Photography Business

How to be an Artist and an Entrepreneur

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How would you categorize a professional wedding photographer? As an artist who runs a business or as an entrepreneur who makes art? ShootDotEdit works with professional photographers from all over the world and have found the most successful to be a mix of both artist and entrepreneur. Being able to manage a thriving business doesn’t make you any less of an artist.

The policy consultant and author, John Howkins once said,

“Entrepreneurs in the creative economy… use creativity to unlock the wealth that lies within themselves. Like true capitalists, they believe that this creative wealth, if managed right, will engender more wealth.”

ShootDotEdit has compiled some tips to help create success as both an artist and an entrepreneur.

1.    Identify your Style

Cultivate your own personal style, your own “signature” look and feel for your images. Find a niche and work within it.  This may mean that you make a strategic decision to only work on weddings, passing up other opportunities. Find a balance between what you are best at and what you love most, and then build your brand around it!

2.    Embrace efficiency

Setting up efficient business practices will create time for you to focus on your passions, on personal projects, and on serving and loving your clients. Not only will it allow you to spend more time on being creative, it also helps you make more money. Streamlining your business through efficient business practices will save time and money in the long run. ShootDotEdit has great resources for being efficient. Ultimately, faster delivery to your clients = happier clients.

Related Article: 5 Ways Efficient Business Empowers Your Photography
Related Article: Finding Time to Do It All: Tips for Managing Your Time

3.    Practice & Be Passionate

Entrepreneur and Marketing guru, Seth Godin says,

“Practice alone doesn’t produce work that matters. No, that only comes from caring. From caring enough to leap, to bleed for the art, to go out on the ledge, where it’s dangerous. When we care enough, we raise the bar, not just for ourselves, but for our customer, our audience and our partners.”

Channel your passion into your work and you will always deliver an amazing product.

4.    Persevere

Georgia O’Keefe stated,

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”

Running a business is hard work. There is a lot more than just creating a beautiful image.  Stay positive and focused on your business, and keep moving forward. Remember: your business must succeed to provide a platform for your art. The two go hand in hand.

5.    Say No.

Don’t compromise yourself. Say no to people who want you to work for free. Say no to things that fall outside of your niche. Your time is the most valuable thing that you have, so don’t waste it on anything that doesn’t work towards moving you and your business forward.

Related Article: Just Say No – Why Extreme Focus is Important

6.    Learn to Sell

Talent alone doesn’t book the next appointment.  Understand the basic ideas of how to sell. Listen to your clients and ask solid open ended questions to determine their needs. The most successful photographers know how to get brides and grooms to buy.

Related Article: How Professional Wedding Photographers Can Simplify Sales

7.    Network. Everywhere.

There is no better testimony than one from a client who is happy with your work. The beautiful thing about wedding photography is that you can meet clients everywhere. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Go to industry events. Talk to other vendors. Become friendly with venue owners and wedding planners and other people who are a part of your industry.

A professional photographer doesn’t have to be either an artist OR an entrepreneur. To be truly successful, whatever your definition of that may be, embracing both attributes will help generate growth as a person, as a business and as a photographer. Access our Guide to Marketing for Wedding Photographers to learn more about selling your brand to ideal clients!

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The 90/10 Model of Outsourcing

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Most professional wedding photographers have a “Signature Style” to their images… a style that is unique and individual. This process that a studio goes through to take images from capture-to-client is typically very detailed and very personal. And, in order for a photography business to stay focused on the action items that produce profit (ie. shooting, marketing, and sales), a robust workflow solution is mandatory. Hence, the haunting question, how does a professional wedding photographer achieve both their Signature Style and sustainable/dependable workflow? We have the answer.

Enter the “90/10 Model”: A Specialist performs 90% of the robust workflow, the artist finishes the job adding their “Signature Style”, the remaining 10%.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing

Many photographers struggle with the decision to partner with a Specialist. A large part of that struggle comes from the notion that the photographers is the only one who can execute every element of the workflow. In reality, Specialists can help with the science of color correction – providing you with consistent images every time. For example, ShootDotEdit utilizes a Color Profile to accurately edit according to each photographer’s style preferences. These color corrections are complete and custom, allowing the photographer to focus on what only they can do: the artistic edits associated with their Signature Style.

Jared Platt, Lightroom Expert and ShootDotEdit Advocate, put it best when he said:

“90% of the editing work that we need to do can be done by someone else. We only really need to be involved in the 10% – the icing on the cake. That’s what 90/10 is.”

90/10 Model

The best workflow for a photographer is one that saves time and maximizes creativity. The 90/10 Model lets ShootDotEdit handle 90% of the workload, color correcting images according to a photographer’s style preferences. This leaves the last 10% of the workload, the stylized editing that adds style, to the photographer.

90% (ShootDotEdit)

  • handles the science of color correction
  • edited according to a photographer’s style preferences
  • removes the boring and tedious portion of the workflow

10% (Photographer)

  • handles the art of adding style
  • minimal time, doing the portion that only the photographer can do
  • creatively fun and engaging

In the end, photographers retain their Signature Style, but without all of the tedious and time consuming parts of post-production!

