How to Get a Lot More Connections on Linkedin

In order to get more connections on Linkedin you need to have a first-rate connection message. The connection message is your opening introduction to anyone who wants to join your network.

It’s got to be right, it’s got to be brief and it’s got to be powerful. You are limited to just 300 characters per message, so you really have got to get the benefit of connecting home in a very short amount of characters.

Your connection message should NOT be something that directs people to your website and says something very weak like ‘I’m a commercial photographer, I take great pictures have a look at www.yourwebsite.com.....’.

You have got to give them something of value. Let’s say you are a hospitality trade photographer, you start your message with something like ‘Hi I’d love to connect. I take fantastic images that really builds your social media engagement and brings more bookings to your restaurant. I’ve got some great restaurant social media tips I’d love to share with you’.

For example, my own connection message runs along the lines of ‘Hi my name is Jeff I’m a photography marketing mentor. I try and take the magic and mystery out of marketing by giving loads of free useful tips and advice to my photographer followers. I’d love to connect.’

That’s basically it, you are giving something for free, giving something of value away in return for the connection. You are offering people something that is going to build a relationship, you don’t want to try and sell on your first message.

What you are looking to do is to get them to connect with you, so you can build a great relationship further down the line. A relationship that will enable you to sell to them in future messages, but first you must give in-order to receive and build their trust.

Do you want 1000’s of new connections, a highly viewed profile and more importantly connections that become your ideal paying clients here on LinkedIn? Well if you can spare 45minutes a day following my process you can do it easy without spending a penny on adverts or sales funnels and landing pages?

In my Private Facebook Group The Awesome Photographers I’ve put together an entire LinkedIn for Photographers Training Program.

This includes how to totally optimise your profile, write connection messages that really work, build an awesome company page, convert connections in clients and build a huge wealth network on LinkedIn.

I’ve also included a FREE copy of my Best Selling Book The Photographers Missing “Link”edIn which you can download inside the group.

Come and try The Awesome Photographers Group for just $1 joining fee today.

Check out my You Tube Video below for even more top tips and don't forget to subscribe to my channel for regular free marketing hacks and advice.

Top Tip 20: How Much Are You Worth

DON’T BE SCARED TO CHARGE YOUR WORTH

Over the past few months I’ve been working with some truly amazingly talented photographers, but as photographers, a big downside to our personality is our limiting beliefs. This often comes from a fear of rejection or lack of confidence in your work EVEN when everyone around you thinks you are totally AWESOME!!

In order to SUCCEED and build a financially stable photography business, your fear and limiting beliefs need to be conquered. The only way to conquer these beliefs we have is to go totally against what our fear tells us not to do.

If you lack the confidence to increase your prices from fear of rejection because for some crazy reason you have it in your head that you aren’t worth what you want to charge, you then need to take the bull by the horns and just do it. You’ll never know how much you can charge for your work until you charge what you should be charging.

Remember, as photographers we are in a very lucky position. The services we offer and what we do brings our clients great joy. The small invest our clients pay for our products often brings them years of happiness and the emotional value of their purchase is simply priceless.

We work for commercial clients and our images help to build their brands and put money through their tills. We help hotels book more customers, restaurants fill their tables, estate agents sell houses and business people create an incredible and trustworthy LinkedIn profile. What we do carries a lot of weight and value for our clients, we are a solution to their needs and our fees are an investment in their business growth.

Yet still, we are afraid to charge our worth. Accountants and dentists charge a premium for services that, to be honest, don’t often bring their clients much joy and happiness at all. Do you really enjoy paying a premium to get a tooth pulled out or find out you have a huge tax bill to pay?

If a potential client asks you for a quote its because your work appeals to them, they like your style and have viewed your images either on social media or your website. So, take it as they love what you do, they wouldn’t be asking for a price if they didn’t. Find out what your clients really want, listen to their needs and requirements first then give them a price with confidence because you know you’ll be their perfect match.

