by Skip Cohen
Note: I don't usually post on a Friday evening. At the same time, if you know me, then you know when I want to share something, especially if I think it'll help you with your business, I'm going to get it published. So, it was one of those days and I kept trying to get this finished and finally gave up until after dinner. Wishing everybody a great weekend!
As a small business owner, whether you're just getting started, rebuilding your business, or just trying to do a quick high-impact jumpstart, there's so much you can be doing right now. But it's a you-snooze-you-lose scenario if you choose to be complacent and kick back waiting for your ship to come in!
The pandemic has added more than its fair share of challenges, but it's also created some incredible opportunities to help you stand out and be a leader. None of this is rocket science, but it does take time, a love for whatever business you're in, and a certain amount of good old-fashioned aggressiveness.
Last week I shared tips for your website, blog, and partnerships. Today, let's hit relationship builders. It's your greatest marketing tool and as Scott Stratten wrote years ago in "UnMarketing" - Stop Marketing, Start Engaging!
So, let's hit on some dependable relationship builders, all perfect to use during the pandemic.
This is the first time in history; every business worldwide has most of the same challenges. The pandemic has had an impact on EVERYBODY. But again, here's an opportunity for you to be a leader in your community and demonstrate why you're everyone's best choice for the services and products you provide.
Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence
and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.
Great things in business are never done by one person.
They are done by a team of people.
by Skip Cohen
Over the last few years, I've written about partnerships and the advantages of not doing everything by yourself. Partnerships expand your reach, save you money, expand awareness and increase revenue. Yet, so many of you sit there and whine about how tough it is right now and don't do anything because cash flow is a mess. I get it, but I'm not going to let you fold when you're holding some great cards!
There''s one more challenge in our lives that makes the timing for a partnership such an advantage. With the pandemic, every business is dealing with the same frustrations! Business has disappeared, but you can pool your resources and establish stronger brand awareness in your community by working together.
Let's look at the kinds of opportunities first:
Now, for those of you who are rolling your eyes and thinking there's nobody to partner with because your specialty is so limited, here's a list to work from, and I'm sure there are plenty I've missed, because these are all in the portrait/social categories.
It's time to stop thinking you've got to do everything by yourself. Business has changed dramatically, but along with the frustrations, there are some unique opportunities for creative leadership. You don't need to jumpstart your business alone - think about the strategic alliances in your community to rebuild together!
Coming together is a beginning,
staying together is progress,
and working together is success!
by Skip Cohen
No matter where you live, there's ALWAYS something to write about. Again, your blog is about what's in your heart, while your website is about what you sell. The two work together to help you establish brand awareness by being helpful and informative. I've already shared tips on ways to make your blog more effective, including a sampling of ideas about photography.
Let's take it a step further - no, let's take it twenty steps further:
There are twenty ideas for blog posts and combined with yesterday's eleven photography tips, you've got a solid foundation to start building content so you can have some consistency with your blog. Remember, these give you content to share during those weeks that have are quiet. You've still got images to share with things like "365 Projects," client shoots and challenges, and events happening more real-time throughout the week.
Many years ago, I shared content from an article, "How to Write a (Better) Photography Blog Post." Andy Bondurant listed six areas every new and veteran blogger should focus on. The article is no longer active, but here's what I shared that was most helpful:
Ed Foreman is a marketing and life-coach guru who spoke at a Polaroid meeting I attended 30+ years ago. He shared a concept I've never forgotten, and shared many times in posts and workshops:
If I can see the world through my client's eyes,
then I can sell my client what my client buys.
It's not about putting yourself in their shoes, but about understanding what's important to your audience. What are they worried about? What are their goals? What's most important in their lives?
A blog done well, gives you the ability to demonstrate how much you care and your ability to be helpful. It's a nonstop relationship builder with your readers!
by Skip Cohen
It's the slow season - made even more frustrating because of the pandemic. But "slow" is only about revenue and clients coming through the front door! There's no reason it should be slow for you. I'm continuing my quest to give you ideas to build a more substantial business in 2020. Everybody, at the very least, needs a jumpstart.
