CREATE YOUR FOLDER
Over the last few years, we’ve had almost 200 people come through our program and the one thing I hear more often than anything else is how often people use their money folder.
The money folder is simply an organized place to keep the items you need quick access to on a regular basis. Create a new folder on your desktop (you can move it later). Follow the steps below to set yourself up for success.
This is a great time to evaluate whether your logo is helping or hurting your brand. Some photographers spend thousands of dollars developing their branding, some photographers turn to marketplaces like 99 designs and some photographers open up photoshop and design their own. I’ve seen great logos come out of all 3 scenarios so I believe there’s more than one way to skin this cat. I personally think of logos in the same way that I think about the clothes my clients bring to their headshot sessions. I don’t believe there’s such thing as a perfect logo any more than I believe there’s such thing as a perfect shirt for a headshot. My goal for the logo is that it doesn’t take away from the overall aesthetic. I want the logo to not be a source of negative attention and much like the elusive perfect headshot shirt… If it helps the shot, even better.
Here are a few do’s for your logo
- -easy to read
- -not cheesy
- -works in both vertical and horizontal formats
- -works in both color and black and white
Here are a few don’ts for your logo
- -multiple fonts
- -clipart (camera, lens, crosshairs, etc)
Assuming your logo ticks all the boxes, and you’re happy with how it represents your brand, then it in the folder you created. You’re going to need multiple sizes, formats, and versions.
- -Master version
- -square version transparent PNG (5000px, 2048px, 1000px, 500px, 150px)
- -wide version transparent PNG (5000px, 2048px, 1000px, 500px, 150px)
Having quick access to your portfolio is going to save you time in the long run. Let’s start with all of the images on your website. You should have all of these shots in your folder exported at 2048px wide 72dpi. Whether you’re working on your website or creating social media posts, you’re going to be referring to this folder often. It would be fantastic if you could get in the habit of adding shots to this folder as you deliver your retouched images to clients. Maybe skip the shots you don’t like, but if you like the shot, add it to your folder so that you can quickly access it when you need it.
YOUR SECOND PORTFOLIO
As photographers, you’re bound to take shots that you like that don’t necessarily fit into your portfolio (yet). Some examples might be lifestyle shots you created for a headshot client, or maybe some dramatic portraits that you did for an actor, or environmental portraits for a CEO. With time, maybe these shots will eventually get used on your website, but for now, add them to your second portfolio. I’m often asked to do work that I don’t show on my website and it’s helpful to have this second portfolio to pull from so that when I asked, I can show them that I’m capable of meeting their expectations.
Image grids are invaluable when it comes to closing big corporate clients. Your ability to illustrate that you’re capable of making a team of people look both confident and approachable while maintaining consistency is a key component in closing these deals. It’s also a great way to name drop and showcase the companies that you’ve done business with, without coming across as cheap or lowbrow. Obviously, a few of these should go on your website, but it’s nice to have a bunch of these to include in email correspondence when courting a new company.
Have you downloaded the templates yet? Once you have them customized for your brand, add them to your folder for quick access.
For some of you, the idea of a brand guide might seem over the top. You’re probably overthinking it. At its core, a brand guide is just a list of information about your brand. You can absolutely take this as far as you want, but I find it extremely helpful to have a document that lists out some of the details specific to my branding. Things like:
- -Font Name(s)
- -Hexidecimal values for brand colors
- -Your Tagline
While we’re talking about your tagline, spend some time developing this. It’s probably the single most important sentence on your website. In the premium membership, we designate a lot of time discussing what makes a good tagline.
Think about any document a client has ever asked you for. Keep them all in this folder. The money folder is all about convenience. Spend a little bit of time on the front end and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come. Get creative here, but in the event, you’re at a loss, here are some ideas.
- -COI (certificate of insurance)
- -Gear List
- -images of your studio
- -list of references
SEO is about publicity. More often than not, in your quest for publicity, you’re going to asked for a bio. Please take the bio you currently have written. Open it up in a text editor, hold down the command and shift keys at the same time and then press the delete button. Your bio should not be a list of your accomplishments and accreditations. That’s boring does nothing to communicate why anyone should hire you.
Have you ever been to a wedding where the best man rambles on for ten plus minutes, telling random stories about the groom? They’re trying hard to be entertaining and ultimately fail to tie all of the stories together in a cohesive way. By the time it’s over there’s really not anything memorable about the entire speech other than the fact that it should have been about 9 minutes shorter… That’s how most photographers write their bio. A long, forgettable, series of unrelated stories that fail to be entertaining. Tell me one story that explains who you are, what you do, and why I should care. Bonus points if your story happens to illustrate how you solve problems for people. Keep it short, keep it sweet, keep it real.
YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH
One of the biggest benefits of our Premium Membership private Facebook Group is that we work together to write and record our elevator pitches. That’s right, I said record. At least once a month, we record ourselves developing our elevator pitch.
Are elevator pitches salesy and sleazy? Only if you do it wrong. A great elevator pitch should start with a problem and end with you positioning yourself as the solution. It’s not about closing a deal, it’s about getting people to remember who you are and why they should care. If you can make someone believe that they’re the character in your story with the problem, then they’ll remember your name when you offer them the solution. This exercise is much less about being able to sell your skills in an elevator than it is about being able to have a conversation with someone and clearly explain what it is that you do for a living. If someone asks you what you do and your answer is anything in the vicinity of “It’s complicated”, you’ve already lost. Pack your knives and go. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. Every week, I’d love for you to spend 10 minutes making this better. After you’ve made some incremental improvements, take it for a test drive and see how it feels.