Top Tip 19: Start Your Editing Last

ARE YOU OVER EDITING

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Photography is our passion, a hobby that for some of us have grown into a successful business making us a very good living - giving us flexible hours, job satisfaction and a reason to get up in the morning and enjoy going to work.

For others the love of photography is still there, it’s just the money and the frequency of your work just isn't enough for a comfortable living, but you can change that. The good thing is you could easily be earning double, triple or quadruple what you are now in just a short space of time. Imagine having the money for a couple of fantastic luxury holidays this summer and not having to worry about the bills when you come home.

To turn things around you need to get to grips with your marketing and I mean right now! You don't need the latest Canon or Nikon camera or a whole new expensive flashy website. You just need a sound marketing plan and time put aside to do it.

However, every week I work with lots of photographers helping them turn their businesses around and everyone has the same problem - no marketing plan and no time set aside to do it.

Now, here's a thought - how many of you either after a wedding, school shoot or several commercial jobs spend most of your week editing your photographs? Come on be honest. I spoke with two mentoring clients the other month who were wedding photographers and admitted to spending up to a whole week editing their images after a shoot, leaving little or no time for marketing their businesses.

Worse still when the wedding season kicks in both photographers admitted to putting their marketing on hold till as late as October because of the need to spend hours and hours editing their images.

In my opinion, most photographers over edit far too much. It's just NOT necessary. Too often we edit for ourselves and not our clients, our clients probably would have been over the moon with the images as they were with just half the amount of editing. They probably wouldn't notice the difference.

Remember your time is your money and you need to set time a side to getting the next clients lined up ready and booked in the diary. No more quiet periods just a constant stream of money and it's not that hard to do it if you plan in advance.

The key to managing your editing time is to do this in an afternoon, do your IGT’s Income Generating Tasks on a morning. These IGT’s are the jobs that will lead to more enquiries and bookings, such as posting to social media, email marketing, blogs, LinkedIn Connections and seeking our joint venture partnerships.

When you edit in an afternoon your time window is smaller you’ll find you naturally speed up your editing to finish by the end of the working day. You’ll take less time per image but still produce fantastic and consistent results, but more importantly you aren’t letting your business slip. Marketing needs to be consistent too, social media posting should be a daily habit for any business.

This year why not look into outsourcing your editing so you can give your business a chance to grow further by putting in at least two full days a week for essential marketing. It might sound boring to you now but it won't sound boring when you are lying on the beach drinking cocktails and enjoying your second holiday this year because your marketing has paid off.

If you are currently outsourcing your photography editing I'd love to hear from you, let's all help each other out here. Maybe I can approach a few editing houses and get us a great deal as a collective of photographers, it has got to be worth a go. I have over 35,000 followers on social media alone plus a huge email list of photographers I work with so that's got to be good in our price negotiations.

Make this year the year you start to market your business and outsource a few of the jobs that take up too much of your time like editing, design and creative writing. If you have an area of marketing you are really struggling with then let me know. I'm looking for subjects for next week's video tips so maybe I could give you the solution in a video.

Top Tip 18: Keep Following Up on Enquiries

AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHERS, CAN YOU GUESS THE ANSWER?

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HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD YOU FOLLOW UP A PHOTOGRAPHY ENQUIRY?

Do you know the answer? Is it twice, three times, six times or not at all?

Well quite simply, it’s until they book or tell you they have booked someone else.

I know from a lot of research I’ve carried out over the past few years that 90% of photographers are not following up their enquiries and what’s worse is they are responding to the initial enquiry in completely the wrong way.

The key to turning those enquiries into bookings is persistence. It’s not done by hounding the client into submission or reducing your price quote until they take the bait, it’s done by building up a relationship with them from that initial enquiry and showing interest in their need by keeping the conversation open using questions they will respond to.

For example, most potential clients first ask you for a price quote telling you the date and venue for the wedding, commercial shoot or an event. The first stage to your reply before you even talk about yourself and your photography is to ask questions. If it’s a company check them out and compliment them on what they do and ask what type of clients they are trying to attract.

