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CONTENTS PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER | MARCH 2008Features94 MAKING THE MAGIC HAPPEN Lauded Australian photographer Jerry Ghionis finds beauty and prosperity in reinvention by Lorna Gentry104 ONE OF A KIND Park Pfister’s special knack for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary by Stephanie Boozer116 ENGINEERING A NICHE The tale of Mike Colón and the spiraling wedding market by Jeff Kent82 WEDDINGS: DESTINATION SUCCESS Business insights for destination wedding photography by Jeff Kent IMAGE BY JERRY GHIONIS
P ROF E S S I ONA LEDITORIAL director of publications CAMERON BISHOPP email@example.com senior editor art director/production manager Show us what you’ve got JOAN SHERWOOD firstname.lastname@example.org DEBBIE TODD email@example.com manager, publications and 2008 COVER PHOTO CONTEST features editor sales/strategic alliances LESLIE HUNT KARISA GILMER Here at the magazine, we consider ourselves pretty fortunate when firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com it comes to the industry we cover. While other trade magazines editor-at-large sales and marketing assistant might struggle to find photography to grace both the cover and the JEFF KENT CHERYL PEARSON inside pages, we need only look to the inspired images our readers firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com technical editors are creating every day. ANDREW RODNEY, ELLIS VENER There’s a catch though. In an industry comprised of independent director of sales and strategic alliances business owners, it’s sometimes challenging (quite often, actually) to SCOTT HERSH, 610-966-2466, firstname.lastname@example.org hear about all the top talent we know is out there. We comb the western region ad manager BART ENGELS, 847-854-8182, email@example.com forums and online galleries, eastern region ad manager pore over the PPA Loan SHELLIE JOHNSON, 404-522-8600, x279, firstname.lastname@example.org All entries must Collection, read all the circulation consultant MOLLIE O’SHEA, email@example.com be uploaded at industry publications, keep an editorial offices open eye at events, scour Professional Photographer www.ppmag.com regional newsletters, and take 229 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 2200, Atlanta, GA 30303-1608 U.S.A. 404-522-8600; FAX: 404-614-6406 welcome recommendations Professional Photographer (ISSN 1528-5286) is published monthly from photographers who have made it to the radar screen. subscriptions Professional Photographer To broaden the search, we thought of a new tactic to help you P.O. Box 2035, Skokie, IL 60076; 800-742-7468; find us: The first-ever Professional Photographer Cover Photo FAX 404-614-6406; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.ppmag.com member services Contest. We liken it to a nationwide talent search, and we hope we’ll PPA - Professional Photographer be introduced to a spate of gifted artists whose work we’ve never 800-786-6277; FAX 301-953-2838; e-mail: email@example.com; www.ppa.com seen, but will fill our magazine far into the future. Send all advertising materials to: Debbie Todd, Professional Photographer, So we invite you to submit your entries to us before the May 31 5431 E. Garnet, Mesa, AZ 85206; 480-807-4391; FAX: 480-807-4509 Subscription rates/information: U.S.: $27, one year; $45, two years; deadline, and take a shot at creating the image that nearly 50,000 $66, three years. Canada: $43, one year; $73, two years; $108, three years. PP readers will see when they open their mailboxes in late fall. And International: $39.95, one year digital subscription. Back issues/Single copies $7 U.S.; $10 Canada; $15 International. there’s more—not only do you have a chance at the cover, but to win PPA membership includes $13.50 annual subscription. valuable prizes as well. The first place winner, runners up and those Subscription orders/changes: Send to Professional Photographer, Attn: Circulation who win honorable mention will be awarded first-rate gear from Dept., P.O. Box 2035, Skokie, IL 60076; 800-742-7468; FAX 404-614-6406; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: www.ppmag.com. our contest’s generous sponsors, Microsoft, Bogen, Canon, Kodak Periodicals postage paid in Atlanta, Ga., and additional mailing offices. and Miller’s Professional Imaging. Postmaster: Send address changes to Professional Photographer magazine, P.O. Box 2035, Skokie, IL 60076 Head over to www.ppmag.com to learn all about the prizes, Copyright 2008, PPA Publications & Events, Inc. Printed in U.S.A. contest rules and submission guidelines. (A word to the wise: Article reprints: Contact Professional Photographer reprint coordinator at Entries may be submitted only as uploads to www.ppmag.com. Wrights’s Reprints; 1-877-652-5295. Microfilm copies: University Microfilms International, no print or e-mailed submissions will be accepted.) 