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How to Stay Focused in Your Photography Business

By shootzilla | Efficiency & Workflow

focus for photographers

What was I doing again?

If you are like most photographers, you can relate to the feeling of wanting someone to tell you exactly what to do next. The minute you finish a task you want to get on with the next one, but lots of urgent (and not so urgent) work is screaming to you to get done, and suddenly you feel paralyzed and thoughts start to crowd your brain (and your judgment):

- "What is the most important thing right now?"
- "can I leave that client waiting for a little longer in favor of some marketing tasks?
- "did I already reply to that lead?"
- "I need to focus on the tasks that move the needle!"
- "self-care is important too, I haven't been outside today yet, or lunched, or pied..."
- "Okay, this is taking way too long, I need a strategy, so I don't have to think about these things so hard, let's Google 'photography business strategy'."

LOL, sounds familiar? Or is it just me?

The Problem:

Having many responsibilities in your business, with each generating reactive and proactive tasks it can be hard to focus on the things that you want to get done.

The Solution:

Knowing your priorities and prioritizing your tasks WILL give you focus, so you can stop thinking about what to do and just start executing. Luckily, prioritizing is a skill that can be learned!

How to start with prioritizing


I like the basic principle of the Eisenhower matrix to prioritize tasks.

The Eisenhower matrix divides tasks and responsibilities into four groups, see image. 

You can see that the tasks that you want to focus on are the tasks in the sections 1 and 2. 

Prioritize photography tasks

for example:

Contribute a lot

  • Delivering photos to your client > This is important and urgent and absolutely contributes to the growth of your business. Happy customers (pictures in excellent quality and delivery in time) means revenue and referrals.
  • Automations > Contributes to the growth of your business. This will generate more time for you, will deliver better processes with fewer errors,
  • Sales & Marketing > Contributes to the growth of your business, will help grow your revenue.

Do not contribute

  • Perfection > Making things look perfect, for example spending 4 hours on editing a portrait shoot of 30 photos or spending a day on writing a blog post for that shoot, is not contributing to your growth. Whenever you go into perfection, think about the 80-20 rule from Pareto. 20% of the effort generates 80% of the result. Customers usually don't see the difference between your 80% and your 100%. 

Stay critical of your tasks:

However, you always want to be critical of your tasks. Sales & Marketing is a big category, but within that category, different tasks will have different contributions to the growth of your company.
Thinking of a witty social media caption to go with your photos will probably contribute less to your growth than going to a networking event or doing a Facebook live where you can connect with your audience in real-time. 
Same goes for automation. If you are still scrambling for bookings, you don't need to focus your time on automating your business, you want to spend 90% of your time in sales and marketing.

Create a list and start prioritizing

When you are clear on how to judge your tasks, you can do (1) /plan (2) /outsource (3) or eliminate (4) them.

First, you need an overview of all your commitments/ responsibilities and tasks.

Then you need to add the tasks that you know will make your business grow.

It can be a lot of work, but you will feel so glad when you have finished it!

Now based on the Eisenhower matrix, give them the right number 1, 2, 3. or 4..
For each number, based on how much they contribute to your business, put them in the right order.

That is just so super important!

Because having priorities is what will get you out of overthinking, out of chaos, and out of indecision. Isn't that miraculous?

“At the end of the day, you can't control the results. You can only control your effort level and your focus.” - Ben Zobrist

Start planning your nr. 1 & 2 tasks

Now that you have a clear order, plan 3 tasks per day. Shoots that need to get processed and customers that need contracts or other things are also tasks that you plan. It could be as simple as one big task 'respond to emails and follow up with ShootZilla work' per day.

ShootZilla is a photography business management tool that tells you each day what your clients need, based on your pre-defined workflows. 

When you are done with your big three of the day, you can reward yourself with more tasks!

Or choose a task from a different category that is less important for now but that is just so fun to work at (like spending time in photographer groups on Facebook or updating your website). 

My thoughts


This approach will for sure take a bit of time when you start to work with it, but... everything that is worth it, takes a bit of effort. Don't let this small hurdle discourage you! Give it a chance and commit to prioritizing your list and keeping it up to date for at least a month. You will love it when you see how much you have accomplished for your business in that month!

You will see your speed of handling tasks and prioritizing them increase in a few days.

I know it's fun on social media. But let's not fool ourselves. Customers don't come falling from the sky and if they do, it's usually because we put in work to create some kick ass referrals, SE ranking or badass funnels prior to that. If we are not taking our company seriously, why would a customer take us seriously?

Don't think I am promoting the hustle and grind of working continuously on your business. Far from it. I know and feel that working hard can feel like play. I also know that having a certain mindset can keep you from working on the right things. Been there, done that.

You can deceive yourself by thinking, this feels uncomfortable so it's probably not meant for me. This is not my purpose, or this is not aligned with me.

What you want to do is train your mindset just like you train your muscles when working out. You can train your brain to crave working on the right things in your business. To get yourself out there. To do things for the first time. To figure out your books and numbers. It's all a game and you can learn to love it.

Also, my final disclaimer, I work hard on this, like many others. I have become more and more productive in my business without pushing and without hustling and grinding. I am prioritizing the right things more and more and my mantra is that work feels light, fun and like play. And that I grow every day.

Train your mind, rule your business.

Have fun working on your business this way. Let me know what you thought of this article in the comments below!

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Surprise (& book) your clients with this cool trick

By shootzilla | Grow your business

Do you hate responding to inquiries, knowing that only one in many will actually book you?

