Though I have worked with hundreds of creative professionals in my career, only a handful have their work reverently displayed in my happy place, the reading corner of my home library. Next to the fireplace and placed on the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves my dad built for me is one of my favorite images from Chris Winton-Stahle. We worked together on many projects including my 5th Edition Photographer’s Guide to Marketing and I miss him every day. With the 5th Edition book release due in 2 weeks, I would like to dedicate this project in memory of Christopher and in honor of Heidi and Liam. https://www.gofundme.com/supporting-heidi-liam?r=17760
For November, we talked with seven photographers pursuing their passion for action, adventure, and sports and find out how they are getting the work: Aaron Belford, Tegan Keller (Tegan K. Studios LLC), Chayce Lanphear, Joe Morahan (Morahan Visuals, LLC), Elli Morris, Jayms Ramirez, and Robert Snow, Business Trends
It’s almost here! Long time labor of love…check out my new 5th Edition of Photographer’s Guide to Marketing & Self-Promotion and available for pre-order! I am very excited about the up-to-date coverage of social media and marketing techniques and the thirty-seven interviews and new case studies with both consumer (wedding/portrait) and commercial photographers and photo reps. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1621535479
Visit this month’s online Business Trends column for an educational and inspirational interview with six successful portrait photographers. Their subjects include toddlers, high school seniors, corporate executives, goatherds (not kidding!) http://www.shutterbug.com/content/turning-portraits-profits-how-run-portrait-photography-business#bepifKCrYU8tdg6D.97. Special thanks to our contributing photographers: Rick Dahms, Omayra Espino-Vázquez, Robert Houser, David Neff, Sara Press, and Michael Schmitt
Back from Summer Break and I have a new product announcement! Luke Copping was one of my featured photographers last year for my Business Trends column (he made the April issue cover!) and now he, Shauna Haider (of We Are Branch and The Nubby Twiglet Blog and Paul Jarvis (former writer for Lifehacker, Forbes, and Fast Company) have just launched a new workflow tool for emerging commercial photographers called Project Prescription.
From Luke, “Developed by a team of photographers and designers with a combined 40 years of experience in the business, this set of digital documents, checklists and processes enables photographers to streamline their workflow with a ‘tried-and-true’ blueprint for landing, handling, and pleasing clients from start to finish. Offering a comprehensive workflow system and customizable documents for photographers, Project Prescription eliminates much of the guesswork that comes with incorporating sound business practices for photographers. The package will be especially useful to young and emerging photographers, those transitioning from journalism staff positions to the freelance world, and to those moving from consumer to commercial-based markets.”
Yes – We are still on Summer Break and I am working on my next book so for now DO get to nearest newsstand and get your copy of September issue of @shutterbugmag and check out my Business Trends article on “Turning Portraits into Profits”. Special thanks to our contributing photographers: Rick Dahms, Omayra Espino-Vázquez, Robert Houser, David Neff, Sara Press, and Michael Schmitt – you are all my heroes! Don’t miss the portrait photo assignment “war stories” they have to tell – love it!
We are still on our somewhat non-voluntary summer break…2016, whew! So summer is here and all I have to post for you is the California “Lost Coast” photo. A completely deserted (and difficult to reach) stretch of Northern California beach somewhere between San Francisco and Eureka. Where is my Star Trek Transporter when I need it??
Starting our Summer Break early this year! One quick note, do mark your calendars for @Shutterbug July issue! This “Wildlife and Nature” issue hits newsstands on June 3 with my Business Trends column interviews and photos by Natures Photo Adventures – David Hemmings Photography Tours, www.naturesphotoadventures.com. Check out their “Grizzly Bears of Alaska Fishing for Salmon” workshop tour this July. Special thanks to Jennifer Hemmings and David Hemmings for the great photo business tips and wildlife images.
Maria Piscopo: What business changes have you seen in the last few years in your event photography assignments? Chris Rakoczy: Speed of delivery is not an option anymore. It’s a requirement. People are so accustomed to sharing life instantly from their mobile devices, they expect similar speed from the professional photographers they hire. Whether they’re a non-profit using social media to stay in front of their audience while memories of the event are still fresh or a corporate client posting to their intranet Monday morning to foster employee engagement and recognize achievement, the client expects to have at least a representative selection of images within 24 hours (or sooner!). I’ve been delivering about two dozens of images representative of the overall event to the client the following day, with the rest of the images following no more than a few days later. My newest branding to target the event market specifically includes these “FlashBack” images as a guaranteed deliverable.
Maria Piscopo: How do you market and find clients – using the traditional marketing or newer marketing tools? Chris Rakoczy: My web sites are http://www.hartfordeventphotographer.com and
http://www.rakoczyphoto.com. I’ve primarily marketed through networking groups and social media. Not only have traditional B2B (Business To Business) groups led to some work, but even networking with other photographers has proven beneficial. My membership in ASMP has connected me with other shooters. We all have our specialties and I’ve been able to take on clients a colleague wasn’t available for or suited to handle. I’ve hired photographers to be my subcontractors on larger jobs, who have in turn hired me back to help on their gigs. So many of us operate as one-person businesses yet so many events, especially larger corporate ones, need a crew of 3, 4, 5 or more people. It’s great to have a strong network of trusted peers to draw on. For social media, I tend to use Facebook a lot. In fact, it’s through a Facebook Group of photographers that led to working with several of them. Even if you never see someone face-to-face, you get to know and trust them through their posts, comments, shared work, and peer referrals. Also, I post on Facebook and Twitter before and after shooting an event. I don’t make the posts “about me” instead I research the client’s social presence first and then leverage the @mentions and #hashtags to put the attention on them and their event. I also try to give shout-outs and public thanks to the people I worked with, whether an event coordinator or my vendors.
Maria Piscopo: What “war stories” from your event photography assignments can you share with our readers? Chris Rakoczy: A new event planner client asked me if I could shoot and print photos on site at an event. For several subsequent events on-site printing became a common add-on so perhaps I got complacent. I didn’t test one of my two printers before this rather large corporate event and I forgot my spare pack of paper. After the cocktail hour, while my digital tech Kris Orlowski printed, I and two other shooters roamed the venue capturing the gala event. That’s when we discovered the clogged print heads and missing paper. For the next three hours, I was sweating bullets hoping we’d not only be able to print fast enough with half our intended equipment, but have enough paper to not short-change any guest. Kris earned his pay that night, finishing every print, on time, with just 2 sheets left over! Next time, not only will I be sure to test the printers but I’ll bring a head cleaning kit (swabs, alcohol) and extra paper!
Maria Piscopo: What skills or knowledge (other than photography) do you think an event photographer has to develop for a successful business model? Chris Rakoczy: The biggest thing has been developing a managerial skill. Very few corporate events I’ve done have been one-man jobs. I’ve needed to build and maintain a quality network of vendors and colleagues. So I charge for Production Management, because it takes a lot of time to coordinate the resources needed to provide a crew of, say, four photographers, two assistants, multiple portrait and printing stations, transportation, and whatever else the client requests. You have to have backup people, not just backup gear. You have to know and trust those people will work to make you look good, and know when to give specific directions even if their own approach would be different, or seek their input because it IS different. And when it all works, you will get the next job.