Archive for March 2017

Bigger is Better (for Prints, That is): 5 Reasons To Print Bigger Photos

Bigger is Better (for Prints, That is): 5 Reasons To Print Bigger Photos

Size matters — particularly when it comes to printing photos. While digital has become commonplace, most actually still use print sizes made popular from 35mm film. If our technology has evolved so much, then why are we still printing small photos? Snapshots may still have their place — but here are five reasons why those favorite photos deserve much more than a 4×6.

4×6 was popularized by film.

The 4×6 size was easy to create from 35mm film because it uses the same aspect ratio. Developing film in small sizes made it easy to see a photo’s overall quality affordably, with the possibility of enlarging the best ones later. While many digital cameras still use that same aspect ratio, there’s no need to print out every photo to see which one is the best when you use digital.

Small prints waste those details.

How much time did you put into taking that shot? A 4×6 isn’t large enough to see the most details from an image, wasting all that effort to get that proper exposure to leave all those details intact. Larger photo prints puts those details on a pedestal to admire.

Even an iPhone can make big prints.

When digital photography was in it’s infancy, most consumer cameras couldn’t be printed in very big sizes. But, now even the iPhone 7 can print a 21×14 image and still get a good image quality, or up to a 14×9 with no quality loss at all. And that’s just a 12 megapixel iPhone with a small sensor.

Big prints are becoming more affordable.

Gone are the days of buying film and paying for the development of every roll. But even as digital photography maintains its spot in the mainstream, more photo printing options are entering the market, which means print prices are dropping as more competition pops up. Even an 11×17 is only a few bucks at most photo printers.

Prints are no longer just paper.

Printing on paper used to be a given, along with perhaps an occasional canvas. Now, photos can be printed on wood, glass or acrylic, while canvas is also becoming more affordable. All of these mediums offer a number of atheistic qualities, with wood adding a subtle texture and the transparent quality of glass electrifying the colors in your image. Printing on glass and other non-traditional materials are not quite as affordable as printing on paper, but the cost difference isn’t as drastic as size increases. Printing two 5x7s on glass is often more expensive than printing one 8×10 or even an 11×17, even though they’ll take up roughly the same amount of space on your wall.

4x6s remain a standard and are affordable print options — they’re still good for albums or giving out photos in large quantities. But when it comes to printing photos to display, go beyond even the standard 8×10 — the technology is there, the image quality is there and the price difference is smaller than ever before. When it comes to prints of the best photos, bigger really is better.

5 Ways for Creative Businesses To Create Stability by Diversifying

5 Ways for Creative Businesses To Create Stability by Diversifying

There’s a fine line between having your fingers in too many pies and putting your eggs all in one basket. Yes, they’re just old adages, but both of them have some serious implications for business owners, including creatives like photographers and print studios. Spread too wide and risk being viewed as that jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. Too thin, and you risk a dwindling income when trends change. But, there is a happy medium — here are five ways photographers and other creative businesses can diversify their income without being spread too thin.

Adapt to new customer types.

Every business reaches a certain type of customer — wedding photographers cater to brides and grooms, portrait photographers to families, print studios to local photographers. Sometimes, diversifying doesn’t necessarily mean adding new skills, but reaching out to more customers. Photographers that shoot senior portraits could use those same skills and equipment to take corporate headshots. The skillset is the same, but the audience is different. Brainstorm ways that your current service or product offerings could be adapted to different customer bases, and you’ll have ways to diversify without overdoing it.

Brainstorm related products or services.

Sometimes, reaching out to the same audience but with more product or service options can help strengthen a business. A wedding photographer could, for example, shoot newborn portraits of the same couples that booked their weddings. The skillset is a bit different, but you already have a positive relationship established with the couple, making them more likely to choose you a second time, even though their needs have changed slightly.

Adding more physical products is another way to diversify. Adding unique prints, such as prints on wood or metal, or bundling multiple print sizes together at a discount may be a small change that could strengthen that bottom line. Senior portrait photographers could also expand by selling graduation and open house invitations and wedding photographers could sell engagement sessions with Save The Dates, for example.

Sell online.

Sure, photography and other creative businesses are more service than retail, but there’s often still ways to branch out with online sales. Selling prints online to friends and family, not just the client, through an online platform and social media advertising is one method. New services also make it possible to book a session online, and simplifying the process could help bring in more clients.

Teach online.

