Always remember, your focus determines your reality.
by Skip Cohen
With all the challenges in our lives these days, it's often tough to stay positive. From the pandemic to politics, there seems to be something new every day, adding to the struggle to stay focused and on track. Even the most confident of us feel the pressure to second guess everything, from maintaining our health to rebuilding business. The result is most often a little damage to our self-confidence.
It's Marketing Monday, and this is going to seem simplistic, but maybe it's time we developed a check-off list of things to do to help stay focused. You know how to focus your camera, but do you know how to hold the focus on the passion for your career?
This is only a partial list, and I know there are a lot more things you can do that I haven't included here. So, feel free to let me know what I've missed. Most important of all, if you're feeling discouraged or frustrated, there are a lot of us willing to help.
Don't get sidetracked by people who are not on track!
Intro by Skip Cohen
For years I've written, the best thing about our industry is the friendships that grow out of everyone's mutual love for the craft. Since the start of the pandemic and being quarantined, the importance of those friendships has grown even faster and become more cherished.
Meet Erik Cooper. We've only been friends a few months, but thanks to Facebook and the phone, we've spent a lot of time talking. This morning we caught up on a great phone call, and he told me about a project he launched at the beginning of the pandemic.
Every week I've been sharing at least one post about something professional imaging artists are doing to make the most out of downtime. There are two aspects of Erik's project that I appreciate the most. First, he's bringing a group of people together who share a mutual love and respect for imaging. They've all helped each other raise the bar on their skill sets. Second, Erik chose to stand out from the crowd and implement a way to be a leader in education, but even more critical during these tough times, help everyone stay positive and focused. The Beatles' line of getting by with a little help from my friends couldn't be more accurate.
A big THANKS to Erik for writing something up about the project and especially to all the artists/models involved in the images in this post. The pandemic isn't slowing down, but for this group, neither is their positive attitude!
by Erik Cooper
We make choices everyday that determine just how positive we can remain during adversity. In March and April of 2020 our country moved into quarantine in order to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was indeed a trying time for the US as well as other countries involved around the globe. Being located in Colorado, one of the first states to deal with the virus, our new agency, ECP Talent, decided to stick to a positive outlook in dealing with the shutdown.
Most of our model and talent team were locked up in their houses and looking for a new spin on time with their families or by themselves. As a photographer, I thought it a good idea to teach them lighting principles they could use for their postings.
We had six instructions on side, flare, butterfly, clamshell, low level and GOBO lighting. All of this with the design of staying positive during the lockdown. The response was amazing from the team as well as the public when we would post the resulting collages. The members were then able to apply these principles to future posts and the impact on their pages was notable.
I receive requests often to continue in this effort from the team. Staying positive is so important.
Note: Check out more of Erik's work with a visit to ECP Talent on Facebook, Erik Cooper Photography on Facebook and on Instagram, ECP Models on Instagram
Click on the above banners to understand what makes ClickCon and ClickCon Nation so unique!
by Skip Cohen
Last year ClickCon in Chicago kicked off its first conference and became the most successful launch of a new convention in the industry. Many factors were contributing to it being a great show, from the class selections, quality of the speakers, quality and enthusiasm of models and stylists to the involvement of the "Heart of ClickCon," the people involved in the planning.
This year we were all excited for the second show in their history when the pandemic hit. But nothing stops the Heart of ClickCon, and this weekend, ClickCon Nation kicks off a nine-month series of monthly classes and support for imaging artists.
The next ClickCon LIVE Conference is scheduled for August of 2021, but here's the best part - as part of your registration, you've got nine months of online educational programs from which to choose. Click on the thumbnail below to check out this Sunday's programming.
Everyone has different needs these days, but there are several common denominators - the need to share ideas, grow our skill sets and understand how to deal with the new norm. ClickCon Nation has five different levels of involvement - each one designed to help artists get the support they need most.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to catching up with many of you in cyberspace and then LIVE in Chicago next August. Registration is just a click away on the banner below!
