E-Book Shows How to Update Your Photography Business Plan

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to adopt a more methodical approach to running your  photography business, check out the free “2012 Photo Business Plan Workbook” from PhotoShelter. The 24-page e-book provides dozens of excellent suggestions, as well as links to PhotoShelter-approved resources. For example:

Update your marketing plan. To get people’s attention and convert them into customers, you may need to conduct multiple campaigns through multiple channels. Plus, your marketing plan should be designed so it doesn’t treat each potential customer as if they were in the same state of readiness to hire you. Plan more nuanced marketing activities that treat those who are closer to making a hiring decision differently from those who may be just beginning to explore their options for buying photography or photo-related services.

Get your finances in order so you maintain a level of professionalism and accountability. Do you have separate bank accounts and credit cards to keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses? Do you have an accurate bookkeeping system and a cash flow plan that ensures that your spending doesn’t outpace your income? And, do you have the right type of business insurance?

Give your website a tune-up. If you regard your website primarily as a digital version of a printed portfolio, it’s probably time for an upgrade. To compete with other photographers who use their websites as sales and marketing tools, your website should have the following capabilities: image search, e-commerce, file delivery, newsletter signup, a blog, and contact information.

The 2012 Photo Business Plan Workbook also explains how to:

  • Clearly define your products and services
  • Determine your audience and addressable market
  • Use SEO (search-engine optimization) techniques to attract traffic to your website
  • Optimize your use of social-media tools
  • Create an advisory group
  • Generate new business by following up with old clients

“You can’t expect to succeed in the coming year if you don’t have a plan to make it happen,” said PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi. “We see photographers all the time who have lofty goals but don’t afford themselves the time to make a plan.”

The workbook is divided into easy-to-digest sections, with action-item checklists that indicate how long it should take to complete the items on the list.

“The 2012 Photo Business Plan Workbook” joins PhotoShelter’s expanding library of free business guides for photographers and creative professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes guides on email marketing, search engine optimization, starting a photography business, and social media marketing.


The 2012 Photo Business Plan Workbook by PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter E-Book Library

About PhotoShelter

Preparing for Your Digital Afterlife

Are you prepared for your digital afterlife?

It’s a good question to ponder, particularly during these last two weeks of December as we sort through our 2011 files and look ahead to 2012. John Romano and Evan Carroll, who wrote the book “Your Digital Afterlife,” note that all of us will have some sort of “digital afterlife” whether we are prepared or not.  Ensuring that others can continue view our digital files after we die should matter to everyone. But it should be a particular concern for photographers, artists, writers, and other creative pros whose work might have more than sentimental value.

“The things we produce help us pay the bills, exercise our creativity, and leave an impact on our professions,” notes Carroll in an article on The Peachpit Press website entitled “Digital Estate Planning for Designers, Photographers, and Developers.” He says creative professionals have immense digital footprints because we tend to create, share, and collect far more data than the average person.

Yet a lot of the digital content we have created has been scattered over multiple digital devices, including work and personal computers, smartphones, backup drives, and online accounts such as Flickr. In some cases, our digital creations may reside on computers over which we don’t have direct control.

To save your heirs an immense amount of frustration, Carroll and Romano advise creating a digital estate plan. In addition to giving your family access to works that might be regarded as heirlooms, a digital estate plan can help ensure that the photographs, manuscripts, designs, and sketches you’ve created remain readable and available to those who want to view your work.  You can get started by taking an inventory of your digital assets, recording the appropriate access credentials, and documenting your wishes.

In an interview on the PeachPit Press website, Carroll and Romano said they wrote the book to help people understand the new digital lifestyle and how it affects their legacy: “We’ve heard countless stories where grieving families have lost access to precious content or they’ve found content that revealed embarrassing content that belonged to the deceased. Our book will help you avoid both of these scenarios.”

The first section of the book talks about the risks that digital legacies face and current advances to help avoid those risks. The second section walks you through a step-by-step process to help secure different types of digital assets.

“The biggest mistake you can make is to not take any action at all,” said Carroll and Romano. “You will have some form of digital afterlife whether you take action or not. By not taking action, you leave everything to chance.”


Article: Digital Estate Planning for Designers, Photographers, and Developers by Evan Carroll

Article: Your Digital Afterlife: An Interview with John Romano and Evan Carroll

Book: Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What’s Your Legacy?