While many photographers chose to add a Signature Style to the color corrected images, it isn’t required. ShootDotEdit delivers images that are custom color corrected and are ready to share. However, by utilizing a Specialist like ShootDotEdit, each photographer has the ability to do as much or as little with the images after color correction.

If you would like more information about how to integrate ShootDotEdit into your workflow, please access our Free Guide below!

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Partner Interview: Pictage

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ShootDotEdit is proud to partner with some of the amazing leaders in the photography industry. This week we wanted to shine the spotlight on Pictage, our all-in-one post-shoot partner company. We spoke with Natalie Hunter, the marketing coordinator, to help us explain why Pictage is so unique.

Making Photographer’s Lives Easier

Pictage was built to make photographer’s lives easier from the very beginning. When they first started, this meant digitizing a bucket of film in a garage. They have grown to have the ability to handle everything post-shoot. From email marketing to publicizing an event to printing an album. They even offer full customer service and print fulfillment to a photographer’s clients. In addition to all of this, they have a beautiful client proofing interface that is constantly being updated to keep up with the latest technology.

Since Pictage’s goal is to offer everything a photographer would need post shoot, they wanted to include post-processing services, but they also knew that ShootDotEdit does it best. So Pictage gives their members the option to send images to ShootDotEdit. Once the color correction is complete, ShootDotEdit uploads the files directly back into the photographer’s unique Pictage gallery. It fits in perfectly with ShootDotEdit’s “Fast is Best” motto and ends up saving Pictage members time!

We asked Natalie what her favorite part of the partnership with us was and she replied:

“Great things happen when “Fast is Best” is partnered with our mission to help photographers so they can focus on shooting. By having SDE send images directly to Pictage, photographers save a download and upload, which could potentially mean saving a whole extra day in their workflow! This just makes sense and also makes them look like the hero to their clients (who are probably checking their phones and emails every five minutes waiting for that announcement).”

What is your favorite part of working with photographers?

“Photographers are truly inspiring people, not only because the work they produce helps to make the world a more beautiful place, but because they can perfectly capture a feeling-a moment in time-that means the world to someone.”

More than just a company, They are community

Pictage also prides themselves on building and supporting photography communities around the country. Through their network of PUG (Pictage User Groups) Meetings, they offer a space for photographers to get together and build networks of support. Meetings are supported by Pictage and run by local photographers. They feature topics relevant to what’s going on in the industry.

What would you like photographers to know about Pictage?

“Mainly that there is so much more Pictage offers than simply being a proofing site for clients. Not only do we have a great product line of albums, cards, wall art and even calendars, but we also have an amazing community of photographers that meet around the nation for monthly meetings (face-to-face, I know!) simply to discuss the latest trends and concerns that many professional photographers share. When someone signs up for Pictage, we’re here to help photographers grow, learn and thrive.”

Describe a day in the life at Pictage…

“Pictage handles every aspect of a photographer’s business beyond the shoot, and we have dozens of people dedicated to every aspect of this work. All day long, our software engineers improve the photo gallery website and add new features. Our album designers and retouchers make photos and layouts look their best. Our professional print lab and album-binding team crank out high-quality products while our quality-assurance staff reviews everything to ensure excellence. Our shipping department packs and ships orders to clients across the globe, while our customer-support staff takes phone calls and answers questions from photographers, clients, and guests. It’s a busy office, but we love the work we do!”

Natalie, thank you for taking the time to share with us why Pictage is so special. We couldn’t agree more!

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What is a Specialist?

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While growing your successful photography business, you inevitably get to the moment where you have to make important business decisions. You are spending more time on tasks that do not involve taking photographs and interacting with clients, the reasons you started your business. In order to create more space to do the things that you love and that bring in the most money, you have to outsource and partner with a Specialist. But what exactly is a Specialist?

spe·cial·ist

noun \ˈspe-sh(ə-)list\

: a person who has special knowledge and skill relating to a particular job, area of study, etc.

Specialists are experts in their field

Whether you choose to partner with a Specialist in post-production, image fulfillment, bookkeeping or blogging (just to name a few), you want a company or person who is an expert in that particular field. When you are searching for the perfect Specialist, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask for references or a client list and talk to the people who have used that service. A person who is an expert will have all of this information ready to share before you sign on.

For more information, read our post on choosing the right partner.

Specialists are more efficient

Specialists should save you time and therefore money. They are repeating the same tasks over and over, and chances are, they can do it more efficiently than you. Even if it is a task that you dislike but can complete quickly, when you choose to partner with a Specialist that is time that you are freeing up.

Read our post about how to simplify post production, which outlines how we as Specialists have streamlined the post production process.

Specialists invest in education

Think of all the hours of training, second shooting and learning anything related to photography that you went through to become a leader in your market. Now think of all the hours of specific task training you would need to obtain the level of a Specialist in another field. We always recommend keeping current with software updates and tutorials, as it will make you a better photographer, but by hiring a Specialist, you are acknowledging that you don’t have unlimited time for training and doing, and that is ok!

If this is something that you struggle with, feeling that you need to know it all, we wrote about people who give you permission to partner with a Specialist.