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and here's a perfect way to build a content-rich post for your readers.
Last week, my good pal Suzette Allen wrote a blog post, which she also shared on Facebook about International Friendship Day. In all honesty, I didn't know there was such a day, but being self-quarantined for almost five months, I started thinking about it. Through the pandemic, most of us are missing people the most, especially social time with good friends.
That got me thinking about International Friendship Day - first, it doesn't have to be one day a year, and second, why not share images of clients and friends more regularly? It's what we miss the most, and for those of you who are professional photographers, it's a great way to keep connecting with clients and friends in your community. Even better, it highlights your brand as a photographer.
Maybe best of all, I set out this morning going through my archives, thinking about conventions and trade shows. I miss the contact and time to socialize with so many friends over the years. The hunt for old images became fun. "Fun" is a difficult word to find these days, but it's not lost.
For you, as a professional photographer, the collection of photographs becomes a great way to remind your readers what you do best - capture and share memories!
Suzette shared a stellar piece of advice at the close of her post that applies to all of us these days:
Celebrate your friends this day (which is almost over) this weekend, this week, this month. Make sure you tell your friends how much you love them. Make it weird. LOL !! Seriously, we all need a reminder of how much we are loved!
If ours is truly an apocalyptic time, it may promise a new beginning rather than an end. We could not go on living with stale ideas. Certainly, we are faced with an extreme psychological test. The way to pass it is to accept the idea that life has rebelled and plunged us into such uncertainty because we have too long humiliated it. A season of change does not collapse civilization.
(Probably written at least 30 years ago.)
by Skip Cohen
Stay with me on this, because it's a short post and might help you think differently about today's challenges in your business.
I live in one of the stupid states, Florida. Like most of you, Sheila and I have been self-quarantined for almost five months. And while we're still taking turns riding the emotional roller coaster of anxiety and frustration, we've adjusted. We miss friends and so many freedoms we took for granted, but at the same time, life has become more precious.
This industry, which I love dearly, has thrown all of us off balance. And while I'm regularly criticized for being the industry cheerleader, the reality is that we all have to deal with a new norm. It will be years before life gets back to what it was a few months ago, but that doesn't mean we can't grow our skills, and become stronger marketers than before the pandemic.
I'm hearing some great stories of artists becoming more diverse in their skill set, communicating with their clients more, and providing new products/services that fall within physical distancing guidelines and safety. Yesterday, Norma Grieve, a friend and photographer from the UK, shared the following comment about building relationships, after creating something new for their clients:
My business partner and daughter designed a page specifically to help eloping couples. It includes profiles of a number of other vendors. She contacted all the vendors to check on them and ask what services they would be offering as some restrictions ease. She had a phenomenal and heartwarming response from everyone with an unanticipated, reciprocally positive reaction to our business.
When I asked Norma for permission to share the idea above she wrote back: Skip. This really has put us into the minds of the vendors and raised our business in their eyes - that was not even considered by my daughter. She simply wanted to reach out and to keep our Let’s Elope page up-to-date-helpful.
Here's my point - if you let today's business challenges grind you down, they will. But, if you look for new ways to keep creating and fulfill the passion for the craft you had before the pandemic, you might be surprised at your ability to start gaining traction on rebuilding your business!
by Skip Cohen
When Chamira Young and I relaunched Beyond Technique last year, we wanted to focus on more than just capturing great images, or running a successful business in photography. Each guest has shared a lot of great insight, but the pandemic created a new challenge - artists have had to ramp up their usual marketing skills and find better ways to reach out to their communities.
Cindy Harter Sims joined us in this episode, and she's all about inspiration and especially relationship building. She's no stranger to the SCU spotlight and has repeatedly shared great content and the ideas she's implemented to secure her business. But with the pandemic, she did something unique - she reached out to her community and asked for help.
Relationship building over the years has been a significant building block to Cindy's business and her role within the industry. In fact, it's how I met her many years ago at a Skip's Summer School conference. Cindy doesn't collect business cards - she directly participates with and supports the people in her growing network.
