The Marketing Mix

- - Marketing

Really enjoyed this post (The Mix – The Marketing Formula of Successful Photographers) over on the Photoshelter blog by Selina Maitreya–ok, I got name checked but still it’s a good read for those looking to get started marketing their work.

No vision? No need for anything else. All subsequent steps rely on a body of work. ALL your sales and marketing tools are worthless if you don’t have the goods. Lets take a look at why.

Lets assume a buyer has a project (finally). They refer back to one of your marketing tools, and call to ask for your print book. If you don’t have one (because you’re convinced that nobody looks at print books), there goes the assignment. Maybe the next interested creative goes to your site looking for a “deep example” of the type of vision needed for their assignment and all they see is one or two things they are looking for mixed in with lots of other types of photography. The “body of work “needed isn’t there and you’ve wasted their time and your money. They wont be calling again.

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There Are 42 Comments On This Article.

  1. This is getting out of control:
    Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, DripBook, Yelp, Blog, AltPick, DesignTaxi, Workbook, PhotoServe, Website, iPhone portfolio, iPad Portfolio, Printed Portfolio, Leave behinds, Promo Pieces, Email Promos. . .
    Like so many seeds in the wind.
    Once upon a time we were photographers. I miss the days of film and sexual favors. (kidding. . . sort of)

    • @LaCunha, Agreed. I knew going in that not every day would be a shoot day. But seriously, too much marketing these days.

      I want to hire a full time staffer to do it for me, hahaha. Give them a fancy title and get back to shooting.

    • @LaCunha,

      … and yet, there are so many not included.
      The fundamental question today: ROI (Return on Investment).
      Does the time, money, effort, resources, & risk expended provide a healthy return? Or diminishing returns?

  2. Lets see what we can throw at the wall and stick.

    Spiritual adviser, career consultant, misspelling in her essay, suggesting every avenue known to mankind as marketing choice…..

    I like the guys at Photoshelter and know then personally…..I don’t understand why they published this essay without questioning some of the assumptions…but maybe they will have a follow-up. She has some good advice but it sure seems like there is precious little time to shoot or have a life with all of her suggestions.

    A calling yourself a spiritual adviser and consultant….that to me is is questionable and contradicts the premise of having a solid body of work without compromise.

    • @Me 2, interesting post yours:) If you read the copy you will see that I don’t suggest you use every avenue of marketing I highlight for you the ones that are must haves. Marketing today is a craft in and of itself ,one that photographers interested in succeeding need to take seriously.
      I dont CALL myself a spiritual advisor and consultant I AM a spiritual advisor and consultant.
      Ps .My article was edited by the fine crew at Photoshelter and you have a typo in your last sentence which by the way, is poorly written.I chose to take your message quite seriously regardless of your typing and messaging abilities.
      In Grace
      With Gratitude
      Selina Maitreya

  3. Selina, since I can see you’re watching…

    What would your response be for the photographers who have been consistently marketing through at least 4-5 channels and aren’t seeing any return? Many photographers are coping with their time and energy investments not returning interest and profit/account receivables.

    Obviously, the easy answer is, “There is something wrong with the body of work.” But what if there isn’t? What if the work is pretty great, above average even, with everyone the photographer gets to actually meet with loving it? Yet no one is calling with actual jobs? Too many photographers in the market place; simple supply and demand? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    It’s one thing to be sloppy. It’s quite another be doing things correctly and not getting to play the game, much less win.

    Just asking, because I know there are many frustrated photographers out there. :)

    • @Chris Schultz,

      I agree with you that there is more going on these days besides marketing or the lack thereof. I work in a smaller market, but one that has been reasonably lucrative for the past 30 years. I now spend an inordinate amount of time trying to market myself via personal, web and social networking means. The short answer is that clients (long term ones) and potential clients are just not spending money on photography. Marketing budgets have been the first thing cut by companies struggling to show a profit for their stockholders (Not a smart business move, but an easy one for those companies. A creative friend of mine recently sat in on a meeting at a large company who has drastically cut their marketing, and the meeting was about why their main competitor is eating their lunch.). I am known in my local area, but no one is buying, and the recession makes it harder to market in other areas. Until the overall economy turns around, I fear we are all going to be on short rations.

    • @Chris Schultz, You shouldn’t be so quick to assume that your work is above average or great.

