Category: Personal Development

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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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.

[IMG-Gal id=5580]

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Your Client Did WHAT To Their Photos?!

You work really hard as a portrait photographer.

It takes time energy and effort to find the right clients whom you then expertly take through your service – perhaps offering bespoke styling for their session, entertaining the children so that you get perfect portraits and then finally, carefully culling images and taking painstaking care over your editing.

You deliver your gallery, take a step back to admire your hard work, count your cash and your facebook interactions and then…….WHAT is that filter she’s put on her Instagram feed??

Your client has ‘ruined’ your image.

This is such a common scenario, I see it daily, sometimes twice daily in photography forums and groups.

It’s usually accompanied by complaints and frustration, and battle cries of ‘copyright infringement’ can be heard all around.

But let’s just take a step back …. time out!

Let’s look at this from your client’s point of view.

They are highly unlikely to realise they have done anything ‘wrong’ at all.
The way they see it, they have paid you for a service (taking photographs) they have then bought digital files from you – in their mind they have bought something, a product – they OWN something.
Digital files, whether we like it or not, have a low perceived value.
Everyone has a camera in their phone and they spend time deleting digital files from it to free up space, that’s how much value some people would place on digital files – these same people probably wouldn’t dream of tearing up photographs or shoving whole albums in the bin would they?
Add this to the fact that social media platforms like Instagram give them a whole host of instant filters for every image they own – and their own phone probably has portrait filters for their selfies – and you can see why it’s perfectly reasonable that they are tempted to ‘get creative’ with decent images.

So how does it actually affect you?  The only way I can see this having any impact on you is a potential client might see it and not like the edit and therefore not choose you for their next portrait session.  Hmmm, how likely is this?  Firstly, if they are in the market for portraits RIGHT NOW, they will be googling, checking out photographers on facebook and social media.  Chances are they will see more of your ‘controlled’ edited images in your own portfolios than the one image their friend ‘filtered’ with.  It’s unlikely that one image will put them off, right?  Secondly if they are not looking RIGHT NOW for a photographer, they will definitely not remember it was your image that their friend posted with a badly jaundiced baby.

But, I get that this is your art, your passion and that you care about the quality of work you produce.  In that case, talking about filters and unauthorised editing is something which needs to happen BEFORE your client gets their digital files.

It’s actually much better to sell your client wall art if you can’t bear the thought of your work being edited – you might want to make the price of your digitals so high – and talk to the client about why they are high – that the client prefers to invest in wall art.  Problem solved.  You can share some of the editing process with your client so they can see that they are paying a premium to include editing – ask them if they would buy a beautifully decorated cake from a baker and take it home, scrape the icing off and give it a go themselves.  It is entirely your responsibility to educate your clients on this matter – don’t expect them to just ‘know’.

 

Finally if you do see an image of yours that a client has ‘filtered’ you have two choices.  You can moan and then have a very difficult and awkward conversation with the client, leaving a bad taste in their mouth and a confidence crisis on your shoulders.  You can spend this negative energy for very, very little outcome – she won’t take the filter off, she’ll just make sure you can’t see it. OR you can move on, get over, see it for what it is – inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

Save your time and energy for the positive tasks like finding clients and marketing your beautifully edited images to the world.
In the words of a very famous song, it’s time to Let It Go ….

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Are You A Seagull or A Swan?

You may think this is a strange topic for a blog for photographers, but bear with me, it will all make sense, I promise.

You might like to think that it doesn’t really matter what people think about you – that if your intentions are good then what they think is their problem, not yours. Unfortunately, if you run a business, it matters hugely what other people think about you.  Ultimately, it affects your bottom line , your profit, your income.

So what has this got to do with swans and seagulls I hear you ask?

