by Skip Cohen
I first met Bob and Dawn Davis at a convention when Maureen Neises, from Graphi asked me to look at an album they had done. I was president of Rangefinder/WPPI at the time and the last thing I wanted to see was another album! Well, what I saw was phenomenal and the start of a long-standing friendship. The album event was Oprah's tribute to women who changed the world and it was photographed at her estate in Chicago. It remains one of the most beautiful and striking presentations I've ever seen.
In this post Bob talks about the need to sometimes be your own publicity machine. I know that many of you will read it and think, "Sure, it's easy for him, he's got a People Magazine story to crow about!" Okay, here's your challenge...it doesn't matter what the event or how big your exposure. Every photographer has something that happens that's newsworthy within your community. It might be something new you're doing. Maybe you photographed the Mayor's dog. How about a family shoot that was in some way unique and different from what everybody else is doing?
You've got to be the one to get the message out there. You've got to find a way to remind your target audience that you're a professional photographer. You've got to be the one to crow a little.
This is part of a "trifecta" today with a video and a podcast with Bob. In the podcast Bob talks about getting the message out in your community.
Bob and Dawn need to be on your radar. You'll find their online courses are just a click away. Follow them on Facebook too.
Sometimes you have to toot your own horn, in a good way! Dawn and I have learned through the years that if you don’t let your audience know what you’re up to or about your recent accomplishments the phone will not magically ring with opportunities.
I remember a few years back we had completed a BIG assignment for a very high profile client, no need to drop names. Lets just say it was a once in a lifetime shoot, of historic proportions, for some of the highest profile people in entertainment and politics. Every one of the guests received a custom designed Graphistudio fine art book. Dawn out did herself with the design and Graphistudio exceeded our expectations in helping us deliver a one of a kind book on time. I remember saying to Dawn, buckle your seat belt; things are going to take off! We delivered 500 books to movers and shakers, our name and website was in the book, surely everyone whom received this exquisite fine art book would have to hire us for their weddings and events. Time went by and the phone did not ring!
I learned from this that you have to let people know about your accomplishments. Recently we had the great honor to work with, event planner extraordinaire, Mindy Weiss, to photograph the wedding of the TV show The Bachelorette, Ashley + J.P.’s wedding at the Langham in Pasadena. This was as high profile as it gets, for me it’s like when I was back at the newspaper, this wedding is on the same level as shooting the Super Bowl. I could hear the words of Bob Kotalik, my chief photographer of the Chicago Sun-Times saying, “kid come back with a good picture or don’t come back at all!” The images from Ashley + J.P.’s wedding were going to be featured in People and we had to deliver. Sunday morning after their wedding we sat down with the photo editor of People and made the selections. The plan was the cover, but the Royals bumped us to a corner with the news of their coming baby.
This time I had a plan to let 20 of our best vendors and event planners know exactly what we just accomplished! As soon as the issue of People magazine hit the newsstand, I bought 25 copies and FedExed the promo boxes. I know my audience and they would appreciate details. Dawn had found these little blue suit cases that match our brand color. Michele, our operations manager helped track down the goodies, aromatherapy lotion, Godiva chocolate, toy camera keychain, our collection guides, three signed 4x6 prints from our recent travels, 4x5 soft cover Graphistudio wedding book, all packaged with blue crinkle paper. Lastly I sprayed some of Dawn’s perfume inside the box. Placed the suitcase in a FedEx box including the issue of People with a press release and a hand written personal note to each recipient.
This kept us in the forefront of the minds of everyone who received our promo box. To date we have had four inquires for high profile events and weddings. We are keeping our fingers crossed they all book.