Jim Zuckerman left his medical studies in 1970 to pursue his love of photography and turn it into a career. Jim specializes in wildlife, nature, and travel photography, macro work, photomicroscopy, and digital effects. Currently, he is traveling to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia leading a photography tour to take pictures of Victoria Falls and large game. His diversity in technique and style is unique ... read more
PhotoBiz and our Full Screen Collection are taking a wonderful trip overseas to Florence Italy to introduce its 70th Template! Projected to be one of the most popular templates by design, there is also a new feature to check out with the addition of this new Florence Template.
As you can see, the sleek new design has a beautiful sidebar placed to the left that holds your logo. Now I would recommend a .PNG transparent file for your logo so that you can take full advantage of the color shifting effect. This means that as your images transition, you can have the colors “shift” and change colors to coordinate with predominate colors in each image.
What Else Do I Get?
For starters, you have 100% control over the color shifting and color management throughout the template. If you want a different color, literally anywhere on this template, you can input a HEX number or use our professionally designed color schemes for a quick customized look.
Let’s say you preview your website to format nicely on a large monitor, but your customers are viewing from a small notebook monitor… Our proprietary system will automatically reformat your website to fit each monitor/customer that visits.
The Best SEO in the Industry is of course included for FREE! This includes page specific Meta Tags, deep linking URL’s, Automatic XML site mapping, an HTML Splash Page, an automatic HTML mirror site (One-time set-up fee) and unlimited free access to SEO experts here on the PhotoBiz team.
Switch from your current PhotoBiz Flash website to Florence with just 1 click of your mouse and no additional cost! We will have this template available today in your control panel so there are no updates necessary by you! (Cloud Computing) Let us know how you like Florence’s design and how you like all of the features we have been creating!
I’m a loyal Nikon user all the way :) I currently shoot with a D700. I also use an SB800 for my flash, when I use a flash, (usually rent a couple more for weddings) with a couple of pocket wizards. For my lenses I LOVE LOVE LOVE my 1.4D (wish they had a 1.2), a 3.5 18-200 VR, my LensBaby Composer and I’m planning to get the 2.8 70-200 before the end of the year. I do my main edits in Lightroom then I sharpen and add my finishing touches in PS4.
2. How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting for 6 years total, but one year professionally.
3. Where are you located?
Joliet, IL (suburb of Chicago) but will soon be relocating back to Jacksonville, FL.
4. What type of photography do you take?
I take a photojournalistic approach, though I know it is not true photojournalism. I really don’t like “say cheese” photography though I do think some photographers are really great with it. It just isn’t my style. My focus is on wedding photography but have recently taken a big interest in fashion photography, mainly bridal glamour. When I started professionally, I was doing pet photography. I still do some pet photography, but mainly of my own pooches (I have three). I love landscape photography, though I don’t do much of it because there isn’t much to see around here (unless you like smoke stacks and run down buildings… hahaha).
5. Price range of events?
For pet and lifestyle portrait sessions it starts at $500 and includes a DVD of images. For weddings I start at $2400 and go up to $4600 (4-12 hour packages). All of our packages include an e-session, usually a second photographer (we don’t guarantee a second photographer unless it is specifically paid for), a DVD of the images, and online proofing. We also offer A La Carte items that they can add to their base package such as custom guest books, albums, extra hours, slideshows, folios, etc.
6. When did you notice that you had passion for photography?
I’ve had a passion for photography since about 6 years ago. I wanted a digital camera really bad and my husband surprised me with one (he was my boyfriend at the time) for Christmas. It was a little 3 megapixel Kodak EasyShare. When it became more than a hobby was one evening when I lived in Florida, a rain storm had come through and I noticed the blinds, which were shut, were glowing pink. I looked outside to witness the most amazing sunset. I ran outside with my camera and took a few pictures. The pictures were amazing without any adjustments. The sky was just glowing. That’s when it turned into a passion. I later upgraded to a Canon Powershot (not a DSLR) and ended up with my first DSLR a little over two years ago. I switched to Nikon when I bought the DSLR. I bought a D80. It’s been a great starter camera but I’m ready for the real deal!
7. Is there anything unique about what you do?
I think every artist has something unique about them, it’s bringing that unique side out that is difficult. You see so many people doing so much of the same that it’s hard to think of how YOU as an individual are unique. What separates me from others is my business knowledge and customer service. Many photographers don’t understand how to run a business, so they become a photographer, blow their money and end up out of business in a few years. Coming from a business background and working a corporate job helped me to get it right from the get go. Keeping straight books, yearly and monthly goals, targets, scorecards, etc has helped me to stay on track and run the business, not just be a photographer. I also think my personality goes hand in hand with my customer service skills. My focus is not to always land the job, but to make the people who do work with me remember me for how much they enjoyed working with me. This way they walk away happy and end up referring others to me.
