[Part 2 of 3] Hip-Hop Business Lesson "cake": You Are Cruel

Before we get into Flo Rida’s amazing business lesson #2 from his song “Cake,” let's chat about the last email…

 

So what IS the “cake” of a photography business?

 

Some people responded back from the last email they thought it was, “to make memories,” to “have freed,” to “have flexibility,” and to “love what you’re doing every day.”

 

...and, they’re all sorta right.

 

But I want to be a little bit more clear here, so you’ve got something to work with.

 

The “cake,” or the REAL reason for your photography business is…

 

...drumroll…

 

...TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE…

 

If that sounds a bit anti-climactic, that’s because it IS anti-climactic…

 

But there is a HUGE problem in our industry which is:

 

Almost nobody in the photography industry actually IS “living the life they want to live…”

 

 

...so here’s the thing…

 

And I’m just going to call you all out right now on it...

 

Are YOU living the life you want?

 

Probably NOT.

 

And I’m not talking “my life is ok,” and “I am content,” and “well the starving children in Africa would think my life is amazing so I’m just happy with what I have” BS.

 

You’re doing this photography thing, you’re doing it for the “life you want,” which probably means freedom to bring your daughter to the bus stop.

 

Freedom from a boss you hate.

 

Freedom from being “tied down.”

 

But ARE you free?

 

DO you have freedom?

 

Not just freedom of time, but from your own guilt and mental anguish?

 

Do you actually have the WORST boss you’ve ever had - the meanest, rudest, most “you can never get enough done at the quality you want done” boss…that ALWAYS makes you feel guilty?

 

...and that boss?

 

Is YOU?

 

 

I want that to sit with you for a minute...

 

 

....

 

RE-READ the paragraph above if you need too…

 

...

 

The reality is this, and it was for me, too.

 

The cruelest person, boss, critic of them all?

 

Is YOU.

 

If there was a boss as cruel as you are to yourself?

 

We would call that mental abuse, sue the S*** out of them, and spread the word on Facebook like there was no tomorrow.

 

OK - rant OVER.

 

I won’t leave you hangin’ - because Amazing Flo Rida Business Lesson #2 is HOW we’re going to fix this...HOW we’re going to make #1, the LIFE we want to live, a REALITY.

 

This is so much more simple than you think.

 

Let me give you a visual first, then I’ll explain what this all means...

 

A brief visual of Flo Rida in the music video -

 

Sleeveless tee, hood on…

Grill...on his teeth...yeah...

Gold flashy Jewelry...

Diamond earrings...

Sunglasses...at night...and indoors…

Strange blue and bleached jeans that resemble capris but for men…

Bag full of gold bars…

Blue sequin high top shoes…

Fancy schmancy car...

 

So what does this all MEAN?

 

Quite Simply: “Dress for the cake” or “dress the part”

 

You keep the END in MIND.

 

In Flo’s case, he only came for HIS cake, to “leave with somebody.”

 

Think about it…

 

He KNEW the goal was to leave with somebody, which is going to effect:

1. The way he dresses

2. The way he acts

3. How many dollar bills he throws in the air...lol...

 

 

Back when you were single (or maybe you are single), when you went out for the night, did you wear a hooded sweatshirt, jeans and flip flops?

 

I mean...that’s how I go out NOW, now that I am MARRIED…

 

But back when I was single?

 

Heels, dark jeans, flattering top that wasn’t too fancy but wasn’t too casual (because I’m in Montana…where our men wear carhartts, flannel and have beards), volumize hair, curl, lip gloss, DONE! (as opposed to hair in ponytail, glasses, might not have showered today, jeans, flip flops)

 

You keep the END in MIND with everything you do.

 

Here’s the BIG problem I see in most photography businesses:

 

Said photograph knows the end they have in mind, but they feel like they will GET THAT end result with enough blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice and “hard work.”

 

“Once I get my name out there it will all come together…”

 

“If I just give the best customer service I can, including working evenings, weekends, and giving up time with my kids, then in the next year or two it will all work out and I’ll have that freedom…”

 

Sound like anyone you know?

 

;)

 

Freedom and the life you desire does NOT come with hard work, sacrifice, or putting your clients needs ahead of yours.

 

It comes from DESIGNING IT that way…

 

You must KNOW what you want your life to look like, and then base your DECISIONS FOR YOUR BUSINESS around that.

 

Instead of what you’re probably doing right now:

DESIGNING YOUR BUSINESS for what you think will be most convenient for your clients, designing it around what “other photographers in your area” are doing, and giving up your own happiness because of it.

 

Some tough love:

 

Stop FREAKING photographing at sunset in the summer every night if you have young kids at home, then complain you can never tuck your kids in at night, because YOU are the one who DESIGNED IT that way!

 

Do you think I photograph at sunset in the summer, read, 9 pm at night? HELL NO! I have a 3 kids under age 6 at home...and THAT’S why I have off-camera flash - so I can make pretty light ANY time of the day, even at high noon.

 

Do other photographers in my area photograph at sunset in the summer? YEP! And I feel bad for them...and to put it bluntly without trying to brag...I’m probably making more than them...

 

 

But I get it - designing your business for your own happiness, freedom, and what YOU desire, is about as easy as losing weight.

 

Sure, it’s simple: eat less calories, work out more...but the REAL challenge comes in your mindset.

 

Mindset isn’t an easy thing to tackle, which is why in our paid mastermind group we actually HAVE a MINDSET COACH to talks to each student one-on-one.

 

But it’s VITAL.

 

OK - running out of room here so the mindset stuff will have to wait, as well Flo Rida’s Amazing Business Tip #3.

Cheers,

 

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. OK - you “caught” me...there IS no “running out of room” when it comes to email. But here’s the thing, there’s only so much “space” and “room” in your attention span for me. I don’t want to overstay my welcome in your brain :)

 

 

That being said, if you DO have some “extra room” in your brain for more info on growing your photo business, 45 minutes to be exact, then check out this video I made...it won’t disappoint :)

 

[Part 1 of 3] Hip-Hop Music Business Lessons for Photographers - I only came for the cake

Yo!

Ok...maybe "yo" was too much, but I wanted to stick with a hip-hop theme here...I don't even know if people SAY "yo" anymore...

Anywhoo -

I didn’t come here to party…

I didn’t come here to stay…

I came to leave with somebody…

I only came for the CAKE!


 

If you’re sitting here thinking, “has this chick gone mad,” that’s OK.

Because while I was blasting this hip-hop song on my stereo today while driving, I had an epiphany.

EPIPHANY #1: “HUH! It’s “cake,” not “KEG!”

That’s right, this song first brought me back to those high-school days where keggers in the woods was a “thing,” and so was beat-up pick-up trucks with lifted tires, sitting on the tailgate, and “keg pushups” (different then keg-stands, I found out, while in college when people looked at my like I was crazy when I wanted to have them hold my feet PARALLEL to the ground while I legit did push ups, rather than being completely upside-down….but enough of the visual)

 

EPIPHANY #2: DANG, Flo Rida & 99 Percent are SMART business people, this song could be the title of a business book! “I Only Came for the Cake: 3 business concepts that will change your life”

You’re probably sitting their puzzled...and I promise, all of your questions are going to be answered about this song and why it’s SO GREAT!

Ok, so we’ve established this song has THREE business lessons in it. So let's get started on those:

Smart Business Man Flo Rida Lesson #1: Know what your “cake” is.

First, what the heck is CAKE?

It took me a while to figure out what he meant by cake too...especially because I thought it was “keg” first.

So here’s my definition:

CAKE: The REAL reason and motivation behind your actions…

You go to your niece's piano recital not to hear the music, but to support her and be a good Aunt.

 

You go to a Super Bowl party not to watch the game (OK...some of you do, but not me…), but to have fun with friends.

 

People go to Church to be saved, not for the church service (I’m a pastor's kid...I’m allowed to say this one…and in fact my kids go for the “kids message” because they always get sugar-high on candy crosses and cake pops)

You go to a business open house for the CAKE!

For Flo? (ok, now I’m acting like we’re best buds...we’re not...obviously...but if we were? I would call him Flo…)

For Flo, his “cake” is “leaving with somebody,” and no, I will not paint a picture here...because I’m sure he just means going for a long walk on the beach…not the drink.

So what’s YOUR “c-c-c-c-c-c----c-c-c-c-c-c----c-c-c-c-c-c-----c-c-c-c----CAKE?”

What is the END GOAL of your photography business?

 

Is it REALLY to have more clients?

NO.

Is it REALLY to take photos?

NO.

Is it REALLY to make money?

NO!

 

So then...what is it?

What is the REAL “cake” of photography businesses?

 

I want you to THINK about it...Honestly, just THINKING about it is going to be very insightful.

 

And I’ll give you the answer tomorrow, when I reveal the #2 business less we can learn from this song…and YES people may have different answers, but 90% of you are going to have the same cake...

 

If you so desire, click reply and tell me what you THINK the “cake” of a portrait/wedding photography business is. Or, click here and post your response in our facebook group dedicated to the business of photography.

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. I’m still unclear as to why the music video has children dancing around during part of it, then scantily clad women in other parts…

 

...then...the CRAZIEST part of all is when Mr. Flo hands out gold bars and people start biting them….I was TOTALLY surprised for this one…

 

...Watch the video here.

 

P.P.S. Want to continue the photography business conversation with us? Join the Facebook group and see what other people think the “cake” will be!

She didn't book me because of my work or because of my price…

I'm literally writing this just minutes after booking a family portrait session over the phone.

 

Because I had an immediate insight after chatting with a super nice lady for about 15 minutes and getting the booking on the spot.

 

She didn't book me because she thinks I'm the best. The most luxurious brand. And certainly not the cheapest (because I'm not).

 

She didn't book me because of my style, editing, or even "what makes me different."

 

She booked me because I CALLED HER BACK.

 

And I didn't just call her back, I called her back on the SAME DAY.

 

And I ASKED for the booking.

 

If I had called her back tomorrow?