      In my humble opinion, it’s not. I see standard fashion/portrait photography. Nothing exceptional. No unique vision. Quite boring. You should try something different to stand out from your competition. Find a great stylist, turn it up a notch.

      • @Robert, You shouldn’t be so quick to assume I was talking about my work directly. In fact, I was thinking about many of my peers who are struggling to catch a break in this sludge economy.

        Thanks for the critique. It would mean more if it wasn’t shadowed by anonymity.

        • @Chris Schultz, for sure. If you’re going to talk shit show your face. And your question – is exactly the 100 million dollar questions – what if you’re doing everything right – and your business still isn’t working?? It means there is something bigger going on. And that is exactly why I have called Selina out before. Some of the biggest names in the photo world are starting to share the fact their businesses are no longer functioning.

          • @Clark Patrick, @Chris Schultz –

            Guys, if the shoe fits!
            I doesn’t matter what name is used to identify a poster. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a visual artist. If the information posted provides some truth or valid perception, it is worthy.

            Anonymity is a valid ID choice. Especially considering personal sensitivity and distortions of thought online. It is the posters choice to decide on their own level of comfort – not any other party. “Robert” provided valuable *feedback*. If it doesn’t fit why bother with it?

            As Daniel suggests below – if business isn’t working, maybe it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. This is the ‘acid test’. It could be the artist, the market, or the method of conducting business. Change or die.

    • Matthew Dorian

      @Chris Schultz,

      I didn’t assume you were talking about yourself – but I did look at your work, and it’s nice. The only thing I might add would be to lose the .us in favor of a .com (understanding there is a problem of availability)

      • @Matthew Dorian, Couldn’t agree more. The guy who has my .com refuses to sell it for a reasonable amount. Doesn’t even used it either. Actually looked into suing him for it, unsuccessfully. No such law out there for a good case. The good news is Google finds me, so does Yahoo, Bing, all of them.

        Prefer the “.us” over the “-“. And anything longer is way too many characters.

        Thank you for the kind words, Matthew. My work is young and somewhat limited, but I think it’s good for what it is. We’re heading in the right direction.

  4. One Marketing “Tool” not mentioned here is the I-Phone. I carry all my portfolios on it and show it every chance I get. I chatted with the guy sitting next to me in defensive driving class, told him I’m a shooter. He said he would love to see my portfolio sometime. I said, “I’ve got it right here on my phone” and showed it to him. He called a month later, turns out he was head of Advertising
    for a major utility and wanted me to do their annual report. He said it was the I-phone portfolio, and my attitude that impressed him. It was a great gig, and I’m working on the second one now.

  5. The bottom line is simple.

    It takes time and patience to follow through. Choose your (social) marketing tools carefully, lest you waste your days away. Almost everyone wants a quick result and some do get it, but it’s the exception rather than the rule.

    Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook won’t necessarily find you clients, it does however, spread the word. It’s good to know that a few hundred (or a few thousand if you’ve been good at it) eyes see your posts. It’s your name that’s out there and it counts, too. It’s not just about the money it’s about revealing your personality and building a reputation. And that has value too. Yes?

    Show up and to keep at it. And, like the catalogs and postcards that come to your door month after month, year after year, eventually somebody orders something from someone.

    Selina said, two to four years…

    Take a deep breath and get back to it.

  6. Yes the work is the first place to examine. Good , “images”,great “shots “are no longer enough. A solid body of work is critical. Images that clearly show a buyer what you shoot and importantly contain a consistent visual approach. Buyers buy up and with the availability of great stock and many shooters , photographers are being asked to up the anty on the creative. Check in with a consultant (there are many good ones in today’s market )and get a solid evaluation of your work.

    Once the work is inline look at creating a multi level sales and marketing plan. Make sure it includes an in person sales option. Marketing alone is not enough.I have clients who are shooting, are busy and successful. Everyone of them has a direct sales option going on.

    Then it’s the time factor. Marketing and sales are cumulative. Give it 2-4 years before your results are solid.
    These are tough times and there is no one answer for all shooters but I hope this helps.

  7. First of all, I need to be upfront and let you all know that I am one of Selina’s clients. I think she is great, and I think she sees the big picture, no pun intended.

    I have been a photographer for a long time, yet I have been freelance for about four years now. I think the key to making a living wage in this business is multidimensional and constantly changing.

