Social Media – You need to go fish where the fish are.

Wednesday Works post from guest blogger and professional photographer, Kenny Kim.

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Kenny Kim has always been fascinated by the visual arts, especially the connection between art and photography. This passion led him to study graphic design at the University of Illinois where he also became a Web designer.  But he eventually realized that the greatest outlet for his artistic expression and technical skills would be through his passion for photography.

With the launch of Kenny Kim Photography in 2006, his vision instantly resonated with his audience, and Kenny Kim Photography very quickly grew into a nationally recognized studio. Kenny has captured over 150+ weddings in locations throughout the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and in Italy.

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I recently got back from a trip to The Big Apple. While wandering through the familiar streets of New York City, riding through their elaborate subway trains and walking through the familiar halls of airports, I couldn’t help but to notice something that all these difference places had in common: Almost everyone was looking down at their smart phones! Without glancing at their screens, I could probably guess that the majority of them were either on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and/or another form of a social media application. It was a good reminder to me that we are now living in the social media era. Use of mobile technology has transitioned from an option to a necessity. It has become the main channel for communication, news, advertising and even building relationships.

Wedding images of Bethany Scheuerman & Matt Whipple

When I got into the wedding photography industry nine years ago, social media was just starting to scratch its surface. I recall talking to many of my colleagues who were on the fence about joining the social media bandwagon at that time. Even just a few years ago, during my classes and workshops, I informed everyone about how having social media was a nice addition to incorporate into your business. Times have now changed and my message has evolved. It is now ESSENTIAL to integrate social media into your business.

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As a destination-wedding photographer, social media has played an integral part of my business in helping me get the ideal clients. Aside from traditional referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, it is now the biggest form of marketing for my studio. The best way to define marketing is that you need to go fish where the fish are. Most of the brides are using their smart phones to plan their weddings. They spend time looking at Pinterest and wedding style blogs for inspirations/ideas. They are viewing and sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram. Social media is now the ocean where your clients are swimming in. This is where you want to go fishing.

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Kodak Alaris has always been the leader in the photography industry. They also recognize the importance of social media as one of the essential steps in sharing and preserving the images we capture for our clients. I am thankful that they have given me the platform to share this message at WPPI Conference in Las Vegas next week. Please join me on March 1st for my Master Class about Destination Weddings. Then on March 2 & 3rd , I will be at the Kodak Alaris booth from 11am to 12pm, where I will dive more in depth about this topic and share some practical social media tips with everyone. Can’t wait to see you there!

Are you on social media? Let’s connect!

Facebook: @kennykimphotography / Twitter: @kennykim / Instagram: @kenny_kim

So Much More Than Survival: Achieving Sustainability in Professional Photography

Guest blog post from Tim Kelly, M,Photog., IE, Cr., Fellow-ASP

I love the art and business of photography.

Photography was and still is “magical”. Running a business was, is and always will be a challenge. The rewards are both personal and professional, and often extraordinary for those who are serious and diligent.

The digital revolution took its toll on many of us and many studios could not survive because they didn’t adapt quickly enough. I began experimenting with digital a full decade before it really hit our profession even though I was told that digital would never be good enough for anything serious. It was so expensive! Because I wanted my business to have a future, I was willing to work, experiment and invest. Still, there are things I don’t love about digital, but it is the language of our industry, and for the most part, we must accept it.

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I say this as a film lover – understanding that many reading this may have never known the excitement and wonder of what can be created on film.

If you’re in Photography now, you’re likely shooting digital and 97% likely to be using a lab to print your orders. This has been one of the industry’s biggest changes and challenges in the last twenty years.

While most don’t print themselves, it’s imperative that the digital photographer understand profiles, color space, and the importance of calibration to produce a decent file for the lab to print. Serious photographers need to stay current with the latest techniques for shooting and handling image files so that we get the best images possible from digital capture. ‘

I’ve been a Kodak Mentor for more than twenty-five years and I’ve witnessed the positive effect that companies who train and educate can have. Largely speaking, our vendors want you to succeed and Kodak Alaris is providing products and software systems that help you get the most for your clients and from your lab. Take advantage of the support they have to offer.

Being the photographer is just one of the hats you wear. If you own your business, a lot more responsibility comes your way and good business practices and policies are just the start. You’ll need to work towards mastering sales and marketing too, another necessary cog in the machine. You’ll need to be the visionary for your company, bringing in new products and services, motivating clients and employees.

I’ve always felt there is a balance between what needs to be done now, and what I want to do next. Everyone’s list is different, but real growth comes from the extra hours you put in proof of the passion that you have for your craft. I hope that if your camera work needs improving, or your retouching skills need work, you’ll put that ahead of buying new studio lights. If your studio lighting or posing could be better, you won’t jump into digital painting just yet. I also hope that you go above and beyond for your clients, always bringing them your very best work. Bring new services and products forward once they are fully tested – once you’ve proven that they work – and when you have your pricing, delivery, and all your other ducks in a row. It’s good for you and good for our industry.

This is a fantastic business, as individual and unique as you want it to be. Take the time to develop as an artist and as a businessperson. Change is constant, adaptability is a must and enthusiasm is the fuel! Photography is equal parts art and science and disregarding either is a mistake.

As a Professional Photographer, I’m always looking for new ideas, things to get excited about, and that’s why I’ve started producing large format film portraits again. This format challenges me, and revisiting film, large format film in particular reminds me why I’m in this business. Learning and growing helps sharpen my skills so I can continue to offer new and fresh ideas to my clients.

In fact, I’d love to get your feedback, meet you and talk about the future of film and digital capture. I’ll be making a special appearance at PPA’s ImagingUSA 2015 in Nashville, and Amherst Publishing will be releasing my new book on B&W portraiture there. I’ll also be sharing ideas from my new book at the Kodak Alaris booth #726.

This is an invitation. Come on by – Kodak Alaris #726.

– Tim Kelly, M,Photog., IE, Cr., Fellow-ASP
timkellyportraits.com

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