Every photographer I know is wanting to book more jobs. No matter if your niche is wedding, food, commercial, advertising, or sports, chances are you would love for your business to make a lasting impression on someone looking to hire you for your services. Casey Templeton wanted to beef up his commercial and adverting work so he decided to produce a promo package that would not get lost on an agency's desk. The video below shows the promo package he made in 2010 and mailed out to 300 of his favorite agencies and art buyers. You might be thinking that this package is pretty extravagant and expensive to send to that many agencies, but being memorable among a crowd of creative professionals can easily pay off if you land only a few jobs from such a campaign. Hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did.
Full time photographers aren't the only ones with working studios these days. Why would you outsource your photography if you need new images on a weekly basis? Tshirt company Threadless recently showed the guys over at Photoshelter how they use photography in their own business. What's unique about the products shots on the Threadless website is that they aren't the typical white studio shots or stock images of models wearing generic shirts. Instead, many of the shirts are actually photographed at the in-house studio or on location around the office. It's pretty amazing to see how photography is being used in businesses like Threadless considering so many other sites have stuck with the traditional boring photos. After the video, check out some of their most popular shirts here.
We've been kicking a lot of "behind the business" videos lately so I hope you don't mind another one. Kareem Black is a celebrity and commercial photographer based out of New York City. His work is constantly featured in GQ and Vibe magazines as well as marketing campaigns for Verizon and Burger King. Being a photographer in the largest city in America, Kareem realized he always has to do something different to capture people's attention and ultimately get them to view his work. Simply handing people business cards and putting up ads on a bulletin board isn't going to cut it in a market full of 'marketers'. Instead you need to make people proactive in finding you by sparking their interests in your brand and the work you do. Here are a few ideas that should spark some abstract thinking of your own. Feel free to share interesting ideas you have used for your own business in the comments below.
Have you ever had a client dismiss a project after you have already put in hours of work? What are you supposed to do when a client brings in a second professional to also work on your project? What can you do if a client says your work isn't really what they were looking for after you have already delivered the final project? Mike Monteiro is the design director at Mule Design Studio. During a seminar at CreativeMornings, Mike gave a really insightful and thorough speech about how a creative professional can protect his work and payment in the event that something goes wrong with the client or job. This video is long but it should at least make you aware of issues you might face on your journey to becoming a professional photographer. At the most this video will make you reconsider your contracts (if you even have them) and put the proper legal checkpoints in place to prevent problems down the road. If you've had a bad experience that a solid contract would have solved, let us know in the comments.
One of the first things you learn as a photographer is to get a proper model release when considering to sell your work commercially. However, simply having a model release still might not prevent you from litigation. A law firm recently published an ad looking to represent firefighters who were affected by the federal James Zadroga Act. The advertising agency used by the law firm photoshopped a stock image of Robert Keiley who was modeling as a firefighter. They then created a scene where it appeared as if he had been at Ground Zero on 9/11. The argument is how much can a stock image be altered before it becomes false advertising (the ad did clearly state that the image was a depiction of a 9/11 firefighter)? In this Fox News story, two attorneys give two different sides of the argument. I think the law might fall in favor of the law firm who hired the ad agency; what do you guys think?
Brandt Botes is an award winning graphic designer based out of CapeTown, South Africa. Just like photographers and other creative professionals, graphic designers struggle with creative and economic challenges when they venture out on their own and start a new business. Brandt recently started his boutique design shop Studio Botes and decided to take some advice from other creative entrepreneurs who have also dealt with going solo professionally. Many of the little sayings in this video are really clever but most of them are absolutely true. What points stick out the most for those of you who have had success with your own business? I think 5:00 is my personal motto :)
I can't tell you how many photographers I encounter think being successful has to do with being at the right place at the right time. Sure a bit of luck on your side always helps, but if you are looking to quit your day job to become a professional photographer, increase your photography income over last year's earnings, or catapult your career as one of the industry leaders then you need to work hard and work smart. The guys over at Photoshelter sat down with professional photographer Brian Smith to talk about what it takes to push your career to the next level. You simply can't wait for your big break, you need to create them.
