Professional Outdoor and Nature Photography 9: Marketing Your Business | Charlie Borland | Skillshare

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Professional Outdoor and Nature Photography 9: Marketing Your Business

teacher avatar Charlie Borland, Professional photographer for over 35 years

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Marketing Your Business

    • 2. Introduction to Marketing

    • 3. Branding Your Business

    • 4. Website Strategies

    • 5. Promoting Your Business

    • 6. Developing a Portfolio

    • 7. Social Media Marketing

    • 8. Photo Sharing Sites

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About This Class

Without clients buying your products, there is no business. In this course we cover strategies for marketing yourself and your products to clients including direct mail, email campaigns, and personal portfolio showings.

Meet Your Teacher

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Charlie Borland

Professional photographer for over 35 years


Charlie Borland has been a commercial and stock photographer for over 35 years. Based in Oregon, his clients include Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Tektronix, Nike, Blue Cross, Nationsbank, Precision Castpart's Corp., Mentor Graphics, Texas Instruments, Pacificorp, Cellular One, Sequent Computer, Early Winters, Cascade Bancorp, and AGC. He has won numerous awards for his photography and received recognition for annual reports he has photographed.

His imagery has been used thousands of times worldwide, including National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women's Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, CIO, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Eco Traveler, Southern Bell, to name a few.