8. Have you had to changed anything to adjust in current economic times?
Something I learned very early on is great customer service goes a long way. One of the things I love to do is make the experience my customer has with me unique so that they refer other people to me and become walking advertisements for me. Although I’ve had to keep my prices fairly conservative for my area, I’ve found people are willing to pay for quality.
To give you a few examples, for every wedding I book, my Client gets a “Thank you for booking with us” gift. You can view an example of it on my blog. They are always so thrilled with the gift. You can choose what you want to put in there but I chose a couple of things that I know every time they look at them they will remember that I purchased those as a thank you for them and they are more likely to refer other people to me. Also, for all of my wedding Clients I give them a really nice package for their DVD. It’s called a DVD folio that I order through Cypress. You can also see an example of that on that same blog link above. I have swatch samples for them to choose which colors they’d like.
Ultimately customer service is a big driver. People are willing to pay for a better experience and more people are willing to come back for other things when they had a great experience with you. One example is I have a bride who’s wedding I photographed that has booked me for her baby’s 6 month photos.
9. Describe your shooting style?
As one bride wrote on her questionnaire, “Jen Style!” Ha! Love it! I think editing style also goes hand in hand with shooting style. When I shoot, I am always looking for a vantage point that most people don’t see because most people are only looking at things from eye level. I like to create an interpretation of something, someone, etc that everyone can see but that has show them from a different vantage point and something that is different and unique. I try to get up higher than everyone or lay on the ground. It also all depends on what I’m photographing. I also do whatever I can to use natural light. I don’t like shooting with a flash so most times I won’t shoot with one. If I can avoid it than I do. I think natural light has a beauty that flash doesn’t do justice to, although I do think flash can help in certain situations. So much of today’s digital photography is defined by the photographer’s editing style too. I like bright, contrasty images, which I think my work reflects, that really pop when you look at them.
10. What are your goals for the future?
Great question! Aside from the business aspect of it with meeting numbers and targets, my goal is to develop my style and focus on specializing in one type of photography. Since I really enjoy glamour and fashion I’d like to develop my eye for that type of photography and incorporate that into my wedding photography. Let’s face it. The bride is THE one to please. She feels the most beautiful and exotic that she has ever felt in her entire life and she wants photographs that will reflect that. Why not mesh that with bridal glamour so every time she sees her photos it invokes the feelings she felt on her wedding day?
11. Do you have a Facebook Fan Page or a Twitter account? Yes! You can become a fan by going to Facebook or follow me on Twitter. My Twitter name is JenStarlight.
12. Do you have a blog, and if so, how have you found it has enhanced your business?
Yes, I do have a blog. I would love to see Photobiz come out with a blog for us to use that is incorporated into the control panel (hint hint Dave!! haha). I have found it has helped my business tremendously. Aside from being able to show my personality through my blog entries, potential clients are able to go through my blog and view photography in my daily life, view photos from jobs that don’t necessarily go into my portfolio, and it’s a great way to take the formality out of the business website and really put my personality into it so they can determine if I am a good fit for them.
I recently had a wedding Client (who booked with me) that my husband, Colby, and I met with at Starbucks to sign the contract and as soon as we walked in she said, “Happy belated birthday Colby!” He said, “Thanks. How did you know I just had my birthday?” She said, “I read it on Jen’s blog. I love her blog. I follow it all the time!” It was good to know and hear.
13. What advice would have for someone starting out?
Don’t quit your day job! At least not yet. Seriously, I’ve seen a million times where someone gets a business idea, they quit their day job to pursue it, their business goes under and before they know it, they are out of business with no job, no income, no way to pay next month’s mortgage payment, etc. A business takes time to build. You have to be willing to put in your 8 hour day job hours and then another 8 hours a day into your business. If you happen to be one of those lucky people who is supported by someone else and your income doesn’t matter, well, then you are lucky, but most of us have to have day jobs when we start out. Eventually I hope to quit my day job (corporate job) but not today!
Advice on a photography related note… I would really recommend finding a photographer that inspires you and try to practice underneath them or pick their brains to find out what worked for them. What worked for them may not work for you and vise versa. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because that’s the only way to learn and if you’re asking someone who makes you uncomfortable because you asked, then find someone else. There are great places/forums where you can excellent advice for seasoned experts in the industry. The Photobiz fan page on Facebook is an excellent resource. Also check out the Photobiz blog because they periodically post videos that are super helpful.