When you see a swan gliding across a lake you might notice how graceful they are.  They look regal and commanding, people stop to watch, perhaps making a special trip to see or feed them.  If you had to be a bird, a swan would surely appear high on your shortlist.  Swans rub shoulders with royalty, they appear in ballets, paintings and crests and you likely would come off worse if you got into a fight with a swan.   However, beneath all the grace and beauty, there’s a great ugly mess going on beneath the water.  Winged feet are flapping, short thick legs are kicking and pushing, there’s nothing graceful about it.  The swan doesn’t let anyone else see her mess or her struggles.

 

Are you a swan or a seagull?

The seagull, on the other hand, is a whole different kettle of fish.  Seagulls are brash and loud, they publicly spat over scraps of discarded food – they might even swoop down and steal the chips right from the carton in your hand. Everybody knows about it when a seagull has an issue, there’s nothing discreet or calm about a seagull. People call them vermin with wings and actively avoid areas where they might be.  If you had to be a bird, the seagull would come very low on your list.

 

Act professionally at all times

Just take a few minutes to think about your business.  How do you react when things go wrong – as they inevitably will?  Do you immediately take to social media to rant – or even worse post one of those enigmatic statuses that cry out for attention.  Clients don’t need to hear or see your struggles, issues or problems.  They don’t want to know how hard or stressful your job is, or how late you were up editing, or even how hard it was to get your last newborn to sleep so you could pose them.  They don’t need to hear you have competitors copying you or undercutting you.  They want to deal with swans, not seagulls.

There are exceptions to every rule.  There are people who make a living out of being seagulls.  People who court controversy and drama. Think Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump.  There are a handful of these in the photography industry and if that’s your chosen path, good luck to you because you will need very thick skin and a high capacity for stress!

Our advice is to always be a swan.  Being a swan will help you to attract and keep customers.  You will be recommended more and people will trust you more.  If you are seen to be making a drama in public, people will wonder what you say behind closed doors! And of course, like attracts like (your vibe attracts your tribe) so if you want more of the swan like clients, then you know what you need to do.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, feel free to comment below

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Is Fear Holding You Back?

Photographers are creative souls.  Often sensitive, and most of us share the deep desire for people to enjoy the work we produce.  This is something that can be so personal to us that it can actually hold us back.

Have you ever found yourself thinking ‘I’m not sure I’m good enough to increase my prices’ or ‘I wouldn’t pay that price for photography so why would my customers?’.  Maybe you think you will find it so difficult to find new customers if you charge more that you just daren’t do it – or you raise prices only to offer discounts left right and centre.

This self-limiting belief is so dangerous to your business and more importantly to your mindset.

So how do you shake it off?  There are plenty of strategies you can use, but here are some of our favourites.

Ignore Your Competition

For every minute you spend worrying about someone else’s business, you are not worrying about your own.  Stop comparing yourself to others with no idea what lies behind their business model.  You don’t know what they need to earn (if anything), how many clients they have, how much debt they have, what their work/life balance is like, what their business costs are.  You cannot look at one factor (price) and make a decision on your own business from that.  Worry about yourself and no one else.

Stop Worrying About Your Work

We all know extremely talented photographers who struggle to make ends meet.  On the flip side we all know very average photographers who make a very decent living from their work.  Price is not as tied to the quality of work as you would like to believe.  What it is tied to is how you make the customer feel.  Compete on quality of service and you’ll win every time, though you do need to be ‘good enough’ – your images need to be of saleable quality.  Technical training is excellent to increase your confidence and keep your creativity flowing but it’s not a necessity to increasing your prices.  Comparing your work to other photographers work can be restrictive to your own growth and creativity.

Make Informed Decisions

Do you think you live in a deprived area?  Thinking ‘people around here will not pay more than this for photographs!’?  The news is there are pockets of wealth everywhere.  There are people who value photography everywhere.  I built a thriving photography business in one of the most deprived areas of the country with high unemployment and average earnings lower than the rest of the country.  You need fewer clients when you increase your prices and you can reassure yourself they exist and will travel to you by checking out FACTS at the Office of National Statistics (ONS)  This page gives you lots of useful information for your local area including housing, average ages and the economy.  You can use this page to find postcode areas local to you where you WILL find your ideal client.  You can also use the ONS to find birth rates for your area just in case you had the thought there were not enough newborns to go around!

