How We Charge More Than Our Images are Worth! – Katelyn James

We have a treat for you guys today! The brilliant and talented Katelyn James is sharing how you can charge more than what you’re images are worth. Intrigued? Before we hand it over to Katelyn, for those of you who may not be familiar with her, let us brag on her for a second!  We could tell you how she brilliantly started her business out of her dorm room and is now charging a premium for her services, or we could share all the publications she’s been published in or how she’s the leader in building community with her brides, or we could share about her crazy talent for brand and design (don’t even get us started on her interior design!), but we won’t :) Instead, let us brag on how she is truly such a genuine, caring person, with such a sweet spirit with a heart of gold :) We hope you get the chance to meet her and her husband Michael one day and you’ll see that we’re exactly right. In the meantime, enjoy her post on how to charge more! Hi Everyone!  I’m Katelyn and it’s an honor to connect with all of you!  I’m excited to share some of the foundational steps that we have taken to catapult our wedding photography business!! We have brought in a 6 figure income for the past 4 years and that’s not easy to do when you’re in a heavily saturated and ever-growing industry!!   Enjoy! I’ve said it before and I stand by this bold statement… I honestly think that my work is worth about $3200. Based on my image... Read More

Why Great Photos Don’t Make Money

“People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product or service.” -Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Something More than Great Imagery… Could it be that we have spent all this time honing our craft to become better and better photographers, and the harsh reality is that having great photos alone isn’t enough to build a successful photography business? The Truth About Quality Photographs The truth is clients just expect their photos to be good. No one goes around saying “I take OK photos, want to hire me?” So why in the WORLD do we try and base the price of our images off of the quality of our images? The answer is because we are artists and this is our craft. We want people to value it, but the hard truth is that once photography became widely available and much “easier” to do, the overall quality of images went up and clients started to simply expect them all to be good. What Else You Got? Subconsciously, this is the question on all of our clients minds. If they are asked to pay anything over average for our products and services, then they expect something more. So what MORE do you need to offer? That is simple. We have to offer emotional connections through the services we provide them, and through the products we sell. This is done by: #1 – Telling gripping stories when we are initially meeting with leads that help communicateWHY these images matter in the first place. This helps connect them with the heart behind why you do what you... Read More

4 key areas to building wealth | part I

“The difference between running a business and becoming ‘Business Brilliant’ is the difference between driving a Toyota versus a BMW.” The average wedding photographer salary can be as low as 15k per year according to the New York Film Academy. The reason that so many portrait and wedding photographers earn a relatively low income, is that they turn a hobby or a passion into a business, but never seem to focus on what really makes a serious income, which is becoming brilliant at business. In this 4 part series starting today, we are going to look at ONE of the 4 key areas that Lewis Schiff says each Brilliant Business owner (who he defines as self-made millionaires) must focus on in order to take their earnings from average to amazing. Key 1 – Learn what you do Best  “Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree and I will spend 4 of them sharpening my axe.” -Abraham Lincoln Lewis Schiff (from his book Business Brilliant) says that millionaires spend lots of their time discovering what they do best, and then pursuing opportunities related to what they do well in order to succeed. They don’t spend their time focused on their weaknesses. If you want to do the same, here is what you need to do starting TODAY: 1. Write down your goals If you don’t write it down, it won’t happen. Having written financial goals will help you gauge how to manage them. You can’t leave finances to chance, but have to work toward a goal in order to achieve it. •Set your net worth for 10 years from... Read More

How Elmo can Change your Business

I didn’t care if my son ever knew who Elmo was… …until now. Let’s rewind… Many years ago when I (Jody) was young, I remember babysitting and being SO sick of watching Barney and Sesame Street over and over again, I knew I didn’t want that insanity going on in my own home (ha ha) and now we have an 18 month old son and I am proud to say he has no idea who Barney, Big Bird, Mickey Mouse, Dora and all the other characters are. HOWEVER, as we were walking through the store the other day, we decided to walk through the kids department (bad idea if you aren’t looking to spend money : ) and I saw this box: All of a sudden I had this overwhelming desire to buy this Elmo doll for our son. What changed in me? Did the box demonstrate how soft Elmo was or how he has this amazing (or annoying, depending on how you look at it ;) laugh? Or was it even the price point that caught my attention? Nope! What got me was the shot of this young boy with such joy as Elmo was hugging him and I wanted Jaxon to experience that joy. Your potential clients feel the same way. Jack Trout in, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing says, “People make purchasing decisions based on their emotional connection to a product.” Ask yourself these questions… What images are you showing on your site that connects to your client’s emotionally? Are you showing only cool, images like this? Or are you also including image that are... Read More