Charlie has been teaching... See full profile

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Photography Creative

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1. Marketing Your Business: Hi, I'm Charlie Borland and welcome to my course on marketing Outdoor in nature photography, part of my Siris on how to be a professional outdoor and nature photographer. Like any business, success comes from effective marketing. And since photography is a business, it's a competitive one. At that, your marketing becomes crucial. If the world does not know that you have excellent photography, it will be hard to make income from those photographs. So in this course will look at various aspects of marketing, how to brand yourself social media, marketing your portfolio, various types of websites and direct marketing. So if you're ready to start promoting yourself, join me in the class and we'll get started. 2. Introduction to Marketing: way have looked at many ways of searching and finding clients that you want to market your images to. And now that you've researched those markets, you need to tell the world about your photography. This means placing your images in locations or multiple locations where clients can view and purchase those photographs. These are the clients that you may not know exist, and thus you cannot really seek them out. Yet they often stumble on you in your imagery. This is marketing and the power of the Web, where a photo buyer looking for a photograph finds you while they're searching. The goal of this lesson is to explore the various ways that you can get your name and your photography out there to the world so they can easily see and hopefully license an image for use. Like everything related to outdoor and nature photography. You need to have marketing goals. These goals need to be realistic, and it's important that you don't just plan your goals, but you make them happen. There are two types of advertising you can do with the first being image advertising. This approach is designed to keep you and your name out there and build your business based on name recognition. The second goal is to get a response from your target market, like marketing any product or service. The goal is to get clients to act in regards to your marketing program by having them respond. You whittle down the clientele that's interested in you and your services, and then you market to this group on a regular basis. It's crucial you promote, often by creating a campaign rather than a single promotion sent randomly and only occasionally. There are numerous types of marketing that you can do, including sales calls, social marketing, email, marketing, direct mail, marketing, sourcebook, advertising and photography site marketing. We're going to take a look at most days, a little bit more in depth. But first I want to address the importance of marketing and self promotion. In fact, we're gonna look at how critical and crucial that really is to the success of us, a photographer and your photography business. Have you ever picked up a outdoor or nature or adventure magazine and found a photo feature on an area very close to your home base? The cover photo caught your eye because it's near your home base, and you know the area very well, having photograph there many times, the magazine articles illustrated with photographs that are comparable to your quality of work and similar in subject. As you continue to read through the story, you begin to wonder whose shots or these. Then you find the photo credits, and it lists a photographer that you might have heard off. Or maybe not. But you know, they're not a local photographer because you know who the local competition is. In fact, it turns out, with further investigation, that this photographer from the other side of the country you have marketed to this magazine so why they pick that photographer and not you. I live in a beautiful and scenic adventure town of Bend, Oregon, a photographer's paradise. We have snow capped peaks, Alpine wilderness, four seasons, wild rivers, sprawling deserts and lots of places for activities like skiing, mountain biking, fishing, climbing, boating and pretty much everything that outdoor enthusiasts enjoy. That means there's plenty of subjects for me. An outdoor photographer, more than once a major publication, has sent a photographer to my town to shoot photographs I already have in my stock photo files and this photographer often came from far away. The first thing that gets me thinking about is Look at all the money I could have saved him and I've marketed in the past to these same publications. So they should remember me, my name and my work, shouldn't they? Well, they don't. Why is that? Because today, successfully selling stock photography or obtaining assignments, it's not about who has the images. It's more about who has the client. In this crowded market of outdoor photographer's, it's fair to say that many photographers can provide the images from most notable landmarks and tourist locations for just about any area in the United States were even around the world. I had the images this magazine published and could have easily illustrated this magazine article. But for this magazine issue, I did not have them as a client. Instead, the other photographer had them as a client and was paid to come to my town and shoot in my neighborhood. This client was their client this time, and it could be because I failed to stay in contact. I neglected promoting to them on a regular basis and appears to have cost me some business . Of course, it's not really my neighborhood, since the area draws photographers from all over the place. And clients can, of course, send any photographer they choose, which is often based on their style of photography. In this case, the images that photographer photographed were local points of interest, all of which I had plenty of comparable stock images. Of course, there's no guarantee that I would have gotten the assignment or the stock sale anyway. But having worked with this magazine many times on other photo needs, they had means I am on their photographers list. So this left me wondering if I cannot sell my work to the magazines that do a story once every five years in my home area. Then who can I sell to the National Outdoor magazine markets? I should be able to sell to all of them because of my previous marketing efforts. They should all know who I am and where I'm located, right? Well, sadly, it just does not work that way. With the masses of photographers beating on their doors and clogging their mailboxes with promotions, is it possible to be remembered in a sea of endless competition. Well, it ISS, and it's done simply by standing out from the crowd. It's doing something that's memorable. Such a sending a stunning promotion that really shows off your work and your technique and highlights your ability well beyond the competition. You need to create something so memorable or better yet unforgettable so that they can't help but remember you in your name. You have to do this over and over to be remembered beyond that first promotion in the real world, it's too easy to get really busy and fall behind with your marketing communications. And when this happens, the result is often a slowdown or a lack of business. So today you have to keep your name in front of editors or settle for last place. And it's not as profitable there. When business is tough and clients budgets air crunched, there's not as much business to pursue, and it becomes difficult for photographers to commit to costly marketing when the results may be questionable. We already know when times were slow is exactly the time to increase your marketing efforts . Studies have shown that editorial photo editors, advertising and design creatives don't generally follow photographers on Facebook and Twitter and instead tend to respond MAWR to email and print promotions and later visit the