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Colorvale Editor (Beth)

Why Email Marketing Is Essential For Your Photography Business
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Why Email Marketing is Essential For Your Photography Business

Grab a paper and pen (or better yet, your Colorvale Planner) because I’m about to drop some serious information into your hands! But before you get your skivvies in a twist, know that the work you do here will continue to benefit you without effort later. Best of all? It’s not too difficult, fairly easy to implement if you are willing to get busy, & it will definitely grow your business. But first, in order for you to benefit from email marketing, you must know what it is & how to leverage it. That’s what I’m here for. To teach you. Everything I know about building a business. And being successful. So are you ready? Like, really ready to blow the pants off this email marketing?! Then let’s begin!   Email Marketing – What Is It? If you’ve visited a website at all, ever, you’ve probably encountered a sign-up or…

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Working as a photographer during pregnancy - Part III: Learning from our Experience
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Working as a photographer during pregnancy – Part III: Learning from our Experience

As I wrote before, working as a photographer and being self-employed while you’re pregnant is a great experience and one that has the opportunity to provide flexibility in schedule. Having been through the experience recently, still fresh in my mind are a few things I’m so glad we did prior to having our boy, and a couple of others still that I wish we’d done a bit differently. What we did right: ­Hired Help. We hired a third shooter for weddings before my due date just in case the arrival of our baby was a bit sooner than expected. Having that extra professional there in this situation was valuable to not only our clients who knew they would have someone to cover the event if he did arrive early, but to ourselves as we were already over the top with emotion. Knowing we’d still be able to deliver (hehe) to our…

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Blogging Week 4 - How to Make Sure Potential Clients Find your Blog Posts
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Blogging Week 4: How To Make Sure Potential Clients Find Your Blog Posts

We’ve gone over a lot of the pieces of blogging so far. It’s totally worth it, but it still takes time and effort to put together. And it would really suck to put a bunch of time into blogging, but have your potential clients never see it. I mean blogging is fun and all, but let’s face it, you’re not doing it for your health. You want to make sure that your potential clients are finding and reading all those blog posts you took the time to write. The best way to do this is to make sure that each blog post is optimized for search engines, or what’s known as, Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. At its most basic level, SEO is using keywords and phrases within your post to make sure that you and your website or blog/blog post gets found by someone searching for the…

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Working as a photographer during pregnancy - Part II: Navigating the Trimesters
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Working as a photographer during pregnancy – Part II: Navigating the Trimesters

(If you haven’t yet, you can read Part I of this series here.) As photographers, we’re fortunate that we can take our work anywhere and set our own schedules. When starting a family as a photographer, we usually know our schedules well in advance. Whether or not starting a family falls within our slow season can be completely up to mother nature and depending on your circumstance, you may or may not have to/choose to work throughout your entire pregnancy. When we found out we were expecting our first child, my first thought was that I’d power through and work up until my due date. Then week 37 rolled around ­ and I was done. I ended up delivering at 41 weeks on the dot, but that month off in between, not actively shooting, gave us time to prepare for the baby ­- not just trying to figure out a nursery…

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Blogging Week 3 - The Best Way to Optimize Images for Blog Posts
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Blogging Week 3: The Best Way to Optimize Images for Blog Posts

Last week we talked all about what makes up the perfect blog post. One of the things we touched on, but didn’t expound upon, was images. This week we’re going to dive into images in blog posts in detail, since they are a crucial part of the puzzle. Here’s why. Google takes a lot of things into account when it ranks your website. One of those things is how quickly your site loads. If your site takes forever and a damn day to load properly, Google is going to penalize you for it and you’ll show up lower in search results. Which is not awesome. One of the ways you can make sure that your site loads quickly is to make sure you optimize images for your blog. Here’s some things you’ll want to take into account.   File Size. If the image you’re trying to display is something like…

