Posts Tagged ‘photography’
When I started my business I took every opportunity to stick a flyer in gift bags at events, with little thought to the event in question or anything else. I loved working with my images and with words to put together fun flyers that I believed were not only eye-catching but irresistible. But as I started attending more and more business events, I realised what a huge waste of money this was – if the lack of response hadn’t spelled it out to me already!
I would come home from each event and dump the contents of the ‘gift’ bag on the floor. Pulling the rubbish bin next to me, I’d sift through the pile of advertising in 20 seconds and the only things that didn’t end up in the bin were free samples or movie passes. Even the discount vouchers to places I didn’t know ended up binned – I’d rather pay full price at my favourite salon or one recommended to me than get a cheap – or usually just ok – deal somewhere I knew nothing about.
I learned the hard way that effective at-event promotions require a lot more than putting a piece of paper in a goody bag: they need thought and work before, during and after the event. I’ve made the mistake of printing off 400 flyers in full colour and glossy A4 paper when half that size (and therefore at half the cost) would do. I’ve spent money and time on promotions without giving much thought to the audience… I once pitched fashion-inspired portrait services to a crowd of elderly people at a quiz night.
It sounds obvious but when you’re in the thick of running your business and just react to an opportunity that comes your way, it’s easy to get it oh so wrong. So here are some tips that come straight from my learning experiences and that will hopefully save you some costly mistakes!
My tips for making the most of At-Event promotions:
Before the event
- First of all, DON’T just react to the promotional opportunity. Is it the right time for you? Do you see an opportunity that is perfectly matched to a particular aspect of your business, so much so that you are willing to put time, money and effort into the promotion? Or are you just too busy in something else right now to do it justice? Remember, it’s not just about sticking a flyer in a gift bag.
- Your target audience v the real audience is your Number 1 concern. If it isn’t a perfect match, forget it. It’s always going to be a gamble but don’t make it more than it needs to be. Find out from the event organisers some SPECIFICS about the attendees. With the quiz night example, I assumed because it was being run by young people it would attract young people. I was wrong. So ask specific questions to get specific answers. Do you need them to be business owners? Women between 30 and 45? Mums? Check out previous similar events – you might get clues from the organiser’s website or Facebook page.
- Don’t just throw a business card in the gift bag. This is so pointless! Business cards are meant to be used within the context of your business, i.e. when you’ve been talking to someone about your business and they ask for your business card. People who throw business cards at me for no apparent reason end up quickly forgotten.
- Get the design right or please don’t bother. This includes attention-grabbing and original wording, content that adds value to the reader and communicates clearly and simply, attractive and modern design, and high-quality, up-to-date photographs. This is the ONLY way to market your business. Otherwise it just says one of the following:
- these brochures are old and out of date and so is my thinking
- my business isn’t successful enough to afford good design and high-quality materials
- I don’t think you have good sense so you won’t notice either of the above
- Balance quality design and materials with value for money. Consider how the layout of your flyer (spacing, font and type size) will affect the printing cost. Compare printing services or develop a good relationship with a printer to whom you give ongoing work. Use black and white if you don’t think colour will add to your design. Better yet, use a graphic designer for an all-in-one, professional package.
- Don’t just throw advertising at people. It’s rude. Instead, add value with your materials. If giving a discount or voucher, make it a good one – one that’s too good to miss. If you can provide a sample, even better. Or consider invitations/free passes to events, 2 for 1 offers, introductory consultations, or educational pieces such as a tip sheet. Whatever you put in should be relevant to your business and in line with your brand (so don’t throw in a packet of lollies without thinking of the type of lolly, how it’s presented, and whether the audience even likes lollies).
At the event
- Yes, at the event. That’s where you should be if you want to make your promotion work hard for you. Be a presence to go along with your banner or flyer. I sometimes provide demonstrations of my Style Shoot – a glamour studio set up at the event for guest entertainment. This provides maximum interaction between my business and the attendees. It gives them a little chance to work with me and to ask me further questions. It provides a visual context to my promotional material, which sits alongside my mini-studio and may be boosted by material in the gift bags or on the tables.
- Act like the host. Take the opportunity to network in a genuine way: be interested in what others have to say and if the opportunity arises, mention your promotion. When I’m doing roaming event photography I try to take the time to say hello to a few people and always make a point of introducing myself to the speakers and others working at the event.
- Be seen, by leaving little touches everywhere. How else can you be involved besides a flyer in the gift bags? Besides physically being there, you could donate a door prize, provide a description of your business to the MC, add something to the tables or registration area, put up a banner, give away a gift to the host or guests. Can you get your logo on the slide show presentation or on the notes given to each attendee? Or run a competition during the break?
- Consider the placement of your marketing material. If you are leaving flyers or cards at the registration table, consider that people will come into contact with your material only if they notice it on entry, and few people will go back there later. If adding something to dining tables, less is more, as clutter just makes people feel overwhelmed or annoyed! It’s a sad moment when you see your beautiful flyer stained with a coffee cup ring or splattered with sauce.