photographers website and block e mails the cheapest form of advertising, making it an attractive option in drawing prospects to your site. Since you're already staying in touch with your regular clients and current email list, why not try a list of unqualified contacts? You can purchase these lists with email addresses and mailing addresses from a variety of providers, and even some of these will mail postcards for you. Buying an email list or a mailing list with thousands of unqualified prospects is the shotgun approach to marketing. Traditionally, this has been discouraged as wasted effort, but things just might be a little bit different these days. You never know what will happen if your promotion lands on the right desk on the right day . You've already heard me during this course advocate for qualifying. Your clients and I still believe that that's the best approach. When you have little to no business, your choices become obvious. Break from the norm, try new approaches and test unfamiliar waters without promoting to your current and prospective contacts. It's fair to assume the photographer who makes the sale is the one who has the client 3. Branding Your Business: way. Have you ever wondered what the world thinks of you? You've been marketing yourself to a variety of clientele and have worked very hard at creating an online presence. You understand that at least some of your promotional efforts are working simply by the fact that you receive an occasional assignment and have many Facebook and Twitter followers , including a decent amount of comments on your block posts. Why did these people give you business or follow you? Have you ever analyzed this in order to understand what it is that attracts your clients and your followers? When it comes to promotion and marketing in both traditional and new media, the most successful ingredients to building a vibrant client base is branding. Since you are finding success at this time, you must be, whether intentional or not, building your brand to understand what a brand is. Here's Wikipedia's definition name, term design symbol or any other feature that identifies one sellers goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers. The term brand actually started when cattlemen began branding their cattle with a hot iron in an effort to create an identity for their product and separate them from those of other cattlemen. Today, branding includes a variety of strategies, and it's crucial for many businesses in their effort to stay ahead of the competition. They do this by appearing to be different and ideally, a better option to the customer. If you're an outdoor and nature photographer in the business, branding is justice crucial to your success? Wouldn't you like to be the first photographer contacted by a client when they have a need ? Stop for a moment? Think about some of the most recognized nature photographers in general. When the terms bird photographer or underwater photographer or flower photographer mentioned. Is there anybody you can think of? It's likely there is someone you could name who fits. Those descriptions and the reason you know about them are reasons related to their brand. The fact that any photographer becomes known for a specialty points to some form of successful branding. I'll give you a real world example. Go online and look up. Australian photographer Mark Tipple and his website is the underwater project dot com, and I repeat that the underwater project dot com mark grew up surfing and eventually began photographing, surfing and the ocean waves having also photographed several humanitarian projects to promote his career, he found distribution difficult and returned to surfing in the ocean, trying to figure out what was next. As he describes on his website. And I quote, One day I was caught inside a big wave, and as I dove under water, I suddenly thought I'd see what the kids next to me were going through. I turned my camera on them. End quote. One of his photographs from that day went global and now marks. Images have been seen around the world, published by National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, and now Marc has a book out and Mawr projects in the works. Mark is now known as the Underwater Wave Photographer, and that has become part of his brand. While it was probably less planned and Maura result of doing the right thing at the right time, most photographers need to plan and create ah brand based on their photography niche. Those new to the business are trying to create their first brand. While some veteran photographers challenged by the new photo economy are basically rebranding themselves in the end, the goals are the same for both to stand out in the CIA photographers and become known for a certain photography style or subject speciality. Now, if you're wondering about your brand, consider some brands you might recognize, like the company that sells fried chicken on every busy boulevard or that slogan. Just do it or the company's products all have an apple shaped logo with a bite out of it. I might say these businesses are widely recognized, and their brands and taglines easily come to mind when we see or hear anything related to them. As brand recognition continues to build for any business, they can charge more for their products because they have become a trusted brand selling a trusted product. Here's where the term name brand product was coined, and it's the same goal that most businesses hope to achieve. The process of creating a brand should start with a focus on your photographic passion. Many photographers shoot a lot of subjects, but most need of focus when it comes to branding and then a strategy that best promotes that brand. This could range from public relations and social media to the business name, business cards, a logo and promotional materials. Your brands goal is to tell a client what you have to offer. In all cases, you need to convey professionalism both to the clients that might send you an assignment or those who wish to learn from you by buying your books or taking a photography workshop. Overall, you want consistency throughout each element of your brand, starting with the business name. Many photographers choose to use their own name, followed by photography or photo or images or productions, while others choose a business name instead of their own name in the title. While both approaches work, this is an important decision because once promotional and marketing efforts to build that brand are set in motion, changing it could be a setback. If you look at some of the most successful and well known photographers, what business name do they use? In most cases, it's their own A logo, maybe part of effective branding, and it's usually a graphical representation of the business name, and it's an option for an overall brand strategy. Throw in customer services Well, solid branding is not just for getting new clients. It's about taking care of the ones you have customer service, that experience they have when they're doing business with you is crucial toe overall success. Once a business buys into your brand, you have to deliver and in whatever form you promised. While building an effective brand and using it to promote your business is paramount, your brand will be even more effective if the target market is kept in mind during the brand building process. Make sure you have a market. If no markets exist for your products, all the branding in the world will not bring success. No matter how effective the effort. ISS. Your ultimate goal should be to spread the message far and wide by any and all avenues, while providing a streamline process for customers to do business with you. 4. Website Strategies: Another important aspect of your business and brand is your website. This, in many ways, is your store, where your business markets and sells its products and services. And as such, it's one aspect that's crucial to