Surround Yourself With Positivity

This might be the most important strategy of all.  I’m not talking about people blowing smoke up your nether region.  I’m talking about having a great support network – either on or offline who will lift your spirits and who aren’t afraid to tell you to ‘get a grip’.  I have a very small but amazingly supportive facebook group of people whose opinions I respect.  It’s a place which is always positive, even when people are having a little wobble.  If you don’t have a group like this, I strongly recommend you get one or make one!

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Drama, Drama, Everywhere!

I’m not a fan of drama.  It’s a waste of energy and I actively avoid negative activities.  But I am a huge fan of manners and etiquette and it makes me very sad and frustrated to see that quite often online, and particularly on Facebook, these are becoming rarer and rarer.

I don’t even want to entertain the thought that people deliberately choose not to have online manners so I’m going to assume some people just don’t realise there’s an etiquette, a way to behave, an acceptable way to treat and be treated.  By sharing this blog, perhaps we’ll reach some of those people and help to make Facebook a nicer place?

#1 ‘CC’ Or ‘Constructive Criticism’.

Here the clue is in the name. Constructive.  This means that if you offer criticism of an image, you should offer it in a constructive way.  Think of it more as offering a way to improve the image.

“This light is way too harsh!  Have you used the pop-up flash!?” is a criticism but not a helpful one.  Make it your own little rule that your criticism needs to be sandwiched between a nice comment and a helpful one eg: “You have posed this model really well but the light is directed straight at her which is causing unflattering shadows.  If you had bounced the flash or even taken the flash off the camera, this image would be lovely”.

Other important points are:

If someone hasn’t asked for cc – never take it upon yourself to give it, that’s just rude.  If they wanted your opinion they would have asked.

If you’re going to comment on an image then make a comment about the image.  It’s rude to just say ‘where’s that headband from please’.  yes, you said ‘please’ but that doesn’t excuse it.  This is not cool.

Don’t ask for cc if you can’t take criticism.  And don’t get defensive when people give you their opinions.

 

#2 Bullying

Bullying isn’t a word I use lightly but in the last week I’ve seen two online examples of this in facebook groups – both threads were deleted before I could chip in to defend the ‘victim’.

People make mistakes and people ask ‘silly’ questions.  When it is clear that the gist of all the replies are correcting the original poster or answering their ‘silly’ question, you don’t need to add your opinion.  However inflamed or incredulous you feel.  This situation can easily make the original poster feel isolated, ridiculed and embarrassed.  This is bullying.

 

#3 Sharing Client Images

Sharing client images is something that gives us great pleasure.  Not only do we enjoy reading the reactions of our clients and their friends but we also hope that new clients will be attracted by them.  However, we all have clients that request their images not be shared online.  Clients have the right to request this and they have the right to privacy.  You do not have a right to ignore this request because you pressed the shutter button and own the copyright.  There is no such thing as ‘private’ on facebook.  Sharing a client image in a group of 2000 people when a client has asked you not to share, is just not acceptable. Even if the group is ‘closed’ or ‘private’.  What can you possibly gain from doing this?  You only have something to lose, including your integrity.

 

#4 Sharing Client Conversations

I’m seeing a trend of people taking screen shots of text or message conversations with clients and then sharing those online.  With thousands of people.  I’m struggling with where to start with this one.  It’s wrong and and rude on so many levels but more than that, I question the professionalism of anyone who does this.  I completely understand wanting support for issues – how do I reply to this request or what would you do in this situation.  I totally get that.  What I don’t understand is choosing to share a conversation your client thinks is private.  Even if you blur their details.