- Protect your brand at all times. In my early days in business, I agreed to photograph an event for free. In exchange, the organiser agreed to promote me during the speeches. I emailed him a word-by-word run down of what I wanted him to say. I also double-checked with him that he had seen my intro and was ready to use it. Despite my diligence, his introduction went like this: ‘This is Julissa. She’s doing the photos tonight. She’s a lovely girl, so yeah, get your photography done with her.’ I was seeing red, but there was nothing I could do but force a smile and do my best to look like a professional and not just a lovely girl. Protecting your brand means being very firm about what you expect from the organisers (especially if you are giving something away!) and trying your best to control the content relating to your business. It also means checking that your appearance, behaviour, conversation and materials promote quality and accurately reflect your brand. This goes for any of your team members involved at any stage of the promotion too!
After the event
- They won’t remember you. So follow up! So few people follow up, that if you do you’ll really leave a mark. This DOES NOT mean spam them with a huge description of all your products and services. Where you’ve had specific enquiries, email – or better yet – call them within a couple of days. If you’ve had people join your mailing list (e.g. through an at-event competition), record their details and send them a quality email right away – something that makes them laugh or adds value. During the event you should have aimed to collect twice as many business cards as you gave out so you should have plenty of people to connect with on Facebook, Twitter or Linked In. Can you give them something for nothing? Good! This gives you a reason to contact them… with no strings attached!
- Say thank you. If I missed out on a key speaker’s details, I’ll ask the host, because I like to contact them to say thank you for adding value to my day. And of course, thank the host… perhaps with a card or gift to surprise them.
As a photographer I’m often asked about wedding photography and although this is outside New Work’s services, there are some general tips I give clients seeking wedding photographers. While we don’t do weddings, we DO do Style Shoots and mock fashion shoots for hens days/nights! But here are the wedding photography tips…
- Check that the photographer you’re getting is the one whose work you like on the website – sometimes there’s more than one photographer and they don’t all have the same standard/style
- Make sure you get a meeting with your photographer to discuss your ideas/needs before you commit
- You should be able to find one that will include a CD of all your images for you to keep
- Try to find examples and key words of what you like to give to the photographer and check that they have the right idea of what you want (communication!!)
- You should be given a contract or terms of sale to sign beforehand so you are clear what you are getting. Even though you can’t redo your wedding day if you don’t like the photos, there should still be some sort of guarantee
- Try to pick a photographer who specialises in weddings or is really strong in them. Don’t choose a cheaper option that does generic photography because weddings may not be their passion. To capture the emotion of the day you need someone sensitive to this
- Careful with friends recommendations – look at their pictures, as it may not be that what they like is what you like
- Decide whether you want more candid ‘photojournalistic’ shots, arty images or traditional/fun posed ones and find a photographer that specialises in the style you like
- If possible, book your videographer separate – to get a really good film of the wedding you want someone who specialises in this.
- Usually you get what you pay for, but sometimes photography is a rip off. Smaller, boutique businesses may give better value for money because more time can be given to each client’s project, since there are fewer clients
One photographer’s wanderings in Melbourne
My Melbourne holiday was a chance to switch off, hang out with family and friends, spend time wandering alone and going on little creative adventures! While there I did a lot of journal writing in cafes, research at the beautiful State Library and the Immigration Museum, sipping wine at tapas bars and reading or just daydreaming, visiting art exhibitions and of course… a lot of walking and photographing!
Here are some street shots, as well as shots from visual artist Laura Delaney’s Post-Grad exhibition opening, taken during my Melbourne trip.
As New Work Photography specialises in fashion shoots for local and emerging designers and stylists, we are often involved in a lot more than just taking the photos – often we design the concept, source all the required elements, coordinate the day and assist with the use of images in the final website, lookbook or brochure, too! Here are some of those behind-the-scenes elements from several of our recent shoots.
After consulting with the client to pinpoint what they’re after, we develop a creative concept for the shoot that matches their brand – whether it is for an emerging label, a fresh look for their business or a website revamp. We then source a location, models, a stylist, and sometimes clothing, costumes and props for the photoshoot.
Here we are shooting in a warehouse sourced to suit the client’s minimalist, modern brand.
This shot for Jazally Beach was taken at a bar in Fremantle.
Before shooting begins, clothing and accessories are chosen in sets for each look and set aside. The models change into their first look and have their hair and makeup done, which can take an hour or more!
Here the stylist is sorting through clothing for various looks for the Image by Jennifer shoot.
These models are being prepared for the Caldi Design shoot.
There’s a lot of waiting around during prep time!
Once models are ready they undergo test shoots so the photographer can test the light and set up the framing. This is a good time for the photographer and model to test how they will best work together – for example, for highly choreographed images the models will be given lots of direction; other times they are given a few hints and then asked to improvise! A good model can adapt to both, and a good photographer is able to put the model at ease and communicate his or her expectations clearly. During shooting time, the stylist and makeup/hair artists often step in to do touchups and make adjustments.
