Need help making digital ads...

nursepaige2010

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I've recently decided that I wanted to take my hobby to the next level. I've done several jobs already and I want to start advertising. The only way I know to advertise for free is Facebook. What other websites work well for photographers. I don't know much about building a website, and I've paid for smugmug, but I feel like I could do better.
Also, I've liked several photographers on fb, so I see these cute ads pop up for them all the time. I don't even know what to call them, or how to search for them. So I took a screenshot to show you guys what I mean. I use Lightroom to edit, and there's nowhere to generate stuff this cute. I need whatever it is that allows you to do this! :) thanks!
 
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The_Traveler

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Two thing:

You aren't supposed to post images you don't own the copyright to
and
The best way to take your 'hobby to the next level' is to be a better photographer, not to charge people for hobby-level work.
 

tirediron

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... I want to start advertising. The only way I know to advertise for free is Facebook.
Yes? And? If you limit yourself to only free advertising, you're going to have a long, tough row to hoe! facebook is a great tool (as is all social media), but maximize the value. Create ads (you'll see links on the admin panel of your page), and for as little as $5-10/day, you can reach a huge potential client base. Looks around for local home/lifestyle "trade shows"; a weekend booth at one of these can cost as little as $200. A one-inch, two column ad in your local paper can also be relatively inexpensive.

What other websites work well for photographers.
Work well in what way?

I don't know much about building a website, and I've paid for smugmug, but I feel like I could do better.
You could. Consider hiring a professional web designer to put something together for you. There are so many people in this field that prices are really quite low. You could have a custome designed 'site for <$1000!

Also, I've liked several photographers on fb, so I see these cute ads pop up for them all the time. I don't even know what to call them, or how to search for them. So I took a screenshot to show you guys what I mean. I use Lightroom to edit, and there's nowhere to generate stuff this cute. I need whatever it is that allows you to do this! thanks!
Hmmm.... let's see you're a photographer, but you need graphic design work. That's a tough one... wait... wait... I've got it. Hire a graphic designer!

The point of that is to illustrate that you're not going to get by on free. Sure, you can pick up the odd job from a friend of a friend, but selling "mini sessions" for $69 is going to cost you money in the long run. Starting a business, whether it's a weekend 'pick up a few extra dollars for the gear fund' or a I'm sick of the rat-race and I'm going to be a full time photographer' is NOT as simple as setting up a facebook page, at least NOT if you want to actually make money. I would check out your local community college for courses on accounting, small-business and entrepreneurship. I would also start saving money, and when you have $5000, THEN hang out your shingle. Licenses, insurance, etc are probably going to cost you $1500 at least for the first year. Contract review & consultations with a lawyer another $500 - 1000, your website, another $1000, and the rest for advertising.

Lew's advice is also very valid. Word of mouth is the BEST advertising, BUT... unless you do good work, it's not going to happen, so, are you totally confident in your ability to deliver a professional product under adverse conditions? Do you have the skill and knowledge to deal with clients who show up in white shirts and black pants at noon on a July day? I'm not trying to dissuade you, but but the tone of your post rather indicates that you might want to spend a little more time preparing before making the dive.
 

12sndsgood

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Listen to the above posters If you feel you have the skills to go into business then you need to start learning how to run a business. Accounting, marketing, graphic design are three totally different fields and you either need to learn them to be sucsessful or you need to pay someone to do them for you. When I opened shop it was a year ago well about 16 months ago. I didn't know anything about business and marketing, advertising, luckily for me I was laid off at the time and I was able to devote 4-6 hours a day learning and reading and researching so that I could open my business properly and legal. And after 6 months I still new I was way behind what I should know. Maybe go to the library pick up books, study, find websites. Even with having all that time to study I'm still playing catch up on so much stuff. From what I have learned word of mouth is usually the best marketing a photography business can have. That for most people is what brings in the clients. Most people say it costs around 10 grand to get a good start. I spent around 5 grand and feel I was short on what I really needed. do you have the proper equipment for things? do you have proper backup equipment in case your on a shoot and your gear goes down? Are you charging sales tax? Are you insured? so many things that go along with the business. Marketing is hard.

