07. Marketing your business & staying in business

In this last chapter, Karl covers everything there is to know about marketing your photography business. From identifying your market and reaching potential clients to defining your brand, building a portfolio and tackling social media and website design.

Comments

  1. This has to be the single most important piece of information yet! Has helped me tremendously plan out my ventures very well. Thanks Karl and everyone.

  2. This has got to be the best $14 Investment I ever made.
    If I went else where it would cost me Thousands and still wouldn’t be any where as good as this . Thanks Karl and all your staff.

    1. Thank you Alan very kind of you to give us that feedback. We hope our future courses and live shows will also give our subscribers better value and good reason to stay with us 🙂

    1. Hi Darren, we select a few from our members each month for our live talk shows. Generally that will be requested, we send an email asking our members for a particular type of shot to suit the them of the talk show. So you will receive an email about this. Next week though we are launching our Forum on this site and you can upload pictures for critique there for other members to comment on and sometimes me and other members of the KTE Team.

  3. Karl you make this so clear and simple. Just like the way you explain all aspects of photography. Excellent stuff.

  4. Thanks Karl for sharing your views and it really a great help to the industry specially for our country, India. Hope the members from our country will be definitely benefited with it , in photography as well as will develop the skills of business
    Thanks you and your team, it is great.

  5. One question, Karl. How do you stay on top of your marketing regarding time, especially in your early ages? Were you able to afford someone who would help you out, or did you do the business/marketing side on your own?

    1. Hi Alex, In the early days I worked 6 days per week starting early and finishing late. I often did my marketing and databases and admin working from a desk at home in the evenings. As I became more established I employed someone but for the the first 4 years I was on my own doing all of it. When I had to pack thousands of brochures in envelopes or label up postcards I’d just spend all weekend doing it. On the odd occassion if the timings were right I’d get a friends kid on school holidays to help with stuff like this and pay them an hourly rate they were happy with and that I could afford. These days there are many ‘secretarial’ outsourcing companies you can use but of course it will always be cheaper to do it yourself. It’s just a question of whether you could be doing something more profitable instead, when you are starting out though you find you have plenty of time to get your marketing right.

  6. Hi Karl, would you still suggest nowadays going for the whole printing strategy, i.e. broshures, flyers, printed portfolios etc.? Or is printing things and actually sending them by mail getting obsolete, considering all the digital and online based marketing tools?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Dirk, apologies I thought i’d replied to this question. I think that a printing strategy is actually more valid now than it was 20 years ago, simply because art directors and agents are inundated with emails and digital links and often a printed portfolio or brochures stand out amongst the crowd, they also show a certain commitment and investment in yourself and belief in yourself as they cost money and only the confident would consider them worthwhile.

  7. Hi Karl, I would also love to hear your opinion about Dirks question.
    Thank you so much for this great and so very affordable opportunity to share your knowledge with us. So happy I signed up!

  8. Karl,
    Do you think it would be worth having a separate website to keep the genres more closely categorized, such as weddings/portraits/fashion vs. landscape/wildlife/street ? I’m specifically thinking about doing weddings, portraits, but also product. But do I want my product clients coming to my site and looking at wedding images as well as product?

    s

    1. Hi Steve, it’s actually not a bad idea. The guy I interviewed on a previous live show ‘Alex Wallace’ did exactly the same thing when he first moved to NZ, he didn’t want his prospective commercial clients seeing the wedding work so he had two sites. He only does the commercial now but this was when he was trying to earn some extra revenue after first arriving. See the live show replays to learn more about his work.

  9. Here’s a funny thing about business names. Had I called my business Marc Charette Photography, I’d be probably getting people confused when people spell my name wrong and get Marc with a ‘k’ and they’d end up with a photographer in the states (I’m in Australia, but originally from Ontario Canada).

    So sometimes your name can actually get in the way of branding. What’s in a name? Sometimes, not much but sometimes more than we bargained for if you don’t do the research.

  10. Hi Karl,

    Loving the training and consuming the videos at quite a pace. In one of the preceding videos you outlined routes into Photography and I fall into the “have some balls and go for it” category but after 20 years working running divisions in various multinational companies so I’m comfortable with the people skills and that comes naturally to me.

    I’m elevating some specific skills through these course like lighting and product photography and have been pitching well and managed to land a few framework agreements. I’m comfortable presenting and take every opportunity to get the message out there. I’m running google ads, networking, undertaking some direct contact (which I need to increase) and I am now lookimg at some speculative work also. My portfolio is small but growing. Given my age (and just me being me) I need to pursue an aggressive growth strategy at least over the next 3-5 years to set me up for maybe 10 further years of trading.

    My desired areas to work are broad at the moment and cover general commercial/pr, product, fashion, architectural, industrial and retouching. I am also undertaking some small video projects which I’d like to grow and expand. I also have commercial permission for aerial work that would link into some of these areas.

    Can you recommend any specific routes to market you think I should be working within the categories you have outlined? E.g. Specific trade shows, networking groups (I’m in the chamber and a few local groups)?

    Apologies it’s a bit of an open ended question!

  11. Karl,
    I like your business related videos.

    Som questions about a website stuff. How do you protect yourself from people stealing your images? I noticed anyone can download your images 1500px with no problem and there are no watermarks anywhere. If you are well known for your style then people will know if the images have been stolen but what if you are starting up.