Hair and makeup artists step in to ensure models stay photo-ready.
Once the photoshoot is over, images are sorted and edited ready for the client’s use. As most good photographers try to get it right in the camera, post-production work will often just involve a few basic touch ups and image resizing… however, this can still take hours, depending on the volume of work. Sometimes images are stylized to create a particular effect that will suit the final destination of the photographs.
This image was given an ‘electric’ look to modernize the photograph and add interest.
Thanks for taking a look behind the scenes at New Work Photography!
Photography is actually ‘painting with light’. Just like in a painting, the artist chooses lighting to affect colour, tone and mood.
We’ve all taken and posed for photos using harsh, on-camera flash… red eyes, flat shapes, shiny skin… flaws exposed! Professional photographers most often use off-camera flash, whether a large portable flash that attaches to the camera or studio lighting equipment on stands, to achieve artistic effects that make the most of the subject’s features, or create a dramatic look.
So here are some of the secrets. Unfortunately, unless you have access to some pretty hard-core equipment you will have trouble creating the right effect with light, but you can still make the most of outdoor lighting, fill flash, and sometimes, slow shutter speeds and tripods. Read on…
Off-camera flash ALWAYS looks better than on-camera flash. With small, everyday cameras, you are using the in-built flash which is placed very close to the lens – this causes red-eye and creates a flat look that usually doesn’t compliment the subject. Flashes that are held even just a little way from the camera create depth and tone, making the photo ‘pop’.
But buying a separate flash is costly. What can I do with my regular camera? Check to see if your camera allows you to change the flash intensity. Sometimes giving the flash a little less power will give a softer effect.
Even better: Avoid using the flash. See below.
Diffused (softened/filtered/indirect) light is more forgiving than straight flash. Studio photographers use umbrellas or soft boxes to cover their flash heads and can adjust the flash intensity to varying degrees. Using light from other sources and avoiding your on-camera flash will give you your most beautiful photographs:
- If your camera has some manual controls, you can try opening up the aperture (changing the aperture setting to a low number e.g. f4) to let more light into your camera. Be aware that this will create a photograph where the objects close to the camera will be in focus, but the background may be blurry… but you may want that. Letting more light into the camera means you can shoot in darker conditions.
- You could also let more light in by changing the shutter speed (to a bigger fraction e.g. 1/15, ½) but you will need to rest your camera on a tripod or other steady surface and tell your subject to hold still, or you’ll get blur. Again, you might want this. I personally love working with blur effects.
- Or you could change the ISO to a higher setting e.g. ISO 1600, which makes your camera more sensitive to light, so it’s great for indoors.
- You can combine any of these technical adjustments with available light to create interesting photographs. Try using window light, lamps, candles or strong flash lights pointing at a soft reflective surface like foil or a silver car sunshield (Hold the sunshield close to the subject, at an angle to their right or left. Point the light at the shield and let the light bounce off the shield onto the subject. You may not see it, but your camera will).
But my camera doesn’t do all that stuff! OR I’m too scared/lazy to fiddle with all that stuff. Give me the quick tips!
- Get outside. Pay attention to where the sun and shadows are. Avoid the middle of the day as the light is too harsh. Place the subject so that the sun is at an angle – not directly in front or behind them. If you want a sunset background, use the fill flash on your camera (preferably at a low setting) to ensure the subject’s face is not in shadow. This can look really dramatic – I love working with flash on the beach (see samples at www.newworkphotography.com.au )
Using more than one light gives you creative freedom. First of all, where a light is placed creates different emotional meanings. Check out the post ‘Light has meaning’, coming soon. Secondly, photographers work with lighting ratios in the studio, using two, three or more lights at mathematical ratios to create calculated effects.
But I don’t care about that. Give me the quick tips now. Try the old car sunshield trick – hold the silver side of the sunshield up high, at an angle to the subject, so that your flash will bounce off it to create light coming from another direction. Now you have two lights. Better yet, forget your on-camera flash and play with a couple of strong lamps indoors. Place one on either side of the subject and have one a little further away than the other, or covered (careful! No fires please) to make one light the main light and one the softer, fill light. Or try a wide, soft light held above the person’s head but forward a bit, so it creates a shadow under their nose and chin while lighting their face softly. This is called ‘butterfly’ or ‘glamour lighting’.
It’s fun but it’s not working! If your camera doesn’t give you much creative freedom, you may have to heave a sigh and ring your friendly local photographer, who has paid a lot of money for magical equipment that will give you the effect you want. Wink!
Check out these websites for free tips:
Photography Lighting Tips http://www.essortment.com/hobbies/photographyligh_syhy.htm Read this article if you want more creative ideas.
Studio Lighting – a beginner’s guide to lighting http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Studio-Lighting–a-beginners-guide-to-lighting-132 This one’s a bit more technical but it might interest those thinking of turning portrait photography into a hobby.