What you saw on Facebook I'm assuming was those small ads on the right hand side that pop up. Do you have business page on Facebook? Or are you using your personal page? if you don't have a business page yet start one, once you get to 100 likes Facebook gives you a free $50 to put your ads up on the site. That will give you a good start on there. Keep personal and business pages separate, once you do that you also have to watch what you say on your personal page because people will look you up and they will see what your doing on there and how you conduct yourself. If money is low maybe just pay for a few hours time for a web designer to have a look at your website and offer some suggestions. that in itself is a whole different field most people don't have knowledge about. Look into things like Twitter, Flickr Pinterest, as ways of getting your best work (and I mean your best work, not every single photo you take)out to the public. And you have to work at creating a following. the bigger your following the more people will see your work and it gives you an outlet to push the business, show people who you are, and get people to go to your website.

Get involved with charities. silent auctions. raffles and donate some free shoots. Get exposure about your business out there. you want to have things setup that look professional before you start. something simple like business cards I went cheap at first, trying to rush things, and I hated them. Didn't even want to hand them out. so went out and had someone design them up for me. it cost more but they looked way more professional and 20x better then I could do because they new graphic design and new what they were doing. Have contracts written up before you start so you can cover your ass from day one. I honestly feel that once someone decides they want to do photography as a business they should take a year to learn the business and marketing side of things because that's where it becomes work and a lot of people decide its to much work to do right. At this point I'm rambling so good luck.
 

KmH

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When the federal govt. shutdown ends, visit The U.S. Small Business Administration | SBA.gov and review the free information there on Starting and Maintaining a small business.
You can also get free business advice from Free Small Business Advice | How-to Resources | Tools | Templates | SCORE.

The most effective advertising is direct mail, because you can mail to the target audience you want as clients.
Using social media is just one avenue to use.
You will also want to have a blog, and use twitter.
If you want to use e-mail look at ConstantContact.com. E-mail has lost some of it's advertising luster because so much email gets filtered to the Spam box.

Making an effective written marketing, publicity, and promotions plan is a key to creating the buzz you need to attract clients.
You have to pursue your plan patiently and persistently, and make adjustments as necessary.
In other words you will need to spend time every day doing something that lets people know you have a service you offer for pay.

You need to be involved in your community so you get out, meet people, and start developing brand awareness.
Identify other non-competing businesses you can cross-promote with so your name gets into that businesses customers heads.
Compile the contact information for every newspaper's business section editor in a 100 mile radius to use when you have business worthy news you can put in a Press Release.
Going Pro: How to Make the Leap from Aspiring to Professional Photographer

You say you've done several jobs already. If you were paid to do those jobs and you expect to be paid for future jobs, you no longer have a hobby.
What you have is a part-time business.
If your part-time business is not registered/licensed with the city/county/state where you live, you have exposure to legal problems.
Specific info for Georgia - First Stop Business Guide
Almost any business activity you engage in will require a city or county business license . . .

Starting even just a part-time business is a big job and involves devoting a lot of time and effort to the process.
 
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nursepaige2010

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Two thing:

You aren't supposed to post images you don't own the copyright to
and
The best way to take your 'hobby to the next level' is to be a better photographer, not to charge people for hobby-level work.
Thanks for your input. I understand the copywrite thing, but it was clearly a screenshot from my iphone on facebook, I hardly think thats posting an image i dont own a right to. I was clearly trying to show you guys what I was trying to accomplish, I just dont know how to describe it. All I wanted to know was how to make that add. Instead of bullying me and deleating the screenshot, you couldve given me some helpful advise.
Also, I am trying to be a better photographer. Your post seems to insinuate that Im not good enough to be a photographer, whether professional or self taught. I have taken several photography classes as well as editing classes over the past year, and I have seen a great change in my work. Not all of us can afford to go to college for something like photography and just sit and hope that we can make enough money to make it wporth it. Ive wanted to be a photographer since I was 12, but in my life, I had to choose something that would have more steady pay. So now I am a registered nurse, working full time. I choose to do photography on the side because I am confident in my abilities, and I am looking to grow. This is something Ive always wanted, but you have to start somewhere. Bullying me because Im not a professional, institute-taught photographer is shallow and rude.
As far as charging people for "hobby-level work"... I started doing this for free, asking people to let me take pics of their kids, do their maternity shoot for free. Its a lot of work, you should know since youre so professional. Now that Ive enhanced my skills and gotten a lot better at this, expecting me to do this for free is crazy. I dont charge an outrageous amount because I do know that Im not the best professional photographer out there, but that doesnt mean I should do it for free.