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 We’re looking forward to meeting you! I Professional Photographer (ISSN 1528-5286) is published monthly for $27 per year by PPA Publications and Events, Inc., 229 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 2200, International Tower, Atlanta, Cameron Bishopp GA 30303-1608. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, Ga., and additional mailing offices. Director of Publications Acceptance of advertising does not carry with it endorsement by the publisher. Opinions expressed email@example.com by Professional Photographer or any of its authors do not necessarily reflect positions of Professional Photographers of America, Inc. Professional Photographer, official journal of the Professional Photographers of America, Inc., is the oldest exclusively professional photographic publication in the Western Hemisphere (founded 1907 by Charles Abel, Hon.M.Photog.), incorporating Abel’s Photographic Weekly, St. Louis & Canadian Photographer, The Commercial Photographer, The National Photographer, Professional Photographer, and Professional Photographer Storytellers. Circulation audited and verified by BPA Worldwide 10 • www.ppmag.com
chairman of the board DOUG BOX DANA GROVES *JACK REZNICKI M.Photog.Cr., API Director of Marketing & Cr.Photog., Hon.M.Photog., API firstname.lastname@example.org Communications email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org DON MACGREGORProfessional Photographers directors M.Photog.Cr., API SCOTT HERSHof America DON DICKSON email@example.com Director of Sales &229 Peachtree St., NE, Suite 2200 M.Photog.Cr., CPP Strategic AlliancesAtlanta, GA 30303-1608 firstname.lastname@example.org industry advisor email@example.com; 800-786-6277 KEVIN CASEYFAX: 404-614-6400 SANDY (SAM) PUC’ firstname.lastname@example.org J. ALEXANDER HOPPERwww.ppa.com Director of Membership, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI email@example.com Copyright and Government legal counsel Affairs2008-2009 PPA board Howe and Hutton, firstname.lastname@example.org RALPH ROMAGUERA, SR. Chicago*DENNIS CRAFT M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP WILDA OKENM.Photog.Cr., CPP, email@example.com Director of AdministrationAPI, F-ASP PPA staff firstname.lastname@example.org@ppa.com CAROL ANDREWS DAVID TRUST M.Photog.Cr., ABI Chief Executive Officer LENORE TAFFELvice president email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Events/Education*RON NICHOLS email@example.comM.Photog.Cr., API SUSAN MICHAL SCOTT KURKIANrnichols@ppa.com M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI Chief Financial Officer SANDRA LANG firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Executive Assistanttreasurer firstname.lastname@example.org*LOUIS TONSMEIRE TIMOTHY WALDEN CAMERON BISHOPPCr.Photog., API M.Photog.Cr., F-ASP Director of Publications *Executive Committeeltonsmeire@ppa.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org of the Board12 • www.ppmag.com
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Looking to boost yourchildren’s portrait business?Consider portrait parties andwatch the leads come inIf the thought of a sales party with a hostesssends you running for the door, reconsider.In-home sales gatherings have been workingfor some pretty big companies. “Some of my best clients come from portraitparties,” says Kathy Malaspina, of PreciousMoments Photography in Tyner, N.C., whohas been reaping rewards from these eventsfor the last three years. “People have a greattime, and the parties are so easy to do.” Here’s how it works: The hostess suppliesthe guest list, mails the invitations, makesthe shooting schedule, and handles all thehostess duties in her home or the photog-raphers studio. Malaspina shoots a series ofmini sessions with each child. Then shepacks up and leaves. “Some of my best clients The hostess directs the guests to the studiosWeb site to view proofs, and encourages them come from portraitto place their orders within a specified time— parties. People have asimple as pie you dont even have to bake. great time, and the As an incentive, Malaspina grants the parties are so easy to do.”hostess a maximum of 15 percent commission,which is credited toward the hostess’s