    I know we all want to shoot pictures, but don’t forget, that as much as we want to be artists, we are running a business, and there are certain things I know I must do to make a profit, like any other business out there.

    Branding, marketing, networking, advertising, R&D, promotion, bookkeeping, new product launch, you get the picture now?

    The work is out there. I know a lot of assistants here in Portland are booked. The sky is not falling. There are opportunities to be had. D.A. Wagner, in a post above, has it right in my opinion, “Take a deep breath and get back to it.”

    Don’t give up. Lean into the obstacles. Stay positive. Shoot what you love. Brand it. Market it. Tweet it. Facebook it. Email it. Make calls. Visit people. Make it a journey. Make mistakes. Create success. Have fun with it. Hire great people to help you if you can.

    Is my business down this year? Yes! Am I slowing down my efforts? Hell no! In fact, I am accelerating them, because if I don’t, there is nothing for me to learn.

    So do what I do with Selina, and any other person I meet that I think has something to offer. Listen to what they have to say. Ask questions. Listen again. Sit with what they say. See what comes up for you. Then decide your course of action and for it. Embrace mistakes. Like they told me when I first leaned to ski, if you are not falling, you are not learning.

  8. I am a photographer amazed to see all my great cameras sitting there like old toys looking at me with a sad face begging me to take them out again for field trips, looking , shadows, paint cracks , craggy faces,great bodies,pretty faces, flowers, cute animals,sports events and so many things that make photography such a unique experience.
    Now this whole world has changed and we have to relearn everything.
    Digital cameras are everywhere and the big question is how the real artists can stand out from the crowd and that extraordinary picture that will shake our souls.
    Great site . I really enjoyed.

  9. Thanks for sharing Selina’s guest post Rob. Quite a lively debate happening here! We found Selina’s article both inspiring and educational. Just like our own advice (or anyone’s), it is guidance and not a perfect prescription for every single photographer in every segment of the industry.

    On social media participation — like all marketing tactics, you need goals and metrics for determining if your investment (in this case, time) is paying off. Every tactic bears an opportunity cost — is the return you’re getting from Tweeting better/worse than investing that same block of time in other activities, like cold calling photo editors? If cold calling continues to work for reaching your goals and Twitter is not, it should be pretty easy to decide how to divide your time. Be mindful, however, that your goals across tactics may vary – one tactic may help you book more 1-on-1 portfolio meetings, while another may help you establish your brand as an expert in your specialty, demonstrate your recent work, or provide a better glimpse into how professionally you conduct your client work.

    Andrew Fingerman
    PhotoShelter Marketing

  10. Thank you Rob, and Selina.
    This is one of the best threads I’ve read here in awhile.
    However, I’m biased. Though I’ve only read, and seen her speak, Selina is one of the very few consultants who’s words I feel resonate strongly with reality. (I have experienced some of the energy and spiritual side of business and intention, so I know it is real).

    This is another of those ‘what it takes to make it’ threads.
    However, there is something that is often missed in threads examining success, which distorts the complete picture. The failures. Not the failure of one promotional piece or even a year or two in business. But complete loss. End of business failures. It’s easy to look at the successful and try to deconstruct how they got there. What about those that also put in the time and effort and failed. Who are they? How many do they number? Why did they fail when others have success (with equal talent, effort, resources)? Entertainment is a great paradigm. For every “A” (and “B”) list entertainer, how many equally talented people never make it?

    Selina, if you are reading this I’d like some clarification.

    “portal placement”
    Can you provide a variety of examples for this term?

    Regarding depth in context to images in a portfolio (“Deep”).
    What quantity are you suggesting?

    “2-4 years” – your suggested window of time to develop brand identity.
    2-4 years is a long time today with exposure (digital distribution) to copycats. I believe styles today may need to change faster to distinguish an individuals work.
    Any suggestions on retaining constancy with the brand identity through style changes?
    Subject matter, content, logo/design consistency?
    (This also draws focus to the subject of ROI – within a shorter time frame).