I’ll make this my last piece of advise… There is more to running a photography business than just taking pictures. I would recommend taking some business classes to make sure you run a successful business (success being defined as an organized business that is profitable, not necessarily achieving “rock star” photographer status). Be sure to watch the videoon the Photobiz blog about creating a business plan. You NEED a business plan. Make reasonable goals for your business. Hold monthly meetings with yourself/your associate(s) and go over your numbers and make sure you are doing everything you can to improve yourself and your business. I make monthly goals for myself. I don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve those goals but it helps me look at where I am and decide what I need to be doing to achieve those goals next time. I also keep monthly Google Analytics reports to direct my business to the appropriate geographic location/audience. Keep a running record of you inquiries (I use Quickbooks for this) and which ones result in bookings. There is so much to know and so much I could tell you but it would take a REALLY long time (aka my college degree!) to give you all the info. I hope this helps. The irs.gov website has great resources for small businesses that you should take advantage of if you haven’t already.
We previously discussed a lot of quick tips on Building your Facebook Fan Page and managing it successfully. In this second part of the series, I want to switch gears a little and talk specifically about growth strategies for your Fan Page.
I Need Fans, FAST! –Growth Strategies:
1. Send out an email to your entire email list letting them know about your Facebook Fan Page. This is very important because up until now, you have had somewhat of a soft launch of your page.
Include: “Your Business Name” is now on FACEBOOK! Come Join Us! In the Subject Line.
Make it a fun announcement with pictures; tell them “Why” they should come to be a part of your page.
Make it easy for them to join. You can embed a “Become a Fan” button or a “Fan Page Badge” in your email. (*Described Below)
2. Update your page frequently (2-3 times daily) with pictures, polls, questions, ask for feedback; let your fans know what is going on in your world. I would encourage more but if this is too much; set a goal and realize that the more you can do, the better.
3. The most important part of you posting is to encourage your Fans to post. Encourage engagement by your Fans!
Example: Post a photo on your page with a comment: Say a little something about the photo or who’s in the photo then mention “Click “LIKE” if you like this photo”
Quick response time is key to an active page
4. Suggest your page to all of your friends on Facebook
Go to your Fan page and click on “Suggest to Friends” (this is located just under your profile picture to the left). Then it will pop up a box with all of your friends and have “ALL” highlighted. You then have to go through all of your friends and click on each one individually. Then click “Send Invitation”
5. Ask Friends, Family, and Clients to “Share” your page.
They can do this by going to your page, scroll down to the bottom of the left sidebar under your profile picture, and click “Share”. This will post a message on their personal page to come look at you.
They can also do #4 described just above!
6. Put the URL to your Facebook Page on Business Cards, Marketing Material, Workshop & Tradeshow Material, etc… Anywhere you can! Just put it right next to your website link.
7. Network with other Platforms- Connect with other networks like Twitter, Linked In, Myspace & your Blog.
8. Create a Resource – Offer pertinent information to users that may be interested and use your product.
9. Create Contests that include participation – Encourage participation and community growth by having giveaways, coupons, discounts, etc…
10. Link Facebook to your Website!! Here are a few different ways you can look at as an example:
Notice that I didn’t mention Facebook Ads. These can be very effective but should be utilized as a last resort because they will cost you Marketing Dollars.
Additional Tips and How To’s:
Jason Stair’s Tip: The maximum size for your profile picture is 200×600 pixels. Use all of this real estate to maximize impact!
*Creating a Facebook Badge: Go to your Fan Page and click on “Add Fan Box to Your Site”. There are a lot of options here so spend some time customizing your badge. Again, you can post this on your blog, website (Splash Page Footer), and many more places so use it effectively.
*Creating a Vanity URL: This is an easy one that is absolutely necessary! If your Facebook Fan Page has over 25 fans, while you are logged into your Facebook account, go to http://facebook.com/username. Be sure to look below the names that it originally suggests and click on “Set a username for your Pages”. Here it will let you search for the availability of your chosen name and start using it immediately. *NOTE: Be sure to choose the right name as it CANNOT ever be changed! (as far as I know)
*Using the FBML Application: I might recommend this to be used only if you are comfortable using HTML coding or willing to learn.
Adding the Application: Browse applications and search for “Static FBML”. It will allow you to add this application to any of the pages that you are an admin of.
Editing the Application: Once you have added it to your page, go to “Edit Page” and find this under the “applications” section. Click on the modification button to the right of this FBML application and click on “Edit”. Here you can title the page, add FBML code (which is very similar to HTML) and save. *You can also add up to 10 boxes below where it says “Add another FBML box”.
Creating a “Tab”: You can make this become a tab at the top by going to your page, click on the (+) sign to the right of your tabs, and select the FBML box that you wish.
Landing Page: You can designate a particular tab to be the landing page like Coca Cola (http://www.facebook.com/cocacola) (They are using the Static FBML application)
Linking to Tabs: Did you know that each Tab at the top of your Facebook Fan page has a unique URL that you can send people to? 1) Go to “Edit” your page, 2) Click on the Modify Button (Pencil), 3) Click “Link to this Tab”
*Getting Notifications: There are a few different ways to receive notifications. This is the single biggest improvement that Facebook needs to make in my mind. (Unless I am missing something too)
You can subscribe to your page’s updates via SMS (text message), however, it does not send you all of the updates.