 

#5 Sharing Posts From Other Groups

As I’ve already said – nothing on facebook is truly private so the best way to avoid drama in a facebook group is to type out your post and then ask yourself ‘is this appropriate to ask or tell to the same number of strangers that is the number of people in this group’.  Then ask yourself how it would affect you if any one of those group members took a screen shot of your post and shared it somewhere else.  This is a real possibility.  If this makes you uncomfortable, don’t post it.  The flip side of this is it is rarely a good idea to take screen shots in one group and share them in another.  Just ask yourself – does this make you look like an upstanding and trustworthy member of either of the communities?  My single exception to this rule is if I saw something that was damaging to my business, I would share it with my business partner privately.

So let’s all try and make the interweb – and facebook – a much nicer place.  The less drama there is, the more work we can do, and the more money we can earn and free time we can have.  Win win!

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Shoot From the Heart

We’re delighted to bring you a guest post today from renowned Australian photographer, Karen Pfieffer

A photographer friend said to me recently that the main reason she gave up her photography business was because she never felt like a “proper” photographer. She never felt she deserved the title of Photographer, nor the praise and “likes” her images attracted.

When I pressed her on what had made her feel that way, she said it was because she was entirely self taught. She didn’t know how to manually edit images and relied on pre-bought actions. And she didn’t really understand light.

Every time she published one of her images to social media, she would only ever see the image through the eyes of other photographers and feel deflated that they would no doubt be judging her composition, or lack of skill with the lighting, or her editing.

All she knew was what worked when she looked through the camera view finder, what made her heart sing and made her excited to see the images on her computer after pressing the shutter button.

And really, isn’t that what photography should be? Shouldn’t we all be striving for that feeling of excitement when you know that this shutter button press is going to be “the one”?

Firstly, I want to make a quick point about who we shoot for (or post images online for). As business owners and photographers, we should never worry about what other photographers will think about our work. Who are we shooting for? It’s simple: we’re shooting for our clients, or ourselves. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone but the person paying you, thinks of the images.

 

Secondly, the main point to this blog post…

I feel so strongly that it’s important that we all find what brings us joy from photography. I mean the kind of joy that gives us butterflies, the sheer joy that makes us feel giddy, knowing that what we’ve created is something that makes us truly happy.

Why? Because at the end of the day, I’d say the majority of us are professional photographers, earning a living from our craft. I’d also guess that the majority of us became professional photographers because photography filled us with passion and enjoyment from our craft. And why wouldn’t you pursue a career from that, if you could? What’s extremely important, then, is to make sure that we don’t let the fire in our belly to create something beautiful, along with the enjoyment we gain from that, be put out.

So, how do we do this?

It might be working with bold and beautiful colours in a newborn session, or nailing your style and working with props and vendors that give you joy. It might be photographing a family and creating a beautiful gallery, but in amongst it, shooting one incredible, emotional image so full of connection for the family, that it will bring tears to their eyes. It might be imagining a concept and then seeing it come to life. It might be volunteering for an organisation in some sort of shooting capacity. Whatever it is, we need to think it, do it, own it, and LOVE it.

As newborn photographers, we can create absolute magic for our clients. There are so many beautiful props and things to work with, that the sky’s the limits. It must be done safely, of course – it’s so important that we continuously access training in various formats to ensure that when we work with newborn babies, we do it with absolute care, and with every safety measure we can have in place accounted for.

For me personally, my work with newborns is something I cherish. I feel incredibly lucky that my job is one that I love – I love being around babies, and I enjoy each and every newborn session.

That said, what truly brings ME joy is being able to work on a concept and then see it spring to life. To think of an idea – no matter how hairbrained it might be – and then put it into a piece of art. I adore working with children and animals to create simple but beautiful fine art pieces. That’s where my joy springs to life. Images that make the families involved smile and laugh, or images that people study to see all of the beautiful elements involved. That’s where my joy comes from.

