Business, Branding, and Marketing Q&A Part 2
Someone who's starting out of a small business or their own photography business what advice can you offer in using social media to market themselves to put the brand out there? You have to put out quality work you you put it out how many times have I seen and this comes back to that asking for lights I see that people are like I need seven more likes to get to one hundred fifty come on guys don't beg for it I rather have people that want to see I rather have one hundred people that want to see what I have than a thousand people who don't care you know what I mean? So the way that you can build your social profile online is you can start putting quality work out their quality work spreads you have to put it you have to put yourself out there to be successful if never put it out there it doesn't make it very easy to be successful. What I would do is pinterest is strong I don't fully understand it, but if people start pinning your stuff and spreading it out because it's extremely unique ...
I'll use a guy like benjamin von wang for example he does extremely unique photo shoots that are a lot different than a lot of people they're extremely technical and people love seeing what he does that stuff just spreads out into the world because it's unique so you put your stuff out there, it's going to start with your friends, you share it. I think the best way to build your social profile online is you can give people photos that you've taken of them and allow them to share it and tag you if there is no secret to being successful. It's putting out that quality product and letting people spread the word for you. So if that means going and photographing for free a friend, that hasn't they have a here's, for example, people have animals, they have dogs, set up a stink and dog shoot at the park, go work for a local pause organization. Who? Sorry, I said organization, I know you're from canada, I also borrowed that, too, I say organization. So here is you may not be in the animals or dogs, or whatever a local paul's organization has has had so many adoption drives, so when they have an adoption drive, maybe set up to do photos of those dogs, or have people bring back dogs that were going to put that down there before you get yelled at that that had that were adopted in the past, their list, thousands of dogs offer a free photo shoot to anybody that brings it what they get is a photo you don't have to print anything so louise you're not spending money it's your time you're not putting out an expense to make a print to give them but you're going to get a big return on this because you're giving them a file that you you put it on the facebook in a group and then the pause people they could put it up there you to say everything feel free to share it this is a time where a watermark maybe okay, you put it in the bottom corner but you also make sure that people tag you in it you get all their information, you could get their email so that you email to them but everybody that a lot of people out there families, people have families, you photograph their dog, you did a portrait of that and then the holidays come around you like, oh, they could be like I'll remember that dog portrait I loved it, maybe they could do the same thing for a family shoot for us then then they're going to reach out to you. So you're putting yourself it's not just doing it online it's getting into the real world and still translating that online to make to building a following I started with zero youtube followers and right now it's at three hundred and twenty six thousand or something I haven't checked today but I started with zero, so I started where everybody else was that I came along in a time when there are already people being successful there there's room for everybody it's challenging not everybody is going to make it and not everybody is going to be successful but there are ways to be successful the cream rises to the top did that answer that I'm gonna take another couple of then I'll come right back we've got brian henson who says what type of insurance should a photographer get and what would be the minimum amount and then apparently froze? Dad says, what kind of paperwork do you need so you won't get sued if you have a bad photo shoot or if somebody doesn't like the photos it's probably not my dad probably not because he's not I don't think he would have been in the room maybe, but now he probably one of the first things first insurance is extremely important. I think a marine midland policy is one of those it's what I have on what that means is that I'm covered here and abroad and wherever I go, if it drops in water if it gets stolen if it breaks but not from where or tear a lot of people will have homeowners insurance, I think you should get a separate policy because sometimes the deductibles are astronomical on homeowners insurance and they may not cover everything that you need to be covered as a photographer if you go in, you shoot a wedding and somebody trips over your bag ensues. You do you have liability to cover yourself for that? Did somebody not taped down the light standard way it down, and it fell and hit somebody on the head? I think I have three million dollars liability, which is great when I hit somebody with a mano pod because I have the liability and it's not that I think I may spend five or six hundred dollars a year to have three million dollars a liability, plus maybe thirty or so thousand dollars in coverage, and that covers whatever gear I have that's going to cover the laptop that's going to cover the camera here? That means if, if something happened, I don't really fret my gear being broken that much anymore or stolen, because it's one thing I don't want to worry about insurance sucks because you have to pay for it. But is that one? If thing? What if something does break where I drop it in the water or I'm honest where somebody steals and they break into my car? And by the way, one thing if you have a photo business, I'm not a big fan of advertising it on your car. Basically I think that saying steel may I have a lot of gear in the back of my car