    “Social networking”
    This sort of reminds me of people (1990’s) that thought building a website would insure traffic (business). On the other hand networking to creatives could look a lot like chasing ambulances – especially if they are intelligent, hip, busy, or all. When I look at my own experience today with information I am overwhelmed. Most of the info coming in isn’t significant. But getting through it all is a huge drag.I’m looking for less inclusion and more exclusion to manage my time and psyche. I can’t imagine there aren’t a great many others like me that are a bit done and over with all the information pushing into our lives at every moment. Quite honestly I function much better when not wired in 24/7.

    I can imagine one of the reasons you get “deer in headlights” when talking budgets is because many don’t know what it will cost to get from A – E, and F – Q.
    Especially with regard to image development – which is always in flux. But most will want to keep everything reigned in as tightly as possible. The question of ROI (“return on investment”) is also a huge consideration in the current marketplace for several reasons.

    First the economy and business climate. In markets with greatly diminished returns, why spend a lot on marketing if clients are not producing well? I understand the concept of opening doors, and priming the markets for a turn around. But in some sectors, it may be questionable if that turn around will happen at all or be productive enough to provide that ROI if and when it does happen.

    Aside from the economy, the very model of consumption and distribution has changed. A great deal of what was once purchased is now consumed for only the cost of time and opportunity to partake. This model is still developing, the dust hasn’t settled yet. Trying to gauge a budget with an uncertain ROI (and quite probably narrower margin), is difficult at best.

    What do you suggest if an image maker goes bust halfway or a third way through this period of branding?

    Thanks again!

    • @Bob, wonder if you’re the same bob from HM’s blog?

      I’ve battled with Selina on these questions before and she doesn’t have the answers… because “in my opinion” she doesn’t realize (or doesn’t own the fact) she’s not saying anything new. Her arrows are the same as they always have been before – there’s just more of them…

      To her credit I think it is still possible to build a photography business in the way she suggests – but you will end up exactly in the middle of the pile. It is the same formula it’s always been – and it is no longer good enough.

      • @Clark Patrick, I feel a need to reply to you here. First of all, I think sharing ideas are great. Tolerance for other perspectives and views are even greater, in my book. Doing battles over this stuff, I think, is not very conducive to a healthy sharing of ideas.

        What works for you, and what works for others are not always the same. Personally, I feel that Selina gets it, for my way of life, how I shoot, and how I see the world, with a camera and without. What I hear from working with her, and on her MP3 series, might be completely different from what you might hear, even though the words are the same. We all filter the world differently based on our own experiences in life. Obviously, you don’t connect with some of her words, which is fine. There is no 100% solution, or drive-up window super sized value meal solution to the current state and challenges of our professions.

        We all have the right to discernment. We also must respect and be tolerant of ideas that might not fit our way of seeing the world. I can see by your last post that you prefer to quantify things, which I understand. I have an MBA, and there are certain things about my business that I do quantify, but I also allow for those things that can’t be put into a measuring cup. This works for me, and not for all.

        In your post before this you asked about if you are doing everything right, and you still fail, etc… Well, no one can do everything right. If I thought for even a minute that I did everything right, well then, I actually did a lot of things wrong. The market will reveal to me my successes and my failures. I own both of those with honor. We are all perfectly imperfect.

        I, for one, will not, and do not, hold Selina responsible for anything that happens to me and my business. All I ask of her is to show up, which she does. My job is to make images, share them, and sustain myself and my family. If I can’t make a living at it, then I need to find another passion in life to fill my soul and my bank account.

        • @Daniel Root, That’s cool and you sound like a really grounded and nice person. But, keep in mind that Selina makes a living by consulting photographers – and I really believe her formula is no longer nearly as effective or relevant as it once was. And I think it is important for someone to say that.

          • @Clark Patrick, Well I like to think that I am as grounded as I can be at this time and moment of my life, so thank you for that. I guess we can agree to disagree about the relevance of her work. For me it works and rings true, and that is what really counts for me. By the way, I don’t really think one can boil down her work as a “formula.” It is fluid and really depends upon the photographer doing the work and showing up. She is a teacher. As a student, I can only get out of it what I put into it.I believe in her and I believe in myself. The market will reflect that the product I have to offer is superior, inferior, or middle of the road.

            I wish you the best!

      • @Clark Patrick,

        There is no one person in control of the current markets. Not Selina, not you, or I, or *Annie*. I have no doubt that Selina’s guidance is sound – not just for photography, but many other small businesses. That doesn’t mean there are not other ways to success as well. If Selina’s guidance can get you to the middle, is this not a great place to start that climb to the top OYO if that is your wish?

