©2013 John Berthot Used by permission.
One of the most important aspects in promoting yourself as an artist is that you have a recognizable style that differentiates you from others in your field. This needs to be apparent to an art director in a matter of seconds.
Image Copyright: Everett Collection
There has been much discussion about the value of print promotion in a digital world. This time-tested method has consistently worked well for many of my clients. Their success was augmented by researching those clients most likely to respond to their work. I advocate sending a carefully chosen amount of print promotion material to a select group of art directors.
The new Communication Arts photography annual has some fantastic examples of well designed self-promotion, along with the best advertising campaigns shot over the last year.
Tags: Photo Marketing, Promotion, Photographers consultant, Business, Photographers Rep, Photographers Agent
The Business of Photography
Question: I've heard of two types of sales strategies, push versus pull. How can I pull a client in versus push a client in and make a sale?
A "push" promotional sales strategy is when you use a variety of activities to get your message in front of your client. Using this approach, your marketing materials are "pushed" in front of your ideal client and buyer.
In a "push" approach, you actively promote your brand through traditional marketing tools such as direct mail, emails and cold calls. You are in complete control of the message you send out, how it is seen, when and where.
Pull Out the Stops
"Pull" marketing is about developing relationships that attract your ideal client to you. It demonstrates the value you offer to prospects so they are attracted to your products and services. "Pull" marketing activities build relationships and can include blogging, tweeting, LinkedIn networking and podcast.
The idea behind "pull" marketing is to build a fan base so your potential clients follow you and actively look forward to seeing new work and blog updates. Your goal in "pull" marketing is to cultivate connections and relationships with your clients and potential clients by offering up relevant and interesting news and building a community of "followers."
Chase Jarvis ( www.chasejarvis.com ), a photographer known to many of you, has created an international following not only due to his talent but to his ability to inspire others to follow him. He generates excitement and energy through his live program modules, where he has guest speakers discussing industry topics and behind-the-scenes videos. His commitment to what he does and the people he speaks with inspires his followers and his willingness to share his honest opinion and those of others has generated an enormous following.
Your goal in "pull" marketing, as a photographer and entrepreneur, is to develop a strong personal brand and voluntarily give your audience a reason to follow you on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as opting into any newsletters you produce.
Below are five important points to consider when developing your "pull" marketing plan:
1. Are you updating your blog on at least a monthly basis?
2. Are you connecting with clients you have worked with through LinkedIn or Facebook if you have a personal relationship with them?
3. Do you share relevant personal projects with your potential clients to keep them involved and updated on what is inspiring you both creatively and personally?
4. Do you have an understanding of your target audience and what is your unique contribution to this market? Is this demonstrated in your website, blog and your communication with them?
5. Do you network by participating in events where you will be able to see your clients and other industry professionals? Word of mouth and personal referrals are still the best ways to get new business. Developing connections and relationships with new clients always takes time, so patience is required. But the more active you are in maintaining and developing your fan base, the more success you will have.
Make a Push
As we are in a very competitive industry, it's necessary to use both "push" and "pull" techniques to generate and maintain an active client base. Remember four important "push" strategies:
1. Send bi-monthly email promotions to your targeted client list, built through a database service such as Agency Access. Typical categories for a lifestyle photographer might include regional and national advertising agencies, book and magazine publishers, corporate in-house creative departments and design and PR agencies.
When designing your email promotion, pick compelling images that draw the viewer in and are appropriate for your target market. Monitor your analytic's to develop a secondary lists of clients that have opened your email and clicked through to your site.
When following up on an email promotion, it is helpful to include a link to a professionally designed PDF portfolio that includes a title page with your name and contact information. The PDF should be reflective of the market you're targeting and should be sequenced for flow in a similar fashion as your print portfolio. But unlike your print portfolio, it should not be longer than 25 spreads or 50 images in total. Linking to a PDF portfolio makes it easier for a client to quickly look at your portfolio without calling it in.
2. Increase your odds of being found by placing your portfolio in an online portal – and reap the benefits of exposure to a broad range of clients who you may not have necessarily marketed to. Visitors to portfolio sites could be looking for your subject matter and style, as well as talent in your geographic region.