Are you wondering how on earth you can get price shoppers to consider raising their budget for you if all they want is your price list?

You will love this tip that can improve on both of these issues.

Basically, getting in front of a camera can be super scary for people.

And they have no idea who to book and how to determine who is a good fit for them. So they might just go with the requirements they DO know, which is the price.

They probably also have the requirement that they want to be comfortable in front of the camera and around the photographer, but they DON’T KNOW yet that they value that.

Since they never booked a photographer before.

So with this simple trick, you can help bridge that value gap easily and effortlessly.

When you get an inquiry, you simply answer like you always do, with all the right elements of a convincing response to an inquiry email.

Related: Sign up for ShootZilla to have immediate access to those inquiry answer emails.

But you don’t stop there!

You click on the button of your browser and shoot a quick webcam video. I’m going to share a super easy tool with you below that makes that happen, it’s called useloom.

You only show your face or you show your face in front of some portfolio images that match their request.

For example: If they were inquiring about a family shoot, you can pull up some amazing family shoot images on your screen and reference them in your video.

What do you say?

Be Authentic

It’s not super important what you say as it is to be YOU. Be authentic like you are with clients that you shake hands with, or even better like you are with clients that you already did a shoot with.

This way they see your personality and can easily see that they will feel comfortable with you. Now this has become a requirement for them and you will have won their trust in that sense.

Next, you can also talk about why you are at a higher price point so they also suddenly have extra values to consider in their buying process. Basically a short version of what you would say when you would meet or talk someone in order to book them.

Last but not least, seeing you record a video of yourself as a response to their inquiry will make them feel super valued and special. It really shows that you went above and beyond and that you will do the same for their images.

If this trick sounds fun to you (it really is!), make sure to add a task to your workflow to record a video and paste it in your reply. Your first video might take 30 minutes, but after doing a few you will get quicker and in flow with this and it will take you just a few minutes to get your message across.

If you have never used a workflow before, download the handy workflow chart template below. It can be customized with your own tasks:

A quick introduction on how to record a video when you have installed the browser extension from useloom.

When you are ready to record your video, press the useloom button.

You choose if you want to record your screen and your face or only your face. Keep the screen limited to the Current Tab of your browser, or select Full Desktop if you want to share images from your Lightroom or Photomechanic screen.

In the bottom right corner you see a preview of your webcam screen. When you mouse over the video you can select how big you want your webcam video to be. You can also drag that webcam circle around on your full screen.

After that is all set, you can hit record!

When you finish the recording you get to the useloom screen where you can quickly copy the link with the blue button. And that’s it! If you want to see what it will look like for your clients, click the link below to see the above video that I created.

And this is what it will look like for your clients:

https://www.useloom.com/share/de6e2bbca90447cea3b77a257d039722

Have questions, comments? Drop me a line below!

 

3 Clever Tips to Bring Your Productivity to the Next Level

By shootzilla | Grow your business

You have your goals and you know you want to grow your business, but you’re procrastinating every day and at the end of the week, you have little of your planned actions done.

Sounds familiar?

Sooner or later, you will realize that growing your business starts with setting goals and planning the actions to realize them.

However, if you fail to do the actions that can lead to the accomplishments of your goals, you are working a broken strategy. You might be suffering from hardly any time management.

So brace yourself, here is your time management doctor!

Not long ago my weeks were very similar to what I described above. Luckily, everything can be learned. And when you finish reading this article I am sure you will find that you can do it too!

  1. Time spending

Yes, we are going to start with being honest on how you spend your time. I want you to keep a record of every minute during your day. Simply create a spreadsheet and write down every thirty minutes what you did. Or use an app for it, I use Tyme for example. Just do it for a few days, minimum 3, and you will get a good idea of how you spend your time.

Find the Time Leaks

  1.  Find the time leaks

Now that you know how you spend your time, see if you can make it more effective or efficient. For example, you wrote down 7 hours for editing a family shoot with 300 images. Could you do it faster? Is this the normal amount of time you spend on such a task? Where you distracted a lot during that task?

Also look at the time that you didn’t spend on anything productive. Maybe you were on Facebook or Instagram or you were spending 2 hours with your emails. Ask yourself, were you procrastinating for some other task you had to do? Maybe you didn’t know exactly how to do the other task? Maybe you were distracting yourself with social media instead of figuring it out or chop it up into smaller tasks?

I have found that it can be paralyzing if you write down tasks that are actually big projects, like ‘new website’. In that case, it helps immensely to chunk the project down into smaller tasks. Make a list of all the smaller tasks that together create that full project, like: selecting new portfolio material from your recent photoshoots, creating your brand style guide, creating the page structure, writing texts for the pages, selecting a website theme or creating a brief for a custom design and so forth.

  1. Create workflows for repetitive tasks

When you have certain repetitive tasks that you do every day or every week, create workflows for them. This way you can outsource parts or maybe even whole workflows to an assistant.

Typical recurring tasks for photographers are:

  • Creating contracts
  • Communication with your clients
  • Sharing on Social Media
  • Billing and Bookkeeping
  • Blogging
  • Album creation
  • Post-production
  • Sales sessions

All of these can be partly or fully outsourced. Especially if you dread doing some tasks this can be something that can get your photography business from stuck in a rut to growing and scaling again.