If it’s a bride compliment her on her choice of venue. If it’s a venue you’ve worked at before then tell her that and mention something about the venue that can lead to a conversation. For example; “Wow I just love Newton Hall, it’s one of my favorite wedding venues, the staircase is beautiful for photography and the food is just amazing, have you eaten there yet?”

If you are responding to her via Facebook Messenger or Text this is a great way to get the dialogue going and build a relationship with her in short, friendly, open messages. Remember people buy from people they like.

Once you’ve asked a few questions of your potential client about their needs you then need to format your price quote. Again, don’t make this just a standard copy and pasted reply. You need to personalize it as much as you can, adding details about your service that will reflect to exactly what they are looking for.

For weddings and portraits, you MUST reply with a very well written emotionally driven price quote. This is the real key to selling the benefits of your wedding photography and creating a real desire in her mind for your services, NOT trying to win her over with special offers or price reductions.

I can’t overstate enough how important an emotionally driven price quote is to turn an enquiry into a booking and so many photographers don’t even bother. They just send a bog standard crappy impersonal reply the same as anyone else does. This is your time to shine and really stand out. Remember most brides are not going to book on price alone, especially if it’s a mid-priced to the premium wedding venue. She’s not looking at budgets she’s looking at what you can do for her.

Likewise, with commercial clients, they aren’t looking for the cheapest photographer they are looking for a one that can offer a solution to their needs. A restaurant isn’t just looking for pretty images of their dishes, they are looking for amazing photographs that their clients can almost smell and taste in their Facebook News Feeds - they look that good. These photos will lead to bums on seats and money in the till, tell them that in your responses.

Make sure that you end your price quote by thanking them again for their enquiry and tell them to drop you a message if they need any help or advice and that you are only too happy to help.

Give it a few days then follow up with a friendly message to see if they had a chance to read through your price quote and if they have any questions or they’d like a more bespoke offer for their exact requirements. It’s often a good idea to offer a free top tips guide for commercial clients on how best to use images for social media or a guide to taking better photos at work from your I Phone. Go that extra mile, your competitors won’t be. Give them something for free and they’ll feel that you’ve given them value even before any services have been booked.

When speaking to brides looking for wedding photographers try asking how the wedding planning is going and if there’s anything else you can do to help or if she has any questions. Quite often a bride will tell you that she’s just in the process of gathering quotes, which is fine you just need to be the photographer who is at the forefront of her mind. Keep building the relationship and keep the conversation open. I have a great little “Guide to Booking a Wedding Photographer” that I send to my bridal enquiries if they haven’t booked after the second follow-up message (I’d be happy to share this with you if you drop me a message). Remember don’t be pushy, be helpful, friendly and informative. The chances are your competitors have stopped contacting after the initial response.

I once had a bride thank me for following up about 4 weeks after her initial enquiry, she’d just been in the process of moving house and it had slipped her mind that she needed to book her wedding photographer. Sometimes it’s just a good idea to remind a bride how important it is to secure their wedding date early on, especially if it’s a summer wedding. If you get another enquiry for the same date as hers then drop her a message offering her first refusal, this is often a good way to close the booking without putting the pressure on or sounding too salesy.

As always if you have any comments please feel free to share them with me and let me know how you get on with formatting your emotionally driven replies and follow up responses. If you need any help drop me a message.

Thanks for following guys and happy photographing, Jeff.

Top Tip 17: Price for a Premium

PHOTOGRAPHERS, TURN YOUR PRICE LIST ON ITS HEAD!

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When I first started out as a photographer I absolutely hated selling, it was my one biggest fear. I felt like I’d rather give my photos away than have to ask for money, crazy to think of that now. However, one of the biggest stumbling blocks I come across with photographers who sign up for my 6 Steps to Success Photography Marketing & Mentoring Program, is the sales aspect of the job that we all do.

So, it’s basically LOVE Photography, HATE Selling and know bugger all about marketing. If this is you then don’t worry you are not alone and I was in the same position myself until I learned the secrets to upselling and using add-on’s to often double the value of my sales.