ownpurchase. She requires a minimum of 10sessions for each event, which must be money as the exposure. Word of mouth is light, a table, a small backdrop, and maybe abooked back-to-back to maximize her time. the best advertisement you can get.” few props, depending on the theme of theMalaspina also offers a $35 credit for each Averaging about 10 parties a year, party. Shooting each mini-session outdoorsparty the hostess books in a day, and an enough to generate a healthy number of is the best way to minimize your equipmentadditional $25 credit for subsequent bookings. standard portrait sessions, Malaspina says needs. In her experience, it’s best to set up “This really pushes the hostess to urge her portrait parties have become popular for the portrait area away from the rest of theher friends to schedule parties,” she says. children’s birthday parties and sleepovers. guests, so each session is semi-private. Malaspina provides the invitations, which You don’t have to limit yourself to kids. “A “You’ve definitely got to work it just likeinclude her images and studio info, and tips lot of people do pet parties,” says Malaspina, everything else,” says Malaspina. “But theseabout preparing for the session. The hostess who also suggests marketing parties for wed- are a great way to go out and do somethingwill pick up and deliver the print orders. dings, family reunions, and other milestone quick and out of the norm, and they set you “It’s not bad for an afternoon’s work,” says events. “They make great fundraisers, too. I apart from everyone else.”Malaspina, who pulls in orders of $1,200 to did one last year for the local animal shelter.” For more about Kathy Malaspina and her$2,500 per party. “It’s not so much the Malaspina’s setup is light, usually one studio, visit www.preciousmomentsphotos.com. March 2008 • Professional Photographer • 21
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CONTACT SHEET Microsoft and Miller’s Professional Imaging. Cover contest announced Prizes will be awarded to 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-place winners, and as many Professional Photographer’s cover photo contest kicks off March 1 as 25 entrants will receive prizes for honor- able mention. Have you always dreamed of getting your work on HOW TO ENTER the cover of a magazine? Well, here’s your chance! Go to www.ppmag.com to enter. Only This month you’re invited to submit photographs digital files uploaded at www.ppmag.com for a chance to have your image featured on will be accepted. Mailed print images and e-mailed digital images will not be our cover. Just one talented photographer will accepted. Format/Specifications: Submit see his or her image published on the cover of low-resolution images only, in standard a 2008 issue of Professional Photographer digital formats (.jpg, .pdf, etc.). Images should be 525x700 pixels; file size should (mailing to almost 50,000 readers monthly). be no more than 250k. A high-resolution, Images will be judged on technical, artistic Helping Professional Photographer print-quality version (300ppi at 9x12 and compositional merit. You may submit as magazine editors choose the best entries inches) must be available for each image. many images as you wish, provided they are will be guest judge Helen K. Yancy, The submission deadline is Saturday, representative of the work you sell to your M.Photog.M.Artist.MEI.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., May 31. clients. What we’re seeking are real-world CPP, F-ASP, Hon. F-ASP, currently serving Don’t miss your chance to show the world examples of portrait, wedding, commercial as the chairman of PPA’s Print Exhibition your talent! Head over to www.ppmag.com and event photography. Committee. to learn more. All work submitted must be previously In addition to landing the cover of a 2008 edition of Professional Photographer, the unpublished and original, with written releases on file from any subjects pictured winner will receive generous prizes from our Go to www.ppmag.com in the image. contest sponsors, Bogen, Canon, Kodak, to enter. 26 • www.ppmag.com