        Fundamentally all that has changed in the market is supply, distribution, and method of consumption. People are still people. Consumers still consume. There is one thing that may be lacking for many visual artists (“not good enough”) . That is the talent, personality and resources to compete in a marketplace of high supply, and free distribution. Risk and competition are much greater today. But even in the heydays it was no cakewalk.

        I agree with Daniel above.
        My biggest concerns today are the higher risk, and the ROI given the competition and effort required to succeed long term. I question the return on effort and resources relative to
        other business opportunities.

        Yes, same “Bob” on Heather’s blog

  11. Don’t forget the most important aspect of marketing. Getting Rachel Maddow and Jimmy Fallon to talk about and show your images on the late show.

    My assistant emailed me and told me about this, I had missed it, but was able to see it online.

    One more blog post done for today, facebook and twitter taken care of, and I’ve got something to talk about at lunch today. That huge global campaign should be knocking on my door any minute, right?

  12. Bob, All,

    First off, the information via that I put forth and this discussion was not and should not be about me, or my capabilities. While I can understand people wanting to question my knowledge about the current business, negative sidesteps truly dilute the process of discussing our industry. This should be about the business and how one can succeed. My reputation, longevity and clients who are succeeding speak volumes to my knowledge being grounded in ongoing reality and my commitment to my clients building successful lives.
    You don’t stay in this business for 30 years if you are not
    honest, integral caring, knowledgeable and current in your information. When both my books were previewed it was clients, your clients, people like Karen Frank former PE for O magazine and free lance art buyer Beverly Adler who thanked me for writing books that would help photographers succeed. These are your potential clients telling me that my information about how photographers should to sell to them was dead on.
    For the type of hard factual specifics that @Clark Patrick says he’s been “battling me for before” got to, go to the GOOD NEWS thread, read Tim Llewelyn’s post. He sates facts quite clearly.

    Now for the truly important stuff….

    There is no science to our business in terms of measuring success for all. Too
    many talents with different personalities, skill levels, talent levels, abilities to persevere, budgets, positive attitude etc,,,There are however steps everyone can take and make their own that in the past have been successful for many. These are the steps I attempted to freely share in my article. ROI? Sure its possible but you will have to wait several years to see the return although there are key markers that you can look for along the way…

    We are in a business model that calls for lots of front end investing before return is seen, and yes while business will come through it may take 3-5 years before your ROI is tangible.
    The problem I encounter is that talent often wants things to happen more quickly. They have unreal expectations. They want quicker results. What happens? They give up at a certain point often before they have the opportunity to achieve success.

    Bob: Portal placement: I am referring to, photo serve, etc apa web site find a photographer etc…web portals that provide buyers access to many photographers. These are often first stops for clients when searching to fill assignments and as a marketing option to spread the word about your web site.

    Depth in a body of work? Differs with each talent in total numbers but in order to give buyers a deep enough take on your singular visual approach to a specific subject I would suggest you consider approximately 25 –40 images for website and print book.

    So beloveds all it ‘s taken me two hours to write as my typing skills are not top notch.

    I will not be able to continually answer questions as I have food to cook for my boys and clients to serve but I will be popping in and I do invite you to go to APAnet and read GOOD NEWs and please visit my brand spanking new blog at where practical and spiritual topics will be discussed.
    Finally for the naysayers that insist upon making negative comments about the extent of marketing needed today I would ask that they simply look at the suggestion I continually make which is to stop the bitching and complaining and choose which selling and marketing options feel right for them, and to pursue those. Try it out. See what works and what doesn’t for you. Its really easy to deride others and their ideas and its harder work to choose to show up in your own business
    and make it a success.

    In Grace
    With Gratitude


    • @selina maitreya,

      Selina, Thank you for taking the time to respond!
      I got value from the information on the original piece, as well as your follow up comments. I don’t expect you to know or understand every aspect of this business.

