June 21, 2017
This week we bring you a final little excerpt from Lisa’s new book ‘Running a Successful Photography Business’, this time from the last chapter, Chapter 13: Going Forward.
‘’It’s really been a pleasure talking to all of the photographers who have kindly contributed to this book, most of whom are from entirely different parts of the industry to me and indeed from one another. One really interesting thing I noticed was how much they all had in common. How they shared the same qualities that made them successful in (my mind): tenacity and focus; passion and drive; a lack of ego but a confidence in their own ability; a priority on delivering a good job; an ability to evolve and a desire to keep learning. There were also many other parallels: their average days; their definitions of success; their approach to running a business; their views on pricing and promotion; and not least how they stay motivated. I think they should have the final word.’’
The chapter then includes some wonderful insights from several of the contributors. So we leave you with a couple of insights from photographers Patrick Harrison and Gandee Vasan.
‘’It’s always been the same for me, just keep on soaking it all up, be forever curious and observe. It’s important to experience new things, to explore and try to see things through other people’s eyes. Having three kids has been great for this and great for focusing on bringing the work in too!’’
© Patrick Harrison / Premier League
‘’David Hockney says it’s important to work every day, even if it’s just one word or a sketch or a snapshot. Because it’s the first step that leads you to a new place. The initial image might not be that great but it gives you clues as to how to improve it. It’s also important to feed your passion by constantly looking at great work.
The biggest motive of all is when you feel you have something to say. And we all have something to say; “None of us want to die with our song still inside us.”
© Gandee Vasan
To read all the advice on going forward and everything else you need to know to run a successful photography business buy the book – available from Amazon, Bloomsbury, WHSmith, or Waterstones.
June 1, 2017
To coincide with the launch of Lisa’s new book ‘Running a Successful Photography Business’, here is another extract from one of the chapters. Following on from Marianne Taylor’s helpful advice on retaining clients on the last post from Chapter 11: Keeping Clients, we bring you another extract and some invaluable insights from not only one of the other contributors, but one of their clients. Who can argue with that ?!
Lisa includes ‘Going that extra mile’ is a sure-fire way of getting repeat business ” If you go above and beyond what was expected of you, this will set you apart from your competitors and you will be remembered for it.”
Malcolm Snelgrove is a successful equestrian and adventure photographer and has this to say on the subject ‘’I will always try and go that extra mile to capture the images that help portray what it is I am being commissioned for. And I will always take the time before a shoot to understand the client’s key needs and issues and what they are looking for the images to depict.’’
A lovely testimonial from one of his clients confirms this:
‘’I have worked as journalist for over 20 years, both here in the UK and in Australia. I can honestly say I don’t think I have come across a horse photographer who works harder to get the right picture than equestrian photographer Malcolm Snelgrove.
We were on a trail ride across the wilds of Dartmoor with Adventure Clydesdales. My brief was to write about the increase in popularity of these gentle giants. I expected Malcolm to take some pictures of us as we left the yard and then leap into his car and meet us at some high point on the moors. Not so. Malcolm followed us for well over two hours. This might have been relatively straightforward on a very ordinary horsey hack but with the Clydesdales it is quite a different prospect. With a Clydie it is more like orienteering. They are quite happy to tackle almost any terrain and for anyone on foot it takes quite a bit of determination to keep up.
At one point as my horse Ecco and I navigated the swollen Dart, I turned to see Malcolm waist high in the icy rushing waters in order to get the picture he wanted. Later someone suggested that “a galloping picture would be good”, so Malcolm immediately took himself off… to the top of the nearest hill. In fact the whole afternoon we struggled to shake him off at all. He’d also clearly studied the map very thoroughly because there were times when I thought we’d left him behind and he would pop up, clearly having taken a short cut. It was a great day and the most magical of rides. If you are looking for a horse photographer that literally goes the extra mile to capture the spirit of your experience then I cannot recommend Malcolm more highly.’’
Andrea Kuhn, Journalist
© Malcolm Snelgrove
To read all the tips on how to keep clients and also everything else you need to know to run a successful photography business buy the book, available from Amazon, Bloomsbury, WHSmith, or Waterstones.
