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PortfolioPhotographers are not the best editors of their own work. The task of choosing which images belong in your portfolio, either online or analog, is often best left to anyone but yourself.

We’ve all photographed that executive who woke up grumpy or turned a very boring office into an acceptable background for an environmental portrait. Sometimes creating a good image in spite of these challenges results in an emotional attachment to a photograph that otherwise is really not all that exciting.

That’s where a consultant can help. You send them the 40 or so images you are fond of and think will look great on your website, and because they are looking at them with fresh, objective eyes, they have no emotional attachment to them. You might hate hearing it, but they’ll be honest and will tell you “which of your children are ugly.”

Sometimes the truth is brutal… sometimes they’ll tell you to go out and create more images. But in the end your portfolio will benefit by being a more cohesive, tighter representation of your work.

[Photo by Jason Schlachet, used under Creative Commons License.]

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Guest post by Chicago Photographer Joe Pobereskin.

Joe Pobereskin

Copyright Joe Pobereskin

I had a client (now retired) who I met when I was an assistant. When I opened my own business I went to see him with my portfolio and he immediately gave me a smallish job to shoot. He came back with a few more jobs over the next year or so, then dropped off the map. I’d call every once in a while and mail him stuff on a bi-monthly basis (I was doing mass mailings six times a year), and about nine years later, after I’d mailed a reprint of my NY Gold ad (picture of a news anchor in a red suit) he called me.

“Joe,” he said, “it’s Ernie Blitzer, bet you never expected to hear from me.”

“Ernie,” I replied, “how are you? Of course I expected to hear from you, I’ve been mailing you shit for nine f*&%$#g years! What’s up?”

“Yeah, I got that thing you sent me.”

“Which one,” I asked?

“Oh… I don’t remember,” he replied, “it was something red.”

Next thing I know we’re scouting locations for two annual reports.

“Stalking” may not be the right word for it, but “persistence” does pay-off. I know it does, Ernie proved it.

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McCleary Intro

©Rick McCleary, used with permission

The following is a reply to a post on one of the photography forums I read daily. In it, Rick McCleary, a Washington DC based photographer, replies to comments and questions posted by another photographer.


Your post has been stuck in my head for a couple days because it makes me recall the exact same sentiments I felt when I was starting out – all full of myself and feeling like the world owed me something/everything. There are a couple things you need to embrace that will help you get out
of your own way:

1) This is a business, just like any other business. Nothing is given. Learn the basics. Read some business books that stress marketing. Read Seth Godin’s blog.
2) No one owes you anything.
3) Your job is to make your client’s life better. See the world from your client’s perspective. User experience, and all that.

Q: So, let me see if I got this straight: I have to be “persistent”?
RM: Yes, exactly.

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New York PhotographerA huge thank you to New York Photographer Michelle Kawka for this guest blog post:

Often times, I will get a price request for my photography services via email. Generally, the inquiry looks something like this:

I need a photographer for X photo or video project or event and it is on X day and time. Are you available? How much do you charge? Please email me back with your price.

To which my email response is generally along the lines of:

Thank you very much for contacting me regarding your photo and/or video needs. How did you hear about me ?

Before I give you a price, it is best if we have a brief phone conversation so that I might ask you a few questions and better understand your needs.

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Marketing Sales  BlogFirst, my research, with apologies to “Harper’s Index”. I collected business cards for door-prize drawings last week at my WPPI Platform Class, “Sales for People Who Hate Selling Selling” in Las Vegas.

Number of cards collected: 144

Cards having no email address: 17

Cards having no email address and no phone number, only web URL: 1

When visiting URL on card above, number of phone numbers on site: 0 (really!)

Cards written on a piece of scrap paper: 10

Number of cards with both email address and phone number: 101

Cards having no contact name: 1

Now for some advice, in no order of importance.

1. Hire a designer. We’re photographers, not designers. If you think Times is a wise choice of font, or Arial, or Courier, or Verdana, you’re mistaken.

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Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 11.35.31 AMI’ll be presenting a brand new program on selling titled, “Successful Sales Techniques for People Who Hate Selling” Thursday, at WPPI in Las Vegas on March 14th at 1:00pm. It’s a platform class in the Business/Marketing track and it’s sponsored by ASMP. I’d love to see some of you there!

Seminar description

In person, mobile, social, online—with so many sales channels and so little time, how do you do it all? Building on his contributions to The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography, professional photographer, sales expert and SEO guru, Blake Discher, shows you how to incorporate sure-fire sales techniques into every interaction. You will learn how to get your name out without cold calling, easily get referrals and testimonials and use online and social media effectively to build your business . With tips you can put into use immediately (while you are still at WPPI!) and real-world examples that result in success, you will be on your way to making more money in no time.

Photo Copyright Moyan Brenn. Used with permission under a Creative Commons license.

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Detroit People PhotographersYou receive a phone call from a prospective client asking you to “bid” on an upcoming photography project she has. It’s an opportunity to forge a new relationship with a new client and you really want the job. Here are a couple of guidelines that have served me well, resulting in me being selected as the successful “bidder”:

1. Never, ever, give a “ballpark figure” for the project; you’ll surely overlook something if you provide an estimate on the spot. It’s just impossible to quickly throw together a figure while under the pressure of “I want an estimate now.” Instead, gather information by asking open-ended questions and let your caller know you’ll get back to her quickly with the estimate.

2. Always ask your counterpart in the negotiation what her budget for the project is. In most cases, they’ll tell you they haven’t set one. That’s fine, just gather more information – perhaps share some insight about how you would handle the project and offer some suggestions to help her out. Then a bit further along in the conversation, share the following: “I have to say Mary, your project is exactly the type of shoot we do all the time and I’d love to work with you on it. Tell me, where do I need to be on this project?”

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A small chain of outdoor adventure clothing shops based in Ann Arbor, Michigan sends me emails from time to time since I am a regular customer. Today’s email was a holiday promotion but what caught my eye was a link titled, “Gifts for Ex-Lovers”.

Ex-Lovers

Like everyone, I have ex-lovers so my curiosity got me and I wanted to see what the gang at Moosejaw would suggest I give an ex. If you’re unfamiliar with the psyche of the company, one day this past summer, they were bored, took a hunk of bologna and a deli meat slicer up to the roof of their headquarters and whipped sliced bologna at passing cars and made a video of the fun! (click here, opens in new window). Suffice it to say, they’re an irreverent bunch… one reason for their success in their target demographic I’m sure.

I clicked the link and was sent to a page of the site containing 16 items that I guess they deemed appropriate for ex-lover, most of which I’d be grateful if an ex-lover sent me. A few stood out from the rest (and I’m keeping my comments to myself): a “Ruffwear Roamer Leash”, a “Black Diamond Pecker” (that’s it to the right), a “SOG Flash I Knife”, and a “Back Country Access B1 Shovel”. Hmmmmm.

In any case, I’m guessing that link in the email will get the most click-throughs of any. Think outside the box, be different, and be successful!

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