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Archive | September, 2011

Why Writing Well is Important… Even for Photographers.

22 September

Such a great deal of our business is centered on writing. Emails, blog posts, bios, website content, marketing pieces, invoices, proposals, etc. If your writing skills aren’t up to par, you could turn off potential clients with poor grammar, spelling or even lazy writing.

Take a look for yourself and see how many blog posts you’ve written lately that are half-ass’d attempts at scrawling something out as quickly and painlessly as possible. (I’m looking at you Wedding Photographers).
I must have read at least two hundred wedding blog posts that follow this general pattern:

“I just shot a wedding this past Saturday that was to DIE for. Jane was SO beautiful in her dress and Jack looked so handsome. They’re such an amazing couple, and I was so honored to be there and take part in such a big moment of their lives.
Here’s the photos. Hope you like them.”

And have you all even looked at your “About” pages? Most of them look like they were taken from the same template.
Your writing style doesn’t have to win awards for style, but if you spend some time with it, and translate the creative juices you use for photography into your writing, you can come away with something far more original, and vastly improved.
For example, look what San Luis Obispo Wedding Photographer, Ken Kienow did with his About page. What’s unique about it, is that it’s simple, but written well, and more important, it’s from his heart.

Writing is a skill, and I promise it can be improved.
Ernest Hemingway once said:

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” 

It won’t be an overnight phenomenon, but put a little extra effort into your writing from this day forth. Create a backstory from your life experience for your next blog post so that people can not only experience your fantastic photos, but also create their own unique picture of what it was like to be there. One of my own personal favorite blog posts was from my best friend’s wedding in which I was a groomsman and I weaved one of my travel adventures into a special moment that we all shared. Can you bring something from your own history to your blog posts?

Work on it. Push yourself. And in the meantime learn some writing skills. There are great books out there to read and improve. Here are a few:

I read Elements of Style 18 years ago and I believe it should sit next to everyone’s computer right alongside a Thesaurus. It’s a very quick read and it will point out many of the common misuses of English that people tend not to catch such as: “there, they’re and their,” “lose, as opposed to loose,” and the dreaded “its/it’s” problem.
The book will also cover other grammatical and sentence structure errors that make the difference between being taken as an intellectual, or …the opposite of that.

The other books can take your skill of writing to levels that you would never have imagined.

In closing, remember:

  • When so much correspondence is focused on email and the internet, the way you write creates an indelible impression, on others, about you.
  • Stretch your imagination. You don’t have to hit “Publish” or “Send” when you’re done writing. You can save drafts and come back to it later.
  • If you take on the challenge of boning up on your writing chops you will have a tremendous advantage over those that resist and are left behind with their poor writing skills.

Grammar and writing is one of those funny things where it only stands out to people if it’s bad. And it’s a terrible thing to say, that if you develop your skills as a writer, you’ll turn off fewer people.
But that’s the truth. So learn to write well.

Are You an Artist or a Vendor

14 September

A recent Seth Godin blog post I read has been bouncing around in my mind since I read it last week. In it he mentioned the difference between Vendors and Artists. I thought it was quite relevant to the photography industry, especially wedding photographers who are often looked at as just another vendor.

Here’s an excerpt that really stood out for me, from the full post:

That’s the key economic argument for the distinction: if you treat an artist like a vendor, you’ll often get mediocre results in return. On the other hand, if you treat a vendor like an artist, you’ll waste time and money.

Vendors happily sit in the anonymous cubes at Walmart’s headquarters, waiting for the buyer to show up and dicker with them. They willingly fill out the paperwork and spend hours discussing terms and conditions. The vendor is agnostic about what’s being sold, and is focused on volume, or at least consistency.

While the talent is also getting paid (to be in your movie, to do consulting, to coach you), she is not a vendor. She’s not playing by the same rules and is not motivated in the same way.

A key element of the distinction is that in addition to the varying output potential, vendors are easier to replace than talent is.

So how do you represent yourself to your clients? It would seem that all wedding vendors are artists themselves; the Photographer, Florist, Baker, Musician, Dress Maker, and Coordinator/Stylist all are at some level an Artist.
Yet we are stuck with the moniker of Vendor.

Just as in Seth Godin’s post I don’t really have any answers for you. But it does at least open the inquiry to how you present yourself and your wedding photography services to your clients. Are you just another vendor providing a service, or are you an artist? And are your clients aware of the distinction.

I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Find New Clients Using TweetDeck

06 September

I figured we would do a video blog post this week to touch on a great way to seek out clients. You can use this technique when things are slow, or you can have an assistant or intern working on this while you’re managing other aspects of your studio.

