Real Estate and Forex and Life, Oh My!

Apparently I don't know what it means to be a consistent blogger. Anyways there are a few things to be updated in my life. 1. Real Estate Investing Since last November I have been interested in investing in real estate. I Read more

Time Keeps Marching

The summer has been a whirlwind of fun. My parents were here for about 6 weeks, though they did travel a lot during that time. I was able to spend about 8 days with them down at my sister's Read more

Made It Through The Winter!

Well it seems that the winter is finally over. In fact there wasn't much of a spring around here. As my friend Casey put it, in Wisconsin there is winter, and then there's a death match between winter and Read more

New Job Finally

I've been back in the States since October and have had a couple of jobs here and there, but they weren't very good and didn't last long. Well it's been just a bit over four months and I finally Read more

I've Been Everywhere Man

Well I have now come to the end of my career on cruise ships. I thought it'd be nice to provide a little list of all the places I've been in the last 3 years. Most of the names Read more

I'm Off to See the Wizard

The wonderful wizard of Alaska!! Yeah I can't wait to be back in Alaska. Sounds strange to say that because it's gonna be 5 long months of hard work but it's gonna be a nice change - at least Read more

Skydiving in Honolulu

Well, this is definitely something worth writing about. I jumped out of an airplane. The airplane was 14,750 feet in the air. The free fall was 60 seconds. It was amazing. I had never thought about sky diving before Read more

Next Contract - Panama Canal and Alaska

With also a few other places thrown in such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii and Christmas Island!! If you're interested please see below my itinerary for this next contract on the ms Statendam. I'll be joining it during dry dock Read more

Photography Business

Learn How To Start Marketing Your Photography Business

There are a lot of things to think about when you’re beginning to market your photography business. The type of marketing that you do should be determined by the type of photography you are engaged in and the type of clients that you have.

When you’re first starting out with your business, you probably don’t have a lot of capital to invest in marketing, so you’re going to want to be as cheap as possible and still be able to get your message across. Luckily, there are some cheap marketing strategies available to you; some of these strategies are even free.

Give Something To Get Something

The best way to get something is to give something first, and you can’t just give something worthless and expect to get something worthwhile in return. You need to be generous and give something that truly has value.

Consider this. You are at a park and you see a group of friends having a great time, maybe even at some sort of landmark. You notice that they are really enjoying themselves but none of them has a camera. Whip your camera out and offer to take their photo and email the results to them free of charge! Don’t mention that it’s free of charge, just offer to do it. They’ll be super impressed and happy to have some nice photos. Then when you email the photo to them, include a link back to your website. You’ve already got people who like you and now you’ve introduced them to your website where they will likely go in the future when they need professional photos taken. They might even refer other customers to you.

All this took place because you had the good foresight to see an opportunity that cost you nothing, but profited much. Remember how I said you needed to offer something of value? Yes it’s true, but value doesn’t always equate to money. In this scenario you didn’t spend any money but you were still able to offer something of great value.

You can use this same line of thinking to market your services in many different places. You can even make accidents like this happen less accidentally and more planned. Simply visit sites where you think there might be a lot of people. Search out those who don’t have cameras on them and grab your opportunity to get some free marketing!

An important thing to remember about this approach is that your customers aren’t actually buying a photo from you. They are buying you. This is true for almost every sale ever made. The client buys something because they like or trust the person that is selling it to them. The product can be the best in the world but if the salesman selling it is mean or unprofessional, the product is gonna stay on the shelf.

Search Engine Optimization: The Single Best Marketing Strategy For Nearly Every Business

Apart from the type of aggressive personal marketing that was just described, the best type of marketing is search engine optimization. The internet is king. If you rank well for searches in Google and other search engines, you’re going to get a lot of business. Every day people are getting more and more tech savvy. Everyone knows what the internet is and nearly everyone uses it. If you have a question about something, it is likely that you will turn to Google and within minutes you’ll have an answer.

What you need to do is find out how to rank well for these keywords in Google so that your website can get its fair share of the search traffic. Getting ranked in Google is usually not a matter of being expensive, but rather a matter of a lot of hard work. Of course you can hire other people to do the hard work, so then it’s a matter of cost.

There are plenty of programs that help you do this, but my favorite is The Keyword Academy. I have been a member of this site since 2009 and I totally believe in it. It’s free for the 1st month so you can decide whether or not it’s for you, and then after that it’s only $33 a month. That’s a super deal for having all the tools, support and information you need to keep your business getting all the business you can cope with.