and I got into a big fight at the camera store with a guy like this because I went back on the twitter I said don't do this and the guy fought back with me via twitter dumb thing to do on dh trying to tell me how wrong I was and I'm just making a point that if you advertise that you're a camera store on your car or camera your photographer it kind of is saying I may have gear in here that's expensive so marie I have a marine midland policy it's done through travelers the umbrella company they don't make umbrellas but that's how I remembered them and and my deductible was it's like five hundred bucks on thirty thousand dollars of gear goes up in smoke it's covered because homeowners may only cover upto two thousand dollars worth of gear and the second one was something about contracts yeah, just how do you protect yourself in case somebody just doesn't like your photos? I don't think you can protect yourself in case they don't like your photos. I mean if your photo there's there's people that have unrealistic expectations of things you have verbal agreement, a lot of the things that I've done with the with the more successful entrepreneurs in the world that I've worked with have been verbal agreements we hand shakes and no yes, you need to protect yourself in many ways with these people with a lot of these these these are high end guys it's like do your thing I'm going to give you x amount of dollars and what do you think? Make sure you have the e mails that say what you're going to do so how you protect yourself from these these clients with unrealistic expectations as you make sure that there is some written information that says I am going to deliver you x y and z this is what I am doing this is what you pay me and here are what the delivery deliver bubbles are going to be excuse me if you totally royally mess up I mean really you're not on the hook if you take a bad picture of you in the contract and say I'm not responsible if x y or z happens you hope nothing goes wrong but there are things that are out of your control they can sue you, they could take you to judge what boehner's court you won't get that reference and it's just and it's just one of judge judy judge joe brown good, so it's a hard one to say because you could have these legalese and if you're in, if you like lawyers they like charging you a lot of money to come up with b s it's a hard one I tried I tried to just set the expectations make sure they know what the expectations are but if you mess up if it's your thing you have to do whatever it takes to make it right that means giving the money back that means going back and doing something again if they're not happy for unrealistic reasons they're going to be unhappy with everything that you deliver them you just say I'm sorry that's how it's going to be that's if you want to do that you say what could I do to make you happy about that one what could I do to make you happy is something that goes a long way because it's like oh well they may say something simply know it would you mind throwing me in an extra couple eight by ten's that would be cool okay I just made the a pain in the ass customer happy by asking them what could I do to make you happy always asked that question if if there's an issue and it goes a long way and just in the vein of protecting yourself just disclaimer guys laws of what are required for businesses we'll change from state to state will change from country to country we have people around the world so make sure when you're setting up your business to check and check with a lawyer and find out because I think these are all obviously awesome suggestions on great like things to keep in mind but again some places require you to have a certain amount or type of insurance if you're going to do business it just check check with your local just to be sure I just had a question on copyright like obviously we take the images we all images you on yours do you go ahead and like I think there's something where you can upload them and pay like a fee and zip you know, images do that regularly oh, is that so they tell us in school they're like it's exploded all just not expensive it's like thirty bucks or something. Okay, so maybe there is a little feet you can register your stuff with the u s trademark office or whatever I'm not fully educated in everything in copyright law that's not my expertise to protect yourself. I have the meta data make sure I say copyright in the images just in case something does happen I would hope here here's something to adobe for one day. I really think that somebody needs to make a plug in whether it's, adobe or a third party that will automatically take from your light room every single image that you take aggregate that down into a smaller file that's what the what the government would would require and automatically ship it out to them I would pay money for that app I would pay money for that app maybe I should have not said that and just build it myself, but but seriously adobe if they build that in there you want copyright protection, build it in, pay the money, get that stuff uploaded so you can submit the images. I'm honestly never done it ask you next cd that answers that ok, a quick follow up from jen, iowa girl who says that it's an inland marine policy for the equipment there an agent marine, you said midland and said I said a marine and yeah, so it's inland of marine policy, so I said it backwards. Thank you for clarifying appreciate that always good to have just call my broker and they take care of it. Yes, one from wait, hold on, I got it with insurance try to deal with reputable companies. It makes your life a lot easier when you deal. Yes, it may be a little more expensive to deal with a better company, but the hassle I had, we had a laptop stolen from a car once and you filed the report. They come out and interview you like you're some kind of criminal, but they just want to make sure that you're not doing insurance fraud, which definitely was not the case because I don't mess with karma like that on and they were able to replace it plus pay for the time that it cost to reinstall the applications and everything