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I added chair rails to wainscoting that wasalready there so I could prop up my photoson it. I did that so clients can pick them upand inspect them. I didn’t want them to beuntouchable. It also makes it easy to changethe images. Cable lighting enables me todirect the lights in any direction, and theyadd to the studio’s gallery look.What’s the most impressive feature of yourstudio?The DWIN TransVision 4 projector, with aseparate video processor and high-definitioncapabilities. It projects to a 92-inch hi-defDa-Lite Neutral Gray screen, which enrichesthe blacks in my images. This system is usedin home theatres and has film-like quality,and yes, I do watch some sporting eventson it! It took quite a bit of vision to see what this derelict old building could become, and Cliff Mautner supplied it.Lorna Gentry is a freelance writer in Atlanta. World’s first full-frame ultrawide angle medium format lens for film and digital backs 28mm AF Digital lens Aspherical lens element and low dispersion glass produce unsurpassed sharpness and color accuracy on today’s high resolution digital backs. • Rectilinear design produces ultrawide images with virtually no distortion. • All Mamiya Sekor Digital lenses are designed with large image circles and can be used with film and digital backs. • Ideal for architecture, landscapes, interiors, group shots, etc. Mamiya Sekor AF 28mm f4.5 D Aspherical T: 914.347.3300 WWW.MAMIYA.COM for Mamiya 645AFD/AFD II
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Have you always dreamed of seeing your work on the cover of a national magazine?Here’s your chance! Beginning March 1, 2008, submit your photographs for an opportunity to be featured on the cover of Professional Photographer.Contest Rules & Judging: Images will be submitted must be original and previously un- How to enter: Go to www.ppmag.com tojudged on technical and artistic merit. Helping published, and you must have written releases enter. Only digital ﬁles will be accepted. PrintProfessional Photographer magazine editors on ﬁle from any subjects pictured in the image. images and e-mailed images will NOT bechoose the best entries will be guest judge accepted. Upload your electronic images toHelen K. Yancy, M.Photog.M.Artist.MEI.Cr.Hon. Prizes: In addition to landing the cover of a www.ppmag.com.M.Photog., CPP, F-ASP, Hon. F-ASP, the chair- 2008 edition of Professional Photographer, theman of PPA’s Print Exhibition Committee. winner will be awarded a selection of prizes Format/Speciﬁcations: Submit low-resolution from among our cover photo contest sponsors, images only, in standard digital formats (.jpg,You may submit as many images as you wish, Bogen, Canon, Kodak, Microsoft and Miller’s .pdf, etc.). Images should be 525x700 pixels;provided they are representative of the work Professional Imaging. Prizes will also be ﬁle size can’t be more than 250k. A high-reso-you sell to your clients. What we’re seeking awarded to 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-place win- lution, print-quality version (300ppi at 9x12are real-world examples of portrait, wedding, ners, and as many as 25 entrants will receive inches) must be available for each image.commercial and event photography. All work prizes for honorable mention. GO TO PPMAG.COM TO ENTER Submission deadline: Saturday, May 31, 2008
Professional Photographer P R E S E N T S Business, Marketing and Sales Strategies What I think Pricing for profit leads David Schwartz to long-term success What do you wish you knew when you were first starting out? That it takes time to develop a look. I spent so much time attempting to emulate others. I should have spent the time soul- searching and stretching myself to come up with new ideas and techniques that felt right to me. Reaching an affluent client requires having a look he can only get from you. What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken? I walked away from a nice salary to pursue something I’ve always loved. Making the leap to full-time photography was a tremendous risk. What’s your deal breaker? I pre-qualify my clients before we meet. I make sure they completely understand my pricing and that my photography fits within their budget. I don’t negotiate on price when they visit, and if they attempt to do so, I will cut the meeting short. What is the biggest business mistake pro photog- raphers make? Attempting to run every aspect of their business. I believe in farming things out to spend more time behind the camera. We need to remember that we make our money taking pictures. What is the most important element in a successful photography business? Pricing. Ensure that your pricing strategy brings you the income you need to live. IMAGE BY DAVID SCHWARTZ WWW.DAVIDSCHWARTZPHOTOGRAPHY.COM March 2008 • Professional Photographer • 33
