T-Shirts Can Complement Your Online Marketing

PHOTOGRAPHERS. ARTISTS. Last month, I researched and wrote an article about the 100-year history of the T-shirt business. So when I visited a local art fair (Summerfair), I couldn’t help but notice the many different types and styles of T-shirts people were wearing.

At the entrance to the fair, Summerfair organizers sold T-shirts with the same vibrant artwork as the poster for the 2013 event. The T-shirts were very reasonably priced, suggesting that fair organizers understand that the selling more T-shirts gives them more opportunities for year-round exposure for the event and the implied endorsements of the T-shirt wearers.

But I also noticed that an exhibitor who was selling fine-art photography was also selling T-shirts featuring his vintage-style photography alongside his notecards and matted prints.

What a great idea! People don’t send nearly as many handwritten note as we should. But people of all ages wear T-shirts–to show where we’ve been and what we like.  And if people wear T-shirts that promote their favorite musicians, why shouldn’t they wear T-shirts bearing the images of photographers and artists whose work they admire? Imagine how cool it would be to see people walking around wearing your art or studio logo.

ASIReportCoverAccording to a 2012 Global Advertising Speicalties Impressions study by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 43 percent of all consumers in the U.S. own at least one promotional shirt. Promotional shirts are particularly popular among younger people: 49 percent of people ages 21-36 own at least one promotional T-shirt and 46 percent of consumers in the 35 to 44 age group own a promotional T-shirt.

The ASI report notes T-shirts and other advertising specialties are unique forms of marketing. They point out, “Unlike other forms of media, where the advertiser’s message is seen as an interruption, ad specialties are used by consumers…And because the products are kept and use repeatedly, the advertisers are remembered.”

The study estimated that on average, consumers in the U.S. will keep a free, promotional T-shirt for 5.7 months and wear it often enough to achieve 1,990 impressions for the advertising company.

ASIReport1990ImpressionsMy hunch is that anyone who buys a T-shirt directly from an artist they admire is likely to keep it longer and wear it more often–achieving even more exposure for the photographer or artist.

A new breed of direct-to-garment and sublimation printing technologies is making it more feasible to reproduce certain types of photographic artwork on short runs of T-shirts. Direct-to-garment printers don’t require the screen set-up costs involved with conventional screen printing. Companies that offer short runs of digitally printed shirts include: Jakprints, Spreadshirt, and Blue Cotton.

Skilled screen printers can also print gorgeous photo reproductions on T-shirts. For example, check out the Elvis photo reproductions on “The Wertheimer Signature Collection” of apparel. The T-shirts feature a few of the 2,500 images of Elvis that photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer shot between 1956 and 1958 when the singer was just beginning his career. The images on the T-shirt are included in a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition entitled: “Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer.” The T-shirts were screen-printed by Campus Collection in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and are available to wholesale retail distribution.


Bottom line: If you haven’t yet considered using T-shirts as a way to get your work seen, maybe it’s time to give it a try.


Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Studies, v. 3: Advertising Specialties Institute

Campus Collection

Exhibition: Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer

T-Shirts: The Wertheimer Signature Collection

Spreadshirt: Design Your Own T-Shirt

Blue Cotton: Design Your Own Shirt



Book Reveals Business Secrets of Savvy Pro Photographers

9781118488409_cover.inddIn a new book from John Wiley and Sons, successful wedding photographer Lara White has published advice from her photography business website, Photomint.com.

Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing and More” provides tips for building a successful photography business in fiercely competitive business environment.

According to Department of Labor statistics, there are already more than 150,000 professional photographers in the United States, along with tens of thousands of serious amateurs seeking to break into the business.

“Jumping into the photography business can be pretty easy, but actually earning a living as a photographer is another story,” writes White in the book’s introduction.

People with a passion for photography often fail to see the difference between the glamorous fantasy of a pro photographer’s lifestyle and the harsh realities of running a profitable business. In a chart listing some popular misconceptions, White notes that the percentage of time that a pro photographer actually spends shooting is just a fraction of time that must be spent in front of the computer.