Today and tomorrow's focus - YOUR BLOG!
Your website is about what you sell.
Your blog is about what's in your heart!
Put on your seatbelt - It's about to be a fast ride as I do a brain-dump and share ideas to help you build a better blog - including topics.
"But Skip, there's nothing worth writing about!"
And for those of you who insist there's nothing worth blogging about in your community or your life - here's a sampling of ideas with another BIG batch coming tomorrow:
Become the Imaging Expert: As a photographer, you do things every day you take for granted. Let's help Mom, Dad, and the kids become better artists. They're not going to open up down the street and compete with you. So, whether they use a real camera or a cell phone - let's help them raise the bar on their images.
Here's the fun and advantage of the ideas above - each one allows you to share some of your images as examples of the right and wrong way to capture their memories. You're establishing yourself as the expert in imaging.
And to take it a step further, some of you have the skills and ability to hold physical classes and photowalks to help your audience capture better memories. As their skills grow and you become more established as the expert in your community, you're opening the door for more advanced techniques. And at the same time you're developing top-of-mind awareness when they need a professional photographer.
Coming up tomorrow - more blog topics for your stash! Combined with things going on in your life and the community around you, I'm going to make sure you don't run out of topics for 2021!
"It always seems impossible, until it's done!"
by Skip Cohen
While we've all shared many of the same frustrations over the last year, what things you need to do to get back on track is unique to each business owner. Too many of you are flying by the seat of your pants, being reactionary, with no planning or strategy for the new year. You wouldn't get in your car for a trip across the country without a little planning, including the route, cities you wanted to visit, accommodations, etc., Yet, you're attacking the new year without a roadmap.
Social media has NEVER played a more significant role in our lives than right now! With physical distancing still an issue, social media and the phone are your two best sources of communication, followed by direct mail.
So, I went searching in Google to see how many people, worldwide, are anticipated to be online in 2021. It's expected there will be 2.14 billion buyers online this year. Here's the complete article from Statista.com.
That means, your website and blog have never been more critical - or had more potential to create sales/revenue. You have the reach that just a few years ago, a small newspaper or magazine might have had. Your website is your storefront, and your blog should be the gateway via your heart to the products and services you offer.
I've shared dozens of posts in the past about your website and blog, so I'm just going to give you a limited check-off list. If you want more detail, read all the Fast Food Fridays I've shared.
This is just the first post in a series this week. If I wrote about everything you should be doing in one post, it would take you too long to read it!
We're in a "you snooze - you lose" scenario. Things are getting better, and while the pandemic is hardly over, people are focused on trying to get back to some level of normalcy. There's an opportunity for you to be a leader in your community.
Most important of all, imaging through the pandemic has never been more important. Families and friends have been hunkered down for months without contact, but you're the magician with the power to help them stay together with photography.
We might be in the slow season, but Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and graduation are all around the corner. For example, there are few presents better suited for Grandma this year than a new family portrait. Now is the time to start planning!
Tomorrow we're going to zoom in on your blog and topic ideas, as well as how to get it all done if you hate to write!
Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up!
by Skip Cohen
It's my first business post of the new year, and I've been thinking a lot about it. On all sides, the imaging industry, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and artists were hit hard by the pandemic. Restrictions and fear resulting from Corona have limited income for most photographers since March. As Sherry Hagerman, founder of ClickCon, wrote recently:
The new year will be a recovery year for most photographers and videographers and a time to catch up on accumulated debt from the 2020 losses.
Fully believing 2021 is a year to rebuild and jumpstart your business, let's start at the very beginning.
It's the first business day of the new year. Even with the optimism of the vaccine, the pandemic will not suddenly flip a switch and put us back into a state of normalcy. However, what it does mean is with a little hope on the horizon and positive actions, you've got an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in your craft and community.