Why Doing Less Can Give You More Success

  Would you rather be a small fish in a BIG pond, or a BIG fish in a small pond with your photography business? It is MUCH easier to dominate a market when you are the ONLY one in it. (Tweet this out!) That is why today we have a video for you on NICHE marketing and WHY it is so critical especially when you first start out. Niche marketing is defined as: “Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population. Niches do not ‘exist’ but are ‘created’ by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond. Also called micromarketing.” –Business Dictionary  The biggest reason our business went from our first wedding at $500 in June of 2007, to starting at $4,000 and booking 33 weddings in 2008 (and netting a six-figure income), was because we focused on ONE thing and focused hard. Not 10 things, not 2 things, but one. “Wedding photography for brides who valued their marriage relationship and valued photography.” That was our niche, and that is why we became succesful so fast.   Start the conversation:   So, what is an area that YOU are focused on for your niche? Or, what is a focus in your buisness that shouldn’t be and needs to be cut?   PS. If you liked this post, then SHARE it with a friend and let’s help every shooter out there niche down their brand so... Read More

Branding Consistency Gets you NOTICED!

(image from ryanmarketing.com) “Often times an ad (or brand) needs to be seen 10-20 times before a customer will actually make a purchase.” -Jay Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing One SIMPLE, yet HUGE mistake that photographers can make when starting their business is to NOT have a consistent brand on EVERYTHING they do. When a prospective client (a bride, as an example) first sees your brand (either on a Google search, at a wedding event, at a wedding venue or on Facebook etc.), she now can start to build in her mind an association with that brand and what it means to her. If, then, she sees that brand somewhere else, but it does NOT have the same consistency, then YOU can lose her trust (or she won’t even remember you!). When a client sees a consistent brand over and over in different places (this can sometimes come from her just clicking around on your site, blog and Facebook), she begins to trust that brand more and more just through the interaction she has with it. When we are inconsistent with our brand, clients don’t know who we are. (Tweet this!) When we are consistent with our brand, we build trust and over time, trust leads to sales. Back in 2008, when our wedding brand was just 1 year old, we met with a high-end wedding planner that we wanted to start working with. The planner said to that she could not wait to meet us because we were “everywhere” and she had to get to know us! Wow! How did we have such a powerful affect on her? We did... Read More

Brand Consistency (Video)

We are excited to be talking about something that is critical in building trust with your clients. Branding Consistency. When your brand is consistent and seen everywhere, potential clients begin to trust that brand and feel good about purchasing from you. The same way that a bride could hear from a friend about you, then a florist, then a planner and know she needs to book you because of all those referrals  the same thing can happen when they see you on Twitter, Facebook, on a friends Facebook and then see your site and can easily detect that it is YOU in all those places. When that happens, she begins to trust in that brand due to her seeing it multiple times. Studies have shown that you need to see a company marketed to you at least 9 times in order to start trusting in that brand. So, check out the video to see how we have incorporated Brand Consistency into our business!... Read More

Behind the Scenes: the new look for Zach & Jody

The amazing and super-talented identity specialist, Melissa Love gave us a whole new brand identity!! We LOVE our new site and we wanted you to hear from Melissa, the process that we went through. Having a strong brand is one of the most important things for your business and we highly recommend that if you have any $$ to spend, put it toward having a solid brand that represents you well! Remember, perception is reality. You may be the BEST photographer out there but if your brand looks unprofessional and not put together, that is what people will perceive your business as. Listen to Melissa share the process that we went through to bring our brand where it is today! __________________________ I’m not sure who is more excited about the new visual identity and website for Zach & Jody – me or them. I’ve been lucky enough to attend several of their business workshops over the past year. Like many people who have been able to tap into their business experience, I’ve learned tips and tricks from them that have transformed my business, so it’s been a thrill to have the opportunity to help them transform theirs – visually at least! We started the process by spending time talking about the transition from Gray Photography to the Zach & Jody identity that they wanted to move towards. We agreed that the new identity needed to be fresh, sophisticated and able to showcase the warm personalities of Zach & Jody. In addition, the identity needed to be flexible enough to appeal to both brides and photographers. I even got the... Read More

Zach & Jody is the NEW Gray Photography | Say What?

