Kevin Keith is a professional wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Kansas City. He and his wife, Ashley, love photographing weddings and lifestyle portraits across the country every year. Kevin grew up in Kansas but moved to Santa Barbara, California to attend Brooks Institute of Photography where he honed his skills as a fashion and portrait photographer. While he was in California, he found that the Midwest was where his heart is. He decided to bring his talents back to Kansas and began incorporating his fashion style into the weddings and lifestyle portraits he shoots. You can check out his blog here.
He shared some great marketing tips:
- Don’t spend big bucks on print advertising. Very rarely will you see a return on your investment with this marketing strategy no matter how much advertisers promise it will grow your business.
- Write a blog and share your work. Be consistent in writing blog posts; people need to know there is something to return to when they visit your blog.
- Send e-mail n ewsletters to your clients and contacts you meet. Be sure to not only share about your business, but also give readers some resources and information they can gain from so they will continue to open and read your newsletters
- Create strong vendor relationships. What better way to get referrals than from awesome vendors you work with? Send vendors who are a part of your photo session watermarked photos after the session for them to use on their website and to advertise with. It is a great and easy way to build relationships and grow your word of mouth referrals!
- Send hand-written ‘Thank You’ notes to your clients. Snail mail is not obsolete and means so much more than a quick email! Taking the time to write ‘Thank You’ notes shows your care and dedication, because you took the time to write it by hand and mail it.
- Be cautious and smart about doing daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social. Don’t give everything away, or you will easily get burnt out and have no time for paying clients. If you decide to use a deal site, be sure you have a plan for being able to up-sell the client after they have purchased the deal and also think about how you are going to schedule everyone.
- Connect with clients and visitors on your website by having a photo of yourself and a little bio that they can read. They need to know you are someone they can relate to!
He also went on to explain that we shouldn’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with creative ways to market our businesses and vendors at the same time. For example, Kevin Keith Photography hosted a photography workshop and all of the vendors involved donated their products for them to use in return for photographs of those products that were used during the workshop (location for the workshop and photo shoot, borrowed wedding dresses from a bridal shop for the models to wear, hair and makeup for the models, etc.). After the workshop each vendor received a beautiful album of photos of their products that they set out in their stores with the photography information included on the album. A great and inexpensive form of advertising for the vendor and your business!
With the ever-changing world of advertising and marketing, Kevin definitely gave us all some new ideas to think about and apply to our business plans. Everyone left excited and energized to begin implementing some new strategies.
Ashley is a professional photographer in Overland Park, Kansas and loves photographing weddings, families, children, and lifestyle portraits. She shoots with her Canon 5D and favorite lens, the 85mm 1.8! She loves the OKC SMUG group and how much fun they always have and the rockin’ speakers who share with them!
The OKC SMUG meeting took place at Baker’s Learning Center, with the meeting starting off with a discussion about some articles about the most expensive photograph ever sold, and the 15 most expensive photographs in history prior to the sale of Rhine II. We then discussed the infamous Space Shuttle Twitpic, and how it was very well known, highly viewed, and the photographer was hardly compensated for the photo.
Our guest speaker, Romy Owens, was then introduced to us as an accomplished fine artist. Her art is like nothing I have ever seen before. Romy mentioned that she wants the viewer to pause and pay attention to what they are viewing, which she accomplishes in her work.
She began creating art while she was studying for her photography degree. She wanted her work to be big but did not have the resources to make such giant images, so she started overlapping and somewhat scrap booking images together. Then, eventually, she decided that she could sew them together and highlight the seams.
Romy spends 50-60 hours sewing photos together to complete a single piece of art. One time she spent 2 months sewing one of her projects together. It was 4 ft tall by 56ft long. Romy refers to her art as non-functional quilts. As Romy hand stiches each piece she will write comments on the back. It could be something about the movie she is viewing or something that she was doing in life at the time. Looking at the back of her art work was amazing to see the words, detail, and precision of each and every stitch.