onto the onto the laptop it ended up being it was it was very nice tohave yes, my deductible went up slightly but it really saves my took us toe have the ability to like that one, but I think you like took this exactly it just saved my butt toe have it so spending money on a quality insurance plan is better than going with joe schmoes insurance dot com austin thompson how do you approach strangers if you like the way they look to schedule a photo two high stranger would you like me to do a photo shoot that was beautiful? I've never gone up to a stranger to to arrange a photo shoot now if they mean you will be easy someone walking down the street you know you know what? You have a really cool look and I would like to take pictures of you exactly what you said it's just confidence you just walk up and you ask for the sale you ask hey may seem it this may seem weird I'm a photographer, I'm doing a photo story on x would you be interested always ask the question what's the worst they're going to say no that is that is how I've gotten so many things in life is I've just asked things that you would never expect you would get me but because you asked, you've gotten within reason and I would even expand like I think one of things for me that I've found to be much more a comfortable myself and it actually has increased results is being personally okay with the know and when you really are just like hey, would you like to I don't mind if you don't and it's and it's clear in your demeanor in your comfort in your confidence that it's ok if they say no, people are more likely to say yes we'll take yeah, yeah give him a reason to say yes just say yes just look at brandon brennan stanton, right humans of new york every single day he's walking up to strangers and not only taking their picture but getting a personal story from them which is fantastic to read I love following the stories it's it's incredible it's just so emotional what he's capturing and I'm sure he's gotten knows, but now people know who the hell he is and he gets a lot of yeses. Well, I saw him on a chase travis life and he said that he he doesn't get very many knows he does get the occasional no but it's really rare he's very confident in the way that he does it to you and he's very respectful and just yeah just alright one mohr let's see austin thompson again is it beneficial to intern or assist and established photographer when you're starting out? I think that's one of the most beneficial things you can do and it's one of the biggest mistakes I've ever had is by not doing that when I was younger I think if somebody is going to take you under their wing and teach you for free it's worth it especially if you're not then there's always that go to school or don't go to school question but if you can learn from the source you'd better it's almost like you should pay the photographer to let you in turn it's cheaper than going to school on you're going to get a better education plus what happens is if you intern for somebody or and you do a great job you may end up being a full time or a lot of people like to use interns and reuse new ones and stuff like that but that's that's on them but a lot of times you you may see that they may not be able to do a photo shoot and if they like the quality that you do they may send you out to go do it and threw that you start getting new connections that you may never have had before so I think it's extremely important anymore here in the room another one do you think it's do you think it's a good idea to mention that uh for tar for that you're a low light photographer or that someone is it something that people don't care enough I don't think they care about all they care about is that they're getting the image I think you're trying to say do you pigeonhole yourself by by saying that I am a low light photographer or I'm a portrait photographer I'm a photographer alright preface that with the f word before but I'm a photographer that own it that's what you are if they asked what you specialize in then have an answer try not to be specializing in seventeen things says if you specialize in seven well if you say that you do seventeen things you specialize in nothing if you do two or three maybe that's about it you know oh I'm a photojournalist I spent a lot of time in low light situations but I captured the moment I'll be I think I'll be able to capture you pretty well all I do is I put you in that situation and I start capturing those images and I think you're going to like him a lot so if you need something, let me know one from melissa barnett how in the world can anyone afford to jump in with full frame and high end glass in the beginning did you save and by as you went along or dive in the debt to buy everything and pay it off over time that's not a good thing to have in any situation when I first started I saved up my money and I bought all the gear I've ever had and I also bought when I first of my first nikon film camera was an icon and ninety s which is now on the back of my door by the way, as my people if anybody has seen that video um that was maybe nine hundred bucks at the time the first lens I ever bought that was a pro lens was eighty to two hundred two eight I spent nine hundred bucks as a fourteen year old I saved up my bar mitzvah too so I had some money it doesn't hurt to be jewish when you have a bar mitzvah but no I worked hard and everything I had I bought it and the thing is when you buy quality gear you can then sell it and trey were traded up to the next version and not have to spend too much money people go how do you afford did by the d for us when you just bought a d for two years ago? Well it's simple I do work hard and I do make money off the camera but I see I personally sell the d I sold the d for the day I picked up my d for us I may be lost fifteen hundred dollars on it in the two years because I sold it at the highest value point which is right when the new one gets announced and so it cost me fifteen hundred dollars in theory to rent that thing for two years but also make me a lot of money I don't think you need to go into debt I think if you start you pick