We are super stoked to unveil our brand new site to all of our amazing clients, friends and fellow photogs! We decided that we wanted to get even more personal with you all and are now simply Zach & Jody at www.ZachandJody.com!   The amazing, talented, savvy and super cool Melissa Love (what an awesome name!) of Melissa Love Design rocked our world and resigned our main website using Showit, and yes, our mobile site is viewable and built on HTML5!   Make sure to update your blog links – we are now at ZachandJody.com/Blog. We also have a brand new Facebook page! Click on the above image or at this link – Zach & JodyPhotography because some exclusive awesomeness will be happening there and we no longer will be updating our old facebook page!! Melissa is in the process of making our Photographers site sexier too (more on that to come!)! Melissa is a gem and hails from London England and it is so cool that we got to work with someone with that rad of an accent! :) The reason we decided to work exclusively with her for something this important, and creating your Visual Identity is one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy, is because Melissa is a specialist. She designs sites for photographers only and because of that, is the best. She has the process down to a science, was a real pleasure to work with, and made us feel like we were her most important client each step of the process. It was a killer experience and we could not be... Read More

Just a tease… New things ahead!

For the past little bit we have had some things boiling under the surface… right now, this is a sneak little peek into one of the first fun things we are about to share with you!!! Here’s a hint… has something to do with the amazing Melissa Love… :) Make sure to tune in this Friday, Saturday & Sunday on creativeLIVE because that is where we will be making some big announcements!... Read More

Welcome to the new and improved Blog 2.0! :)

Hey guys! Jody and I have been busy little beavers this past few weeks gearing up for the PASS Premier Tour (which we leave for today!) and we are stoked to announce that the blog has been updated for you, our awesome readers!! A HUGE thanks to AlliMay Designs and Nick Redmond for their combined geniuses to make this blog happen! We cannot recommend these guys enough! The biggest change to our blog is the new sub-header that we have! You will notice some amazing new features like: Promotions – The promotions are our latest news and updates of things that we know you will be interested in! From current workshops to featured weddings and speaking gigs, this is the place to find them! The promotions are the ones that are scrolling at the top left of the blog just under our header! Info Tabs – The info tabs are just underneath the scrolling promotions and give you access to exactly the things that you may be interested in seeing! Brides can click on the “brides” tab, photographers can click on the “photographers” tab and these will take you to resources that we have created just for you! Quick Links – The quick links are just to the right of the info tabs and will give you a blog roll on anything that is listed, from past workshops to featured weddings, they are all there! Just scroll down after clicking to see the content! Collapsible Blog Posts – Now, with the exception of the first blog post, all the other posts can be opened when you want to see... Read More

Is Your Brand Consistent?

Today’s post is applicable to all business and we’re going to be talking about consistent branding! What is brand consistency? Brand consistency is when all elements of your business work together to create a cohesive and united front. Let’s take a look at a fantastic case study. About three or so years ago, a new sandwich shop opened here in Franklin, TN called Which Wich. We thought it was maybe just another Subway but oh, no, my friends – this was much more and very well thought out and cool! We could talk about quite a few things in regards to Which Wich and business (like how it’s a total experience eating there) but we’ll just stay focused on their branding for today. If any company milks their brand for all it’s worth, it’s Which Wich. They have their logo: But then practically EVERYTHING throughout their restaurant points back to that branding and helps envelope you in the experience of Which Wich. For those of you who have never walked into a Which Wich or don’t have them nearby, we feel we might have to explain a bit of what happens when you go into their store to understand their branding elements. 1. You walk into the store, look at their menu and grab a sandwich bag to mark which kind of sandwich you want. 2. Then you go up to the counter and place your order. They take your sandwich bag and put it on a wire, and it slides across as the sandwich artists make your ‘wich! For those who are the creative/crazy/fun types (cough *Zach*), you can... Read More