The book covers business fundamentals including establishing a brand, defining studio policies, setting pricing, creating a marketing plan, understanding your audience, networking, and using social media as a marketing channel. Other topics include training, building a portfolio, accounting, legal concerns, insurance, and sales.

“Photography Business Secrets” can be purchased online or at book retailers nationwide. In addition to the 336-page print version, it is available in all e-book formats.


Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More

List of Retailers for Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing and More by Lara White

Survey Shows How Photographers Plan to Grow Their Businesses in 2013

Photographers_Outlook_on_2013PHOTOGRAPHERS. PhotoShelter recently published the results of a “2013 outlook” survey they conducted in November, 2012.  The report “The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013” offers an in-depth look at photographers’ top business and marketing goals, investment plans, and revenue expectations for 2013. It also talks about some of their anticipated challenges.

The 46-question survey was sent to photographers who use PhotoShelter products as well as members of the photography community at large who receive PhotoShelter’s monthly newsletter.

Over 5,000 photographers responded to the survey. Sixty-nine percent live in the United States; 35 percent live outside the U.S. The respondents included full-time professionals (34 percent), part-time professionals (31 percent), aspiring pros (23 percent), hobbyists (10 percent) and students (2 percent).

Key Findings

Although 74 percent of the respondents said their top business challenge was finding new clients, many feel encouraged about their business prospects and plan to dedicate time and resources to marketing, solidifying their online presence, and growing their bottom lines.

Revenue and Spending

  • 93 percent plan to invest to improve their photography
  • 69 percent expect to make most of their revenue from new clients
  • 74 percent say finding new clients will be their biggest challenge


  • 54 percent say word-of-mouth referrals are the greatest marketing channel for finding new clients
  • 68 percent will focus on social media to market their work
  • 73 percent will use Facebook to promote their photo business

Business Tools and Planning

  • 90 percent plan to improve their websites
  • 76 percent will use Google Analytics to track and improve their website
  • 79 percent plan to attend more network and industry events

Along with the survey results, the report includes business-growth tips and resources on marketing, business strategy, and revenue-building.

About PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter offers professional, reliable and innovative online tools for growing a photography business. PhotoShelter’s websites, social, and SEO tools enable photographers to show their work online and attract new clients. Online image archives help photographers stay organized and access images on the fly. Image delivery and e-commerce tools help photographers sell their work easily and securely.

The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013 joins PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes 25+ educational guides including topics such as social media, email marketing, and starting a photography business.



The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013

PhotoShelter’s E-Book Library

About PhotoShelter

Guide Shows How To Sell Fine Art Photography Online

To learn how PhotoShelter’s website and back-end tools can be used to improve online sales of your fine art photography, check out their new guide “The Fine Art Photographer’s Tour of Photoshelter.”

PhotoShelterFineArtPhotographersGuideThe 16-page guide talks about how to build an audience, attract new clients, and make the online buying process totally seamless.

The first section shows how PhotoShelter can help your brand remain front and center throughout the entire ordering process. The authors note that “Your brand’s overall look and feel are especially important because you are asking potential clients to see premium value in your work—and pay a price in accordance with that value.”

The second section highlights PhotoShelter themes that let your images speak for themselves: “We hear from art buyers again and again that the number-one thing they want when viewing a photographer’s work online is an easy-to-navigate site with all of the contact and purchasing information readily accessible. Fine art photographers should think of their website like a gallery show—you want it to be clean and free of clutter, and to showcase your images in a well laid out and thoughtful way.”

In the section on building an audience, PhotoShelter emphasizes the fact that their websites are optimized for SEO (search engine optimization): “If you appear at the top of search results, then you’ll get more visitors to your website and thus more potential clients. This means no Flash-based sites (Google and other search engines can’t ‘crawl’ these site) and a focus on page factors that affect your SEO ranking (page title, image captions, meta descriptions, etc.)

The guide emphasizes that fine-art photographers should be keywording and captioning all of their images and galleries with relevant terms that buyers might be searching for: “Gallery owners and artist reps tell us that their clients are using search engines more and more—for example, to purchase photos that commemorate a trip or event.”

