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Author Topic: Selling photography  (Read 11884 times)
Justinr
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« on: April 13, 2008, 04:31:07 PM »
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I've just put this together and intend dropping it off at various potential customers in the area. The idea is that it is A4 and laminated in a bid to ensure that it doesn't automatically get binned. As the thread title suggests, I'm trying to sell the idea of what photography can do as much as myself as a photographer. I appreciate that I probably need less landscapes and more commercial stuff on it.

www.tipphorse.com/subpage9.html

Justin.
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LoisWakeman
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 05:37:59 AM »
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An idea that has potential I think, but the landscapes comment threw me as there aren't many there!

(OT) Thanks for bringing back happy memories of my daughter's childhood with the pony camp images. We still have the pony - but she lives 200 miles away.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2008, 05:54:47 AM »
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What is your target market here? Photography tends to be a very segmented market; if someone is looking for a food photographer, they probably won't care how good you are at shooting horses, and vice versa. I'd make several versions of the flyer, each aimed at a specific market. An equestrian-themed flyer for riders and competitors, a wedding-themed flyer for engaged couples, etc. You'll probably get better results than a one-size-fits-all approach.
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Justinr
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2008, 07:33:03 AM »
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The aim of the flyer and my site is to actually sell the concept of photography per se. As much as I love the good people of Tipperary I do feel that many have a little catching up to do when it comes to appreciating what our craft is all about.

Ireland was not a wealthy place until recently and so it is not until the last few years that they have been able to embrace the latest technology and consumer goods. From having an uncle somewhere in the family who had a camera they have jumped straight to the all singing and dancing digital which is sold on the basis that brilliant pictures are possible all the time by everyone. Unfortunately, by doing so, the finer points of photography got overlooked and I am trying to establish the fact that good photography is not just a matter of waving a compact vaguely in the direction of the subject and hitting the clicky thing but of actually thinking about what is trying to be achieved, and for that you need a professional photographer. I can then move on to specialization but at the moment is a question of generalisation which is why I ought to get some architectural stuff in there as well.

Lois.

More horsey stuff here but it's a bit of a messy site-

www.tipphorse.com

At least you can still take pictures of kids enjoying themselves over here without being branded a weirdo by the thought police. As for ponies my two won't look at anything less than woolly mammoth size nowdays. We have a 16'2 on trial at the moment!

Justin.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 07:33:53 AM by Justinr » Logged

Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 08:19:02 AM »
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The aim of the flyer and my site is to actually sell the concept of photography per se. As much as I love the good people of Tipperary I do feel that many have a little catching up to do when it comes to appreciating what our craft is all about.

I assume you're ultimately undertaking this enterprise for financial gain, and not just as a charitable public education project. What is your plan for translating this increased level of photographic awareness into paid photo work? My experience with people who aren't real clued-in about photography and how it can benefit their life is that they need a simple, targeted, easy to understand demonstration of how your photography can benefit them, such as:

"If you hire me to photograph your restaurant and the food served there, you will be able to use the images in advertisements, brochures, and menus that will increase the number of customers who eat at your restaurant."

"If you hire me to shoot your wedding, I will capture images of the event that will bring back fond memories of the event long after the divorce."

I don't see how your flyer accomplishes that particularly well.
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Justinr
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2008, 08:57:54 AM »
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I don't see how your flyer accomplishes that particularly well.

We are working at different speeds here. Believe you me, I've been where you're thinking and have had to think again.  Two cultures separated by a common language and all that.

Justin.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2008, 09:11:50 AM »
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Since you've obviously made up your mind, why bother asking for feedback? Seems rather pointless. Instead of making some vague and ill-defined effort to "educate people about photography", you should be educating potential clients with specific reasons why they should pay money to hire you instead of letting some snapshooter wave a digicam in the general direction of their subject.

I wish you success, but you're probably just as well off lighting your money on fire.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 09:12:11 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

Justinr
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2008, 10:55:16 AM »
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Your input is appreciated and duly noted, I can only beg that you excuse what appears to be my wilful intransigence, I am of course, humbled before the might of your arguments.

In the interests of photographic solidarity I shall refrain from presenting the answer my soul urges me to express.

Justin.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2008, 11:46:02 AM »
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Oh, I'm pretty sure you expressed it.

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Your input is appreciated and duly noted, I can only beg that you excuse what appears to be my wilful intransigence, I am of course, humbled before the might of your arguments.