Website: The Digital Beyond

E-Mail Marketing Guide for Photographers from AWeber

PHOTOGRAPHERS. AWeber Communications, a provider of email marketing software and services for small businesses, has published “A Photographer’s Guide to Email Marketing.” The 17-page guide explains:

  • Why email marketing is such an effective marketing tool;
  • How to build a subscriber list (online and offline);
  • How to confirm and welcome new subscribers;
  • What type of content to include in your emails:
  • Different types of emails, including newsletters, announcements, and blog broadcasts;
  • How to keep your email marketing going, even during busy

According to AWeber, email marketing can increase your exposure and nudge those word-of-mouth referrals along a bit. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has the highest return on investment of any marketing platform–about $43.62 for every dollar spent.

The Email Marketing for Photographers guide notes that every email is a chance to turn subscribers into clients. But the authors point out that “You don’t have to go for the hard sell right away. Instead, create a vision of the experience people get when they book with you: your friendly, easy-to-work-with personality, your creative genius, and your beautiful, striking photos.”

The guide can be downloaded free from the blog on the AWeber website. You don’t have to furnish any information about yourself in order to access the guide.


A Photographer’s Guide to Email Marketing

About AWeber Communications


Learn DSLR Filmmaking at Four 2012 Photography Events

In a previous post on this blog, we explained some of the reasons the demand for professional video services is starting to explode. If you want to help meeting the burgeoning demand, make plans to attend one of the four major photography conferences planned this spring. All four conferences feature courses that can help you improve your ability to produce professional-quality videos with a DSLR camera.

January 8-9 at Bally’s
in Las Vegas, Nevada
(in conjunction with PMA@CES: January 10-13)

Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow of Cinestories will present a two-part “Get In Motion” session on DSLR filmmaking. During “Part 1: The Art of Storytelling with Moving Images,” you’ll learn fundamental principles of filmmaking and see examples of films you can make with tools you already have. In “Part 2: Post-Production Magic,” you will learn how to edit video using Adobe Premiere CS 5.5. Learn the art of the cut, when to cross-fade, how to add movement to static clips, color correction, how to add text and assemble audio, and how to add a soundtrack. By the end of the session you will be able to turn your footage into compelling films.

After the DIMA Conference wraps up, see the latest digital-imaging technology and consumer electronics at the massive Consumer Electronics Show. After visiting the booths of camera, video, and imaging-product manufacturers at PMA@CES at the Venetian, take a shuttle to the Las Vegas Convention Center and explore thousands of exhibits showcasing innovations in 3D imaging, tablet computers, apps, connected TVs, audio equipment, and more.


DIMA Conference


January 15-17 in the
Ermest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana

The world’s longest-running professional photography conference includes three full days of artistic and business education for wedding, portrait, and sports photographers. Organized by Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the conference includes three sessions on DSLR filmmaking:

Transitioning from Stills to Motion
Canon Explorer of Light Ken Sklute will guide you through everything you need to know in order to capture moving images and present them to clients. You will learn about shooting video clips and capturing audio and see how to create techniques in movement and produce time-lapse films. Sklute will also cover DSLR workflow, asset management, editing techniques, and the latest grip gear for shooting moving images.

HDSLR Cinema 101: Shooting Video Like a Pro
As a 10-year veteran of the Saturday Night Live Film Unit, Alex Buono must deliver high-end commercial parodies and short films in as little as 24 hours. In this session, he shares how shooting with the Canon 5DmII and 7D has revolutionized the way he works. He will demonstrate everything you need to know to shoot videos with your DSLR. You’ll get an extensive list of setup necessities, including shutter speeds, frame rates, aspect ratios, camera settings and vital production gear. Alex will also suggest on-set and post-production workflows and discuss the advantages of Canon DSLRs versus other formats. Plus, he will explain how to transcode files into edit-friendly codecs, and how to create time-lapse sequences.

From Still to Motion
Cinestories’ Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow will show how to use your artistic talent, training, and equipment to expand your business possibilities with HDSLR filmmaking. You will see specific examples of the types of films you can create, including Web commercials, wedding films, birth announcements, family films, and films for events such as conventions.


Imaging USA

WPPI 2012
Conference: February 16-23; Exhibits: February 20-22
MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Conducted by Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, this event offers a diverse mix of 90 platform classes, 50 master classes, 2-day PLUS classes, and a two-day WPPI U for emerging photographers. The filmmaking sessions include:

The Art and Business of DSLR Filmmaking
After describing top mistakes photographers make when adding DSLR filmmaking to their repertoire, inspirational filmmaker Ron Dawson will teach the basics of filmmaking, discuss audio and editing issues, and talk about what gear to use.