And by creating these art pieces, I keep my joy in my every day newborn work too. My creativity is fed, and my passion is fed, so my photography never feels like “just a job”.

Find your joy in your photography. Find what makes your heart sing, and do it.

To see more of Karen’s work visit her website HERE

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Do You Need Permission?

I thought long and hard before writing this blog.  I don’t want to offend or upset anyone, but then I decided that if I saw my best friend behaving in this way, I would definitely say something to her.  So here goes.

Why do you think you need permission from your partner when you make a purchase for your business??

There, I said it.  I’m genuinely confused and I’ll admit, a little irritated, when I see things like:

“Where am I going to hide all these new props from my husband?”

“Hope my partner is out when the postman arrives so he doesn’t see how much I spent on backdrops”

“How do you all persuade your partner that it’s a good idea to spend $500 on a new lens?”

Now I completely agree there are some exceptions where I would understand perfectly why a photographer might be asking her friends and colleagues these questions.  If you’re running a business that is trading at a loss and your family is struggling to pay the bills then absolutely, be ashamed of your overspending and poor budgeting (it’s still not a good idea to hide it, much better to remedy it).  Maybe your life partner is also your business partner and together you set a budget for spending and you blew the budget?  It’s not the end of the world and you need to work on your communication and budgeting skills – but still not a good reason to behave like you’ve taken the shirt from his back.  Maybe you don’t have a business at all, are a lady of leisure, and your partner funds your expensive hobby – in this case feel free to revel in the lucky position you find yourself in (but don’t exploit him by buying stuff you’re not allowed to!?).

Do you see how crazy this seems to me?  I can’t help but imagine a group of guys stood chatting at work in their break time.

“Oh man, I had to buy a new drill.  My old one was making the job so difficult and the new one saves me a ton of time.  Just gotta hope my wife doesn’t find out I’ve bought it.  lucky she was out when it was delivered”

“I know where you’re coming from.  I hid these steel toe cap boots in the back of the shoe cupboard for ages until they were a bit battered and then I just said I’d had them ages – she knew no different”.

Happens all the time, right??

So come on ladies, just because you might not be the main breadwinner doesn’t make your business any less important.   It’s your career, your income and your 9-5.  If you don’t value your business as a worthy and important entity, how do you expect anyone else to?  If you don’t take it seriously enough to work out if you can afford to purchase props and equipment, how on earth will anyone else, including your clients, take it seriously?

I hope I haven’t offended or upset anyone.  I hope that if you recognise yourself, you realise that you and your business are worthy of more respect.  I’m really writing this from the heart.  I truly believe that there are so many women who can achieve so much more if only they believed it themselves.

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3 Ways to Be More Effective With Your Time

Most non-photographers think newborn photographers lead a wonderfully whimsical life, dreaming up new sets, purchasing beautifully co-ordinating wraps, props and rompers and of course spending lots of time cuddling and photographing sleepy new babies.   Naturally we do spend some time doing all of these things, but it’s a tiny part of our working week!

Most newborn photographers have to dedicate time to marketing, book-keeping, business development, editing (lots and lots of editing), product ordering and delivery, training and self development, finding new clients, networking, website management, social media and all on top of running a home and family commitments.  It would also be nice to squeeze in some free time for the things we really enjoy!  It’s fair to say that when you work for yourself, it can be very difficult to ‘switch off’ and relax.  This is especially true now that social media makes business a 24/7 occupation.We’ve gathered together the top 3 ways you can be more effective with your time.