Other Methods To Market Your Photography Business

The two already mentioned methods of marketing are where I would spend most of my energy, as they are the two best methods by a long shot. There are of course plenty of other ways to market a business however and they shouldn’t be completely overlooked. You can look into joining some photography clubs in your local area. They might be able to promote you to potential clients in your area.

Social networks are becoming increasingly important these days. Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, just to name a few of the big ones. If you market yourself on all of these effectively, you can very quickly become fully booked for years to come.

Hopefully this provides some food for thought and helps you get started!

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Advertising Tips: How To Advertise Your Photography Business

Once you have a photography business up and running and you’ve had a few customers, things are feeling pretty good. You’ve got some happy customers, a few good references, and a bit of income already starting to build up. I bet you could do with a little more business though, couldn’t you? Yes, yes you could. A business can always do with more customers, that’s what a business is all about.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to advertise your business. Let’s go ahead and take a look at a few of the more exciting ways to advertise.

Promoting Your Startup Photography Business Through Adwords

Adwords is Google’s own online advertisement tool. With Adwords you can drive people to your website. Not only will you get people coming to your site, but you will get very targeted people coming to your site. If you are a wedding photographer, you will get people coming to your site who are interested in weddings. If you are a sports photographer you will get people coming to your site who might want photos taken at their soccer game.

The reason Adwords works so well is because Google places ads on websites based on the content of the website. So if someone is searching for wedding photographers and lands on a website that is talking about weddings, and this website has ads, some of those ads might be ads for a wedding photographer. If you signup for Adwords you can be one of those ads. This would mean that if someone clicked that ad, they would go to your site and would be able to hire you as their wedding photographer!

This is one of the best advertising techniques that you can use.

Advertising Your Company Through TV

If you are wealthy and have a good amount of money to invest in your business, you can use the TV. This is a more expensive route to follow but can be extremely effective. If you are doing a type of photography that a lot of people are interested in, such as senior portraits or something to do with kids, you might want to try TV. This is especially true if you feel that your local area will respond well to you. The TV can give you great coverage since so many people watch TV. Again, this is more risky because it costs more but can really be worth the risk.

Advertise With Roadside Billboards

When you drive down the highway, do you pay any attention to the billboards? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The thing with billboards is that they are very big, but that’s because they need to be. People are generally traveling by at 60 miles an hour on the highway and they have to be big if anyone is expected to read what’s on there. Also, if you use this method of advertising you want to make sure that your billboard is extremely simplistic. Consider a large attractive graphic with a few short words that capture what your business is all about. If your billboard is too busy people won’t be able to get the point before they are already gone and it’s too late.

That said, billboards are very good because there are many people that travel to and from work on highways. You’re going to have an extremely large amount of people being exposed to your business if you stick yourself across a couple of well placed billboards on a popular highway.

Advertising Via Word Of Mouth And Other Personal References

What people say about you really matters. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods of getting the word out about you. If you do a good job for one person, he might go tell someone else about you. If you do a bad job for someone he will DEFINITELY tell ten people how bad you are. As you can see, it’s really easy to spread your reputation around if you do a bad job, so make sure you do a good job. It’s harder to spread a good reputation around but it will happen if you are consistently doing a good job. Sooner or later the dams will break and everyone is going to know about you. When this happens you won’t need to use the other methods of advertisement because everyone will know about you anyways and you can start concentrating more on just being a good photographer than concentrating on making sure you get to advertise your photography business

Local Ads in the Newspaper

You might think that the newspaper is dead or at least is dying. Well maybe so but it’s not dead quite yet! You can still make use of the newspaper to advertise your services. You won’t pay nearly as much as you will for TV ads or for a billboard. You will still reach a lot of people and the best part is that you will reach different people than you would for the other advertisement methods. Say for example you want to shoot photos of kids. Maybe a grandmother is reading the newspaper and she sees your ad. She might tell her daughter about the great new photography business and so you’ll get a new customer because of that.

Thinking Outside The Box

With advertising it’s all about diversity. If you only choose one method of advertising you’re only going to promote yourself to one group of people. This severely limits your effectiveness and stunts your growth as a business. If you want to have the best coverage and exposure possible, you should be advertising in as many different ways and methods as possible. Use Google Adwords. Use TV ads. Use the newspaper. Use billboards. And definitely make sure you get good references to make the most of your word of mouth advertising. You will be surprised how effective you can be when you spread your eggs out between many baskets.

Good luck with your sales!

Posted on in Advertise Photography Business, Photography Business 1 Comment

Ideas And Examples For The Best Templates For Photography Business Cards

After you’ve started your business, you’re going to want to promote yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to create business cards. There are hundreds of types of business cards and you really need to decide what you want yours to look like.