    1. Hi Kriz, I would suggest a minimal faint water mark that is well placed. It is a balance between people stealing them or you ruining the appearance of your images to potential customers by using intrusive watermarks.

  12. Karl

    Excellent module, sets out the various areas to consider, whilst acting as a prompt for me. If I can implement half of your suggestions I will be well on my way to making my business a success

    Thank you

  13. Hi Karl, some great marketing tips indeed. Please just elaborate on the speculating aspect for us. When you send your speculative image for free, I assume you send it in maximum resolution so that they can also see the level of detail in your work. Is my assumption correct?

    Regards

  14. Hello,
    What category and characteristics would you consider “educational” photography and video? For example, something like you have created here or something like photography of the various parts of a tent and how to put it together (yes that’s a real example), or something that depicts the steps of something with or without people. My background is learning and development and I am trying to see how I can merge the two areas.
    Thanks,
    Michelle

    1. Hi Thelma, I’m not entirely clear on your question but if the subject being depicted is nothing to do with photography then I would say this is instructional relating to that subject. If the subject being depicted is photography, such as what we do, then clearly it is educational or training. But anything showing someone how to do something is obviously a learning tool?

      1. Thank you. I am sorry I wasn’t totally clear. I would like to take my photography/videography and create a business that focuses on education. And yes it would be of various subjects based on the client. So in essence it would be similar to the videos that you have created for your educational portfolio, but for any subject. As you describe various genres of photography you mentioned tips and characteristics of that type of photography such as architectural, industrial, portrait, and fashion. So my question was just what are the characteristics and educational photography and did you have any tips, best practices, or advice, similar to what you gave for the other genres?

        1. Hi Thelma, if you are creating video education then the most important thing is that your message is clear and understandable, breaking complex things down into understandable chunks and delivering the right information at the right time, not too much in one go. Then of course the more entertaining it is then the more engaging it is with the viewer.

  15. Hi Karl, thanks so much for this. Just a quick question, if I was to send out some advertisement postcards to local businesses in London offering my services for product photography, would you advise printing your price list on these, or is it best to let them find that via a website? Many thanks. Best wishes Will

    1. Hi Will, no I wouldn’t advise printing your price list unless your USP was ‘very competetive prices’ I guess it depends on the type of businesses you are targeting and what you think they’d respond to, but once you’ve printed your price then you’ve got nowhere else to go other than those prices. I’ve got a rate card I give to clients once I’ve established a relationship with them but on that rate card it details how rates will be different for local/national/international work and other associated fees such as sets, post etc. Even my long term clients just request a quote on a job by job basis to factor all these things in.

  16. Greetings Karl,

    Excellent info. A few brief questions please. I’m an interiors photographer now for 3 years and looking to grow my clientele.

    1. What cost effective program of mailing brochures would you recommend? (e.g. 3X per year with three different pieces, one with price list…).

    2. What’s your opinion on cold calling?

    Best regards and thanks,
    Vic

    1. Hi Victor, personally I wouldn’t include a price list unless that is your unique selling point, but ideally it shouldn’t be, it should be the quality of your work and your service. There is no minimum on mailshots but you shouldn’t also send out unnecessary junk mail, to new prospect I’d send two different ones in one month and then call them and ask them if they received it and would they like to discuss it further. If you don’t get anywhere, send another different one the next month and then call again. Cold calling is fine if you have the confidence to do it, I used to do it all the time but usually only after sending something by mail so I had something to talk about or ask them.

      1. I’m embarking on the project. Massive challenge. Elements include: New identity pack (business cards, logo, photo of myself), template selection / layout, determining print quality obtainable by various printers, postage rates … You could offer a whole chapter on how to do what sounds so simple: The Maildrop. I suppose this is what separates the pros from the rookies, if for no other reason than the expense involved.

        I agree that cold calling prior to sending any info is much more challenging. I wish the phone would just ring, given a large enough mailing (program). Karl, your persona is so pro, so classy, so first rate, that I feel the persona I’ve created so far is lacking. Need a roadmap to reinvention of myself.

        My specific question, if I may, is what do you think of this from a persona standpoint: http://www.vicwahbyphotography.com? Pull no punches please. Many thanks, Victor.

    1. Hi Akansh, I’d say it’s got a little tougher and we are seeing more work being completed in post production or 3D/CGI than previously.

  17. Is with emergence of mobile phones there is any effect of photography business or in past 10 years is this business globally increased or decreased

    1. Hi Akansh, no not from mobile phones but from higher quality DSLR and many more good photographers has had a huge impact on traditional portrait and wedding photographers operating in the mid price range. Those at the top of their game still were able to ‘see’ a shot much more effectively and knew how to manage a shoot that kept their work separated from many of the new amateurs, in fact if you watch the replay of the live show with David Stanbury he even talks about how he put his prices up to separate him from them. In commercial photography such as product and advertising or fashion the skill set is very much more about lighting and a deeper understanding of technical aspects of photography or colour theory so phones or keen amateurs haven’t really made much more of a dent than they would have anyway. In some areas of product photography though including cars some of the market has been lost to 3d/CGI but many of the top photographers have started incorporating that into their workflow to expand their services.

    1. Hi Akansh, Ikea already use a lot of CGI but they use trained photographers to ‘light’ and ‘compose’ the shot in the virtual world. It will definitely have more impact on product photography in the future but as always it’s a question of economics, who can do it better, faster and most competitively. On good product imagery I still win on product photography.

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