Having a workflow is also super useful when you are working alone. Knowing exactly at which step of the workflow you left your desk because someone called you is such a peace of mind for your brain. You get back at your desk and you can pick up right where you left off, without having to think about it first (and getting distracted in the process of getting back to work).

If you have never used a workflow before, download the handy workflow chart template below. It can be customized with your own tasks:

Have questions, comments? Drop me a line below!

Wedding Photo Editing Tips

By shootzilla | Grow your business

Wedding Photo Editing Tips

As you probably already know editing photos is one of the tasks that come with the job of a wedding photographer. Understanding how to edit wedding photos, knowing all Photoshop brushes or tools can be a time-consuming and overwhelming part of your wedding photography workflow. Benefit from the following 20 wedding photo editing tips, which will completely change your photo retouching, and make it simple and fast.

20 Wedding Photo Editing Tips for Beginning Photo Retoucher

1. Choose a Wedding Photo Editing Software

For editing wedding photos (cropping, color correction) use Adobe Lightroom CC, for wedding photo retouching/photo manipulations (skin retouching, stray hair removal, body reshaping, background enhancement, adding effects) use Adobe Photoshop CC. Get the Creative Cloud Photography plan starting at just US$9.99/mo. (all-new Lightroom CC, 20 GB of cloud storage, Lightroom Classic CC, and Photoshop CC).

2. Make Your Photo Culling Fast

First, select the photos you want to edit. It’s highly recommended to use the Flag tool. When selecting an image, you click on the P on the keyboard (P for Pick). So you add a flag, or you can click on the checkbox in the thumbnail image. You can also use Face recognition feature in Lightroom to sort wedding photos into categories as Bride, Groom, Couple, Family, Friends, Macro, Ceremony, Party, and Lifestyle.

Having thousands of wedding photos, you are not going to retouch all of them in Photoshop – it will take about 1 year to complete. To make a basic skin retouching (remove acne, birthmarks, scars, and other defects) and remove small objects from the background, use a Healing Brush tool in Lightroom.

4. Download or Create LR Presets/ PS actions

It is one of the best ways for a fast color correction in Lightroom and Photoshop. In the web, there are a massive number of paid and free Lightroom Presets wedding and free Photoshop actions wedding. Use them to add an elegant pastel, soft black and white or trendy matte effect on your wedding pictures. All plugins are customizable and suit to all Lightroom/Photoshop versions. If you do not like some color/tints/shadows indicators, you can change them. This helps get a specific style of images that will be tracked on all the photos.

5. Correct Contrast Settings

Fixing contrast is as important as adjusting white balance in your wedding shots. Making the perfect balance of highlights and shadows can be long and boring to beginners who are not qualified in working with Lightroom or Photoshop. Lightroom presets makes photo editing very easy by automating the actions of color correction. Forget about pulling sliders over each one.

If you want to change the lighting, first make light on the photo neutral. Go to Select – Color Range and select Highlights. Duplicate the selected area to the new layer of the CTRL + J command. Return to the background layer and through the Color Range, select the Shadows. Duplicate the selection on a separate layer (CTRL + J) and change the blending mode of the layers with the shadows to Multiply. Reduce the opacity to about 30%, depending on the image. Create a new layer, fill it with a neutral gray color and change the blending mode to Overlay. We start to correct the light / shadow with the tools Dodge and Burn (O). Or you can create a new layer, change its blending mode to Soft Light or Overlay and draw with black and white colors in the required areas with a low opacity brush.

6. Prepare Shortcuts for Making Wedding Photography Workflow Fast

Shortcuts affect the speed and quality of your work that is matters while editing wedding photos. Use these Photoshop keyboard shortcuts that significantly speeds up your image retouching.

7. Use a Dehaze tool

It is complicated to guess what the weather will be during the wedding photoshoot. But thanks to Dehaze tool, you can adjust the haziness and eliminate defects with lighting. This function adds full tones and creates clear lines of all objects in the image.

8. Make a Quick Noise Retouching

Fast wedding photography editing techniques include a reducing noise tool. Digital noise is the result of poor lighting or a bad lens. First, adjust the color noise. If the light is distorted and grains are too visible, change the luminance noise. Therefore, initially save pictures in RAW form.

9. Apply a Blurring Effect to Portraits

This effect is used when you need to select an item on the image or to remove focus from unwanted objects. The function is also suitable for photos without focus balance. You can control the amount of blur, depending on the purpose of using this function. Set the sharpness to -100 for blurred backgrounds, and -50 for creating a slightly blurred backdrop.

10. Make Photos Black and White

For making a dramatic look or emphasize the feeling shown on the photo – make photos monochrome. Such a conversion will improve the quality of the picture, especially if it was made in poor light. In Lightroom to speed up the process, create a preset and use it for several images at once. In Photoshop, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White.

11. Make a Hollywood Smile

Remove yellow shades but keep a natural look. To whiten teeth quickly, you can apply the mask function to the entire image. Do not use it unless there is a clear line of teeth. In this case, select the correct brush size and edit the image manually.

12. Batch Image Editing

After a long day of the wedding photoshoot, you come home to edit hundreds of photographs, which can last hours away from your wedding photography workflow. Now think about weddings you shoot during the year. Editing every wedding photos sounds crazy, doesn’t’ it? Batch editing will help reduce time spend on it. Mind that outsourcing editing to wedding photo editing services, like Wedding-retouching will not only save your time overall but keep one photographic style.