Three Reasons To Make Photography Business Cards

1) Business cards can give you more exposure.

Without a business card, you’ll be constantly writing your number or website down on a piece of paper to give to clients. This doesn’t look professional and little scraps of paper can easily be lost. If you go the extra mile and get business cards, you’re going to have a significant increase in both how people see you and also the number of people who see you.

You can put your business cards in places that are likely to be seen by people who are interested in your services. This increases the number of people who know about you and therefore your business will have greater exposure.

2) You will become more self-confident about your business.

Being professional and feeling good about your business go hand in hand. If you really are a professional, you’re going to feel self-confident about yourself. If you don’t even have a business card to offer people when you meet them, it’s going to be harder to feel confident that you are a professional.

3) Set yourself apart from your competition.

A nice fancy business card can really set you apart. As a photography business you have even more potential to look really good. You aren’t constrained to boring business cards that someone like a computer nerd or a strict businessman would be confined to. You can really get creative. In fact, it’s expected that you would be creative simply because of the type of business that you are in. Many photographers either don’t have a business card or their card doesn’t set them apart. This is where you can shine.

Ideas For Creating Your Own Photo Business Card

As I have mentioned in previous posts, brainstorming is always the way to start. You want to get as many ideas as possible so that you have lots of different ways that you could go. If you just have 2 or 3 ideas, you won’t be getting the most out of your business card. You should just start sketching a bunch of designs for your business card. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else. Then tomorrow do the same thing again. Before you know it you’ll have quite a bit of design ideas and you’ll be able to choose the one that you like business cards templates

After you’ve done a lot of brainstorming, you’re ready to move to the next step of putting together your business card. You can use a variety of software. I used Adobe Photoshop and then exported it as a pdf. Then I just uploaded it to a printing company online and they printed out a few hundred business cards for me.

Examples Of Photography Business Card Templates

After you’ve created your own business card, go to these sites to see if you can find any more inspiration. You can also use their templates to help you create a business card without much effort.

Posted on in Photography Business, Photography Business Cards 1 Comment

Cool Logo Design Ideas For Branding Your Photography Business

What is hip? What is cool? Do you want to know what the essence of being awesome is, especially when it comes to designing and branding your photography business? Yes of course you do!

Lucky for you, that’s what I’m here to talk about.

If you look at any major business out there and think of their logos, what comes to mind? Apple, Nike, Pepsi, Mercedes, Google, ebay, CNN, the list goes on. What makes any of these cool? To me, it’s the simple fact that they are all simple and easy to remember. When I was in school I was taught the lesson KISS. It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. It’s really true! Simple is cool.branding photography business logos

Another thing is that they are usually easy to remember. Some of the logos are just a simple object like Apple, and some are just a word like ebay. Other use a combination. The ones that are the easiest to remember are just one or the other and you don’t need a word to remember that the Apple logo stands for Apple Computers.

The best way to get a logo that you’re happy with is to start brainstorming as much as possible. Just get to work sketching down a bunch of ideas on a piece of paper and do it as fast as you can. You’ll come up with a bunch of garbage but you’ll also get a few gems in there.

There are many things that can be seen as cool, and many things that can be seen as totally uncool. There are however several rules that you can apply when creating a logo for your company.

Rules For Designing A Logo For Your Photography Business 

First off, “Form follows Function”. This law of design means that for whatever you are designing, you should make sure that the form that you give your creation lends itself to the function of said creation.

By following this school of thought you wouldn’t design a logo for a business targeted to old people that is hard to read. You wouldn’t design a simple and boring logo for a business about something that is super exciting. It is imperative that you make sure that your logo design supports the function of your business.

Secondly your logo should versatile. What does this mean you ask? Well, simply put, it should be able to be used in any form of media. This could be on the web, in print, on the face of a building, on a T-shirt, etc etc etc. The more simple you make your design the easier it will be to use it anywhere.

Thirdly, as just mentioned, your logo should be simple. It’s easy for beginning designers to go all out and design something that is really intricate and fancy. You might think it’s cool because you’ve spent a lot of time brainstorming for ideas and drawing tons of sketches, but in the end something that is really complicated is just going to confuse people.

Finally your logo should stand the test of time. This means that you shouldn’t outdate it right from the start with a date or mention of something that is going to clearly give its age away. You want to be recognized as a company or business that is active and relative any time, not a company that was cool and worthwhile 20 years ago.

There are plenty of other guidelines that you can use to guide yourself in designing a logo, but these are the main ones that I like to use.