3. Send bi-monthly direct mail campaigns to between 100 and 250 of your top prospects. That list should include your dream clients and those clients who have expressed interest in your email promotions. Depending on your overall budget, this can be as simple as a well-designed postcard or an elaborate gate-fold presentation or catalog.
4 Make client calls. It's very important to set a weekly schedule to contact potential clients to arrange face-to-face meetings to show your portfolio, in addition to building a rapport with clients likely to hire you. Keep a record of the calls you have made and enter in follow-up dates and any relevant details regarding the clients’ accounts.
Most important in your "push" is maintaining and updating a yearly marketing plan that schedules your electronic and direct marketing efforts. This will keep you on track and assist you in monitoring what has been most successful for you in generating business.
John Berthot has over 15 years of photography experience, and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. Among other positions, he has been a Photographer's Agent at Stockland Martel and an Advertising Director at Magnum Photos. He has been a creative consultant for the last two years, founding Focus in 2009. He brings his extensive experience in assisting photographers on all aspects of commercial, editorial and fine art photography. FOCUS
©2013 John Berthot
Tags: Photography consultant, Photo Marketing, Promotion, Photographers consultant, Business, Photographers Rep, Photographers Agent
Email marketing has repeatedly come under fire from a number of creative directors who complain that they are inundated with unrequested promotions and unsolicited e-blasts. I cringe when I read examples of how photographers misuse this basic marketing tool. In essence, misuse tarnishes what is a valid and effective means for communicating with over-worked art directors, who simply do not have the time to field phone calls or schedule daily meetings with photographers and illustrators.
The key to successful e-marketing is to use it as one tool in your arsenal of promotional materials. Below I have listed ten tips to help you create effective email campaigns that get you noticed and create good will at the same time:
1. Create a targeted email list. If you don’t know what accounts your recipients work on, then do not send them an email. By the same token, ensure that your email is sent to individuals in a position to hire you and that your email contains images or links that are relevant to the creatives you are sending it to.
2. Remove and update your contacts quarterly. If you do not subscribe to a list service, it is important to verify that your contacts are still viable and are working on accounts that are relevant to your specialty and style.
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©2012 John Berthot Used by permission.
It’s always better to take a proactive approach to marketing your business than a passive one. What’s the biggest fear we all face? The fear of rejection. It can be very hard to overcome, but if you want to succeed, it’s something you must conquer.
Your prospects are not looking for perfection. They’re looking for someone who’s able to solve their problems with time, effort, commitment and originality. That being said, be mindful and respectful of existing and potential clients’ time when you’re prospecting and contacting them.
Below is a marketing plan I created for a one-year-contract client. We speak once a week for about one hour to make sure we’re on track and to update any date changes due to shooting schedules. We also speak or email each other periodically to review estimates before they’re submitted to the client. I have omitted the cost of each item (this varies depending on the designer you hire and the quantity of promotional material you choose to produce) and the person responsible for each task is abbreviated as follows:
This post aggregated from APHOTOEDITOR.COM follow this link to view the origanal articale
A reader sent me this story, so that it might instill confidence in young photographers like herself. I think you will find that it does that:
I worked with one of the local college’s ex-students on a shoot for a magazine editorial about a year ago. The ex-student lied about having my permission and gave the image to the college, which then used the image on a billboard advertisement that wraps around a 20 story building on a very busy road in the city. It is a recognizable image of mine, and shows the faces of two models from a local agency. It was actually one of the models who spotted it first and I received a very embarrassing phone call from her agent who asked me how that shoot ended up on a billboard.
I went online and researched some suggestions of how I could handle this, but I couldn’t find much available. Crawling through some forums, I found that a few photographers had their images stolen and placed on a billboard, and they charged $500 for the use. The billboard was already up there for 1.5 months and it was supposed to be up there for 3 months total. I called the model agency and they told me that they ended up with $1500 for each girl for a year’s usage. They said that they knew the figure was low, but at least they would receive some pocket money.
Let’s examine the definition of a business trend according to the BusinessDictionary.com: “a pattern of gradual change in a condition, output or process, or an average or general tendency of a series of data points to move in a certain direction over time.”
