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  • November 13, 2017 8:41 AM | Deleted user

    In search of something different to offer my photo clients, I decided that I would try to make it rain - on command - under my control!  So...I built a “Rainmaker”!

    I used four ten foot sections of ¾” Schedule 80 PVC (for the strength.)  One of the ten foot sections I left full.  Two of the ten foot lengths I cut in half and the fourth piece I cut in various lengths for my connection pieces.  I also used four T connectors and four 90* corner connectors.  To get water into the contraption, you will also need a spigot attachment (I don’t know what you call them, but you attach a hose to it to run water into the pipes.)

    Starting with two of the five foot sections, I drilled ⅛” holes one inch apart starting at one inch in from the end.  Then with the full section, I drilled ⅛” holes one inch apart starting at 1¼” in from the end.  The final two five foot sections, I drilled ⅛” holes one inch apart starting at 1½” in from the end.  This will create a staggered “waterfall” effect.

    For the assembly, you will need Schedule 80 PVC Pipe Cleaner and Glue.  Out of the uncut section of PVC pipe, cut three pieces eight inches long and one piece eighteen inches long and one piece six inches long.  The six inch long piece will have to be cut in half to accommodate the spigot attachment.  See the illustration for assembly layout.  Be sure to clean the PVC pipe ends with the cleaner before using the glue.  Only assemble one piece at a time.  The cleaner and the glue WILL make a mess, so be sure you are in an area that you can get messy!!!

    I let the glue set up overnight to make sure everything was dry.  I used my pop up tent to which to secure my Rainmaker.  The tent served several purposes - first of all, it’s a big diffuser for the sunlight.  Secondly, I can hold the backdrop around the sides.  And, you can secure the Rainmaker overhead under the inside across the center of the tent!  I propped the legs of my tent up on a stack of three cinder post blocks on each leg just to get some extra height for shooting.  

    For shooting, I covered three sides with black plastic, then put a black backdrop in front of the plastic to reduce the glare from the speedlights/strobes.  Put a speedlight behind the subject and gelled for color effects on the rain.  I put plastic bags (Ziplock) over my speedlights to protect them from the water.  For safety reasons, it is BEST to use speedlights or battery pack strobes.  DO NOT place the speedlights/strobes IN the water - there should be plenty of room behind and in front of the Rainmaker to set up lighting!!!  There is plenty of room to shoot your model behind the Rainmaker or IN the Rainmaker, depending on the shots you are looking for.

    Unfortunately, I ran out of warm weather where I could get the shots I envisioned with my Rainmaker!  I did get it set up and took several “test models” just to play with the rain and the lighting to see what I could get.  Look out next year!!!

    Jane Ballard is a photographer and train enthusiast making her home in Joplin, Missouri. Starting out with just a "point and shoot", she graduated to her first DSLR, a Nikon D3100, in 2012. As she "matured" through her 20's, 30's, and 40's, her creativity became lost, overpowered by her logical "fit into the mold" business side. She has since began a journey of experimentation and art that is fulfilling all that was missing in her early years. You can see some of her work at JaneBallard.com

  • October 27, 2017 8:26 AM | Deleted user

     Hey you. If you’re reading this, you’re probably an artist. (Or you are, you just haven’t been convinced of it yet.) But you’ve been tempted by the belief that artists must starve. As one of my twitter friends so eloquently put it, “Sure, I’ll photograph your wedding for free! Because you really need $800 cupcakes and artists love being poor!” It’s the joke, right? Go to law school if you want to make money. Oh that’s cute that you like to paint pictures but it’s time to get a real job. Heck, just earlier today I was introducing myself in an email and backspaced the “I’m a photographer” to replace it with “My husband and I run a portrait studio…” because it feels like we artists are constantly having to go against the tide and prove ourselves. We “starve” not just financially, but relationally, artistically, and spiritually. We mope and blame and hang our heads because no one will kick down our door with a parade that alleviates our insecurities. But you know what I think? I think that to take on the “starving artist” mentality is a choice. I think it’s harmful, selfish, and (you may hate this but please don’t stop reading) a big fat excuse. If you’re an artist and you’re starving, I am willing to bet that your belief system is the root of the problem. (No, not the shoot and burner next door, the economy, the time of year, or whatever else. We are not living in the Great Depression or a war-torn country. 43 million iPhones have been sold this year alone.)

