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Marketing: Networking

Lesson 8 from: Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

8. Marketing: Networking

Next Lesson: Marketing: Pricing

Lesson Info

Marketing: Networking

We're gonna talk traditional networking groups. Gross, right? Networking groups are like the desperation in everybody's face when they're there. You love them? You love them? They're great, right? Because people approach networking groups the wrong-- You can see I cut her out really badly. See that gray spot in her hair? You see the desperate look in everybody's face in networking groups. How many people go to them and they don't, they will talk about networking international and like community meetup groups and all this different stuff. People do them the wrong way and I'll tell you what I mean by that. We're gonna do charity events, networking groups and CVBs, my favorite friend in the whole world, convention and visitors bureau in every city. That's gonna be your secret weapon, guys. That's your tip that's worth the price of admission. Here I've created this really great chart just to show you what percentage of networking that is a waste of time. 99% of your networking groups are a...

waste of time because people are doing them wrong. People go into a group and they say I wanna make all these people my clients. That's not your market. Your market is gonna be their people. Great quote by Rich Stromback. He says opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They are attached to people. Every opportunity that you're gonna get to create more business for yourself and to do that for other people is gonna be attached to a human person. It's not this idea that's floating out there in the universe. There are people that are gonna make your business grow. And if you go at it with a long-term strategy that you're dealing with human people, you're gonna be more successful at networking. Let me give you some tips. No one wants to have a networking conversation. Nobody wants to have that talk. What do you do? I do this. What do you do? Oh, well give me your business card. Sometime da, da, da, ba, ba, ba. We hate that crap and it's not authentic. People are dying for authenticity. They're thirsty for it. They're crazy for it. They want a connection. They want something real. Put yourself in the middle of a situation with other real human beings that are trying to do business and go with it. Have a conversation like a real human person would. Ask them about their kids. Ask them about their car. Ask them about their dog. Ask them about their house. Tell them about your kids, your dog, your car and your house. Don't talk about business at networking meetings. You will find that you will be the most popular person in the whole room because you're connecting with a human person instead of looking at that person as a meal ticket. You don't want that person's business. You want the business of everyone that they know. Does that make sense? You have to create opportunities for other people before you have opportunities for yourself. So go into a networking and into those situations with the idea that you are gonna be the one that's gonna solve problems and create opportunities for them and you will be the one that's getting the most out of it, I promise you. You gotta do it completely backwards. You have to think in long-term, you're creating relationships to do business, not trying to make a quick buck off of the other people in the room. You have to think in terms of circles. You want your circle and your circle and your circle and your circle of people to expand into ultimately a larger version of your own circle. Does that make sense? Charity events are the next thing that we need to go over. This is very, very powerful. This is another form of a networking group. We have had tremendous success creating buzz for our business and bringing new people that we've never seen before by doing what we should do and giving to charity, to do things without any direct monetary reward. That being said, since I am a sneaky money grubber, I will also use charity events to create and grow my network for my business. Look, we should all be growing our businesses and making money and we should all be helping people who can't help themselves, helping our communities, being involved. Why can't those two things come together and why would you ever have to feel dirty about that? You shouldn't, because you're using what you already do to help other people. What I'm not gonna do, is I am not gonna go down and I am not gonna run a 5K for anybody. I will do a couch marathon for someone, but I will not run a 5K. What I will do is I will use what I do, what I'm good at, to help my community and it will fit into my life. I'm helping people. Eventually we grow our businesses and that's all a very a good thing. Let me tell you how we do our charity events. One, pick a charity. It's not a bad idea to use something local. The most important thing here is, for me, pick something that matters to you. Pick something that you're passionate about. If you're a cancer survivor, there are great charities for cancer. If you are dealing with diabetes, you could do the diabetes foundation. If you are passionate about the disabled, you could work with the advocate for the rights of the challenge. Find something that you're genuinely passionate about where you can help. I find that if you just pick a random thing that you don't really care about, I think that you're not gonna necessarily work as hard. But pick a charity and preferably one that has some kind of presence in your community because it's more genuine to the people in your community if that charity also has an affect there. But that's how I would do it, but pick whatever charity you want. Two, pair with another business. If you are a photographer and you have a client, maybe somebody in one of your networking groups, that owns a real estate office. Why wouldn't you say, I'm gonna get together with Bob Smith real estate and we're gonna put on an event together where we're going to do head shots for people or we're gonna create professional portraits of branding images and everybody will get one in the file or whatever you wanna give 'em and it's 25 bucks and all of the money will go to this charity. And why do you pair with another business? 