Category: Business Development

New Year, New You?

I have to admit to not buying into the ‘New Year, New Me’ BS that floats around at this time of year.  I’m more than happy with the old me.

However, the start of the new year does bring optimism.  It also brings a sense of feeling now is the right time to sweep the decks clean and set new targets.  And that’s something I love to do.

If you are feeling some of the ‘new year, new me’ pressure, it’s good to remember that:

A. You should never wait for a specific day or date to make changes.  Why start your diet on a Monday or start selling ‘properly’ from next month?  If you are able to make the change today – then do it, don’t wait!

B. People always overestimate how much they can achieve in a year and underestimate how much they can achieve over five years.

Will all this in mind, here are my top tips for getting your new year off to the best start!

Don’t Increase Your Prices!

It’s not often you hear me saying a price increase is a bad idea. But January is definitely not a good time to do this.  I realise that pricing is an area you’ll be looking at to start the year, but think about it.  January is a ‘sale’ month – a time when businesses slash prices to help clients through the grimmest month of the year.  Not a great time for you to buck the trend and increase yours!  The best time to increase prices is at your busiest period – October time is good.  If you didn’t implement a price increase then, wait until at least March to give clients a chance to get their finances in order after Christmas.  That doesn’t stop you from preparing your new prices and reminding clients an increase is coming.

Write a Plan

Your plan doesn’t need to be fancy or written in a certain format.  But you do need to write it down and this is an excellent habit to get into.  There is lots of research to show you are much more likely to reach goals that you reinforce by writing them down or having them on display.

Work backwards

When I write my plan for the year I like to work backwards.  I like to start with what I want to earn and what I want to save.  Going backwards from that I write down targets for profit and turnover.  Once I have the annual turnover goal I split this down into DAILY targets.  That gives the turnover I need for each working day and how that equates to customer spend.  It’s then easy to work out how many clients I need, how many enquiries I need to generate and how many of those need to convert to clients.  Always be aware that the plan is fluid.  You need to be able to react, predict and adjust your course accordingly.

Vision Boards

Each January I also always create a vision board.  A vision board is a visual representation of the things I’d like to achieve in the next 12 months.  I was in a very low place the first time I made a vision board around 18 years ago.  My business was failing and I was desperate for a solution.  I put many plans into place that year and worked my butt off but I was dumbfounded to find 90% of my vision board had materialised by the end of the year.  I was hooked.

Join Our Vision Board Class

A few of our members have asked me how I make my vision boards so I’m holding a special live class for members this month in our private FB group.  I’ll be showing you exactly how to create a brilliant vision board and you can even make yours along with me.  You can join in the class here   You’ll need to be a subscribing member to get access so if you aren’t a member yet, make this month, the month you make a change, the month you give your business a massive boost by working alongside me – join us here

woman making a vision board for business planning for photographers

Be Kind To Yourself

Those of you who follow this blog probably already know that I have a ‘timetable’ for my week.   You will need to include time for shooting, editing, marketing, social media, networking, business planning, admin and financial tasks/bookkeeping.  BUT before I add my business tasks in, I come first.  I add me time – like my early morning gym visits and then I add family time like school runs, dinner and after school activities.  Because I add these first, I can justify the odd late night or a couple of hours over the weekend.  It’s a brilliant reminder of why I work – so I can enjoy me time.

So are you doing ‘New Year, New Me’ or not?

We’d love to hear how you get the new year off to a great start and if you implement any of these tips, let us know how they work for you.  We always enjoy reading your comments

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Things Are Changing Around Here

If you are in our Facebook group you will have noticed us talking about some changes we’re making.  If you’re not in our Facebook group, why not!?  Join us here

Change can be amazing – but it can also be unsettling so we want to keep you in the picture (no pun intended!) over the next few weeks.

We are constantly looking at ways to serve you better.  Baby and newborn photography is a fairly new genre, really taking off in popularity over the past five years.  This means the business landscape is constantly changing and we are really proud that we have no fear in changing along with it.

Firstly BANPAS stands for the Baby & Newborn Photography ASsociation.  We inherited this name from when BANPAS was actually a photography association but we don’t have much in common with the business we were 5 years ago.  We definitely don’t offer the things you would expect an association to offer such as accreditation or qualifications.  There are some great associations which fill this need perfectly already, but the photographers who join us are looking for something different.  So the first thing changing is our name – we’ll be known as the Baby & Newborn Photography Network.

 

Why ‘Network’?