One of the first things you need to do is create an amazingly expensive luxury package that you have no intention of ever selling but it creates a feeling of bespoke quality to your brand. Remember people buy photographs for emotional reasons or to solve a problem to a need, so create desire and emotional in your products and services and you will have this stage nailed.

By starting with an amazingly expensive package this immediately creates a sense of quality and luxury to your brand. People associate good quality with higher prices, simple as that. So even your less expensive packages will be perceived as higher quality because of the image your amazingly expensive package has created in the client’s mind.

This is why most car dealership have the “top of the range model” taking pride of place in the showroom. The salesman will knowingly show you the model that is way out of your price range, so you can feel the quality and enjoy all the additional gadgets. What he’s doing is creating a desire in your mind, knowing you can’t afford it. However the next model down may still be out of your original budget but includes a few of the beautiful features and gadgets you now desire from the top of the range model.

Transfer that idea to your photography services, for example your top package comes with a gorgeous storybook album personally designed to their exact requirements, two smaller but equally as outstanding 8”x6” parent or grandparent albums, a beautiful and very personal pocket book album which fits perfectly into a jacket pocket or handbag, a stunning wall canvas print of your choice and, of course, all your images supplied on a deluxe USB Key complete with limited edition presentation box so you can print and share with family and friends. Wow amazing!!

In reality we all know that you could just buy the USB Key and be done with it, then create the albums and canvas prints yourself. But once you create a desire for the albums and the canvas then each package down from your “Top of the Range” package just includes one item less for a further reduced price. The technique is to make the packages such that each package down from the Top of the Range is a little less value for money than the previous one, making the higher value option always the better deal for the client.

I hope this gives you something to work on. Take my word for it once you get this right then the packages just sell themselves and you’ll always end up with a higher sale than the client originally intended because the higher packages represent much greater value for money.

Also, its worth remembering it’s a lot easier to down sell than it is to upsell a client. Always start with your top package, if this is too expensive then they will have another 3 or 4 options to choose from. By starting higher this often sets the spending bar higher too, they will probably settle for the 2nd or 3rd package down and not your lowest priced, which would be easier for them to settle on if you start selling at the bottom.

Once the main package is secured and decided on then it’s time to roll out your add-on’s. These are small additions that will compliment packages and are often offered at a discount but still produce a high profit for the photographer. Add-ons should be priced between £199 and £99 for maximum effect, always show the full price of the Add-on then next to it the Add-on Price if bought with any package.

Top Tip 16: Profitable Pet Photography

How to Make a lot More Money from PET PHOTOGRAPHY this Summer

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For a lot of photographers pet photography still remains an untapped but very lucrative market. Summertime is a great opportunity to really build a name for yourself as a fantastic pet photographer.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a studio, you don’t need one.

Over the years as well as doing a lot of pet photography in the studio, I’ve also traveled to my client’s home and favorite locations, such as a local park or the beach to capture their four-legged friends in action.

Never under-estimate your client’s love and passion for their pets. Some of my biggest sales in the studio have been made from pet photography.

Incidentally, some of my more well-off clients would never dream of putting a huge framed wall print of their children on display in their home, but wouldn’t think twice about spending a fortune on photographs of their beloved pets

It’s a bit of a class thing, the very wealthy tend to steer away from portraits and prefer to hang fine art on their walls. A portrait of their kids is usually found as a 5”x7” in the living room or on Dad’s office desk. The exception to this rule for them is photographs of their horses and dogs, they’ll go for the huge framed prints every time.

Now is the time to start pushing your pet promotions. One fantastic way is to team up with local dog groomers, dog walkers or pet stores - there’s plenty around.

Firstly, go and introduce yourself to the owner of the business. Tell them how you’d like to offer their loyal customers a FREE pet portrait session either in the studio or on location when they book in for one of the top grooming packages, spend “x” amount on pet products or book “x” of dog walking services.