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of Holcombe Photography in Lafayette,Colo., and Albert Lewis of MulberryPhotography in Truckee, Calif. These three photographers agree on theimportance of focused promotion, payingattention to detail, and maintaining effectiveWeb sites and blogs. They differ in approachwhen it comes to brochures, due in part totheir differing markets, business strategiesand targeted audiences. The three promotionsare a study in contrasts, but the effect is thesame: greater profits. Christa Hoffarth is a natural at marketing.Last year she designed a new brochure andother promotional material for her weddingphotography business. Because most of herclients are out-of-towners, Hoffarth says herWeb site and brochure are the only sellingtools she has. And because competition in Albert Lewis targets his brochure to event planners. The quality of every component communicatesher marketing area—San Francisco, San Jose, the sophisticated aesthetic that he will bring to a wedding.Sacramento and Lake Tahoe—is fierce, shehas to make a lasting first impression in print. Targeted at upscale wedding clients, her press information page, and a page with an and aesthetically pleasing. She figured herbrochure denotes sophistication. “My clients explanation of her philosophy of wedding clients would feel the same way about high-spend anywhere from $200,000 to $1 photography. A DVD of her work—an quality promotional items, and apparentlymillion on their weddings, with the average “indispensable portable marketing tool,” she she was right. “My brides keep thesebeing $300,000,” says Hoffarth. “Most of says—is seated in a sleeve affixed to the brochures and give them to their friends, somy brides are MBA grads. In fact, a lot of back. A clear plastic routed business card they continue to market for me for years.”my brides were together in the same MBA foil-stamped with her contact information Once a couple hires Hoffarth, she mailsprogram, like at Stanford, for example.” goes on the front cover. For mailing, she the contract and payment information with slips the brochure into a transparent self- thank-you cards and a complimentaryCHAIN REACTION. To appeal to these sealing envelope. bride’s emergency survival kit in a clearmonied professionals, Hoffarth’s brochure “These brochures have texture appeal acrylic box. Inside are dress chalk, safetydesign is eye-catching, sleek, contemporary and sound to them,” says Hoffarth. “They pins, hairpins, deodorant, stain remover,and fun. The six pages of the 6x6-inch, matte- have a feeling of immediacy, and the clear sewing kit, breath mints and pain reliever.finish brochure are bound with an elegant plastic envelope makes the brochure even Ever mindful of branding, all her packagingsilver chain. Her printer, Blossom Publishing more apparent.” and marketing materials are color and logoin Winona, Minn., drills holes in the card- Each brochure costs $3.50 to produce, so coordinated. Hoffarth’s colors are a con-stock pages, and Hoffarth finishes each hole Hoffarth pre-qualifies brides who request centrated light blue and white, which appearwith a silver grommet before threading the one. She got the idea for the piece from her as solid colors and in a loose floral pattern.ball chain through the pages. Following the enjoyment of saving shopping bags from “I still print proofs, so I package them in aphoto-imprinted cover page are two pages on expensive boutiques. “I use them again and beautiful black-and-white box and use mypricing, a page about reprints and albums, a again,” she admits, because they’re well made brand colors as accents—a blue silk ribbon March 2008 • Professional Photographer • 37
PROFIT CENTER Naturally, he’s selective about whom he markets to, and he screens the recipients carefully. With a background in graphic design, fashion photography and art direction (he was an art director for Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus), Lewis knows good visual marketing. “My degree is in graphic design so it’s in my blood,” he chuckles. “It’s hard to design for yourself, so I work with a design firm. With the brochure, we tried to integrate the photography and guts of the piece with the overall design. The design catches the eye of the type of client we’re going for. This is not in-your-face marketing. We wanted to create a mood and drive business on the sophistication of the piece. This brochure says, ‘If we can do this, then we can apply these same aesthetics to photographing your wedding.’” Lewis’ 2007 ad campaign also included five No. 10 envelope-size cards mailed peri- odically throughout the year. Each card fea- Peter and Kathy Holcombe garnered the favor of wedding planners by sending them four-packs of tured images from a wedding the studio custom-labeled Jones Soda. photographed, along with