Harry How is a sports photographer without any prior photography training. With hard work, determination, and a pressing urge to create images that hold up against his peers' photographs, Harry now has a career shooting for Getty Images. In this video Harry explains in detail what it takes to make the transition from hobbyist to full time professional and outlines his gear and little tips throughout his own transition into a sports photographer. If you enjoy this type of candid interview, be sure to hit the full post to watch part 2 and part 3 of this video series.
About 95% of the time I can guess the quality of a photographer by the design of their website before the first image even loads. If you want people to take your work seriously a Flickr page isn't going to cut it. You may think that you can't afford a professional website; think again. For the next 18 days Creative Motion Design is giving Fstoppers.com readers 60% off their already incredibly low website prices. With this discount their websites start at just $38.00. I know there are other template websites out there that have notoriously bad customer service (I've experienced it first hand) but CMD actually posts their phone number on the front of their website. Still don't believe me? Well you can test out a website completely for free by simply clicking on "free trial" by any of their sites. We all work so hard to produce amazing images and now there is absolutely no excuse for not having a professional way to display them. Check out the full post to see a video on how easy these sites are to customize.
FS reader Jordan Murphy just sent us an email moments ago asking if we would post more videos about the business side of photography. His timing could not have been more perfect because a few days ago I watched a great video on just that by Allen Murabayashi. The video below is not going to be as fun to watch as a fast paced BTS but this is the stuff that will take a hobby and turn it into a profession. Most people think that I am a successful photographer because I take good pictures and that is simply not true. Having a solid product is important but getting it into the hands of a customer is the hard part. How dedicated are you?
After starting off as a graphic designer, Jeremy Cowart stepped onto the photography scene with a sink or swim mentality. I love the series Chase Jarvis is doing over at Creative Live with real photographers, and this one with Jeremy is top notch. Chase definitely subscribes to our mentality of sharing knowledge freely, and I think you can learn a lot from this video whether you are a professional photographer or just someone who enjoys it as a hobby. I almost did not post this because the audio at the beginning is really rough on the speakers so be forewarned. Also while you are watching this video, head over to Jeremy's website to see a wide variety of images within his portfolio.
Are you planning to build your own studio one day? If not, this video probably won't interested you. But, if you do dream of having a studio (like most photographers do) then this video will get you one step closer. The incredibly talented Sam Robles takes you through the step by step process of building a cyc wall from scratch.
Are you a photographer and an iPad owner? If so, you are really going to love this. Are you a photographer who swore you would never buy an iPad because it's just an over-sized iPod Touch? Well you are about to change your mind. We have recently figured out that with nothing more than a jailbroken iPad and an Eye-Fi Pro X2 card, you can wirelessly tether the two without the need for a separate network. This "hack" is so useful that we have decided to give away a free iPad randomly to one of our twitter followers. Please read the full post to learn more.
Chase Jarvis has started a really cool idea called Creative Live in which he gives back helpful information to other creative individuals. In this video Chase sits down with Jasmine Star who is one of the top wedding photographers in the business. I first came across Jasmine through David Jay and instantly fell in love with her. I love how they express their frustrations with living a typical 9 to 5 lifestyle and how professional photography allowed them to live the life they wanted to live. Just like them, I too went to school for something compeletely opposite of photography, and it was conversations like this that eventually lead me to change my career path to become the photographer I am today. Chase says it really well when he says, "There is no prescription for how you get to become a photographer." This video is not about fstoppers and shutterspeeds but rather about how to take control of your life and your passions and turn them into a business. I know wedding photography often gets a bad wrap but through wedding photography, I have been able to support myself financially every weekend and still have time to pursue other fields of photography during the week. Jasmine Star's story is about as good as it gets, and it's inspiring to hear her share her success story with everyone so candidly. I hope you guys enjoy this video as much as I have and I'm only half way through it!