Copyright 2010: Zoran Milich
The biggest trend in the last twenty years, without a doubt, has been the transition from film to digital. For better or worse, it is expected that every photographer who is estimating a commercial project will possess a complete understanding of how to seamlessly deliver and produce a shoot digitally.
The technological revolution is continuing at a warp speed, evolving and becoming even cheaper and more available to the general public. But the advances have also unfortunately downgraded the perception of the skill of the photographer, making it harder to distinguish the professional photographer from the “prosumer.”
The move from the print portfolio to the tablet/iPad is another rapidly advancing trend, considering that Apple introduced the iPad in January 2010. Many younger photographers I consult do not see value in a printed portfolio and exclusively use tablets to show their work. I still maintain that the printed portfolio is an important tool in your promotional material toolkit. While it is no longer required to have multiple portfolios, the ability to produce one on demand is something that can separate you from the competition when it comes to the final bid.
There is no denying that the level and sophistication of portfolios on tablets will continue to rise. That being said, it is necessary to embrace technology and choose a website developer that understands the necessity for your portfolio to be viewable across multiple devices, whether it’s on a PC, Android or Apple product.
Another trend is for clients to choose the same photographer for both the commercial and still shoot. When RED’s revolutionary digital still and cinema cameras came onto the scene in 2008, many photographers began incorporating motion and still photography on their website. Clients began to realize that - in cost saving maneuvers - they could hire the same photographer to do both shoots. If you are comfortable shooting motion and have the ability to do it well, you should showcase this on your website.
Directly marketing towards consumers based on their email click-through patterns, website selections, social media and networking usage will continue. Watching consumer patterns allows advertisers to refine their marketing strategies by directly targeting the individual most likely to use their product. In branding your website, if you can show how your images have and can be used in cross platforms, ambient media and interactively will increase your marketability and allow you to compete as new forms of media develop.
Companies such as Condé Nast & the Hearst Corporation have spent a considerable amount of research and advertising dollars in creating living magazines that the viewer can interact with. Subscribers can interact with streaming videos on how to create the perfect martini or train for an upcoming marathon over their mobile phone or tablet. As more and more magazines evolve on tablets, photographers who understand how to utilize this media will differentiate themselves from those who are not embracing the trend. Check out www.alexxhenry.com for some interesting uses of new technology. Alexx won the 2011 Cannes Gold Lion award for the iPad’s first editorial interactive motion feature spread.
The consumer demand for live content will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Photographers who can capitalize on this important trend, and offer suggestions to the client on how to bring their product to life, will be in high demand.
©2012 John Berthot
General | The Business of Photography
This is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of being an agent, or a consultant negotiating on a photographer’s behalf. I have done this as an agent for the talent I represented for over 10 years and it is always a combination of intuition, relationship and experience. There have been countless books written on the “art of negotiation,” and while the ideas may be the same, there are some techniques that I find especially relevant for photographers.
© Zoran Milich
By this, I mean you need to justify what makes your approach to the assignment unique and why YOU are best qualified for the job - beyond what they have seen in your portfolio. It’s okay to assume that the client already likes your work and that they consider you to be a good choice for the assignment since they are asking you for an estimate. Your real challenge is to establish a comfort level with your personality, and a confidence in how you approach their project.
When you are asked to provide an estimate, be sure you have a basic template of questions that are relevant to ANY assignment you have to estimate, such as final usage and production requirements. This will reassure your client as to your competence and will provide you with the information to provide an accurate estimate.
Ask for what you need to do the job properly. Once you have established what is required, either enlist a producer if it is an advertising client, or contact the proper people to execute the shoot, and get their day-rates. Clients understand that there will be hair and makeup, styling, assistants and location scouts.
This is different for every photographer and every assignment. Some photographers are willing to negotiate on usage rates but not on day fees. Be clear in your own mind what you are willing to reduce rates on, and produce an assignment that will please the client and allow you to make a profit.
If you give a ballpark number, you are essentially locking yourself into a price that may or may not be realistic. It is totally acceptable to ask for some time to produce an accurate estimate. Offer up a realistic time frame to create it and explain the reason. Time is always of the essence and clients are always in a rush, however, if you jump to a ballpark figure under pressure, you are setting yourself up for potential problems. Remember, once you quote a price it is next to impossible to raise it unless the client changes the scope of the project.