Selling online doesn’t have to be a product or a service, but knowledge. Teaching others what you know best is another way to diversify income, particularly for solopreneurs. Teaching an online photography class, business management class or other similar topics is both related to what you already do and divides those eggs up into another basket. Many different online learning platforms make it easy to create and sell classes online. (And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a class, sharing that knowledge with an ebook is another possibility).

Stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

Sometimes, the best way to diversify doesn’t even exist yet. As a business owner, staying up to date on the latest industry trends can help give you an idea of where to go next. For example, the earliest adapters of cake smash photography were able to quickly expand their business with the fun new trend that parents were eager to get on board with.

Business owners are often thinking of ways to make sure that next paycheck is a guarantee, and diversifying the income sources is one of the best ways to do that. By branching out into related areas within your expertise, you can create a business that adapts and thrives to whatever changes come your way.

4 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Developing an Online Presence

4 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Developing an Online Presence

Today, developing an online presence is a given. If you’re not online, customers assume you don’t exist. But starting a website is more than adding a few photos and an address online. And while there are many tools that now allow business owners to design their own website, there are also many pitfalls. To build an online presence that will send customers your way instead of driving them away, avoid these four common mistakes when building (or updating) your website.

Being inaccessible.

With a website, your business can be open 24/7 — if people can access it. Today, an accessible website is one that can be viewed both on a desktop screen and a mobile device. Can visitors read your text and access your links from the smaller screen of a smartphone? If not, an update could help bring you additional customers, since many use smartphones to surf online.

Accessibility can also go further with more convenient features — websites can allow for 24/7 orders, make it easy to get questions answered, book appointments, find directions and more. Brainstorm the questions customers may have and dig into ways to make them accessible at your website. Many apps offer added connivence outside of basic web design, like online booking, online proof galleries for photographers and more.

Failing to be brand-consistent.

A website is just one extension of your company, but it needs to match all the other parts. If you run an upscale business, don’t use a playful web design scheme. If you run a laid-back, casual business, don’t use an upscale design. Your website should reflect your brand as a whole, from the design to the text.

Find website inspiration from your logo, the design of your store and your company’s goals. When potential customers visit your website first, they should be able to walk in to your store and immediately recognize the brand.

Failing to incorporate reviews.

One of the reasons websites are so powerful is that it allows customers to communicate with other customers — not just a brand trying to market themselves. Many businesses are afraid of bad reviews, so they don’t have any reviews at all. That’s a mistake — customer reviews help make new customers comfortable even though they’ve never actually bought anything from you before.

If your website platform doesn’t include reviews, there are many third-party programs that allow businesses to add reviews to any website.

Trying to market.

A website is a marketing tool — but it shouldn’t be treated as one. Customers know when they’re being marketed to. So what should a website do? A good website will start a relationship. Avoid marketing speak in your content and keep it casual, more like the way you’d talk to a friend than the way you would talk to a stranger.

A blog is a great way to use a website to reach out to customers without hardcore marketing. A blog shares glimpses into your business — or, if you’re a solopreneur, even your own personal life. Blogs are also great places to share tips and explore the multiple ways customers can use your products or services.

Today, a website is a given — but exactly what you do with a website can be harder to navigate. When building an online prescience, avoid the most common mistakes to get your website started on the right foot.

5 Retail Promotion Tricks Photographers Can Steal To Grow Their Business

5 Retail Promotion Tricks Photographers Can Steal To Grow Their Business

Photography is both art and business — and while sidewalk sales may not work for photographers, there are still a few ideas photographers can steal from retail. Favorite tricks for retailers are favorites for a reason, often bringing in additional sales every time. From seasonal specials to offering bonus deals, here’s a few ideas that bridge the gap and still work as useful tools for photographers.

Think Strategy.

Marketing campaigns shouldn’t be quick ideas for quick discounts — by developing a strategy, you reach more of the right people for the same investment. First, identify you audience — who’s your ideal client? What do they like to do and where do they spend their time? Then, brainstorm exactly what it is you want to communicate — often, it’s the qualities that set you apart from other photographers. Maybe it’s your style, your prices or your sense of humor.

When you merge your goals and audience, that’s where marketing is most effective. Brainstorm creative ways to share what’s unique in a way that reaches those target clients.

Go with the Seasons.

Grab a calendar when you are brainstorming promotions — the best promotions often fall within the seasons. Christmas sales, tax season promotions, even local events. Coordinate spring themed mini sessions for Easter, offer an early booking discount during tax season or discount prints and photo gifts before Christmas.