      When others post their own opinions, experiences, facts, questions, etc. This is feedback. Feedback is healthy and important. So often in forums people deny feedback, call people naysayers, or haters. This is not constructive in looking at the bigger picture. Often I see people in this industry focusing on anecdotal evidence or very short term/immediate successes (forest for trees), and other dogmatic details. While these do provide some sense and structure about the industry, it can also be rather provincial. Very rarely do we see the total picture. We see interviews and stories on those that have (short term or long term) success. How often do we see stories about the artists who just got by for decades? Many live lives of struggle based on their career choices, pick one or more:

      – homeless

      – divorced

      – died from lack of medical care ($)

      – bankruptcies(multiple)

      – finally changed careers (after decades of struggle)

      – still struggle in middle age or later

      – have no retirement savings…..

      The list can and does go on, and I suspect this represents a larger part of the reality than those we see in our industry media. This could be perceived as the comments of a hater or naysayer. When in fact it represents reality.

      I feel that many of the posters on this blog are either at the beginning or middle of their careers, looking to understand the marketplace or industry. Either things have/are changing and they are loosing perspective, or the individuals may be too new to have a strong impression about the industry.

      It’s becoming clear to me that the people creating the most imagery are those at the very tippy top (very successful), and those at the very bottom (very high volume low low ticket, slim margins, just getting by – if that). Due to the increase in supply, most everyone else (the middle) is putting more effort into the mundane aspects of running a business, and spending less time creating images. This is creating higher risk, and less ROI (“return on investment”). For many this ROI may already be upside down. That is, when making a choice to do something other than create images for a living pays better with less risk.

      In many urban areas waiting tables at a popular cafe is probably providing more return than many image makers are netting in the same locale. This doesn’t mean the artist stops creating. It means time for creating art is maximized because the mundane aspects of running one’s own business are no longer a liability (time & $$$). I’ve gotten the impression from talking with younger image makers, they don’t have a good sense about what is involved in running a “photography” business successfully. There exists some romanticized idealization (fairy-tale) in identifying as a “photographer”. When the majority of the WORK is the same (mundane) as it is in any other small service business.

      @ Clark & @ A Photographer –

      Selina (or any person *other* than yourself) can only provide a path. After that it is up to you. All of your life is on your own shoulders, whether it be in this business or any other concern. After the path is chosen, it’s up to you to walk the path. If the path does not satisfy your desires, you are free to chose another path.

      All the best!

  13. Most who are chasing the golden editorial and advertising cow in large markets such as New York and LA, if successful in this economy, will do so with overhead that is too large among shrinking budgets and fewer jobs. As a result, while consultants spend your money, you work harder and harder and more hours and the actual “Take Home Pay” of photographers shrinks and the amount of time photographers get to spend with their children and their spouse/partner is shrinking too. (I guess the nannies will be fully employed as the spouses of photographers go back to work.) This model is only sustainable in the short term and it comes at a great cost. (Listening to the stories this week about coal miners caused me to reflect on our industry: working 8 hour days, 6 days a week you can make 50k to 60k a year coal mining. But it is possible to work 15 or 16 hour days 7 days a week and make 100k to 200k a year coal mining! One miner reflected that he is underground so much, that his fellow miners are more important than his family, or at least he feels that way because he sees them more often. These are dedicated, hard working people, who LOVE their work and take pride in what they do and want to be the best, most productive workers at their jobs.)

    I do believe there are so many photographers out there looking for work shooting portraits and fashion and sports that there is a lot more work being left on the table that may be less glamorous, but pays well and comes through personal relationships with clients, AND takes a lot less “Mailers,” “Tweets,” “Blogs.” In fact, when I do the math, the money that comes in from these clients is much more, compared to the money that comes in from shooting editorial pieces for a major magazines and chasing advertising jobs. (plus, I see my family a lot more.) Now I will promote and do all the things within my power to get theses gigs, and I will ride the next wave if it comes, but at this time, I believe in diversifying, (teaching, shooting all the gigs that come along and looking at all new markets) making $$$ and not letting dust settle on my gear.

    • p.s. I forgot to add writing to my list of diversification: Not only the blog, but this year I’m an Associate Editor of American Photo and I’ve been writing one or two pieces an issue.

  14. I think I will end my posts to this subject with this.

    If you look at Chase Jarvis, and his model, he does not care about SEO, or who talks about him, in fact I saw him speak, and he said that he never checks his ranking. All this stuff that Chase does, and I wonder if he ever sleeps, works because it is 100% true authentic Chase. He does it because he loves to do it. I met him and even had time for a private one-on-one with him for a few minutes. He is real and honest. He does what he loves to do, and people love being around that type of energy. Not only does he produce really good work, he provides something more for his clients, and that is a positive emotional experience. It works for him, and it works for companies like Apple and Nike, and it is authentic. It is part of their business DNA. Keeping it real, so to speak, works if you have the goods to support it, I think.

