The Agreement form

As a thank you for visiting my site here is a copy of the agreement form I used.

And the reason I used the word agreement form is it made the client feel more appreciated and trusted. I found the word contract too formal and stiff.

Plus you will notice that it is short and to the point and it fit on one sheet. The reason I left out all the legalese rhetoric is because client’s would not read it. And if you doubt that, let me ask you-do you read those user agreements when you sign up for software downloads, or when you use services on websites, and other like items?

So without further ado here is the form,

P.S. If you like this form, I do have a bonus marketing pack with the forms and sale aides I used in my business that I give away as a thank-you for buying the Clicking for Cash from Home paperback book from Amazon.

Company Name Wedding Agreement Form

I, ___________________________have hired (Your company name) for my _________________on (date)___________ time____________  at_____________________ Directions to the event: ______________________________________

_____$XXX.00 deposit paid.

_____$XXXX.00—Ultimate Plan: Includes: 7 to 9 hours. Engagement photo session with CD. 300—4” x 6” prints in proof album & CD. An album of ___ 12-8” x 10”s & 24-5” x 7”s or ___ flush mount album of 10 pages, 20 sides. A 16” x 20” framed photograph and coffee table book

___$XXXX.00 Premier Plan-9 hours Over 300-4”x6” prints in album, 10-8”x10”s, 8-5”x7”s & photo CD.

___$XXXX.00 Deluxe Plan-6 hours Up to 300-4”x6” prints in album, 8-8”x10”s , 6-5”x7”s, & photo CD

___$XXX.00 Standard Plan-4 hours Up to 275-4”x6” prints in album, 4-8”x10”s, 6-5”x7”s, & photo CD.

Ala carte:

____ Engagement session…………………………………………        $ 125.00

____ Photo light & back drop.………………………….…………..         $  50.00

____ Enlargement Album  12—8” x 10”s & 24—5” x 7”……….           $675.00

____ Flush mount album-10 pages, 20 sides…………………….…        $675.00

____ Parents Album  24-5” x 7”s………………………………….         $299.00

____ Woven Photo Blanket 54” x 70” (Your choice of Photo)……      $125.00

____ Photo pillow (Your choice of photo)…………………………        $ 39.99

____ DVD Event Album .……………………………………………       $125.00

____ Leather or linen coffee table book (15 pgs/30 sides)………       $135.00

____ Digital brag books (15 pages, 30 sides)……………………       $  39.99

Deposits are non refundable if client cancels a week after the booking.

Last day cancellations-Full price will be paid to (your company)

(Your company) is not held responsible for and from any injuries and or damages due to children and/or guests running into or tripping over photographer’s equipment. If equipment is damaged by client, guests or their children—they will be responsible for replacing damaged equipment with the same product item or provide a new item.

If photos do not turn out, not due to photographers fault such as defective processing, lost or stolen, fire, or acts of God, all monies minus expenses shall be returned.

No refunds once client has examined the photographs, paid, and left the premises with photographs.

____________________________Date_____________________

Client signature

____________________________City_______________Zip____

Client address

Telephone no. (______)___________Cell ___________Email_____

Your company name    Phone: 555-555-5555

Your business address

Your Email  

Your website

The PREPS of wedding photography

When the prospective bridal couple begin the tireless search for a wedding photographer, they are soon overwhelmed with the countless choices. That is why if your website in addition to standing out from the rest… Has to offer educational materials that will assist the happy couple on their wedding day.

The following is example of the information I had on my website about how to chose the right photographer for a wedding. an informational one page sheet that I gave to the happy couple  that pointed out and assured the  client that I had all the proper safeguards in place.

I separated the questions for easier reading.

The PREPS of Photography Professionalism, Reliability, Experience, Price, and Service.

When choosing a photographer for your special day you want to be sure that the service is professional and your photographer will be there for you. This informational sheet can help you ask the right questions of a photographer to insure that your wedding day will be a beautiful reminder in photographs and not a disastrous loss.