Let's start right out of the blocks with your attitude and believing in yourself. Corona didn't destroy your dreams, just the roads you needed to travel to get there! And as simplistic as it all sounds, let's start by getting rid of the negative people in your life! Sound extreme? Damn right it is - you haven't got time to convince them you're on the right path. All your energy has to start with believing in yourself.
Next, let's shut down the "Negative Committee" in your head. Monica Sweeney, in her book, "Zen as F*CK" wrote,
For every negative thought you have in your head about yourself, there's a positive one scrambling behind it vying for a chance to speak. Give those positive thoughts a f**king megaphone. What are they trying to tell you?"
But just wishing you were a better artist or marketing manager isn't enough.
Over the next couple of weeks, we're going to break your business down goal by goal and piece by piece. It all starts with you taking the first giant step - committing to not letting anything stand in the way of getting your business back on track in 2021.
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
by Skip Cohen
This could just as easily fit on Throwback Thursday since it goes back to WPPI 2011, but it's Marketing Monday, and Scott Bourne's wisdom in this "Photographers Ignite" video is perfect for the challenges we're all facing these days.
Kevin Kubota's series was the annual opening program for a few years in a row at WPPI, with at least five hundred people in the audience each time. Kevin's idea set a new standard, yet to be repeated, for great presentations and sharing information.
Here's the concept: Each speaker had twenty slides to show in five minutes, and they automatically changed every 15 seconds. The challenge was to get your message out there, and Scott did a terrific job. He's sharing five minutes of pure inspiration.
It's been one of my favorite presentations for years because there's so much in it. I find myself hitting the pause button repeatedly and thinking about the point Scott's making at the time. And these days, with the pandemic's challenges and the need for so many photographers to rebuild and jumpstart their businesses, Scott's sharing the building blocks for success in every slide!
Grab a cup of coffee and take five minutes...oh, and in the intro, Kevin mentions Scott's 90,000 followers on Twitter - that's 209,000 today.
"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it!"
by Skip Cohen
Two more great podcasts in the pipeline, thanks to Platypod and Photofocus. And both are with guests who offer outstanding insight to help you through the challenges you're dealing with right now. Take the time to click on the two banners below, grab a cup of coffee and then just kick back and listen!
Shep Hyken: I share a quote every morning on Twitter. Several years back, I quoted NYTimes best-selling author Shep Hyken about Customer Service. Well, Shep replied, and it's so rare I get a response directly from the author. Since then, he's joined us on podcasts, I've been a guest on his show, and SCU has even shared a few links to his website.
Shep's specialty is Customer Service, and you'll notice I always capitalize those two words. Why? Because they're the most critical component of any business! And Shep's an expert, lecturing worldwide and helping companies focus on creating the very best level of service.
In this new podcast, we covered a lot of ground. It's so relevant, especially with today's challenges created by the pandemic. Here are just a few of our discussion points:
And With Levi Sim...
Levi Sim: In 2009 I launched a summer program called Skip's Summer School. Levi Sim was one of the attendees and was just getting started in his career. Over the years, he's become one of the most recognized personalities in photography. He's an ambassador of goodwill and support for the professional photographic community. Over the last ten years, he's the guy with the bow tie and brown fedora at any convention. He's a photographer, writer, educator, podcaster and has spent most of his career in imaging, asking other photographers and manufacturers, "How can I help?"
A few months ago, Levi made a considerable change in his career - staying with his love for imaging, he joined Utah State University as their lead photographer. So working for a full-time employee is a significant change from freelance. In this new podcast, Levi shared a lot of great insight into the challenges and benefits of giving up being a freelance artist and moving into the academic world.
Here are few of the topics we talked about in this podcast:
Click on any of Levi's images above to listen to the podcast!
The Beyond Technique podcast is brought to you thanks to Platypod. They've got some incredible savings going on right now, but only while supplies last. For example, there are only twenty of the Ultra Essentials Kits left for holiday savings. Click on any of the holiday bundles below for more information.