  1.  PLAN.  If you coast through the days, weeks and months with no real plan or goal in sight, you will be likely to get far less done than those who plan.  We all have the same 24 hours in the day, it’s how you use them that defines your success.  The best way, without any shadow of doubt, to be more effective with your time, is to plan.  Even a simple to do list can help you focus and get tasks finished.  We prefer pen and paper lists here but there are lots of electronic methods too – we’ve tried ToDO which is brilliant but there are literally hundreds of list apps to choose from.  Get into the habit of writing your daily plan along with your to do list and you’ll find yourself immediately more effective!
  2. DELEGATE. You don’t need to have employees to be able to delegate tasks.  Make full use of technology like autoresponders (even facebook messaging has this facility for business pages) or consider a virtual assistant for admin tasks.  BANPAS has a brilliant offer available to members for call answering through Call Agents UK so you never have to miss a telephone call or let the machine pick it up.   Also make sure you share the household tasks out – even small people can do basic tasks like sorting laundry and clearing the dinner table.
  3.  MOTIVATE.  Motivating yourself to finish the tasks you dislike can be half the battle with time management.  You might find the tasks you don’t enjoy being dragged out and taking you far longer than they should.  Perhaps they never actually make it off the To Do list.  One way to ‘cure’ this is to attack the tasks you don’t like, first of all. Make them your first tasks of the day.  Brian Tracy covers this topic in some detail in his book Eat That Frog which is an excellent read for procrastinators!  You can also set yourself time goals to stay motivated.  You might set a timer on your phone to give yourself 20 minutes to work fully on the task in hand without interruption.  Follow this with a 5 minute break where you can walk away from the task before setting another 20 minutes to work.  Maybe the best motivation of all is to keep a mood board somewhere you can always see it while you work, with images collected from magazines or the internet, of all the things you like to do in your spare time.  Having a constant reminder of the reason you work so hard is a brilliant way to push you to finish tasks.

We’d love to hear how this works for you and welcome you to share your own time management tips with us – please comment below.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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Sales Tips for Photographers

In the run up to the Christmas break I’m going to be sharing regular tips on improving your sales skills – like a hints and tips advent calendar if you like!

My first tip might just be the most important – Believe in Yourself

This may seem like a pretty basic requirement.  You run your own business so you must believe in yourself, right?  Well maybe it’s because we run creative businesses, but I see so many ‘non-believers’ and self doubters.  If you don’t believe your photography business is fantastic and that your products are worth the price tag, then why on earth would your clients.  Confident sales people (not to be confused with pushy ones) will always sell more.  Here are some simple ways you can improve your self confidence to sell more.

Testimonials

Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than somebody (who isn’t being paid!) telling everybody how amazing you and your business are.  Ask clients for testimonials and tell them what you’d like them to focus on.  Use your testimonials on your website, social media, printed literature and even keep an area of your workspace or studio for thank you cards and letters.  At a glance these will fill you with confidence and make your new clients feel the same.  Win win!

Enter Competitions Or Ask For Critique

BANPAS runs a monthly showcase for it’s members which is free to enter and members cast their votes on their favourite images each month.  Lots of other photography associations and organisations run similar competitions.  Even being involved with your local camera club can give you the opportunity to show your work.  Entering competitions gives you a huge boost if you win, but even if you don’t, looking at the images that have won and how they differ to yours can be a brilliant way to learn and improve.  Some organisations may give you critique or feedback if your entry isn’t placed, but if not, don’t be afraid to ask for it.  You might not be brave enough to post images in a huge group of professional photographers to ask for critique but having a handful of people whose opinion you respect can be a fantastic way to improve and to receive a confidence boost.  Another photographer complimenting your image works wonders for you!

Find A Cheerleader

Don’t underestimate the power of support.  A business coach, mentor or the right colleague make great cheerleaders – you need to choose your support wisely.  Someone who can challenge you, ask ‘why are you doing it like that’ or discuss honestly if they think you have an idea which still needs some work, is worth their weight in gold.  Close family members or partners rarely make great cheerleaders as they have an emotional connection to you and usually don’t like to think they are hurting your feelings or upsetting you!  Attendees of my training courses often bounce ideas off each other and many go away with new business friendships that make for great cheerleading teams!

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

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