Back in the days of film, marketing a Photography business was just as challenging as it is today, we did not have websites or a social media platform to help us, but many survived the best we could, without the competition of point and shoot cameras, or mobile phones.
A number of Photography companies like Kodak, Fuji Film, and Konica Films use to help with the marketing of the Photography industry with various portraits and wedding competitions, that if you did win, would help with your branding and attracting new customers.
Photography Educators have always been around with good ideas, from many of the Photography Associations, like there is today. It would be interesting how many of them would have risen to the challenges of digital photography today.
With people like Paul Kaye and Michael Freeman, the marketing partner of Paul Kaye Studio Ltd - The Portrait Photographers on Bond Street, London, whose market was more upmarket with people with money. Because of their wealthy clients, earning well over £100,000 plus per year was just something they did in their sleep.
In those days many more photographer use, have shopfront studio sometimes you even had studios around the corner from each other, or even on the same street or road.
Having large framed canvas images was just the norm, with many of the leading portrait photographers teaching and encouraging the art of Rembrandt lighting techniques, with posing of the human body which, when I look back it was so scientifically done, with posses often seen in some of the great Masters Artists of the Rembrandt period, with the precise control of light.
When you visited many of the Photography Educators, I was always impressed with the large guilted frames that were so fashionable in those days on display, before digital photography took over.
Different photographers had their own method of marketing, one of the things many did was to have an A4 or an A3 portfolio of their work or a small album, with business cards ready to give out, or they would have some type of voucher marketing campaign with various business as partners that would help to promote each other business with loyalty vouchers that would attract customers both ways.
An exhibition stand was very popular in shopping malls, along with showcasing your work in someone else’s shop, hotel etc. or they would have a purpose built glass showcase built on the side of a wall, in an area which attracted a lot of foot traffic. Radio adverts, newspaper and magazine adverts were all used, with different success stories.
Today we have our websites, as well social media, however, one thing I personally feel is that it does not matter how good you are, if your marketing is not there or good enough or targeted at the right market, the phone will not ring.
Word of mouth is something that has guaranteed repeated work for many Photographers over the years, that is why having a brand that people can buy into, along with quality work and good service will always encourage clients asking for our service time and time again.
Modifying our marketing strategies from the days of films makes sense, even though I will say that social media does not work for everyone.
Whenever we are out and about, having a nice quality small album of our work is a good option to have on us, just in case we meet a potential client, along with a slideshow to music or a promotional video of our work and services on our mobile device, because not everyone has time to check our websites, and to spend long enough time on there to be encouraged to give us a call.
That is why you will see at some weddings today, photographers doing a quick slideshow on the day of a wedding with about 30 – 50 images, in the hope that someone in attending will think about them the next time they want a wedding photographer.
I think it is important to have a well-branded website, with a video showreel of your work, a professional image maker telling potential clients why they should come to us, with a clear message of a call to action.
Many of us can do video capture with the cameras we have already, or we may know other photographers or videographers who can help us out in putting a marketing showreel or a promotional marketing video together, things like this I feel is a must today for any photographer or videographer, in a marketplace that is motivated by images and sounds.
A musical slideshow is another option, there is no excuse with the slideshow software available to us today, such as with Photodex Prowshow Producer or Animoto Software. We opted for a musical Slideshow produced with Photodex Prowshow Producer, which I think was ok but too long, with too many different types of work, not sure if it would have been better had we concentrated on less choice of the service with fewer images at around 3 minutes. Making mistakes is the way we learn, providing they are not expensive mistakes, that is why it is good to talk.
I hope that these few words will motivate us to look at how we look at our business branding during 2017 because all of us should be seeking to be the best we can be. Sometimes working to produce saleable images that keep our clients happy that encourage them to rewards us well, might be easier than trying to be the best in the marketplace.
We do not have to reinvent the wheel, we can all learn from good examples of other Image Makers who we admire in the marketplace. Some people are self-motivated, with good ideas, and some of us just need some help to get us to where we want to be.
Finally, in 2017, there is no such thing really as a sole trader, we all need some help from time to time, and it may mean that we make the first contact with another Image Maker on how there could be a mutual working relationship.
Or if you are good at marketing, or editing weddings or a computer operator, salesperson for an Event Photographer, you could always help someone else, for a fee, since nobody works for free, unless it is in our own personal interest to do so.
Some earlier examples of Promotional Youtube Musical Slideshows
Walter James Photography Promotional Slide Show Show
Walter James Photography Event Presentation
Walter James Photography School Proms Slideshow Presentation
Walter James Photography Radio Advert