A BIG thanks to the team at Photofocus.com for their never-ending support of the photographic community. Check out all of their podcasts and an incredible archive of great content growing more and more every day! Just click on the banner below and check out one of the very best resources for photographic information!
by Skip Cohen
Beyond Technique is a podcast that's meant to be just a little different than our regular "Mind Your Own Business" show. While each episode highlights another guest's work, my co-host and I have had some great conversations about everything that happens beyond the technique of capturing an image or building a business.
Chamira Young and I have hosted over one hundred podcasts since our first one together in March 2017. With each guest, I've been delighted at their insight and willingness to share so many different aspects of their journey. And equally impressive is their passion for the industry and helping other artists stay focused at a time through the pandemic when fixed focus is often close to impossible.
Mike Peters: Although there's probably nothing he can't photograph, Mike's best known for his street photography. It's a topic we've never really discussed much with past guests. He's also a testimonial to one of the most fun aspects of this industry – the friendships. Mike and I met through Panasonic's LUMIX Ambassador program, and I'm a big fan of his work.
In Mike's bio on his website, there's a statement that describes his love for being a storyteller:
I believe that all photographs should make a connection so that you, the viewer, can feel something familiar or imagine a story about the photograph.
Mike is the ultimate storyteller capturing our imagination and the personality of his subjects with just one image. It's a skill set that goes far beyond the technique of just pointing your camera and clicking the shutter.
Click on the banner above to listen to his podcast, and his website is just a click away!
Moose Peterson: Although Moose and I have known of each other for many years, we'd never met until Photoshop World three years ago. When you think of outdoor/wildlife photographers, his name is always at the top of everyone's list, but so is his role as an artist, writer, podcaster, and educator.
Along with his wife Sharon, his passion for photography started forty years ago when they went into business. Moose and Sharon have dedicated their lives to education and protecting our wild heritage, the lands, and the critters. In 2008, Moose added aviation photography to preserve our aviation heritage and the freedoms they protect.
Moose is one of the most diverse artists in our industry, with a standard of never compromising on the quality of his images or his relationships with his students, readers, listeners, and associates. Click on the banner above and enjoy the diversity in the insight he shared with us and stop by his website to enjoy his galleries!
"Beyond Technique" is Brought to You By Platypod
Stuck thinking of a creative holiday gift idea for the photographer in your life? Platypod's Holiday Specials are going on right now, but only while supplies last. Click on the banner above to meet the entire product line, and check out the limited-time holiday savings.
And if you haven't visited the Platypod website, take a scroll through the blog and Instagram pages. Artists from around the world are sharing their creativity every day.
A big thanks to Photofocus for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their technology, marketing, and business skills. Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
by Skip Cohen
It's Sunday morning, and I'm definitely not in my usual mode of being off the topic of photography.
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives and not for the better. But it's also created some unique leadership opportunities in creativity and support to your clients and community. I know it's been an ugly year for virtually every business, but I also know there are ideas out there to help you get back on track and jumpstart your business.
ClickCon Nation kicks off today with an all-star cast, but more important than the educators/speakers is the timing and the topics. For example, I'm doing a program at 10:15 CST called "My Business Has Disappeared, Now What?" In one hour, I'm going to pack in 2-3 hours of material - one after another of things photographers can be doing RIGHT NOW to capture the seasonality in business.
And check out the company I'm with below.
The program is FREE - all you have to do is download the ClickCon Nation app, and you're in. I know this doesn't apply to everybody, but there are too many of you who have been crying the blues over the decline in business and not doing anything about it.
Remember that line of "God helps those who help themselves?" Well, regardless of what you believe spiritually, there's so much help in this industry. But you've got to make the first move - open your mind and join us!
Wishing everybody a day filled with ideas and opportunities to be a leader in creativity and business. The year isn't over yet. As I've written so many times in the last nine months - hunkering down is about your health - NOT about your business.
by Skip Cohen
For over a year, I shared a series of business and marketing tips called "Fast Food Friday." The concept started as short, easy to implement ideas, and grew into some great building blocks for success as a photographer and small business owner.
