Intro by Skip Cohen
Mark Weber and I have been friends for a whole lot of years. As one of Marathon's most versatile senior managers, he's also a photographer, educator, and writer. He brings so much to the party whenever there's a challenge. He recently shared the post below on Marathon's blog, and it's packed with great ideas.
Being in "lockdown" at home is about your health and safety. It does NOT mean step away from your business, customer service, developing your skillset, or marketing. I love the ideas Mark shared this week and decided to share some of them here and the rest are a click away on the Marathon blog.
Marathon has built its reputation on support for professional photographers. And today, even under the challenges of the pandemic, they're not slowing down on being there to help!
Don't forget, if you're a senior photographer, their BOGO program on grad cards is going on right now. This is an especially tough year for the class of 2020 - more than likely there won't be any big graduations or parties to celebrate. That means the senior portraits you captured a few months ago are even more important to share!
by Mark Weber
With the unprecedented social distancing we are practicing right now we have an excellent opportunity to catch up on the things that have been delayed or neglected in our business for too long. From your equipment maintenance to your marketing, you have some extra time to do things you’ve been needing to do.
So here’s a top 21 list of ideas you can do prepare your business to hit the ground running when things start returning to normal, and they will return to normal. Don’t let your competition get a jump start on you!
#1 Website – How old is your website? When was the last time you updated the images on your site? Does your about me page read all about you or what you can do for them? (hint: they don’t care you got your first camera at age 7) Do you have a blog page that has a huge gap since the last time you posted? Do you have last year’s seniors, families, old ads still showing? Now is the time to update all of those! Need a new website?
#2. Studio Sample Prints – Now is a great time to replace some of those prints on the wall. You know the ones that are going on over a year old? Yeah, those need to be sold to the family of that subject in the image. Offer the image to them at a 50% discount and you can use those funds towards new samples. Consider testing some of your lab’s different paper samples. Today many labs have fine art papers to give you an alternative product that the consumer can’t get at Walmart or Cosco.
#3. Studio Sample Albums – Albums are one of the most profitable products you can offer in your studio. Chris Fritchie of McKenna, TX photographs with an album in mind with every session he does. Especially his storytelling Santa albums.
His philosophy is that you can always sell a wall portrait from a session shot with an album story in mind but you can’t always sell an album from a wall portrait session. Now is a great time to think of a creative story theme to promote later in the year like Chris’s Santa theme. Chances are you probably know someone even now who is not ultra paranoid and would be willing to model to help you create a new sample. You could build your set and have it all ready for later in the year.
#4. Sample Brochure – Show you are an expert or specialize in something. Use this in your PR Kit with follow-ups to meetings you’ve had or connections you want to make. You can insert gift cards or coupons for additional incentives.
#5. Family Portraits – Family portraits are going to be even more meaningful after this experience. Now is a good time to start planning your fall family campaign. Direct mail is still effective and thanks to Every Door Direct Mail things are more affordable than ever. Use this time to craft your message, put together your content, your offer and decide where you want to target. Learn more at USPS here – https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm
#6. Photography Technique – Now is the time to experiment with a new lighting and camera technique. It might be the use of constant lighting or making your own light diffusion source or a large reflector? Experiment with creating shadows on the wall with your background light as an interesting touch on an old background. Go scout new on-location backgrounds, etc. You can also get some great free education online and experts like Joel Grimes offer tremendous photography education. Check him out here at – https://www.joelgrimes.com
#7. Photoshop Techniques – Regardless if you are a newbie or experienced, there’s always something to learn or try. Maybe it’s a Photoshop action or a new texture to blend or an unusual graphic look you want to try. It’s a great time to work thru these ideas. There are some great free Youtube tutorials but if you want someone who takes it to the next level is Woody Walters. You can find more information on Woody’s education here: https://woodywaltersdigitalphotocandy.com
#8. Workflow – Have you struggled with creating a workflow to manage your image files? Determining the right procedure that saves you time is important. Perhaps a new batch action in Photoshop is in order? Do you use Lightroom? Or maybe you have it but haven’t learned to use it? There’s a lot you can learn in a short time! Here’s a link to learn more – https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-
#9. Camera room improvements – Sometimes your camera room just needs a little reorganizing or remodeling. It’s amazing how a little change can spark your creativity. Get some hangers up on the wall to get those chairs off the floor. Get a background rail hooked up to get all those muslins off the floor for faster use and fewer wrinkles. Get some cubby boxes or drawers installed for better organization.
#10. Studio Facility – Take some candid of your facility starting with the outside of your location and all areas your customer sees. Does it look neat, tidy and professional? Or are there obvious things that need to be cleaned up, repainted or reorganized? Chipped walls or chairs that are starting to look a little too worn can affect your customer’s perception of you. Wires that need to be bundled and hidden will help minimize the look of over technology. Be critical of what you see because your customer is.
#11. Deep Clean – From this point forward cleanliness is going to be a common conversation and message to customers. What will do and promote that going forward?
#12. Stay in Contact – Contact your customers on a regular basis. Email blasts and newsletters are more apt to be seen and read now more than ever. Interview other vendors and post that to your blog page to add variety and interest to attract potential new customers thanks to that new connection. Consider a printed newsletter as direct mail provides maximum exposure. And you only need to send it to your client base so it’s affordable to do.
For nine more great ideas click on the thumbnail below.
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.