the success today. Most businesses looking for success in a global economy will not find it without a website . You should start first with your website domain name, and it should indicate in some way what your business is about here. Many photographers strive to be creative or even cute, but that's not always a good strategy. Take the time to research good domain names before buying one. Unless you plan to use your name, which is my suggestion. If you decide to use your name, craft the actual domain name carefully. For example, if you are John Doe nature photography, don't use the letters. W w w dot j d n p dot com Which stands for John Doe Nature photography Because search engines may not find you as easily as if you had just used doe nature photography dot com Choose your domain name very carefully because going back is not very easy when it comes to setting up your website try this first type in stock photography in a Google search and see how many hits your search locates. The response will be enormous. I just did it and I received 18,900,000 hits. Where are you in there? It can be scary. And make one wonder. Why bother? There are, however, many tools to get your message to those who need to receive it. You just start by deciding if you will have a site primarily to display your photography in a gallery format or a site devoted to e commerce and automated income generation. The Web provides an opportunity for photo buyers to enter key words in the search engine and then look at the results, which contained websites that included those matching keywords. This should be your goal. No matter what websites style you choose. You want your name to appear in just such a search. Unless you're designer, you might want to have someone else design your website for you. There are many professional website providers where you can get incredibly cool looking websites. A nice looking site that's easy to navigate is crucial, and the reason is that there are 10 Brazilian of you, me and other photographers out there. So don't skimp on a professional looking website. In today's markets, you need to work very hard locally and also find ways to reach globally in your efforts to show the world your images. The Web has become, without a doubt, the greatest tool for photo buyers as well as image suppliers. Your photography will benefit from a presence on the Web, and how you go about setting it up will determine how successful you will be in licensing images. Search for nature and adventure publications in other countries, like those in Europe. That's how I found Hope had a Dutch outdoors magazine that I sold many images to over the years You're going toe. Want to sell your work yourself, but also look for photo agencies and other sites to help promote your images with online agency websites. It's easy for a client to find a generic nature shot, so they may not go to the trouble to call many photographers. But when they need something more specific or hard to find, like a bird, you might be known to photograph or a location near your home. This is when they will call you keep in mind when deciding which markets to go after my friend Brian Peterson told me many years ago, The best assignments are the ones you create, and this is so true in landscape and nature photography, you must get out in market and make things happen. Clients need photos, and we're the manufacturers and suppliers. Our job is to make it easy for them to find us to market nationally and internationally. Your best and maybe only affordable option is the Web. So I have asked this throughout the course to get you thinking about something. I feel it's so important. What is it that you shoot and who are you shooting it for? Is it for prints, large format and fine art, or telling two posters and cards or advertising calendars or magazines? Once you've answered this question, how are you going to fill the clients requests Phil on demand or by total e commerce? One means you answer the phone or an email and then ship the product. The other one. The total e commerce means it's a totally automated online fulfillment center where you don't really do anything. You may choose to start small by selling on your website ink jet prints and blank note cards. Or maybe you will even have these commercially produced. But they're inexpensive, so a sophisticated e commerce site may not really be necessary. You list your phone number and email, and the client calls or emails you to buy a box of a dozen cards and provide you a credit card number. You process the order, package up the cards and shipped the products done. Deal. This can also work for selling your stock photo. The client tells you which photo from your website they like, and you send Ah, high res scan by Dropbox. You also request payment before shipping unless it's an established client and they want you to invoice them. This approach can work and you can make money. But if you're going to be involved in every sale, like to negotiate a price, for example, then you need to be in the office and filling orders. If you sell it art fairs as another outlet for your products. Here again, you need to physically be there to make the sales. Many photographers, including myself, look for ways to sell our photography or products that generate passive income income we make without lifting a finger making money. While not me, office allows me to spend most of my time in the field shooting rather than running my office. None of us want to lose a sale. So the Internet and a website that can fulfill your orders automatically is a good goal to strive for. Full e commerce websites are great, and they keep making money without having to be involved in the transaction. These day speed means everything in the world of advertising and design. Expediency is critical. Everybody wants it yesterday. So a site that could be searched, purchased and downloaded is the way it works today. Or if you're selling prints or cards, you can connect with these print shops who actually do the printing and bell. Fulfill your orders. So once again you could be selling something without being there. How are you set up to deliver your products? It's certainly something to think about when it comes to stock photography. Do you know what your competitors are doing when fulfilling orders? It depends, of course, on what they're doing and what you're doing. But generally speaking, thousands of other photographers, along with Getty, Corbis and Shutter stock and many others are your competition for stock photography. The big guys have total e commerce in their websites, and you may want to A swell. A client may find an image on your website and want to purchase it immediately. But if they're not able to download it or they only get your voicemail when they call, there's a high likelihood they're just gonna move on. The cost of ending the world of e commerce has dropped dramatically. There are companies out there selling software where you can create a custom e commerce photo website to sell your stock photos and other products. Que Tools is one company that's K tools dot net that provides software, and so does another one stock box photo dot com Both of these air Very good options if you want to build your own website to sell your stock photographs. If you don't want to build your own website and prefer to use one that already exists, look at photo shelter dot com. This is the top dog in the stock photography fulfillment website. Business Photo Shelter is a membership website that offers a ton of features with varied pricing structures, and it's fully automated. You set up a few admin things and immediately start uploading your images. One thing you still need to consider is that in the cases of the software or the site like photo Shelter, you're still doing all the marketing promotion to drive customers to the site to buy your images. These guys were just providing the software or the website