We strongly believe that making the choice to work with a Specialist is the gateway to bringing your business to a new level. Now you see how hiring one in an area (or two!) of your business, will give you more satisfaction and fulfillment in your work life and make you more profitable.

To learn more about appealing to your target market, download our Guide to Marketing for Wedding Photographers!
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Give me my business (and my life) back

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What are a few highlights from your busy season that were made possible because you weren’t spending hours in front of the computer editing?

 I was so excited because for the first time in years I could take time off during my busy season. This past October (the busiest month for Connecticut photographers) I traveled to the Jersey Shore for a girls weekend with my old college roommates. I also went to a few college football games with my husband this fall, and I finally got to be present for my kids’ t-ball and soccer games!  All of this was made possible because the SDE crew was working for me!

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4 Left & Right-Brained Tasks to Prepare for Busy Season

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Even though curling up with a good book and enjoying some R&R during the winter months is a tempting (and even productive!) way to recharge, there are some other key things that you can do now that will help prepare you for a great year. Here are four things you can start now (and work on through the winter) so that by the time the busy season rolls around, you will be ready for your best season yet!

Re-evaluate Your Product Offerings

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Freedom comes from Being Caught Up in Workflow

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Partnering with a Specialist can bring on a mixture of trepidation and excitement. In the words of the Graziers “Excitement because for every hour that we spend shooting, we can spend up to two hours editing. And, we felt trepidation because we had tried it before.”

Matt and Enna Grazier had been down this road before… they had hired others to edit their images in the past, and they did not get consistent color corrected images.

But by choosing ShootDotEdit, the Grazier’s found that open and accessible communication led to consistency in editing.

In the end, the Grazier’s got a lot more than consistent color correction, such as:

– Saved 16 hours of editing PER wedding
– Caught up on Album Delivery
– Invest in Community, such as Inspire Photo Retreats

Download the entire Case Study, and see how your business can benefit from clear communication in your color correction through this ShootDotEdit Review.

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3 Successful “Fast is Best” Companies

…and what wedding photographers can learn from them!

Fast is best. As a wedding photographer, you hear us say that a lot. And there’s a good reason: we believe that speed is an essential ingredient in your success. And it’s not just true for big businesses. Every business – big or small – is an enterprise. So, before diving into the fast is best philosophy, ask yourself: do you think of your wedding photography business as an enterprise?

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How to Define a Fast is Best Business

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As a business owner, it is important for you to develop a workflow that is timely and efficient, allowing you to quickly deliver products and services to your clients. When you are able to do that, you set up a reputation for your clients that you have a Fast is Best business. How exactly can you define a Fast is Best business? In addition to helping you with your wedding photo editing needs, we wanted to share an infographic that breaks down the definition so that you can implement new techniques into your workflow.

How to Define a Fast is Best Business

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Tips for Updating Your Photography Workflows this Off-Season

Tips for Updating Your Photography Workflows this Off-Season

Airlines don’t overhaul their airplanes while they are flying. And that’s for good reason — taking vital systems offline while in flight would probably be disastrous.

The same is true for photographers. While less fatal, changing your workflow during busy season can derail projects leading to late nights and angry customers — thatʼs why off-season is the ideal time to update and improve your workflows.

As you revise your workflow, remember the reason for having workflows in the first place is to improve speed by implementing consistent and repeatable systems.

Here are three tips (and one bonus tip) for updating your workflows this off- season:

1. Check for Updates

Software tools get updated routinely during busy season. Updating software during mid-year can lead to unexpected consequences. Now is finally the time! To make sure your workflows are optimized for best performance, check with your partner vendors to see what updates you missed while you were busy caring for clients. Then make the changes that make sense for your unique business.

For example, you might have noticed that during busy season we updated our Lightroom workflow for Lightroom 5! Now is the time to revisit that announcement and make sure your Lightroom workflow is up to date.

2. Look for Bottlenecks

When work piled up in the thick of wedding season, what was keeping it from moving seamlessly forward? By identifying the bottlenecks in your workflows (and then removing them), you can do your best to ensure that work wonʼt pile up next season.

Here are two articles to consider when looking for bottlenecks in your workflows:

How to Spot (and Fix!) a Bottleneck in Your Business
Case Study in Bottlenecks: Clearing the Email Trap

3. Remove Extra Steps

It’s easy for teams to get caught up in extra workflow steps. When it’s not just you in charge of performing your workflow tasks, it’s easy to create wasted steps. For example, you might find yourself passing images back-and-forth, when one hand-off will do. Duplicate steps might not seem like a big deal. But, when you’re in the thick of busy season, every minute counts.

Removing duplicate steps makes your workflows more efficient, increasing the amount of time you have available to work on the tasks that really need your attention.

BONUS: ShootDotEditʼs Workflows

Have you used our Lightroom or Aperture workflows? They make processing your images with ShootDotEdit even faster and more simple. Most of our photographers find that its best to set up their workflow in the off season. Get them set up now, so they’re ready when you submit your next events. For help setting up your workflows, check out our Help Desk workflow tutorials.

Ready to start updating your workflows? Now is the time! You (and your clients) will be much happier next busy season because you did.

Photo by Flickr User  kevindean






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