     1. THE STARVING ARTIST IS UNWORTHY One time, I met a cool person. We had so much in common, and I thought she was just so COOL. (Ever meet someone like that? Someone you instantly aspire to be?) And we had so many mutual friends and liked so many of the same things. But I never asked her to hang out. I didn’t even introduce myself. Here was a person I could tell I could instantly be great friends with. But I didn’t move forward. We never ended up speaking. Why? Was she stuck up or busy? Did she ignore me or blow me off or act like a snob? No. I could have blamed her, but it would have been ridiculous. I never introduced myself. I didn’t think she would like me. I believed deep down that she wouldn’t want to be my friend… so I saved myself the potential embarrassment. I walked away because I felt unworthy. I think that as artists, we believe ourselves to be unworthy long before anyone tells us we are. (It’s easier that way, isn’t it?) I was a full-time professional photographer for an entire year before I even started referring to myself as an artist. Why is this? Well, because the best way to guard yourself from potential pain is to inflict it upon yourself first. Also, we admire great art and feel that we don’t measure up. We can’t be perfect, so we give up before we try. Okay, I lied. I said, “One time, I met a cool person.” What I really meant was, “Most people I met from my adolescence until about a year ago…” You probably understand the metaphor here. (I love things like metaphors because I was an English major in college. Why? I felt so unworthy of my art that I didn’t pursue it seriously until after college. Once again: I believed I was unworthy and it was my own fault.) The starving artist “starves” because she feels unworthy. She does not allow herself to be fed and actively prevents this from happening through her own belief system.

     2. THE STARVING ARTIST IS JUDGMENTAL We’ve all been there. Judging - I mean scrolling - our way through Facebook and, whether we leave snarky comments or not, focusing on everyone else and deciding where they rank on the ladder of success. Are they above us? How dare them. Below us? Well we saw it coming! Did they used to be below us and now they’re catching up? That copy-cat! How dare they. They’re stealing our clients! Well, we’ll just have to find some more. We didn’t need those cheapskates anyway. And why are we so judgmental? Why do we feel the need to compare and rank and condemn and make fun of? I’ll answer the question with another question. What do we say to third graders that get bullied at school? “That person only said those mean things to you because they are insecure about who they are.” We think mean things when we aren’t happy with ourselves. Whatever annoys you most in someone else is probably the thing you can’t stand about yourself. If someone else’s success bothers you, it means you’re not reaching your own potential. And it’s like nails on a chalkboard. When we are preoccupied with being the best (whatever that means? It’s art, people), we certainly are not preoccupied with our creativity, our craft, or our clients who are paying for it.

     3. THE STARVING ARTIST IS STARVE-Y Starvy? Starvey? Starve-y? Anyway, here’s what I mean: We reap what we sow. We attract what we give off. Want to attract other starve-y people? Easy! Be so focused on starvation and lack and scarcity and “never enough” and make sure to always blame outside sources! Be cheap. Cut corners. Buy cheap gear and cheap backdrops and nickel and dime every minute a client gets to spend in your presence and then get upset when they don’t seem eager to pay a premium price for it. I’m normally not such a sarcastic person. I just write like this because it’s the beliefs I struggle with too. I’ve struggled with this for years and while I’m shifting the belief, it still creeps in! “Well sure I’m booked this month but who’s to say I’ll have a single client next month! I’ll use them all up! There will be no one left!” If you want to be an artist who thrives, help others thrive. If you want to be a successful business owner, help other business owners be more successful. If you want your clients to give to you with their whole hearts, give to them! It’s not a trick or a stunt or a clever phrase - it’s genuine giving. It’s beautiful when you allow it to happen. Artist, you’ve been invited to a dinner to share and feed and be fed. And if you’re too busy locking yourself in your room with 2 crackers because you don’t want to risk losing them, that’s on you.

     4. THE STARVING ARTIST IS ISOLATED I’m an introvert, so sometimes I really like being alone. I think most artists do from time to time, and it can be a great thing. But have you ever gotten lost in your own head? (Raises hand desperately.) Yeah, things can get crazy in there. Have you ever started thinking about one little doubt about your abilities, your work, your craft, your skill, your client, your *anything,* and ended up convincing yourself it’s time to sell the camera gear and get a job at Target? (Hopefully I’m not the only one who has this crisis like every Thursday?) But seriously, when we isolate ourselves we start to believe untrue things. Just like some folks think their art is REALLY GOOD when it’s really not, I think more often great artists give up or lose hope because they never let anyone critique their work or simply tell them, “Shut up dude you’re really good at this.” Welcome critique. Challenge yourself. Ask people you respect for their feedback. Be willing to learn and change. It can be hard, but the more you do it the more you realize it’s the only way to grow.