Professionalism: Does the photographers web site showcase only about 20 to 25 of their best wedding photos in a slow moving slideshow set to music? Or is there a variety of formal, creative, candid, and spontaneous photos that showcases the different aspects of a wedding event? Is the photographer nice, cheerful, attentive, flexible, and helpful? Or is the photographer egotistical, haughty and knows what is best for you?

Reliability: Does the photographer have a history of being late to appointments or events?  Can the photographer deliver your photos, albums, CD, or DVD slide shows within a reasonable time period such as one month vs. six months? Does the photographer back up your work on a CD right after the wedding so it is not lost if his/her CF card or PC crashes?  How is your personal information protected? Is on a password protected computer with up to date antivirus software? Does anyone else i.e. family or other business associates have access to the photographer’s computer? Are the client’s sensitive information and or wedding on a portable flash drive the photographer is carrying all over the place? Is the photographer leaving his lap top with your sensitive information and photos in the front seat of his car in plain sight making it vulnerable to theft?

Experience: The better choice might be hiring a home based photographer who shoots weddings 50% of the time, rather than a studio photographer who does maybe one a month.

Price: The studio store front photographer charging $3500.00 to $7500.00 does not mean better. The lower priced photographer who works out of their home can do just as good a job at a better value.

Service: Does the photographer return your phone calls and emails in a timely manner? Are they flexible and willing to work with you on staying within in your budget? Will they accommodate your photography requests? Are they the photographer that will be photographing your wedding or do they send someone else?

And this is what Photography by Laura will do for you. As a comprehensive and conscientious well trained and experienced photographer–I offer a varied portfolio,  great and timely turnaround service, flexible plans, and I love and enjoy working with my clients.

I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach Laura at (phone number) or email through website.

Photography by Laura–Capturing Smiles One Photo at Time

Insider’s Guide to Self-Publishing

Recently I receive a cold call from http://www.bookwhirl.com/  which is a vanity publishing press.

The woman on the other end of the line was trying to convince me to buy one of their promotion package for my Clicking for Cash from Home guide http://www.amazon.com/Clicking-Cash-Home-Laura-Smith/dp/0989650014/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374668945&sr=1-1&keywords=clicking+for+cash+from+home . They probably got my phone number off a phone lead list of self published authors.

So I explained to the woman–who by the way had a weak sound to her voice–that I already have my book on Amazon do everything that Book Whirl can do for me without spending thousands of dollars.

Then I told the lady about my free white paper Insider’s Guide to Self-Publishing and read off the list of contents. Needless to say she ended the call when I was done.

If you would like to learn how to do you own self promotion of your self published book without spending thousands of dollars through the vanity presses click on the link below.

http://www.slideshare.net/fotogrllt/insiders-guide-to-book-self-promotion

A good way to get free or low cost advertising

August 2012

(The inserted photo is from when I wrote a photo article for a local community newspaper).

One of the things I did when I had my photography business was to enter local photo and art competitions in the states I lived in.

As a result I had solo month long shows, was in juried competitions, featured in art galleries and had my photography published in the newspaper.

Many states have emerging artists organizations, universities, colleges, and art galleries have contests and shows, and also there are the state funded art organizations. Also, find out about donating your photography to locale art galleries. Hey, you might now sell anything, but it is great marketing. I got paying photo jobs from those venues.

What I found was those national photo contests did not work. They wanted high entry fees and I never won.

Good luck and happy clicking!

Is FaceBook Your Photography Business Web Site?

It’s a great day and you are out doing some shopping when you happen to pass by a group of ladies talking about needing a wedding photographer. Your ears perk up and you stop and introduce yourself.

“Hello, I couldn’t help overhearing you are looking for a wedding photographer. My name is ____________ and I am a wedding photographer”.

The ladies are interested and begin to ask you questions which you answer. Then they ask for your card and you open your purse or wallet and give the prospective client your business card.

“Here is my card. You can view my portfolio on FaceBook (FB)”.

business card clicking for cash

Then you get the look and statement–“Oh… I’m on FB–but do you also have a web site on the Internet I could visit?”

“No, but I’ve got at least 100 wedding photos to view”, you say with a nervous twinge in your voice.

“Well I’m sorry but I don’t do business with photographers who are only on FB. Thanks anyway” the person says as she hands back your card and walks off.