The final section of the guide talks about some of the options for having your images printed and delivered to your clients. For example, you can use one of PhotoShelter’s four integrated print vendors or browse the PhotoShelter Print Vendor Network. Through this network of 220+ print vendors worldwide, you can link up with any vendor that matches your specific needs—whether it’s a lab in your neighborhood or closer to client overseas.  You can reduce shipping costs by having a fine-art print created and shipped from a lab that is closer to your where your customer lives.

Although PhotoShelter can totally automate the process of accepting and processing orders for fine-art photo prints, you can choose to handle some parts of the process yourself. For example, if you want to sell signed, limited edition, or framed prints, you can make your own prints or work with the vendor you have been using for years.  Or, you can simply use the website as a “window into your business” and communicate with clients before they make a purchase. Even if you print and ship the order yourself, you can collect the payment online through PhotoShelter’s shopping cart.


The Fine Art Photographer’s Tour of PhotoShelter

About PhotoShelter


PhotoBiz Helps Creatives with SEO and Social Media Strategies

PhotoBiz, a web-solutions company for photographers and creative professionals, has expanded their offerings to include Web Styling, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media services.

“These new services are an extension of our enthusiastic approach to hands-on customer support,” said Chelsea Parker, PhotoBiz Visual Team Artist.

Web Styling Service

PhotoBiz will develop a personalized online identity for you, including a custom background and header image to complement your brand and a color scheme to match the new look. In addition, the PhotoBiz Web Styling Team will upload and organize images into galleries and insert copy. The result is a beautiful, and user-friendly website built on the PhotoBiz Control Panel.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Service

PhotoBiz SEO Experts can develop personalized strategies to help you attract more traffic to your website. Services include optimizing metadata, reviewing the usability of your website, setting up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and creating unique goals, filters, and alerts.  Forty-five days after the SEO plan has been implemented, you will get a follow-up call to review the site’s progress.

Social Media Service

First-class graphics on sites such as Facebook and Twitter can help take your social media outreach to the next level. The Web Stylists at PhotoBiz will design eye-catching Facebook cover photos and Twitter background images. Plus, you will receive one-on-one education on how to use top social media outlets.

Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, PhotoBiz specializes in designing and hosting Flash and HTML Portfolio sites, business sites, stores, blogs. They also offer slideshow tools for online client proofing.


About PhotoBiz

PhotoBiz Services

PhotoShelter Guide Explains How to Sell Nature Photography

Selling Nature Photography” is one of the latest educational guides from PhotoShelter, a worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites and sales and marketing tools for photographers. The free guide provides key marketing insights from leading nature photographers such as Art Wolfe and buyers such as National Geographic.

PhotoShelter released the guide in partnership with Outdoor Photographer magazine, which provides photography technique articles and gear reviews for nature, travel, and wildlife photographers.

The introduction to “Selling Nature Photography” describes various markets for nature photographs, noting that “Some photographers stick to one type of revenue stream, though just as many choose to dabble: sell a few art prints, pitch a few editorial stories, sell to stock photo buyers, or take emerging photographers on tours.”

The guide provides specific advice on how to turn your passion for outdoor photography into a business. To help you grow sales, the guide includes:

  • Questions to ask before pitching to editorial clients
  • Tips  for getting nature photography featured in public spaces
  • Insights from nature-photography buyers who who are on the lookout for new images to publish and photographers to feature.

The guide also explains why being a persistent business person and protecting your interests is a must. Interviews with Art Wolfe, Jerry Monkman, Martin Bailey, Jody MacDonald and Grant Kaye shed light on what techniques these successful photographers use to bring clients through the door and create sustainable businesses in nature photography.  According to Monkman, “If you’re willing to stay the course, and work your butt off, it’s the best job in the world.”

“Selling Nature Photography” is one of the latest additions to PhotoShelter’s library of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals.  PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes more than 20 guides on topics such as Google Analytics for photographers, email marketing, search engine optimization, selling fine-art photography, and starting a photography business.