     5. THE STARVING ARTIST IS AFRAID Well, I don’t have much to say here because it’s a daily struggle. Ever worry you’ll create a portrait and pour your life blood into it and then present it wholeheartedly and the client will hate it? And is that possible? Yes. If you do photography for a living, something like this will probably happen at some point. BUT, is it just as (if not more) possible that one day you’ll create a photograph that will change someone’s life for the better? That their grandchild will find it in a shed or drawer and they’ll pick it up with both hands, sit cross legged on the floor, and stare at it in wonder? Is it possible, artist, that you will change the course of someone’s entire life because of lifegiving domino effect of real art and the joy it brings? Yes. But not if you’re too afraid to try. A common exercise to overcome fear is to ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I’ve started asking myself this question, “What’s the best that could happen?” I don’t want to be a person who makes decisions (and ultimately lives a life) based on fear. I have art to give to the world that only I can give, and if I hide it because I’m afraid, what good will that do? The same goes for you, artist. You do not have to starve. You may be comfortable in that place because it’s what you know, but I promise that with risk and responsibility and vulnerability comes great, beautiful rewards. When you believe your art is valuable, you’ll charge for it. And when you believe that you’re worth a living wage, you’ll earn it. If you settle for less, I hope you’ll start by shifting these beliefs. I hope you’ll be humble enough to stop blaming your outside surroundings (again, I’m saying this to myself too) and take ownership of the starvation habits we all so easily form. Artist, the only way to stop starving is to choose to feast. (There’s plenty of food, I promise!) I believe you’re worth that, and I hope you will too. 

    Mitzi Starkweather is an Portrait Artist and MOPPA member based in Joplin, MO. She specializes in women's portraiture and has been honored many times over for her work and study of her art. Feel free to check her out at Mitzi Starkweather Photography

  • November 28, 2016 6:56 PM | Anonymous

    We hope you have had a successful fall portrait season and are planning
    a bit of a break from the madness to enjoy some precious friend and family time over the holidays.

    We, the Missouri Professional Photographers Association (MOPPA), would like to thank each and everyone of our members, both past and present, for supporting our organization. 

    As you may or may not know, we recently changed the name of our MOPPA conference from FotoChaos to its new moniker… DEVELOP!! We are so very excited about the change, as it encompasses so many aspects of our industry, on both professional and personal levels.

    To celebrate the launch of the new name, we are having a drawing!! For each new or renewed membership to MOPPA in the month of November thru December 15th your name will be entered in a drawing for a Spider HandstrapTwo winners will be drawn! (If you have already renewed or join during November you are already in the drawing - no action required.)

    (How cool is that?!)

    And you know what else? In the very near future you will be able to take advantage of your
    membership as registration for our Develop conference is launching very soon!! (psst……
    savings will be more than the cost of membership!)

    So…take advantage now! Join/re-join us….  We would love to have you as part of the MOPPA family!

    Promotion ends December 15, 2016. Winners will be announced on December 16, 2016! 

    Happy Holidays from MOPPA!

    MOPPA is a Not For Profit 501(c)6

  • February 15, 2016 3:17 PM | Anonymous

    So after being at many trade shows and photography conferences and workshops I have been asked multiple times about children and shooting their images with ringlights as many people seem to think that the intensity of the ringlights are to bright for the children. Here is my take on shooting baby and kids with the ringlights...

    To start if you are going to be shooting an infant or baby you may just want to use the light as a fill light from the side or above to give you that extra light you need for your natural light if that's how your shooting, but do not think that you can not use it as your main light. Many times with infants you have the room warm enough to hopefully keep the child asleep which then you do not have to worry about the light in their eyes but if you do think of this.

    What bothers your eyes more? When a strobe flashes in your face when a image is shot or constant lighting where your eyes can get adjusted and the lighting does not change.