 

She would have booked with a different photographer that actually called her back.

 

Because you see - for her, yes, she wants professional grade photos. But, she wants the certainty of booking her family portrait session specifically on December 20th, the date all of her children are in town.

 

And she aint got 3-4 days to wait around for all of the other photographers to get back to her.

 

She has a life.

 

That's right - when we as photographers wait 2,3,4,5 days to call people and actually expect they have been patiently waiting for us the OBVIOUS best choice to call them back?

 

Well, when we do this, we are being completely unrealistic, and are opening ourselves up for self-destruction.

 

Because when we do that -

 

1. We are led down the daily shame spiral of NOT calling people back and feeling terrible about it.

 

2. When we finally do call them back, we are mad at ourselves because they booked someone else and woe is me everyone is better or cheaper if more different or...or...or... DEEP BREATH!

The truth is, whoever they booked wasn't probably better, or cheaper, or more unique....

....They were just faster, and followed through better.

 

So today my #1 tip for booking sessions is this:

Answer the phone, and if you can't answer, call back within hours and at LEAST the same day. Get an email inquiry? CALL THEM!

It's so simple, yet I have been guilty of waiting two or three days to call people back and then being disappointed when they do not get back with me.

 

My #2 tip for booking sessions:

 

Ask for the booking over the phone. After you go over what you do and why what you are going to give them is going to rock their Santa-striped socks off, do this:

"Do you want to go ahead and get that on the calendar?"

BOOM!

Then take their credit card number, and give them the most amazing portrait experience they could imagine.

 

Cheers!

Lisa Edwards

 

P.S. Wanna go on a photo walk with me? Join me for my Photo Walk at WPPI in February! It's PW36: Posing and Creating Confidence with Tweens to Boost Your Slow Season! Click for more of a description - and lets hang out!

FINAL Facebook Experiment Results for Photographers: Did I get Inquiries/Bookings?

The ONLY thing that matters when it comes to social media is...

...wait for it...

WILL IT GET YOU BOOKED?

AKA, will you make more money if you post consistently to social media?

The two week Facebook Experiment is done - the results are in, and they're both surprising yet very logical at the same time.

The short video series below is going to show you my exact results, as I rip apart my website leads, facebook message leads, website traffic, search engine rankings, Instagram posts, and more.

The videos are each short - between 4 and 13 minutes each (though most of them are more around the 4-6 minute length). There's even a quick summary at the end.

But first, if you haven't already done so, be sure to get caught up by reading the past info in this series.

#1: I should be out of business [SERIOUSLY]

#2: Don't be fooled: Your seemingly BAD facebook posts are probably your BEST ones for results.

Part 3 in this series: The final facebook / social media report.

Video #1: Does time of day matter when it comes to social media success?

Video #2: Do photos, videos, or link shares work best?

Video #3: Watch as I rip apart the success of my Instagram posts

 

Video #4: How does social media affect my website traffic?

Video #5: Does social media affect my SEO rankings?

Video #6: THE most important - did I get inquiries? Did I get booked?

Video #7: Quick Summary

 

Next Action Steps:

1. ALWAYS make sure you post your website link in EVERY post, preferably "above the fold," aka, above the "view more" area.

2. ONCE PER WEEK (at least) write a blog post, even a 2-image blog post with 1 paragraph, and post that link to your facebook page for OPTIMAL clicks to website. (click here to download the guide on your success with blog posts)

3. Make sure google analytic is installed on your website.

4. Compare your facebook posting vs. website traffic vs. inquiries and bookings to see for yourself if social media is boosting your bookings.

Don’t be fooled: Your seemingly LEAST popular Facebook posts are probably getting you the MOST leads.

My heart sunk deep, feeling like my snow boots in October snow-turned-mud.

Two likes?

SERIOUSLY though...TWO LIKES and 998 people reached?

Zero comments...really?

Do I suck that bad that nobody likes what I’m confident is a DAMN SWEET 30-second exposure of the mine trucks dumping at night with a thick fog?

This is the story of feeling like a failure, but be sure to read until the end, where you’ll learn why this post with TWO LIKES and no comments got me more leads than the one with 23 comments, and the simple technique to do the same (and a 9 minute video walkthrough).

So where we were?

Oh yes. Full of self-doubt and feeling like crap, that’s where we were.

So my excuses came a roooooooling in.

Well, I didn’t post it during the “peak engagement hours” of 6:30 - 8ish (I posted at 8:01).

Well, Facebook probably just hates me and is hiding my post because it’s a link to a blog post, which takes people away from Facebook.

Well, I ACCIDENTALLY posted it twice, WHOOPS! Facebook is probably penalizing me for it (which, the other post has had a reach of 676 people and 9 likes...so in total a reach of around 1,674 in the past 5 days, and 9 likes...so better than I originally had thought).

Well, not EVERYBODY has a strange love of industrial mining equipment in the fog.

 

facebook-for-photographers

But the post I thought would do SUCKY did amazing! In the last 4 days, it had a reach of 2,477, 28 likes, and 4 comments (19 MORE comments when I shared it to my personal page).

It’s an image of the new floor in my studio, and I thought people would think it was ENTIRELY too “self-promotey.” (new word I made up...I should start up a new Photo Bacon terminology dictionary. I’ll add that to my “someday maybe” list.)

 

posting-photos-to-facebook-for-photographers

But after a few days of feeling like I had NO IDEA how to predict what posts would be good/bad/ugly/make me feel like crap about myself, I realized something.

The goal of facebook is NOT to get likes, comments, shares, reach, or EVEN to get messages from leads.

The REAL goal of facebook is to direct people where you want them to go. To direct them to a place where they will fall in love.

Where they will fall in love with your work, with your personality on your about page, to have them fall in love with the entire package, and where they can EASILY raise their hand, and say “HEY! HEY YOU! I am interested in your photography!”

To sum it up, the job of your facebook page is to lead them to your website and/or blog post.

The job of your website is to show them why they should book you, and to help them easily show interest (contact form, signup for a newsletter).

 

So which of the two posts above got the most people to my website?

Well, one of them got 0 link clicks to my website.

The other? 62.

I’m sure you’ve already guessed by now…

The one of my new studio floor? ZERO link clicks. And even if I would have included my link, judging by my other posts with similar engagement, I would have had just 2 or 3.

facebookpostphotographers

The one with 62 link clicks?

The night image blog post linked on my page (between the two almost identical posts on my page, that is).

PS - The strategy behind this specific post I call the “Trojan Horse” strategy, and I’ll be writing about what I did and why in the coming weeks.

 

And you’re probably wondering if all of these clicks did a single thing for me...aka, did I get booked?

Yes and no.

YES I have (1) paid session fee & two more inquiries as a result of sending this exact blog post out to my email list, but no, I didn’t book anything directly from the Facebook post (I talk about the who/why/how I got booked in the video at the bottom of this post).

 

So then, is it worth it?

Yes, absolutely, it is.

 

1. It resulted in (1) new email subscriber on 9/15.

Yes, JUST one new subscriber. But that one subscriber could mean a new mini session client at $450, or a sale of $1,000-$2,000.

 

2. If I want to run facebook ads for family portrait sessions, I can now target JUST people who have visited my website recently.

And all 62 link clicks will count for that.

 

3. I planted the seed:

Of 62 people who clicked the link, there are probably at least a handful of people interested in having family portraits taken, and now that the seed has been planted, interest will likely follow.

 

And while people seeing your posts on facebook is also planting a seed? It’s like planting a seed on any-old soil. And when they click to your website? It’s like planting the seed on soil treated with Miracle Grow.

 

And since my family only eats when my seeds grow into real sessions, I’ll take my chances on the Miracle Grow soil ANY day.

 

Your Next Action Steps.

  1. In EVERY social media post, include the link to your website, preferably in short posts so people don’t have to click “view more.”

  2. Post ONE blog post with at least one image in it and post to your fan page to gain website traffic.

  3. Make SURE that blog post grabs ATTENTION, peaks CURIOSITY, and isn’t just the “same old same old” all of the other photographers are posting. Download the free guide, Get Real Leads from Facebook and Blog Posts at this link.



 

Watch the video going even deeper on this subject, and watch me dissect 5 of my best/worst facebook posts from the past week in this video:

  • What is this facebook experiment any ways? (0:18)

  • The only reason I’m still in business (0:24)

  • I felt defeated - what I tHOUGHT would be good, did bad on facebook (1:28)

  • The post I THOUGHT would do bad, but did good (2:17)

  • What the REAL goal of a facebook post is (3:13)

  • Why most engagement is getting you ZERO benefit: (3:33)

  • The biggest mistake you can make in your posts (4:34)

  • How I got one booking, and a live view of the blog post linked (6:18)

  • Portrait photo vs. NON portrait photo (aka, the Trojan Horse) (7:25)

  • How to transition to your website link (8:19)

  • Why you would do a “mass post” of 4-10 client images vs. single images (8:30)

  • Next action steps (8:53)

  • Why it makes sense there is less engagement on blog posts on facebook (9:17)

 

Resource mentioned: 

Download the free guide, Get Real Leads from Facebook and Blog Posts at this link.

 

Read Part 1 in the Social Media Experiment:

I should be out of business [SERIOUSLY] and here’s why…

I should be out of business [SERIOUSLY] and here's why...

Inconsistency should be my middle name.

That’s right - Lisa “inconsistent” Edwards seems like the obvious choice my parents should have made.

Today facebook reminded me I hadn’t posted on my photography fan page in 5 days.

And Instagram? HA!

Instagram, old buddy, old pal...if Instagram were a real person (a celebrity will probably name their child Instagram some day), he/she would say my middle name should be “doesn’t even exist.”

And snap-chat?

Well...let’s just say I lost my Snapchat password like OVER A YEAR ago, and haven’t bothered to find it.

You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking....How the HELL are you even still in business, lady?

Sigh. I know. I know. I have pondered this question many-a-time while sipping a white wine spritzer over ice from dollar-store wine glasses (because in a land with 3 children under 6, spending more than $1 for a glass that will likely break within 7 days is just stupid...and because I’m cheap when it comes to that kinda thing).

