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The Fantasy vs. Reality of Becoming a Professional Photographer

When we fall in love with photography, we go on an amazing journey of self-discovery and creative expression. Some of us begin to imagine a career as a professional photographer, filled with days of capturing glorious sunsets in remote locations across the globe, or attending glamorous parties and living the high life, all the while getting paid to do what we love. What a dream! And it can be, absolutely. But for most of us, it takes many years of hard work, long hours, little pay and lots of business and marketing savvy in order to truly realize the dream. One of the main reasons I started Photomint and decided to write Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More is

The Power of Realism in a World that’s Addicted to Perfection

We live in a world where people expect perfection. We are fed perfection through the media, through magazines and advertisements. Pressure to be perfect, look perfect and act perfect are everywhere. So, what’s the power of realism in a world that’s addicted to perfection? I didn’t realize the expectancy of our role as photographers until I photographed a client with a roll of film. She seemed less confident, unsure of herself and didn’t like the idea of not having Photoshop to ‘touch up’ her images afterwards. I assured her; I told her she was beautiful and not to worry about changing a thing. Afterward, when the film was developed, she looked at them in awe and was excited to see that she loved how she looked with

How to Create a Home-Based Photography Studio: Part 2

In Part One of this series, I talked about the merits of having a home-based business and shared reasons why you might want to have a studio space for your home-based business. Now, let’s get down to details: how can you create a home-based photography studio? The short answer is: SPACE. You have to have some kind of space that you can create or convert. In the beginning, I converted a spare bedroom into a studio; it was tiny, but it was better than nothing! Now, after three years of planning and construction, I have over 450 square feet dedicated to my photography business. Throughout these two processes, I spent months analyzing my business and trying to identify ways to address my needs and my clients’

How to Create a Home-Based Photography Studio: Part One

When I started my photography business, I dreamed of the day that I would be able to move my business out of my home and into a bright and shiny studio space. In my mind having a storefront was the true distinction of a “real” photographer. Oh, how silly I was! Thank goodness, in the years that followed, I did some serious research about the business of being a photographer before I pursued a retail space for my business. I learned that there are lots (and LOTS) of incredibly successful photographers who not only operate a home-based photography business, they prefer it that way. Even more compelling, the Benchmark Surveys done by the Professional Photographers of America reveal that overall the most financially successful photography

The Pro Photographer’s Guide to WPPI

Headed to WPPI this week and next? Like 15,000 wedding and portrait photographers, you are headed to one of the biggest gatherings of people from our industry, that you’re ever likely to encounter. Whether you’ve been a dozen times, or are headed out for your first time, the entire experience can be a bit overwhelming (to say the least). Between the platform classes, master classes, impromptu classes, shooting experiences, mentoring, and of course – the parties – there’s a lot happening. Want to come back in one piece? Here are my WPPI Survival Tips: 1. Don’t try to do everything. You’ll hear this a lot from many people who have been there, but seriously – DON’T try to see everything. You can’t. It’s too big,

Shooting for Story: How to Make Your Portrait Sessions Tell a Complete Story

I love shooting for, designing and selling albums to my family portrait clients (and then visiting their homes and seeing them proudly displayed on their coffee tables.)  In my third year in business, over half of my clients opted for an album and many ordered “bundles” – multiple copies to gift relatives and/or leave at the office – and I anticipate those numbers growing. I’ve been told that what made my albums such a hit is that they tell a story. As a former television writer, my scripts had a clear structure, bookended by “Fade In” and “Fade Out.” When I transitioned into portrait photography and found myself producing album after album, I realized that I needed to shoot like I wrote, and approach each session

How to Make One Kid’s Year by Just Taking a Picture

Jane Goodrich has a simple question: “Can I actually make one kid’s year just by taking a picture?” Turns out she can – and you can help too, by supporting her work and sick children who need us. Jane loves photographing children so much, she’s made a career of it. She specializes in portraiture of newborns and children. And as an identical twin herself, she particularly enjoys making images of twins. (Turns out parents of twins are often reluctant to have a photo session, fearing it’ll be twice as crazy as regular studio appointments; Jane makes house calls to help simplify things for families.) Lately, though, she’s engaged in a project that has become almost as dear to her heart as her DNA-matching sister. Jane

How Photographers Can Take Their Sites from Functional to Unforgettable

The problem with most websites isn’t that they don’t look good. It’s that they don’t work well. Sure, you can see the portfolio, you can find the information – that’s all there. But being professional and fulfilling the basic functions of a site are the worst standards imaginable. These things should be the bare minimum a site needs to work, not the measure of success. The real question is how photographers can take their sites from functional to unforgettable. The most important question is, “How well you are connecting with your potential clients. When it comes down to it, if you’re going to run a business, you’ve gotta do the legwork. Period. It’s all about going beyond where others have gone. In a competitive marketplace,

Meeting Client Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 1

Most small businesses realize the importance of meeting and exceeding client expectations. But when we strive to do this, it’s based on the expectation that we, as a business, have established.  How do you react to clients who have expectations that you weren’t aware of, or expectations that seem unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations? In my experience, these types of client expectations come from four sources: The market norm The client’s first exposure to the type of product or service you offer Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures Poor communication between you and the client During my next series of blog posts, I will share these sources with you, show you how to contend with unknown expectations, and outline how you can

How to Donate Your Photography Services to a Cause or Charity

Everyone has a story, and every photographer wants to tell stories. But it’s not that simple. Some stories are difficult, but they still deserve to be told. How do you photograph mental illness, autism, cancer? With compassion, respect, kindness, dedication…and patience. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer, so it was natural for me to get involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and even more so after I spoke to breast cancer survivors about Boudoir Photography. After volunteering at the Susan G. Komen Gala, I was inspired to organize a fundraiser. Even though I had volunteered for other charities, I had never organized anything this extensive! Regardless, I decided to jump right in, to the deep end! So how did we organize and

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The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!