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Blogging Week 2 - A Recipe for the Perfect Martini - I mean Blog Post
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Blogging Week 2: What you should include in every blog post

(Psssst…Click here to read Week 1 if you haven’t already!) Just like your favorite cocktail, a blog post has a recipe (of sorts). And also like your favorite cocktail, it’s definitely not set in stone. You can add and omit ingredients as you see fit, and adjust ratios as needed based on what works for you and your palate. This is the makeup of a blog post (not necessarily in this order): Title Content Images Relevant links Call To Action   The Title. A blog post title is sort of like the name of the drink – without it, people will have no idea what’s in it. As a matter of fact, Google uses it to verify whether it matches your content. Humans want it as the summary of what yummy info they are going to be reading. The more compelling you can make the title of your blog post,…

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Blogging Week 1 - What should you as a photographer be blogging about?
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Blogging Week 1: What Should You as a Photographer Be Blogging About?

Wahooo it’s week 1 of blogging! This mini-course is all about blogging for your photography business. There’s lotsa stuff that goes into having a successful blog, but if you do it right it can actually do a lot of work for you in bringing in tons of your ideal clients. We’re going to start at the beginning though – like what you should even blog about. This is something a lot of photographers struggle with and draw a blank on. But in reality, there’s actually a ton of stuff you can blog about.   Recent sessions and/or weddings. This one is pretty obvious, and one of the things that most photographers blog about already. But any time you have a new session or wedding done, it’s a great thing to blog (but make sure you have a signed model release from your clients!) This is great too because it gives your…

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60 Days To A More Profitable Photography Business
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Part 3: 60 Days to a More Profitable Photography Biz

This is the third part in our three-part blog post series about building a more profitable photography business so you can be a full-time business owner (WHOOHOO!). In Part 1 we discussed pricing, and went over all the numbers and goals you need to hit to make sure you can make your goal a reality. We left it up to you as to whether you’d like to increase your prices all at once or do it gradually over a period of time. So keep in mind when you read through this, you may have to add some extra steps for raising your prices. In Part 2 we gave you 6 ideas for how you can increase the number of clients you have. Now, in Part 3, we’re going to give you your roadmap to success and a detailed game plan of how we would approach the goal and how we would…

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Getting More Clients, Photo Sessions & More Sales
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How To Start A Full Time Photography Business – Part 2: Getting More Clients & More Sales

Part 1 of how to start a full time photography business was pretty intense. We ran a lot of numbers, but they’re really important numbers because they tell you what you need to charge to make this happen … with a profit! Remember, without a profit this can’t be a successful full time job. Which brings us to our next part – comparing the ‘where I need to be’ with ‘where I’m at now.’   So….where are you now? First, sit down and assess how many clients you have per month and per year. How far off is that from where you need to be? Do you have enough clients a month and need to double it, or maybe just need a couple more clients per month to round it off? Or maybe you’re shooting more clients than you need, but not making as much as you need to per…

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How to start a full time photography business – Pricing Your Session
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How To Start A Full Time Photography Business – Part 1: Pricing Your Sessions

Do you want to make more money so that you can take your photography business full time? Great news! We took the time to write out in a 3 part series how this goal can be accomplished. As you can imagine it is long and extensive. We have broken this up into 3 posts: Part 1 will deal with figuring out what your goals need to be so you can reach the ultimate goal (which is leaving your job). Part 2 will deal with how to get more clients & sales. Part 3 will be the goal map and timeline for how we would structure and break down a goal like this. So let’s start at the beginning.   What are the costs of doing business? If you haven’t run the numbers yet on what it actually costs to own your business, now is the time. Especially if you’re thinking of making it…

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How To Create A Free Opt-In Download For Your Newsletter & Website
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How To Create A Free E-book Download For Your Newsletter & Website

