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from the Photo Tips & Tricks category

The fall season is upon us and there is one thing that stinks about this time of year – business can get slow for LOTS of photographers out there! But, business being slow can be a blessing in disguise, and we are going to show what you should think about doing in the off-season and start planning it NOW!

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Why an intro video COULD book you more clients, and better clients come Christmas.

We all know that right around and right after Christmas lots of couple’s get engaged, lots of people want family photos done and people are willing to start planning out the new year in style. This is your opportunity to showcase your brand and excite your clients about the experience that you can offer them. One of the BEST ways to do that is with an Intro Video on your website, and here are the 5 keys that you need to for a successful intro video!

1. Showcase Their Emotion

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Just like you would tell an engaging story at the booking meeting with a client, you want to draw out the emotional side of what you do. You want to show in this video that you are real people who care deeply about your clients and the story you get to tell for them. Showcase your clients laughing, some tears, some sort of great, genuine emotion with a focus on your couples (or families or whoever you shoot).

2. Showcase YOU

View More: http://amyandjordan.pass.us/zach-jody-and-jax   As important as it is to show potential clients what it is like to have their images taken, people will begin to trust you when they get to know YOU. (TWEET THIS OUT!)

Show them some of you, some of the things you like, something personal, and be genuine. People trust people, so don’t make it about being too cool (unless that is your brand), or too distant.

3. Showcase your Position

If you don’t have a position yet, then think about creating one (read more about that HERE). But if you have a niche, a specific type of weddings or seniors or families that you shoot, then showcase that to draw in your potential client. Think “Estate and Vineyard Photographer” or “tattooed Brides” or “Girls Only Senior Sessions” and if you have a unique position for your market, then talk about it and showcase it in the video!

4. Hire a Pro

When getting a video done, trust us, you can do it cheaply! We used to have a 30 second promo video that we shot on a Flip Cam (remember those things?) and guess what? It worked at the tiem! But, we still recommend having a pro shoot the video for you because if there is one place to invest $$$$ into your business, it is the brand. Perception is not reality, it is the ONLY reality (as Jack Trout says) and we want to give a good representation of what our brand is all about by keeping it pro.

5. Short & Sweet

The average website only gets 42 seconds of air time, so the key is to QUICKLY draw in the client with something different (the video), keep it SHORT (about 30-45 seconds) and have it done well so it is engaging to the viewer to give them a reason to look at more of your site.

Check out this example intro trailer from the amazing Amy & Jordan Demos who are taking Arizona over by storm with their powerful brand! The video is simple, professional, engaging, emotional and short. Everything you need for a great video that helps get you booked!

 

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Homework:

- Think about what makes you and the experience you offer your clients unique

- Research and hire video team (or barter!) that can create your intro video (or spruce up your old one) and make one (or make a new one if your old one needs an update) during the coming slow season.

- Get one of your old clients that love you (or do a casting call!) and go out on a shoot with the video team and your clients. Write a short script of what you want in the video, shoot it and get the edit done! Then, add an auto video player to the intro of your site so that the FIRST thing people see is this video and YOU.

 

PS. Are you excited to get an intro video made and have a better chance of booking more of the right kind of clients next year? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

If you have ever wanted to have a super light flash set-up that is able to create studio quality lighting while shooting on-location, then you are not alone. We have used speedlites for years, but always felt like we were compromising light quality when doing so. Now, with these new modifiers we have, today we are going to show you how to create some really cool photos using speedlites and a steel wall!

 

Oct
14
2014

Someone To Guide You

by Zach on October 14, 2014, posted in Photo Tips & Tricks,Photography Workshops

Post By Zach|

I was 22 years old and my biggest hope for my life was being the assistant manager at a tie store and getting a raise to $7.75 an hour so I could live on my own without the help of my mom. I didn’t go to school past the 3rd grade and my dad left when I was 5 years old and even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had a deep need for someone to guide me. I needed someone to see that I could be and do more with my life because I certainly couldn’t see it.

One day the youth pastor from my small church took me out to a lunch that would change my life. He told me he believed in me and knew I could do more. Something amazing happened. I believed what he said and did it. I left Northern Minnesota 3 months later and never came back. That youth pastor was my first of many coaches (or mentors) over the years that would help me learn to see what I could’t and inspire me to something greater.

Do you ever feel that you are stuck like I was back in MN? Do you feel like you want this business to move forward but are just running in place? Do you feel like you can’t see past today and don’t really know what tomorrow could hold for you? You might need a coach. Someone that can look you straight in the eye and tell you that they believe in you, that you can and will move forward and achieve what you have dreamt of.

Here are four powerful ways to get a coach that can change all that for you!