Click on “Settings” on the very top bar, and then click on “Notifications”. You will be able to sign up for any email or SMS text messaging notifications that you would like. As I receive email to my phone, I choose to opt out of any text messages here to avoid double alerts for the same thing.
It is important to set goals for your social media efforts like you would with your business. Utilize your “Insights” that tell you all types of information. Set benchmarks for fan growth, Interactions, and much more as you can export this into Excel.
If you found this to be helpful, we would greatly appreciate you sharing the love with #4 & #5 of the growth section for PhotoBiz. Don’t keep us a secret!
Feel free to REPUBLISH this post on your own blog, SHARE a link to it on your Facebook Pages and RETWEET this on Twitter!
First of all, I am here to try and make things easier and more efficient for you. We have a lot of great tips and tricks to share with you so this is Part 1 of our 2 part series. As I manage social media for PhotoBiz, I often think of different ways that our customers can utilize these networks more efficiently and effectively; so let’s dive in! Here is also a previous article we wrote on Facebook Tips for Business
First, some preliminary Musts! You MUST:
Create a vanity URL: Any Fan page with more than 25 Fans can create a shortened URL for their page similar to PhotoBiz (i.e. http://facebook.com/photobiz)
Remember that anytime you leave a link to your Facebook Fan Page (Or your Website for that matter) include the http:// of your domain so that it appears as a live “clickable” link rather that just text that you would have to copy and paste in the address bar. (i.e. photobiz.com OR http://photobiz.com )
Be sure to spend a majority of your time on Facebook engaging on your BUSINESS PAGE, not your personal page.
Treat the Inbox at the top like it’s the inbox to your business email; respond appropriately and promptly.
Accept and deny causes, groups, pages, etc… as you want your customer’s to perceive you and your business (Religious, Political, and Controversial)
*You can create a vanity URL by going to http://facebook.com/username. *NOTE*-You must have at least 25 fans. You will need to be logged in to Facebook and look toward the bottom. Once you have chosen your name, it CANNOT be changed!
Don’t Waste Your Time! – Efficiency
If you’re a mobile “data” user, download the Facebook App on your iPhone or Blackberry to help manage it.
Don’t get caught up in spending too much time on here as it’ easy to do and can be more “Fun” than Effective…
If you have a blog, use Social RSS to have your blog content automatically transferred to Facebook.
If you are a Twitter user, there are a number of applications that allow you to automatically update both with the same message. We choose “Selective Twitter Status”.
Don’t be so business and promote your own products ALL of the time. This will get annoying and spammy to your fans. Mix it up a bit and throw some fun into it.
Utilize your ability to “Send an Update to Fans” wisely. DO NOT do this all the time or you will lose fans rather than gain. Include incentives and a lot of resourceful information.
A Few Final Tips…
Are you a part of Forums, groups, blogs, other Facebook pages, etc…? Tell people to become a fan of your page and you will return the Favor. There was a recent post on I Love Photography Forum with well over 100 posts and each person was cooperative in this.
Use the “FBML Application” if you are familiar with HTML to build custom tabs to your site at the top. You can designate a particular tab to be the landing page like Coca Cola (http://www.facebook.com/cocacola)
Did you know that each Tab at the top of your Facebook Fan page has a unique URL that you can send people to? 1) Go to “Edit” your page, 2) Click on the Modify Button (Pencil), 3) Click “Link to this Tab”
Use the “TAG” feature. When creating a wall post, if you are mentioning someone, add @ before their name. This will allow for anyone to click on that “tagged” name and visit their profile or page (whichever you tagged) Viral Marketing!
If you liked this, be sure to check back next week when we give you a bunch of tips on:
How to GROW your Fan base on Facebook!
I hope that this helps you manage your Facebook page and brings you in a bunch of referrals. If it does, please leave us a comment with your success stories.
So, since you’re in this business to be a professional photographer then my hat is off to you! It’s a fun business and can bring so many wonderful rewards into your life. BUT! It’s going to take MORE than just following what everyone else does so try and grab something from this little blog. I’ll begin with saying “I love the idea of the zero budget marketing.” It works for me. HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE PAID FOR ADVERTISING AND REAPED NO RETURN? Most of you that have tried “advertising” have I’m certain. Here’s my take…”I don’t believe in advertising.” OK. Got that out there now. Yeah yeah yeah, LP is tight, he’s stingy, he’s not the norm, say whatever…..I’m not giving in. I’m sorry, I just CANNOT bring myself to spend “net” earned dollars on advertising in a magazine or newspaper or yellow pages etc. What the heck is a phone book anyways?