    For me after standing in front of a ringlight for multiple hours at the trade shows i learned that i would much rather have the constant lighting that strobes and then seeing spots. I'm not staying that strobes are not a good choice for many things in the photography world because I love my strobe but with infants this may help keep them calm and not spooking when the strobe fires.

    Also if the child is not crawling or walking have the mother hold the baby or child to help keep them calm and happy. This will produce much greater images.

    Kids.... now kids are always tough but with the ringlight if you can get them to stand in front of you for long enough to take an image of how awesome and weird their eyes look and can keep them entertained while in front of you then you have them won. As for most kids they are calmer when the parents are around which as I said helps produce great images.

    As I shot this baby below the mother held the child while other people around me assisted with keeping a smile on his face. Never once did it appear that the baby was squinting his eyes or having any issues being in front of the ringlight. With his mother holding him he was quite content and we produced some amazing images his mother loved.

    The other child below was just as easy to shoot, I started with just showing him an image of how crazy his baby brothers eyes were and asked him if he wanted to have a picture with his eyes like that and who wouldn't want something that their brother has. I told him to keep his sucker in and we could take a few images. When I asked him if the light was hurting his eyes he shook his head no and stood right there with his mom next to him.

    In conclusion it is my thought that the light is easier for the kids than having the strobes go off. They seems to enjoy being in front of the ringlights and the older child never complained about the light hurting his eyes when asked and he stood there for about 10 minutes which for a kid to stay there that long was kind of surprising. These give you a one of a kind look that many people have never experience and that can set you apart from others in your area.

    If you are interested in learning more about ringlights or if you are interested in purchasing a ringlight feel free to contact me at danielberryphotography@gmail.com

    Thanks for reading my blog and keep checking back for more blogs and travel adventures.

    Daniel Berry Photography

  • July 20, 2015 1:36 PM | Nichole Manner

    Hi Everyone,

    Summer has arrived.  I can tell by the way my dog no longer wants to go for a walk around the block because of the heat.  At least that’s the excuse I use when my wife asks me to walk the dog – it’s too hot!

    I do love summer tho.  Sitting out on the deck and grilling late, talking to family and friends as the stars come out.  It’s just the perfect time to take a vacation. But what about your marketing?  Does it take a vacation when you leave?  Or worse, has your marketing been on vacation as you toil day in and day out?
    Planning a proper marketing campaign takes time.  The number one reason why studios struggle or even fail is due to the lack of creative marketing planning.  I think the reason why we struggle with that is that planning a marketing campaign is not a natural thing for us to do.  In fact, I met a photographer at a workshop in Columbus, Ohio last month who told me it was actually painful for him to do it! 

    Most people I talk to confide that they just don’t know where to start in planning their marketing.  They also have unrealistic expectations of what to expect from their marketing and many give up on their plans before it even has a chance to work!  If this sounds a little familiar, here’s some advice to help you take control of your marketing.
    Beginning no later than 8 weeks before the start of your campaign, ask yourself these 8 questions –

    What’s the goal of your campaign?  What do you want to accomplish? Is it to Generate sessions?  Generate awareness?
    Are you targeting new clients or existing clients?  Both?
    What’s your budget? 
    What the potential?  How many names? How well known you are and how strong is the competition?
    Which medias will you use?  Direct mail, Social Media, Community Displays, Networking with other businesses, referrals, e-mail blasts, etc.
    Timing (fish when the fish are biting)
    Frequency (budget)  How many time do people need to be exposed to your message before they take action?
    The overall big picture – Budget for year round.

    Helpful hint -  If you tend to struggle with the content of your message, ask yourself – what problem am I trying to solve for my customer?  In some cases, they don’t even KNOW they have a problem!  You have to remind them

    Also – how are you unique?  What do you do as a photographer that’s different from your competition?  It can be in the style of photography you offer.  The experience of what you do.  The flexibility you have in your schedule.  The incentives you provide.  How great you’ll make everyone look.  The education of a true professional who has studied how to make people look their best indoors or out.  You have to motivate people with creative information.  Touch their heart.  Don’t just slam away at the products they’ll get for a discounted price.  Oh sure, there needs to be incentives but look at the car companies.  Pay attention to their ads.  They don’t just tell you that they have an engine, 4 wheels and safety belts when trying to sell you a car right?  Nope.  They help you IMAGINE what it’s like to drive that car.  How would it make you feel?  How would it make you look?  How would your friends feel about you? 