13. Make Cropping

Before cropping wedding images in Lightroom mind the Rule of Thirds, level a photo, dim the screen to have a clear view of how the wedding portrait will look once it’s cropped, zoom out to understand how the photo will look on a smaller scale.

14. Correct Lighting

Sometimes outdoor pictures are made flawlessly and almost do not need photo retouching, but they lack the tenderness and romance colors. Try to apply various effects, for example, Cross Process 2 or use the function Beautify. Just make two movements, and photo editing will be completed.

15. Use the Clone Stamp Set

If your bridal portraits have small face blemishes, apply the Spot Removal tool in LR or the Clone Stamp/Healing Brush in PS. By means of them you can remove small objects, make stray hair invisible, smooth small skin blemishes, and remove background distracting spots, fix clothing wrinkles or dust.

16. Use Frequency Separation for Smoothing Skin

This quick editing method can be used not only for the face but also for clothing, sky, and background. It is a multifunctional tool for work.

17. Add Bokeh

Use this tool for the wedding photos taken at night. Bokeh helps focus attention on details, objects, and a couple. Open Lightroom, in the Develop Module, adjust exposure and coloring. Choose the Pen Tool, set the Exposure to about +3.0, the Flow to about 80 and the Flow to 15. Use brushes of different sizes and colors.

18. Add the Watermark Fast

If you have the desire and permission from the couple to post pictures from the wedding photo session at the website or in social networks, you’d better add a watermark/photography logo. It’s doing very quickly and simply. Create a new layer by selecting Layer > New > Layer, name it “Watermark”, and click OK.

19. Make Export Fast

Each photographer independently chooses how to deliver pictures to the customer. Now many couples order an electronic version of all images and then several printed ones. Create separate folders for each event, for example, “Ceremony”, “Banquet”, “Preparation”. Export with such parameters: 88 Quality, 2500 pixels long edge, 300 dots per inch. Now select the file-sharing site that you use and upload the images. Your customer must create a zip file to upload their pictures, so you save time on delivering the order to the customer.

20. Outsource Photo Editing

You can edit the images on your own or address online wedding photo retouching services like FixThePhoto or WeEdit.photos.

 

This was a guest blog by Fixthephoto

Guest post by FixThePhoto or WeEdit.photos  – the fastest way to save time on photo editing and spend it on marketing your photography services and meeting new clients.

The Ultimate Wedding Photography Questionnaire Guide

By shootzilla | Efficiency & Workflow

As a wedding photographer, you have probably realized that the sales consultation is the beginning or the end of your relationship with your clients.

They either decide they want or do not want to work with you.

This is why you don’t want to spend this time taking notes and leaving your potential clients staring at the top of your head.

Why? Because you will miss important parts of the conversation or the vibe.

It’s one of the reasons why I started working with a wedding photography questionnaire.

What is a Wedding Photography Questionnaire?

Simply: it is a questionnaire that you can send to your wedding clients so they can fill out all the important details of their day a few weeks prior to their wedding day.

Some people also call it the pre-wedding questionnaire or pre-wedding survey or wedding planning questionnaire.

Why do you want a Wedding Photography Questionnaire?

When you are having your next sales consultation with a potential bride you will discover that having a pre-wedding questionnaire in place allows you to do something way more important…

During your first consultation with your potential clients, you usually discuss a lot. I used to be furious in note taking during those meetings. But guess what. Listening and note taking don’t go well together.

You really want to pay attention to what is not said in these conversations. After all, it’s also a sales consultation.

Instead of taking notes at this time of working with your clients, you might be better off paying attention to the conversation, because:

  • You might miss something they were about to say that was really important to them.
  • Weddings are usually booked way in advance, so most of the details of their big day are not set in stone yet.

Having a wedding photography questionnaire in place will help you book more clients.

Prepare Your Clients For Booking You

Prepare Your Clients For Booking You

In order to have the couple relax when they tell about their day, mention to them upfront that you will get back to them in time, weeks before the wedding, so you can discuss the final program in more detail.

Use these exact words to get them already thinking of booking you: “As you sit here in a minute and we’ll be all wrapped up in talking about your wedding day (describe their current experience) you may notice that I’m not taking any notes. I want you to know that I will send out a questionnaire eight weeks prior to your wedding day to get all the details for the wedding photography to go absolutely as planned.
When that is out of the way, enjoy the conversation and really get into all the details. Build rapport, have fun with it and book those clients!

When they are pretty confident they will book you, explain again all the next steps, including that you will send them (or their wedding planner) a survey to discuss anything that might be useful when photographing their wedding.

This could include anything from addresses to vendors, to speeches, or to important details that they want to be photographed that you might miss otherwise.

This way, your couple is:

  • Satisfied with your attention during the conversation.
  • Satisfied with your level of professionalism, since you have all their questions figured out in advance and you will confront them with your questionnaire just at the right time!

Save Time & Avoid Mistakes

Since the couple or their wedding planner will be completing the questionnaire there is hardly any risk for typos or mistakes in all the important details like addresses and timelines. Not to mention it will save you lots of time when the couple is giving you all the details in one go, instead of you having to go through countless emails with different versions of timelines and separate emails with different parts of the information.

Argh, you’ll be happy to say goodbye to that nightmare. From now on you’ll be prepared and you only have to review the questionnaire!

When you have the wedding survey completed by the couple, it will only be a matter of a short phone conversation in the week before the wedding to make sure that you are completely aligned with their plans.