architecture for you to host your image files, and they provide automatic purchasing options for your clients. If you don't want to do that, then you're gonna want to look for a stock photo agency as the other option. If you do build your own website and choose an e commerce set up, one consideration is how you're going to price your images when all the sales will be automatic. Traditionally, stock photo prices were always negotiated between photographer and buyer, but with websites handling all the purchase and downloading of the image files, negotiating and images use based on how it will be used is more difficult. So now it boils down to whether you want to negotiate every single image sale were not, and if you prefer to negotiate than an automated e commerce site might be a little bit more challenging if you choose to negotiate. Negotiating means being reachable every day and then sending the image file to the client once the negotiations end. And negotiating with the clients on each sale means you will create additional work for yourself. But you also might make more money. But what if you get an email from India or France wanting to use an image and they want you to provide a price? Besides needing to communicate? There's the potential for language barrier, and you should have a currency converter when you're negotiating price. However, if you set up an e commerce site and choose one price fits all strategy and your website, accept payment by credit card. You will get the price you set and the payment processor does the currency conversion for you. Another challenge with an e commerce site is the issue of what rights you will be granting to a client based on the sale and their needs. And while we will discuss this later, I'm gonna mention briefly here they're basically to licensing models with rights managed being the model where the client is paying for a specific use and getting no more than that . The royalty free model is one set price, and the buyer can you see image anyway they wish, and pretty much forever when you're conducting automated transactions without being involved. The negotiations on how an image may be used and for how long has been a challenge for the buyer and the seller due to the automatic transaction. This is where the person to person phone call usually resolves this problem. But some of the software previously mentioned now includes Ways toe work with images where the rights air managed Based on the usage indicated by the client, they simply click on how they plan to use the image and then the usage prices displayed before they accept and make the payment and then download. This is very slick, and I encourage you to go to stock box photo dot com and watch their demo video if you choose. The royalty free license model, which will also be discussed in more depth later than automated pricing or one size fits all, is usually the result. There's no negotiating of the usage rights or length of time since the client purchased the image with the idea that they could use it any time they wanted. And forever, you have to be the one to decide which approach will work best for you and then plan accordingly as you set up your website. Once your site is launched, be sure in research search engine optimization, so your site has a high chance of topping out in online searches. And consider a blogger's well to tell the world and clients about what you've been up to these air a very good marketing tool as well. 5. Promoting Your Business: There are two methods I believe are the strongest one promoting yourself and it's direct mail and email, and here I'm going to discuss direct mail promotions. I've done these for years and learned a few things about what has worked for me. When you create a promotional piece, you want to design it as such. To draw response from the client, think of ways you can draw the client into responding. Consider, for example, a direct mail piece that not only displays a picture but includes a special invitation directed personally to the client. This could be an invitation to view a password protected private gallery that happens to be on your website or showing a personal project you were working on. Another option might be to actually self publish small, economically priced calendars or booklets containing your beautiful and innovative work. Send a mass mailing to a large direct mail list with the invitation toe reply to you and received the calendar or the book. For those that do respond, you will send them the advertised promotional item and thank them. You have now used what's called response advertising to create a small personal list of clients. You wanna work with. There are many ways to create innovative and catchy advertising promotional programs, and here good research or even some help from an advertising specialist will guide you to something that's very effective. There are many ways to do printed promotional pieces from postcards, toe booklets to even some photographers producing coffee table books and sending those on Lee to the top clients with the highest budgets. A well designed promotional postcard is one a client tax on the wall alongside the other promotional pieces that they enjoy. If it ends up in the round file, it's money down the drain. I clearly did much better with my marketing materials when I chose to use a graphic designer to create them over doing them myself. My design served the purpose and did earn business. But using a graphic designer created something that will appeal to other graphic designers , something I just couldn't have done myself. Your marketing promotion should illustrate several things about you, your subject or specialty. Your style is a photographer and your expertise as a craftsman showing how creative you are . So what type of photography should you promote with? The answer, of course, is your best work. And if you have a theme throughout these images, that's even better, and especially if the subjects are wide and varied. For example, avoid a close up flower image, followed by a hot air balloon image and followed again by palm trees and a sandy beach in Hawaii. The next month, a macro buckshot, followed by canoeing shot and then an eagle photograph and so on. This approach shows that you are a random photographer, not focused on any particular specialty. You will appear somebody who likes to take pictures but has no focus. Instead plan ahead and create a 12 month campaign to contain six stunning landscapes with six stunning close up shots, all showing that you are a nature and landscape specialists. If you also do adventure and recreational sports, you can promote in a similar manner. Keep in mind that you will be marketing these subjects is if you are a specialist, meaning the landscape and nature can go to everybody. But the adventure sports would not go on promotions sent to the calendar publisher if they only do nature calendars. In the end, the goal is not to market yourself, showing all your specialties. Rather, you are marketing to a specific client who would be interested in that one specialty. You should also choose images that will be useful to the clients your marketing to. Obviously, if you're submitting a postcard to a ski magazine, you will not include that mackerel flower shot. It's really called target marketing. Send them what they might use. One of the toughest things to do in all of this and I'm guilty of it myself is to promote on a regular basis. Yet this is so crucial to successful marketing campaigns you must build name recognition, and it can only be done with promotional efforts taking place every 4 to 6 weeks. So what is the best way to produce your direct mail pieces? Well, as I mentioned, I really believe in using a graphic designer for creating high quality promotional pieces unless I'm doing a very small targeted mailing, as I mentioned previously, where I include a cover letter and some inkjet samples of my photography, a