We truly believe we are better together.  One thing we can’t stand is the bitching and backbiting side of our industry which does sadly exist.  The scorn which is sometimes aimed at newbies, the cliques that make you feel like an outsider and the critique you didn’t ask for that really knocked your confidence. This can be demoralising to new photographers and tiring for experienced ones.  It’s really important to us that we’ve never allowed the ‘mean girl attitude’ to exist in any of our groups.  We are more like a family – we love the connection we make with our members. We love seeing our members collaborating, sharing ideas and advice and our experienced members nurturing our newer members – and we want more of the same.  Because we’re better together.

We’ve spent a ton of time over the past few years getting to really understand our members – the majority of you struggle with managing your time, your family commitments and all the hard work that running a business brings.  The majority of you are stressed at the ‘feast or famine’ roller coaster of booking in clients.  And lots of you struggle with feeling confidence – in your work and in being an entrepreneur.  Many of you don’t even feel like a ‘real’ business owner at all.

We know that we’re in the best position to support you through all of this so you hit the floor running each day.  And for this reason we’re changing.  Changing to support you.

If you are already a member, we promise to keep you up to date with our exciting changes over the next few weeks in our group and via our newsletter.

If you’re not a member yet, have a look at the benefits you can access for just $3.99 per month

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The World is Turning Turtle

I absolutely ADORE the Mary Poppins sequel that was released in cinemas late last year.
I loved everything about the film – the costumes, the actors, the special effects – wow the bathtub scene!  – and especially the music.

The soundtrack is something special – each song tells it’s own story with a life lesson hidden inside it.
My 7-year-old daughter, Iris, and I have it on loop when we are baking in the kitchen because I really want some of the life lessons in those songs to rub off on her.

My favourite song from the soundtrack though is “Turning Turtle”.

I won’t spoil the film for those of you that haven’t seen it but “Turning turtle” tells the story of a wonderfully colourful and eccentric lady, played by the fabulous Meryl Streep, who can fix anything, except on every second Wednesday of the month when her whole world – quite literally – turns upside down.

Mary Poppins always has the answer of course;

“You see, when the world turns upside down, The best thing is turn right along with it”
“I do see! From down here, things look right side up, hahaha I wouldn’t mind seeing things from that angle
“When you change the view from where you’re stood, the things you view will change for good”
Iris and I enjoy making biscuits the most and we have loads of fun turning our cookie cutters “turtle” to see what other shapes we can make.
I’m trying to make her see that there is always a different way to look at things which you might end up preferring!

So that last line of those lyrics is so important – and definitely applies to your business.

Changing how you view a situation will often reveal the answers you’re looking for.

Instead of thinking … “I have my prices displayed several times, the client had a copy before they booked, why now, after the session, do they say they weren’t expecting to spend so much”
Try thinking … “This client might have identified an opportunity for me to make things clearer, how can I test the client process so I can see it from their point of view”
Instead of thinking … “No wonder my business is quiet when the photographer up the road is charging half of my prices”
Try thinking … “how can I add perceived value to my sessions? Is there something I can deliver for clients that no one else can?”
Instead of thinking … “Facebook is so evil and nasty for not showing my posts to more people, that’s what’s killing my enquiries”
Try thinking … “what are all of the ways I can reach my ideal client without using social media?”
Turning your world “turtle” is fabulous for your mental health and your attitude as it spins every negative into a positive.It can work wonders for your business and is a great problem-solving tool.
I’d love you to give it a try.
Oh and definitely go see the film if you haven’t already!
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Don’t Lose Business Because You Can’t Be Found

This sounds so obvious, but being discoverable might not be something you really think about.

Around 50% of the admin issues we deal with at The Baby & Newborn Photography Network revolve around our members using different email address – so maybe registering for two accounts with us for example.

Sometimes we are unable to find a member in our database because they have changed their name or business name and not informed us.

There are times when we go searching for a member to clarify details and we end up finding a few different versions of them on social media too!

I’m certain that your prospects will not be putting in as much effort to find you.

The aim of the game is to reduce the barriers – make it as simple as possible to be found.

The easiest to find businesses will end up with the most enquiries.

Here are some handy tips to make sure your prospects and clients have an easy time finding you.

 

Use Your Google Business Listing

Make sure this listing is up to date, has your correct business name, address and images that reflect your work.  If you have a studio address make sure it appears in the right place on google maps.  You also want to check that all of the links on it are working and going to the right place.
And most importantly, check the reviews.  If you don’t regularly check this listing, you may find that there are reviews on it that don’t relate to you or are unfair.  These will be off-putting to anyone searching for you on google.