Now since you deleted my screenshot, I will just post an ad that I have made. Its juvenile looking and sad, but this is the only way I can find to do this right now.....which is why I was asking for help. I dont have the money to hire a graphic designer, and webdesigner, and all this other stuff. I am not that big yet and cant justify spending that much money on something that I may do once or twice a month. Family, friends, and word of mouth are my best options right now. Im not looking to be a huge photogpraher, like I said, its a hobby that i happen to be good at. People ask me to do photoshoots. Why not have the best facebook flyers Im capable of? Especially if its all I have right now.

As far as a website....I guess I could really set up a blog or something. I really just want a place where I can share my work and let people see what I can do. Smugmug allows me to do that but it really doesnt have a unique look to it. I guess blog is my best option. I just didnt know if there was something you guys were using thats easier than setting up a blog page.

Thank you for all your posts, and I appreciate your advice. Hopefully now, if my picture doesnt get deleted again, you guys can see what I mean. I really just want to be able to post a "flyer" on facebook kind of like the one below, but better. This was made with Picasa....its the only thing I know to use right now. But i want some other way to make these and not have them look like a school project. Almost like a holiday greeting card you would order from shutterfly, only its an ad for my photography? Suggestions? $image.jpg
 
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The_Traveler

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The copyright issue is a rule of the site, not mine and, while I don't agree with it, we follow it.
I didn't delete your photo, someone with some mod credentials did.

As far as the 'bullying' goes, I told you exactly what I thought in response to what you said "I've recently decided that I wanted to take my hobby to the next level"

If you take money for a service, you are a business, with all the responsibilities of one.
Perhaps 4 days out of the week, someone shows up with this exact same proposal and generally there's the exact same response.
 

dsiglin

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If you want an easy way to share photos that isn't a blog in the traditional sense I'd recommend looking into tumblr. I think you will get the most out of this site if you post two or three recent photos looking for critiques. I've already learned a lot about lighting by doing just that.
 

vintagesnaps

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It might be worth looking into resources such as on ASMP's site or those of other pro photographers organizations. Besides advertising and promoting yourself, going into business even as a sideline can get into contracts, deposits, accepting credit cards/checks, paying taxes, insurance, etc. as well as knowing how to handle a variety of situations like cancellations, refunds, nonpayment, etc.

With the sample you posted I think the white lettering stands out and the orange seems to blend somewhat into the brown background. It doesn't seem like it's enough to really see what type of photos you do/your style, the quality of the photos, etc. but that might at least in part be due to how it shows up on here. (The railroad tracks are what made me think of insurance because if you're arranging the locations and setting up sessions you might need to think about what if something happens on a shoot and you could potentially be considered to have the responsibility/liability for it; if you need permission to hold a photo session at that location, etc.)

If you're using other websites, including social media sites and those that allow reposting, rather than setting up your own site you might need to check Terms & Conditions, usually the section under User Content or similar wording. There may be Terms that state something like users retain ownership/copyright BUT users agree to let the site use, modify, reproduce, distribute etc. their photos (often referred to as your intellectual property).

If you haven't already you might want to look at websites for other portrait photographers in your area; your work would probably need to be at the same level of quality to be able to charge the going rate and be successful. People may be willing to have portraits done for free or cheap but what they're willing to pay for would probably need to be competitive with other portrait photographers.
 

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Why do you need to say by appointment only when there is no address that people can just show up at? It would also be a good idea to actually show that you can photograph the front side of people specifically peoples faces on your add.
 
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