Please take the time to listen to this podcast. Cindy held nothing back as she discussed her quest to keep her business alive and, at the same time, continue to give back to her community. She's busy, even doing newborn and infant photography, all while staying true to the rules of physical distancing and safety.
And click on any of the favorite images I grabbed from Cindy's website to visit her galleries!
Beyond Technique is brought to you by:
Programs like Beyond Technique can't happen without great industry support. Platypod believes in education and helping artists find new perspectives, not only with their cameras but their overall skill sets in marketing and business too.
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.
And if you're stuck with ideas to expand your own creativity, wander into the Platypod store. You'll find some unique kits like the new Ultra Essentials Kit, now on sale.
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
An overloaded corner of a Koi pond is great to watch at feeding time. The Koi are beautiful to look at, but that's as far as it goes. They're decorative carp, bottom feeders who simply fight over food, but the photograph makes a point because that's what so many of you are doing.
The pandemic has created some unique opportunities for artists brave enough to think outside the box. The big question is, how are you going to make yourself and your work different?
Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.
George Washington Carver
So, how about you stop making excuses? Stop blaming the pandemic for the drop in business, even though it's true. It's time to start looking at ways to make yourself stand out in the community.
The bottom line, this Marketing Monday, is straightforward: STOP MAKING EXCUSES! I'm not minimizing how difficult it is to rebuild business now, but doing nothing will get you just that - nothing! However, there's been a giant paradigm shift in so many things that previously built your business's foundation. Along with your target audience's needs, the rules have all changed.
But nothing happens if you don't get yourself out there and stop being content with being a beautiful Koi!
Obstacles don't have to stop you.
If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up.
Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
by Skip Cohen
We're all dealing with a giant obstacle right now - the pandemic. I'm not talking about the fear of Covid-19, but the challenges in dealing with everyone's opinion. Suddenly we're buried in medical experts, with so many people in social media recently getting their junior medical degree. I put up two posts on Facebook over the last couple of weeks, only to take them down in less than 24 hours, as they became platforms for people to share their "truth," politics, racism, and even religion. If there was a way to get off track, they did it.
I see the most significant obstacle as being analysis paralysis as too many business owners are looking like a deer in your headlights! None of us know what to believe anymore regarding the virus. However, the one common denominator is every artist questioning the best ways to start getting business back on track.
This isn't meant to be a long, drawn-out "how-to" post this morning, just plant a few seeds to get you to start taking action:
Here's the bottom line - you're the only one who can impact rebuilding your business, but it takes focus. You know how to hold focus with your camera, and now it's time to take an intense look at your business. Everything has changed because of the pandemic, but that doesn't mean business isn't out there!
by Skip Cohen
Long before the pandemic, the word rebuild was in our vocabulary. From hurricanes to devastating fires to floods, we've seen communities work to reestablish their presence. In business, we've seen companies rebuild repeatedly, and in our personal lives, we've restored everything from personal relationships to old cars to challenges in dentistry.
The only thing that's never needed to be rebuilt is our resilience as a culture. We're taught early on the biggest failure in life is not getting up after you've fallen! The pandemic has knocked us all down and made it necessary to rebuild. We can't let Covid-19 win. And as trite and hokey as that sounds, it couldn't be more true right now.
I've shared a lot of different ideas to grow your business and start rebuilding over the last couple of months. They're all thanks to some exceptional artists who refuse to lay down and have encouraged us to step outside our comfort zones!
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, here are some ideas thanks to Marathon Press. Yes, they're an SCU partner, and they're also some of my closest personal friends, but the friendships came out of respect for what they do, and their complete product line. They've never closed through the pandemic and now offer some of the greatest tools to help you rebuild your business and establish a stronger presence.
There's a reason why their booth was so busy the last conventions any of us attended! I pulled a few of my favorites below - just click on the banners for more information. And even if you're not a family portrait or senior photographer, remember you're rebuilding. The pandemic has, as JP Elario said, "...extended the slow season."