Change of Business Name

If you have ever changed your business name you might want to refer to it in a few places on your website.
Writing a blog article covering the details is a sensible place to start.
This increases the chances that if an old client is searching for your previous business name, that you will at least appear in the searches.

Social  Media

Do all of your social media profiles that you use for your business contain the same name?
This is really important to help share the traffic from all of these platforms.
Make it easy for someone following you on Facebook to also find and follow you on Instagram.
If some of your profiles have a different name, consider changing them to give some consistency.

Links and Listings

Check all of your directory listings.
Using Google Console you can see all of the external links that link to your website.
Take particular notice of the ones that are designed to drive traffic to you – such as directory listings.
And then check them all for accuracy – are the contact details and addresses on those listings all correct?
Do they have up to date images if applicable?

 

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Pro and Premium Membership

Have you ever watched any of our monthly training and really wished you could keep a copy to reference back to?  Or has a busy life taken over and our monthly content has expired before you have chance to watch it?

You have options!

The simplest way to ensure you have a full library of our content which doesn’t ever expire is to upgrade to our Premium membership level.  This gives you access to all of our monthly training tutorials to watch for the lifetime of your membership.  They don’t expire and you can watch them at any time.  As soon as you take premium membership you get access to the entire library – including tutorials from before your membership even started.

Its simple to upgrade to premium in your Account Dashboard in the Training Hub
Click your name > dropdown menu > Membership Account

The other option you have is to upgrade to Pro membership.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Pro Level Member?
* Highlighted listing on our website directory
* Access to recorded webinars for lifetime of paid Pro membership after broadcast date
* Use of BANPAS Pro logo on website and other literature
* 24hr legal helpline with Aaduki
* Chance to be featured on our parent-targeted blog

How Much Does It Cost To Upgrade?
There is an admin fee of £25 to apply for Pro membership.
If you achieve pro Level, your subscription payment will increase to either £22 per month or £220 per year.
A gallery will be opened for you to upload your images to for scoring.
If you do not upload your images within 7 days your gallery will expire.

When Can I Apply?

Members are welcome to apply for Pro level membership at any point of their membership, even if you have only just become a member.

How Do I Apply?
Click the link in your Account Dashboard in the Training Hub
Click your name > dropdown menu > Membership Account

How Will Upgrading Affect My Payments?
In the case of monthly paying members – your monthly subscription amount will increase on your next payment date
In the case of annual paying members –  pro-rata amounts are calculated on an individual basis

What Images Do I Need To Submit?
* 12 anonymous (un-watermarked) images for individual scoring by our panel of Ambassadors.
* Sessions can be newborn up to 12 months – no maternity.
* Ideally images will be taken from different sessions

How Are My Images Scored?
Your images will be assessed as an entire porfolio on the following basis:
* Focus – we expect images to have clear sharp focus on the subject
* Exposure – we expect images to be properly exposed
* Lighting – we expect to see an understanding of the use of light
* Posing – we expect to see refined posing with thought given to any parents and siblings
* Creativity – we expect to see your creativity and style

Who Scores My Submission?
All images are scored by our team of ambassadors
The ambassadors who score the panels that are submitted don’t know whose panel they are scoring and scoring is done independently – they are not permitted to discuss images or scoring.
This ensures that we get a fair score across the board.
The ambassadors who score the panels are also pro level and some of them are leaders in our industry with many years experience, so they understand the importance of screen calibration, lighting and  posing

How Long Does It Take?
We give you 7 days to upload your images to your gallery.
Once images have been uploaded, we then open the gallery to our Ambassadors for scoring and ask them to score within 14 days.
However, please be advised the scoring process can occasionally take longer during holiday periods.

We often get members asking if they can see actual panel submissions to give them an idea of the level required.  The gallery below is the panel submission for Kirsten Reddington of Little Crumpets Photography who was recently awarded the Commended badge to go with her Pro status.  It’s a stunning gallery and gives you a clear idea of the quality of work our Pro Commended members are producing.

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BANPAS Loyalty Discount

Do you know what really annoys me?  Companies that save all of their best offers and discounts for brand new clients.

This is one of the reasons you will never find a discount code for BANPAS membership.  What we have instead is a pretty cool promise to all of our existing members.

