Your Portfolio Sucks - How Your Wedding Photography Portfolio Is Turning Away Clients
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That's why you let the client choose her own shots, rather than you choosing for her. Solution to problem 4 : 1 Allow the client to choose which pictures she wants to buy, 2 ask the client to send you four or five examples of the type of photo they are looking for before the shoot, 3 ask the client if they want any part of them Photoshopped, and 4 look at the client and decide what parts of her body she would want highlighted, and what she might be embarrassed about and want hidden from the photo.
What if you get sick and can't shoot the event? What if your equipment breaks? What if your memory card fails? So many things can go wrong, and the unexpected mishaps could mean getting sued by an angry Bridezilla. Solution to problem 5 : Either explain the risks of only having one shooter to the client and charge a lesser rate, or quit being cheap and pay for a second shooter. Otherwise, pay to do it right.
As a former web designer, I can unequivocally promise that this is a myth. Because you haven't optimized your website for search engines. What I see over and over again with non-tech-savvy photographers is that they have a website full of images with only a tiny bit of text. Solution to problem 6: If you are not tech savvy, it really is worth the money to hire someone to teach you how to optimize your website for search engines. If you're a do-it-yourself type, then I highly recommend the SEO podcast , which teaches how to improve your search engine optimization.
I have learned a TON from listening to it over the last few months.
Ever notice the prices of a studio session at Walmart or J. So how do these stores make a profit? Obviously, there are some clients that understand this already, but it seems that they are more of the exception than the rule. Solution to problem 7 : You simply need to spell things out for the client. Explain on your pricing page how valuable the CD is if you're going to give it out. I thought backup gear was unnecessary until my mm lens suddenly started giving my camera error messages right in the middle of shooting a fancy black-tie event for a bunch of millionaires at a country club not kidding.
When I looked down and saw ERR , blood poured out of every orifice on my body. Solution to problem 8 : If you absolutely cannot afford a backup body and lens, at least make some good photo buddies that could rush you some extra gear in an emergency. Since I am going to graduate law school soon, I am keenly aware of how uninformed some people are when it comes to the legal aspects of professional photography.
I refuse to take pictures of anyone for profit without getting a contract signed first.
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All it takes is one lawsuit and your portrait photography business is sunk. Whether you win the lawsuit or not, the legal bills will be so expensive that your business will be gonzo. Solution to problem 9 : Resolve today to never again take a picture of anyone for profit without getting a contract signed previously. You simply cannot make exceptions. I can see how he thought he had covered all the bases with the contract, but it was so full of holes that it more closely resembled swiss cheese than a legally binding instrument. Solution to problem 10 : If you need legal help to write a contract, consult an attorney barrister for you folks in the U.
Can't afford an attorney? This is a great reason to join a professional photography association, such as WPPI. Most trade associations provide standard forms to members for no additional cost. That is an incredible resource! Let me be clear, there are some absolutely incredible natural light photographers in the world. But honestly, that kind of photographer is one in a million. I love shooting natural light portraits, but there is no way that I would go to a portrait photography session without some type of flash gear.
Natural light photography can be beautiful, but don't let this be an excuse for not having the tools to get the shot.
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I studied advertising in college, so poor advertising makes me cringe. I have probably seen a dozen or more giveaways on Facebook pages for beginning pro photographers. Not always, but most of the time, it ends up that your Uncle Mortimer, your neighbor Susan, and 10 of your friends are the only people who enter the contest. Then, you're stuck doing portraits for your buddies and you never attract any new clients. Giveaways and social media can be great tools, but don't think you'll get people pounding down your door just by tossing out a freebie.
Solution to problem Use your brain!
Be creative and think of ways to get people talking about your business. The truth is that most clients choose a photographer at the location rather than paying for one to fly across the country or across the world to shoot their wedding. Getting jobs like this does not come by simply wanting it. Solution to problem 13 : Most of the destination wedding photographers I know I am NOT one of them… get the job when they have been around for a while.
Once you have shot the client's family picture, senior pictures, and engagement photos, you're in the running for getting a destination gig if you do truly fantastic work. The other way to get the destination wedding gigs is to cater to higher-end clients. Ritzy clients are often willing to pay the premium for a photographer they know and trust to travel to the location. So, either work your way into the high-end market, or take the time to cultivate relationships with families so they wouldn't dare let anyone else shoot their wedding.
Aside from the importance of networking to get photo buddies to help you in a pinch, networking with other people in the industry is vital to get jobs. Solution to problem 14 : One great tip for pro photographers is to take a few photos of the wedding location and send it to the owner, or take professional pictures of the wedding cake and send it to the cake decorator, etc.
Making friends with these people by giving them professional pictures of their work will make them like you.
1. Assess the Competition
When a bride goes to the flower shop or the cake decorator or the reception hall, they will often send referrals your way. Yes, they will. You aren't going to pull the wool over their eyes. It's obvious, but if you only have 5 shoots worth of photos to put in your portfolio, then I still need to explain this obvious point to you again. Let's face the facts.
Having pictures of beautiful models in your portfolio can make a huge difference in how clients view you as a photographer. Solution to problem If your current portfolio could use some more beautiful people, then head on over to Model Mayhem and work with a few local models. Generally, you can get a great local model to do a shoot for free if you offer them copies of the pictures. Do a few of these shoots and your portfolio will look ten times better. Only your mom wants to see your pictures of the random clients you shoot. Nobody else cares.
Are you blogging for your mom, or for your clients? Your clients have already seen your portfolio, so this type of post is useless to them. Break it up into sections so people can easily find what they are looking for.
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Most people seem to be drawn to cameras , lenses and lighting equipment from my experience. Longer, more in-depth posts get shared more often than shorter ones. They also give a significant boost in SEO because Google likes to send people to quality content and the longer it is, the more information it should contain. Post multiple photos, share a story or two and write at least words for each post. As well as long posts you need to make your posts amazing. Make your content awesome!! Many people prefer to read a review by a working photographer with real world examples, than some test charts and pixel peeping images taken for some of the big review specific websites.
Even after the lens has been superseded people will still be buying it second-hand. Camera reviews have a slightly shorter lifespan than lenses. From time to time I still come across people who are using websites that contain galleries and pages powered by Adobe Flash. Even if it means switching from a paid service to something free like WordPress. So you can instantly increase your traffic by eliminating Flash from your site.