Well, as much as the pandemic has changed so many things in our lives, the key ingredients to building brand awareness haven't changed. You still need to get your name out there, and even more important, we're into fourth-quarter seasonality, and people still need help capturing and sharing their memories!
Remember why I started this series - to give you ideas to build a stronger business, no matter what the challenges were! Most of you are right-brain creative types with too little focus on growing your business. Many of you don't think of yourselves as small business owners. Even if you're working for another studio, imaging is a career choice that lends itself to freelance assignments, and you're ALWAYS building your brand.
With or without Covid - it's not who YOU know, but WHO knows you! Here's a list to help you keep your name out there in the spotlight. Your goal is top-of-mind awareness so anytime somebody is thinking about photography, your name comes up first.
Too many of you think there's nothing you can do to build your brand until the pandemic is history. It's not going away tomorrow, but the new norm doesn't need to leave you helpless. Relationship building is your most vital marketing tool - so, set up a time every week to be building your foundation of awareness - beyond your skill set.
Tony Corbell, one of the most recognized photographers in the industry, once told a story about when he first got started. "I might not have been the best photographer in town, but I was determined to be the nicest!" Tony's never strayed from that practice!
And where's Tony today? Because travel for all of us is limited, he's online and spending just as much time teaching and supporting his audience as he always has - but in cyberspace!
“Don’t think outside the box – think like there is no box!”
by Skip Cohen
In all my years in this industry, I've never seen a more difficult time for photographers to maintain a business. At the same time, I've never seen/heard so many remarkable stories about artists taking a leadership role in their communities. These are business owners, fighting to rebuild what the pandemic has taken away.
This Sunday, five of us share ideas and ways to expand your skill set and work to get things started on the way back. But we can't help if you're not there with us!
My program, "My Business Has Disappeared! Now What?" is about opportunities to rebuild your business and stand out from your competition. This program changes and grows every week, as I hear more great ideas to share from artists around the world who simply refuse to give up! I'll be sharing dozens of ideas to help you rebuild and jumpstart your business. I've got one hour to fill your head with new ideas, and even a few old ones. So, it'll be fast-paced right from the start.
Click on the banner above to connect to the complete schedule of events. Then to attend for FREE, just download the 𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐂𝐨𝐧 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐩𝐩 from your app store, log in and create your password.
Don't let complacency get the best of you! Join us on Sunday to recharge your battery and get your business back on track for a strong fourth quarter in 2020!
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
by Skip Cohen
"Mind Your Own Business" is all about introducing you to the diversity of some of the most respected artists and educators in professional imaging. Since starting the series over six years ago, each guest has shared insight into their journey with continuous support to help photographers raise the bar on their skill set and develop a stronger brand and successful business.
My good pal Shiv Verma is in the MYOB spotlight and joined Chamira Young and me for a conversation about his career, projects for downtime, staying optimistic, and the future of imaging. Shiv's an artist, educator, writer, and a good friend to so many photographers in the industry.
Although we've known each other for many years, we started to get quality time together thanks to his role as a LUMIX Ambassador. (Note: All of Shiv's images we pulled for this post from were all captured with LUMIX cameras.) Later, I got to know him even better though Platypod. He's been a vital contributor to so many different ideas and new products over the years, including the upcoming Platyball.
Two of my favorite conventions before the pandemic were IUSA and WPPI. Working with Shiv in the booth, and then getting time together over dinner at the end of each day gave us a chance to cover a lot of ground with so many different topics and interests.
Check out more of Shiv's work with a visit to his Instagram page, his website, and past SCU blog posts.
Part of the fun of following Shiv is the diversity of his work - from critters and night skies to a model at a conference and fine art, you'll never be disappointed in what he's sharing or where he's traveling!
As always - thanks go to the Photofocus Team for their support of this podcast. Check out their content; whether it's new product info, "how-to" posts, or educational information to help you become a better artist, they never slow down in the quality of what they share.
Click on any image to view in the SCU Light Box
Images copyright Shiv Verma. All rights reserved.