graphic designer is going to come in with an innovative and unique approach to promoting us a photographer, and this has been very successful for me. There are also many other ways to promote. In addition to buying advertising and sending out direct mail promotional pieces, some photographers find great success with creating newsletters. This could be either by email or by print or even snail mail. The digital newsletter is a great idea, and while it might take a little bit of time to produce it, it's certainly something that clients might be interested in. If you take, for example, an extreme adventure trip like trekking or climbing in Patagonia, then you could create a beautiful four color newsletter that is produced in a magazine article style and saved as a PdF. Here, you need to be a writer and a photographer or at least work with a writer. But the impact of such a newsletter could be quite powerful. You want to create a story full of drama and intrigue and emphasize the challenges that you went through to achieve these incredible photographs. This here could entice clients to really sit and read it. If you want to see an example, check out the digital magazines that Michael Clarke produces to market himself and his services. He is an adventure sports photographer, and these newsletters are very well done, and they must work because he's been producing them for years. Another really effective tool is the press release. But again, this must be specifically targeted to clients who will use your type of imagery. Obtaining free publicity is one of the most powerful marketing tools that photographers can use, provided it's presented to the right people. This is why businesses use public relations firms. They are masters of presenting to the world carefully crafted news about their clients. Since you're a business person and running a business specializes in outdoor and nature photography, then the world really needs to know about you. Effective public relations gives you credibility and shows your business is successful. There are many details that you can include in a press release, including awards. You may have recently won a photo credit in a publication. New material. You have recently shot your new book that's being published, your new staff members or projects recently completed for a client or a publication. How you approach a press release is critically important. Public relations that shows something interesting about your business will be much more successful than public relations that our ego driven, such as a release that does nothing more than, say, I'm a great photographer. Look at my picture. It must be interesting to readers, or it has little value. You can do press releases in a variety of ways. Send them to your permission based email list and send the same press releases in print format by mail to your full mail list. Internet based press release companies such as P r log dot com war, p r dot com would do a great job on the Net. And these show up in search rankings. The's Internet based press release. Websites have free options as well as paid programs, and the difference depends on how much search engine optimization you feel you want to do on the Web. I've used both of these websites when sending press releases, and although I have no measurement statistics as to how many people actually read the release, it's free and it takes a very little time to write. So why not give it a try if you need help in writing a press release? The Internet is full of websites dedicated to just doing that. You can also place a pressure release on sites like Facebook and then actually pay for promoted posts. So the reaches much further. Also, look for opportunities to network In today's reality driven social networking culture, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of all of these things. I'm not referring so much to portfolio showings or promotional mailings, but rather ways to keep your name constantly in the news. Ideally, your client is the public, and your colleagues would all be the recipients of your networking efforts. This might include joining professional organizations and taking advantage of any opportunities they may provide for press releases or their online forums from time to time . Offer to do photography for a non profit and again take advantage of the visibility this may provide. Also take advantage of Internet based social networking websites with high visibility. There are so many marketing and public relations tools on the Internet that are free or priced reasonably. That you should take advantage of. Email is an incredibly cost effective way to market. Yet too many recipients it's considered spam. So I've bought my mail list from companies that specialize in opt in and permission based Mehlis. He's usually contain the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. In each list, you can purchase list for advertising agencies or graphic design firms, book publishers, magazines, record companies and maybe more users of photography. The two main companies out there at this time that I'm aware of our agency access dot com and add base dot com. When you purchase a list, you are buying a license to use that list for a specified period and for X amount of dollars. You then print your postcards or whatever direct mail piece. You're creating a fixed labels and mail them, or you can use their email list. Some of these companies have staff who can help you get the right list as well as help in designing a promotion, and some of them even do the printing and mailing of the postcards for you. So this is one way to reach really large audiences. So check out email lists that come from these two companies as a way to promote nationwide . The goal should be to let the world know exactly who you are and what you do 6. Developing a Portfolio: Some photographers thrive on face to face meetings where they get to meet a client and show their work. Others despise it, and I'm somewhere in between. Honestly, if you choose to show your photography to potential clients in person, what you going to present to them? If there was one single answer than this would be really easy, But there's not. What is standard is to show what you love to do and nothing but your best work. Do not go in as a jack of all trades, showing a wide variety of work that's not related. Rather, show your diversity of what you photograph and try to have a common theme. For example, you don't really want to show a portfolio made up of a wedding shot, a car photo, a waterfall, a glass of beer, a wild flower, mountains, scenic, a bicycle race and so on. This makes the buyer think you are a wedding nature portrait automotive product photographer, and that often leads to confusion. They wonder what you do. While you might do all that, it's better to choose one category and present your work around that common theme. My outdoor portfolio is an example contains many images, including a runner, a mountain biker, a ski shot rafting, a waterfall, spectacular mountain, a camp shot, extreme kayaking and some more. How should you present your work as a portfolio book or a printed book? Well, ask 20 photographers or art directors, which is the best, and you will get 20 answers that provide you no consensus. I've tried them all and have settled on the portfolio book. You must do what you think is great to make you stand out. A long time ago, I used to make high quality ink jet prints and place them in plastic sleeves. That then went inside a custom made portfolio book that was embossed with my name on the cover. I could quickly change out prints to customize that portfolio for a particular showing I was going to be having. But this approach is no longer very impressive, and I wanted to move away from plastic sleeps. So I started making high quality prints from the lab and used a custom binder that would hold them all. There are many manufacturers of custom portfolio