Free E-Book: Selling Nature Photography

About PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter’s Library of Educational Guides

Free Guide Explains What Buyers Want from Photographers

PHOTOGRAPHERS. Feedback from more than 1,000 photo editors and buyers worldwide is summarized in the 2012 edition of the report “What Buyers Want from Photographers Guide.” The report was a joint project of PhotoShelter and Agency Access—two companies dedicated to helping professional photographers be more successful in marketing themselves. The 35-page e-book is available free from the PhotoShelter or Agency Access websites.

In March 2012, PhotoShelter and Agency Access sent out a 25-question survey to Agency Access’ database of 90,000 global recipients. All of the recipients identified themselves as someone who either hires photographers for commission or assignment work or licenses still photography. A total of 1,000 buyers responded, providing written responses and anecdotes to some of the survey’s open-ended questions.

The buyers who responded come from ad agencies (40%), design agencies (15%), editorial publications (15%), corporations (10%), marketing agencies (6%), book publishers (3%) non-profits (3%), freelance (2%), and other (6%).  The most common titles of the photo buyers who responded include art director, creative director, designer, copywriter, design director, photo editor, graphic designer, and art buyer.

The authors of the 2012 report note that “The consistency among responses helped us understand that regardless of where photo buyers work or their particular photographic needs, they share clear similarities on how they want to be pitched, how they wish to navigate websites, and the personal characteristics of photographers they seek.”

The questions addressed a range of topics such as:

  • How photographers should market themselves to photo buyers
  • What makes a great website
  • The types of video skills buyers need right now
  • What obstacles prevent buyers from finding good photographers
  • The personal traits buyers look for (and don’t look for) in a photographer

After describing the types of photo buyers who participated in the survey, the guide presents a short summary of how buyers search for images and photographers and discusses some of the trends photo buyers are seeing, both in technology and budgets.

For example, one associate creative director at an ad agency noted that, “Boundaries between still and moving images are becoming blurred. Interactive books are creating new opportunities for photographers and filmmakers alike.”

Of the 21.9% of photo buyers who said their budgets were increasing compared to 2011, the majority were from advertising agencies (44.5%), design agencies (16.5%), corporations (11.9%), and editorial publications (9.6%). The majority of respondents (56.5%) said their photography budgets for 2012 were the same as 2011.

The 35-page report is chock-full of helpful comments and insights such as the ones below:

  • A marketing manager for an architecture/interior design firm observed that: “I feel photographers are too persistent to the point that it can sometimes be unprofessional. I am happy to make portfolio meetings with new talent, but when I am e-mailed, called, and sought after on a daily basis, I choose not to work with this individual or firm.”
  •  The art buyer at the marketing agency JWT says she prefers that promos not be put in an envelope or be produced in the form of a large, elaborately folded piece:  “Photographers should remember that promoting themselves is about promoting their work. There is definitely room for some fun  and unique ideas—just make sure that it makes sense for the type of work you do.” She suggests sending a simple, well-designed, well-produced postcard with an outstanding image. “Whether it is relevant to what I’m working on at the moment isn’t as important to me as whether I can see that you’re a great photographer with vision.”
  •  A photo editor at Men’s Health magazine emphasized the need to make your website hassle free. “Photo editors appreciate links to websites that navigate easily, load quickly, don’t hae music, and showcase thumbnails that can be scrolled through quickly. Photographers need to have websites that are streamlined so they’re easy to use, very intuitive, and don’t have a lot of bells and whistles.”

About the Sponsors of the Study

Agency Access is a one-stop provider of marketing services for photographers and illustrators. Services include access to a global database of thousands of potential clients and assistance with email, direct mail, cold-calling, design, website portfolio editing, and marketing campaign consultations.

PhotoShelter is a leader in portfolio websites and business tools for serious photographers. They offer powerful features and resources for marketing your photos, such as SEO and social sharing capabilities and options for licensing photography, selling prints online, and pro-strength file delivery tools.


 Guide: 2012 What Buyers Want from Photographers Guide

Agency Access