Again, you can focus on the couple instead of taking notes. Just check the details from the completed survey and be sure to take an interest in their feelings so close to their big day.

 Peace of Mind before the wedding day

Peace of Mind before the wedding day

When you have all the information you ever need before the wedding day you will experience another important benefit of the wedding photography questionnaire: Peace Of Mind!

No more worrying about details like addresses and timelines, or special requests from the couple, of special family situations you would like to be aware of like divorces and deaths. Everything has been asked and you have all the information nicely together so you can review it at your leisure and feel fully prepared.

It’s easy to send the questionnaire to all your clients

Include a link to your wedding photography survey in your email templates and into your workflow. This way you will never forget to send it to your couples and sending it will not take up any extra time!

If you don’t have a workflow yet, download the free workflow chart below:

The information is all in one place

Copy the questionnaire answers in ShootZilla or keep them on your phone so you have it with you during the wedding.

Ready to scale your business with more flow and ease? Sign up for ShootZilla.

What to ask in a Wedding Survey?

The possibilities are endless. I usually keep it simple and just focus on the day, but you can always think bigger!

Different survey purposes

What about a ‘Moment Design’ survey, where you focus more on their relationship, their passions, and dreams in order to incorporate that into your shoot? Never heard of ‘Moment Design’? Read more about Moment Design.

Or maybe you prefer to do a ‘blog’ survey, where you ask them to write their personal story of how they met, or why they chose the style and theme for their wedding or the details of their venue? It’s all great stuff to include in your blog post later!

If you want to go for different angles, you might want to split the surveys so your clients don’t have to answer all the questions in one go.

Which questions to include

Which questions to include

This depends on weddings in your culture & your personal style.

We were more laid-back kind of photographers, so we didn’t direct all the formals. We just used the questions that would make it easier for us to do our jobs in the best way possible.

For example, after not finding a good time to photograph the invitations or the rings on a few of my early weddings, I started to include the questions about the rings and invitations in our pre-wedding survey. This suddenly made creating gorgeous images of these pieces a shared responsibility for me and my clients! They now planned for me to have easy access to these things during the hectic wedding day.

Check out the questions in the guide and see which ones will make your life easier. And you can always add to the list later.

Use the forms text fields to add instructions for your clients. If some fields are nice to have but not necessary, make sure to add that.

If some questions might give your clients stress like specific questions on how to do the formals, also give them an option to let you decide that part or to discuss it in the final call before the wedding.

Below you can download the guide that will help you get started with your own wedding photography questionnaire. It includes:

  • All the content from this blog for easy reference
  • How to create a form using Google Forms, with video
  • How to create an easy to remember short link to your wedding photography survey (or any other survey you chose to create) with video
  • 33 Questions you can copy and paste in your own questionnaire

Alright, I hope I have demystified the wedding photography questionnaire for you and more importantly, that I have shown you that you need one asap!

Have questions, comments? Drop me a line below!

3 Life-Changing Lessons for Photographers

By shootzilla | Grow your business

Are you trying everything but you still find yourself in the same position, year after year? Your photography business won’t grow beyond the startup level and you are sick and tired of worrying if you will make enough to pay all the bills?

What I’m sharing today are three lessons for photographers that I picked up during my training with Jim Fortin and that definitely moved the needle in my business.

If you’re doing everything ‘right’ in your business but your photography business isn’t growing, see if the below three lessons ring any bells.

Life lessons for when your Photography business isn’t growing

1. Work from where you want to be

Jim calls this: “Work from the inside out, not from the outside in.”

If you are like most photographers, you tend to think: “If I get this, I will be happy” Or something similar. “If I get more clients, I will start with ….” or “If I have more money I will start with paid advertising.” etc.

And guess what, the new clients don’t show up and you keep running in the same old circles.

why your photography business isn't growing

When you start working from where you want to be, you start by painting a picture in your head about how a successful photographer would operate. What would you feel like, what would you do when you already are a successful photographer.

Ask yourself, what would a highly successful photographer be like, what would he or she do? What would he or she have? Picture your day as a highly successful photographer and start acting that way. You will soon see different results show up.

Because you will soon realize, a highly successful photographer will not be spending all her time on social media. Or spend 2 days editing one family shoot. They are highly productive and effective and they have created systems for themselves. Or they cultivated their brand so they can charge high investments for their work and only have to do one shoot a week. Either way, they are doing things differently than you are doing now.

Related: Outsourcing your post process work

Start with a new identity

So get creative in your mind and start with Being different.

Take some quiet time every morning before work and ask yourself, what would I feel, what would I do, if I already was a successful photographer?

Then look at your to-do list and see if that needs tweaking!

I’ve you are interested in growing your photography business with me and you’re not afraid of topics like the one I’m discussing in this video, I’m thinking of hosting a small mastermind with photographers where we focus on business growth and automation.

If you’re ready to grow your business and yourself from the inside out, sign up for the waitlist below.

 

2. How Committed Are You To Grow Your Photography Business?

I want you to ask yourself how committed you are to grow your business.

To make it easy, first I want you to think of someone or something that you are super committed to.

For me, that would be my kids. I do everything for them and I always have to be aware that I’ll let them make their own mistakes or I would do that for them as well.

Anyhow, I go through great lengths to give them what they need, I read books, I educate myself, I learn by trying different approaches, and most importantly, I never give up on the idea of raising them as happy, fulfilled, responsible human beings.

So for you, it might be your kids as well, or it might be someone or something completely different. Got that mental picture?

