Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WPPI - The Take Away

WPPI was an amazing event and a tremendous learning opportunity. We experienced WPPI mostly from the trade show floor, a place where you can get the real story of being a professional photographer at least 100 times a day if you listen carefully. We talked to a lot of great people and these are 5 things we heard time and time again.

1. Be unique. Create your own style. Today anyone with a DSLR can be your competition… if you let them. However, if you develop an individual identity, an original look to your imagery, a special service or services that differentiate you from the crowd clients will find you. Our friends Walter van Dusen and Bob Coates push a fine art side of their business to attract new clients.  A group of photographers from Maine has started the Maine Photographer Coalition to help promote their businesses by selling more fine art images.

2. Don’t make price a factor. The top professionals we talked to didn’t figure cost into their success equation. Don’t ask yourself “what is the other guy charging,” but ask “what is the value of my talent and services.” When you know what you are selling, and that your talent and services are something of value, you will know what pricing model is right.

3. Quality matters. Time and time again we were complimented on the excellent quality of our printing. If you take pride in your photographic abilities why settle for an inferior print? To quote a photographer at the show, “There are a lot of beautifully bound albums here (at the WPPI trade show), with some really badly printed photos inside.” The wrapper may be gorgeous but it’s the print that defines your ability as a photographer.

5. Use your resources. Why limit yourself to just a few options. If you need a special lens, camera or piece of lighting equipment why not rent it. Our friends LensProtoGo have just about any piece of equipment you need in stock now. Tired of the same old look get some new backdrops. Need a cool website but don’t have the funds to pay a web designer? Try BluDomain for an extensive selection of websites at great prices. And most important, if you have a question ask your vendors, like Digital Silver Imaging, we know what’s out there and we can help you find it.

We love going to photo events like WPPI because every time we connect with a photographer we learn something. Check in with us in the coming weeks and find out how we put what we've learned into practice. Keep shooting in black and white, and maybe we’ll see you at the SPE Conference in Atlanta March 10-12!

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