one-word head- lines (such as “Luminous,” “Bliss,” “Captivating”) and custom tag that I write a personal note wedding coordinators have been very and a heartfelt account of how he and his on. With the package I send a gift, a 3x3- complimentary. Many tell me they keep it wife and fellow photographer, Tari, felt inch bride book. We also send a first-year on their desks, and some call after they about the wedding. There is no sales language. wedding anniversary gift, an accordion receive it. Because our clients come from all Reading like a wedding photographer’s blog, photo book in our colors with graphics and over the country, we mail it nationwide.” these cards are intended to generate enthusiasm, black-and-white images. The outside of the Clean and elegant, the gate-folded bro- showcase Mulberry’s work, and keep the box is a floral black-and-white print that chure opens to an impressive 26 inches long. studio’s name in the eye of their target audience. matches our marketing motif.” Inside is a mini portfolio of the studio’s work, which is showcased on individual sheets of MAILBOX WOW. Peter and Kathy NATIONAL FOCUS. Like Hoffarth, AN- heavy matte card stock held in place by Holcombe’s printed brochure wasn’t taking NE finalist Albert Lewis of Truckee, Calif., small rivets. The outside cover is fine-ribbed, their business in the direction they wanted caters to affluent wedding clients in the grayish-green paper embossed with the to go. “In 2005 we were averaging $3,500 Lake Tahoe area, as well as in Palm Springs. studio’s logo, a stylized mulberry tree. Inside, on wedding packages,” says Peter. “We Lewis, too, relies on a sophisticated brochure the colors are cream and a serene green, with wanted to break out of that mold and go to sell his services. Unlike Hoffarth’s, however, the exception of the contact page, which is after high-end clientele. So in 2006 we did Lewis’ targets wedding coordinators and standout mauve, the color of mulberries. something different from the tri-fold, printed event planners. “Eight-five percent of my Hand assembled, each brochure costs Lewis piece we had been doing.” brochures go to event planners,” he says. a whopping $32, but he maintains that these “We feel a brochure is limiting,” Kathy adds. “The piece communicates quality and the head-turners are generating high-end business. “It doesn’t show off our images or demon- 38 • www.ppmag.com
strate the quality of our work. We decided to four wedding photographs was printed on On the bottlenecks they hung custom-madeproduce a DVD that shows how we’re different.” each bottle, along with catchy messages on tags with fun wedding images, like a close-up Once the Holcombes created the DVD, the labels, such as, “Holcombe Photography: of a bride putting on mascara, along with suchthey packaged it in a striking way. “Our refreshingly unique,” “Don’t trust your pithy tag lines as “Keep an eye out for us.”materials arrive in a padded silver envelope, wedding photography to the bland,” and The Holcombes shipped the bottles bywhich gives it the ‘wow’ factor right out of the “Call us for full-flavored images and service.” UPS and FedEx so they could track delivery.mailbox. The DVD is wrapped in a rectangularaluminum tin with a custom sticker, ribbonsand tissue paper. Fitted inside the tin is a bro-chure with rounded corners.” Brides feel thatopening the tin first gives them the feeling ofopening a gift. "It has really given us a leg up.” Right away the results were dramatic.Within a year bookings increased and theHolcombes averaged $7,800 per wedding,which handsomely offset the $10-per cost ofthe mailing. (They also screen brides beforegoing to the expense of mailing to them.)Now Holcombe Photography attracts aclientele that’s in the 27 to 32 age range,who, says Kathy, are professionals with atleast a B.A. degree. Peter adds, “We do getthe younger clients too, usually from familieswho can afford [an upscale] wedding.”JONESING FOR ATTENTION. In 2007,the Holcombes decided to continue with thetins, and go out a little further on the creativelimb with a dynamic new campaign involvingJones Soda. This time the target wasn’t bridesbut event planners at upscale venues in thearea. The Holcombes had been knocking ontheir doors for five years with little success. Peter likes to research marketing ideas onthe Web, and he learned from Photojojo, anonline photo newsletter (photojojo.com), thatthe makers of the popular soft drink JonesSoda will print personal photos on its bottlesfor a fee. “We thought it would be a clever wayto make a first impression on people we’vebeen trying to get to know,” says Kathy. They ordered 16 sets of four-bottlepackages in four Jones Soda flavors. One of March 2008 • Professional Photographer • 39
