Improve or Begin Your On-Line Strategy With This Social Media Workshop.
Date: July 24, 2013 Time: 11am-1pm
***LUNCH IS PROVIDED AND INCLUDED IN REGISTRATION***
To register and schedule your headshot mini-session, please call Alex Cena at 972-439-5712
Space is limited. Only 8 spots available
You will get a brand new headshot for social media from Alex Cena who specializes in making you look confident & approachable using his cinematic style:
Mario Wilson will be our guest speaker. He will show you how to grow your public presence & business. The presentation will be customized for self-employed individuals and performing artists who want to fully exploit the benefits of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, FourSquare, Google+ and many more. .
Stop using party cut-outs, self-portraits, bland or lifeless images! A great headshot that is interesting and fascinating will help people stop and pay attention to your message.
We look forward to helping you grow your business!
One of my earliest mentors once told me that I should always, as part of your marketing strategy, send out a Thank You card after every meeting with both new and existing clients. Not only should I send a note, but the message should include something unique to the meeting in order to create a connection with the person. I was able to do just that on a very religious basis back in the day I had a secretary to do so for me. All I had to do was add an extra sentence or two to the card and sign it. It did wonders for my marketing campaign because if sent within a week, the client will typically remember me forever.
I have been less able to follow-up with every client as I now have a very slim staff. It’s basically me, myself and I. It is extremely difficult to carve out a moment to find some thank you cards, type out a quick message, place it in an envelope, place a stamp on it and mail it. That’s not a lot of effort but I still seem to not be able to do it.
A fellow by the name of Frank introduced me to an on-line system which streamlines the process, enables me to customize a personal message, use an image from one of my photo shoots with them as the greeting card cover and mail it for me for less than the cost of a card purchased at the store. It’s a great service and everyone who believes in customer service and retention should try out Send Out Cards. You can even send out a free card just to try it out.
Some time ago, I blogged about Cameron Russell’s TED talk regarding The Power of An Image in Our Perceived Successes and Failures. Well Karen Brown a fellow PH2Pro Apprentice forwarded me a link to the Dove Real Beauty Ad, an FBI-trained forensic artist sketched seven women who were hidden behind a curtain. The women were asked to describe themselves to the artist, who never saw the women. The subject’s self-descriptions was the basis used for his drawings. Prior to the session with the subject, each of the women were also asked to spend some time with the subject without being told why. The artist then also drafted sketches from the stranger’s depictions of the women. Of course, it did not take long for someone to create the male version of the ad as well.
I recently attended Peter Hurley’s Headshot Intensive workshop in his New York City studio. It was basically a three-day photography class squeezed into two days. In fact, one other participant aptly described it as drinking from a fire-hose. It was a wonderful learning process that was worth every penny for anyone who wants to be an outstanding headshot photographer for executives, actors and actresses.
Peter does not spend much if any time on the techie stuff. In fact, you should be very comfortable with your equipment and workflow before going to class. Much of the class is spent on lighting and how to extract something from your subject. For example, Peter describes himself as 10% photographer and 90% therapist. After some required introductory stuff, hang on for the ride. It really is called the Headshot Intensive for a reason. In fact, if I were to do the class all over again, I would leave my medium format camera at home and just use my Leica M9 rangefinder. It was too much of a pain to connect and disconnect a tethered Medium format in a workshop environment. The Leica was more than capable. In fact, more than half my favorites were shot with the M9 and a 90mm/2.5 Summarit.
Class was more than 14 hours the first day and 12 hours the next day. Almost all of it is hands on stuff and there is very little actual class time. We shot in his studio as well as on the rooftop. The majority of the time, is spent photographing actors and actresses who pay to be there so they can be photographed by both Peter and his students / apprentices albeit at half Peter’s normal rate. One of the most useful aspects of the class is watching Peter help a client sort through all the images from a shoot to narrow it down to a small group of possibilities that could help these actors and actresses land acting jobs.
As I said, it was a lot to digest in two short days. There is a lot of follow-up to do yet with Peter as well as his PH2 group where all class attendees are automatically placed in Peter’s apprentice program. If you want to learn how to bridge the gap between your standard portrait and celebrity headshots, you should check out Peter’s workshops. As for me, I can’t wait to go out and create some fantastic headshots for executives and actors in the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia metropolitan areas as well as the Dallas Metroplex where I spend quite a bit of time.
When a bunch of photographers get together, the discussion inevitably moves to either gear or pricing. There are professionals such as John Harrington who absolutely believes you should place value on your work regardless of where you are in your career, while some propose you should start off shooting for free first in order to build your business. Then there are photographers who build their business around the Wal-Mart model while others try to emulate Neiman-Marcus.
Personally, I believe trying to compete head to head with a Wal-Mart or at least competing based on price is the kiss of death because there will always be somebody cheaper than you. In my personal opinion, it is best to move away from pricing discussions as fast as you can. There is a place for lower cost alternatives however, it is a much easier to compete, in my personal opinion, at the high-end because there is fewer competition.
For example, I had a tough time pitching business when I was a research analyst at a small financial services firm than when I moved to a bulge bracket firm. While I was at Dain Bosworth, there were dozens upon dozens of other financial services firms we had to compete against while there were only a handful to worry about when I was at Salomon-Smith Barney. Investors did not care when I walked out of an analyst meeting and thought nothing new was discussed. However, investors actually wanted to know if I thought nothing new came out of a meeting when I was at Lehman Brothers and Salomon-Smith Barney. It’s all a matter of perspective.
On the other hand, we all have to start somewhere just like I did during my career in the financial services industry. I do more commercial and editorial work now than in the past but I started out doing high school sports photography. When I first started, I would show up to games in hopes of print sales. After a season of this, I quickly learned, it is a fast way to go broke so I started charging a flat fee to show up and create images. And whenever possible, I tried to charge multiple clients whether it be multiple teams, a newspaper, or a yearbook company.
Well my next problem was delays and over-times which were beyond my control as well as the clients, but there still is an opportunity cost associated with it so I changed from a flat fee to an hourly fee to be on-site. Finally, I started charging extra in instances where I have to use studio lights to simulate arena lighting during basketball, wrestling and volleyball games as well as swimming. In fact, I will no longer shoot an indoor sporting event at a high school venue without arena lighting with the exception of fencing. The images just are not the quality I want to display despite the high ISO capabilities of modern cameras.
John Harrington was right. Every creative job is different so you have to charge a fair price based on your talent and what you need to create the best images your client needs. That is how I bid creative jobs now. I figure out how much time and equipment I need to get the job done as well as how the images will be used. But you do have to start somewhere. Famous head shot photographer Peter Hurley used to take headshots for the cost of a roll of film plus processing. Now he charges $1,100 for a headshot, plus you have to pay his make-up artist $250 and his retoucher a minimum of $40 per image so it is really difficult to leave his studio without spending about $1500 for your headshot. So get out there and do what you need to do to generate business, but get away from basement prices as fast as you can.