You have a choice of when to start working to reverse the slow season, and right now, family values haven't been this strong since the 60s. Families are hunkered down together, creating and capturing new memories are so important - and you have the skill set. Plus, it can all be done within the parameters of physical distancing and safety.
And take a long look at Bella Art Prints and Albums...Marathon never slows down on great products. The combination of colors, cover materials, pages, paper choices and styles has grown the line to become one of the largest collections of presentation products in imaging.
The pandemic has stopped many things, but not the kids from growing or the need for capturing the bond between family members and their need to cherish important memories!
In the end...we only regret the chances we didn't take, the relationships we were afraid to have,
and the decisions we waited too long to make.
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday, and here's another idea to help you rebuild your business, but it goes beyond your clients and is just as important for you and your family!
The pandemic has changed everything in our lives, but it's also created some unique opportunities here and there. Photographs of family and friends have never been more valuable. As the pandemic cuts down on our ability to physically be with family and friends, people are looking in the rearview mirror more and thinking back to the good old days. And if your parents are elderly, it's even more difficult to be close to them.
"My Journey" - I've referenced the Senior Friendship Centers in posts many times over the years. Besides classes, adult day care, meals on wheels, and health services, one of the programs they offer is called "My Journey." It's a recorded interview giving seniors the chance to talk about their lives and create a legacy recording for their children and grandchildren.
I love the concept, but it's audio-only, and you can take it a step further. ALL of you have the gear and the skills to do this in more depth than a recording. You can create a family video with virtually any level of sophistication. You can also maintain social distancing, offering clients a video recording as they share stories about their lives for younger family members and friends.
Old Images - Whether in your files or helping clients restore and repurpose old photographs, here's another opportunity to be a storyteller. Everyone has hundreds of images, usually not stored properly, but all waiting for a new chance to be shared.
Again, as the photographer, it puts you in the driver's seat as an expert in imaging and presentation quality products.
Note: That's me on the lap of my great grandmother with my mother and grandmother on either side. Four generations, but there are no stories and all three of them have long since passed away.
Your Own Family - This has so much potential to capture memories and should start with your own family. Don't wait until everybody is gone to say, "I should have taken the time!"
A year or two before my Dad passed away, Bambi Cantrell spent some time doing a short video of Dad taking a look back. It's a great service/product idea to pitch your clients as something new you're now offering. You don't need to wait for an excuse for the December holidays. Take advantage of all the family time you have now. Use your blog to write about it and share some of those stories, obviously, with permission.
And if you've got grandparents or great grandparents still alive, don't let time get the best of you. Make it a point to talk with them and capture those stories. Ask them questions about their childhood and growing up. Have fun with questions about the kind of kids they were, things they did in school, specific friends, pets, and places they visited. The list of information, fun to have and share, is virtually unlimited.
Don't make the mistake I did - Take the time to become your family's historian. You never want to be looking back and wishing you'd captured/created a video about your roots! And as a new revenue stream for your business - take the time to lay out a plan. You might even want to pick a particular client to be your first project and permit you to share parts of the concept on your blog.
Don't let the pandemic win when it comes to your business.
by Skip Cohen
One of the changes in our lives due to the pandemic has become the limitations of how we communicate. Limited face to face contact, physical distancing, and face masks have put everyone's written skills in the spotlight. And communicating via the printed word is one of the toughest ways to "talk" to somebody.
Sadly, too many of you cut English class on the days grammar was the topic. Today, as business owners who might have been able to wear their heart on their sleeve, you're often stuck trying to express yourself in what you write. Whether it's a short personal email to a client, a brochure, post, or a section on your website here are some things to consider:
And remember - there are no erasers on the Internet! Never publish anything you don't want the whole world to read!
by Skip Cohen
I'm not minimizing the fear the pandemic has created in all our lives. Remember, I live in one of the more stupid states, Florida. I understand how immobilizing fear can be. But at the same time, people still have memories they want to capture, and between the phone, social media and email, all of you have options to keep building relationships with your clients.