We promise that the price you pay when you join is the price you pay for as long as you are a member.  This means that the price you pay today is the cheapest price possible to join us.  It also means that the longer you stay with us, the better value your membership becomes.  It doesn’t rise with inflation so in effect becomes cheaper for each year you stay.

To enable us to offer this loyalty scheme we have just two strict rules.

  1. You have to maintain continuous membership.  This means that if you let your membership expire, even for just a day, you will need to rejoin us at the current price.  We pride ourselves on being fair to all of our members and never make an exception on this rule.
  2. If you want to upgrade or downgrade your membership at any point, you will need to pay the current price for that level of membership.

 

 

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Photography Contracts

If you’re like so many UK portrait photographers, chances are you’re either not working with a contract or it’s on your list of things to update ‘when you get a moment’. Here are three essentials your portrait contract should include.

The essentials come from Maria Murray and Sally Slack, who are UK portrait photographers with more than twenty years of portrait photography experience between them.  They have just launched a portrait contract template for UK portrait photographers under their joint business Harmony& Blue.

“Every portrait photographer needs to have a cancellation policy that spells out what happens if a client cancels. As we all know, children get sick, plans change and if you’re a location photographer, the weather isn’t always suitable, Maria says. When cancellations happen, the client and the photographer need to be clear what happens next.

“The second essential thing about your contract is that for it to be lawful, it has to be fair to both the client and photographer.  You can’t just put in whatever conditions you want, unless they’re also fair to your client.

Many photographers hodge podge together a set of T&C’s, which are often very one sided. “When you think about it, it’s logical that a contract is not just for your, but also your clients protection, but so many people don’t realise this,’ Maria says.

“And the third essential your contract needs to deal with is raw files. At some point, you’re going to have a client who is going to ask about them, if you haven’t already. Many clients have decent DSLRs and know enough to ask about raws – we need to be able to handle that question professionally and seamlessly. It seems to be a subject that comes up again and again”

Partner and photographer Sally Slack explains: “There are many more areas that a portrait contract needs to cover, but these are three that are easy to miss.

The other things to mention especially if your current contract is one that originated in the US, is that privacy and e-commerce is less regulated in US than in Europe.

Maria and Sally teamed up with top UK lawyers to build a portrait contract template that has been beta tested on portrait genres including lifestyle, newborn, location and family.

“We’ve spent months creating this, and tested it with a variety of UK portrait photographers. It’s the product we wish had been available when we were just starting out,” Maria & Sally say.

Essentially, the hard work has been done for you – there is no need to sit with your lawyer for hours creating a contract from scratch. All you need to do is follow the simple instructions and customise it to your needs, then having it checked over to ensure it works for you following your customisations, should just be a formality.

PROFILES: Maria Murray is the owner of Sweet Bambini, and a UK photographer that has specialised in newborn, maternity & baby photography for over 14 years. Sally Slack is also a newborn photographer and especially known by many portrait photographers as the owner of www.babyprops.co.uk. She has been a photographer for 10 years in the US, Singapore and the UK.

Harmony and Blue offer BANPAS members a discount – just log into the Resources Hub > click your name > Supplier Discount Code for details… Read the rest

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Podcast : Planning Your Newborn Photography Session

Here at BANPAS we love helping photographers to be more efficient, which in turn makes them more profitable.

One way of being more efficient, which is often overlooked, is in planning your sessions.
Of course most newborn and baby photographers work to the baby’s schedule and we all know that baby often doesn’t get the memo detailing your plans, but planning your perfect session and how to react when things don’t go to plan can have huge benefits for you and your clients:

    • Clients can see that you have invested time in them prior to the session even starting – this shows you care about your work, your clients and the outcome.
    • You can eliminate your pre session nerves by planning. Knowing which order you are posing baby in means you don’t have to worry about thinking on your feet the whole time.
    • You won’t miss out poses or images that you want to try and include.
    • You can plan for when things don’t go to plan, leaving you calm and in control even when baby doesn’t fancy snoozing at any point during the session!

To assist you in planning, we have interviewed BANPAS member Lee Fletcher of lee Fletcher Photography in Falkirk.
In this interview, Lee shares some fantastic tips on planning your sessions to ensure success.  (hear the interview below)

In addition to this, if you are a BANPAS member, we have created an amazing free resource for you this month.

free newborn posing cards

You can find the pack of 25 newborn posing cards in our Member’s Resources Hub (My Classes > Free Resources) which you can download to your desktop or mobile to help plan and then prompt you during your session.