Explain how the session is totally FREE of charge and there is no obligation for them to purchase any images. Although I’ve yet to have someone who has walked away without at least purchasing one or two framed prints or a USB key of digital images.

Remember these customers are often spending £30 - £40 every few weeks just on dog grooming or some a spending a fortune on premium pet food, they are totally devoted to their pets. Now imagine how they will just simply love a set of professional photographs of their best friend.

Next offer the owner of the business a FREE portrait session and large wall print of their own dog to display in their shop. This way clients can see for themselves the fantastic quality and service you provide. This is a great way to really get the business owner on your side and they’ll be more than happy to recommend you when they see the results for themselves.

However I did find after the initial period, sales and bookings started to tail off. This was simply due to the owners forgetting to hand out leaflets to their clients. So, to combat this and keep the momentum going I went back to them and offered a generous 15% commission on all portrait sales I made as a result of their referrals.

This worked a treat and each month I’d pop down to and pay them their commission in cash!! They loved it and pushed me even more to their clients.

It’s easy enough to create very professional looking leaflets to give to the groomers, pet store or dog walker to handout. I personalized these to include the businesses own logo and even used a photo I’d taken of their dog too, they loved it. Remember you are selling the emotional benefits of your service, capturing beautiful memories of your best friend which you can treasure for years to come.

Also, it’s a good idea to have several pet packages available. These can include a “Puppy at Play Package” always a winner with new dog owners and because your puppy will change and grow up so fast it's essential to capture these early memories.

I also used the same leaflet offer template to hit another dog groomers at the other side of town. I have a great designer, Yani, I can recommend for your leaflets or vouchers and I guarantee they’ll look awesome. Next, check out print24.com for cheap but great printing services I’ve used them for years and can’t fault the quality.

Another option is to give the business owners personalized pet portrait gift vouchers to hand out. This really does work as people are always keen to use a gift voucher and do feel they are getting something of value for free.

It’s good to make the voucher worthwhile say to the value of say £50. Then charge a sitting fee of say £30 that means the customer gets the sitting for free and still has a few pounds left towards their first framed print.

Don’t forget to add simple terms and conditions to voucher though. Non-refundable, one per customer only, cannot be used on bank holidays or weekends, can only be used against the cost of a pet portrait sitting and prints etc has no cash alternative.

Well, I hope this has given you guys something to think about. I’d love to hear how you get on.

It’s worked great for me and I’ve made a lot of money from pet photography over the years, I’d love to see you do the same.

Thanks for following, feel free to get in touch anytime. Jeff
 

Top Tips 15: A Great Alternative to In-Person Sales

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In-Person Sales are fantastic for increasing the revenue for every portrait sitting you do, often increasing the average order value by 3 or 4 times that of an online gallery sale. However, In Person Sales are not for everyone but they are a great alternative that still increases your average order value, giving you a fantastic opportunity for upselling too.

A great way to pretty much GUARANTEE a good result from all of your portrait sessions if you don’t use IPS is to use, what I call, a pre-book pricing system. This could save you hours in editing photographs people don't want, do away with time wasters and easily up-sell your customers to much higher priced products.

Firstly, start by constructing a great introduction letter to send out to clients when they book a photoshoot. The letter goes into detail explaining how precious family time is and how a fun filled photoshoot is the perfect way to capture the joy and love of your family together today that can be looked back on with fondness for years to come. Remember, people buy photographs for emotional reasons not because of the price and their investment now will only increase in emotional value over the years, making their portraits a priceless piece in the family home.

It’s also worth mentioning that photographs make fantastic gifts for family members and go down a storm with grandparents who are guaranteed to love the gorgeous images of their grandchildren.

You need to point out that on the day of the photoshoot after the session has finished the family will be given a chance to view the photographs PRIOR to editing with the option of buying albums, frames and digital images at a discounted pre-order price. These prices CANNOT be repeated after the day of the shoot and must be paid for in full prior to the photographs going to the editing process and been made available for final proofing.

