Thursday, April 09, 2009

Business day Thursday: Pittsburgh, Jill-e Bags and Cards, Cards, and More Cards

Good Morning Everybody,
We had another great crowd - over 200 strong in Pittsburgh last night. Several of those who attended were friends I had made over the years while teaching at Tri-Angle Institute.

Tri-Angle is a once a year, week-long educational experience where photographers gather from the the three state area including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and spend that week with some of the top photographers from around the country, Here is the link to their site.

It is a wonderful learning experience for all that attend. I've been teaching here since 1986 so it was nice to catch up with several old friends last night.

Another nice surprise was catching up with Jill Wright, the owner of Jill-e bags. Jill started the company about 18 months ago and it has really taken off for her. She saw a market for a gear bag for women who were looking for a much more stylish alternative to the simple black bag choices everyone else was offering. Check out many of her designs right here. She recently added the "Jack" line - a very cool line of gear bags for guys. Heck, when you head out on the job, you have to look good and Jill's camera bags do just that.

Today we make the 4 hour drive to Buffalo to catch up with about 175 more photographers. I am thrilled with the success of the tour so far. My thanks again to everybody who are sharing their positive reflections of the presentation on their blogs and web sites and for the additional efforts many are making to be celebrating exciting lighting and good photography.

OK, time to move on with this week's episode of Business Day Thursday - here we go...

A Super Easy Way To Spread The Word About Your Business
The more I look at what's available at our fingertips on-line and from businesses offering so many easy solutions to promote your business, I'm blown away by why so many photographers don't take advantage of the opportunities available. Maybe it's because, on the surface, that some of these products and services don't look like business building strategies at first.

Here is a case in point. I was on-line about a week ago looking for a service that would make up business cards. In the old days, we went to a local print shop, paid the fare, and picked up a few hundred cards, text only - raised text cost extra, and color cost even more.

Today, the process is effortless. Just truck on over to any number of sites offering business cards - there are a gazillion online - just google business cards. I decided to check out [link] and was amazed how easy it was to order traditional cards, but even more amazed by how easy in which I could design my own cards with my images. The process took a few mouse clicks and I was finished. OK, you may be asking Why do I want to order business cards I already have some? Folks, I don't want you to order them for yourselves, I want you to order them for every single client that walks through your door. That's right, every client should receive a personal set of "business cards" from you. Think about it, the cards feature their high school senior picture, new baby picture, family portrait, wedding image.....whatever. Each of these cards also show Photography by____.

Do you see where I'm going here. These cards are truly business cards as they get distributed by your clients. We give a $25 dollar credit to our customer for each card that finds it way back to us. This encourages the customer to spread the word about us, our studio, our photography.

The cost of these cards is like close to nothing. I found online 100 cards for $3.95. At that price that's why each of your clients should receive 100 cards included with their order.

I walked through the entire process which took only minutes and that included me uploading my own image to the company.

Folks, it's not about buying business cards. It's about using these kinds of services to leverage your brand building via your clients in a super simple, inexpensive, easy fast manner. What could be easier in spreading the word about what you do and building your business?

The process doesn't have to end with business cards. The list of products offered by these companies is very diverse - stamps, magnets, postcards, and the list goes on and on. Get those creative juices flowing and check out some of the possibilities available then follow thru and give it a try. This is an easy and exciting opportunity not to be picked up and used by every photography business.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. We head off to Buffalo in just a few minutes. I hear they have 50 degree weather so maybe we'll beat the snow this time around. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another scintillating Soap Box Friday: MAC or PC - Let the Wars Begin!

On that slightly instigating note, I saying Adios, See everybody in Buffalo tonight -David


  1. David, I got to see you last night in Pittsburgh, your lighting techniques and results are truly amazing. If anyone reading this was thinking about going to this seminar, It was well worth the 5 round trip drive to see David.

    You are right about having fun, I think so many of us focus so hard on getting the right shot that we forget how fun it is or to experiment with lighting on our own.

  2. I ordered the Jack messenger bag at the Cleveland show. It is a really slick looking bag AND it doesn't yell out to every body in the world that you are carrying thousands of dollars worth of camera gear as you walk around, especially in an airport!

    Can't wait to get it soon!!

  3. I love my Jill-e bag! I'm glad you're a fan too!

    Fantastic idea about the business cards! I've been trying to pass my cards out myself. What a great idea to have my customers help!

  4. I'm not sure about the USPS, but in Canada our postal company offers photos to stamps as well; it might be cheaper than going through an independent company... not to drive traffic away from those guys, but there are a few places to get cool things like that!

  5. Buisness card idea : fantastic in it's simplicity.
    Thanks a lot. I'll be using your tip !