    So, substitute that creative thinking with the kind of photography you provide.  Help them imagine what it’s like to own the best portraits they’ve ever had?  To hang those in the living room to be a conversation piece when friends and family come over.  You get the joy of seeing those every day and your room looks like it had an incredible makeover.  How would their friends feel about them after seeing them?  How impressed they would be! 

    Once you have completed this exercise, you can begin implementing your strategy.  And to think it just starts with a little planning.  If you’d like your own studio planning guide, drop me an e-mail at Markw@marathonpress.net/. I’ll send you a free PDF that contains some great information as well as a 12-month marketing calendar that you can fill out and help you get started today.

    mark weber  M.Photog, Cr, M.Artist, CPP | director, consulting services
    P: 800 / 228.0629 | F: 402 / 371.9382 | www.MarathonPress.com
blog.MarathonPress.com | facebook.com/MarathonPress

  • May 11, 2015 6:10 PM | Nichole Manner

    I would consider myself mostly a natural light photographer and I say that because that is what I mostly do, but I also prefer its look. What is important about that though is the fact that if I decide to use off-camera flash or do some studio work, I could. The reason I say this is because understanding lighting (natural or artificial) is so important, after all…isn’t photography as an art…painting with light? We can’t do much without it. I’ll share a few tips (in no particular order) that I think are really important when it comes to lighting.

    1. Understand the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, & Aperture) and learn how to use a light meter.
    This is the basic of basic…you have to understand this. When I first started out I was told to put my camera on Manual Mode and not to move it from there. This forced me to understand how the exposure triangle worked. I still don’t move it from there honestly; although now I think it’s more of a control thing. And I say learn how to use a light meter because it just makes life easier. Sometimes relying on the in-camera meter just doesn’t hack it.

    2. Observe good and bad light.
    Even when you’re not photographing something/someone…observe the light around you and assess it. This will train your eye and help you while on a photo shoot, especially while on location. You will be able to spot great light quickly, which makes transitions faster and easier. I started doing this early in my career and I found so many great locations to shoot just because I was constantly looking at the light that was created. I kept track of the time of day, and where I was…now of course there are apps for this, but it really is helpful.

    3. Don’t be afraid to shoot into the sun for some beautiful backlighting.
    Backlighting is one of my favorites! Sometimes when we start out we keep looking for shady spots for a nice diffused light but shooting into the sun can create a different feel to your shot. And even though sun-flares aren’t technically correct, they are really popular, they can create mood, and in my experience, clients tend to love these shots the most!

    4. Practice and get comfortable with artificial lighting.
    Like I said above, I love natural lighting, but when you learn how to use studio lights or speedlights in your work, you gain sooo many more opportunities. You can create any lighting situation you want. If you live in an area that winter really hinders or slows your business you can give yourself more opportunities with knowing how to use lights. It’s not something to be afraid of…trust me, we all go through this transition, but it’s just something you have to practice with and get comfortable with.

    5. Practice altering existing light.
    There are so many lighting modifiers out there. You have your standard reflectors to countless things you can attach to your camera/flash etc. I’m a firm believer in the fact that you don’t need the most expensive, newest gadgets on the market. We all have an endless list of gadgets we want but truthfully, we don’t always need them. One of my favorite photographers that I follow uses those $15 clamp-on, work lamps that you often find on someone’s workbench. He creates some of the most beautiful photographs I’ve ever seen. My point is that you can just practice modifying existing or artificial light with things around you. Just imagine all the light scenarios you can create after a quick trip to the hardware store!

    A blurb about me:

    My name is Heather Brouillette, photographer/owner of hay.LO Photography based out of Woodbridge, Virginia, serving Northern Virginia and DC areas. I am mostly self-taught, but did graduate from the Art Institute with an Associate’s in Photography. I began photographing professionally while living in San Diego, CA. and my passion for the art just sprouted from there. I specialize in high school seniors and stylized sessions. I have a blast doing them; they are so much fun and the sessions are just so full of energy! I really enjoy bringing the seniors out of their shell and just having a blast. I love finding locations that have vibrant colors, and gorgeous light. I mostly use natural, available light but often times will use some off-camera flash for a more dramatic look. I’ve been told my style is more artistic and fashion oriented than the typical senior portraits and I LOVE that! I want to be able to create something for each client that is not only memorable and unique but also something that will be visible and relevant for years to come.