Tell them that you know how much they are going to love the images you produce on the day and GUARANTEE they’ll love them even more when they have been edited and are available for viewing and selecting for their chosen packages.

I would always include a pre-book price list showing the RRP of the products along with detailed images of the albums and attractive descriptions too. Next to the RRP I would show the percentage saving for the pre-book on the day prices, which could be anything from 20% to 50%, so it’s essential your packages are marked up accordingly.

This has worked beautifully for us in the boudoir studio, as we teamed up with John Lewis, Smart Box and Virgin Activity Days for 4,000 makeover shoots! We didn’t have time for IPS however for that the pre-booking pricing system set really high average order values and did away with clients changing their minds after leaving the studio to view images on an online gallery.

All packages were chosen and paid for in full prior to the leaving, and we had a host of great add-on products such as mini albums, glass blocks and box frames to upgrade every sale once the main item was secured and decided on.

As the cropping was pretty much done in the camera and the lighting controlled then I had no problem showing clients the raw images, remember clients look at photographs differently to us and it’s the smiles and emotion they are looking at not the contrast and exposure.

Hope you find it useful, if you need any tips on this just drop shout. Jeff

Top Tip 14: Cut Price Photographers are Doing Us a Favour!

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One thing I do hear is a lot of photographers complaining that the market is oversaturated with cheap cut-price photographers and it's just impossible to make money in this business anymore.

Well, firstly I do agree that ‘yes’ the market is flooded with cut-price photographers so if your aim is to be in the gutter and at the bottom of the pack then your buggered. Give up now and save yourself the bother!

However, think about it, how many people really want to hire a cut-price photographer and are these the clients most of us want - absolutely NOT.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS, there’s a load of opportunity out there. Do you think a bride spending over £30,000 on her dream wedding is going to trust the skills of amateur £300 photographer to capture the only memories she'll have of her big day....of course, she won't. She wants the right person for the job, one that will not only give her the images she dreams of but will do it in a way that won’t spoil the romantic flow of her special day, she wants a professional like you.

COMMERICAL PHOTOGRAPHERS - do you think the marketing director of a large corporate hotel firm like Marriot or Malmaison wants to put their trust in some guy who's going to charge £99 to take allegedly stunning images or their luxury hotels for their websites and social media....of course not. These companies have huge marketing budgets and they want photographers they can trust and rely on to tell their brands' story so in turn they can build an engaging audience for their social media and increase booking via their websites.

There are millions of clients out there for all of us, in every price bracket and every niche. In today's world of online marketing and social media finding your clients has never been as simple. It really is a piece of cake, the hard bit is knowing how to communicate with them.

Stop thinking like a photographer, become a marketer first and a photographer second. Learn to know your clients and communicate with them on a personal level, people love that and even more so now in a digital age. It’s a case of ditching the formalities, adding personality to your sales pitches and sympathizing with your client’s needs, above all listen to want they really want.

Build a brand that communicates in values and benefits to your clients. Don't talk about yourself, talk about what you can do for them, give them the answers they need. Be the solution they are looking for and then price becomes far less important.

Don’t just give them what they NEED, give them what they WANT and a whole lot MORE!

You can find out what they WANT by simply asking questions and listening to the answers. Easy as that.

If everyone in the world just bought on price alone then luxury brands would never exist. Now in 2018, more and more people drive BMW, Audi and Mercedes, young girls carry designer handbags and young men wear expensive watches, mothers buy toddlers designer clothes and people eat out at high-end restaurants more regularly than they did 20 years ago.

Stop thinking you'll never make it, you have the photography skill to do it, just tune up your marketing. Stop worrying about the competition because cut-price isn't competition in fact why not thank them, they are doing you a favor. Let them work for the people who won't spend a penny and you market yourself to those who will.

Stop worrying about price and stop undervaluing yourself. Start marketing your brand to the people who'll love what you do and believe me there are 1000s of them out there in your area no matter where you live.