What is your commitment level to your business?

Now think of your business. Are you as committed to your business as you are to that other thing?

Are you doing everything in your power to get to your goals in your photography business?

When you know a certain marketing technique would really benefit your business but you think of it as ‘scary’ are you doing it anyway? Or are you procrastinating? Or worse, or you not even considering doing it?

I’ll be honest, I have to admit, I wasn’t doing everything in my power so this comparison shifted things for me and made me take action in a big way again. I hope it does the same for you.

 

3. You Are Where Your Attention Is

if your photography business isn't growing - You are where your attention is

Sooner or later you will realize that this third point is actually the most important one.

This simple sentence ‘you are where your attention is’ can grow or destroy your business.

If you are always operating with thoughts about failures in the past, it will reflect in your current reality.

Be mindful of the thoughts that you repeatedly think. Be super mindful.

It sounds simple, but a consistent focus on your thoughts and moving your attention to more helpful thoughts takes practice. Yes, I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s simple, but not easy.

Related: Want to know why thinking good thoughts will help you, read this blog Nervous before a shoot? Try this quick and easy technique!

I used to think that I already knew how to change my thoughts and I used to visualize pretty thoughts and all that good stuff.

But guess what, after visualizing for 15 minutes in meditation or hypnosis, I spend the day in worry and working with a less than optimal energy vibe. Worrying if the clients will come, worrying about problems showing up, worrying if I was good enough, you name it. Worries were basically always there, even if I ‘understood’ that I should not worry.

So this has become my most important practice. To not worry and spend my days in a happy, good vibe. It helps me be super productive and it grows my business!

Guess why?

Your thoughts determine your outcome (and your energy level)

worrying drains your energy - finally grow your photography business

First, you attract what you think about.

Second, worrying drains your energy so by not worrying you have a lot of energy left to do cool stuff.

So make a real effort for this, use all the help you can get. I use my iPhone’s screensaver, my laptop screensaver, my laptops password, my bathroom mirror. All the places I regularly see during the day are reminders for me to think differently, think positive thoughts. They all act as reminders to move my attention to things that serve me. Or just reminders to stop thinking at all! (that usually works best ;-)).

I also use the app on my iPhone called Today to remind me several times a day to move my attention.

Ultimately, I want to work from a position of feeling good. So I always pick things that make me feel good when I move my attention to those things. If you don’t know what that is for you, create a list first! For me, puppies and kittens always work, and babies, little kids, my kids, etc. Easy things that are easy to think about. And with practice, it will get easier to just move your attention to think nothing, which is very peaceful and joyful at the same time.

So these were three big ideas that will help you when your photography business isn’t growing.

If you want to grow fast in a small group of colleagues with me as your coach/facilitator where we will also pay attention to big ideas like the ones above, next to practical things like marketing & sales, sign up for the Mastermind waitlist below.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

6 Tips to Sell More Products with Your Photography Shoots

By shootzilla | Grow your business

As photographers, the services we offer are our mainstream of income, if not the only stream. But how about adding more value by selling products with photos from your work? Not only it can give you an added value to your work, it can also bring you an additional income.

But how to sell more products with your photography shoot? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Offer it as a bundle

Clients are more likely to buy photo products when it’s bundled with the service they’re looking for. This way, you give them a price of your service plus the products, which not only will simplify things, but also significantly improves your product sales.

Products offered separately is often seen as an additional cost, which clients tend to avoid. Convince them that they’re getting a good deal by paying for your service and the products.

But what products can you give as a bundle?

For wedding photographers, you can design exclusive wedding albums and include it as a part of the package. You can also create another package that offers wedding albums for the bride’s and groom’s parents. Alternatively, you can also include decor products like framed photos or canvas prints, or even a bundle of thank-you cards.

Similarly, if you do engagement or pre-wedding photo sessions, you can offer save-the-date cards as a part of the bundle. When you do the photo session, remember to take a few photos specifically for this purpose. This means creating photos with negative space for the texts. You can check out these pre-wedding photoshoot tips to help you nail the session.

You can offer more than one products in a bundle. Just be sure to create different types of bundles so your clients can choose the one that suits them best.

Advertise the products as a part of the package

  1. Advertise the products as a part of the package

When you advertise your service on your website, social media, or offline events, make sure you also advertise the products that are included in the offers. Take great photos that show the quality of the products, and also the shots of the products in use or on display. Post it on your website and social media channels, and emphasize that this is the bonus that comes with your service: high-quality, personalized products for each client.

Pro tip: Give them something extra that they can’t get somewhere else. It can be a custom design that they requested, better materials for the products, or something as little as beautiful packaging box.

  1. Do in-person sales sessions

In-person sales session often makes photographers uncomfortable, but this is one of the most effective ways to increase your product sales. Whether you’re at a wedding fair or a pre-session consultation, make sure you make the most of your interaction with your clients.

Here are a few important things you can do to encourage clients to buy your products:

  • Don’t be salesy – nobody likes it when they feel like they’re pressured to buy something. Instead, help your clients understand the importance of keeping their memories well-documented in a tangible way. Show the value of the products as something they can keep for the years to come.
  • Let them experience the products. Give them a chance to peruse the sample album, look closely to see the quality of the wall art. The opportunity to see and hold the actual products is the ultimate thing that can convince them to buy the products.

