wp_head() January 2012 « portraits without borders
Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

Archive for January, 2012

Greatness, Talent , and Skill

I know everyone (including myself) struggle with these three words, some more than others. I believe if we keep listening to those that we believe have these traits, we can figure out how to achieve them for ourselves. Here is something I found on a poster of Mohammed Ali.

Everyone has Greatness, talent, and skill, take it from the Fresh Prince of some affluent city.

Interview: Terese Rezenski

Our first podcast is a photographer with a unique situation. She runs a photography studio in a small town and is prospering with a unique approach to her marketing. I hope you enjoy my conversation, and learn a thing or two with Terese Raczynski of Park Avenue by Terese.

Podcast of Terese Rezenski

Here is a few photos of her beautiful studio.


Some samples of her work


To see more of Terese’s work and to contact her.

Basic Sales Skills are Essential to a Successful Business

Is there a bridal shop you would love to shoot for? Is there a gallery you want to get your work into or a wedding you want to shoot?  Although I’m new to photography, I have been in sales my entire life. If you want increase your business, you need to know some basic sales skills.

Preparing for the sales call

Getting a new client is like making a sales call.  Just because your friend referred someone to you, don’t assume that you have the job.  A traditional sales call involves showing your prospect the features and benefits of why they should use your service.   Your presentation materials are you and your portfolio.  Don’t be afraid to tweak your portfolio so that it showcases your best work for the job you are “applying” for.  For example, if you are going to talk to a potential client about portraits, showing them images of landscapes and flowers won’t show your client what you can do for them.  If you want to shoot for a business, find out as much as you can about the business before you meet with them.  Who are their clients, what is their style, who have they been using and why are they no longer using them, how do you see yourself fitting in and what can you do for them that no one else can.  Do your homework.   Find out who the decision maker is. If it’s a wedding shoot you are trying to get, it won’t help to make your sales pitch just to the bride if you didn’t know that the groom will make the final decision. If possible, make your sales presentation in person.  You’re more likely to get the job if your client sees you face-to-face.

Find out what the client really wants

Seems simple enough, but if you don’t ask the right questions before hand, you could end up with an unhappy customer and some great images that no one will ever see.   Find out what they want to use the images for. Is it to decorate their house? Do they want albums? Is it for advertising?  What is the “look” that THEY want? You might think that the cool graffiti wall downtown would be perfect for a family photo session, but they might want something traditional, at home, with the family dog.  If it’s a family portrait shoot, ask questions about their kids, how they met, what the kids like to do, what will they use the pictures for…Make a list of questions before you talk to them and take notes when they give you the answers. Getting to know your client will help you understand the job they are hiring you for.

Sell yourself

Be prepared to talk about yourself, your experience, your training. Tell them how you work, and what to expect from you the day of the shoot.  In many cases you will have to sell them on the rate you are charging so make sure to explain why you are worth every penny.  They are not just paying you for your time!  You will have to explain that they are paying you for your experience, your knowledge, and your talent. This would be a good time to show them some comments from your past clients.  If you don’t have anything, ask a few of your past clients to write a few nice things about you and your work. When they do, ask them for permission to post their comments on your website and other marketing materials you have.   Accolades from vendors are also a nice touch because it shows that you work well as a team with other companies.


Ask for the order!

Often times this is the hardest part. You’ve researched the client, you’ve made your sales pitch, and you’ve proven you can do the job, now it’s time to ask for the order.  Something simple like, “So, what day works best for you, Saturday or Sunday?” is one that I like to use. If you’re going for a high-end job, you may have to be more direct in your closing technique.  For example, acting as if the client is ready to  to hire you is an assumptive closing approach.  The “Yes” close is another technique designed to bring out any objections the client might still have. Questions like, “Do you like my work?”, “Is it what you are looking for?”, “Can we book the shoot?”.  If all goes well, the client will answer yes to all of your questions. If not, then you will need to keep your sales cap on and get to the real reason why they are not comfortable hiring you.   Figure out what works best for you and get out there and practice it!  One thing is for sure, you’ll never know where your business will take you unless you ask for the order.  You have nothing to lose and you just might be surprised at the results.

Jessica Ford

Update: Benjamin Edwards

Because of the recent blog post Benjamin granted me an interview! I’m flying to Bend, Oregon on the 23rd to speak with him. I can’t wait to share what he has to say. His company Emote360.com is an amazing organization that’s changing the world! Check out their BLOG and see what they’ve been unto in the past few years!

Benjamin Edwards

We here at PWB are always looking for photographers making a deference, sharing lessons, and doing something good with their talents. When I stumbled on this guy 7 months ago he was the catalyst for having PWB turn from a wish I wanted to do someday to becoming a reality. Check out his amazing story here on the Framed channel (also a great site to follow) I’m working on having a personal interview with him so Benjamin, if your listing let’s talk!

What Photography Takes From You

I thought long and hard about what the first blog post for PWB would be. Should it be a photography tip? Should it be an interview podcast? Should it be some inspiring words from a famous photographer or maybe a contest?

I decided to focus on a statement I heard a while back. I was watching one of my favorite photographers giving a three-day workshop online. It was the usual amazing words, and tips, and I was writing down every important statement (which is a lot). On the third day his wife came on the set to speak about his family life. He said (roughly), “Everyone talks about what photography gives them, but no one really talks about what it takes from you.” That statement hit me hard, and everything past those words was a blur. I had to reflect on my own life, and what photography has taken from me.

I knew coming in 12 years ago what photography was going to give me, an opportunity to create, a chance to see new places, romantic accolades from friends and strangers, but I never stopped to seriously consider what it was going to rob me of. One thing it took was time, time NOT spent with friends and family. Time from watching my children grow. Time NOT spent listing to my wife’s needs. Time NOT spent enjoying life around me. Time NOT spent on caring for my health.

Another thing it took was money. I knew this journey wasn’t going to be cheap, but I didn’t realize how much money it takes to be successful or attempting to be successful. I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve told myself, “do I really need this?” Do I really need this much car insurance? Do I really need this extra box of cereal? Do I really need this much gas in my tank? I sacrificed common sense to feed my stubborn obsession.

The most important thing photography took from me was my marriage. I had an amazing, giving, kind, and loving wife who needed me to be present. I wasn’t. I was too busy caring-on trying to find that elusive “perfect” light. I was too busy creating the next “favorite” image. I was too busy obsessed with the next best tool that would help me create better photographs. I know, it wasn’t the sole reason for our divorce, but my photography “distraction” was a big part of it.

So the next time you’re thinking of making photography a career think again. Think about your wife, kids, husband, dog, cat, friends, and how much time your taking away from THEM. Think about how much money you have saved in the bank now and how much money you’re going to have five years from now and imagine it all going to go to photography. Are you ready for that? I wasn’t.

I know what your asking, “is it worth it?” I know I don’t see me doing anything else in life. I know the excitement I feel after taking an image that I know I will share with the world. I know I get down on my knees and say “thank you thank you” every time someone trusts me enough to pay me to take photographs of them. I know how blessed I am to travel to other countries taking photographs. I know how my heart races when I’m around a team of talented people. I know a bad day shooting is always better than a good day doing almost anything else. I know how good I feel when I fight through my inner voice telling me, “Your not good enough.” So do I think it was worth it? I’ll let you know when I get over the pain of loosing my wife.

This post is dedicated to Stephanie, Zack Arias, & Meg Arias.