Marketing may sound boring but if boring pays the bills and boring gives you 3 holidays a year and the flexibility to work around your family life, then I know you are going to find boring very interesting.

Start thinking deeply about what it is that makes you different, what makes your photography unique and what benefits you can offer to your clients. Think about your clients in detail and start to build up an exact image of your ideal client. When you've done it then this is who you are going to build your brand around.

If you want me to turn your photography business around with you then drop me a message. My One 2 One sessions are guaranteed to build your business into a successful brand, it just takes a little hard work on your part but I'm there for you every step of the way. Remember a flashy website and a new camera aren't going to bring you success. A great brand, a sound pricing structure, and a cracking social media presence will make you more than enough money to live your dreams.

Whatever you do, start becoming less of a photographer and more of a marketer from today and forget about the competition, they aren't worth worrying about.

Thank you for following. I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback, Jeff

Top Tip 13: What’s the Best Camera to Buy

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This is a question I get asked a lot by new clients starting on their photography careers, even when I’m photographing at a wedding or an event there's always somebody coming up to ask me what camera I use or what I would recommend.

The difference between a successful photographer who makes a lot of money, one that turns their hobby into a very profitable profession and one that fails has nothing to do with their camera equipment. It’s all down to marketing your business correctly, building a great name for your brand and becoming a likable and followable person on social media and your blogs.

No matter what camera you have if you don’t set goals and you aren’t consistent with your business marketing then you are very likely to fail and a top of the range Canon or Nikon will not make a difference to your success.
 

***THE BEST CAMERA FOR A PRO PHOTOGRAPHER?***

I'll probably upset a few photographers by saying this, but I believe it doesn’t make a difference what model or brand of camera you choose but obviously a Digital SLR is the preferred choice - on that, I would agree with most photographers. I personally use Canon and have done for over 25 years going all the way back to my Canon A1 film camera, that was my first serious SLR. However, during my time serving as a Royal Navy Photographer, we were all issued with Nikon Kit and Hasselbalds.

These days cameras are changing so fast it’s impossible to keep up with the latest models but to be honest I truly believe you don’t have too. I’ve personally photographed over 750 weddings to date plus around 10,000 portraits, not to mention the 100s of nurseries and schools I’ve photographed over the years.

When my business entered its second year and I turned over £100,000 from my wedding photography alone, did I go out and buy a top of the range Canon camera? No, I certainly didn’t! However, I did invest in some really good Canon lenses and today still have them in my camera bag. To be honest they are pretty much the same price now as I paid for them 12 years ago because you’re paying for the quality of the optics and that’s the business end of the camera. By contrast, if you go out and buy the best DSLR on the market today in 12 – 18 months it will have lost half it's valued and be outdated by an even bigger megapixel monster that you really don’t need.

Last year I took some portraits of two little girls at their home, they were the daughters of a bride whose wedding I’d photographed 11 years ago. After the shoot, we had a coffee and a catch-up and she brought out her wedding album. “Remember this Jeff?” she said. I did because it was one of my first digital printed albums I’d sold for £1895, that was 11 years ago. Now looking through it the quality was perfect and the photos looked as good to me now as they did then but more importantly the bride still loved it. Those images were taken on my first DSLR, a Canon 10d, which I’m sure at the time was only a 5-megapixel camera, my mobile phone has more megapixels now.

My point is, that was 11 years ago and the images were good enough then to charge £1895 for my work and the bride, and many more brides like her, still love their albums. So, is there really any need to spend £3,000 or £5,000 on a camera when a sub £1,000 body will do just a good a job for you? You can even pick up some great second-hand bargains with warranties too.

If you’re just starting out my advice is don’t go for the top of the range, you don’t need it. That money would be much better invested in marketing your business. When you start thinking of marketing as an investment, not an expense then you’ll realize that’s how you’ll make big money out of photography.

