This is both my online business and personal journal where I share all of my photography and business projects! Allow me to introduce myself...I am Catherine Guidry, a Louisiana wedding photographer. I am passionate about documenting life but more importantly...living it! <3 My favorite things to do are bike ride with my husband and brainstorm new creative projects!  I am all about meeting new friends and can't wait to meet you!  

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Catherine Guidry

As a photographer, business owner, and entrepreneur I am constantlly looking for ways to better my business!

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking for Black River Imaging at their WPPI booth! The Topic: “Selling With or Without a Studio.” I journeyed through a time of meeting in coffee shops, then to renting my own office space, to the way I handle sales now…which is primarily via phone, email, and skype.

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The transition wasn’t easy but after experiencing the challenges of coffee shops and the financial burden of renting a space I knew there was a better solution for both myself and for my clients.

So, in this post I hope to highlight my TOP 10 Ways to Sell Without a Studio:

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1. Use Social Media as a Tool: 

Having a strong social media presence is necessary especially if you aren’t meeting with your clients on a regular basis. I want my clients to know they can trust me! This gives my business a feeling of consistency, a way of growing excitement and creating traffic to my website.

The two platforms I use primarily are Facebook and Instagram. They allow me to stay on viewers’ radars. (I always feel like I’m doing something right when I run into some one and they’re up to date on my business. They’ll reference specific weddings or events even! But the truth is, even if someone simply KNOWS I’m a photographer, I feel good about that!) Facebook expands my reach and builds a foundation with others.

Instagram is one of my favorite pasttimes! I use the platform as a mix between personal and business because I want my clients to know who they’re hiring!

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2. Have a Strong Web Presence

Your website is not only your first impression for the client but also for their friends and family members as well!

When clients come to my website I immediately want them to have a feel of my style and my character. Before I began working on my website I wrote down three words that would help me create the site I felt best represents me: Simple, Elegant, and Classic. (This is how I would describe my ideal client and I wanted those types of clients to be drawn to the website!)

The second thing your website should do….is show who you are! YES! The means you MUST have updated headshots. I know we all hate getting on the other side of the camera but it’s super important! A nice write up about yourself and who you are…even what you love is great!

For my website, I attended GoLiveHQ with Promise Tangeman and her team! They helped me understand Showit and launch my site in 2 days flat!

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3. Create a Behind-The-Scenes Video

So…here I am, no longer meeting with clients. But yet, I want them to have an idea of who I am and what it’s like to interact with me. So, I do I handle this? I decided to hire someone to work on a behind-the-scenes video for me. This talented team is Allison + Peter Dehart of Makemade and together, we put together THIS short video! I kept it simple and personal so that couples who haven’t had the chance to meet me before booking can have a better idea of who I am as a person…and a photographer! 🙂

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4. Have a Clear and Concise Pricing Guide

The most confusing part of the booking process is the pricing. Clients are overwhelmed with booking venues, caterers, photographers, etc….the variety of options, packages and prices. They want the most for their money, while finding someone they value and connect with.

So, when I put together my pricing PDF I made my best effort to make it simple, clear and full of little notes and tips that may help them throughout the booking process! I, of course, do still speak with potential clients via phone and skype to help them with their selections but the pricing surely helps to guide them along the way while they’re deciding what’s best!

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5. Professional Product Photos

Who better equipped to have professional photos of the products they offer than professional photographers?! It blows my mind when I see photographers posting poor quality images on social media and it’s the same when referencing product imagery. By using good light, simple backdrops, and detail shots, those viewing your pricing can have a vivid image of what products they’ll be purchasing with your packages.

Sometimes, I’ll even use small everyday items for scale. Anything that will help potential couples visualize these products in their home.

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6. Detailed Product Descriptions

A picture is worth a 1,000 words, but pairing product images with product descriptions never hurt anything. I describe (in detail) the fabrics, page thicknesses, and use of all books albums and print products I offer. This really helps clients understand what they’re purchasing and how these items are used not only during the wedding process but after the wedding…in their final display location.

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7. Blogging Past Sessions & Weddings

Although typically photographers timidly raise their hands when I ask if they blog, I know that’s a result of the overwhelming time it takes to get it done! In addition to shooting, editing, and actually delivering what we’ve promised to our clients….blogging is important!

Blogging past sessions and weddings is great for current clients because it gives them a means of sharing the images that I’m most proud of (on MY website!) with their friends and family members! It’s also helpful for future/potential clients because I’m able to reference past weddings at their venue, weddings where a first look has taken place, or even engagement session locations and ideas. It helps them to become more familiar with my work and gets them excited about THEIR photography!

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8. Branded Skype Space

No matter where you are meeting with a client, you want that space to be a representation of your brand! For me, I skype from my living room. I sit on a simple gray fabric couch in front of a concrete wall. There’s a white and black canvas that hangs behind me and I place a white, fluffy blanket beside me. 🙂 In my old Skype space, I stenciled a backdrop behind me and I’ve even heard of photographers creating backdrops for their Skype spaces. Whatever speaks to you and your personal style should be the place where you meet with your clients (even virtually).

That space should instantly tell your clients…THIS is who I am as an artist.

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9. Have a Backup Meeting Location

Because there will be situations where clients really want to meet in person, having a backup location is key! But just like when I was meeting in coffee shops, this space needed to fit all the criteria of a good meeting space. In this space, I do my best to eliminite distractions, keep products on hand, and still show my personal style (as best I can). I use the lobby of the building I currently live in in New Orleans because although public its quiet, beautiful and somewhat intimate. I’ve heard of photographers meeting with clients in their homes, their wedding venues, and hotel lobbies just to name a few!

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10. Have the Ability to Book Online

When I was meeting with clients in my office, we would handle the booking in person. Now, I’m using a program called Shootq. In order for these phone or virtual meetings to flow seamlessly I needed to figure out a way to handle my bookings digitally. Shootq has made that process SO easy for my clients. Once a client lets me know which collection they’d like, I simply draft a proposal and send it over. The proposal connects to their contract where they can sign digitally and send back to me!

Shootq also allows me to keep track of all my clients contact information, workflow tasks, invoices, and contracts! It’s so worth the monthly investment simply for peace of mind and keeping me organized.

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So here’s the recap:

Some photographers prefer to shoot indoors/with a studio. And some like the coffee shop or office feel. But with modern technology, life and my clients’ busy schedules I couldn’t help but take advantage of the tools at my fingertips!

I received really great feedback this year at WPPI speaking on this subject and I’m looking forward to doing it again this coming weekend at PPLA Spring Seminar in New Orleans! <–If you’re in the area please come by!

And for more inspiration and information posts feel free to check out Black River Imaging’s Blog!

TOP 10 Ways to Sell With or Without a Studio:

1. Use Social Media as a Tool

2. Have a Strong Web Presence

3. Create a Behind-The-Scenes Video

4. Have a Clear and Concise Pricing Guide

5. Professional Product Photos

6. Detailed Product Descriptions

7. Blogging Past Sessions & Weddings

8. Branded Skype Space

9. Have a Backup Meeting Location

10. Have the Ability to Book Online

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For questions, feel free to email me catherine@catherineguidry.com or Comment Below!

BRI Booth Recap: Selling Without a Studio

March 22, 2015