We've shared so many ideas over the last few weeks, yet so many of you are stuck in analysis paralysis trying to figure out what to do. If you missed any of the posts below, they're each just a click away!
There's also a remarkable collection of educators, companies and associations, with online content to help you expand your skill set. The panademic isn't going to go away with one big giant sweeping cure - that means you've got to stay focused on making the most out of downtime and grow your skills as an artist. Remember, growth only occurs outside your comfort zone - so, it's time to diversify and learn some new "tricks."
Click on any of the banners below for more information!
Here's the bottom line...
We may all be feeling the fatigue and even trauma of being isolated over the last few months, but that doesn't mean any of us are really alone. These are just a few of my favorite resources. There's also Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube - just search for your favorite photographer or educator, and you're bound to find more great content.
And if none of that helps get you refocused on your business, you know where to find me. I won't always have the answers, but my network sure does. And we're all here to help you through these tough times!
by Skip Cohen
It's Throwback Thursday and now and then I like to step away from the memories of old photographs and instead find early concepts I've shared in blog posts.
Seven years ago, my good buddy Scott Bourne wrote the post below about using your phone. At that time, picking up a phone and making a call was in the shadows of texting, email, and social media in general. Many of you didn't have a phone number even listed on your website. Well, the new norm has changed all that and made the phone one of your best tools for helping your business.
Talking to a client directly is second only to the benefits of meeting with them in person, which these days can be minimal. And a phone call, especially when you're not hard-selling anything, is perfect for helping maintain relationships important to sustaining your brand and reputation.
So, why not start today and set a goal of ten clients or friends a day you're going to call and just ask, "I'm just checking up on people I care about - how are you guys doing?" It really is that simple, and the phone is a great way to keep in touch!
Scott Bourne should be on your radar. Check out more great content and wisdom by visiting his blog, Picture Methods.
by Scott Bourne
This may come as a shock to some of you, but in the old days, not one single professional photographer on the planet had a Facebook account. Nor did they have a Flickr account, a blog, a website, an e-mail address or anything else that involved being "on line." Yep I know, I know, hard to conceive. But it's absolutely true. And in keeping with my status as "older than dirt" I know this is true because I was actually there!
Truth be told, I've spent more of my life operating without the Internet than WITH the Internet. I've sold more photographs, licensed more images, booked more shoots using the telephone than the Internet. Now here's the good news. The telephone still exists. Oh you don't hear about it very often, but yep, I checked. It's still there. You can get one just about anywhere. And you no longer need to rely on a lady named "Ma Bell" to pick one up.
Yes, the magical telephone still works and in my opinion, still has great value. So today's Marketing Monday tip is short and sweet. Get a telephone number, plaster that puppy everywhere. Use it. Share it. Actually answer it. Talk to people. It's an amazing thing. You can hear the happiness or sadness or joy or suspicion or whatever in the other person's voice. You don't have to rely on emoticons! You can just ask people how they are feeling, what they need, and they will tell you! Crazy right?
You should put your telephone number on every single piece of marketing material you hand out. And you should put it on your website, your blog, your social media accounts (at least the ones you use for business) and you should do so today!
People still use the telephone. They really do. Maybe not ALL people. But enough to warrant you investing in one, promoting the number and responding promptly to every single call, period.
I know what you're thinking. "But Scott if I put a telephone number on my website people will call me!" Yes! Isn't it wonderful? Clients and prospects will call and try to give you money. It's like magic. Give it a try. Really.
As always, Skip and I are rooting for you.
by Skip Cohen
Every day, something comes along that reminds me how much the pandemic has changed our lives. It's especially true with imaging. The post about JP Elario doing Facetime portraits for clients works through a small part of the challenge with physical distancing. In contrast, Steven Gotz's idea of converting family portraits to coloring book pages for young children provides an easy way to keep in touch with clients while utilizing archived images from your files.
Well, here's a new one and the need is enormous - outdoor seating at restaurants!