No, I don’t have a rich husband (in fact my business supports my family of 5 for the most part).

No, I’m not getting rich selling antenna balls (but yes, my husband has an online antenna ball busines, ridiculous yet?)

And no, I am not a full-time educator (putting food on the table for my kids relies on booking photography gigs).

You see, I have this “knack for marketing.”

Like, knack for figuring out how to say things that pull at their heartstrings, and makes them want to buy.

I also have a knack for spreadsheets and accounting and

“OH CRAP! I need to make 10k in the next few weeks or I won’t be able to pay my studio mortgage or our health insurance and I will lose everything and what am I doing my life is falling apart! Mini session event here we come!”

 

And yes, the thoughts in my head are usually that melodramatic (and probably more...if I get a customer complaint? The WORLD IS GOING TO END AND I SUCK AT PHOTOGRAPHY AND AND AND...)

So I realize the only thing that has kept my business afloat is this knack for marketing + financial understanding. But no, this is not an accounting sermon on “knowing thy numbers,” I pinkie promise

Most of what I do is VERY “campaign” oriented.

Yeah, “campaign.” Meaning a short-length marketing series to get business around one specific type of specialized session, for a very specific person, in a very limited amount of time.

That’s a great way to spin “inconsistent” in a positive way, am I right?

And it’s worked very well for me. I am VERY deadline oriented (blame it on being a journalism major and then being the photo editor for my college newspaper).

And it’s the truth. When I want to, I can create business out of seemingly nowhere, and on a very tight deadline.

But as of right now, I’m having a bit of an aha moment about this (said in my very terrible fake British accent).

 

Because if I’m more consistent in my other marketing, my “background” marketing if you will...will that mean that I will 1.5x, 2x, even 3x my bookings when I have consistent marketing in the background?

 

Will it be easier to book, and will I book MORE with the same amount of effort if I have the “exposure” to the people I want to get business from?

 

EXPOSURE?

Wait a minute, you’re thinking...Haven’t you been PREACHING about how exposure is crap, how it gets you $0 in your bank account?

 

And I get it, hell, I’m the preacher’s daughter (seriously though, my dad is a retired pastor and my Mom’s dad was a pastor, too, and no, I’m not going to talk to you about religion OR politics, or about that guy with the crazy combover or the lady whose husband said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”).

 

In short, I still believe exposure is crap when it comes to doing free work (though I beleive free work CAN make you money when you do it the right way), or just aimlessly posting crap that is a lot about nothing and has no goal in mind.

 

And frankly?

I don’t even KNOW if being consistent on social media will get me more sessions, or just make me spin my wheels aimlessly on the hamster wheel of the life.

 

The truth is, I have my doubts.

I’ve had a REALLY good past two business days without any “background marketing.”

I booked (and got the session fee for) one session today and two on Friday - which being a low-volume studio is REALLY REALLY good!

And one of those sessions is an adult with adult children session (which if you listened to my last Facebook LIVE is a HUGE untapped market where my two largest sales have come from in the past).



And here’s what I want to find out and report back to you:



Does it matter?

Does being on facebook and Instagram ACTUALLY matter?

And even more importantly, does what I SAY matter, do the images I POST matter?

What time do I get the most engagement?

What about facebook ads vs. Instagram ads vs. just regular posts?

 

So tomorrow, 9/13 will start my own little photography science experiment.

I’m going to be experimenting daily with facebook and Instagram (both ads and posts) to see what happens.

Will I get more leads?

Will they book me, or will they be price shoppers?

Will “engagement” posts help (aka asking a question)?

Will telling stories get me more likes, comments and shares?

What will happen to my website traffic when I post my link into every image?

Will it help my search rankings on Google?

What about using Facebook LIVE? Will that help?

 

I’ll be documenting my facebook and Instagram stats, my website traffic, and MOST important? I’ll be documenting my leads and bookings (read MONEY IN, aka, the ONLY thing that even really matters).

 

And I’ll report back to you every 3-5 days with my biggest insights including what will help you book more and what is a waste of time.

The experiment?

Will run for approximately 14 days.

Are you in?

Pop me an email and let me know if you’re IN, and what you want me to experiment with during this time!

 

Cheers to testing if Facebook and Instagram REALLY work!

 

Lisa “gonna be inconsistently consistent for the next 14 days” Edwards.

 

P.S. I’ve been toying with the idea of creating copy & paste and plug-and-play social media, website and email wording based on my own history of what works best. Would that be something you’d be interested in? Reply in the coments!


P.P.S. Click here to see the “dog-nose-effect” of a wide-angle lens in full use. And listen to me answer some of the toughest photography questions around (and learn the BIG target market I hope to target next). Watch my last facebook LIVE video (PS you’ll want to fast forward to the 2-3 minute mark - AFTER I figured out my sound issues)

Steal My Scripts + The Top 5 Ways “Tween” Sessions Can Make You Money and Build Your Business

how to get photography clients

My eyes became the size of golf balls and my stomach did 25 jumping jacks.

I may have peed my pants just a little.

My inbox had 12 delighted mothers wanting to book…

...from a single email.

and for me?

People didn’t usually respond to my marketing.

I normally rejoiced if I got even one booking.

But this was different. 

THIS time, I was targeting an untapped market, like a keg out camping that somehow tipped over and became lost in the brush. The beer is still there, but nobody knows about.

And THIS time, I was using marketing with emotion. (You can steal my scripts to make moms want to book you instantly for a tween session HERE.)

Targeting a market that nobody in my area was doing anything with (because, just like the lost keg, they don’t know it’s there).

There was virtually, literally, no competition at all for what I was doing.

It was like I was breaking up with the competition, with the 20 other photographers in my area. 

I was no longer competing for the same dollar THEY were competing for. No, this time I was the only one competing for the tween c

But I didn’t just throw out an email that said “Now booking Tween Sessions!”

 

No, no, no, my friend, my darling, my fellow professional photographer.

 

Because that?

Would have resulted in likely zero bookings. Zilch. Nada.

Instead, I was pulling at the heartstrings of moms. Making them not just want, but feel they needed to have their tween daughter photographed.

{More details on that in my free guide at the bottom “How to make moms want to book you instantly for tween sessions.”}

K1622-0009.jpg

And those 12 sessions?

Were during weeks when I didn’t already have anything booked.

And the potentially for growing your senior and family business from these sessions is exponential.

I’m still dumbfounded as to why it took me so long to realize the potential of tweens.

And why 99% of photographers don’t specifically photograph tweens (it’s always just tossed in the mix of children sessions)

Let me enlighten you, my dear, on just how lucrative tween sessions can be:

The top 5 ways “tween“ sessions can make you money and build your business.

how to make more in photography


01. It’s Like Pulling Money out of Thin Air

That’s right. Reach your chiseled arm (the one you shoot your 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with) over your head, and imagine pinching the air and that air turning into cash, baby.

Normally there’s a sea of photographers all grasping for the same measly dollar.

But not when it comes to Tween Sessions.

It’s just you reaching.

And you’re getting every dollar.


Any why is it invisible?

Because nobody else knows it’s there.


Mrs. Edward’s Math Class

If there are 600 high school seniors in your area and there are 20 photographers pursuing them, then you’re limited as to how much money you can make. And when you get one client, that means the other 19 are not getting those clients.

But with tweens, there are 1,200 tweens 12-13 year olds, and you are the only photographer going after them as clients.

See what I mean, about the money coming out of thin air thing?


02. The Favoritism Effect

make money in photography

The tweens you photograph likely have siblings. Which means ***Ding Ding Ding*** their parents will have to have their other children photographed when they are tweens.

They can’t play favorites. They can’t have a canvas and an album of one child and then do nothing for the others. They just wouldn’t feel right about it.

And who’s the only photographer that offers tween sessions in your town?

Why it’s you, of course.

And not only are you the only tween photographer in your area, but you’re offering them more than photographs.

You’re giving the tween self-confidence and self-worth.

And more importantly, you’re giving the mom what all moms want: to feel like they are doing something great for their daughter, which ultimately makes them a good mom. (You do this with the words you use in your emails and phone calls to them, more in the free guide at the bottom)

03. Future Senior

how to make money with photography

In 3-5 years these girls will be high school seniors, or the juniors that you put into your senior model program if you offer one.

And when the tweens and their parents fall in love with your style, personality and the way you make them feel about themselves?

They will be your client.

And so will their friends.

 

04. Time = Money

Who has time for MORE sessions in the middle of summer?

I don’t. You don’t. No sane photographer does.

how to get more clients in photography

So don’t book tweens during your busy season (and when you do, raise the price)

Book tweens in the slow months, or when you see a few weeks where you don’t have much scheduled.

Time is money. Right? When you book these sessions, you can’t do it when you are already busy and have to turn people away. That would be crazy talk. Am I right?

Or, you don’t turn anybody away, and then your children are orphans for three months a year (I have done this one before...can we say mom-guilt?).

05. Family Forever

make money in familly photography

Now that you’re finished with the tween session and got a great sale, it’s time to book the family session.

You know what I love about this?

They know you. They understand why photography is important. They know your pricing isn’t $75 for a disc and 20,000 prints.

So booking them is easy.

My favorite way to book them is to send them a letter a few weeks after they receive their products. I hand-write the note telling them how much fun I had at their daughter’s session, and as a thank-you I give them a complimentary family portrait session that needs to be used by the end of the year (and then I remind them before it expires).

Some photographers frown on giving away free things.

And I *sometimes* agree.

You can’t just give out free sessions and free discs and free photos at events to “get your name out there.” That doesn’t work. I’ve done that. I did that a lot, in fact, when I first started. But not anymore. Now if I agree to do something free or do a free promotion? Free ends up being paid.

You need to make money on free.

You need to give away free things to people who know they are going to spend money with you after they get what was free.

And in this case?

They just dropped a big chunk of change on their daughter’s tween collection.

So they know a free session means they are saving on the session BUT they are going to spend on the portraits.