'Cause you can cross promote your circle with their circle and you will expand both of your circles. If you do just a charity event for your people, all you're gonna see are your people. If you promote with another complimentary business, you're gonna see people you've never seen before and so will they. In fact, when we do charity events, I prefer not even to do them at my studio. I prefer to do them at somebody else's place of business or a third location in a community. Now this gives you not only doubles or triples or quadruples your marketing power or your ability to reach out to new people, but it also is going to make the event more effective and raise more money to help more people. Why isn't that a great idea? It is, thank you, you're welcomed. Offer a tremendous value. I think that people feel really good about giving, but they feel better about giving when they get something. You ever give blood for movie tickets? Guilty. Right, like it happens. But like it's okay to give them something. We do an event, we call it head shots for charity. And what we do with head shots for charity, the last one we did in Atlanta and we paired with a taping service. This is a new type of business. Most auditions for your actors go on tape now instead of actually going into the audition. You send in your tape and then you get a callback to go in front of them in person. Taping services are these facilities where you go into a room and you read your lines. So we have some clients of ours that started a taping service in Atlanta. We went up, we held the whole event at their office. I think we had about 75 people come out and we did it for Operation Smile, something that I'm very passionate about. And so we raised enough money, I think, I don't remember, to fix like 10 kids' smiles, 10 surgeries for kids. And so it was a really cool thing and people know and recognize Operation Smile. It's conducive to photography and it is also paired with a complimentary business. So we got a ton of people involved in it. And it ended up being really successful. But we gave it for $25 you got a head shot and all the money goes to charity. And the next time we went back to Atlanta where some of our clients are and scheduled a day of shooting and we booked it up like that, mostly people from that event. That's where it can pay you back. Getting out there in the community, growing your circles and being charitable. So you wanna give smart. You don't necessarily wanna just give away because here's the truth, if you're not financially viable and successful, you're not gonna have the ability to bless anyone else with your success. The more successful you are, the more you're able to bless others with that success. So if you don't have nothin', you can't give nothin'. If you have a lot, you can give a lot. So don't feel bad about using charity events and marketing and making money doing this thing because the more money you make, the bigger your business grows, the more you can give back. Don't do it just because, but see them as complimentary things. Becoming more successful, so that you can be more of a blessing to people who need it. Does that make sense to everybody? That cool? So I want you to give smart. Giving away that doesn't hurt your business, because if your business goes and you don't have any money, you're not gonna be able to help anybody anymore. Let's talk about my secret weapon. This is new for me. Towns often have cities, especially Seattle, Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlanta, New York, Raleigh everywhere. Raleigh as they call it. Convention visitors bureau. This is a type of establishment that most of these big cities will have to deal with conventions and businesses that come to the area to do their events and conventions. So if you have a company and you wanna have a convention in Las Vegas, you could easily contact them and they will tell you all the best places and they will give you a list of vendors that you could hire locally and they will help you bring your event to the city. Convention business is billions of dollars and I get lots of money that I get paid to go and do these types of events where I create professional portraits in addition to offering the event coverage. So let's look at that. It's a great way to get out of town business and I guarantee you that most of the people in your area are not doing this. They're not looking for work this way, people that come from out of town. And if they like you, they'll have an event in another city the next time and they might fly you out there. It happens to me sometimes. Pair with event photography. If you don't like to shoot event photography, which I do not, I usually will hire other photographers to do it with me and I will do the portraits and they will do the event. But if it's something that you can offer, doing head shots and professional portraits at events, it's huge right now. A lot of companies are offering that to their attendees so it's a very popular thing and it's really cool upsell. But if you pair it with the event photography, then they have only one vendor to deal with and it makes you more attractive. It creates terrific return business, as they will come back to you. And it is just a fantastic way to add a whole nother stream of income that other photographers in your area might not be doing.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ten Tips for Professional Portraits
SEO Workbook
Posing Guide
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Gary is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Richard Blenkinsopp

I love Gary's straight teaching style, and appreciate him demonstrating with regular people, not models. This is the real life of a regular photographer! I wish Creative Live could show more from the photographers viewpoint, so that when he's posing and moving lights etc, we see exactly what he's changing, and can analyze why... not sure how they'd achieve this in a live environment though. Loved his going around to less than ideal locations and finding the place that works. My favourite course on Creative Live so far.


Gary makes taking editorial portraits look simple and fun. I want to start shooting heads! I love Creative live and Gary is really doing a great job. I got to buy the class next. Thank you.

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