May 19, 2017
To coincide with the launch of Lisa’s new book ‘Running a Successful Photography Business’, we are posting a regular little snippet from some of the chapters over the next few weeks.
This week, an extract from Chapter 11: Keeping Clients.
“I did a quick survey here at my agency. Repeat business or referrals make up 75 per cent of the shoots we deal with. It’s mostly a case of the clients wanting to work with a photographer they have worked with in the past, wanting to work with the agency again (or both), or a referral by someone who has worked with the photographer or us in the past. The other 25 per cent are new clients due to a marketing prompt, whether a standalone or part of an accumulative strategy.’’ writes Lisa.
One of the contributors of the book, Marianne Taylor, certainly agrees and adds that customer service and therefore word of mouth is the best form of marketing. Marianne is a product photographer and stylist and also shoots a number of handpicked weddings a year.
‘’Customer service and word of mouth is by far my most effective form of self promotion. Serving your clients well is the best marketing you could do, and always leads to exceptional word of mouth. All the other means of promotion only support this core of my business strategy.’’
© Marianne Taylor.
You can discover lots of other great tips on keeping clients in the rest of the chapter. Head to Amazon, Bloomsbury, WHSmith, or Waterstones to get your copy of the book now!
May 8, 2017
To celebrate the launch of Lisa’s new book ‘Running a Successful Photography Business‘ we are posting a regular extracts of the book for the next few weeks!
Chapter 8: The Perfect Photoshoot is a step by step guide to ensure your shoot runs smoothly. This week we bring you an extract from this chapter by one of the contributors, international photojournalist Justin Sutcliffe.
“My advice for a smooth shoot is, don’t stint on the planning! Things will sometimes go wrong or turn out differently than planned. Keep cool, find solutions, smile throughout. If the client is on set and there are problems, never let them know – even after the fact. Just push on and behave as though everything is as it should be. As a photojournalist, that preparation might include always bringing an extra power adaptor for your laptop so that when a power spike in a faraway place, blows it up, you aren’t stranded without access to your computer – I learned that one the hard way in Afghanistan in 2001 – had to borrow other people’s computers to send my work! Keep a flexible mind, know what you want but be open to other possibilities” – Justin Sutcliffe
Afghanistan, January 2006 © Justin Sutcliffe.
To read all fourteen tips on organising the perfect photoshoot buy the book! ‘Running a Successful Photography Business‘ is selling out fast and can be purchased from WHSmith, Amazon, Waterstones and Bloomsbury.
May 2, 2017
Here’s another extract from Lisa’s new book, ‘Running a Successful Photography Business‘ which is selling out fast!
This week we are looking at Chapter 8, ‘The Perfect Photoshoot: A step-by-step guide’ which takes you through 14 key steps to consider for all shoots, no matter how big or small. As Ray Massey, renowned advertising photographer, and one of the contributors to the book, says:
“Get all planning and pre-preduction 110 per cent sorted BEFORE you get to the fun, spontaneous, creative bit of the shoot. I always relax on set once I know all the problems and logistics have been sorted. Producing a quote is often the most creative part of the process as it’s the time when we need to visualise all eventualities, decide on the team, methodology, location, backgrounds, models, etc. For me it’s a brain, left side-right side thing. Anything to do with admin, IT, dodgy equipment in the middle of the creative process really distracts and detracts.”
Lisa agrees with Ray here, stating that “organising a photoshoot, on whatever scale, can be a minefield but Ray’s correct – the thing is to be organised, pre-empt any problems and think ahead.
Whether you are shooting one simple portrait in your own studio or a bank of images with a large production crew overseas, follow these simple steps and it should be a stress free and enjoyable process.”
Step 1 of the 14 steps to consider is clarifying the brief, as Lisa explains; “Clarifying the brief is the starting point of any shoot, and needs to be pinned down before you can confirm the budget and start organising things. A change to the brief could result in a lot of wasted time and money.”
To read all 14 steps buy the book, ‘Running a Successful Photography business‘ as copies are selling out fast! Head to Amazon, Bloomsbury, WHSmith, or Waterstones to get your copy.
Lipton’s Capsules. Commissioned by Rothco © Ray Massey.