This can all be very, very lucrative for you (imagine Mr. Burns tapping his fingers together slyly)

 

It’s Algebra at its best

It’s exponential growth.

 

Tween Word Problem #2:

Kimmy photographs 12 tween sessions. 3 of those have no siblings. 2 of the 12 have one older siblings (who are are not yet seniors) and no other siblings. The other 7 have an average of 2 siblings that are younger. They all (obviously) have families.

how to get photography customers

How many more potential tween, senior and family sessions will those 12 tweens bring?

54 potential sessions in the next 6 years.

Will you realistically book all 54 sessions? But even if just half of those sessions were booked?

That would be 27 more sessions.

And let's say you average $800/sale. The 12 tween sessions + the extra 27 session would bring you $31,200.

And $31,200? Is a big chunk of change.

It’s the down payment on your dream house.

It’s putting your two children in private school this year.

It’s taking your entire family, siblings and parents on a Disney Cruise.

And just imagine tapping that market every.single.year.

And to help you tap that market, here is the download to the guide "The 3 Scripts to Make Moms Want to Book you Instantly for a Tween Session.”

money in photography

In a funk or feel unmotivated? Feel 5x better by doing this one small thing.

We ALL have funks.

We all have days where we are paralyzed and just don’t feel like we can get anything done.

We all procrastinate sometimes.

You are not alone in any of that, and you don’t need to get down so much on yourself for it.

in a funk photographer

 

So stop being so hard on yourself.

Give yourself more credit than you have been.

And know that this funk you’re in? This lack of motivation?

It will pass.

 

The truth is that you are already ahead of the game.

 

You are doing GREAT.

You aren’t just doing great, you are doing better than 97% of the rest of the world.

Because you have these goals.

These goals of growing your photography business.

These goals of creating the freedom in your life where you can walk your daughter to the bus stop every morning and watch your kids when they are sick.

These goals of making more in your business so that you can take your family on a Disney Cruise.

These goals that aren’t really even FOR you, but for your family.

 

And while the rest of the world is merely striving for “content,” you are striving for happiness, excitement in your work day and freedom.

 

You are working so hard, and even though some days (heck, probably most days) you feel burned out and like you are getting nothing done?

The truth is, you are getting more done than 97% of the population.

YOU are “doing it all,” even though the world is screaming at us saying you CAN’T do it all, and you CAN’T have it all.

And maybe they’re right, maybe they’re right 97% of the time.

But that other 3%?

That 3% of people that you and I and other entrepreneurs fall into?

WE are the 3% that won’t settle for average, for content, for a boring life.

You are part of that 3%.

 

So if you’re feeling burned out, stressed, unmotivated, and like this photography thing is a marathon you just can’t win?

 

Just know, that the truth is, you have already won.

You just have to keep moving ahead.

 

Some days that might be just a baby step that takes all of your energy.

Some days that will be a hop, skip and a jump.

And some days?

You will get more done in one day than the other 97% got done that month.

 

And it’s important to know that even ONE baby step every day is enough.

Because some days you won’t have the motivation to do more than one baby step.

And that’s ok.

We ALL have those days.

Those “funks” we get into.

I get them all the time, and in fact, I was in a two-week “funk” that ended yesterday.”

Those “funks” are you brain’s way of recovering after a marathon of massive action.

And the only way to get out of these funks are by giving yourself time, and creating a baby step of action every day.

And maybe you’re in a funk today, and maybe you’re not.

And if you’re not, you’re going to want to come back to this email on the day that you ARE in a funk.

Either way - here is how to get out of your funk.

 

Step 1: Figure out why you’re in a funk to begin with

I’m not talking about mommy or daddy issues, or other deep soul-searching activities.

I am talking about what you did BEFORE the funk began.

Did you have a super productive week where you edited 3 weddings and 8 sessions?

Have you been so busy with sessions this year and maybe took on more than you should have?

Did you go on a “vacation” with your family, only to feel like you needed a vacation from your kids after your vacation? (And don’t feel guilty about that...I used to feel terrible, until I realized that that’s how MOST parents feel after a vacation.).

 

Step 2: Plan for unmotivated days

 

You are going to have lack of motivation some days, which will lead to procrastination.

And procrastination?

Is the king of negativity, of guilt, of the “can I really do this photo business thing” voice inside your head.

But when you PLAN to have unmotivated days, you won’t feel that guilt or pessimistic voice in your head. And even if you do?

It will be a small hit of a guilt, not a “my life sucks, the world is collapsing on me, I don’t even know what I’m doing” type of guilt (which I’ve had PLENTY of times).

 

So how the heck do you plan for those days?

Start by making a list of things that do and don’t take your mental energy and motivation.

And this will be different for everybody.

For me?

 

The things that take the MOST mental energy and motivation include:

  • phone calls (specifically calling leads back)

  • Emails

  • ordering sessions

  • photo sessions

  • writing blog posts

  • posting images to facebook (pathetic, I know) and designing albums.

 

For me, things that don’t take me mental energy or motivation include:

  • Editing

  • doing my accounting

  • paying bills (although I don’t recommend doing THAT to get you out of a funk)

  • organizing the tornado that is my desk

  • making spreadsheets and calculating average sales and other metrics

  • and switching the displays in my studio windows.

 

Honestly?

You might be the EXACT opposite of me.

You might think I’m a freak of nature for loving spreadsheets and accounting.

Just yesterday I talked to a friend who told me that when she has a headache, editing makes her “think too much” and she’d rather be shooting a wedding where she doesn’t even really have to think (and I think that SHE is a freak of nature, since I am the exact opposite)

 

Step 3: Take a mental break on your “funk” days, and take just one baby step

On days where you feel in a funk, unmotivated or notice you are procrastinating do things, try to do as MUCH of the low mental energy/low motivation things on your list, and as LITTLE of the high energy, high motivation things on your list.

With ONE exception.

You have GOT to get one productive thing done. One itsy bitsy, baby step done.

For me some days it’s merely getting my emails and phone calls answered.

Even if that means letting people know that I won’t be able to answer their questions that day, but that they are first on my list the next day.

 

Some days it means just brainstorming IDEAS for blog posts, and not writing the post itself.

For you maybe it means you read an article and take notes on pricing, so that when you are feeling motivated you can re-work your price list.

All it means, is that you take at least one tiny baby step toward something that will help you with your goals.

 

Because if you do one baby step every day for a week?

That’s one BIG step toward your giant hairy goal.

But the biggest thing to remember is this:

You are not allowed to label yourself an unmotivated person, a procrastinator, and get down on yourself so much.

You are just going through a funk - something EVERYONE has.

We all have funks, and your funk will pass.


 

Hit me up: reply back in the comments with ONE baby step you are going to do today. I read every answer!

 

P.S. If one of your goals is reworking your pricing, check out Tanya Goodall Smith’s in depth article on pricing here.


P.P.S. Don’t forget to reply in the comments with the ONE baby step you are going to do today. I read every answer!

[5 Min Friday] Epic IPS Flop + Free Email Template

“You mean we have to order TODAY?!?”

 

This was how I felt.

This was how I felt.

If looks could kill, I would have been dead two days ago when this senior mom ripped me apart with her eyes.

 

Then dad came in 30 minutes late.

 

“Oh, do we have to make a decision today?”

 

To which the mom replied, “apparently,” in an oh-so disgusted voice.

 

I did my best to hide the eye-roll.

 

The order was less than half of my average sale, but that’s not was pissed me off.

 

But before I start into this, I want you to know that this post is NOT about bashing clients, about woe is me, or even about how tough it is being a photographer business owner.

 

It’s about a minor tweak (and an email script) that can save you the headache, the excuses, and the big-old problem of underprepared clients (even when you gave them everything to be prepared).

 

Because the old adage is true.

It might not be your fault, but it sure is your problem.

 

Let’s take a step back for a minute, put all emotion aside, and dissect the situation like that poor froggy in my 8th grade biology class.

 

Did I send the mom full-pricing, and info that she had to make a decision that day?

Yes. The basics were in the email body, the rest was in attachments.

 

Did the mom read any of it besides the info on choosing her date, and then the day/time confirmation email?

No. She said she was “out-of-town” and just “hadn’t had time to read any of it.”

 

My fault?

NO.

 

My problem?

YES, YES, and YES.

 

Has this happened to me before?

YES!

 

Ok.

 

So we have now established that said client claims she didn’t open pricing and didn’t know she had to order that day.

 

We have also established that I still have a problem to solve.

 

And the problem that has to be solved is this:

 

I need clients to open and read the information I send.

 

We have also established that just because you send somebody information, that does NOT mean they will in fact open it.

 

So how the heck do you make sure people open it?

 

Well, let me be straight here.

I actually hadn’t had this specific problem for a while.

I took out one touch-point that I thought “didn’t really matter, was a waste of time, and just made me look like a forgetful idiot.”

 

And when I did that?

 

All hell broke loose.

 

Ok, that’s me being overdramatic. Hell did not break loose. I don’t even know how hell could break loose - isn’t it supposed to be underground? OK. Back to the topic.

 

The problem came back, probably resulting in a lower sale than if said client would have read all of the information.


 

To solve the problem, we need to beat the odds.

In other words, there’s just always going to be these clients that don’t open information, no matter what we do. But if we can make it so that it only happens once per year instead of 3-5 times per year?

 

Well that could mean thousands of dollars in rescued sales.


 

Strategies to beat the odds, + my solution, + email script

 

Strategy #1: Print off all of the info, and send it to the client via snail mail a week before the ordering session.

 

Strategy #2: Sit down with them in the studio after the portrait session to go over the full pricing.

 

Strategy #3: Remind them until their ears bleed and you sound like a broken record / forgetful idiot.

 

The last strategy is the strategy I use, complete with quickie email template. Mostly because I really hate sitting down with clients to go over pricing. Like HATE it, feel awkward, want to go die in the corner.

 

So here’s my overall plan of attack for pricing/in person ordering expectations.

