Check this out guys! My amazingly talented friend Promise Tangeman has started a site where you can purchase fully customizable websites designed by her. There are eight amazing style groups to choose from and all of them are designed for use on ShowIt Sites. If you haven't heard of ShowIt Sites - definitely check them out. For $39/month you get your website hosted and the ability to use their software to change it as much as you want. And it's super-user-friendly. You don't need to know anything about website design to make changes. I created both my MJ 2 Day site and my Album Design Templates site in just a few days each using ShowIt. Super simple! You can even download the software and start playing with it for free!
Then you can either design your own site from scratch OR (this is what I would recommend cause let's face it - just because we're photographers doesn't mean we're designers!) for only $179 -- which is a crazy-steal! -- you can purchase one of Promise's killer style groups through SiteHouse to get you started. You start with her design and you customize it for your brand - your logo, your text, your color, your photos - and whala! you have a rockin' site for your business. Then - if you ever what to change it up - you have complete freedom to do so. As much as you want. Anytime.
All you wedding industry business owners - put this on your must-read list. It's packed full of good stuff. Not to mention it's written with us in mind.
Take the title: "Selling the Invisible." Those of us who are selling a service are doing just that - selling something that, at the time it is purchased, is invisible. I love how Beckwith starts the book: "So as a service marketer...you face prospects almost shaking with worry, and sensitive to any mistake you might make. That is where your marketing must start: with a clear understanding of that worried soul." Recognizing how the potential client who walks into my office must feel -- they want to remember the most amazing day of their lives and are willing to spend thousands of dollars to do so but there are no guarantees -- really humbles me and makes me want to do whatever I can to help eliminate their fears and uncertainty.
Over and over again while I read this book, my belief in the power of blogging was confirmed. Blogging is so powerful because it helps form a connection with potential clients that can grow trust within their hearts and eliminate the fears and uncertainty they are faced with when hiring a wedding photographer. Blogs give the business owner the opportunity to demonstrate integrity and consistency which are foundational if we are going to ask clients to trust us. As Beckwith says, "A service is a promise....What you really are selling is your honesty." I can't tell you how many times I've been hired by couples without even meeting them or how many times they have walked into my office already sold because my blog has removed all obstacles for them already. They feel they can trust me. What an honor. I really take that seriously. And it makes me want to do whatever I can to continue to build trust in them throughout the course of our working relationship through amazing customer service.
Beckwith explores so many different areas of marketing -- getting customer feedback, knowing your client & what you are selling, positioning and focus, pricing, naming and branding, communicating and selling -- all with the service industry in mind. His chapters are short and to the point with the point literally spelled out in bold faced type at the end of each one. There is just a wealth of information in this book and it really inspired me.
I have a thing where I keep track of anything I want to remember on the front inside cover of a book. I write the page number and the point that stuck out or something I want to add to my goal list because of what I read. This is what the inside of my copy of Selling the Invisible looks like:
This weekend I met Jenn and her two boys Jacob (9) and Aidan (7). Jenn contacted me because she wants to start a new tradition of getting yearly photos with her boys. I LOVE that! I am totally on board with that idea. She also contacted me because she knew I was familiar with photographing children with autism. Aidan is on the autism spectrum. Having photographed my two nephews with autism for the last 10 years, I knew we might have a challenge on our hands.
We met up at McCormick Railroad Park because Aidan is obsessed with trains. He loves them. So we thought it would be fun to incorporate the trains and tracks in the shoot. Before I got there they had already rode the train and Aidan was scared because of the noises it made. And he ended up being nervous the entire shoot. So instead of smiling in the above shot, we decided silliness was in order. Sometimes you just need to be silly.
Here's a sweet shot of Aidan:
And Jacob is a cutie:
Mom and her boys:
The secret to getting smiles out of seven and nine year old boys? Apparently...fart noises.
Love this one:
And bringing back the silliness one more time:
All kids have rough days - those with autism and those without. But we still got some great photos that I'm sure Jenn will cherish as she looks back on this season of her boys' lives.
Friday I met up with Carl and Jessica for their engagement shoot. These two are from New York but are planning a destination wedding here in Arizona in the Spring. They love the unique beauty of the desert so wanted to capture that in their shoot. They picked a gorgeous day to spend outside and I found myself falling in love with Arizona all over again as we walked around.
Carl and Jessica were so cute and into each other - they laughed easily and were so fun to shoot! Here are some of my favorite photos from our session:
Thanks for a great shoot guys! Can't wait for the wedding!