Besides just coordinating specials with what clients already have on their minds, moving with the seasons can also help brainstorm new ideas.

Reward Frequent Clients.

Retailers often keep customers from shopping the competition with loyalty programs that offer discounts for the more they buy from a single store. Photographers can adapt a similar system to turn first time clients into regulars. Offer a coupon when you deliver their prints for their next session or add them to an exclusive email list with special offers. For families or even commercial work, a rewards system can keep clients coming back.

Own a more one-time business, like wedding photography? Switch up the loyalty program and instead craft a referral reward with a free print or gift when they recommend you to their friends.

Try Cross Promotion.

Photographers are often business owners that wear many hats — but promotions don’t have to be a solo thing. By sharing marketing costs with a related company or advertising within a similar business, you can often reach the right clients for less. First, find a business with a similar audience. Newborn photographers may partner with baby boutiques, or wedding photographers with florists and dress shops. Then, brainstorm ways to promote your business together, from adding a coupon to the bottom of receipts to hanging a flyer or discounting clients who book with both businesses. Cross promotion can even including sharing the costs for more expensive promotions, like a professional video or extensive ad campaign.

Consider Bonuses Instead of Discounts.

Sales and discounts are often the first promotional ideas that come to mind — but as retailers know, sometimes adding something extra can be just as effective. Offer a free print for early bookings during your slow season, include free engagements with your biggest wedding package or run a campaign with free digital downloads. Don’t limit your promotions by only thinking of what you can discount.

Photography businesses are quite different from grocery stores and shopping malls — but that doesn’t mean they don’t overlap. When it comes to promotional ideas, retail stores often serve as a good starting point for launching your own marketing efforts.

6 Ways Photographers Can Use Cross-Promotion as Affordable, Effective Advertising

6 Ways Photographers Can Use Cross-Promotion as Affordable, Effective Advertising

Advertising is a double-edged sword — without it, photographers find little expansion to new audiences, yet advertising can take a big cut out of the budget. But, putting creative energy into innovative ways to advertise can dull that sword. Cross-promotion is one of those creative advertising methods — and it can be an incredibly helpful tool for photographers.

What is cross-promotion?

Cross-promotion is when two businesses with similar audiences work together on an advertising project. For example, a wedding photographer may partner with a florist to co-develop a set of social media ads or may work out an agreement with a reception hall to display photography fliers. Newborn photographers may work with an infant boutique to advertise in-store mini sessions.

Cross-promotion can be an incredible tool for photographers, particularly for those who work with several related (but not competing) vendors on a regular basis. Here are just six ideas for jump starting a cross-promotion.

Cross post on websites.

A simple way to cross-promote is just to link to that partner business on your website. Visitors to their site will see your link, and visitors to your site will see theirs. This is easy to set-up and typically tends to be free.

Share the costs for large campaigns.

For campaigns that require a big budget, like a video series for social media or a large print ad, cross-promotion can mean splitting that large expense. By creating an ad that promotes both companies, you get the same reach for half the cost.

Create simple displays.

Cross-promotion doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple display can make a big impact. Depending on the relationship, photographers may or may not have to pay for the display, but even the paid displays are often more affordable than traditional advertising. A newborn photographer, for example, may create a display for the area hospital. The hospital gets free decor for the walls and the photographer gets inexpensive exposure with a few canvases and a business card or sign accompanying the images.

Link in social media.

This one doesn’t even necessarily require reaching out to the other company first. If you tag another company in your social media post, that post will be seen by both your followers and theirs. This one is great for wedding photographers — if you share a photograph of the bouquet, for example, why not tag the florist in the post and get more reach? Tags can be locations, prop stores and services such as makeup and more.

Guest post on blogs.

If that like-minded business has a blog, why not guest post? Guest posts are exposure for the writer, and free content for the poster. A wedding photographer, for example, could write a post called “5 Unique Bouquets For Spring Weddings,” using, of course, photos of bouquets. The floral company gets free content and the photographer gets exposure for those images with a link back to their own website.

Offer a mutual discount.

People love to save money — it’s why sales are so effective. By offering a mutual discount, potential clients that otherwise would not have seen your information are eager to look you up to take advantage of that savings. A baby boutique may offer a discount to a newborn photographer, while the photographer in turn offers clients a discount to the store. By creating a mutual discount, you put a coupon in front of potential clients that would not have otherwise noticed your business.

Advertising does not have to be expensive — if you get creative. Running a cross-promotion is an affordable way to reach out to the right clients while helping another like-minded business at the same time.