 

Step 1: When the client books the session, they already have a clear idea what the cost of a session is, and the basic pricing information, specifically starting points for packages, albums, etc. This either happens verbally over the phone when they call, or when they read through the senior or family magazine they download online.

 

Step 2: Session happens. Everything’s rainbows and unicorns.

 

Step 3: “Let's set up your ordering session date” email goes out, and in the email body tells them all decision makers need to be there, because they only get one in person ordering session. Pricing is not attached at this point.

 

Step 4: After they confirm their day and time, the “Important ordering session information” email goes out (preferably at least a week prior to the ordering date.” Again, they are reminded in the body of the email all decision makers need to be there. Full pricing is attached.

 

Step 5: This is the step I didn’t think I  needed anymore, but regret taking out.

 

The “oops, I couldn’t remember if I sent you this!” Email goes out 24-48 hours prior to the ordering session.

 

“Hey NAME!

I know my assistant called to remind you today of our meeting tomorrow (Date, TIME), but I just wanted to make sure I sent you all of the pricing, and I couldn’t remember if I sent you all of this detailed info yet! Tomorrow will be the day you place your order, so be sure to look it all over including the pricing, packages, and start to think about who will need photos, etc!

 

Seeya soon!

Lisa”

 

It’s so simple, but simple things can bring great results.

It’s one final kick in the butt that says, “Hey, hey you, if you haven’t looked at pricing yet, remember YOU WILL BE ORDERING TOMORROW, so look at it, like NOW.”

 

Will this prevent ALL “I didn’t know I had to order today” and “I didn’t know this was your pricing” excuses?

No.

But it will help you beat the odds with one very simple extra step.

 

So hit reply and tell me what SMALL thing you stopped doing that showed immediate negative results (or the SMALL thing you implemented that brought you immediate POSITIVE results!)

I read every email!

Cheers to FRIDAY!

Lisa Edwards


P.S. I’d love it if you would like Photo Bacon on facebook! I’ll be starting to post using Facebook Live starting next week!

[5 Min Read] Chained to your computer? I’m giving you back 2 hours per week.

Are you a one-girl show, and feeling sick and tired of being chained to your computer?

Maybe you feel lifeless.

Overwhelmed.

Burnt-out.

Because you know that you should be blogging, posting to facebook instagram, marketing to get more clients.

But you just can’t.

Because you have no time for that.

You’re a slave to your computer screen.

 

My 5 Minute Tip for Slaughtering your Editing by AT LEAST 2 hours a week. So that you can spend your extra time playing with your son outside, and marketing to bring in more cash.

But really, when I figured this quick trick out, I think I cut at least 4 hours a week. And this works for ALL types of sessions...family, senior, weddings, commercial.

 

The 1-2 Punch Technique.

The 3-Click system that lets you walk away, take your child for a quick walk around the block, and come back to half the editing time.

Watch the 6-minute video and download the free tool:


 

Cheers to TIME more and more FREE TIME!

P.S. Want to cut your editing time in HALF? Check out the new master class.  Snap Edit: Unshackle yourself from the computer and start living life.

[5 Min Read] Get S**T Done for the Time Starved

If you feel like a monkey flailing around at the circus while using not just his hand but his feet to catch whatever banana he can get, then you’re not alone.

It’s THAT time of year for many photographers. That wonderfully busy yet overwhelming time of year that leaves us feeling burned out.

But unlike the monkey, we only have two hands to work with, plus blogging, shooting, and oh yeah, what about family time?

So today I’m answering a reader’s question directly on how to streamline/focus/fit everything in. This simple technique will take just 10 minutes per day. Then on Tuesday I’m going to give you another 5 minute quickie including the EXACT technique I use to save at least 2 hours per week.

Neither of these take much time, or cost any money.

So today I want to share with you how to get S*it done when you’re starved for time.

It is deceptively simple, which is WHY it works.

 

Get Important S*it Done for the Time Starved

Get-er-done in 15 minutes or less per day.

*****If you have questions about the steps below, you can watch the facebook live video explaining it all at this link.

 

Step 1: Answer these 2 questions

 

What do I want to have/be/do?

(ex: stop feeling overwhelmed)

 

To make it happen I would need to:

(ex: Work 5 less hours per week)

 

Step 2: Set aside 15 minutes at the beginning of every day to do one quickie step.

Rule: You must make sure these are “baby steps” that take no more than 10-15 minutes. If you really get into a task and want to move on to doing the next day’s steps, then fine. But make sure every day when you look at what you need to do, you feel like it will be a piece of cake and will be quick, even if it’s something you don’t feel like doing.

 

Today’s step:

(ex: Write down how long every task takes me to do.)

 

Tomorrow’s step:

(ex: Pick one item and find links to 3 blog posts on how to get faster at that. If I can’t find good articles, post in 3 photographer facebook groups asking people how they get this task done quickly)

 

Steps the Next Day:

(ex: Read all 3 blog posts and type notes of the best tips - extend to tomorrow if this takes too long)

 

Step 3: Keep adding on and completing action steps.

 

Step 4: How to make sure you actually DO this, and don’t flake out.

 

The only way to ACTUALLY do this every day, is to STOP relying on sheer willpower or motivation.

 

Because if you have to “find that word document” in your sea of 193 files on your desktop? You won’t do this. You just won’t. Trust me - I’ve been there.

 

Here’s how I get-er-done even with lack of motivation.

 

Step 1: Create a google document

Copy and paste Step 1 and Step 2 into that document. This becomes your worksheet. Hell, just doing THIS should be your action step for the day.

Or better yet, I've already created a google document for you! Just click this link to get it. *****SUPER IMPORTANT: you will not be able to edit his, you will have to click at the top right "make a copy" first!

 

Step 2: Copy and paste the link to your google document into your calendar for tomorrow at the beginning of your photography work day.

 

On your document, click “share,” then click “get sharable link.”

 

Copy that link, and paste it into a 15 minute time slot at the beginning of tomorrow’s photo work day on your calendar (I use google calendar, but this will work with any online calendar). Title it “15 Minutes” or “if you don’t click me you will be BURNED OUT” or something else that gets your attention.

 

Now you’ll be able to easily just go to your calendar and click to your worksheet from no matter where you are - your desktop, in line at starbucks and on your phone, etc.

 

Step 3: Make this recurring for you every work day.

 

And voila! You now have a system for spending 5-15 minutes per day getting what you need to get DONE.


 

So that’s the process for getting any and ALL s*it done even when you’re time starved.

I’m SURE you want a specific (and again, QUICK) tactic you can start using, like, yesterday.

So keep an eye out in your inbox on Tuesday for the specific tactic I use to save 2+ hours per week

 

*****If you have questions about the steps below, you can watch the facebook live video explaining it all at this link.

[5 Minute Photography Pricing Calculator] So you can stop pulling your hair out.

Today’s super-charged, super-quick lesson is all about spending just 5 minutes to get your pricing set.

And all you need?

Is to put two numbers into the calculator (excel document), and it will spit out how many sessions you need, at what average, and what your middle package should be.

You’ll be able to choose between high-volume, mid-volume, and low-volume boutique options as well.

And there’s a bonus “Burger Flipper Calculator” that is going to tell you if you are making more than everyone at McDonald’s.

Watch the Quickie 5-minute video here:

Get your 5 Minute Pricing Calculator Here:

 

Reply to me in the comments or an email - what’s the most interesting thing YOU found out about your numbers after popping them into the calculator? Are your goals much closer than you thought? Or are you actually making LESS per hour than you thought?

[5-Minute Quickie] Two Magical Words to Make You VALUED more.

I’m starting a “Friday Quickie” email that will go out weekly.

 

These will be extremely short, to the point e-mails with an easy-to-implement tip, so that you can spend more time with your family.

 

It’s the fastest way for you to learn punchy information, without having to spend hours reading blog posts.

 

Sound good?

 

[5-Minute Quickie] Two Words to Make VALUED more.

 

We’ve all heard the “show the benefits, not the features,” thingamajig. It’s a sales technique that makes people understand WHY people should buy.

 

For example, if someone was trying to sell me a pair of heels, they might say “ruby red heels with micro-padding.” And I’m like...who cares, right? The micro-padding is there to add a level of comfort, so they should EXPLAIN that to me by giving the benefit.

 

So the feature is the micro-padding, but the BENEFIT would be all-day comfort, so that I can look good and feel comfortable.

 

But implementing this tactic?

 

Well, it has ALWAYS been a challenge, until recently.

 

So here’s the most diabolically quick way to make any product, session, heck, even your ABOUT page have more value!

 

You say, “so that.”

 

Do all of your portrait sessions come with a pre-consultation? Great.

 

So while you’re probably saying, “A week before your portrait session, we’ll meet up for 15 minutes and plan your session.”

 

You’re missing why they should even care. They’re probably thinking, “why do I have to waste my time doing an extra meeting for this?”


 

We need to add the “so that.”

 

“A week before your portrait session, we’ll meet up for 15 minutes and plan your session

SO THAT I can make sure I know exactly what you want in your portraits, and so we can plan locations and gather any props we need ahead of time.”

 

Do you ONLY photograph families and children during the day, and exclude evenings?

The “so that” method can turn your seemingly negative into a positive.

 

“Sessions are 9am-4pm, so that children are in their best mood and on their best behavior. I actually suggest earlier in the morning, such as 9 am, since kids just had a full-night's rest. It’s amazing how much better behaved they are in the mornings!”

 

Now how about your products. What features do they have that add value?

 

If an album has 20 images, what is the “so that?”

Is it so that they can look back at their family story for generations to come, and laugh and giggle at all of their silly memories?

Is it so they can easily take their album with them and show it off to friends and family?

 

So I think I’m about out of my 5 minutes, so let's go ahead and end here.

 

[Hit reply] in the comments and tell me if you do/don’t like the idea of the “Friday Quickie”, so I know if this is the type of information you want.


And while you’re at it, reply in the comments with any tough “so that’s” you can’t think of an answer for.

Break UP With The Competition by Changing the Game Being Played

You need to STOP competing with the 50+ (and growing) other photographers in your market.