Branding Your Photography Business

Many people get logos and branding confused. They are similar but they are not the same thing. A brand is the larger idea or image of you business. You can even say it is your reputation. When you think of buying products from a store, the brand name products are always more expensive than the generic brands. Why? Because people trust the brand names in any particular niche more than they trust generic brands. Not only do the have more trust but also they often have the “cool factor” going for them.

So creating a logo for your photography business is only the first step in creating a brand name. You need to take the next steps and start to create a reputation for yourself. You want to be known as the photo company that goes above and beyond the call of duty in whatever photo niche you are a part of whether that be wedding photography, sports photography or travel photography or anything else.

The best way to begin this is to make sure that you offer a quality service or product. There’s nothing worse than getting a bad rap right off at the start. It’s easy to ruin your reputation and can take years to repair it. In some cases the damage can be irreparable.

Don’t undersell yourself. If you set your prices too low, people will believe that you are the budget photography business and that your quality matches with your prices. It’s much better to be known as a little more expensive because your quality is so much better, than it is to be known as the cheap guys who do anything for a buck. Even if you have good quality and low prices people won’t necessarily understand this. It’s the old adage at work “You get what you pay for”.

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Ideas To Make Good, Creative and Catchy Photography Business Names

Photography Business Secrets: The Savvy Photographer’s Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More

“A rose by any other name is still a rose.”

A name is extremely important and choosing a name for your photography business is something that you should do before you even open for business. The name that you choose is going to stay with you for the duration of the life of your company.

There are thousands of photographers out in the world trying to make their mark, many of which have set up a businesses, but don’t have a suitable name that really sets them apart. This is your chance to shine and really make a difference.

So what will set you apart? What is going to make your name something really special?

Brainstorming for Photography Business Name Ideas

Brainstorming. Lots of brainstorming. What comes to mind? Just start writing it down.

Use a real pen and paper. Those two ancient tools still exist and they work phenomenally well. Really!

It really is all about getting those brain juices flowing. Don’t worry if you think of a bunch of silly names that you’d never actually use. The process of getting the right name involves a lot of really bad names. If you limit yourself to thinking of only good things, you’ll miss the entire process and you’ll never even get out of the driveway, so to speak.catchy photography business names

Once you’ve written down a hundred or more names that might work, start narrowing it down to the ones that jump out at you as stellar. You can do even more brainstorming with the names that you find attractive. You’ll surprise yourself what you can think of once you’ve gotten into the thinking zone.

Making Your Name Good, Creative and Catchy

If you want your business to catch the attention of prospective clients it will help a lot to have a name that sets you apart from the plethora of other photography businesses out there.

What do you want your name to convey? What do you want to be? Think of something that both relates to your selected field but also something that interests you. If the name is interesting to you it’s going to feel a whole lot more meaningful. That’s one of the most important things anyways because if you feel passion about something you’re going to pour your whole being into making sure that it succeeds.

Personalizing Your Photography Business

Most of the time photography businesses are small businesses and you as the owner are the most important member of the business. For this reason it’s usually a good idea to incorporate your own name into the business name. Here’s a few examples on how that might look:

Bob Jones Photography
Mary Jane Portraits
Lenses of Sara
Shutterbug Frank

Another thing to keep in mind is the particular type of photography business that you are engaged in. You should choose a name that speaks directly to your audience. A name that encourages trust and reliability is super important.

If at first you don’t succeed, brainstorm again. Eventually you’re going to come up with something that you both enjoy and will shine above the rest of the industry. As a last resort you can always hire a marketing agent to do some business name research for you. Just make sure that the name that you finally decide on doesn’t sound like it’s come out of a photography business name generator.

Posted on in Photography Business, Photography Business Names 1 Comment

How To Start A Photography Business From Home On Your Own

So you love photography.
You know something about how to use a camera.
You think it would be great to actually make some money off of the fancy equipment that you have which is currently just being used to make family photos and nice scenery shots from your family vacations.

Well how about starting a photography business?

Having your own business of any kind is very rewarding but of course there are many things to think about before you dive in. If you go about creating your photography business in a way that makes sense and takes advantage of your situation, you’re going to be extremely happy with a job that not only do you love, but also makes a handsome living for yourself.

Choosing a Target Audience For Your Startup Photography Business

One of the first things that you’ll want to do when you start your own photography business is to choose who you want your audience to be. You can’t just start taking pictures of anything and everything and hope that people will buy them. You need to actually try and target the people that you want to sell to. In other words, you need to decide what type of photographer you’re going to be and what you’ll take photos of.