books, and a simple online search will show you many of them. There's also APS available. For those who prefer to create a digital portfolio and presented on a tablet. A few tips on creating a presentable portfolio is to first always show your best work with an image that says Wow! And then that images followed by Mawr images that say Wow and again try to apply a little bit of a theme. Art directors Air known for hiring photographers based on the niche they present. So a common theme is a good idea. Presentation, as we know, is everything. When you present your portfolio in person, strive for a strong sales presentation. For some photographers, being a great presenter is much more difficult than being a great photographer. But you really need to strive to be very good at it. You want to distinguish yourself as a leader and not just a follower. A leader develops a look or a style to their work that's not seen elsewhere. A follower copies those techniques and styles to give the appearance that their current. There are many ways to present and promote yourself in a face to face meeting, and you should look into this beyond this particular course. But here are a few tips I have gleaned over the years. Introduce yourself and then let the client take the lead. Don't sit and explain each image in your book. They may not care, and they may not have time. Let them ask you about your work and then respond. But do not remain silent the whole time as they look at your images. Instead, ask the client a few questions about their business and how they like to work with photographers. This gets them to participate in the presentation. If, by chance you placed an image in the book that you're not that comfortable with, do not make excuses for. Of course, if it needs excuses, you should not have placed it in there in the first place. Explain to them what you do, who you've worked for but even more importantly, craft a message as to what you can do for them. It does not matter what you sell. The message is the same, so you should take that approach. You want to leave with them being impressed and, more importantly, liking you. One thing that I have found that works very well is to leave behind something for the client to hang on to once you depart the meeting, I might leave an envelope with my latest promotional cards, including a business card, and this is really important as many clients have a file of promotional materials from photographers that they've met with. They looked through them from time to time. When they have a project come up, they want a photographer that will fit the need. And they might just go through all those promotional pieces. If you are outgoing in your sales ability, inquire before leaving if they have any projects coming up where your skills might be applied. And finally remember, photographers are known for what they show, not what they shoot. 7. Social Media Marketing: There really is no debate that social media marketing is crucial for photographers, including outdoor and nature photographers. Learning how to embrace this is certainly a challenge, because everything is in a constant evolution. Sometimes when I look at social media, I think I have a good grasp on how it works. But then something comes along and changes it all, just like photographic technology, which is constantly evolving. So does social media. Yesterday I felt I was on top of the game, and today I feel like I'm being left behind. And of course I'm joking. But only partly. I find social media to be something that needs to be continually explored and studied, all in an effort to maximize the potential benefits. When you look up marketing. Generally, you have two types. Outbound and inbound. Outbound is traditionally known as push marketing, where you were sending something toe a potential customer and hoping they will buy these would be your e mails and promotional piece is your phone call and your portfolio showing, or for other companies, it would be magazine advertising or direct mail. Inbound marketing is usually considered a something that can be opted into meaning that potential client requests to receive your information, and this includes things as simple as Facebook friends or those who are following you. All of these people are potential customers, and they've chosen to receive your information. Both outbound and inbound marketing is designed to get customers to buy, and in both cases, a strong marketing message is very important. Unless you as a photographer, are a marketing specialist, you might just find there's no secret to success in social marketing. What makes social marketing attractive is that it is essentially free in the sense that no outlay of cash generally takes place. That's not to say that you can't spend money on social marketing, but my real point here is that the cost is in time for you to market socially. And since time is money, it's very important that you know enough about social marketing to maximize your efforts. Not many photographers, including myself, are social media, marketing whiz kids, so I find myself trying a number of different things to see what works. The attraction of social media marketing is that it builds on things we've already talked about, such as brand building, creating relationships with potential customers, which can result in sales. And much of this increase is your online search rankings. If you find social marketing intriguing and a solid part of your marketing program, then you should put time and effort into tracking your marketing efforts. One of the easiest ways to do that and it's free with the exception of the time to set it up, is to add Google Analytics to your website. This way, Every time you post something on a social network with the intention of drawing people to your website, you contract the success. You can also join online communities where you share, and this is a very powerful marketing strategy. Giving things away for free as an information has proven to be a very wise decision for many photographers. As an example, I've written blogged posts on other websites where I was not paid to submit the article and as a result, had a number of sign ups for my classes like this one that you're taking but also sold a number of my E books. One thing I do want to mention before I dig into individual sites is to start first by thinking about your client base and where and how you're going to reach them. For example, is a National Geographic photo editor going toe look for you or any photography on Twitter as an example? What about Facebook or Google? Plus, will a photo editor or a photo buyer from an advertising agency be looking for photographers on these networks? A recent survey published by a photo editor dot com showed a small percentage looking for photographers this way. But the majority were not using these types of social networks to find photographers that they might use, say, to photograph an advertising campaign or a magazine story or even buy a stock photo from with Social Media has proven to photographers and beyond. A reasonable doubt is that social media is great for creating followers who might buy your e book or print or take a photography workshop from you. Generally, stock photography sales do not come through social media networks, or at least I haven't found any proof that it does. Facebook is an example seems to be a very solid marketing platform for many photographers, but again, we're not talking about commercial style business, such a stock, photography, sales or assignments. But rather marketing of photo workshops and e books and similar type products that are of interest to the general consumer. Something to think about is that your website contains all your photography and is not considered a destination or place where people are going to go every day. This is due to the fact that your website is not like the New York Times newspaper for an example, where there's