April 20, 2017
Following on from last week, Lisa brings us another extract from her new book, ‘Running a Successful Photography Business’ which is receiving a lot of great feedback!
This week we are continuing with the subject of pricing, Chapter 5 in Lisa’s book, as we have had a number of responses from last weeks blog regarding how useful information on this subject is!
In this chapter Lisa goes into detail on the points to consider when quoting for a job, including usage licences, copyright, and production fees to name a few and how vitally important each aspect is.
As Kate Hopewell-Smith, renowned wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographer and one of the many amazing contributors to Lisa’s book, says;
‘Pricing is one of the hardest things to get right in any business that is both about time and products. Most photographers price themselves according to competitors, without any real understanding of how the price breaks down from the customer’s perspective. Transparency is good for both the photographer and the client – many photographers would probably discover that they are working for less than minimum wage if they really worked it all out properly. In the lifestyle sector, photographers don’t value their time enough and this should actually be at the heart of your structure…’
© Kate Hopewell-Smith
‘Running a Successful Photography business‘ is selling out fast, head to Amazon, Bloomsbury, WHSmith, or Waterstones.
April 13, 2017
To celebrate the launch of Lisa’s new book, ”Running a Successful Photography Business”, we are posting some extracts here on the blog. Today, from Chapter 5, a little snippet on the thorny subject of pricing.
‘Getting your pricing right is probably one of the most important areas of your business, but also an area that many photographers find the hardest to deal with. It’s all well and good being able to shoot incredible images and generate lots of enquiries, but if you don’t get your pricing right, you won’t get much further.’
In this chapter Lisa discusses the crucial factors that should be considered at the costing stage.
‘…Pricing yourself to win a job can be a tricky balance at times. Too high and clients might go somewhere else; too low and you won’t make a profit or risk coming across as cheap, which can be just as bad.’
As Paul Clarke, one of the contributors to Lisa’s new book and owner of a leading UK event photography company explains;
‘I’m a big believer in getting good data to work on. If I lose a job on price, I ask by how much, and note it down. Guesswork isn’t very professional. My goal is to price fairly and clearly, so I offer a menu of services to show what clients are spending their money on.’
Mozillians with the Firefox, at Mozfest, London © Paul Clarke
To read more about how to price yourself correctly in the industry and what factors to consider, buy Lisa’s book now. The book jumped into the top 20 best selling photography books on it’s first day of publication so copies are selling incredibly fast! It is available on Amazon, Bloomsbury and at most Waterstones and WHSmiths.
Lisa will be publishing anther extract on the blog soon, watch this space!
April 5, 2017
We are very excited to announce that Lisa’s, long awaited, new book is finally available!
“Running A Successful Photography Business is the definitive business bible for every professional photographer. A one-stop resource covering everything you need to know to make your business a success” as the introduction succinctly states.
Following on from last weeks post on Ask an Agent we are going to bring you some excerpts to whet your taste buds.
This week a little snippet from Chapter 1: How’s Business? – A Business Health Check.
As a photographer I bet you probably get asked this question a lot.
And I’m sure a lot of the time the answer is along the lines of …
“Not bad, ticking along’’
‘’All good, pretty busy’’
But how often do you ask yourself, really, honestly, how is your business doing? The yardstick of the success of a business isn’t necessarily just being busy, as we’ve touched on in the preface. You might feel busy, but in reality, you might not feel creatively fulfilled as you don’ t find your work stimulating anymore. You might love taking the pictures but feel you are running around like a headless chicken dealing with the peripheral red tape and administration that goes along with earning a living from your photography. Maybe you are even feeling stressed and that you aren’t managing things properly. So just because you feel ‘busy’, that doesn’t necessarily mean you feel, or even are, successful.
In this business it’s all too easy to become reactive rather than proactive. You often find yourself dealing with the day today without planning for the future. Maybe you have even lost sight of why you became a photographer in the first place. To the majority of photographers I’ve met, making money isn’t the number one priority, although it’s obviously a bonus. It could be worth having a look at how you might be able to improve things, give yourself a bit of a business health check.
As well as adding to your enjoyment and fulfillment, it might even lead to a more profitable business.
