How often are you contacted?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by guitarkid, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    chicago
    To me it seems like everyone's phone rings a few times a day with a dozen emails to follow. I have offered photography for 9 months now (along with our video services which are also very slow.) I know word of mouth is THE BEST way to go but you have to get out there first. How many people does the average bride know anyway? you may need 50 clients to get a reliable word of mouth thing going...and that may even be slow. I know people just start with a website and that is it. Well, that's great but I get NO LEADS from just my site. No one knows about us at all. I really don't get it. I have posted before on this topic. I never quit on anything but if things don't pickup by end of summer I think I'm throwing in the towel. I have surfed all over the web and I know most people are working at least 2-3 weddings a month. I do about one wedding every 2 months if I am lucky. Does it take 5 years to get established? Maybe I am running things but i have been in the knot for over a year and I got one client from that. I lost $1000 in advertising to get a $600 wedding!

    I am even including all hi-rez files with each wedding to try and get them in. I want print sales but I also want clients. Our work is really good we have been told and I am no beginner....I can't figure it out. Is $900 for 5 hours shooting with all photos on DVD too much to ask? Maybe it's way too little?

    Being a musician I advertise to bands as well. No calls and it's been 3 months of advertising in the Chicago IE....massive who's who and filled with local bands.

    So, how often does your phone and email ring? Just curious.

    thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    It takes time to get established. The first two years after I started advertising the business were pretty sparse, and I kept another mostly full time job. The phone calls and emails for the photo biz seemed few and far between. Eventually it took off, and I had to quit the other job because I no longer had time for it.

    As far as how many inquiries I get now, it just depends on the time of year. Sometimes I don't get a phone call or email for weeks, and then suddenly the phone starts ringing off the hook. Right now is the "we put the wedding planning off until after the holidays" rush, and I'm getting several dozen inquiries about wedding photography each week, but at least half of them are for days I'm already booked.

    My clients are finding me through my website, through other websites I am linked to, and through word of mouth. I take advantage of sites that offer free reciprocal links, and only upgrade to a paid advertisement if I get enough clients telling me they found me through that site to make it worth while.
     
  3. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Sydney 'strailya
    Steve,
    This is just the opinion of an amateur, so please take this as I intend it, without malice. I also apologise in advance if any of this sounds condescending or you're already well aware of it.

    I've looked at your web site, and it really doesn't come across as that good. The whole site screams 1997 to me, lots of drop shadows and beveled edges.

    It's also slow, and a little counter-intuitive, for instance when I click on 'Photography' I really expected to see photos. It's not a bad thing to publish your prices, but you probably want to generate interest first.

    A standard for any marketing is . Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. You really jump straight to action.

    A bad website is worse than no web site. Have you looked at a 50-100 good photography / wedding web sites?

    There's nothing really terrible about your samples, but you really should put forward just your VERY best.

    Once you have a great web site you need to get people there. You need to network. A lot of wedding photographers align themselves with formal hire stores, make-up artisits, hair dressers, etc. Kick backs are pretty common for those businesses. Even wedding halls, reception venues and ministers make great friends for a wedding photographer. Find them, leave good quality business cards or larger brochures / samples with these people.


    If your work is good enough then even other photographers may subcontract out jobs rather than turn a customer away. In the busy season there are only so many weekends.
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,600
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Hermosa Beach, CA U.S.A
    My work is completely different then yours, but yeah it was off to a slow start for me as well. Currently I have close to 12 strong clients that keep me busy as hell during the summer and slightly busy during the other 9 months of the year. If I did not **** off a bunch of prospective clients then I would be busy all the time.

    I have only recently started to promote my freelance biz. We will have to see how that goes.
     
  5. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    chicago
    thank you all for your comments. Azuth, thank you as well. as far as the "screaming 1997, well i don't have any money especially for a flashy smancy flash page." it takes awhile to download? are you on dialup still? the files are small. the reason why there are no photos under photography is because that is the "photography section" where you can read up on photography, since we offer video as well. the "samples" link would be where you find samples. i have tried various approaches and found that running right to the info is best. many clients have told me they loved the site since all the answers are right there. i thought about not listing prices but i know that if i saw a site with no pricing i would move right on to something else. there are worse sites out there as you have seen. a DJ friend of mine has a 1-page site....it looks like a 5th grader did it. it's got an aqua blue color as background with new times roman text with his photo and phone number and pricing...that's it. it is BEYOND TERRIBLE. yet, he works every weekend.

    maybe if i get money i will hire a flash web person or something. for now what little money we make barely goes to advertising. i too have the day job which i will have for quite awhile. i will do weddings since they are easy and there are many of them. BUT i would love to do more in the art realm or real estate. time will tell.

    what i said here was not meant to knock you......just wanted to explain why i did what i did. thanks for your comments!
    steve
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Okay, this probably has nothing to do with it, but the capital letters on your page all spell out "SARS". It can be amazing how something can impact a person, even if it's unconsciously.