Since the internet is now widely used by probably just about all of your target audience, you now have more opportunities than ever to communicate with your client. There’s email, social media, your website, your blog, etc. – the list is pretty long. But there may be another avenue of communication you haven’t considered before – ebooks. One of our readers emailed us back and told us that their New Year’s goal was to create an ebook for their audience. It sounds like she already has a good start on it (woohoo! congrats!) so we’re going to flesh out the rest of how we’d finish it off here. If you haven’t considered writing one for your clients before, it can be a really great idea: you can use it to deliver basic information about what it’s like to work with you, your prices, suggestions for what to wear, FAQ’s, or…

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New Years Goal Plan - Branding - plain
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New Year’s Goal Plan: Branding

New Year, New You! New Year’s always brings about the mindset of “New Year, new you!” If you’re a business owner, a lot of times this also gets applied to your business. There’s lots of New Year’s goals you can have for your business, but if you’re following a ‘New Year, new you!’ mentality you might be looking at revamping your business for the new year. In other words: rebranding. As your business ages, it’s very possible (or rather, likely) that you’ll outgrow your old brand and want to take your business in a new direction. That’s totally cool! A business that’s able to evolve and change over the years is a good thing. But it presents some of it’s own problems as well. Such as: “Where the hell do I even start with an entire business rebranding?” We asked some of our small business owner and photography colleagues about…

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How To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
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How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Since we’ve been talking a lot about resolutions since the beginning of the year, we thought it’d be important to actually discuss how to make sure you keep your new resolutions. Especially because we want to lay the foundation for the posts that will come in the next couple weeks that will finish out our New Year’s series. Something to be aware of though when reading this article – it will actually seem a little bit less detailed than most of our articles. Most of our articles give a really solid list of actionable tips and examples, but this one will mostly consist of concepts and bigger-picture items. Even so, it still contains what we think are the 5 most important things you need to do to make sure you succeed with your New Year’s resolution (there’s more than 5 but we think these are the most crucial).   1.…

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Our 2016 Business New Year's Resolutions
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Our 2016 Business New Year’s Resolutions

Now that we’ve taken the time to look over what didn’t work in 2015, it’s time to look forward and think about what we want to do in 2016. That’s really all there is to say, so let’s dive in.   1. Plan time for email. So I had this assumption that client inquiries would just magically get answered during the day. I’d wake up and think ‘weeeellll I don’t really need to get back to all of them right now because I want to get started on my other work. I’ll get back to them…..later today. Yep. Later today.” Except the only problem is I never really defined when exactly ‘later today’ was. And guess what? Inquiries went 2-3 days without getting answered. DAYS. In today’s technological world, that’s almost unacceptable. So for the New Year, I’m going to make sure I block out half an our of time every…

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2015 - A Look Back on What Didn't Work
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2015: A Look Back on What Didn’t Work (Tips For Photographers)

Moving forward with your business is as much about thinking about what direction you want to take your business and how you want to grow it, as it is learning from your mistakes and the shit you wish you wouldn’t have done. We sat down and compiled our list of some of the big things that didn’t work in 2015, and why they didn’t work. 1. Slacked off during the off-season. As soon as I wasn’t working a bajillion hours a week (actual calculated amount), I totally filled my free time with heaps and heaps of nothingness. And I’ll admit: it was glorious. I didn’t make as much money, but whatever because I had enough in personal savings from the busy season that it wasn’t a problem. And then busy season hit again, and I had zero free time. No time to see my friends, go to the movies, whatever, it…

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Want us to help you with your New Year’s Resolution? + Goal Planning Freebie
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Want us to help you with your New Year’s Resolution? + Goal Planning Freebie

Happy New Year! New Year’s is always the time of year where we make plans for the upcoming year. But unlike most people, business owners have resolutions for both their personal life and their business. Which can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever made a resolution for yourself or your business and it completely fell by the wayside by like, March. It’s ok, don’t feel too bad; it’s happened to us too. (…except that one year we made the goal of always making sure we finished the bottle of wine if we opened it, in which case we’re still killin’ that goal.) You went in with the best of intentions, but somehow along the way you just sorta dropped the ball. Over the years, we’ve had similar issues. But we’ve also figured out some tips and tricks that have helped us make New Year’s…