In the interests of photographic solidarity I shall refrain from presenting the answer my soul urges me to express.

Justin.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189423\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Stuarte
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2008, 12:11:12 PM »
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Justin, in marketing terms, what you describe is a two-step sell: the first step is selling your product area (photography in your case) and the second step is selling yourself within the product area.

As a general rule, selling the product area tends to benefit the market leader in that product area; people think "sure enough, I need some XXXXXXXXX" and they then turn to the name/brand they most readily associate with XXXXXXXXX.  

So Justin, if you're the local market leader in your product area (photography), you're in good shape.  If not, you may want to consider selling a product area where you are/can be the market leader, e.g. equine photography, large format digital prints, or whatever.
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Justinr
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2008, 04:05:31 AM »
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Stuart

Some wise words there, and this time they are genuinely appreciated.

The way I look at it is that the my major competitor, or market leader, is not the guy down the road but Dixons, Curry's or anybody else selling the digital camera itself. My potential customers are more likely to feel, or have been told by the above, that they can do it themselves with a half decent compact rather than get a fellow in to do it for them. After all, this is the digital dream that they have been sold along with desktop publishing, instant communication, 1,001 TV channels etc. Photography is simply an extension of the whole IT revolution by which we all feel empowered (it also enslaves, see the UK's authoritarian ID card plans).

This why I feel it is necessary to get back to basics and show people that there is more to the craft than pointing and shooting and letting the camera do the work. The reaction to the flyer has been very positive so far with people actually asking for them to put up in their wife's poodle parlour, bosses office etc. I might even have to start charging for them! But the proof of the pudding is in the business generated and it's early days yet.

I don't see that market as being big enough to over specialise for a long time yet, and Ireland is a small country where it is expected that you can turn your hand to anything.  This is one of the major cultural differences I hinted at in another posting.

This may all sound as if I am just out to confirm my own prejudices here but I really do appreciate being able to bounce my ideas off others. Sales strategy is an ongoing concern so I would be foolish to discard all ideas presented.


Justin.
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Stuarte
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2008, 05:46:57 AM »
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Justin - a thought sparked by your comments.

You could talk about your "positioning" in terms of helping people get the results they really want from digital photography.  That automatically excludes the many who are blithely waving the camera at the subject and are happy with the results.  It should tickle the fancy of those who want to learn how to get better results and it implicitly positions you as the man in the know.  

It's a winning positioning - trust me  
« Last Edit: April 15, 2008, 05:47:22 AM by Stuarte » Logged

Justinr
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2008, 10:03:14 AM »
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in terms of helping people get the results they really want from digital photography

From a commercial photography point of view does this mean-

A. Using photography more (increase the ratio of pictures to text), as a marketing tool
B. Making best use of photography by upping the quality and relevance of images used.

Justin.
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Stuarte
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2008, 10:23:27 AM »
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Justin, your option b

You can be the man who shows them how or you can be the man who takes the photos for them when it really matters.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2008, 10:23:56 AM by Stuarte » Logged

sojournerphoto
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2008, 05:31:32 PM »
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Stuart

 the whole IT revolution by which we all feel empowered (it also enslaves, see the UK's authoritarian ID card plans).

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189625\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


At least some of those outside can see what's going on... it seems the local population is willfully blind

Mike
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2008, 03:08:35 PM »
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I've just put this together and intend dropping it off at various potential customers in the area. The idea is that it is A4 and laminated in a bid to ensure that it doesn't automatically get binned. As the thread title suggests, I'm trying to sell the idea of what photography can do as much as myself as a photographer. I appreciate that I probably need less landscapes and more commercial stuff on it.

www.tipphorse.com/subpage9.html

Justin.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189294\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Just my 2 cents here-

Only a handful of photographers' brochures have ever grabbed me and made me think "that's someone I want to hire". The essential element is a group of photographs so absolutely drop-dead gorgeous I wish I took them. You know what I mean- a cover photo of a backlit horse, its mane rim-lit by the warm setting sun, a stunningly attractive model riding the horse and also perfectly lit, with a thatch-roofed cottage in the background so cute you want to hurl. Oh, and every other photo in the brochure is just as beautiful. The images in your set are...competent. The first thing that comes to mind is "gosh, my uncle could have taken that".

Not trying to be deliberately caustic; that's just how it struck me at first glance, and for most viewers a first glance is all they'll give it.
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LoisWakeman
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2008, 03:54:24 AM »
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At least some of those outside can see what's going on... it seems the local population is willfully blind[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189797\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
A gross and untrue generalisation.