Romy talked about finding your own style and challenged the group to not be afraid to step out of the box and create something different. An attribute that you will need to possess is a thick skin. When you find those who do not like your work, don’t let it get you down. She also talked about how you should value your work and include the cost of your time into your pricing.
Romy is a very active member of the local art community. She finds that by helping to promote others she in turn gets promotion. Participating in community activities helps to be seen and get your name out there. Romy suggested that folks get involved with Oklahoma Visual Arts Council. OVAC does more for Oklahoma visual artists than any other organization.
Sherri loves to photograph families, high school seniors, and weddings. Sherri loves the OKC SMUG meetings because of the learning experience, and the people who attend are great to network with. Stop by and check out their next meeting. You will not be disappointed!
The OKC SMUG meeting was held at Baker’s Learning Center. We had a great turnout with nearly 30 people attending the meeting. This month’s meeting consisted of a tour at the Baker Learning Center with the help of Patricia Isbell and Hank Baker.
Patricia is the owner of Shades of Gray Studio and also works with the Baker’s Learning Center. Patricia discussed her longtime work as a portrait, wildlife, and commercial photographer. Patricia shared with us her love of wildlife photography and some of her adventures while pursuing her passion. The images she presented were nothing short of spectacular. Patricia taught us that nature photography can be extreme at times. From hiking in the freezing snow for hours, to the heat of the tropical areas- it get be intense, but it can be an amazing experience when you capture that award winning image. Patricia shared one of her experiences with us that illustrated how making mistakes will only make you better. When you screw up and all your photos are a bust, you will figure out what you did wrong and correct the problem. This type of learning will not be forgotten, and your mistake is not going to happen again.
Hank Baker, Baker’s “Lightroom and Photoshop guru” and the owner of Baker Photo & Video, is a weather photograper. He taught us about the Photographer’s Market 2012 that is published annually. He explained how it lists what images companies are buying and how much it costs them. This information could be very helpful when trying to tap into the market.
Hank and Patricia showed us around the newly opened Baker Learning Center. The center includes a fully-stocked photography studio, available for hourly rental (including gear) to any OK photographer. They were also kind enough to give us all a demo of the studio. You can find Baker’s Learning Center here or on their Facebook.
Submitted by the OKC Scribe: Sherri Smith Sherri loves to photograph families, high school seniors, and weddings. Sherri enjoys the OKC-SMUG meetings, because they have been a learning experience, and the people who attend are great to network with. Stop by and check out our next meeting- you will not be disappointed!
The SmugMug User Groups (SMUGs) are putting out a call for speakers for our 2012 monthly speakers series.
A SMUG is a place where you can learn, teach and meet up with other photographers who share your passion. It’s also how we can tell you what’s happening in our world and discover what’s happening in yours. SMUGs are a great way to connect with other photographers and add a few weapons to your creative arsenal. There are over 90 SMUGs worldwide. Rain or shine, it’s always a great idea to come to your SMUG’s monthly meetings. This way, you have a great collection of photos in every season!
We are looking for presenters that can speak about various photography related topics. Examples: Business topics, software, lighting, fusion, camera usage, portraits, photojournalism, sports, nature/landscape, commercial, boudoir, sports and weddings.
All types of photographers are welcome to present.
If you are interested in speaking, please send a short bio and course description and let us know why you would be great for our groups. We really want people with something interesting to say so let us know why this is you. These presentations are not sales-oriented so while you are more then welcome to mention products and workshops at the end, the bulk of the presentation should be on the chosen topic.
This is a great opportunity for anyone to get in front of a large, active group of photographers.
You will also receive a free SmugMug Pro account as a special thanks from SmugMug (for as long as you are a speaker).
To submit your presentation or if you have questions, please email Rocky Bowles at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we receive your email, we will send out a manual that explains all of the details for speaking at SMUGs.
All submissions will be kept on file and we’ll contact you if we choose your presentation.