After you have provided your client with an estimate, do not to rush in to fill in the silence or provide reasons or excuses as to why your fee is what it is. Give your client time, at least a few seconds, to digest the information and let them state their objection or approval. I have been surprised how many times clients have stated that my estimate is fair when I gave them the chance to tell me this.
Once you have provided an estimate, there will usually be some negotiation involved - even if it’s not a financial one. You may need to negotiate on timing, the number of assistants required, locations or other line items. It is important to let your client know that you understand there are a lot of people involved in determining the requirements of a shoot, and you are willing to be flexible in order to satisfy their needs in the most cost-effective and time-efficient way.
One of the reasons photographers have agents and consultants is to help keep emotions out of the negotiation process when explaining the specific reasons and strategies you used in determining the estimate structure and fees.
This is a great way to establish what is positive about your estimate and create a dialogue that will provide you the opportunity to address specific objections.
Asking this question gives the client an opportunity to offer their ideas, as well as give you the insight as to why something needs to be done a certain way.
If you do not feel their budget will allow you to do a job you will be proud of, or make a profit, be prepared to WALK AWAY. This is perhaps the hardest thing for photographers to do because more often than not, they just want to do what they love. However, this is a business like any other, and you should not feel you have to compromise or make concessions that you are not comfortable with. If it’s an editorial job that you feel will enrich your portfolio and give you exposure AND is worth a financial loss, then it might be an opportunity you want to seriously consider. Overall, just know your bottom line.
© 2011 John Berthot
Someone just looking for information is quite different than someone asking you to provide an estimate. Therefore, I would handle each differently. Whenever someone contacts me for information I always make the effort to contact them either over the phone or set up a meeting in person.
I have found that there is a lot more to gain and learn by speaking with an individual than simply responding back with an additional email. In a phone call, I can learn how they found out about me, how I can tailor my services to meet their expectations, and how I can create a proposal that addresses their specific needs.
There will always be clients who do not have time to speak or would rather communicate via email, and this is out of your control. However, most times you can schedule a phone call if you send an email to the potential client explaining why you want to speak to them, how long the call should take, and suggesting some potential call times.
A telephone call is an excellent opportunity for a photographer or illustrator to turn a request for information into an estimate and subsequent assignment. I suggest that you spend a few minutes on your client’s website to learn about what type of work they have done for their clients. This information is easily attainable by researching their clients on Agency Access and is usually evident on the company’s website. If you do obtain a phone call with a prospect, having this background information is an excellent conversation starter. Be sure to ask how they found about you and what they specifically responded to in your imagery. Offer up ideas on how your work can translate into their project.
If you are asked for an estimate, your job is to figure out how to close the deal. Once you learn enough about the project from the potential client, I suggest you propose a number that you would be ideal for you. Just be prepared for some give and take in a negotiation process before the job is awarded.
Most clients are aware that fees are negotiable, so I don’t suggest stating that you’re willing to negotiate up front. Allow the client to reveal their given budget and if you are comfortable taking on the job for that number, find a way to tailor your estimate to meet their needs.
I believe a lot of photographers are leaving money on the table by immediately giving in to the first number a client offers up. We all have ideal budgets, but the cost of doing business does not always match up to what we would like to pay for any given service.
Most clients are looking for a willingness on your part to negotiate. If your style matches what they are looking for, more often than not they will make an effort to find a compromise. If a client’s budget is unrealistic, given the actual expenses that will be incurred, be sure to give an explanation of current rates in your region aside from your given fee.
The cost of doing business in New York is higher than in other areas, thus estimates are higher due to rental costs, location fees and studio rentals - not all clients are aware of this difference. When you do provide an estimate, be certain to break down all of the individual costs so your client can see how you arrived at your final estimate. This will help you and your client figure out how to reduce the overall cost and assist you in securing the job.
Keep in contact with your client during the bidding process. Make sure you fully understand what goes on in the approval process and what dates are appropriate for follow up. This will assist you in avoiding becoming a pest and help you manage your communication schedule.
Regardless of whether or not you are awarded the job, maintain a positive attitude and offer up your appreciation for being considered. Your professionalism will make a positive impact and hopefully lead to future opportunities.
