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Friday, June 1, 2007

Market Yourself

A custom photo book gives you a tool to show off a tailored collection of images in a package that makes an impact with a client

Market Yourself Being a great photographer is no guarantee that you'll be a successful one. Talent is important, there's no doubt about that. But if you don't find effective ways to let your talent be known, you'll flounder. Today, it's promote or perish. You must market yourself.

Potent marketing doesn't require an Ivy League MBA, and it doesn't have to cost more than one either. We deal in a visual media, and the most compelling way to strut our stuff is by showing images. That's good news because that's what we do best.

If you've considered presenting slideshows to potential clients on your notebook computer, doubtlessly you've already discovered the inherent difficulties. The show may look great, but it's just not practical. First of all, you have to be there. It's impossible for potential clients to peruse the show by themselves. And even if you're making a live presentation, you have to find an available electrical outlet, boot your computer, place the notebook at just the right angle so that your audience can see it without shifting their heads back and forth, and deal with screensavers, desktop icons and all sorts of other things that simply get in the way.

The best way to showcase your work is by presenting your prospective customer with a bound photo book. They're available from many sources, but here we're working specifically with the books offered by Mpix, a division of Miller's Professional Imaging. Miller's was founded in 1939 and is the largest professional photography lab in the United States. Miller's and Mpix have made their bones with demanding professionals because they deliver prints of outstanding quality. Their experienced technicians apply professional color-management standards that they have perfected over the course of several years. The prints are packaged the way you'd pack them yourself, and print orders are generally shipped within 24 hours.

Mpix offers two styles of photo books. To make a lasting impression at an affordable price, go with the hardcover book, which is available in standard 8.5x11 inches with either a vertical or horizontal orientation. Basic cost is $30 for 20 pages, but you can add up to 30 additional pages at the cost of 50¢ per page. Even if you max out at 50 pages, you're still talking only $45, and that's a very reasonable price for a bound book.

The books come with an attractive black or blue suede cover and are perfect bound. The paper is 100-pound text stock. Additionally, you can upgrade the paper to pearl or linen at no additional charge. Hardcover books can be customized with a foil stamp for a low additional charge.


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