SmugMug cannot thank you enough for your participation in becoming a speaker. It is the people like you that give SMUGs such a great reputation!
The OKC-SMUG meeting was held in Norman, OK at the studio of Shevaun Williams and Associates. Everyone enjoyed meandering through the studio, checking out the amazing space before the meeting began. Our fearless leader, Holly, introduced Shevaun to the group, and she got started on her presentation.
Shevaun started by giving us a little history of how she got into the business. Shevaun likes to be more of a generalist, not specializing in any one area such as wedding or architecture photography. Vanessa, Shevaun’s assistant, discussed the benefits of going to photography school. She mentioned that, as a student, professional photogs and others are very willing to help you. Vanessa also recommends working as an assistant if you do not feel you are quite ready to go out on your own.
Next, we were fortunate to have Shevaun’s husband talk to us about his participation in the business. He came from a family of photographers, so he completely understands his wife’s passion for photography. It’s always nice to have someone appreciate, or at least understand, photography.
After the presentation, we geared up for some shooting in Shevaun’s studio. As we were getting ready, Shevaun gave us some tips she called “Photography according to Shevaun.”
- On commercial work, don’t make the customer wait more than 48-72 hours for their images
- Always send a thank you. It is an honor for them to choose you.
- “Behind the camera puts you in the moment” -Shevaun’s new philosophy
The evening wrapped up with shooting some pictures in the studio while Shevaun gave us a run down on adjusting our lighting. It was great to see how Shevaun interacted with her subjects to get them to pose. Shevaun did a wonderful job and we appreciate her allowing us to join her at her studio and share some of her passion. I certainly hope we can all have the passion for photography that she has!
If you are interested in photography, please join us at one of our monthly OKC-SMUG meetings. You will find a great group of folks that all share a passion for photography. We would love to see you.
Check out Sherri Smith’s fantastic photos.
Our speaker for the Oklahoma City SMUG was Scott Jarvie, who is in the top 20 sales with SmugMug and is starting a web site for acknowledging all of the photographers at www.allthephotographers.com. He started out talking about how SmugMug is a very customer friendly company and how they build their products on the feedback of the customers.
He drew us into his speech by showing us how to use SmugMug in our normal work flow. He also showed us how Adobe Lightroom could work in tandem with our SmugMug accounts; therefore, it saves us a lot of time in editing and downloading.
He finished the night with some great information about SmugMug’s Events feature and how it can help Pros share photos with their clients. This new feature of setting up events for the different photo shoots was awesome. Not only could we set up these Events, but the Smart Galleries help organize by our key wording. This turned out to be the highlight of the night, as he explained the importance for the key words and descriptions for each picture.
This was a great meeting and we encourage anyone interested in photography to come join us at our future meetings! One thing is for sure: you will take something helpful away from the meeting. And you will get to meet some really great photographers.
Check out Sherri’s blog.
When we started planning the OKC SMUG, we weren’t sure how many people would attend the first meeting, so we thought meeting at Nathan’s and my home would provide plenty of space. But after last night, I think we need to find a new location soon! People were sitting on the stairs, standing, and squeezed in every corner. Thanks for being such great sports, guys!
We heard from James Beltz about how to create a website that is inviting and informative for potential clients, in order to avoid the 92%-bounce-within-10-seconds phenomenon. Jimmy also talked about how tiered pricing helps grow your profit margin.
We had a blast, and a great discussion with each other and Jimmy. We gave stuff away, too, like SmugMug Pro camera straps, Bay Photo gift certificates, and a free year on SmugMug. Jimmy also gave away a free website customization and a free pack of Photoshop actions to everyone that attended. Thanks Jimmy!
Watch James’ entire presentation here on Vimeo:
See ya next month! We have more stuff to give away!
Written by: Holly Baumann Ambuehl; Leader of the OKC SMUG
Follow Holly on Twitter!
Check out Holly’s SmugMug Site.