    I hope you don't take offense, but the photography didn't real stand out to me. It's good, but I don't know if it's something that's going to jump out at anyone and make them want to choose you over someone else. I think this shot is one of the best you have on there, but even that could use a crop and some tweaking to give it some punch.

    As for making contacts, I think a good way is to go out and meet other photographers. If you make friends and meet others who like your work, you can get referrals when others are over booked.

    The site loaded fine for me, though you might want to have some of the individual images a little smaller so they fit completely on the page, a consistent size, and on a page of their own rather than just having a link to the image. It's tricky to design, but having pages that scale rather than designed for a single resolution also tend to work better. The main page doesn't look so great at 1280x1024. The text on some of the pages looks like it's scaled and is hard to read on that background.
     
  7. guitarkid

    guitarkid TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    chicago
    yeah i thought of the SAR thing myself...but i can't do much about that, as it's my initials...i'm still not too happy about that. i know i have to update the photos. i had some really great shots up there but took them down since a few brides told me they know that studios put their best work up on websites to sell themselves. i mixed in mostly regular-looking shots so it wasn't OVER THE TOP. seems like half the brides out there know that studios put their best work out there. i found some studios that took photos from istockphoto and used those as samples.

    i think i may hire someone to redo the site. i don't have any money for that so i guess i will shop around. or maybe i will just completely redo it with a simple style. it's rough when you are combining both photo and video. i actually thought the site looked good compared to a lot that are out there. there is so much worse...but maybe i will change it to be BASIC with NO GRAPHICS at all. thanks for the input.
     
  8. shingfan

    shingfan TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toroto, ON
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    i'm not a creative person...so in my opinion....i would look on the net to see which style i like...and then i'll just copy it and make it my own...but of course...you need to tweak it a little so that it is different from the person you are copying from
     
  9. Ripnowell45

    Ripnowell45 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eatontown, NJ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I dont think the site is that bad and I think your work is pretty good... And I like how you have prices I am in the market for a photographer right now and I hate when I cant see prices. The only thing that I saw is that most of your info is about video I dont know why but I think I would rather see them on seperate sites with a link to either one. Like I said I dont know why that bothers me but it does.
     
  10. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,789
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I cant easily find examples of your work on the page, its like a hunt to find samples.

    thats prob making it hard for anyone...
     
  11. Jim Gratiot

    Jim Gratiot TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    The answer is... quite a few. I'm a photography marketing strategist, and one of my clients (in her very first year) booked 6 weddings... all referred by the same bride. While this isn't always the case, the intriguing thing about women getting married is that because of their age, they often know many more women who will be getting married soon. Get the word out, press all of your existing clients for more referrals... and clients will eventually come. Word of mouth doesn't have to be that slow... although sometimes you have to help it along.

    Unfortunately, the phrase "if you build it, they will come" doesn't apply to photography websites (or any websites, for that matter). While it's advisable to have a top-notch website, the important thing is how you utilize your site as part of a broader market strategy.

    Good luck to you... and know that if you TRULY want to be a photographer, the clients will come eventually.

    Jim
     
  12. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Messages:
    4,055
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Dallas
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You have very sellable work.
    I agree that the website could use some sprucing up, but that has already been said.
    Two things not yet mentioned are branding, and pricing.

    When I first started out, my pricing was very low. Some calls and few bookings. Then I was told by a very smart guy to RAISE my prices. I doubled them. I'll be darned if the phone didn't start ringing more, and I started to book constantly.
    If your price is too low, brides figure the value will be low as well. This is too important of a day to scrimp.

    Branding: Start using one image EVERYWHERE. Design a logo and keep it.
    Post all over the net using the image and logo.
    Mine is this:
    [​IMG]

    and the logo:

    [​IMG]

    I think that many a good photographer fails not due to his/her work, but because they simply need help with marketing. Marketing and Sales is 80 percent of a studios success. If they can't find you, or things seem off when they do, they won't hire you.
    You have nice work, so try to work in the above mentioned areas. Best of Luck to You!!!
    Hugs,
    Cindy
     

Share This Page