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Why I Stopped Shooting For Blogs

Weddings are beautiful events. Two bare feet in the sand on a tropical beach or 200 guests noshing on delicious gourmet fare at a banquet hall. The one thing they all have in common? Ideally, the bride and groom are hopelessly in love with one another, proclaiming it to two or two hundred, voicing a lifelong commitment and shedding authentic tears at the moment they end their time together as a couple and foray into the world of married life. For me (and I’m sure most wedding photographers), photographing weddings has always been about the emotions. The groom’s face as his future bride steps down the aisle, the tears in the eyes of the father-of-the-bride as he shares his first dance with the daughter he gave away. To me, the details – bonboniere, elaborate floral displays, I Do cutlery, embossed napkins and cheese plates have always been an afterthought. Of…

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Shooting Destination Weddings: Part II – Travel and FAQ

  Something terrible happened to our bank balance before we departed to shoot a destination wedding in The Bahamas this past August. With two hurricanes threatening to make landfall in Hawaii, trave​l plans were sketchy and we were afraid that even a little bit of wind and rain could offset our departure and potentially leave us unable to cover the event. Even though we had planned to arrive two days prior, what if the airports shut down and we couldn’t make it at all? This panic saw me on the phone to American Airlines at 2am and forking over $1500 to change our flights to depart the previous day – before the hurricane hit – just to be on the safe side. Of course, the storms both veered to the side and didn’t impact Hawaii at all, which just drives home the point that destination weddings are fantastic, but they…

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The Marketing Solution I Wish I Knew About Years Ago

  In the last couple blog posts (here and here), we’ve covered some basic marketing do’s and don’t’s – things that should be relatively easy to implement.   And that’s great and all, but it’s sort of obvious that the few tips we gave out – while they’re fantastic if I do say so myself – shouldn’t constitute the majority of your marketing plan.   So what else should you be doing to really amp up your marketing? Let me tell you about the one thing I wish I would have had years ago.   Learning From The Best   Remember in our last post where we talked about learning from someone who knows what they’re doing so you can, like, you know, actually start implementing effective marketing right away instead of wasting time and money on trial and error?   (It’s ok, we’ve been there too so don’t feel too…

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4 marketing tips I wish I knew when I started
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4 Marketing Tips I Wish I Knew When I Started

  Last post, we talked about some of the marketing crap I did when I was first starting out that didn’t really do me any good.   So to follow up with that, I’m going to go over some of the marketing stuff I wish I would have done instead.   1. Have a strong signature at the bottom of emails. The signature of your email is a great place to promote your presence on other platforms – places like Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc. However, don’t just list a hyperlink to your Facebook page or something; instead, make your P.S. (which stands for post-script btw, if you never knew, now you do) sound like you’re chatting with a friend. Something like “To see some of my latest sessions and light your fire, come join me on Facebook” or “To see some of my fav pics and see what I’m eating every…

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3 Marketing Mistakes I Wish I Didnt Make
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3 Marketing Mistakes I Wish I Didn’t Make

Ok ok, stop rolling your eyes. I know, you got into photography so you could take pictures, not worry about things like bookkeeping and marketing and blah blah blah.  But be honest with yo’self and admit that if you don’t worry about the boring parts of your business, you won’t be in business very much longer.   We could talk about business nitty-gritty til the cows come home, but today we’re just going to touch on marketing. And not even a comprehensive, all-encompassing look at marketing either – we’re going to talk about 4 things that I did when I first started out that I thought were great marketing things, but really weren’t (followed later this week by some actual great marketing things you should do).   4 easy, simple things, that you can start implementing (er, well, I guess in this case, not implementing) right now.   So grab a martini (because…

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