©2011 John Berthot
©2011 John Berthot Used by permission.
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” – The American Marketing Association
The art of sales is converting prospects gained from your marketing efforts into clients. Part of the skill of integrating your sales and marketing is to provide clarity and an effective reason as to why your prospective client should place a monetary value on what it is you’re marketing. Your client needs to have a distinct reason why they should purchase your products and services over others offering similar products and services.
The first step I take to integrate my talent’s marketing and sales is to create a one year plan with an outline of their quarterly direct marketing goals, where I rotate email promotions with print promotions that augment each other. When it comes to creating a successful marketing plan, I make sure I clearly understand the type of potential clients who would be most receptive to the artist’s vision and final product. We work together to develop materials that specifically appeal to the target audience. My goal is to create marketing promotions that create desire to hire my talent.
Of course, it takes time to produce my “clear vision” of prospective clients. Before presenting any material, I research advertising agencies, design studios and editorial firms to create a targeted client list. I tend to look through a database to see which firms are producing work that is relevant to the artist I represent.
I also spend time looking through ad agency websites, as well as magazines to see new campaigns that are using similar images – I take note whenever I come across relevant work, which I mention in my phone call with the client later on. It is important to indicate your knowledge of what the client is working on and provide a specific example of how they could benefit from hiring you, or your represented photographer or illustrator.
After the research phase is complete and promotions are sent out, I follow up with a phone call to each potential client to get their feedback within two weeks of a promotion being sent. My end goal is always to try and arrange a meeting for the photographer with a potential client. Face-to-face meetings are the single best way to establish trust between prospective clients and talent.
A yearly marketing plan provides my artists and I with a consistent plan to follow through on. It enables me to objectively analyze results, which, if needed, I use to determine the best way to tweak the strategy. I find this is the most time and energy-efficient way to obtain the best results.
It is important to spend the extra effort to keep communication open with existing clients and to not take them for granted. These marketing efforts can focus on congratulating them on promotions, noteworthy campaigns and any personal milestones you may be aware of.
Be aware that it takes time to integrate your marketing with your sales. Develop a consistent plan and stick with it. Do not be discouraged when your efforts do not pay off immediately – remember you are building your brand’s awareness. Trust is a process. Tenacity and perseverance, as well as a willingness to adapt based on changing market conditions, are the keys to turning your marketing efforts into sales.
"The Camera does not lie, Post Production and Publishers do". - James-ism 09/06/2013
"Papa, ... Music is your love, but Photography is your Religion." - Joya D. Hall-Sullivan | Age 10
"All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth." - Richard Avedon - 1984
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Alva Edison
"Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar." - Helmut Newton
"You don’t have to sort of enhance reality. There is nothing stranger than truth." - Annie Leibovitz
"When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you are on the right track." - Weegee
" The camera is much more than a recording apparatus. It is a medium via which messages reach us from another world." - Orson Welles
"Some people's photography is an art. Not mine. Art is a dirty word in photography. All this fine art crap is killing it already." - Helmut Newton
"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more. " - Nikola Tesla
"I think all art is about control - the encounter between control and the uncontrollable." - Richard Avedon
"The first 10 000 shots are the worst." - Helmut Newton
“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no short cuts in photography.” – Edward Weston
"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." - Mahatma Gandhi
"Ultimately success or failure in photographing people depends on the photographer's ability to understand his fellow man." - Edward Weston
"If you want reality take the bus." - David LaChapelle
"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams
"When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I’m human. It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist." - Robert Mapplethorpe
" Great photography is always on the edge of failure." - Garry Winogrand
"I don’t think photography has anything remotely to do with the brain. It has to do with eye appeal." - Horst P. Horst
"Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn't look like somebody else's work." - William Klein
"Avedon claims to have been the best photographer in the '60s - bullshit - Bob Richardson was - despite or because of being insane and strung out on drugs, I managed to do photographs that are considered iconic - being known as the 'photographer's photographer' means I lead and they follow - I'm broke and they are rich." - Bob Richardson
"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success" - Will Smith
"Either take the lead or follow behind, just stay the fuck out of my way." - James Sullivan