Perretti Photo

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Diary of A Commercial Photographer: What I’m Doing Today

I’ve been doing this for close to 10 years. To some that’s a long time, and to a lot, I’m just getting started. Either way you can learn a lot personally and professionally working for yourself. In the photography business you have to be prepared for a lot of loses and learn from mistakes. For every “No” you will get that YES! It’s a very hilly battle with competition, slow periods, and even insanely busy times. For all the chaos you still need a plan. Without a plan or goal in mind you will just be spinning wheels.

For the success I’ve had, It comes from my commitment to shooting new work and marketing myself to the right audience. Companies like Agency Access, FOUND, and Yodelist don’t make this stuff up when they always tell us to market ourselves. It’s actually true and it works! When I talk to photo students in college marketing is always my favorite subject to talk about. In school you are learning the craft and becoming skillful in taking pictures, but how are you going to present that to the world? That’s where marketing starts. Before I even get into specifics (which there is not 1 answer for) CONSISTENCY IS KING. If you think your going to do it, you might forget about it in a month, then 6 months goes by, “wait what did I forget to do?” Maybe you got busy, or lazy, who cares, you have to do it or nothing in the long run will happen for your business.

Let’s step back and honestly think about this, who markets? Why? Easy example: Coca Cola. Everyone knows who they are and what they are about. How do we know? Because they are always marketing their product! I bet even more than before because soda sales are going down. Coca Cola has been a staple product for decades and you don’t see them slowing down in their marketing. They want their product on the top of your mind without any hesitation. When you hear soda what’s the first brand that comes to mind? Maybe Pepsi.. But then Coca Cola! hahaha! Consistent marketing will grow your business.

 Food Photography by Food Photographer Felicia Perretti, New York, Chicago

For myself I have come up with a marketing plan that I analyze every year. This is no secret and anyone can do it, it’s just who can do it consistently. I have my plan broken down by month and I list out my To-Do’s for the month. I make phone calls, I send an e-newsletter, I post to social media, I test shoot or update my website, I update my blog, I check out my LinkedIn page, I send out a printed promo piece, and a couple other things here and there. I don’t send an email or printed promo every month. I take into consideration my marketing financials as well as my audience’s email space and know they don’t want an email from me every month! You have to find the balance of keeping your work at the top of their mind but not to over reach and annoy them. Having the marketing plan written out helps keep you on track. With all the above itemized out over the course of 12 months I print it out and tape it right to my door in my office. It’s there to remind me what I need to do for the month. This works for me, but I know some people need more than that to remind them. Put reminders on your phone or computer, whatever works for you. Also what I have on my marketing plan might not apply to you. It comes back to your audience and how they like to see new work or to be followed up with. Whatever that plan may be 1 really great rule of thumb is to have at least 3 modes of marketing outreach.

When your new to business the funds might not be flying in so being budget conscience with marketing at first is fine. Social media is free, so is Facebook, and LinkedIn. Printed promos, and e-newsletters will have a cost. If your still on your family phone plan then make some phone calls to potential clients. Any questions? Email me: felicia@perrettiphotography.com

Diary of A Commercial Photographer: How I Got Started

Catchy title right?! :) I can’t say my post is actually from a diary but the idea of my real thoughts on the business in writing remind me of my diary I had when I was little. The "real deal" moments you had growing up that just had to get written down; documented, so you can look back and remember when… Since the recent closing of my college The Art Institute I know I won’t be able to visit the school and talk with photo students anymore. My post reflects my own experiences and opinions and were discussed with students at school.

 Food Photography by Food Photographer Felicia Perretti, New York, Chicago

I wanted to be a commercial photographer in 11th grade. I remember attending my local technical school that had an amazing commercial art program with the best teachers! They are still working there today and still inspiring students. They had a photo studio where I could shoot products, study advertisements, understand graphic design, and learn everything I could about photography. My first job at 13 was working at the local supermarket, so I was around food all day. Not a bad thing! :) When I would face off the shelves or be a cashier I would ring up items that had food photos on them. It was that moment I knew that’s what I wanted to do! I enrolled in college attending The Art Institute where it also had a commercial driven curriculum. During school I interned and assisted with commercial photographers in all genres and still came back to food photography.

Any advice I can give current photo students or someone looking to change careers, assist for as many currently working photographers as you can. This career is very much a learn on the job pace. You can’t just open shop without watching and learning from other pros, you are going to waste your time and money. The first impression you have on a potential client is your last impression so you want to make sure your best foot is forward. I know in today’s world everything is online where you can “learn.” There’s a huge difference in watching someone and actually being there and doing something, so don’t think there’s a quick fix or easy way out.

In addition to working under professional photographers you want to make sure and give yourself creative freedom. This is your career and it’s going to change a lot over time. You need to make sure and remember why your doing this in the first place. Let yourself be inspired by other photographers alive or deceased. Doing creative exercises like this will help you understand what you enjoy photographing. Have fun!