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
by Skip Cohen
The "Mind Your Own Business" podcast is all about sharing ideas, developing a solid skill set, and running a successful business in imaging. Although our opening and closing questions are always the same about how the guest got started in this business along with advice to photographers just starting, everything else is unscripted and unrehearsed. Each photographer has shared an incredible level of information about their journey to date.
Nicole Begley joined us on this recent podcast, and she continued the pattern of sharing great insight and information about pet photography. I met Nicole for the first time three years ago when she taught a pet photography workshop here in the Sarasota area. Her passion for the craft, together with being an educator and working hard to help artists expand their skill set, is remarkable to observe live, first hand.
The hierarchy of why people hire a professional photographer, based on a Kodak survey years back, goes brides, babies, and pets. I don't believe that's changed at all in over twenty years since the information was released. That means there's an incredible opportunity for photographers to diversify and include pets in your repertoire. And the ranking has moved a lot, because of so many weddings being cancelled or postponed.
While the official surveys don't all agree, the rough estimate is that 80% of American households have a dog or cat. That boils down to approximately 80 million dogs and 60 million cats. And if you want to argue with me about those numbers, you're missing the point. We love our pets. Through the pandemic of the last almost nine months, dog and cat owners have repeatedly talked about the family's furry members evolving into emotional support animals!
Now take it all one step further, pet owners love photographs of there dogs and cats, which is why they're ranked at the top of the Kodak survey I referenced earlier. Nicole Begley is all about helping artists raise the bar on their skill set when it comes to photographing pets, especially dogs. Check out her "Hair of the Dog Academy," and visit her website to view more of her incredible work!
As always, a BIG thanks to the team at Photofocus.com for their support in hosting the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. Check out all of their podcasts - you'll never be disappointed in the guests appearing on the various shows.
Click on any image above to link to this great podcast!
by Skip Cohen
We're in the middle of a pandemic, and with so much downtime, I'm trying to understand how I missed several posts of the "Mind Your Own Business." Over the last six years, we've shared a new podcast every month, thanks to my co-host Chamira Young and the team at Photofocus.com.
So, I'm playing catch up on podcasts, but this isn't like the expiration date on a carton of milk! Kay Eskridge joined us on this past podcast, and her insight into the industry's challenges was remarkable. She shared so many great ideas, and knowing Kay for as many years as I have, it was a fun conversation.
Kay is all about relationship building. In fact, you can see it in her images - relaxed smiles, comfortable poses, and subjects who enjoy working with Kay and trust her to exceed their expectations. From the Boardroom to maternity, kids, families, couples, seniors, and pets - it wasn't easy for me to pick out my favorites. Click on any image below, and you'll link to Kay's website, and you'll see what I mean. She shares an incredible body of work. Every image demonstrates her commitment to her clients as well as the craft. She's one of the most diverse artists in the industry, and I'm not sure there's anything Kay can't photograph!
I've written it so many times before: The best part of this industry is all about the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Kay and I have worked together on different projects and have been friends for easily twenty years, and it's true what they say about time - it flies when you're having a good time!
A big thanks to Photofocus for their support in making "Mind Your Own Business," a podcast that needs to be on your radar!
by Skip Cohen
If there was ever a promotion with perfect timing on a necessity this holiday season, it's Marathon's BOGO on holiday cards that just launched!
Here's why this is more important for your business than ever before:
For the last eight months, everyone's world has been at a virtual standstill. You've been hunkered down, business disappeared, and has just recently started to pick up, and keeping in touch with clients for many of you has been limited. That makes this holiday season especially crucial for revenue, as well as for your clients. Everyone is dealing with the same challenges, regardless of what their business might be.
You've got an opportunity to meet the needs of your clients NOW. And while it might seem early to think about it, the timing is actually just right.
Here's your chance to start planting the seeds of ideas for holiday cards, and the importance of staying in touch with family and friends. It's a great product to offer your clients, but don't forget your own needs for your business.