up a camera body doesn't need to be full frame cannon makes good stuff nikon makes good stuff I'm not going to say to buy a sony or a pen text just for the lens purposes and going full frame sony does have it but they don't have a lot of options for lenses nikon and can and have their lenses for option for lenses I don't care which one you shoot there's no you shouldn't get into this fighting war that night cons better than cannon and cannons bear the nikon they both make each other better if we didn't have one we wouldn't have the somebody else making the other one better I think if you're just starting out you have ah couple of bucks to spend you get a body that you can get and then you invest in quality glass it's glass glass glass glass glasses my bobblehead says you want to make sure that you invest in that because that's going to hold its value time and time again so the time to upgrade is another question that people ask when do you know it's time to upgrade to something else? The time you upgrade is when you're gear is holding you back when it's limiting you to get the job done that you have jobs and you're getting paid and it's hurting your ability to do the job. That's when you invest in something else, I don't think you go into debt. I think you work, you pick a piece at a time and as you make more money, you invested into your kit, but I don't suggest going into debt until you you know, ever ever one from alexa, assuming you have the camera and lenses you need what's the best thing you could invest two thousand dollars into when first starting a photography business. It's glass don't spend money just to spend assuming you've got to get assume you've got the camera, you've got the lenses that you need. Do you think I don't spend the money? Saved the money? I did? I don't think there's something that you need to just spend your money on you have the gear, go get the job. I don't think you need to spend extra money just to spend more money that makes sense to us. Is there something you were you were hoping I would say there no, that was that was great. I love that responsible. All right, I like I think a lot of people do have this feeling that there are a lot of things they should be doing at a certain point. Like gary fung pieces of crap. Gary fong is an incredible business person and has made millions of dollars selling a product which I love business. And I love marketing. You would not catch me dead with the tupperware can on top of my flash when I did it. It's it's it's a crutch it's like a bowling it's like a bowling wrist elbow. I don't think a refund watches this stuff is very fun going to be on here ever. Probably not because he's like ron pope hell, but you know, it's a crutch. People think they need to spend money on extra stuff just to spend money to make them better. It's, not the case. I don't think there's accessories out there that make you a better photographer. You make yourself a better photographer there's things that you may need your camera bags, but that's that's not something that you need to spend two thousand dollars on business licensing, anything you recommend or you license yourself, how did you go about that? That kind of thing uh, do you need a business license for stuff? I guess it depends on the city's insurance on the shoulder there was I sent three hundred bucks to the city of philadelphia has to have a business in the city I think you need to do that and then they sent it back and said we no longer take your money for that. So I think it all depends on where you're at, ok? I can't understand this business license to be a photographer paying them being I just don't I don't get it but that's not for me to question earns whatever that statement is that my dad always says mine is not to reason why mine is just to do or die that's the one of them like, you know, so the business license is that the city can make money basically. Okay, I get how about a business entity unlike an llc? Yes, yes, oh, so good question and you could be a sole proprietor when you first start out there's no reason to start spending money on extra things. What you do is when you get into those llc ease or whatever your accountant suggests or whatever you find is the best for you is that give you protection as a business, not personally, so they can't come after you personally, they can go after your business but they're not going after your personal stuff like you bought a house you bought a car if you get sued for your business they're not touching your other stuff so that's a good question, but I was a sole proprietor for a long time until the account said you make too much money you should protect yourself this way and that was for being doing weddings you should protect yourself as an llc or something along those lines and check your areas for what the best thing is to be junior why do you recommend photographers register their photos? Is that needed? Well, we asked that question earlier so I don't think it's required much as could college. How do you talk to a client who thinks that he or she knows it all and tries to control or dominate your knowledge of the conversation that you're having during the shoot? Sometimes you have to put people in their place you just have to feel it out if they're just breathing all over your shoulder you just tell him to back off you say look, I will get you what you need also give you what you want please back off I need to do this, sometimes you're going to have to be forceful, you have to that that you feel out in every situation you may gain somebody's respect by telling them to sit down and shut up mike mcwhorter how do you think a hobbyist such as myself should react to accusations that weah's hobbyists are taking money from the table of professionals tell the professionals to go pound sand that's my way of ah of not cursing look if a professional is going to be scared of anybody then they're not secure in the work that they do this has been going on for generations of cameras from eighteen fifty wet plate photography and coming up to today there's always been advances there's always been amateurs yes there's more people