The IPPA Blog | The Blog of The Irish Professional Photographers Association

Archive for January 2013



A Late Resolution – Tidy Up!

How much junk mail, out dated subscriptions, spam and other crap do you receive into your inbox in any given week? How much time do you waste selecting, wondering, deleting all that email? How much of it remains clogging up your account on your providers server? Do you ever get a message from your server informing you that you are close to your maximum allocation of memory on your email. Time to do something about that!



Do yourself a favour and the next time rubbish arrives in your inbox from someone or something you subscribed to in 2004 and never read or need anymore, open it, scroll down and click on the unsubscribe button. It’s easy!

What if they dont have an ‘unsubscribe‘ button? Then politely email them and ask to be removed. You’ll save time in the long run, I’m sure of it.



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Client: “If you can do this job cheap, we have a lot more work for you in the future.”

You: “That sounds great and I really appreciate loyalty. Here’s what I’ll do for you Seanie. Because you’re promising me more work in exchange for a reduced price here, what I like to do is I’ll flip that. I’ll charge you my full fee on this first job, and when that next job comes in, I’ll offer you a reduction in my fee of 10-percent.”

Client: “Hmmmm, that’s interesting.”

You: “It is Seanie, it is! A lot of my clients really appreciate my flexibility to bend a bit in this difficult economy. And, let me sweeten the pot a little more. When that third job comes my way, I’ll increase that reduction to 20-percent. And even better, I’ll discount the fourth job 30-percent. So, when can we get started on this project?”

You’ve called his bluff and the total discount across all four jobs amounts to only 15-percent.

If you don’t get the job you will have found out three things:

#1 The client was fishing for a bottom feeder and you didn’t bite.

#2 You now know that in refusing your discount offer this client would have zero loyalty to you and is just looking for the lowest bidder out there.

#3 The clients who only seek out the lowest-priced supplier usually are more trouble than they’re worth. But you already knew that, didn’t you!

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Marketing Options

Whether it was putting an ad in a newspaper, recording a jingle for the radio or shooting a commercial for television, marketing campaigns used to require a lot of cash. While those methods still exist, the Internet has opened new avenues for businesses to market their products and services for free.

Here are seven ways to promote your business without spending a dime.



As the most popular social networking site, Facebook gives businesses a free outlet to reach millions of potential new customers. Similarly to how individual Facebook users can create personal pages, businesses can set up their own dedicated page on Facebook to help grow their venture, build brand awareness and develop relationships with consumers. Besides providing all the business’ vitals – including name, location, phone number and Web address – the Facebook page gives businesses a forum to speak to their customers about company news, special promotions and new products. Many businesses also use their Facebook page to run contests and free giveaways as a way to attract new shoppers.


The popular micro-blogging site Twitter is also a way to reach new customers without the expense. Twitter offers businesses a platform for connecting their brand with things people care about. The social networking site bills itself as a canvas for telling engaging stories, broadcasting content, connecting directly with consumers and driving transactions. The site provides businesses with a unique opportunity to see what their customers are saying, ask them questions and respond to their concerns. Businesses can also use Twitter to run special deals and promotions.


Local Listing Services

For many consumers, the Internet is the first place they look when searching for a business. Since local search entries are often the first choices given in a search query, businesses can easily attract new customers and clients by simply making sure they are listed on the sites. The local search listings offer businesses an easy way to highlight their location, hours and contact information. The most popular local search listing sites are Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Microsoft Bing.


Press release websites

Getting a little free publicity from newspapers, radio and television stations and blogs is a great way to attract new business. One way to catch the eye of the local media is to send out releases touting new products or services, as well as company news and special promotions. In today’s digital age, many journalists search through press release websites for new and interesting story ideas. A number of websites, such as Free Press Release, PR Log, 24/7 Press Release and I-Newswire, offer the opportunity to post press releases on their site for free. In addition to exposure on the site, the releases are distributed to major search engines, making their reach even greater.


Online video

Few things create buzz for a business more than a great viral video. While not every video will become a huge hit, they do provide a more engaging way to get information to consumers. While a normal ad won’t do the trick, businesses can use creative videos to build new interest in their company. Examples include videos of company parties for those who were unable to attend, how-to videos for consumers looking for more information on using a product or service, and video confessionals of happy customers and clients. While posting videos on YouTube remains the most popular route, small businesses also can take advantage of other sites like Viddler, Vimeo, Dailymotion and Ustream.



While it is true of all social networking sites, using Pinterest successfully requires more than just cramming products and promotions down consumer’s throats. Pinterest gives users their online pin board, where they can “pin” up links and photos to things they like and are interested in. However, businesses only posting pics of their products on the site won’t find many new customers. In order to be successful on Pinterest, businesses must think about the type of content their customers would be interested in. Instead of just sharing images and links to existing product pages, blog posts and websites, businesses should share content that other users will love sharing. A bakery, for example, might use Pinterest to post cupcake recipes, frosting tips, party ideas and other topics for followers.



Similarly to Pinterest, businesses using the photo-sharing site Instagram must be more creative than just posting picture of products if they want to win customers. It requires building a following of users that want to see their point of view, whether they’re selling something or not. When posting promotional photos, they must be creative. For example, restaurants might show photos of people eating their food, while fashion retailers can post pictures of customers wearing their clothes. The site can also be used to host fun contests that involve customers posting their own photos of them using a business’ product.


Hope it helps!




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You receive a phone call from a prospective client asking you to “bid” on an upcoming photography project she has. It’s an opportunity to forge a new relationship with a new client and you really want the job. Here are a couple of guidelines that will result in you hopefully being selected as the successful “bidder”:

1. Never, ever, give a “ballpark figure” for the project; you’ll surely overlook something if you provide an estimate on the spot. It’s just impossible to quickly throw together a figure while under the pressure of “I want an estimate now.” Instead, gather information by asking open-ended questions and let your caller know you’ll get back to her quickly with the estimate.

2. Always ask your counterpart in the negotiation what her budget for the project is. In most cases, they’ll tell you they haven’t set one. That’s fine, just gather more information – perhaps share some insight about how you would handle the project and offer some suggestions to help her out. Then a bit further along in the conversation, share the following: “Your project is exactly the type of shoot we do all the time and I’d love to work with you on it. Tell me where I need to be on this project?”

That second question is essentially a repeat of the first, but you’ve asked it later in the conversation after you and she have gotten to know one another a bit more. You will have a high success rate in getting clients to answer the second iteration of the same question; especially if the discussion is moving along smoothly and the client is responding well to what you have said.

3. Third, and perhaps most important, you need to determine if the person with whom you’re speaking is the decision maker. A great, non-offensive way to do this is to ask “Mary, is there anyone else I might email a few samples of my work to?” If she offers up a name, it’s likely that person is in fact the person who will ultimately award the job. If possible, get that person in on the conversation. If you cannot, then be sure to give Mary “talking points” about your approach, your value and why you’re better than everyone else she’s calling. In other words, how do you differentiate yourself from everyone else? If you cannot differentiate yourself, why should she hire you?

After you have gathered all the information you need in order to put together the estimate, ask if an estimate by the end of the day is soon enough. You want your client to know that you are responsive and more than willing to work within their schedule if a faster turnaround is needed.

Just a tip for the new year.

Have a great 2013.

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