If ever there was a holiday season where photography can play a significant role, 2020 is the year. And with Marathon's BOGO, you're cutting your cost in half and helping to increase the revenue stream.
Just click on the banner for more information. Don't miss the opportunity to help your customers connect with family and friends over this year's holiday season.
by Skip Cohen
The pandemic has changed just about everything in business today, especially in imaging. But it's also opened up some new revenue streams, thanks to technology (Bay Photo), and new products.
I just recently hung the two 30x30 Performance EXT Metal prints outside on the back of the house. The other print had been out in the bright sun and rain for three years, and while it might have shown fading under the microscope, to the naked eye, it was still stunning. (Note: It's been recently replaced. It survived everything but the power wash guy who not only knocked it off the wall, but later rolled over it with his equipment.) The two additional prints, captured by Jonny Yoshinaga with a drone when he and Suzette Allen were here last year, are special reminders of a great friendship.
Performance EXT Metal is specially engineered for extended life in the elements! Perfect for use as outdoor art, photography, signage, and display, Performance EXT Metal will last 2-3 years in direct sunlight without noticeable fading.
Think about your client base and how many people would appreciate prints outside their home. Everyone is hunkered down with limited travel but maximum time at home - looking at the same walls! Now take the concept of photographs outdoors one step further - how many restaurants have outdoor seating, but nothing on display?
There's an entirely new revenue stream waiting to be tapped into. In each of your communities, you've got subjects to feature in photographs, whether it's scenes around the community, the restaurant's favorite dishes, or the staff - the list goes on and on. And, we're entering the seasonality of the fourth quarter. The need for creativity in gift-giving this year is going to be at an all time high.
by Skip Cohen
Every month for the last six years, "Mind Your Own Business" has shared a new podcast featuring leading artists in the imaging industry. In March of 2017, Chamira joined me as co-host, and what an incredible trip it continues to be. Her style and interviewing skills are part of what make these podcasts so much fun to do.
Rosh Sillars joined us on this podcast just a couple of months back. He shared a lot of terrific insight into the challenges of building his business and a career in photography. As a photographer, Rosh focuses mostly on people, food, and architecture. But as a leader in the industry, he's all about inspiration and helping us think beyond the skill set to capture and produce beautiful images.
Rosh's blog is jam-packed with excellent content to help photographers stand out from the crowd. The pandemic has changed everything in business today. It's also created opportunities for entrepreneurs to separate themselves from their competitors and display a unique service level and support to build stronger brand awareness in the community.
Rosh needs to be on your radar. Click on the banner below to visit his blog and the gateway to the world of Rosh! And a BIG thanks to the Photofocus.com team who's helped make "Mind Your Own Business" a great podcast, month after month for all these years.
All images copyright Rosh Sillars. All rights reserved.
This is very important - to take leisure time. Pace is the essence.
Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you're gonna lose everything...great pauses between highs, where you do nothing at all.
You just lay on a bed and stare at the ceiling.
This is very, very important...just to do nothing at all.
by Skip Cohen
Even being hunkered down for the last six months, it's hard for me to believe it's Labor Day weekend. The last six months have been tough on everybody, and I'm going to make a suggestion that will be considered by some to be a waste of a blog post...take the weekend off!
Most of you have seen a dramatic drop in business, with an almost constant level of stress trying to think of how to rebuild and get things back on track. My suggestion is - take a break from it all. Use the next three days to clear your head; spend time with your family; chill - in other words - make it a slug weekend!
Sheila introduced me to the concept years ago, and it works. Sometimes you need to walk away from everything and simply relax - be a slug. The pandemic challenges aren't going away, but you need to be fresh to find the creativity necessary to get back on track.
Two nights ago, I needed a break. I had forgotten about the crystal focus ball I bought a year ago. So, I headed to the beach with a LUMIX G9, the 14-140mm lens, and a Platypod. Lying on the beach and watching the sun go down, I realized just how much I needed to step away from work.
