Recently, I was talking to another fellow photographer at a local coffee shop, whom is very talented but still new. As we were sipping coffee the conversation changed and she asked me about different ways she could improve in her photography business. As we were talking, we discovered, since she is still new to photography as a business and new to charging clients money for sessions, she needs to gain more credibility.
In this article you will read and learn about the following:
- What is credibility and how it affects your business
- 4 ways to gain credibility
- Tips to getting your work featured or published
- What editors are looking for
- Common mistakes
- Adding it to your workflow
What credibility means to a photographer
Credibility comes from the root word “credo”, which is Latin for “feeling of trust”. Photog’s need this because credibility attracts followers and more importantly, clients.
Clients are the key to keeping the photography business up-and-running and credibility attracts clients to you.
Let’s get some credibility.
As the conversation continued, coffee still hot, we began creating a list of different ways she could increase her creditability.
As the list grew and the coffee shrank, we found plenty of different ways to improve her credibility. Some crazier than others but ultimately we narrowed it down to 4 main areas.
4 main ways to gain credibility
pic of the napkin we made our list on at the local coffee shop
Ratings, reviews, and testimonials are very important to a photographer for many reasons. They can be encouraging, motivating, and negative feedback can sometimes be used as constructive criticism to improve on those certain areas.
In addition, testimonials can be a very powerful persuasion toward a future potential client to choose your services. Not just that but they can attract the right clients to you.
Pull your testimonials from the tweets and facebook comments of previous clients. Another way to collect them is by sending out an email or survey for feedback. Then showcase those positive remarks on your website.
2. Writing helpful articles
Write articles that will help the followers of your site but don’t stop there, contribute to other major websites in your niche too. As you write, you need to be mindful of how search engines work and write articles with search engine optimization (SEO).
Writing SEO articles means writing articles based on keywords that potential clients would be trying to search for. In the SEO Cookbook by Zach Prez, you will learn the proper way to prep and build your articles for good SEO and get that coveted organic traffic that everyone wants.
3. Be transparent
Apart from simply trying to be a good person and build good character, being transparent will also help you gain more credibility. Character qualities such as honesty and integrity are essential building blocks to earning trust.
Be transparent when you speak with your clients. You need to be clear and professional. When it comes to your website, portray your goals of helping people capture precious moments as soon as they land on the site.
This is all linked to communication. Communication is essential to growing any business and gaining a good reputation. But it doesn’t just stop there, word of mouth will naturally occur and referrals will come out of that. Be true to yourself.
4. Have your work featured
This is the fun part and the main reason of this story. Being featured in a popular magazine or photography blog is the second best thing that could happen to a photog (the first would obviously be capturing timeless moments that individuals and families can enjoy for a lifetime).
Now, lets sip some more coffee and really dive into this one!
It can seem daunting at first but it all begins with the first step, even if it’s just a baby step. You can do this and there’s a good chance your business needs you to do this too.
Benefits of getting published and why you should
There are a number of different benefits and you should definitely make this a goal, then go after it. Once your submission is accepted and published you will not only begin gaining more credibility and exposure but also encouragement and confidence; and you can’t put a price on that.
Plus, you’ll be able to gain more fans and increase your following but more importantly, you’ll have the chance to increase your potential clientele base.
Having your work featured will help you look better than the competition and it makes the clients of your published submission feel like celebrities.
Also, you will have the chance to build strong wedding vendor relationships. Vendors like when photographers submit their work because, if selected, most submission give ‘shout outs’ to the vendors. Everyone loves exposure.
Words of wisdom before you submit
Now, that you’re ready to do this, you need a plan. Just like when you started your business, you had a photography business plan.
The first step is to get organized. Begin making a list of all the websites you would like to be featured on and then set goals. But remember, many larger photography publications and websites don’t always accept and publish submissions from a photog that has never been featured.
When you are making that list of submission sites, include smaller and medium size publication sites like FEATUREDphotog and Beyond the Wanderlust. Get a few features and then go after the larger, well known publications.
Be sure to research the sites too. Are they seasonal or a certain style? Example: If the website is only looking for engagements only, please don’t submit a Senior session, no matter how awesome it was because it’s not something they are specifically looking for.
What editors look for
When you submit your session, be mindful of the different elements the editors are looking for. They are definitely looking for images that follow the theme and style of that publication.
Naturally, you need to be unique and capture a lot of details. The readers of these publications aren’t interested in the family portraits of a wedding but the dress itself and the sentimental details that made that special day unique.
As you choose your images, choose only your best ones and lay them out in a story. Help the editor out by arranging the images in a way that will naturally walk through that day as if readers were there.
Yes, submitting sessions and events to major publications can be extremely exciting but there are a few things you want to avoid. The first being, submitting the same session the same way to multiple publishers.
Another one to avoid is sending in a “carbon copy”. Match the website but don’t recreate what they have already published. Strive to be unique within their style. Also, make sure you don’t submit too many faces and people pictures as the main focus of the image. Let your detail shots tell the story!
In the end, the worst mistake would be lacking confidence and never submitting anything! Double-check the guidelines for that website or publication and go for it!
Work it into your workflow
One of the best things you can do, if you’re dead set to have your work featured and gain credibility from it, is to find a way to add it into your workflow. You might think it’s a hassle in the beginning but it’s most likely just because you have to add another step to you post-production workflow.
As you continue to do this, maybe not at first, you will begin to see the long-term reward and probably become addicted to submissions in efforts for that next feature high.
Two Bright Lights
If you decide to get really serious about submissions and have added it to your workflow, consider using a submission service. Two Bright Lights is a service that will submit your work for you! No more submitting, withdrawing, rewriting, and resubmitting; Two Bright Lights takes care of all that. Learn more in the article: Two Bright Lights Puts Your Photos in Magazines.
As the coffee shop closes but before we head home, I shared with her one last thing. There are a ton of weddings every year and many do get submitted to major publications but a lot will never be featured.
Just because it’s tough doesn’t mean we should prepare and try!
Remember, even if you don’t get selected the first few times, be professional and network. Make new connections and ask for advice directly from the editors themselves. Don’t forget they need you too!
Submissions, features, and publications will most certainly benefit your business, no matter if its helpful articles or beautiful photographs of a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
So, today, make a goal, a plan, and add this to your workflow. You won’t regret it.