Every restaurant is working hard to reopen. One ingredient to bring back business is outdoor seating, but most restaurants, especially those that haven't typically offered table service outside, could use a little help in the decorating department.
It's a perfect application for Bay Photo's Performance EXT Metal prints. I wrote about my own experience almost two years ago, and the print I shared is as beautiful today as it was when I took it out of the box. While under a microscope, there might be some deterioration - there's nothing visible with the naked eye. It's been outside the entire time in the sun, heat, and rain of South Florida.
Now, let's take the idea of outdoor prints one step further, and instead of thinking outside the box, let's think like there's no box. Just about every client you've photographed over the years has a back porch or patio, some area outside their home or apartment. And because of the pandemic, everyone is home-bound. Let's get people to think about artwork outside their home.
Here's an opportunity to offer something new to your existing audience and start to plant a few marketing seeds with a new audience. The concept is also perfect for developing some great content for your blog. So, from restaurants needing a stronger presence outdoors to helping clients bring photography to a new location of their home - it's time to look at Performance EXT Metal!
Click on my metal print of Nokomis Beach at sunset for a closer look then read about Bay Photo's metal prints below.
by Skip Cohen
If you follow me regularly, you've probably noticed a change in my suggestions on dealing with marketing challenges. It's the pandemic result, which has shifted so many things we simply took for granted. But it's not all negative. There are some unique opportunities to explore new and different paths to being a professional photographer.
As you expand your skill set to meet the new demand better, you need to modify your website. You may even need to build a second website that focuses on the new directions you're taking in your business if your target audience has changed.
Your blog also has to change. Done right, it can become even more valuable. Your website is about what you sell, but your blog is about what's in your heart. It's often your heart for your audience that can open just as many doors as your skill set.
Here are some suggestions to consider as you take on the challenges of the new norm:
Remember - What you show is what you want to sell. Now is the time to clean up your galleries and prioritize the categories of your skill set.
Shakespeare said it best:
"To thine own self be true!"
Stay true to your skill set and whatever new direction you've decided to take your business. Diversity is essential, but going with what your heart's telling you will give you the most satisfaction, not just another element rebuilding your business. Most importantly, be flexible, and if something isn't working or just doesn't feel right, then make the changes you need and keep putting energy into moving on!
And, you know where to find me if you just need an objective sounding board!
You can't be the kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it.
You have to go down the chute.
by Skip Cohen
In the last few months, I've talked with hundreds of photographers online, through emails, and IMs on Facebook, or live on the phone. If there's a common theme, it's centered around getting business back on track.
Many of you already had challenges in your business before the pandemic you needed to address, but you procrastinated and put those issues on the back burner. After all, there was nothing you could do to change the dynamics of the new normal.
Well, Covid-19 isn't going to disappear with one dramatic "grand sweeping gesture." Masks, hand-washing, physical distancing, and being smart about protecting yourself and your family is all part of the new normal.
What's NOT part of the new normal is running your business the same old way. You need to adapt to the needs of your clients and, at the same time, respect the health parameters important to both them and you.
So, you're at the top of the waterslide, and it's time to leap into a new level of diversity for your business. You still need to fine-tune your skills, but there are still some strong imaging needed by your clients.
Just because the new norm requires physical distancing and has prevented most photographers from getting out of the slow season, doesn't mean there aren't things you can do to rebuild your business. You know how to focus your camera. Now it's time to refocus your career.
Over the years, mostly on Twitter, I've shared a lot of great quotes. While I'd like to take credit for all of them, it's thanks to two authors, Kathryn & Ross Petras, who put together a book of motivational quotes in the clickable thumbnail on the right. Tina Fey's quote above is from their collection. But my all time favorite is, "Age Doesn't Matter Unless You're a Cheese."
Whether you like to share quotes online or not, this little book is loaded with inspiration!
by Skip Cohen
It's Marketing Monday and the perfect time to redefine being a pro in photography. The pandemic and physical distancing with various levels of self-quarantine have reduced some of the more prominent tools of a pro. But the Internet has expanded the playing field for so-called professional artists to jump into the market. You've got to make yourself stand out from the rest of the "herd."