massive amounts of content allowing readers to pick and choose what they're interested in Facebook is similar in many ways. People are on Facebook so they can look through volumes of postings and read what interests them. And it's for this reason that Facebook could be a great marketing tool for you, and especially if you're creating products for consumers. These would be, as I previously mentioned, workshops, any books and similar type products. Success in social media marketing is not guaranteed. It all depends on how you use the site. Some customers might watch you on Facebook, but choose not to friend you because they essentially don't want to get that close. It's common for most Facebook users to mix their business with their personal life, and this can also be an issue for your business image. Facebook also limits you have 5000 friends, and as a result, you are limited to 5000 marketing contacts. One way to use Facebook that makes a lot of sense is toe. Have your personal Facebook page but also at a business page and feature everything about your business. This may be a better way to deal with customers or those interested in your business offerings by posting content directly related to your professional photography business. Some of the advantages of Facebook is to show off your photography and engage with potential customers course, depending on who they are, you can easily update your status at any time, and you can even do promotions for any business product that you might have created. Sponsored posts are one of those options, and I've done this many times with promoting my E book and a photo contest that I'm involved with and every time has resulted in a few sales. In the end, it's best to not plan on using Facebook as your only marketing tool, and this is due directly to the limitations I just mentioned. Google Plus is another option for social media marketing, and I honestly love Google. Plus, to me, it's designed around photography. And most of the followers I have and those who I follow are all photographers. I honestly have not looked hard for photo editors at magazines or art directors or graphic designers because they tend to be a little more elusive, It seems when it comes to social networking. And while I might specifically choose to follow someone who's a major photo editor or art buyer, they rarely reciprocate by following me. They're simply overwhelmed. No doubt, Google Plus allows you to put in all the major information about you and your business and your websites and other important information about who you are and what you do. I personally see Google plus as a major advantage for the photographer who again is doing workshops and selling e books and is generally marketing to the consumer. You can create special circles or offer hangouts, and these are all great marketing tools to photography enthusiasts. In addition, you conjoined communities that are within your niche, like nature photography or adventure photography or HDR photography, and pretty much any other subject about photography. In many ways, this is just more people you can market, too. When you create circles, you could do so around a specific theme in regards to your photography and share with that particular circle. This is a powerful feature because it allows you to pick and choose who sees what. Sharing and commenting on other people's posts is a very good strategy that makes you highly visible in the online network. Since I post a lot of my best photography with watermarks and my website address, my images get shared across the platforms Mawr and MAWR, allowing people to see my photography and know where they can find me online. The goal on Google Plus is to get as many shares and plus ones. It's possible because that ensures greater distribution of your post. In many ways, you can think about this like you do those emails and direct mail promotional pieces that you send out shares and plus ones are in many ways similar to a photo editor taking your promotional mailer that they just got copying it and then sending it to all their photo editor friends. In addition to having your own page on Google. Plus, you can also set up a company page, and Google allows you to create a special U R L for that page your customers can in post on your wall, and this creates more sharing of your message. There are also other social media sites that could be very powerful, including Twitter and LinkedIn, and you should consider whether you want to join either of those as well. I will be the first to admit that I do not consider myself a social media marketing guru, and I only say that because I've read quite a bit about being successful in social media marketing. But I always feel like I'm a little behind. So it's important to pay attention to social media marketing and do your best to stay on top of all the trends in this very powerful marketing medium. 8. Photo Sharing Sites: So, uh, besides your own website, consider getting a photo gallery on one of the photo sharing websites. There are a lot of amount there, like 500 pixels, SmugMug, flicker, instagram. And there are, of course, many, many more. I'm sure I'm missing, but really, the idea behind mentioning this is looking for ways to get buyers to your photographs. And by joining some of these websites, you can dramatically increase the exposure that your images air. Getting this approach to marketing your work has some pros and cons. The pros are that you can get a free site or at least wanted a very reasonable price, and you don't have to build it. And you don't have to pay a Web master. And they can be really good for your ego because you're beautiful. Work is being shared on the Web. The cons are that you may not make any money or may not sell. Despite all that effort, many of these sites are just a place to have a gallery of images and get some social love. But the hosts make no effort to promote the sites to photo buyers. In many cases, the photographers themselves have to do all the marketing to get clients to come and view their images. But of course, why would you send clients to a different website where you'll most likely have to pay a commission versus just sending clients to your own website? Take a moment. Try to envision yourself as a photo buyer. If you had to purchase images on a regular basis, how would you prefer to do it in an expeditious manner? Would you look at a dozen different websites that display galleries of images from a variety of photographers? Or would you prefer to just go to a stock agency website and do a quick search knowing that all the images they have something will come up? The answer to that, of course, depends on the photo buyer and their preferences. Consider how you search online for a place to go on vacation. As an example, you do a text search by entering key words into a search engine. How do you think clients look for images? They might go right to that Stock photo agency website or they might go to one of these photo sharing sites, but they always enter text keywords to do their search. One client will search one way, while another will go a totally different path. But it's important to see why effective key wording and self promotion can pay off. While you will be marketing and promoting very hard to your own contact list, you might really want to consider one of these photo sharing sites to do some of that marketing for you. I do know that photo buyers air searching these big sites like 500 pixels and Instagram and even flicker as they look for the right image for their project. And every once in a while you hear about a photographer whose image was purchased from one of these sites, in fact, a photographer on 500 pixels. I had an image chosen to be used in Apple's launch of the iPhone, and no doubt that paid pretty well. So take a look at these sites and check him out and see if they might be a good fit for you . You never know. You might make a great big sale