Bummer–another sale bites the face book dust.

As you know FB is a great social media tool–but  it should not be your primary web site source. It is better utilized as a lead in site to getting your prospect to go to your home based web site.

Plus your FB page is loaded with distracting ad’s all over the place that  the prospective client might click on and be taken away from your site.

And don’t forget that not everyone is on FB, or they do not want to be and worse yet are not interested in looking at your photos because you are on FB.

Besides, if you have a website–you have a better chance of being found when prospective clients does an internet search for wedding photographers, your city and state.

On the other hand–with a home base web site, if you have control over it–you can add meta tags that are used in search engine optimization–you can’t do that with FB.

With a home base web site you can have separate pages with headings such as services, a wedding, portrait, and or a children’s photo gallery, on line viewing and ordering, testimonials, products and contact me.

Plus writing on your About Me page beats using the a FB notes page the prospect may not even see or read.

P.S. I do have to mention that my photography web site brought in 90% of my business-sight unseen. I had prospective clients calling me and gushing “I love your web site…are you available for this date…where can I send my deposit”. If you want to have that same response to your website–my book Clicking for Cash from Home will tell you what to include in creating your own website.

book cover 1

Photography Talk how to business page link

Writing a letter with an attention getting headline is what got me featured on Photography Talks Learn & Explore Series.

Please visit the link below to view the article:

http://www.photographytalk.com/photography-articles/4542-how-to-start-a-home-based-photography-business-and-make-it-a-success

book cover 1

The Client Rules–So set your ego aside

Just because you create beautiful photos and have what you think is the best marketing that is better than the other guy…

Just remember the client rules…

When you decided to start up a photography business… You got to love your clients.  This means you have to love people and accept them for who they are.

You  have to make them feel special as though they are the only clients you have.

They are paying you–so you do as they wish–you don’t run the show. You may interfuse suggestions–but in the end the client will tell you what they want. And if doesn’t fit your idea of creativity–too bad–keep on shooting with a smile on your face.

It is also best to use your intuition and listen to those subtle red flags in your head and not  take on a client who can cause you trouble and cost you to lose your hard earned money.

Clients expect you to know everything about photography and be a critical thinker in solving problems. This means you should not ask “what do you think we should do?”

If you screw up the client’s job–the client will tell everyone about their bad experience on social media. That a real career killer.

The professional photographer always stays positive and remembers to keep the ego in check when on social media, photography blogs, or in chat groups. It can be easy to lambast other photographers back with mean, degrading, nasty and negative comments when they write something disrespectful or nasty about you. Things is you don’t know who will see your comments–which includes prospective clients. So if you have a habit of posting mean and negative comments–this could mean a silent phone as no one wants to hire a short tempered and unprofessional photographer.

Even though you will see the same things over and over again at weddings and other events… always remember to compliment the client on how beautiful, unique, and creative their stuff and event is.

Properly interfused mingling and social small talk at an event with client’s, their families, and guests is how you get more work.  If you just stand around an entire event looking like a statue while waiting for the next shot–no one will know who you are.

As a home based photographer–the client does not care about your awards… or where you went to school… or articles written up about you in the newspaper–all they care about is how much do you charge and how good are your photos.

For more information on how to start and run a home based photography business click on this link   http://www.amazon.com/Clicking-Cash-Home-Laura-Smith/dp/0989650014/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374668945&sr=1-1&keywords=clicking+for+cash+from+home

Happy shooting

Clicking for Cash from Home Slide Show link

Here is a link to a Slide Show Book Promo

http://www.slideshare.net/fotogrllt/clicking-for-cash-from-home-35815671

The Lazy photographers way to making money–Not!

I recently received a email titled “Discover the “Lazy Photographer’s Secret” to Pulling in over $1,200 a Month … in Your Spare Time!” for the special price of $249.00. The ad came across that I would not need expensive equipment or have to spend hours editing photos.

Well let me say that when I am being paid to photograph weddings, portraits, and other events—I use a 35 mm digital camera and it takes a few hours to edit the photos.  Plus… I did use my studio lighting when I shot portraits and product.