Storytelling with Video and Stills
Celebrity wedding photographers and digital-cinema leaders Charles Maring and Jennifer Maring will show why video is fast becoming a staple in studios around the world. Whether you want to use DLSR video for client projects or public relations, you will learn how to maximize the potential of your DSLR to increase profits, educate consumers, and tell visually captivating stories about your clients or your studio.

Photo Video Fusion
Wedding photographer Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams explain how to capture, edit, produce, and market films that still photographs with video footage.

Six Films to Make With Your HDSLR
Cinestores’ Jeff Medford explains how to add filmmaking products to your offerings. Topics include how to make Web commercials, wedding films, birth-announcement films, family music videos, senior music videos and films for events. He will discuss different camera movement techniques, what additional gear to acquire and how to edit it all in Adobe Premiere CS 5.5.


WPPI 2012

March 24-26 at the
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC

Whether you’re brand new to photography or a seasoned pro, sessions at NAPP’s Photoshop, Photography and Lighting Conference can help take your work to the next level. Four sessions explain how to use DSLR and Adobe software to produce great-looking “motion graphics.”

Pre-Conference Workshop: On Location DSLR Video Workshop
During this seven-hour workshop at the Rhed Pixel video production studio in nearby Falls Church, Virginia, Richard Harrington will show how a real-world project comes to life. You’ll also get a hands-on lesson on executing your own video projects from start to finish, from acquiring footage to the post production process.

Creating Time-Lapse Movies
Richard Harrington (author of Photoshop for Video and Motion Graphics Studies Techniques) shares power-user techniques for creating time-lapse movies. Learn how to prepare Photoshop files for import into After Effects or a video-editing tools. Learn to use advanced options such as video layers, smart objects, and 3D objects for special uses.

Photographers Video Tool Kit
Rod Harlan of the Digital Video Professional Association, shows how to take your DSLR footage further with techniques available in Photoshop. Learn secrets for creating time-lapse videos.

Getting Started with Premiere Pro
Richard Harrington explains the essentials of video editing and working with video and audio. You’ll also see how to publish your results to the web.


Photoshop World


Six Reasons Photographers Should Learn to Shoot Video




A&I Studios Helps Independent Publishers of Fine-Art Photography Books

PHOTOGRAPHERS. Publishing photo books can be a wonderful way to show your work to more people. As HP Pro Photography blogger Wayne Cosshall observes: “Compared to exhibition prints, photo books are readily usable, inexpensive, and can be widely distributed.” In terms of the type of photo book you might want to produce, you have more options than ever.

If your goal is to present your art to specific audiences, or to show your photographs in a finely crafted book, check out the independent-publishing services that the A&I Books division of A&I Studios in Hollywood, California offers in partnership with Great Circle Books.

The publishing experts at the boutique publishing imprint Great Circle Books can provide whatever level of support you might need to help set your book apart from most self-published books. Their goal is to help you maximize the value and impact of your print-on-demand book.

“Our publishing services could include anything from very basic proofing all the way up to advice on how to market and publicize the book,” explains Rex Weiner, editor-in-chief at Great Circle Books and head of publishing for A&I Books. You can get the benefit of designers, experienced editors, an all of the auxiliary services that contribute to the success of a traditionally published book.” As an independent publisher, you retain the copyright and full control over the contents and look of your finished book.

Specific services include:

  • Conceptual strategy to help focus your theme and explore marketing opportunities and publicity potential.
  • Image selection and sequencing to show your work to its best advantage.
  • Copy editing of your biography, introduction, and captions.
  • Editorial writing of bios or opening essays that talk about the aesthetics of your work or place it in historical context.
  • Proofreading to avoid misspellings, dropped words, or incorrect cross-references.
  • ISBN-number-registration for commercial distribution of your work to bookstores or libraries.

You can choose an ISBN number registration that identifies your publisher as A&I Books, Great Circle Books, or your own imprint.

Photo: John Livzey, www.johnlivzey.com

A&I’s indie publishing services start with a free half-hour consultation, so you can consider ideas that might not have occurred to you. Some recommendations will depend on what you are trying to achieve with the book.

Weiner says some photographers use print-on-demand publishing to create a prototype book that can help them land a deal with a mainstream publisher. Others choose to produce 32-page softcover gallery exhibition books to fill the middle ground between a show catalog and coffeetable book.

“Some photographers and artists produce higher quantities of softcover books for sale to consumers, and limited-edition hardcover books that can be numbered, signed, and sold as collectible items,” says Weiner.