PROFIT CENTER now display their wall portraits and books.MARKETING ON THE ROAD The cost of the campaign was high, aboutChrista Hoffarth shares her marketing knowledge this month alongside another savvy $70 per venue, but the return on the invest-marketer, Laura Novak (www.novakphotography.com), in a workshop at Novak’s ment more than paid for it, they say. TheWilmington, Del., studio, March 4-5. Holcombes now average $12,000 per wedding. Hoffarth creates templates that photographers can use in their promotions to Says Peter, “I think marketing is one ofensure their brand is uniformly reinforced in their brochures, business cards, the most exciting aspects of this business.letterhead, tags and more. Checkout Hoffarth’s marketing site for photographers, It’s all problem-solving and thinkingJellyfingers.wordpress.com. through.” “We’re passionate about marketing Kathy and Peter Holcombe share their know-how in increasing wedding sales at the and our business,” adds Kathy. “We calculateImaging Workshops of Colorado, (www.coloradoworkshops.com) May 19-21. carefully. At the beginning of each year we figure out how much we want to work, how much we need to make, and then design our A day after delivery, they called each recipient, the follow-up phone call was to set up a [marketing] materials according to that.” and they were blown away by the response. meeting to show our book and get to know For the Holcombes, provocative market- “The amazing thing is that we got thank-you them. We got a meeting with everyone.” ing fuels a business that underwrites the notes from these coordinators,” says Kathy. “I This imaginative campaign put Holcombe good life. I don’t think anyone gets thank-you notes for Photography on 12 of the 16 venues’ preferred promo materials,” Peter marvels. “Our goal of photographer list, and five of the venues Lorna Gentry is a freelance writer in Atlanta. 40 • www.ppmag.com
PROFIT CENTER C H A R L E S J . L E W I S , M . P H O T O G .C R . It’s not the price, it’s the way you present it. Train understand how she feels—“I know exactly yourself to be comfortable talking about your fees. how you feel, and I understand.” You want to continue working with this prospect, so Because you’re worth it don’t argue, confront or correct. KNOW YOUR LINES. How many times have you thought of the perfect The better you become at presenting your anyone. You can make a great living by comeback too late? Write down and fees, the higher those fees can be. Here are being honest! memorize good replies to typical questions five keys to successful presentation. You want to sound as if the studio is and likely objections in all phases of the SELF-CONFIDENCE. You need to busy. You want clients to see that you have sales process. For example, early on you practice—no kidding, practice—presenting to pore over your booking calendar to find might take control of the conversation like your fees in a self-assured way that says cus- an opening for them. this: “Before we go any further, let me give tomers are already gladly paying those fees. GENTLE DISARMAMENT. When a you an idea of what you can plan on investing. You need to look, act and sound self- prospect says something negative, such as, Is that okay? For a portrait of the kind you confident and successful, even before you “Your fees are high,” be ready with a cush- described, most folks invest between [your are. I’m not suggesting that you lie to ioned response. First, acknowledge that you figures here] and get a large framed portrait 42 • www.ppmag.com
TMTHE JOY OF MARKETING S A R A H P E T T Y, C P P competitor offers a certain item, you don’t have to if it doesn’t go with your brand or if you simply don’t like it. In a clever marketing strategy, pricing can actually Boutique items such as photo jewelry, enhance your studio’s image. Pricing can even purses and personalized greeting cards make fine add-ons and incentives, but make people do what you want them to do! aren’t necessarily high-profit items. You Party like it’s don’t want to undermine your more profitable portrait sales, so it’s a good idea to make a separate rate card for them, or even require a minimum purchase before $1,999 clients can order them. TIPS FOR CREATING Use prices to make people do what you ATTRACTIVE PRICING want them to do. Take the session fee, for example. If it’s better for you not to photograph on location, set your location Remember that “silly little millimeter”? The