouts for a film come to town, in the event that crew or another needs a still shooter, you might get recommended for the gig.

Meanwhile, take it light ;>)
Mark Feldstein
(No relation to any other Mark Feldstein, photojournalist, either living or dead.)
[U.S. birth certicicate available upon request after payment of a nominal fee].
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Old 08-24-2014   #27
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Default Re: How to attract customers

Great points made about lighting positions, permits, insurance, & cliental. I have insurance, am part of the homeschooling circuit & that is who I will be advertising to, & I know where the permit office is...I will begin there. thank you!
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Old 08-25-2014   #28
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Glad to help out. And I'm really pleased to hear you're starting off right and not trying to short-cut the process of building your biz on a solid reputation. I think that's great. Even if you don't need a permit, just going to their office and introducing yourself, telling them what you would like to do and meeting them will go mega miles in developing your relationship with those who can help you out in the future. Good luck ! I'm betting this will work out well for ya. ;>)
Mark
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Old 08-26-2014   #29
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Poor quality work will haunt you. Slow down, learn what good portrait photography looks like before becoming a professional. Just because you have a camera, facebook, logo doesn't mean your a good photographer. Cheap pricing will attract alot of cheap clients and you'll never make a profit that way.
Isn't that what having a business is all about, paying all your bills, making a profit, buying new gear and maybe taking a vacation.
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Old 07-28-2016   #30
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Hey Debbie,

As Scotch mentioned, I would start with your local chamber of commerce to help get your name out. Here are a few things you should remember when you do attend networking events or lead groups:

1) Be Memorable. You should either have a very unique and creative business card OR a silly tagline or poem: "Debbie Photography: I'll shoot your inlaws, frame the wife, and hang the kids" or "Debbie Photography: Every photo tells a story, let me tell yours."

2) Find complimentary businesses. Look for event planners, party supply companies, photo booth companies, bakers (consider they do weddings and corporate events), PR people, etc. and refer leads to them and let them know what you do. It's much easier to establish a relationship with businesses that have customers who are looking for related services. Drive to these businesses and introduce yourself, are you able to drop off a business card stand / business cards? Or maybe you can work out a referral deal with them.

3) Ask around for networking groups. Ask other proprietors what business groups they have joined, and which ones have worked for them. This will help you figure out what groups are worth your time.

4) Frequent groups weekly. Be consistent and attend your business group meetings regularly, you need to consistently repeat your slogan and show your face to be memorable. Repetition is key.

5) Develop relationships with the superstars. Make sure you have a good relationship or rapport with those business owners who seem to know everyone and be a connector. You can do this by thinking of ways you can add value to them (e.g., provide them with referrals or helpful advice). Demonstrate a genuine interest in them, rather than having a transactional conversation, talk to them about their family, kids, interests, hobbies ... things outside of "work" and their business. People will remember you this way, and you're more likely to develop a real connection.

6) This takes time. You're not going to necessarily add value to everyone (or anyone), much less get many referrals your first few trips out to a business group meeting or chamber meeting. You need to be a consistent face, build relationships, and add value over time. However, the payoff will be worth it.

I hope this helps!


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