picking up cameras today and there's more competition out there but just do a good job worry about yourself and don't worry and it screw the professionals that sit there and worry I'm sitting here giving so much information away in the same thing if I could set up my camera right now and hands it to somebody on the street it could have the perfect settings that could tell them how to frame and I could tell them how to use it they could take a picture and they're not going to get the same result that I'm going to get they're not going to get the same result that you're going to get you are unique in how you take photos blah blah blah blah blah this is a funny one toe ask throw knows photo shock click click yes says I chose a not normal name for my photo and retouching business called shock click click yeah because I think regular your name photography is boring but my girlfriend says it just doesn't look and sound professional to have an irregular name what do you think thrown knows photo I've this has gone many different ways I had a business they started out of out of college with a friend to say what it was called double expressions dio u b l e e x p r g stupid is what it was called why come up with something so hard for somebody to remember that they can't spell they can't find your web address they can't do that shoot shoot click click yet is like what's that ban hell yeah what I don't know whatever that band was called clap your hands and say yeah that's not bad that's pretty unique my buddy gizzi gonzo tool that's his real name he changed it legally to gizzi his wet his photo business called gizzi style I remembered that was funny it was gizzi style and and it's right you know photos by bob may have worked in the eighties photos by dead worked in that movie right because it was photos by deb you didn't see that movie did you but movies that called again napoleon napoleon dynamite that's right? Ok yes but I think you need games or good the thing to remember with unique names don't make him so obscure that nobody can spell it nobody can find you online and nobody can pronounce it so come up with something cool throw knows photo it was pretty easy to remember, but I've always just been jared poland photography so I didn't really practice what I'm preaching right now I also think it's kind of different now if you want to stand out you're going to come up with something more unique. I had a logo that was a throw but I also started photography when I was thirteen and didn't have a throw I've had shaved heads I've had mutton chops I've had leisure suits I've tried all different things to be unique and just be yourself so interesting kind of follow up to that in, mcadam says. What advice might you give a beginner as faras cultivating their taste, humility, knowledge and appreciation of the craft and perhaps pacing their advancement as far as trying to jump into marketing? He says these days a lot of kids get a rebel and quickly started fb fan page called their name photography maybe put a huge watermark through the middle of protect their full auto masterpieces. Sounds like this person has a lot of feelings pent up about this, they says they jump into branding before they learn how to shoot also the internet is filled with photographers who turned the art into a him at night to be measuring contest does he like justin timberlake from the crimea river, like stop bitching about it and go worry about yourself, be successful on your own. I don't have a problem with people jumping right in the marketing. Sometimes the crappiest photographers are the best marketers and get the big jobs because they put themselves out there and they've done a great job marketing and branding, so I don't care when they jump into it. If that's what they want to do that's what they want to do, it's, not your it's, not your concern, really, right. Would you like some cheese with that wine dell photo guy? Is it necessary to have agency representation toe work with bigger clients? I don't think I made a fan. There is agents are going to be a fantastic if you can pull one off, I don't in agency can help you get those bigger clients. They can also help you get more money because they're going to negotiate for you agents or great business business code, not business coaches, but people that help you with your business by bringing jobs in all that stuff's gravy. They're bringing you things that you wouldn't it wouldn't have had and it allows you to focus on just the shooting were going to joey l man joey l picked up representation in london he picked up all over the world for that matter they help him bring those gigs but he does a fantastic job time and time again that helps get those gigs I think I answered that I think ok last question and then I've got something else for you really quick hunter white how do you stay in love with photography and your craft when faced with the stress and demand of doing photography for money? What keeps the spark burning for you? I love creating I love music I'm on drugs just almost famous references what keeps the passion back is sitting here this morning and shooting this maxwell kid and then bringing these image to life and getting chills when the parents were sitting there going all all right it's that that drives me to keep going the reaction that people get to the images that I create that is what is what does it for me and I don't shoot that much personally anymore, but I just I actually honestly I've never shot that much personally I'd shoot when I want to shoot a shoot what I want to shoot, I get those jobs, I take those jobs, I shoot him so that that's, how I keep the spark, and when I lose the spark and I get down in the dumps, I go over to my photos photo book shelf. And I grab some photo books from other people that have been successful in the past, or maybe not successful. But just have great photos from from history. And I study that stuff, and I'm inspired every time I look at one of those books, because I look at those images, whether they're out of focus or not. But some of them are pretty good. And I said it, and I go that's, awesome and that's. What brings it back?