Years ago, my buddy Dean Collins used to say, "All you need to be a pro these days is a roll of duct tape and a Yellow Pages ad!" His sarcasm still rings true today with too many photographers calling themselves pros, simply because of the gear they own.
I've written a lot about this topic, and it's time to update some of the qualities that make an artist a professional. And it's sure not your gear! Every time you're in public, especially in cyberspace, there's a chance to show your skillset, not just as an artist but as a business owner.
Here's the bottom line: Professionalism is obviously defined by your ability to exceed the expectations of your clients. But your technical skills in producing beautiful images mean absolutely nothing if you don't have a sense of service, listen more than you talk, and build a brand based on being helpful. Make working with you an experience beyond the click of the shutter.
"Customers don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
by Skip Cohen
We're living with a new normal in communication. Face to face meetings are minimal, but phone calls, Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc. are critical in how we talk to each other. And even though a phone conversation allows two people to hear the inflections and emotion in their voices, there's still no visual anchor.
This isn't a new topic; in fact, the quote above I've shared numerous times, but with the new normal, everyone needs a reminder about fine-tuning your listening skills. It all starts with slowing down and not being distracted. You've got to listen to the client and ask for clarification if you don't completely understand what they've said.
Listening these days goes hand in hand with your written skills as well. So let's fine-tune everything in how you communicate.
Your most influential marketing tool is about building relationships and trust. It applies to every specialty within photography, including commercial, boudoir, family, children, maternity, and the list goes on and on!
The biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand.
We listen to reply.
by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot over the years about the importance of maintaining your network. Without care and feeding, like a house plant, it'll just die!
The pandemic has changed how we deal with so many different aspects of communication and support. The result makes it more critical than ever for you to keep in touch with clients, associates, and opinion-leaders in your community.
Your network is one of your most valuable tools for success. That "plant" I mentioned needs water, light, fertilizer, and a pot big enough so it can grow. Your network is no different. Sheltering in place does NOT apply to your business and especially your network.
Building relationships is your greatest marketing tool! And as Scott Stratten says in his book UnMarketing, "Stop marketing and start engaging!" Social distancing changes how you engage, but not the importance of keeping in contact!
I hate to quote politicians, but Hilary Clinton's line about "It takes a village," is so on point today. But it starts with you giving your village the support it needs. Then, you've got to be there to help people in your network because they're going to be your best resource when you need help!
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
by Skip Cohen
I first shared this post as part of my Fast Food Friday series last year, but it's even more relevant today. The pandemic and social distancing have changed everything in business today. Now, more than ever, your website and blog are critical components of your business. Sadly, too many of you have websites that could put a rock to sleep!
I've done a lot of website reviews over the years, and so many of you miss an opportunity to make a great first expression. A visit to your website needs to be a great experience. Like shopping at Macy's vs. Nordstroms - you've got a choice to make in the experience you give visitors to your website!
In reviewing websites, photographers will often say to me, "I know it's out of date. I need to fix those images." Well, the days of procrastinating are over, and it's genuinely a you-snooze-you-lose scenario. Here are some ideas, most of them easy fixes and things you can do NOW!
While somebody will challenge me on this, you can't be in business today without a website. I also feel a blog is essential. Why? Because your site is about what you sell, and your blog is about what's in your heart. Both work together, much like advertising and publicity. Together a great website and blog can open doors, build trust, and help establish your reputation as a professional photographer.
But just like discussions on Facebook forums about what photographers wear when shooting a wedding, you've got to dress the part. You've got to dress for success! Your website is the equivalent of a bricks and mortar store - make a visit, starting with your audience walking through the front door, that's memorable and a fun place to "shop."
The pandemic may have moved the dates for ClickCon to August 10-13, 2021, but that's NOT slowing Team ClickCon down. ClickCon Nation launches this Sunday with nine months of programs!!!
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.