As always, feel free to add comments and questions below.

Video Transcription:
Hi everyone. This is William Bay from Flaunt Your
Today I’m going to help you find new clients by harnessing the power of Twitter with the program TweetDeck.

If you’re unfamiliar with TweetDeck, I highly suggest that you go to and check it out. The program comes in a desktop version which I use, as well as a web version, and mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
It’s a great program as it brings your social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles under one easy to use interface. It also allows you to manage multiple accounts. So if you have a personal Twitter account and a business account, you can manage them all from the same program.
What I’m going to share with you today is the power of the search columns and how that can be used to prospect for potential clients in your photography business.
In TweetDeck, you’ll find the “Add Column” button here. We’re going to click on that and the following dialog box will ask us which account you want to use. We’re going to use Twitter which is the default account already.
Then in the Search Bar we’re going to input a keyword that you think your potential customers may use while tweeting, so that we can target those people.
For example, I’m a Wedding Photographer in San Diego, so I’m looking for people that are getting married in San Diego. In this case I would use terms like San Diego Married, or San Diego Wedding, or even San Diego Engaged. You can have multiple search columns, which will payoff with more potential prospects.
The words don’t have to be in any particular order, and the great thing about this is that San Diego (or the city in which you’re searching) doesn’t have to be in the Tweet itself, but could be in the person’s Twitter profile which would create an even better target for you.

Now comes the process of sorting through the searches and finding good prospects to respond to. You’ll want to find good tweets that could be open to receiving some information from you. It’s important to not just bombard people with unwanted info about you and your services.
You can potentially have your account suspended if you are just spamming people.

You may find people that have announced that they have just been engaged. In this case you might respond with a message of congratulations and send them to something you’ve written about ‘selecting a wedding photographer’ or ‘ten things to know about planning your wedding’ on your website that they could read if they were interested.
Or you may find someone that is actually looking for recommendations of other vendors. You would definitely want to recommend the vendors you’ve worked with. The opportunity may present itself to let them know that you’re a photographer for hire as well, but remember social media is about sharing, and growing communities and relationships. If you were to refer a vendor, they may refer work back to you at some point too. There’s something to be said for internet karma.
Now can this work for other photographers? Of course. If you are a Maternity Photographer, you might look up phrases like “having a baby” or “I’m pregnant” if you are a Senior Photographer you can look up words like “graduate” or “senior.”
It’s really up to your creativity.
Why use TweetDeck over Twitter’s search:

  1. In my opinion TweetDeck’s interface is quite a bit more streamlined than Twitter’s and has more features.
  2. TweetDeck feeds are automatic, so I don’t have to refresh my browser screen when people send new tweets. It’s live, in real time.
  3. Since I can have as many search columns it’s just as simple as scrolling to the right of my most used columns to go through my lists.
  4. One of my favorite features is that you can assign an audible notification as the searches come in, so you don’t have to check every five minutes to see if you’re missing something new.

I hope now that you have a new way to obtain new clients. The bonus to this technique is that as you start spreading your content with other people, you may gain new followers, as well as having your links spread across the internet which will bring you more traffic, and increase your SEO.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me here at We do specialize in SEO, and Social Marketing for photographers and can help you in your campaigns.

Are You Losing Clients Before They Enter Your Site

05 September

I’ve recently been looking at resumes of Web Engineers to expand the capabilities of Flaunt Your Site and grow it into the business I see it becoming. Through the process of looking through resumes online, I’ve been quite dumbfounded by the number of resumes that don’t provide contact information at all.

I’ve seen a number of talented and qualified people that I’ll never be able to contact!

That got me thinking about photographers with websites. Most pointedly the ones with Blu Domain websites that use a splash page on the main page. None of these sites provide contact information!
How do you expect clients to email you or call you to hire you? What if there was a wedding day emergency and all the client had was an iPhone? (They won’t be able to look at your Flash site from their mobile device).

The lesson here is that you should provide a method for contact that potential clients can reach from every page on you website. Whether that’s a link to a contact page, or footer information with your address and phone number at the bottom of every page.

Having a footer with your information at the bottom of the page has an added benefit for Local SEO optimization. When we do a Local Optimization Service, we modify the client’s website with the contact information in the correct microformat for Google to read it and associate it with your Google Places listing which helps boost that listing towards the top.

Don’t lose clients before you’ve even had a chance to meet them and impress them. Make sure they can contact you from the very beginning.