Pt. II Dunkin Donuts vs. Italy’s Favorite Coffee

This blog post is a follow up post in response to last Tuesday’s post from Dunkin Donuts vs. Italy’s Favorite Coffee. We posted the below two photos and asked you this question in regards to two images that we took when in the CT airport the other week: “Why is it that everyone was in line for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee… but no one was in line for Cafe Lavazza – Italy’s FAVORITE coffee?”   There were some great thoughts posted on the blog, lots with REALLY valid points from branding to product consistency to customer service. Thanks to commenter Doug, we even got the view from his friend who works in the coffee industry (Starbucks to be even more specific). It’s interesting how his friend got all down and specific with the coffee in regards to the consumers preferring maybe a sweeter taste over a more bold taste… but we think Liz ultimately nailed it on the head. She wrote, “Brand recognition can even trump a superior product…“   Read it again, “Brand recognition can even trump a superior product…“ About 3 months ago we blogged about the Law of Leadership, taken from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Jack Trout & Al Ries), and what we are looking at here with Dunkin vs. Little Italy is a case study of exactly this. This law essentially states that it is better to be first in someone’s mind than to be better. Dunkin Donuts built a powerful coffee brand and became the #1 coffee in people’s minds (at least in the North East ;). Little Italy comes in and thinks, “Hey,... Read More

Dunkin Donuts vs. Italy’s Favorite Coffee

One week ago, we were in the Hartford, CT airport and came across this interesting sight: Below is Dunkin’ Donuts with everyone and their mom in line… About 10 paces down on the other side was this coffee shop… Why is it that everyone was in line for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee where, let’s be honest, their coffee really isn’t that good (actually, we would rather go without coffee than drink DD’s coffee… sorry North-easterners ;), but no one was in line for Cafe Lavazza – Italy’s FAVORITE coffee? Why do you think this is and what can we take away from here and apply to our own businesses? Put your thoughts below. Stay... Read More

The Top 10 Reasons Why Showit is the Best thing for Photographers Since Sliced Bread

If you took a moment and looked at all of the tools you use for your business (Pictage, ShootQ, Quickbooks, SmugMug, PhotoJunction, Album Exposure, etc.) and had to pick ONE to get rid of which would you choose? If you had to pick one that you would forever be able to keep, which would it be? For today’s post, we want to share with you one of the biggest tools, if not THE biggest, that we have used and continue to use for our business that we would not be able to do without. If we did not have Showit, we have no idea where our business would be. Seriously. You think we’re exaggerating. We’re not. Showit in a nutshell: A tool made by photographers for photographers to build your own fully customizable website. Your website is your public face. It represents you. As photographers we are unique and creative individuals. Don’t we want that to reflect in our site? Don’t we want the freedom to do whatever to our site that we want instead of being constricted to templates? Top 10 Reasons Why Showit is Amazing (and why we love it) 1. Flash + HTML + HTML5: Even though the site is flash, Showit creates an HTML file for every page so your site is searchable, AND when you publish it, it automatically publishes it in HTML 5 format so it can be viewed on all mobile devices!! 2. SEO that is the bomb: Read more here to see the full awesomeness 3. FULL customization: Away with templates, and enter in Style Groups that you can use as... Read More

Big News! Our Baby Has Arrived!!!!!!

No, we are not pregnant – we have a new site!!! After lots of brainstorming sessions, designing, picking and choosing, filming (yes, filming!) rearranging, sweat, blood, tears (ok, maybe not tears.. or blood.. or even sweat for that matter…), and helpful insight from some of you, we have a new site!!! We are really pumped about it and are thrilled that you can now enjoy it! Click here! The one and only Nashville Wedding Photography Duo ;) A Couple Shout Outs: Our dear friend Keoni who did a photoshoot of us for this site!Amy Lynn Larwig – the awesome chick who we just mentioned in our previous blog (she did our makeup for the shoot) Tell us about your experience with our new site and your quote (and web/blog link) just might make our next blog! Ooh la... Read More

A New Way of Looking at Things…

Welcome to our new blog! We are officially transferring out of our old blog, so this is the place where it is at now! Everyone make sure to update your RSS feed! Seeing this is our first post on blogspot, let me give an official introduction of what this blog is all about… or isn’t. We are NOT about:Boring & horrible photosSharing only stuff pertaining to photographyKeeping all our photography “secrets” to ourselves We ARE about:Photography that amazesSharing our lives – in and outside of photographyMarriageRelationshipsGiving other photographers insight in to how we light and shootShout-outs to amazing vendors who we work withMuch, much more We hope as we continue to share our lives and what we are most passionate about that you will follow along with us and gain a love for life and a passion for pursuing what you love to... Read More