And the only way to stop competing?

Is to make the competition irrelevant.

And to do that, you need to change the game being played.

 

how to get more photography clients

 

Before I share the Game Changer Strategy with you, let's talk about the load of industry BS you’ve been taught, the sandy foundation you have built your business on.

And BE SURE to read until the end, because this article is not JUST theory (I would never leave you high and dry like that!) It's also IMPLEMENTATION, including the 4 steps to do this, a worksheet, and 3 case studies from my own business.

 

The BS we have all been taught:

The talking heads say, “Find out what makes you different”

The internet is flooded with “Differentiate or DIE!”

 

But here’s the problem. #1: When you differentiate, you are STILL competing like vultures over roadkill. And that is just never pretty.

 

You are competing for the SAME customers as your competition, for the SAME dollar as your customer. And with the over-saturated market of photographers, this just isn’t sustainable.

 

You can get ahead today, then tomorrow you’re behind again. It is an endless game of 27-page soul-searching of “what makes me different” where you never REALLY get ahead.

 

“But wait!” you say. “Really AM different!”

 

And then you tell me 7 or 9 ways that make you truly different.

 

I’m different because I tell STORIES!

I’m different because I offer a FULL SERVICE, VERY HIGH TOUCH!

I’m different because I have a STYLE CLOSET!

I’m different because of my CUSTOMER SERVICE!

I’m different because I use OFF-CAMERA FLASH so I have DRAMATIC SKIES!

I’m different because I photograph DRAMATIC LIGHTING for SPORTS PORTRAITS!

I’m different because I have a MODEL PROGRAM!

I’m different because my photos SHOW REAL LIFE!

I’m different because my photos are CLEAN AND TIMELESS AND NOT OVER-PHOTOSHOPPED!

I’m different because I SHOW RELATIONSHIPS!

I’m different because my photos are FINE ART!

I’m different because I AM ME, and THAT'S MY UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION! (vomits a little in her mouth)

 

Do any of these sound familiar?

They do to me, because I have used ALL of these before. And so have 75 bazillion other photographers.

 

Yes, you ARE you and nobody else is you…

Yes, your photos DO show real life…and quite beautifully, might I add.

Yes, you ARE a full-service business.

 

But you have been lied to.

These differentiators will NOT make clients flock to you like a herd of bull elk in heat.

Not only because 90% of photographers are already using these differentiators, but because clients just don’t care about these things as much as we THINK they do.

 

So instead of differentiating, you’re going to stop competing all together.

You’re going to change the game being played, and here’s how.

The secret to competing in the portrait photography marketplace is to not compete at all.

 

And we do that?

 

By changing the game we’re playing, and letting them fight over the scraps.

 

We create NEW portrait markets.

When we do this, we STOP competing for the same clients and dollars as everyone else.

 

We START shooting sessions and creating income by photographing different ages, people & things..

 

This means NEW buyers.

We are not “taking money away” or “taking clients away” from anybody.

We are creating, instead of competing.

But the truth is, probably 99.9% of photographers, and probably you, are competing (see info-graphic below).

There are a limited number of people looking for portrait sessions, and an ever-growing number of photographers entering the field.

Even if you’re a SEASONED photographer, have been around for years and have a great reputation?

Even a few more photographers in your market WILL affect you, even if each one only has a few sessions per year.

You need to change the game being played so that you can STOP competing with the 50+ other photographers in your area.

This should be your #1 goal:

While they’re all playing the hyper-competitive and endless March Madness tournament where there’s only one winner and it changes year-to-year,

YOU’RE over some place else cool & calm, playing solitaire.

There’s only one winner, and it’s always you.

And you do this by creating new markets.

 

I know what you’re thinking. I can’t just pull a new market out of my butt from nowhere! That just DOESN’T work!

 

I’m going to give you quick & dirty outline of the process below, show you three case studies of how I have implemented this into my business, and then you can download the Competition Liquidator Method Implementation Worksheet to take you through the 5-minute process, with 3 real-life and real-profit generating new markets I have personally made.

Step 1: Who is NOT being photographed in your area.

Step 2: Who is NOT being targeted as a buyer.

Step 3: Who can we TAKE OUT of the equation?

Step 4: How can you make this session IRRESISTIBLE?

This method has allowed me to create NEW markets in my city of 33,000 people (mind you, with a less than $38,000 average household income).

 

3 Case Studies from My Business:

I have used this EXACT framework to generate sessions (and income)by:

  1. Banking on Businesses (and families) with Strong Ties to My Community with my Deep Roots Sessions

  2. I’ve used this to generate a yearly 9k by satisfying an urgent emotional need with Moms in my Celebrate Mother’s Sessions.

  3. I’ve created a yearly system of targeting tween moms using my Who I Am sessions.

[2 minute read] No IDEA what to say to seniors? This sneaky tip takes 2.4seconds to click.

 

 

I promise not to ramble in this blog post as I do some times with random thoughts - your time is valuable.

I wanted to share a quick tip I learned in college as part of a "Magazine Writing" course I took. We had to break into groups and the entire semester work on a mock magazine, from planning out 6 months worth of issues, to figuring out demographics, what makes us different, etc.

In comes the Media Kit.

The media kit will tell you everything you need to know about age/sex/circulation/pricing for advertising.

 

The BEST part?

It includes an "editorial calendar."

The editorial calendar is a tool magazines use to get advertisers to commit. It lists the name of each monthly issue, the types of articles that will be IN that issue, sometimes even the exact titles of the articles, all so that advertisers can choose what issues align best with heir brand.

 

What that means for us:

Do YOU have millions of dollars for market research into teens?

HELL NAW!

And neither do I. But magazines? They might not have the millions to fund the research, but they have the funds to buy the market research from the research company that probably spent millions.

 

Take a look into Seventeen Magazine's media kit HERE. 

 

This is what it tells me:

Fashion matters.

So does COLLEGE, paying for college, and the Freshman 15.

Teens want customized info - like "how to work the best swimsuit for your body." So writing in this categorical way will work.

 

You can literally take one of their topics or bullet points, create a blog post or video, and almost insure it will be successful - since they've already done the research.

Here's that editorial calendar link again.

 

Are you IN for marketing to seniors in a new way, a way like the magazines do? 

If so - be sure to sign-up for the Seniors NOW program at the pre-launch price of $197.

What’s this pre-launch thingy you speak of?

  • Welp, the price is going to be $497 when I do the official “launch” in a month or so.

  • So you’re going to get it for $197 until the class start date of May 26th.

  • Basically, you’re going to get the behind-the-scenes of exactly what I’m doing right now, and what’s working and what isn’t.

  • You’ll see the results of me testing different offers like different quizzes - to see what surveys they WILL do, and which they won’t

  • You’ll get my word-for-word marketing scripts (and if you have ever taken one of my classes you know this stuff works)

  • My marketing and ad copy

  • My EXACT senior magazine including wording that you will use to entice seniors and moms onto your email list and social media, etc. (check out yesterday's post where I walk you through my entire senior magazine.

  • BONUS: Purchase by 5/20 and get all of my high school senior email templates - from the inquiry, to booking, to preparing them for the ordering session, to session pickup, to all of those “tough” questions, like “can I just get the digitals?”

 

>>>Signup now for the Seniors NOW pre-launch at $197 <<<

 

Cheers!

Lisa

Why I’m using Quizzes [gag me] for senior marketing, and why seniors go crazy over these.

I know what you’re doing right now.

Rolling those eyes, thinking “quizzes are SO STUPID!”

I couldn’t agree more!

But in the past few weeks, I’ve done TWO QUIZZES!

Seriously, I kid you not.

And they were completely lame. One of them was something like, “which historical figure were you in your past life” or something like that.

 

Here’s the thing.

Quizzes work.

 

 

Why do you think seventeen magazine do quizzes?

 

A quick search on their website reveals this:

  • Quiz: Can You Tell Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Apart?

  • Which Runway Hair Trend Should You Try?

  • What’s Your Style Star Personality?

  • Pick Your First-Day-of-School Outfit!

  • Take quizzes to find your perfect skincare routine, which hot celeb guy you should date, what your college major should be, who matches your style star personality, and much more!

 

Can you seriously GAG ME with those quiz topics?

But what I think doesn’t matter. Because I’m not the senior. So I have to let go of my own opinion, and roll with what’s proven to work.

So I’m going to call out the senior portrait industry right here, right NOW.

Why the heck are we NOT doing the marketing tactics of the PROVEN other industries that are thriving with high school seniors, like seventeen magazine?

Why are we focusing on just throwing a crap-ton of content onto snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, without ACTUALLY using the strategies these places have proven?

I’m pointing the finger at myself too, actually. Why have I looked at other senior photographers in hopes of grasping a tiny marketing magic bullet, instead of looking OUTSIDE of the industry?

Well, that’s EXACTLY what I’m doing now.

So back to the quizzes.

The thing is, they aren’t JUST popular with teens - they are one of the biggest “lead magnets” in the online marketing industry, parenting industry, adult dating industries!

Let me ask you - did you do that fun facebook “word board” thingamajig facebook came out with 6 months ago or so? Where it took all of the words you use on your facebook page, and made it into a fun collage?

I did, and I SHARED it, and told my own little story about those words on my page!

Here’s the jist of it:

You have your fun 5 minutes of the quiz, you share your ridiculous/funny/fun/ “haha” moment on your facebook or Instagram page, and then oh yeah, you had to put your email address in to get a little extra - the “full report,” etc.

How I’m using this RIGHT NOW in my senior business:

I’m creating a quiz, “What your style says about who you were in a past life.”

It will have 10 fun/hysterical questions, with 4 possible results. They’ll get their result, which OF COURSE has example photos from past shoots I’ve done, they’ll be asked to share their results, then if they give me their email address they’ll get my bonus style inspiration pdf and senior magazine.

Are you IN for trying a quiz?

If so - be sure to sign-up for the Seniors NOW program at the pre-launch price of $197, where you’ll get my entire survey including title, questions, my list of resources for the software I’m using, etc.