Proof Book

One benefit of print-on-demand book publishing is that the first book can be used as a proof book. Take it home, pass it around, let others make suggestions, then return to A&I Studios. After you make the suggested adjustments, you can then make multiple copies as needed.

Photo: John Livzey, www.johnlivzey.com

Like many photo labs and commercial printing services, A&I Studios use HP Indigo digital presses to produce the photo books. But A&I takes pride in doing all of their printing and most of their bookbinding in house.

“A&I customers know that when they return for additional copies of a book, they can expect the quality to be consistent from one book to the next,” explains Weiner. This may not always be the case with photo-book publishers who outsource their printing and binding to different suppliers.

A&I can also help you design and produce custom books with case binding, fine-finished covers in a variety of leathers and materials, saddle stitching, foil stamping, or embossing and debossing, and other effects. Custom books are available in sizes up to 11 x 17 inches.

Legacy Photo Lab

Another thing that differentiates A&I Studios from other photo-book publishers is their long history of working with photographers.

“We’re a legacy photo lab. We come from the world of photography. We don’t regard ourselves as just another print shop,” says Weiner. “When we do a photography book, we look at it from the point of view of photographers. Our fearless leader Baret Lepejian grew up working in the darkroom with his father Isgo Lepejian, who was one of the top photography printers in Hollywood.”

Photogorapher Jeff Sheng used A&I's publishing support services for his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” photo books about men and women affected by the policy that banned gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military. www.dadtbooks.com

While Baret Lepejian helped their staff make the transition to the digital age, Weiner says, “He encouraged us to preserve the intimate exchanges that occur when a photographer wants to express his or her vision on the printed page. It’s very personal to each photographer and artist, and we take their needs seriously. We believe in the process as much as the result.”

Veronica Thomas, A&I’s director of marketing and business development, says that, “Our Indigo press operators are wonderful. They are artists themselves, and play that machine line a violin.”

The quality of books produced by A&I Books was confirmed in a test conducted by the New York Chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. When they submitted an identical “test book” to 18 different print-on-demand publishers of photo books, the book produced by A&I Studios received the highest average score from the dozens of professionals who judged the quality of the 18 books without knowing which company produced them.


A&I Books

A&I Books: Publishing Services

About A&I Studios


HP Pro Photography Blog: Photo Book Publishing Comes of Age by Wayne Cosshall

Great Output Blog: A&I Studios Urges Photographers to Experiment with HP Scitex Flatbed Printer

New Book Explains How to Build a Photography Business

Are you among the many people who imagine it would be super-cool to be a full-time professional photographer? And, sure, it can be mighty tempting to give it a shot—particularly if you suddenly find yourself “self-employed” (unintentionally or by design).

But many aspiring pros fail to consider is that building a sustainable business as a photographer is hard work. It requires much more than a passion for photography, a good camera, and some software.

To get a taste of what building a photography business entails, read the new book by Skip Cohen and Scott Bourne. Entitled “Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer,” the book explains some of the steps involved in converting your passion into a business. In addition to mastering the craft, you must have the patience and perseverance to execute a well thought-out business plan and know how to use both social media and traditional marketing tools, such as press releases, advertising, and direct mail.

In the book’s introduction Bourne and Cohen remind readers that, “Being a professional photographer carries with it a great deal of responsibility, especially when working with clients. They’re putting their trust in you to capture everything they’re not going to have time to see, especially at an event like a wedding. A commercial client is looking for you to show the essence of a product in ways that can promote and grab the attention of the public. A photojournalist has a responsibility to freeze a moment to share with the rest of society with a full commitment to truth in imaging.”

The authors of “Going Pro” provide practical advice on choosing your niche, putting together a portfolio, pricing and showing your work, positioning your brand, and planning for diversification.

Even if you’ve been a working pro for awhile, you may want to read the book’s sections about how to use social media to build an online presence. The book includes checklists for promoting your blog, explains how to use Twitter Search to find clients, and discusses why properly adding keywords to your photographs can be the single best thing you can to get your work seen on the Internet. The chapters in the 240-page, gorgeously illustrated book suggest some things to consider before turning pro:

  • Chapter 1: Define Your Niche
  • Chapter 2: Be the Best Photographer You Can Be
  • Chapter 3: Test the Water and Show Your Work
  • Chapter 4: Marketing
  • Chapter 5: Social Media Marketing for Photographers
  • Chapter 6: Use Twitter to Grow Your Photo Business
  • Chapter 7: Blogging: Your Online Presence
  • Chapter 8: The World of Search
  • Chapter 9: Old-Fashioned Marketing
  • Chapter 10: Expand Your Business
  • Chapter 11: Outsourcing

Photographer Scott Bourne, of the Bourne Media Group, is the publisher of Photofocus.com and an expert in social media. According to wefollow.com, Scott is the most influential photographer on Twitter. He notes that, “Prospecting for new clients in a lifetime job for professional photographers, and Twitter Search is a powerful tool that can help you find clients and generate business.”