    I know that if I create this, meaning creating great images and providing for great and positive emotional experiences to my clients, consistently through different marketing channels, and through many applications of my vision, the business will come to my door. For me, this is my truth.

    I think it is all about creating great images and positive emotional feelings to clients and to possible clients. People want to feel good when they use a product.

    So my point is, I know as a business owner of a company that produces photography, I must create more than just nice pictures. I need to create a positive experience related to my work and who I am. We now have a lot of tools at our disposal to do that, like social networking for example.

    So, yes there are more arrows in marketing diagrams. Do we have to use them all? Depends on what your branding, marketing and photographic vision is.

    But there are opportunities here to create a buzz without spending millions, like Nike and Apple does, on advertising. I know that I don’t need to do what Chase Jarvis does. I can’t, because he is Chase, and I am not. People and clients that know me would start to look at me very strange if all of a sudden I started implementing a program like his, because they would see right through it, because it is not in my DNA to do that.

    I am me, and it is my job to find out what works best for my brand.

    So as Chase likes to say, “shoot, share, and sustain.” Simple words, yet very open to all sorts of interpretations. That is why I love those three words. It will mean something different to each individual, which I think is wonderful.

    I, for one, am choosing to think the future looks bright for us all.

    Now I have to get back to printing my portfolio book, so I can email, send postcards, set up meetings, and share my vision and myself. Wish me success. I wish that for you all.

    • A Photographer

      @Daniel Root,

      Daniel ~ take away all the constant marketing, Twitter, Facebook, self-absorbed youtube videos, PDN promotion, “Master Awards” by camera companies, ASMP presentations, iphone apps, blog entries about himself and concentrate on the work for a moment.

      What does your idol have that sets him apart from others? He has energy and a focus on creating work for his particular type of client.

      My only question for all of this advice from Selina, Jack Hollingsworth and the many who now offer guidance to photographers is: How do you carve out a life for shooting and creating when you spend so much time following others advice and suggestions?

      I strongly suggest that unless you want to spend your life chasing after what everyone else is chasing after, that you cut down the level of noise in your life and concentrate on what you do better than anything else.

      Then promote it to the twenty or thirty people who you feel are the best in the field who can use what you do.

      All of this Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc. promotion feels like desperation marketing.

      I don’t have a book to my credit that tells you how to be a successful photographer, but I do have a thirty-year career and am still shooting for great clients.

      It is a different opinion than what Selina offers.

      • @A Photographer, Well first of all Chase is not my idol nor is Selina, I just used him as an example because he is the first person that came to mind when I was writing, and her because I connect with a lot of her ideas.

        I am going to close this by saying this. My dad is my idol when it comes to following his passion as an entrepreneur. He did what he loved, and he not only did what did thought was right for him, he also checked in with others to gain a wealth of knowledge on which to make decisions based on what was right for him. He had his share of mistakes and successes. My dad always said to me, and at the ripe age of 86, still says the same thing, “do what you love, and the money will follow.” And my dad took a small business and built it into something big.

        I don’t know how to use a power saw, but I trust others that do to build my house. If I wanted to learn to use one, I would surely seek out those that do this well, and then adapt that to my own abilities and talent. And I know that there are many ways to build a house. It just depends on what type off house you envision for yourself.

  15. Yes the work is the first place to examine. Good , “images”,great “shots “are no longer enough. A solid body of work is critical. Images that clearly show a buyer what you shoot and importantly contain a consistent visual approach. Buyers buy up and with the availability of great stock and many shooters , photographers are being asked to up the anty on the creative. Check in with a consultant (there are many good ones in today’s market )and get a solid evaluation of your work.

    Once the work is inline look at creating a multi level sales and marketing plan. Make sure it includes an in person sales option. Marketing alone is not enough.I have clients who are shooting, are busy and successful. Everyone of them has a direct sales option going on.

    Then it’s the time factor. Marketing and sales are cumulative. Give it 2-4 years before your results are solid.
    These are tough times and there is no one answer for all shooters but I hope this helps.