Tuesday, August 18, 2009

more Savvy ideas from Kelly Willette

Kelly shares more fabulous marketing ideas with us...here's her advice on how to build up your business.

"I just wanted to share a few ideas I had that worked for me as I built my photo biz....thought they would help some of you.

First of all, I invested in one light from alien bees, a medium softbox, a reflector, a cheap backdrop stand and one roll of savage paper. This allowed me to make some quick cash with the following ideas. This is not super creative work, but if you need cash to purchase equipment, it is a GREAT business tool. Also, you include a card with your photo biz info in the photo order, and by collecting the parents’ email addresses

on the ordering form, you have an instant mailing list (if they request) and free advertizing for you.
1. Dance recital photos: I partnered
with a friend who started a small dance studio and offered to
do the dance photos for her studio.
I had a total of 50 girls sign up for photos....
which was awesome.
I went to the dress rehearsal, set up my mini studio with the backdrop and light, and had each girl do a little ballet pose, snapped the photo, batch processed them in lightroom and ordered them
(with consistent light settings, the processing is very easy).
Easy peasy. I created two packages, and earned a really solid amount of money for about 3 hours of shooting and one hour of editing/ordering.

I hired a college kid to help me get the parents to
fill out the order form and take the money.
Parents had to pay in advance, and the dance teacher emailed
out the pdf ahead of time.
It was great. I also run off several copies of the ordering
form to have with me with a clipboard for the dance parents
to fill out there if they did not do so at home (most parents print it from the email that was sent to them).

2. Photos with Santa: we are members of a club here that has breakfast with Santa photos every year.
They have a breakfast with Santa every year,
so I offered to do the photos for them.
I had the same set up as above, except this time
I just used the club as the backdrop
(used a leather chair for Santa in the club...
which is very pretty).
Same packages as above...had about 60 or 70 kids at this, just set up one light, snapped, then processed the photos
and ordered the prints.

For this, I mailed all the photos via
us mail priority mail from my house and
included the shipping charge in the cost of the photos.
Another GREAT way to make that holiday spending money.
You can't beat it. Once again, I had a high school kid help me
with taking the money and order form.
There are several local venues here that have the breakfast or tea with Santa every year, and most of them do not offer photos.

What a GREAT way to get “in” and gain more clients!
It is important to note that they must have cash or check
and that this is made clear to them prior to the photo date.
Haven't had a problem yet. no money, no photo. you must be firm on this.
or you will get cheated at some point.

I’m sure if you think, you can find several other ways to do this...you must invest in one light with a softbox, then your possibilities are endless.

Other ideas for situations where you could do group photos include: soccer/team photos, swim team photos, (for the sports team stuff, I create a bag tag for each kid for his soccer
or sports bag and include this as a thank you)

Another way you could use the concept is for father-daughter dance photos at your school, prom photos, gymnastic studio photos, just think of ANY activities your child does that could use a photo. since you're already a parent at the school/activity, you have an in!!!!!"



  1. I've always been so afraid to try anything other than natural light, but reading this post makes me see the opportunities I'm missing out on!! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the tip! I am trying to get my child's preschool to let me take the school pics this year! Keep your fingers crossed!!

  3. Great ideas! I did this some when I first started out, and you're right, it does bring in a significant amount of easy cash when you do it right!

    What light do you use?

  4. i have an AB (alien bee) 800. that i use for this stuff and a medium softbox.

  5. fabulous ideas - thanks so much for sharing!!!

  6. Great ideas Kelly. Do you mind sharing what kinds of packages you offered and how much you charged? Thanks!