Skip Cohen, the president of Marketing Essentials International, previously served as president of Rangefinder Publishing, where he oversaw Rangefinder and AfterCapture magazines, the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Association and the WPPI trade show.

In “Going Pro,” Skip reminds readers that “The fastest way to grow a healthy network is to attend every workshop, class, convention, and trade show you can. These events give you a chance to meet other photographers and talk about the challenges of everything from technology to customer service. This is about communication on the most basic level.” He offers a series of pointers on how to grow and maintain your network and get the most out every photography event you attend.

Throughout the book, “Going Pro” offers tips and some amazing images from 25 of the best-known names in the photography business, including Chase Jarvis, Vincent Laforet, Matthew Jordan Smith, Jeremy Cowart, Jules Bianchi, Bambi Cantrell, Tony Corbell, Clay Blackmore, Kevin Kubota, Jerry Ghionis, and more.

Published by Amphoto Books, “Going Pro” is scheduled for release October 18. You can pre-order the book on Amazon.com or through links on the Going Pro blog: GoingPro2011.com


Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer

GoingPro2011 Blog: About the Going Pro Staff


Guide Suggests Ways to Market Fine Art Photography

PHOTOGRAPHERS. “Selling Fine Art Photography” is the newest e-book released by PhotoShelter. The free 26-page downloadable guide includes interviews with 12 experts who sell fine art photography online and offline. The experts include photographers, gallery owners, online curators, and consultants.

As you read through the guide, you’ll quickly see that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to success–partly because people have different interpretations of what a “fine-art photograph” is. The experts quoted in this guide offer a variety of opinions on what works and what doesn’t in selling photography as fine art and suggest a range of different tactics for getting noticed by online and offline galleries.

For example, Jeffrey Teuton, of the Jen Bekman Gallery in New York City, works closely with the 20×200 online gallery that markets limited-edition prints from a wide range of photographers. He urges fine-art photographers to “Be smart when choosing an online gallery to collaborate with. Many galleries like 20×200 have an exclusivity policy that prevents you from showing your same pieces in other venues. This means that the gallery you pick should have a strong marketing reach that can exposure you to a large network of potential customers.”

He notes that online galleries are receptive to emerging artists: “20×200 is not surprised when an undiscovered photographer comes on board and their work takes off—that’s why they make a point to search for fresh faces.”

The e-book also discusses how to use in-person events and social media to your marketing advantage, and different ways to maximize your website to generate business. This guide provides an in-depth look at how several photographers found their way into the fine art world and determined what can sell and how to price and market their work.

“Fine art is really defined by those who are purchasing,” observes photographer Ken Kaminesky. “You could have one piece that is very close to your heart that the person next to you has no reaction to whatsoever.” He also says that, “If you’re going to have an online presence to sell your fine art, you need to put time and effort into making yourself look good. That may mean hiring a website designer.”

Amanda Bowker, who has worked in some of the nation’s top museums and galleries, urges photographers to stay positive, create work even if it’s not being shown, and be persistent in try to get your art in front of collectors, galleery owners and curators: “Make it clear that you are a hard-working artist who is in it for more than the money. Curators and gallery owners will appreciate your dedication and commitment.”

PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi describes “Selling Fine Art Photography” as “a very helpful resource for photographers getting started in the fine art business, as well as those experienced pros who want ideas to fine-tune their marketing and sales. We’ve highlighted photographers, curators and other experts who have made smart decisions about ways to build an audience and market their fine art photography.”

Selling Fine Art Photography is part of PhotoShelter’s growing library of free business guides for photographers and freelance creative professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes guides on email marketing, search engine optimization, starting a photography business, social media marketing, and how to sell prints. One of PhotoShelter’s other new books explains how to use “crowdfunding” sites to raise financial support for your next photography project.

PhotoShelter is a leader in portfolio websites and photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers. More than 70,000 photographers worldwide use PhotoShelter to power their success online, with customizable website templates, searchable photo galleries, e-commerce capabilities, and bulletproof image storage.


About PhotoShelter

E-book: Selling Fine Art Photography

PhotoShelter E-Book Library