I’d much rather have two £800 camera bodies in my bag than just one £3000 model. If you’re serious about photography and making money from it make sure you have at least two full sets of equipment because one day out of the blue your camera will just stop working. It’s happened to me on several occasions but each time I’ve been fortunate enough to have a spare set in my bag all loaded up and ready to go - panic over! Imagine if you just had your one all singing all dancing top of the range model at a wedding, then suddenly it stopped working….it doesn’t bear thinking about.

I used to do a lot of trout fishing years ago and there was a saying about fishing tackle shops, they sell more equipment to catch the fishermen than they do to catch the fish - very true! The same applies to photography. If like myself, you’ve done very well out of photography and really do want the latest top of the range camera then great that’s your preference and you’ve earned it.

Remember your clients look at photographs differently than you do, they don’t see the little flaws that we obsess over. Make getting a top of the range camera your goal as a reward when your business has achieved a certain point and you’ve crossed off a few of those important goals. Invest your spare money in marketing, building your brand with great and powerful design and grow your social media presence with paid ads and you’ll see the investment pay off.

Stick a photo of your dream camera on the wall next to your desk and every time you receive a booking transfer 10% to your dream camera fund. That’s an incentive to crack your marketing and smash your goals in record time and it's proportional too, the more money you save the better your business is performing.

Hope you’ve found this post useful, I know a lot of people may disagree with me and try to argue the toss that a particular camera is better than another, this may be the case but it won’t make you more money and in 18 months time they’ll be arguing that another camera is better again.

In reality, our skill is in the art of taking photographs, it’s how we tell a story in images, it’s how we compose and arrange our subjects for a shoot, how we control and work with light to our advantage. We could probably get some amazing results on our camera phones if we had to because it’s our keen eye and attention to detail that clients are paying us for. To me, my money has been better invested in marketing my businesses than upgrading my kit every year and my investment in marketing has paid off hugely allowing me to grow 5 successful photography companies. If you are just starting out I can’t stipulate enough how important it is to invest in your marketing as well as having a good back up camera system in your bag.

Hope this helps, Jeff

Top Tip 12: How to get Children to Pose

Over the years I've photographed 10,000s of babies, toddlers and kids in the studio, client’s homes and nurseries. We used to do over 60 private nurseries per year, that’s a lot of children!!

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I've certainly experienced it all, from the little smilers to the crying tantrums. Yes, kids can be very unpredictable at times, so if you haven’t had a great deal of experience with photographing children then here’s a few little tricks I’ve learnt over the years.

One of the biggest mistakes photographers make is to try and push the child who doesn't want to sit for a photograph, this is never going to work.

The first thing you need to realise is, yes, the child will most probably sit for a photograph but it will often be on their terms!!!

Here are a few ideas that will make the shoot a whole lot easier.

1/ Firstly put the camera away

Let the child get used to you and tell the parents NOT to intervene, it only makes things worse if you have a mam and dad trying to bribe or give the child an ultimatum.

2/ Get down to their level

Sit on the floor next to the child and get a conversation going, ask about their favorite toy or TV show - anything that strikes up a bit of chat going between you both.

3/ Add a bit humor

Once you find something the child is happy to talk about start adding a bit of humor to the conversation, this is great for breaking down barriers. And, yes talking about breaking wind is essential!!

4/ Photograph someone else and ask them to help

If the child is still unsure you can always start by photographing mam or dad or better still a brother or sister, involve the child and ask them to help you. Show them the results on the back of the camera and ask them if they'd like to see their own photograph on the camera too.

5/ Don’t rush, take your time

If the child still won't sit then don't push them. Encourage them to play with a few toys carefully placed in an ideal spot for a photograph. As the child starts to play take a few photographs and show them the results.

Sometimes you may only get the natural photographs of the child at play, but then sometimes these are the perfect photographs that the parents totally love. If this works then bring the family to the child and create a natural family portrait around the child's play.

One great secret weapon is a bubble machine, you can pick them up on eBay for £10 and they've turned many screaming crying kids into little smiles for me.

If you do have any tips to add I love to hear them, we all have our own little tricks maybe you have a great one that I’m missing out on too.


Thank you, Jeff