Note from Esther de Boer:

If you feel uncomfortable about doing sales sessions, join us in the Photographer Mastermind. Here we will automate and implement these and other processes together ànd discover your blind spots that keep you stuck, so your photography business can grow to new heights.

  1. Give the opportunity for clients to choose their favorite photos

For clients, being able to choose the photos they like to be in the photo album or on the decor product is a perk that is hard to resist. This way, you give an assurance to the clients that the photos they’ll see on the products will be the photos they love.

To make it attractive, you can put the emphasis on the fact that clients can personalize and customize the products with the photos of their choice.

Give bulk discounts

  1. Give bulk discounts

Encourage your clients to buy more products with the classic bulk discount strategy. The more they buy, the more discount they get. You can give bulk discounts to save-the-date cards or thank-you notes, photo prints, or even photo albums.

  1. Use beautiful and useful packaging

While the packaging is not the main thing that you would offer to clients, it’s a factor that can make your product more appealing. Anything that is aesthetically pleasing will improve your chance of selling your products, and that includes the packaging.

It would be even better if the packaging is something that clients can use in their daily life. For example, you can use a beautiful recycled wooden box for the photo albums, or well-designed canvas bag to wrap decor products.

We hope these tips can help you sell more products!

Written by Dixie Thamrin

Dixie Thamrin is a writer and photographer, working as a digital marketer at Photojaanic. She discovered her love of photography during her first solo-travel around Europe in 2012. Since then, she’s used it along with her writing to tell stories from different corners of the world, all chronicled under her personal blog, Her Little Journal.

 

Book More Brides By Getting Published [Free Marketing Strategy]

By shootzilla | Grow your business


Do you find it hard to put yourself out there? Feel like you’re wasting time posting your work on social media where only your friends like your images?

Pay attention, because this FREE wedding photography marketing strategy will help you get in front of your dream audience over and over again in the best way possible. Getting your amazing images published on wedding blogs and in magazines.

So what does it mean exactly? To get published?

Getting your work published means you submit your images to wedding magazines or wedding blogs and they publish it to their audience. Now you suddenly reach a big audience filled with your ideal clients, without paying for it!

Excited yet? You should be! Let’s get started.

7 steps to book more brides by getting published

1. Get permission to get published

First off, you need your clients’ permission. So depending on how strict you want to do this, there are ways to make it easy for them to give permission. Make sure you know exactly what you can do with your images and have no doubts about it because that will only slow down the process later and will decrease your chances for success.
Related: How to get permission to be published.

2. Shoot for the details

All publications have one thing in common. They love details! So you should be a detail heavy shooter already, or you want to add that to your skill set. Then shoot every detail in as many formats as possible. Whether it be landscape and portrait, with a variety of angles, with different lenses, single shot or incorporated in the wedding story. This way, you have plenty of options to choose from later and you can submit the best range of images for every editor.

3. Submit your images to magazines and wedding blogsSubmit your images to magazines and wedding blogs - getting published photographer

You can either do it yourself or use software to make it easy and automated for you.
When you do it yourself, you have to read up on the submission requirements for every blog and magazine. They all have different requirements on the number of images, size of the images, the story of the images, black and white or color, etc. So pay attention to that because they get a LOT of submissions and not following their guidelines means they will reject your images automatically.
There is a software called TwoBrightLights that makes this whole process easier for you. The software helps you to submit your images to different publications so you have more chances to get your work published.

4. Keep the speed in your publications

Check on your submissions. All the blogs and magazines usually have deadlines to approve or reject the submissions. Make sure to check with them after that deadline to get an update on the status. You want to keep the speed in your publication flow. So when your images are approved or rejected you want to go ahead with the next step immediately.

5. Don’t make it personal

Don’t take rejections personally. Ask feedback to learn and improve and that’s it. Just submit to another blog or magazine and get on with your day. It doesn’t mean anything when your images are rejected. The only fact is that your images got rejected for that specific blog or magazine during the time that you submitted them. Everything else you make it mean in your mind is a story and doesn’t have to be true, so stop believing it.
It could just be that the images were not a great match for that blog, or that the timing was off and they just had a barn wedding published and they were looking for something else. There can be a gazillion reasons why your images were rejected so don’t waste too much time on it. Ask feedback, learn, improve and move on!

6. Share your publications
Share the good news to your clients and network! - how to get published as a photographer

You got published!! Yes, you made it. Now share the good news with your clients and share it with your network. Put a logo on your blog showing that your work is published on a blog or in a magazine. The blogs or magazines sometimes have logos that you can use. That will be a sign of credibility for your website visitors.

7. Get consistent with publications

Never skip a step of this process. When you make this a consistent part of your workflow your reach will grow exponentially in a year. So incorporate the steps in your workflow, create email templates and automate that part of the work. If you don’t have a workflow yet, start with the free workflow chart below.

Related: 10 Reasons why you need Photo Studio Management Software

When you start to shoot a lot of details you will also love doing vendor marketing. Combine these two strategies and leverage your detail shots to reach an even bigger audience!

Related: Book more brides with vendor marketing

Was this useful for you? Any questions? Let me know in the comments!

Book More Brides With Vendor Marketing (in 6 Simple Steps)

By shootzilla | Grow your business


Are you feeling frustrated that your website is getting too quiet? And you don’t seem to get any clients without spending a lot of money on advertising?

Then you will love hearing about this free marketing strategy that will help you get in front of your dream audience over and over again while making real connections with vendors in your area.

This strategy is super useful for wedding photographers but it could work just as well for other niches.