I’ve prepared 20 questions which hopefully will help you get you focused, spot any weak areas and enable you to capitalise on your strengths.
1) What is my business?
Seems like a fairly straightforward question but it’s amazing how many photographers aren’t quite sure. Be clear about what you are offering and who wants to buy it, as if you’re not, neither will your customers be. Family portrait photographer Helen Bartlett has certainly nailed this one.
‘’My style of photography has always been clearly defined – I only shoot on location in black and white; I’m not a studio photographer. This began with my father, who took a lot of black and white photographs of my brothers and I growing up: pictures with real memories attached, of the parks we played at, my home and garden, and all of us having fun. I really value the joy they give me as an adult, and I noticed that they didn’t seem to date. The fads and fashions which can be common in family photography didn’t show up in these images; they stood out as real moments in my childhood. In my own work, I try to give my clients the same thing – natural images that capture their families’ different personalities, as well as their homes and the places they enjoy visiting together. It’s all about recording children and families as they are’’
© Helen Bartlett
2) What are my strengths?
This could be related to the type of photography you do or some other skill. If you are good at public speaking maybe you are missing a trick and should do a bit more of this. Many photographers guest lecture at Universities for example as a sideline. Any public speaking at an events, paid or non paid, can be great publicity. Or it could be something as simple as recognising you are great with gathering the right crew of people and always create a great atmosphere on set, why not spread the word with some behind the scenes shots on social media… continued.
To read all 20 business health check questions and the rest of ’’Running a Successful Photography Business’’ order your copy here.
Another excerpt coming soon!
March 30, 2017
Ask an Agent is a regular monthly feature answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt!
If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to email@example.com. Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything.
This month Lisa gives us some insight into her new book, coming out next week!
Dear Ask an Agent,
Someone mentioned that you have a new book coming out soon. I loved your first book ‘’Setting Up a Successful Photography Business’’, so the suspense is killing me, what’s this new book then and when’s it out!?
Yes I’ve dropped a couple of hints recently that I have a new book coming out but was holding back a bit until it’s available. However, I’m very excited to let you know that the new book ,which is called ‘’Running a Successful Photography Business’’ ,will be finally available next week, on April 6th !
I’ll be posting some excerpts over the next few weeks here on the blog, but in summary: ‘’Running a Successful Photography Business’’ (published by Bloomsbury) is a sequel to my first book. As the preface states:
‘Running A Successful Photography Business is the definitive business bible for every professional photographer. A one-stop resource covering everything you need to know to make your business a success.’
This handy book contains guidance on all the key areas including: fine-tuning your brand, attracting new clients and keeping existing ones, costing and producing shoots, professional ethics and codes of practice, preparing a business plan and operating your business effectively, legal obligations and contracts, agents and agencies, plus how to evolve and prosper in this ever changing industry. Everything a working photographer needs to know in order for their business to flourish.
The book also contains a goldmine of resources including several invaluable business templates and checklists, an address book and of course, superb photography.”
As with my first book, it’s not just based on my opinions and advice, although there is a fair bit of that. I’ve gathered together some fantastic contributing photographers from many different niches including Fine Art, Photojournalism and Documentary, Wedding, Animals, Family Portraits, Stock, Celebrity and Editorial, Equestrian and Adventure, PR and Events, and of course my specialist area – Advertising.
In fact, one of the things that I found most enjoyable about writing the book was collecting the sound bites and comments from these contributing photographers, there are some real gems! In answer to my question- ‘What does it mean to run a successful photography business?’’, for example, the wonderful Chris Floyd had this to say…
‘’Bob Dylan said it best: “A man can define himself as a success if he gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night and in between does as he pleases.”
Photographically, to be doing work that is inspiring, enjoyable and which also provides a living is enough for me. I’ve done extremely well paid work that was a tedious chore, I’ve done extremely well paid work that was incredibly inspiring and I’ve done badly paid work that was also inspiring. I just try to avoid tedious chores like work that is badly paid.’’
Chris Floyd, portrait photographer.
Sir David Attenborough © Chris Floyd
So watch this space and grab your copy whilst stocks last!!
Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll answer as many as we can!
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