    Website: www.haylophoto.com
    FB: www.facebook.com/haylophoto

  • May 11, 2015 5:49 PM | Nichole Manner

    Where is the time going?!?! It seems this year is FLYING by! Since the success of FC/KC, the Board of Directors has been busy working on some exciting learning opportunities to soon come down the pike, first of which is our nearest FotoChaos Studio Experience! This will be held June 28, 2015, at Studio 7 in Fulton, Missouri. Big Thanks to Lydia Schuster for offering up her studio for our event!!!

    June's Studio Experience will feature Carl Neitzert (wedding safari), Abbie Rudolph (business), and myself, Nichole Manner (retouching). To add something fun for the folks coming in the night before..we plan on meeting for dinner and a night shoot with a couple models. Downtown Fulton is a very quaint, cozy little town with cobblestone streets and also is home to the Winston Churchill Museum..where you can enjoy a GORGEOUS chapel and a portion of the Berlin Wall. Registration is FREE for members, but you must hold your spot with a $50 fee (to be refunded at event).

    You can register for the FC Studio Experience via the link on the homepage.

    MORE NEWS!!! One of our FC Family members, Mark Weber, of Marathon Press, informed us that MOPPA members can take advantage of a discounted registration for the Ann Monteith workshop in Nebraska City, NE June 8-9 at the Lied Lodge. Simply use the code MOPPA15 to receive your discount.

    Stay tuned for a guest blog post from Heather Brouillette!!

  • March 27, 2015 5:27 PM | Nichole Manner

    Big Thanks to Ryan Brown for sharing this article on composition.

    Composition is the art of placing elements to create a compelling and impactful image.  There are various concepts of composition that will allow for a stronger presentation.  One of these is line.  Line is a huge factor in composition.  There are various shapes of line that create a stronger image.  These lines are known as the S-Curve and C-Curve.  In the outlined image below you can see the representation of the S-Curve.  You can also make out the C-Curve lines as well.  These curve lines are especially important with the female body.  When posing the female with these lines in mind, you create a more interesting image that enhances the figure of the female body lines.

    The next compositional element is shape.  It is easy to create shapes out of the body lines.  The body when posed can create very geometric shapes that enhance the image.  These shapes are generally more useful when posing couples or groups.  In the image below you can see the triangles made in various crops of the image from tight to wide.  Triangles are very impactful shapes to use when posing.  When posing couples think of a wide base with a narrow top portion.  This creates a triangle of two people.  When posing families or groups, vary the heights of the heads of yours subjects.  When you do this, have some sitting, standing, Kneeling, etc.  With this in mind you will vary the heights of each head in the frame and create shape from them.

    The Point of Intersection is the concept that the body line is posed in a way (with two people) that each line intersects at a point above the subjects.  In the image below you can see that the heads where tilted in to create a triangle and a line that intersects at a point above them.  If you think of the body as a line and the head as a hinged point, you will tilt the head in.  As long as each head is tilted in you will create a point of intersection.  For an even stronger image create a wider and stronger base.  With the wider base of your subjects and the head tilted in, you will create an even stronger image!  

  • March 10, 2015 12:30 PM | Nichole Manner
    Hey y'all!! I hope you are all getting as excited as we are about our upcoming event! March 21-23, some of the best photographers in theindustry will be right here in Missouri, ready to help you get your photographic knowledge on!! WOOP!!

    Now, I would love to introduce to you, an incredible photographer based out of Illinois. She is a native of Mid-Missouri and happens to be one of the best marketers I know. Her name is Sarah Shorthose, and I asked her to share a little bit of insight with us regarding one of her strengths.....GETTING CLIENTS!  Without further adieu....a post from Sarah Shorthose, owner of SJP Photography and BoxDrops by SJP. (Which by the way....as a member of MOPPA, you can receive 15% off year-round using the code MOPPA15)!!!  ....and don't forget to check out the BoxDrops booth at Fotochaos!! They are providing all of our backdrops for our shooting booths!! 

    One of the most common questions I see new photographers ask is ‘How do I get clients?’ … This is a question most often asked at the start of our businesses but it can be one that you struggle with over time. The key word in that question is “GET” because acquiring clients is an active process and even the most talented photographers cannot make a living with their work if no one in their market is aware of their talent, or that it’s for sale and available to them! 