more you have to explain, the more session fees twice as high as studio When you buy something for $1,999, they have to employ logic to make the sessions. If the fee doesn’t discourage the you say you’ve spent less than $2,000. Well, decision. client, it will be worth your while to do it. you have, by $1. That little bit less than two If you have more than one target market, If you notice that your in-studio sessions grand makes a big difference psychologically. you can have more than one set of prod- average three times more sales than When I consult on marketing with pho- ucts, and certainly more than one rate location sessions and take half the time to tographers, I like to start by determining if card. For example, you might offer albums do, you might lower the studio session fee. their expenses are in line, including the to high school seniors, but not to buyers If you want to limit your Saturday or cost of sales, employee wages, administra- of child and family photography. You need evening hours, it’s amazing how higher tive expenses, and general overhead. If separate, exclusive lists of your products session fees or minimum purchase those are in line, I like to evaluate their and prices. requirements will encourage people to find pricing. Sometimes studio owners ask what And you don’t have to offer every great time to come in during the week. their pricing has to do with marketing. product you saw at Imaging USA, especially I’m a big believer in using business Believe it or not, pricing is a key ingredient in a boutique business. Just because a management software that helps you of the marketing mix. ‘‘ I’ve seen photographers struggle with pricing and creating a rate card, and I’d like to share some tips to make it easier. I’m a big believer in using business One of the largest problems with pho- tographer rate cards is that they’re con- management software that helps you fusing, often overwhelming. Simplify! If identify your most profitable sessions. It you present too many choices, it’s going to take way too long to explain it all to your can help you decide if you you should clients. You want to keep clients inter- charge more for large groups, additional preting information through the emotional side of their brain, not totting up the facts. clothing changes, all manner of extras. 44 • www.ppmag.com
TMTHE JOY OF MARKETING identify your most profitable sessions. It can simple and clearly worded. I don’t have a effective to produce full-color rate cards in help you decide if you you should charge problem with a rate card leaving the studio, small quantities. We order ours from White more for large groups, additional clothing but only if it’s part of your sales plan. I don’t House Custom Colour in quantities of 25 or changes, all manner of extras. You might believe in posting prices on the Web. I want 50, so if we need to adjust our prices, it’s not find that the large orders that result from prospects to call the studio so we can chat. a huge expense. We like to print them on group portraits make it unnecessary to Rate cards can also help illustrate the value small, elegant folded cards—it makes such a charge higher session fees. of your photography. They must be difference in how people perceive your work. You also need to weigh the benefits of beautiful! One of my favorite guidebooks is Always include a very high-priced item on packages against a la carte pricing. There “The Non-Designer’s Design Book,” by your price cards. You may never sell the really isn’t a right or wrong answer. Looking Robin Williams (Peachpit Press). It presents item, but it will lend value to your other at your sales averages will help you choose a the principles of using type and graphics products and will allow you to keep raising method. If you do offer packages, make sure effectively. Use photography to illustrate the the prices. Now we all dread presenting they contain enough value for the price to products wherever possible. It is much price increases, but the increase is less encourage people to invest in more than easier to sell a collection of six images if glaring when you use odd numbers: $1,999 they would otherwise. people can see how they look together. The is less than $2,000! I Rate cards are not a marketing brochure look and colors of the design must also be for your company, but a vehicle for stating consistent with your brand identity. Sarah Petty Photography is in Springfield, your prices. Still, they should be well designed, With the ease of digital printing, it’s cost Ill. (www.sarahpetty.com). 46 • www.ppmag.com