Many of us are all too aware of the inherent dangers - and uselessness for stated purpose - of this initiative, but given the lack of real responsiveness by and total lack of common sense in, our politicians, we can only wait and see. I hope it provokes mass civil disorder of the kind that marked the introduction of the poll tax.

Of course there are always lots of people too ignorant or idle to work it out, and others who believe because the government says it it must be true - but that is the same in any society.
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Justinr
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« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2008, 06:45:30 AM »
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Competent is probably the right word which is why I want to get some more commercial stuff up there, interiors and product shots, that sort of thing. The OJ bottle is a start. Took me all afternoon to get the lighting something near right on that, bit dark towards the bottom but the reflection from the shoulder is nowhere near as bad as uncle would have managed. Alas, the world is awash with horses and sunsets, photo's for brochures and editorial assignments is where I am really heading. Not as sexy, but it's the bread and butter stuff that pays.

BTW, here's the sort of uncle shot that actually gets used. Who here would not have immedietly binned it?

http://web.mac.com/gavinbuggy/iWeb/Site/Welcome.html

It's this sort of thing I've got to drag people away from.


Lois

Have a look at www.NO2ID.net

Justin.
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jjj
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2008, 08:12:37 AM »
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The way I look at it is that the my major competitor, or market leader, is not the guy down the road but Dixons, Curry's or anybody else selling the digital camera itself. My potential customers are more likely to feel, or have been told by the above, that they can do it themselves with a half decent compact rather than get a fellow in to do it for them. After all, this is the digital dream that they have been sold along with desktop publishing, instant communication, 1,001 TV channels etc. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=189625\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'd say the same thing about graphic or web design. Anyone with a computer thinks they can do either. They probably can, but not well.
Many photographers may take great pics but ask them to put together some images and add some typography and they come unstuck. Your flyer to me looks amateurish and if you want to look professional, get a profesional graphics person to do that side of things. And defintely get someone professional in to overhaul your website. It looks like it was [badly] designed 10 years ago and looks anything but professional.
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Tradition is the Backbone of the Spineless.   Futt Futt Futt Photography
Justinr
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« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2008, 09:18:38 AM »
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I'd say the same thing about graphic or web design. Anyone with a computer thinks they can do either. They probably can, but not well.
Many photographers may take great pics but ask them to put together some images and add some typography and they come unstuck. Your flyer to me looks amateurish and if you want to look professional, get a profesional graphics person to do that side of things. And defintely get someone professional in to overhaul your website. It looks like it was [badly] designed 10 years ago and looks anything but professional.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=190375\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Oh Mr jjj, if only you were aware of the tale of woe behind the website. I did indeed ask three so called website designers to do the job and each one went about ripping me off. Taking money then disappearing off abroad, charging 400 euros to resize 40 images and simply cocking the job up etc etc. Stuff this for a game of soldiers I thought and did it myself, at least I am in control.

When it comes to website design there is an awful lot of time and energy expended on discussing the absolute placing of every comma, font size, colour scheme and so forth, on every photo forum I've seen, and yet very little about the content, which, pardon my idiocy here, I might have thought was just as important. And what strikes me most about all the professionally designed sites is just how boring many of them are. They are all constructed to a formula which I have had repeated to me many a time and so they are all pretty much the same.  If you don't believe me try looking at a few web hosting sites. Zzzzzzz...........

The site may well not be up to the standards of right on media types, but it is mine and I am trying to use photography to sell photography, a concept that my local friendly web designers couldn't really grasp. I'm not saying I've got it right, but I can change it and let it evolve at will, it is not a fixed entity by any means. What I did want to avoid was the dreaded 'Gallery' pages which I doubt are seldom studied to anything like the degree that the photographers rather fancy they are. I feel the impact and message are immediate on my site, although I think that yellow font on the home page is in desperate need of replacing with something a little more subtle.


The same applies to the flyer, but it can't be that bad as I actually get requests for it. It's bright, concise, optimistic and gets noticed. Being encapsulated means that it doesn't get thrown away either. Trouble is, that I have nothing to compare it directly with, how many other photographers have done anything similar. How do you sell yourself for instance?

Much thanks for the input anyway.


Justin.

ps. Just looked at your site and indeed it is a good 'un.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 10:26:02 AM by Justinr » Logged

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