What’s this pre-launch thingy you speak of?

  • Welp, the price is going to be $497 when I do the official “launch” in a month or so.

  • So you’re going to get it for $197 until the class start date of May 26th.

  • Basically, you’re going to get the behind-the-scenes of exactly what I’m doing right now, and what’s working and what isn’t.

  • You’ll see the results of me testing different offers like different quizzes - to see what surveys they WILL do, and which they won’t

  • You’ll get my word-for-word marketing scripts (and if you have ever taken one of my classes you know this stuff works)

  • My marketing and ad copy

  • My EXACT senior magazine including wording that you will use to entice seniors and moms onto your email list and social media, etc. (check out yesterday's post where I walk you through my entire senior magazine.

  • BONUS: Purchase by 5/20 and get all of my high school senior email templates - from the inquiry, to booking, to preparing them for the ordering session, to session pickup, to all of those “tough” questions, like “can I just get the digitals?”

 

>>>Signup now for the Seniors NOW pre-launch at $197 <<<



 

If you’re having trouble getting into the senior market in your area, or are unhappy with how many seniors you have been getting, or are DONE with senior model programs, then this is for you.

 

I’ll show you how to use the strategies the thriving teen markets are already using - from magazines to clothing company’s, we’ll go over it.

 

What this WON’T be is 20 different marketing tricks you can do for “exposure.”

Because getting a list of 20 things you can be doing is crap.

NOBODY has time for that.

You need to focus on 3 things.

LET ME REPEAT.

You need to focus on at most, THREE things to do to market your seniors, and you need to KILL IT at those three things.

Because blogging just to “blog,” posting to Instagram just to get “seen,” and heck, yes even throwing a quiz out there for “fun exposure” is going to get you exactly nowhere.

You must understand the strategy behind the tactic, you must be getting seniors into your email list, in order to succeed.

Because likes? And comments? And even SHARES?

Is nothing into your bank account.

And what I want for you?

Is to book two senior sessions every week. Period. Two of your session fee’s in your bank account each and every week, plus your average sale when they come in to order, of course.

So what are you going to do?

Are you going to keep what you’ve always done with lackluster results, or follow a marketing program that uses the strategies of the top teen industries by doing things like quizzes?

>>>Signup now for the Seniors NOW pre-launch at $197 <<<

Cheers,


Lisa “quiz queen” Edwards

Watch me murder my senior marketing program…For GOOD this time!

Dear Sr. Model Program:

I’d like to say it’s me not you. But that would be a lie.

IT’S YOU.

I’m going to kill you off, dear senior model, FOR GOOD this time!

...wait, isn’t that what I said LAST time?

The last time, when there I was, 5 months pregnant, 2 parent/junior class meetings per night with 10-20 people per meeting…

Boasting about myself.

Feeling like a sleazy slimeball.

Getting them to sign model contracts pay me $80-$550 dollars to join the program.

SURE they were getting a lot of cool stuff.

Free sessions.

Free hair and makeup.

FREE FREE FREE!

And there I was, shouting free, feeling nervous, self-conscious, MASSIVELY PREGNANT.

And there they were, so excited.

But, I knew something they didn’t know.

I knew that some of them would sign-up.

Even pay me the $550 to go toward their senior portraits.

But I also knew, they didn’t know my full pricing.

They didn’t know that my average sale is $1,340.

That some of those that spent $550, no matter HOW MUCH I educated them before the ordering session, would come to order and say they were in “shock,”

Make me feel like a rip-off,

Then post a scathing facebook review about how I’m a “bait-and-switch.”

(PS, that’s a true story...I did get her to remove the review, though, or maybe it was from my 100 bazillion request for facebook to remove it)

 

The saddest part about it?

I kinda knew what she was talking about…

 

I DID promise her the world on a silver platter, didn’t disclose my full price list, and then…

BAM!

There she was, feeling like she went into the local furniture store for the $300 recliner, only to be told, “oh, I’m sorry, we don’t actually keep those in stock, can I offer you a $1,200 one?”

Sort of like, "oh, I'm sorry, yes, you can buy a package at $397, but you basically get...NOTHING! MUAHAHAHAHA!"

I could blame the client.

OK, so for a while, I DID blame the client. But, no more.

So, here is why I’m murdering my senior model program:

It gave me the bad rap of being salesy, high-pressure, and bait-and-switch.

 

And, gosh darn it, you should never do something that makes you feel smiley (with the exception of jello shots in college...I hope my mom is not reading this).
 

So what am I doing INSTEAD of this senior model program? And SO LATE in the year?

I call it Seniors NOW.

Because if you’re like me this year and didn’t DO a senior model program (or did one with lackluster results,

 

Then you can’t wait any longer to get booked, without having a panic attack because oh my gosh everyone else is going to book them and oh no I haven’t posted to facebook for 2 months (more like 5) and everyone has forgotten about you and it’s like you don’t exist anymore and there are 20 new photographers in your area right down the block from you and….

 

{BREATHE….

...JUST…

….BREATHE…..}

 

Seniors NOW is your anti-anxiety.

It’s NOT a senior model program, because you aren’t doing salesy in person meetings to get models, and you AREN’T relying on the unpredictable seniors to refer you.

It’s deceptively simple, yet nobody is doing it.

It’s a ⅓ senior model program (but not really) with ⅓ email marketing, ⅓ instagram marketing, and ⅓ facebook marketing…

...wait, that’s 4/3. CRAP!

OK, you get the point.

 

Explain it to me better, YO!

Seniors NOW is a ridiculously simple way of booking seniors right away without feeling salesy, without hiding pricing, without doing senior & parent meetings, and without relying on high school seniors to pass out senior rep cards, and without doing a new session/contest every month to keep seniors interested.

Instead, it relies on hitting the heartstrings of moms and the fashionista side of senior girls to make them feel they need YOU, and they need to book you NOW. It uses the exact same storytelling copy I've been using these past few years, but

ON STEROIDS.

Minus the roid rage...and zits, of course.

It uses the same strategies internet marketers use to drive sales to, well, courses just like THIS! How do you think I got YOU on this email list ;P

 

For the PRESALE price of $197 (seriously, this will be starting at least at $497 when I do the full launch)

  • EXACT email scripts for marketing, facebook copy (for the moms), Instagram copy (for the seniors) If you’ve taken one of my courses before, you know how GOOD the email and marketing copy is.

  • My Senior Magazine (seriously guys, people are selling JUST their senior magazine for $350 these days)

  • How to create a website that is geared toward senior girls, but doesn't SCARE THE HELL AWAY senior boys - or parents, for that matter (hint: this is so freaking simple you will cry)

  • Course Workbook

  • BONUS: when you purchase by May 19th, you’ll get ALL of my senior emails. From the inquiry, to the pre-session, all the way even AFTER the session.

 

Class starts THURSDAY, May 26th, and you’ll be able to start booking sessions just a few days later.

 

Watch my super awkward, non scripted video of my senior magazine walk-through and rambling about more of what is in the course:

 

 

Are ya in, or what?

>>>Join Now, or Forever Hold Your CURRENT Senior Model Program<<<

 

Cheers to Jello shots in college,


Lisa “I’m from Butte, I can hold my liquor, in fact in college the frat boys applauded my keg stands, yet now 3 beers gives me a massive hangover and I can no longer move,” Edwards

The BIGGEST turnoff is talking about yourself in your about page! Seriously STOP IT!

Ridiculous! You’re thinking.

What’s an about page, without ABOUT ME!

Maybe you feel like throwing your old D90 backup camera at me (you don’t like it anyway), or feel like crumpling up that post-it-note and shooting it through your Starbucks straw (don’t do that...you’ll forget whatever is on that note!)

Either way - just hear me out.

PLEASE...just hear me out.

Prospective clients don’t actually care about you.

GASP!

Yes. Contrary to what you’re hearing in the photo marketing world, talking about yourself isn’t going to make people want to book you.

Because they don’t care you love sushi, or that you have 3 kids, or that you’re religious at going to the sip-n-paint events.

People only care about what benefits them.

Does what you ate for lunch benefit them?

Does your 3 kids and $1,500 daycare bill benefit them?

Does you getting tipsy and splattering paint on a canvas benefit them?

 

I know what you’re thinking.

But all the talking heads say I should show my personality!

But I thought people like to spend money with people they are similar to!

But I looked at YOUR about page and you talk about coffee and dogs and kids!

 

Yes, many talking heads are telling you to show your personality, because yes, people like to spend money with people they are similar to. And yes, I talk about food and kids on SOME of my about pages.

 

The problem is when all you do is talk about yourself.

Let me sum up what you need to be doing instead:

People want to know about you, and how that helps THEM.

 

So you’ve got three kids...SWEET! Me too!

Talk about it in your family portrait and kids session “about” pages. But please, oh please do not boast about this in your senior website’s “about” page.

And yes, I have different websites for different markets PRECISELY for the reason of using language that relates. Because high school seniors don’t give a shit how emotionally attached you are to your kids.

 

And don’t just say, “I have 3 kids!” Instead tell them how that HELPS them.

Example: “I have 3 kids of my own, so I understand how busy life gets, and how nerve-wracking it can be to take your kids to family photos. Will they fight the entire time? Will they break the equipment? Will they make me look like a bad mom? I get it...because I feel the same way when we go get our own family photos taken!”

 

Have a senior website and have no FREAKING IDEA what is even going on in their brains and how you even relate? I get it, I am the exact SAME WAY!

 

So the first two pages of the about page are about THEM and how they are about as ordinary as a pair of Jimmy Chu’s at Payless (you see how I did NOT use the word “you are unique” in my marketing?)

 

Basically, my senior website takes the entire “you are unique. You  are independent. You are a rebel” cliche crap everyone is saying, and instead uses real, tangible and relatable words.

 

Because telling somebody “we will capture how independent and unique you are - we will tell your story,” is entirely different than showing them with words.

 

Example:

“Maybe you've been playing softball since age 6.

