Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Build A Book To Blow Away The Buyers
Promote your photography with a short-run publication
There's much more to a successful photography business than taking a pretty picture. It's a business where there's no shortage of shooters who produce consistently excellent work. In this competitive environment, you need to step from behind the camera and market yourself to create an awareness of you and your work. For some, this takes the form of a promotional card that's sent out to thousands of current and hopefully future clients. For others, it involves the production of short-run bound books designed to serve as an introduction or a refresher of a photographer's work to a client.
The technology that has transformed photography also has changed the way you can produce a short-run book. Using your computer, easy-to-use software and affordable printing services, you can create custom books that build on existing relationships or help a photo buyer or art director discover you.
Doing It Differently
“Since I became a photographer, I've always wanted to show clients what I do in order to earn a living at it,” says Jody Dole, a photographer who has been in the business for 15 years and has made the production of self-promotional materials a key component of his business plan. “I've published numerous promotional pieces over the years, some more elaborate than others.”
Dole's promotional books often have required a lot of time and money. “From start to finish, a bound book—from the moment I decided what to put in it, worked with a designer, decided on typography and dealt with press proofs—could take anywhere between a few weeks and a few months to complete,” Dole says. He sees his books not merely as a means to introduce new clients to his work, but a way to provide current clients with a greater perspective of what he and his studio are producing. “When you're running 5,000 24-page bound books, you're talking thousands and thousands of dollars.”
With that experience behind him, Dole became curious about new services that allowed him to produce books using his computer and the Internet.
Using Apple Computer's iPhoto software, Dole designed a 24-page promotional book showcasing his marine work, particularly focused on boating. Although the latest version of iPhoto can automatically take selected images and lay them out on a page, Dole required more control. He laid out the book using Photoshop and then imported the completed files into iPhoto.
“We made the first book, uploaded it, and when we got it back, we checked the color, and color accuracy was better than I ever expected. It was 90 percent spot-on,” he recounts. If some colors weren't exactly what he wanted, he used the initial book as a color reference and made the necessary adjustments to the digital file. “I was able to do all this with only a four-day turnaround.”