1. Read about One:

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Reading business books is the most consistent coach we have had over the years. We read Purple Cow by Seth Godin in late 2007 and that is the main reason that our business stood out in 2008 and helped us make a six-figure income that year. Even though this kind of coach is not personally invested in your business, you do get to glean from their wisdom for only $12 or so.

2. Be One to get One:

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Starting a MasterMind Group 2 years ago was one of the greatest things I have ever done for our business. A MasterMind Group consists of 8-12 members that are all dedicated to meeting each week, learning new things together, becoming each others board of directors, and opening up their business mind to you and you to them. They are very difficult to create (mine took 4 months just to get all the guys in a room together), but once there is a commitment, it can be powerful. Dan Miller says that 1+1=3 meaning that when you get two great business minds together, it is like creating a 3rd mind because of the new ideas you both spawn.

(If you are interested in starting a legit MasterMind Group, then reply to this email from our newsletter and I will send you a PDF on how to create one).

3. Subscribe to One:

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There are tons of inspiring videos, Newsletters and courses from great coaches out there that you can get your hands on for free or for small monthly or one time fees. We subscribe to Jeff Walker, Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins and CopyBlogger for great marketing and life balance coaching on a weekly basis.

Zach and Jody Coaching – Jody and I also have weekly coaching through our newsletter, and we offer DVD courses on Shooting, Lighting, Editing, Studio Work and Business Strategy which have helped thousands of photographers shoot better and make more money.

4. Book One:

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(Image from a Skype Coaching session we did last week for UK wedding photographers Sansom Photography)

Hiring a coach that you look up to is powerful because you get them personally. Jody and I spent over $5,000 last year hiring a coach to help us transition our business into more online teaching & to help Jody work less and be a mom more. It was WELL worth the investment!

Jody and I have been personally coaching other photographers since 2009 and set aside time each month for different types of coaching sessions.

We offer:

Skype Sessions so that we can have real face time with you, and a look at specific strategies to help you move forward. These sessions are either for photographers that need specific issues adressed, or for photographers that need follow up sessions after our full-day mentoring.

Full-Day Coaching is our most powerful and effective mentoring that we do. We spend an entire day with your studio, and days before hand deep-diving into your brand to really pull it apart and see how it can best move forward. We did this for Luke and Cat in 2011 after that had made just $150 per wedding in 10 weddings. They booked a full-day coaching session and 3 follow up Skype Sessions and to date since we coached them, they have grossed over 1 million dollars in just 3 short years! yes, you heard that right, One Million Doallars.

Don’t Hesitate

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If you want to book a one of our limited Skype Coaching Session with us that are now becoming available for 2015, you can do that HERE

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Our Full-Day Coaching sessions are now available for 2015 and will sell out fast, so if you need a deep-dive, you can book a full-day session HERE and get ready to have your business completely changed.

 

Whatever path you decide to take with coaching, just be sure you do it. If you don’t have a coach, it will be hard to know where you are going and you may never get your business moving forward.

Do you already have a coach? If so, share with us how they have inspired you and helped your business move forward in the comments below!

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Sep
25
2014

3 Ways to Shoot at sunset | Part 3

by Zach on September 25, 2014, posted in Photo Tips & Tricks,Uncategorized

(This is a 3 part series, and you can access part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE for further images, diagrams and info!) 

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In part 1, we talked through shooting backlit as the sun is still a little high in the sky and how to get that “glow” on your images that all portrait shooters love. In part 2, we talked about adding contrast to your images by using the just-setting sun directly to get a completely different look. Now, here in part 3, we are going to cover shooting with highly reduced contrast as the sun finally goes down.

The image above was shot AFTER the sun had completely set. This is a great time to shoot because the sun itself is not a source of light that we have to deal with, but rather the sky (that the set sun is still lighting up). The sky is now one HUGE soft-box that creates really soft light that has reduced contrast due to its large size in comparison to our subjects.

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As you can see in the final images, the shots are soft, slightly flat, and have a very low contrast ratio from highlight to dark.

This time of day looks best with clear to partly cloudy skies so that the sun can bounce off the sky and send light our way. If we have an overcast day, then this timeframe for shooting can look really dreary and dark without some sort of additional lighting or lighting modifiers.

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The great thing about shooting in this light, is there is not much instruction needed for HOW to do it, because we just have one gigantic light that is really easy to deal with. We can have our subjects posed in ways that flatter them, and then just expect to see everything since the light is hitting it all. You do have to be careful at this time of day because you can’t use light (or the lack thereof) to hide any parts of your client that you may not want to see. You have to use posing and correct lens choices to get flattering images. But, as you can see, the images will all have very soft skin tones that is flattering in that respect.

With these three options for shooting at sunset, you should be able to get a great wide variety of images in a very short amount of time that your clients will love! Now get out there and shoot!