Maybe you've spent the last 17 years of your life going to your Grandma's house after school on Wednesdays - because she insists.

Maybe your closet is full of strappy dresses and higher-than-high-heels, yet you somehow wind up in your skinny jeans, black tank and flip flops 90% of the time.

Maybe your purse is full of Milk Duds and 10 pairs of Aviators.”

 

Can I get a HELL YEAH?

OK. So here’s the dealio my friend.

I will workshop YOUR about page for the price of buying be me lunch.

 

For $19 (price going up to $79 after 40 people sign up), I will visit your about page, rip it to shreds then help build it up with my suggestions, and record all of that in a 5-10 minute screen-captured video.

You just have to promise me you won’t cry (unless it’s tears of happiness because you’ve been “working on” your about page for the past 17 months!)

This is PERFECT for those of you who are stumped on what the hell to say, and how your love of Cheetos can help other people!

I’m only taking on the first 40 people to take me up on this, after that it’s going to it’s regular price of $79.

 

>>> Purchase the Irresistible About Page Here <<<

 

Cheers to stop being so damn self-centric in your about page!

Lisa “I’ve never even bought a pair of Jimmy Chu’s” Edwards

Permission to use Justin Bieber and Beyonce in your Videos (For Real, Yo)

I’m not kidding.

The headline is the truth.

You can now use some specific copyright songs from mainstream pop artists like Justin Bieber, Drake, Fifth Harmony, Beyonce, “Barbie Girl” by Aqua (a little nostalgia up here).

 

Even ADELE is allowing “Someone Like You” to be used.

YouTube says this, “You can use music that copyright owners (like record labels) manage through Content ID.”

What’s the catch?

This “Ad-supported music” is just that.

AD SUPPORTED.

Meaning, there are likely going to be ads on your videos that the record company is going to monetize. And YOU will not be able to make money with ads on those videos.

Your video might not be viewed in all areas of the world.For some reason, Justin Bieber has a playback restriction of “viewable everywhere except Germany.” Actually, a LOT of artists have the Germany restriction. What’s up with that, anyways?

Don’t just use any song on this list.Sometimes when click the dropdown, it says “this song is NOT AVAILABLE for use in YouTube videos.” I have no freaking idea why youtube would even put this on the “revenue sharing” list of the ad-supported music if you can’t use it.

using popular music with photos

 

A word of caution:

When you read the ad-supported music page on youtube, it basically tells you the artist can remove your video at any time. If you’re spending 2k hiring a videographer and doing some high-production value work, you may want to reconsider. If you want to publish this video elsewhere, for example use it in TV ads, upload it directly to your website, etc, you’re not going to be able to use this music. The music is for being published on YouTube only.

Note: Copyright owners can change their policies and issue copyright takedown notices under certain circumstances. If you use ad-supported music, your video's status could change in the future (and may even be removed from YouTube) if the copyright owner changes the music's policy. Learn more about Content ID claims.”

 

Oh no you didn’t just mention legal litigation…

At the very bottom, YouTube basically gets itself out of the legal litigation game, and lets you know you should contact an attorney.

Note: Policies displayed in the Audio Library describe only what will happen to your video if you publish it on YouTube. YouTube cannot give you information about legal liability or other issues that can occur off the platform. You may wish to consult a qualified attorney if you have questions about your use of music.”

What does that mean?

Well, how I see it, is you can only use these songs on YouTube. If you use Vimeo, Wistia, or frequently publish videos to Facebook? You’re gonna wanna stop that.

Instead, publish to YouTube and share the link on your pages, or embed the YouTube link into your website (do a google search on this if you don’t know how).

Don’t want to risk getting sued? YouTube’s permission is pretty damn vague.

Welp, neither do I. I would seriously consider the risks of using these songs. It seems like YouTube is sharing with us what the artist’s/producers have agreed upon with YouTube, however this is NOT a license.

For example, when I look at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s song “Thrift Shop,” it says “ads can appear.” It then says “Copyright owners can change their policies or take action on your video that differs from what's described here. Learn more

Let me share my own personal story with Mr. Macklemore & Lewis.

Another photographer and I used the "Thrift Shop" song in a high school senior spoof remake video. Does it make us nervous? HELL yeah! But having YouTube's kinda, sorta permission also makes us feel OK about it, like, we aren't going to get sued and have everything including our flip-flops taken away from us. The "“You can use music that copyright owners (like record labels) manage through Content ID" lets us sleep at night.

Could our video be taken offline? Yes.

Are there ads on our video that aren't ours? Yes.

Could we be sued? If we only publish this to YouTube? Probably not. If we post this to our Facebook pages, use it on TV ads, etc? We absolutely could be sued.

Have we thought about taking the video offline? Yes, we have. But, no, we haven't done it, because of this YouTube kinda, sorta, permission. If we ever get a notification from the producer, record company or artists? We'll take it down.

But from the sounds of it, they like having the advertising income from the video, but they don't want to give away a license because they still want to have all of the control. Sounds kind of familiar, right? As photographers we give away print releases that have "we may revoke this license at any time" written in it (well, at least I do).

It's understandable. I get it. Though, it does make me nervous to use this music.

But, it means we can use these songs without being criminals. At least on YouTube.

And, the artist is getting paid through ads. It's sort of like stock photography, but in this case it's main stream music that is getting paid via advertisements, and they can revoke our privileges at any moment.

The free, the clear, the download here section.

Good thing Youtube also has a “free music” section.

It might night be Justin Bieber or Beyonce, but I would say it’s going to be pretty similar to the music you use on slideshow software like Animoto and ProShow Web.

You can browse genre, mood, instrument, duration and attribution.

free music with photos

 

 

A quick genre search for “country & Folk” brings up roughly 40 songs to choose from, and it even has descriptions like “happy”, “sad”, “bright” and “funky,” making it easy to make your song feel sappy or happy.

 

How to use these:

  1. Go to https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music

  2. Click the “free music” tab

  3. Search for your song

  4. Download with the right hand download arros

  5. Click the song and copy and paste the Creative Commons Attribute license and paste in your video description (if applicable - not all songs require an attribute)

More Cowbell, anyone?

Yes, you can even download sound effects like this cowbell!

 

Resources:

YouTube’s ad-supported info page: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3376882?hl=en

YouTube’s free music info page: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music

Search mainstreem Ad-supported music: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/ad_supported_music

Search Sound effects: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/soundeffects


 

Barbie Girl Song: https://youtu.be/ZyhrYis509A

Why stories sell photographs: 6 Steps to Generating a Profit (How I earned 7k From My Own Passion Project)

Florence in front of a mine dump on Oklahoma Street in her family neighborhood.

Florence in front of a mine dump on Oklahoma Street in her family neighborhood.

Florence in 2014 holding her Butte High School letter in front of the same mine dump on Oklahoma Street.

Florence in 2014 holding her Butte High School letter in front of the same mine dump on Oklahoma Street.

My stomach was fluttering.

My palms were sweaty.

Would anybody show to my gallery opening, or would it just be myself, my husband and the gallery curator drinking these two Black Boxes of wine and 3 Quarry Brewery part pigs?

20 minutes later it was standing room only, and an hour later the wine was gone (what a shame, I had so wanted to get tipsy)

Sometimes you go out on a limb to create a photography project.

You don't know if people will think your idea sucks.

You're worried you'll hear crickets when you announce the model call.

You ALMOST back out of it....

 

....and then, you click "send" on an email to 500 people.

And you're committed.

But, can you actually make money from a "passion project." Can you make REAL sales from something you are doing purely for yourself?

Yes.

Wait. Yes and no.

What the heck does that even mean?

Florence "Toots" Vucurovich is seated next to her old neighbor's front steps at camera right (the home is now demolished) and in front of where her old family home used to exist (where the new brewery is now).

Florence "Toots" Vucurovich is seated next to her old neighbor's front steps at camera right (the home is now demolished) and in front of where her old family home used to exist (where the new brewery is now).

Well, here's the pretty ugly truth of it all:

You can only make money if your project is something people want.

A documentary photography project on underwater basket weaving in the Dead Sea? Hm...I'm thinking not.

A documentary on the dogs at your local animal shelter? Probably not. While it's a good cause, and you might get nice "exposure," the truth is, the animals don't have owners to buy the photos (and "exposure" alone doesn't pay the bills).

 

Here's what your project needs if you want to create an income from it:

1. Somebody who WANTS the photos you are creating.

2. Somebody who has the MEANS to pay for what you are creating.

3. A STORY. This is twofold. You must have the story BEHIND why you are photographing this subject, and you must have the story OF the subject.

{ Lovely Rose } When the mining industry was expanding in Butte and plowing down McQueen & Meaderville, she was plucking apple tree's, copper rose bushes, everything worth saving, and transplanting them around Butte. Here she sits in her back yard on the flats, beneath the McQueen apple tree she planted in the soil with her own hands.

{ Lovely Rose }
When the mining industry was expanding in Butte and plowing down McQueen & Meaderville, she was plucking apple tree's, copper rose bushes, everything worth saving, and transplanting them around Butte.

Here she sits in her back yard on the flats, beneath the McQueen apple tree she planted in the soil with her own hands.


Action Steps:

1. What do you WANT to photograph? What are you passionate about? Make a list of 10-20 things.

2. Evaluate your ideas part 1.  Put one star next to those ideas where somebody would actually want the resulting images. They would want to purcahse it.

3. Evaluate your ideas part 2. Put a star next to those ideas where somebody would have the means to buy the images. Toddlers can't buy photos. Orphan dogs and cats can't buy the images. Millionaires who own their own private jets? Um, hell yeah!

4. Cross off any ideas that don't have two stars next to them (unless, of course, you want to do a project and know you won't make any money from it).

5. Pick one project of the remaining ideas and write a model call email.

6. Click SEND. Don't get all "I need to write poetry" on me here. Just write it, try to fix any misspellings (one time my spell check change "oxytocin" to "Oxycontin." THAT was embarrassing.)

I'll be doing a follow-up post answering the best questions asked in response to this blog post.