Even if you’re not currently a member, you can download the Posing Cards for free HERE

The cards feature images and poses from some of the UK’s leading newborn posing trainers and every card includes detailed instructions on how to achieve each pose safely.We know you are going to LOVE these cards!

We’d also love to hear your feedback on this months resources, please comment below.

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Facebook VIP Groups

Facebook is undoubtedly a powerful tool in the marketing arsenal of the small business. Your target market are highly likely to have a Facebook account – it’s the social media platform with the widest demographic from teens to grannies and spanning most social classes. However, your target market may not make their purchasing decisions on Facebook – they may use it instead to keep in touch with friends and family, and perhaps research businesses or products they are already considering.

You will also have noticed a declining organic reach on your Facebook page.Facebook favour paid for advertising and posts over general status updates and you need to be concentrating on creating engaging and interesting content these days to even consider being seen in any decent quantity.

The answer could be Facebook Groups.

A Facebook Group is basically a community of people with something in common.

In your case – they love having professional portraiture.

Groups have lots of advantages over pages but our favourite reasons include:

You Get A Better Insight To Your Ideal Client.
The conversations and interaction you see in your groups will give you a great picture of your ideal client, their likes, dislikes, the language they use and the topics they enjoy discussing. In short – gold dust for marketing.

You Get To Build Better Relationships With Your Clients.
Groups are a great place to share things you might not share on your public page. Your clients get to see more of the real you – your profile posts in groups rather than your business page. This can work really well – clients who feel like they know you are far more likely to be loyal to you and keep returning.

Better Reach.
You usually get a better, more targeted reach in groups as long as your content there is interesting and engaging.

If you’d like more business support you can subscribe to our Business Club HERE as well as join our free Facebook Group

 

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New Year, New You?

The start of a new year brings optimism and a sense of feeling now is the right time to sweep the decks clean and set new targets.

I feel some of this sentiment at the start of a new year but it’s always tempered by remembering that:

A. You should never wait for a specific day or date to make changes.  Why start your diet on a Monday or start selling ‘properly’ from next month?  If you are able to make the change today – then do it, don’t wait!

B. People always overestimate how much they can achieve in a year and underestimate how much they can achieve over five years.

Will all this in mind, here are my top 3 tips for getting 2018 off to the best start!

Don’t Increase Your Prices!

It’s not often you hear me saying a price increase is a bad idea but January is definitely not a good time to do this.  I realise that pricing is an area you’ll be looking at to start the year, but think about it.  January is a ‘sale’ month – a time when businesses slash prices to help clients through the grimmest financial month of the year.  Not a great time for you to buck the trend and increase yours!  The best time to increase prices is at your busiest period – October time is good.  If you didn’t implement a price increase late last year then wait until at least March now to give clients chance to get their finances in order after Christmas.  That doesn’t stop you from preparing your new prices and reminding clients that prices will be increasing soon and now is the best time to take advantage of your lower prices!

Write a Plan

Your plan doesn’t need to be fancy or written in a certain format.  But you do need to write it down.  This is an excellent habit to get into and there is lots of research to show you are much more likely to reach goals that you reinforce by writing them down or having them on display.  When I write my plan for the year I like to work backwards.  I like to start with what I want to earn and what I want to save.  Going backwards from that I write down targets for profit and turnover.  Once I have the annual turnover goal I split this down into DAILY targets – the turnover I need for each working day and how that equates to customer spend.  It’s then easy to work out how many clients I need and backwards from that, how many enquiries I need to generate and how many of those need to convert to clients.  Always be aware that the plan is fluid, you need to be able to react – and more importantly predict and adjust your course accordingly.

Be Kind To Yourself

Those of you who follow this blog probably already know that I have a ‘timetable’ for my week.  If you want more information on how this works, BANPAS members can watch 5 steps to Success training videos in the member’s hub – I cover the timetable in the time management module.  The basic concept of the timetable is I allocate set times during the week to all of the tasks that are required to run my business.  You will need to include time for shooting, editing, marketing, social media, networking, business planning, admin and financial tasks/bookkeeping.  BUT before I add my business tasks in, I come first.  I add me time – like my early morning gym visits and then I add family time like school runs, dinner and after school activities.  Because I add these first, I can justify the odd late night or couple of hours over the weekend.  It’s a brilliant reminder of why I work – so I can enjoy the me time.

We’d love to hear how you get the new year off to a great start and if you implement any of these tips, let us know how they work for you.  We always enjoy reading your comments

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