You can be a “jack of all trades” or you can be an expert at a few select trades. It’s much better to do a few things and do them well, than it is to do everything halfway. Someone who knows how to specialize is not only going to really know what they’re doing, but is also going to have a much happier customer base because they will see that they are getting the best that is available to them.

Insurance, Hiring Employees, Buying the Right Photography Equipment Etc.

A big part of the opening process of any business are things like insurance, hiring employees and making sure that you are properly equipped to do the job.

If you aren’t properly insured you’re going to run into trouble somewhere down the road and this can be disastrous to both your business and your reputation. If you only have a small amount of equipment and don’t think that insurance is a big deal, you’d be dead wrong. Insuring your equipment is probably the least of your worries. You need to have a full business insurance policy to insure yourself against complaints from customers and any number of things that might go wrong.

You might one day have an accident where someone gets hurt and sues you, and you need to make sure that you’re going to be covered in situations like this. It only takes one mistake to completely end your career as a photographer if you aren’t insured.

When you’re first starting you may not need to really hire that many employees, if any. You should definitely think about how you might expand your business in the future though because you never know what might happen. If you are good at your job and people start talking about you, you could have a lot of business. This might mean you’ll need to hire a second photographer to help you cover events, or you may need an accountant to help you keep your to start a photography business

The right equipment is really important for a photographer. If you’re going to be taking photos of weddings you’re going to need some really nice lighting to help with the indoors shots. If you’re taking photos of wildlife you’ll probably need some really long telephoto lenses. If you’re taking sports photos you’ll need a professional level camera body that takes many frames per second. The best thing you can do is to do some research about the specific type of photography that you are targeting and find out what the best equipment is.

Understanding the “Business” in “Photography Business”

A good photographer does not a successful photography business make. In other words, just because you know how to take a good photo and maybe even how to market yourself, doesn’t mean that you will be a successful photographer. It is imperative that you also have a mastery over the business side of things.

This is going to range from keeping a tight record of your spendings and earnings to networking so that your business continues to grow.

My simple advice on this topic is to go out and buy a few books about starting a small home based business. You could even sign up for a few business classes at your nearest community college. When you think about it the price of a few books or even of a few classes is going to be very small when you compare it to the amount of income that you will make on your own business. Think of it as investing in yourself to make your business more profitable.

You’ll make your life so much easier if you can avoid as many mistakes as possible at the beginning so you don’t have to learn the right way the hard way.

Working From Home: Pros and Cons

There are a lot of things to think about when you’re starting a business from home. Yes you are probably going to have more flexibility than you would at an office simply because you’re at home, but you need to make sure that you are not distracted from work by your home.

The first pro that I’ve already mentioned is that you’ll have a lot more flexibility. You’re going to set your own hours. You’ll be able to do the laundry in between editing photos. If there’s an emergency that you need to address with a family member you’ll have a lot better chance of getting time off since you’re the boss. The flexibility of working from home is undeniable.

Another pro is that you get to decide how successful your business will be. Your paycheck isn’t going to be limited to what your boss gives you. You are totally in control of what you make. It’s up to you to get more clients and you can charge whatever you like.

The cons of the business go pretty much hand in hand with the pros. You’re going to have to be extremely self motivated to succeed in your own business. Starting a photography business or any business for that matter doesn’t just run itself. You’ll need to make sure that you are involved 100% of the time or it’s going to be a flop, guaranteed.

Because your business is going to be new, you won’t have an already built up clientele. You’re going to have to do all the hard work of building up trust and respect within the community before you can expect giant leaps and bounds to be made. This is different than just working for another company where you can rely on a paycheck every other week. Now you MUST work or you don’t eat.

Doing it All On Your Own, Or Do You?

You don’t actually have to be on your own. Yes you might be in a business that doesn’t rely on an employer for yourself because you are the employer, but you can still have other people involved in your business. Friends and family for example can be some of the best help you could ever want.

You have many things to do and you can use all these friends and family members to help you out. They can help you make fliers, they can spread the word, or best of all they could even be your first customers! This could be great because as a starting company you will need good references. If you have no references people will be hesitant to try you out. It’s easy to get your family to let you take photos of them and then you can let them rave about how good you are.

A rope made of three strings is so much stronger than a rope made of one string. The same goes with starting a business. If you go it all on your own, you’re going to have a much harder time than if you bring a lot of help on board with you. Can you succeed all by yourself? Yes. Will it be easier if you bring help? YES!

Posted on in Photography Business, Starting A Photography Business 1 Comment
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