    In this article I will give you two practical ways to make your phone ring NOW and I encourage you to think about implementing one, a few or even all of them in your business right away. Some will cost money and others just cost your time. Don’t have the time/money to implement them? Then your first step is to get it… without a marketing budget (10-15% of your annual gross sales) and designated time (at LEAST 1-2 days per month solely devoted to your marketing plan) your business simply will not grow to it’s full potential. 

    So let’s get to it … 

    Step ONE: Network, network, network! Get up and get OUT of your studio/office/home. You cannot expect your community to get behind you if you do not get behind (and get out in) your community. The opportunities to network within your community are endless but the easiest places to start are your designated networking/business groups. Don’t know where to look? Start by calling your local chamber of commerce to find out about the events they host. 

    When I first started my business in a brand new market one of the very first things I did was cold calls (YUCK, yes I hated it!). I got a number of names of editors/publishers of local publications as well as business group leaders and I picked up the phone, called them and introduced myself as a new photographer in town. I mentioned that I was interested in being involved in the community and fulfilling any photographic needs they or the town might have. While I did get a few ‘ya, we have photographers we work with and aren’t interested’ replies the majority of people I spoke with were excited that I was excited about their community and their work. At the end of each conversation I would then ask if there was anyone else they thought it would be good for me to call and nearly everyone provided me a new lead. 

    Through those initial calls I was able to make connections to the magazine I am now Photographic Coordinator for as well as a number of other business contacts I still work with to this day. 

    Step TWO: Market, market, market. While networking is a great way to spread word of mouth organically and get your name in the community with nothing but a little elbow grease (and a bit of time), marketing is the way to truly cement your brand in the mind of your clients and your community. I often hear of newer photographers relying only on client referrals and word of mouth to grow their businesses and while that’s a great option for established studios with years of clients in the community talking them up, logistically it’s not enough for a young studio or one looking to expand and grow. 

    Especially for new photographers I suggest blitzing the market when possible. What does this mean? Be EVERYWHERE all the time (for at least a little while). When you’re new, no one knows of you (or just a handful of clients/family do) and thus the problem becomes that even when someone does hear of you they may wonder why they have never heard of you before. Before even viewing your work or calling they then may have the preconceived notion that you must be new, just starting out, lower priced or not very good (because if you were amazing, wouldn’t they have heard of you already?). 

    So determine your marketing budget (as mentioned 10-15% of your gross sales is suggested, but start where you can… some budget is, after all, better than NO budget). And then set about finding ways to spread that budget over as many avenues as possible. Think about radio, local TV, local magazines, newspapers, display advertising in local shops/offices or malls, previews at local movie theaters, auctions, direct mailers, etc. Approach these places with the goal in mind to reach as many of your target clients as possible. 

    Now get out there and GET your clients!

    Visit http://www.boxdropsbysjp.com/

  • January 28, 2015 10:24 AM | Nichole Manner

    We at MOPPA have been working tirelessly to bring you a new website. This will make things such as membership registration and renewal SO much simpler, as well as give our members access to posts written by guest bloggers and discount codes from our wonderful vendors. As we learn this new system, please be patient. We are constantly working to tweak and improve the look of the site, as well as take full advantage of the possibilities it holds. The learning curve is pretty steep for all of us, but we are so excited to bring this to you!

    I am currently working to get some guest bloggers lined up (have one already - possibly two!) and will like to provide new content at the very least once per month. Please feel free to leave a shout out or a comment here with suggestions on who you may like to hear from, what topics, etc...

    Now that the intro is done with...I would encourage you to check out the website some more, along with this FANTASTIC educational opportunity we have called FotoChaos. We will be bringing FC to KC for our fourth year, and it is coming up soon!! March 21-23 in Kansas City, MO! You will not believe the speakers lined up for this event. It is MIND BLOWING, y'all. I'm talking oozing talent....no exaggeration. Prepare to be impressed. Clear out the mid-winter cobwebs in those skulls of yours and make room for TONS of information. (And get some extra rest, 'cause it's tons of fun too!!)

    OH!! And how could I forget?!? Print Competition!  (You know you want to...) Case registration fee is only $50, and you may enter up to 6 images. This is a DIGITAL competition! So, all you print comp newbies can get your feet wet with minimal risk. Do. It. ;) Your skill set will thank you.

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