I am sharing 6 steps to get this free marketing strategy working in your photography business too.

6 Steps to Book More Brides With Vendor Marketing

1. Receive Vendor Information

First off, you need to create a step in your workflow to receive vendor information from your clients. For example, you can send a pre-wedding survey to your clients about 8 weeks before the wedding. They usually have all their details in place by then and filling out the pre-wedding questionnaire would be an easy task. As soon as you implement vendor marketing you will also include vendor information in your blogs and that will help to get brides familiar to seeing & collecting that information for you.

Download the free Guide to create your own Wedding Photography Questionnaire

2. Inform your Vendors You Will be Working with Them

Send a message to your vendors a few days to a week prior to the wedding. Just tell them you look forward to working with them and if you manage to shoot some extra detail shots of their work you will share them with them after the wedding. Now they know your name and your business, and they know you will bring them cool images of their work! They are happy to work with you and look forward to it, and you have not even met them! Make sure to include this step in your workflow so you will never miss doing this! Make it easy by using email templates.

Don’t have a workflow yet? Start with a paper workflow chart and download the free template below:

3. Pay attention during the wedding day!

You always pay attention of course, but this time, also find time to take care of the detail shots. Make sure you create diversity in your images by shooting the flowers with a macro lens and with a wider lens. Have an image where your bride holds the flowers and where the flowers are stand-alone. Don’t forget any of the vendors. If you feel like you have no time at all to do this you can always bring in an assistant to help you. Capturing the day in your best way is always the priority but when you have enough experience you will be able to capture the details as well. Your client will love having detail shots to enrich the story of their day too.

Pay attention during the wedding - vendor marketing

4. Share Images With Your Vendors

After the wedding and after you have shared the images with your clients you can share the images with your vendors too. Create an online gallery per vendor and you can add more images to that gallery over time or just simply email the images. Ask them to tag your business when they share them on Facebook and to link to your website when they share them on their website or blog. When you share the blog that lists all the vendors and showcases the whole wedding ask them again to share the blog with their audience. These are all amazing opportunities to get your work and business promoted to their audience which probably consists of a lot of potential clients for you. Getting links to your website from their websites is amazing to grow your search engine ranking which will help you get more visitors from Google as well.

5. Do This Consistently For Every Wedding You Do

It’s super important to make this a part of your workflow. Vendor marketing works really well when you are consistent with it. It will help you attract the right brides and grooms that love that exposure and spend time on wedding blogs. And over time your connections with vendors will grow and they will start sharing your business more and more. So make sure to download that workflow chart and get started with a workflow!

6. Automate When Needed

If you already have a lot of clients and need something more than a paper workflow chart to manage it all, sign up for the waitlist of ShootZilla. ShootZilla automates all those tasks for each client that you book and it also schedules the right emails for you. Now all you have to do is optionally personalize the email and press send!

I hope this inspires you to make this strategy a consistent part of your workflow. It will bring you so many benefits over time, I absolutely love it!

Are you considering this? Or maybe have questions? Let me know in the comments!

3 More Things I Would Do When Starting A Photography Business

By shootzilla | Grow your business


Do you feel the insecurity when you are just starting a photography business? Like when will those clients finally call on me? Or how can I differentiate myself from all those photographers out there?

Read first: 3 Things I Would Do When Starting Out As A Photographer

When starting a photography business it can be hard to focus on the things that matter.

As a sequel on the previous blog, I really couldn’t stop there. After all, as soon as the first clients are starting to book you, you need a few different things.

These 3 things are all dedicated to bringing in the revenues in your business in the fastest way possible while also preparing your business for a continuous stream of clients.

3 Things You Need When Starting A Photography Business

1. Create your email list

Yes, you heard me right, not just a website, but an email list. You want to grow your email list from day 1. Your email list will stay with you and will be a free marketing channel. That will be a great asset in a time where all the social media channels ask you for your money to show your work to more people.
And did you know you can actually start your email list without a website? All you need is a page where people can drop their email address and you’re set. Mailerlite is a company that makes that possible and it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers! MailChimp is also a good bet if you do have a website already.
starting a photography business

2. Set up your sales systems

When you start out, you may not be fully booked yet and therefore you still have time available to set up your systems. Take that time and use it. Not by spending it on Facebook, comparing yourself with others and getting totally insecure… But by actually documenting a product sales workflow.
How can you prepare customers to get into the mindset of buying gorgeous albums and wall-art with you? Investigate your album vendors and chose your selection. Create your sample albums. Prepare your clients for the sales session by sending them relevant emails before and after the photo session. All that good stuff. Now you have the time, use it wisely. As soon as your calendar is fully booked, product sales are the first scalable way to increase your revenue.

3. Create a workflow

Related to the second one, make everything you do a process. As soon as you figure out a good sequence of getting people from inquiry to a meeting, to booking you, to the photo shoot, to the sales session and then to the final delivery of your products, create a workflow for those events. You will improve on it with every photo shoot, especially in the beginning, and it will guarantee a consistently good experience for your clients.
Also, it has the priceless benefit of giving you immediate peace of mind and saving you from inventing the wheel with every client. Instead, you can test and improve with every client but you know they already get a good experience! If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say workflow, check out the free workflow chart download below!

These were my three tips that will set you up for continued success when starting a photography business. If you need more, check out the link below:

The definitive guide to starting your photography business

Share this post if it helped you! It will inspire me to create more blogs like this.

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