So I am thinking why would it be any different with stock photography? And why would I pay $249.00 for information that is already available on the internet.

Plus, I can tell you there is no lazy mans way to making money with stock photography. It takes time and the right equipment to shoot raw images to edit into top notch photos that will be accepted by the review board editors.

And if you decide to use the freebee sites that accept anyone–chances are your images may never sell as you are in competition with at least a million images.

First, you need to know how to take good photos. On the IStock web site they have photo taking tutorials and show examples photos of the type of photos they want. Here is the link. http://www.istockphoto.com/help/sell-stock/training-manuals

The tutorials discuss that images need to be shot in the raw format so when edited the image will not lose definition and be full of noise. The editors suggest that the photographer use a 35 mm digital camera and not a digital point and shoot. IStock also has a listing of what popular subject matter they are looking for.

Then when you have the right images there are the submission guidelines regarding model releases, product identification, image copywriting, and other topics.

And if you want to learn more about how to compose photos—you can read about it in my eBook, Clicking for Cash from Home at http://www.amazon.com/Clicking-Cash-Home-Laura-Smith-ebook/dp/B00K858T0U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1374668945  for $8.99.

The other three sites with review boards are Shutterstock, Fotolia and Dreamstime.

Now if travel photography is your thing—you should go to the travel magazine web sites to see what they are looking for. Then you should plan out your images and shoot photos in the RAW mode. Since the RAW mode uses a lot of flash card space—this might be a hindrance if you are one of those people who like to just snap away hoping to get a good photo by accident. In that case carry an extra point and shoot for those photos.

Happy Clicking.

Is your SEO web site copy up to snuff?

I loved it when I picked up the phone and heard–“I love your website… Are you available on this date?… How much is your deposit?… Can I pay by credit card?”

That was because 90% of those people had visited my web site.

I bet you would love to have that happen to you. But if you have a web site with poor copy, not enough photos, and the wrong key words in your meta tags your phone is not going to be ringing.

First, you must have good copy. This means your writing words that count and to the point. Show not tell. And what are the benefits for the client if they hire you? The prospective client who visits your web site is not going to read an entire page on your views of the photographic life… what you did in school… and your goals.

NO the client wants to know what you can do for them. How much do you charge? What services do you offer? They want to see great short testimonials… newspaper reviews… relevant awards related to photography–not awards about your being on your schools deans list.

Also prospective clients don’t care if you got music playing in the background. Silence is golden. Besides your not a musician trying to get a gig–your a photographer.

And what about your portfolios? I had portrait, wedding, business, scenery and product sections. Since the bulk of my business was weddings I had 250 photos showing every aspect of the wedding. I did not bother with the fancy slideshow showing only 35 of my best photos–because every good photographer has those.

I also showed photos of what my proof book, albums, blankets, pillows, and photo books looked like.

The other sections had at least 75 to 100 photos.

I also listed my pricing. Contrary to popular teaching in the schools of professional photography–if you don’t list your pricing most people are not going to call you.  This is because in this fast paced world people make decisions based on price. If you are not listing your pricing the shopper is going to move on.

SEO means search engine optimization. Now if you have control of your web sites HTML editor, you can write in the meta tags the right keywords so search engine spiders will be able to find your site.

The words I used for my web site was–wedding photography, wedding photos, wedding photographers, photography, children’s photographers,  portrait photographers, portrait photography, pet photography, pet photos… you get the picture. Also I would use the name of the major city I was living close to in front of these keywords too.

To find out more about SEO–Google search words can guide you through the process.

Now the other thing that occurred to me was that I got endless emails from SEO companies that for a monthly or yearly fee–they guaranteed that they could put me at the top of all the search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.  Some of those companies can be quite expensive. But like I said you can do it yourself–it just takes time and a willingness to learn.

P.S. Here is a link to the Bing web master guidelines as an example on how to get your site listed on Bing. http://www.bing.com/webmaster/help/webmaster-guidelines-30fba23a

P.S.S. For more ways to make money visit this link http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EB2OWRU to save over 50% off my book Clicking for Cash from Home when you order the eBook

Happy Clicking.