Take this weekend to wipe the slate clean. Spend as much time as you can finding things to laugh about, and come back on Tuesday ready to fire up ideas for the fall seasonality and the holidays. The pandemic isn't going away as quickly as any of us would like, but that doesn't change the importance of clients who still have memories to capture, kids growing up, and families in need of a new portrait.
Chill over the weekend - join Sheila and me for a slug weekend and come back fired up on Tuesday morning. This is a time when wasting time couldn't be more valuable to help you get your head back in the game and energize.
Wishing everybody a safe and healthy Labor Day weekend!
Intro by Skip Cohen
Sadly, that image above is the equivalent of the attention too many photographers put into the final packaging of the products they deliver to their clients. Okay, maybe it's a little extreme, but it hopefully will help make my point!
It's Marketing Monday, although EVERY day in your business should be about marketing. And, while the pandemic has changed many things in our lives, the need to continue to market yourself has never slowed down.
Yesterday I did a run to "Total Wine" - we were low on two pandemic survival necessities, tequila, and vodka! (Actually, neither of us are big drinkers, but we were out of both.) I was blown away by the packaging of one of our favorites, Milagro.
The color combination of black and silver suggests high perceived value with both men and women. Black and gold, also repeatedly score high in packaging tests. The package itself, along with the bottle design, is eye-catching and contemporary. And the story about Milagro is printed on both sides of the box.
That got me thinking about professional packaging in photography, which I've written a lot about over the years. Even though business for most of you is down, the importance of your final presentation hasn't diminished. It's probably more important and noticeable than ever before.
Whether you're giving a client access to images online or physically delivering an album or prints - don't underestimate the value of professional packaging!
A few years back, I found the post below in Marathon's blog archives, and the timing couldn't be better to share it again. We're coming up to the fourth quarter, which will still represent the busiest time in seasonality for photography...even with the pandemic.
As you start to send out orders for the 2020 holiday season, remember the impact professional packaging can have on each shipment's perceived value. And don't think of packaging as just for your hard products, but the artwork involved in online deliveries as well.
Every order is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your professionalism. Use professional packaging and elevate the perceived quality of your products. If you don't send them out with an elevated level of respect, nobody else will do it for you!
How important is the packaging in which you deliver portraits and other photographic products to your clients? When you consider the majority of photographic purchases are either initiated or entirely controlled by women clients, then the answer is clear: Packaging plays a huge role in enhancing your studio’s brand! Smart marketers know that women are influenced by packaging that pays attention to these key elements:
Research shows that color palette preferences of women are decidedly different from those of men, and the psychology of color—how it influences moods and feelings—is something that every marketer should take into consideration when developing key branding pieces such as business cards, websites, brochures, marketing cards, and packaging.
Women are known to be attracted to packaging that has appealing physical profiles, such as shape and size. These two elements are sometimes key to the functionality of the packaging, which has a definite impact on women consumers; women typically are concerned about how products can be safely and easily transported.
Who doesn’t like to unwrap a package? Women certainly do, so when packaging has pleasingly interactive qualities, such as luxurious ribbon, artfully designed bellybands, deluxe tissue, and eye-catching stickers, each item adds a layer of anticipation to the process of receiving the photographic product.
The fact that attention to detail is important to women, the addition of decorative bag tags, bellybands, ribbons, and even charms, elevates product value in the mind of sophisticated consumers.
Whenever a transaction results in an emotionally satisfying experience for the client, he or she becomes more likely to return for additional sessions and to refer clients to your business. Personalized packaging, such as the addition of a session image used as a bellyband closure or to adorn a shopping bag, is just the kind of gesture that creates a positive emotion which adds significantly to the success of the client’s experience with you.
Artfully coordinated packaging materials support the kind of positive image building that defines and adds meaning to your business brand. Extending your innate creativity to creating packaging that attracts you ideal consumer is well worth your time.
As the holidays approach, there’s no better season to create imaginative packaging. By advertising that “all gift portraits include custom gift wrapping,” you’ll be adding value to your product, and you’ll be all set to conclude future sessions with style!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.