Ten Free Photography Resources I Can’t Live Without

As a wedding Photographer Sometimes it seems like I am surrounded by technology, always being sold on the next best thing, the latest and greatest gadgets that will surely make my life and business complete. In reality it is some of the most very basic things that truly make my business go-round- here are my top ten free resources.

 

1. Facebook
Most of us use Facebook for mindless surfing and downtime, but for many business owners it is a goldmine of free marketing. Staying  relevant lets people know you’re still out there and in business. Daily posts be they photos, or simple updates about my life keep my clients in touch with me and thinking about my brand. Timeline is especially great, because it is your own personal billboard space where you can have a lot of fun and put your best foot forward.
Timeline
2. Creative Live
This one changed my life. I began my business and quickly realized I know nothing about business!! A { and not nearly enough about photography for that matter} so I enrolled in photography school. It wasn’t for me. I feel like I learned nothing useful, and it was very costly in time and money. When it began to have a negative effect on my business I decided to drop out of school. When one door closes another opens, and there was Creative Live. A totally free world-wide educational resource that has taught me how to be a better photographer, manage my work and home life and how to run the business side of things. I honestly would have been one of the 80 percent of failed photography businesses had I not found Creative Live’s free courses.
3. Testimonials and word of mouth
Where would any of us be without word of mouth ? Generating word of mouth is the most popular way photographers keep the clients coming. Word of mouth is free, just do your job and do it well, be kind to people and they in turn will have good things to say about you. This free resource literally keeps me in business.  There are plenty of ways to boost WOM, and the free ones are my favorites. Give people a reason to talk about you, send them a few prints and a sweet handwritten note. Write a blog post and tag/ share with your client, they will be happy to share it with family and friends spreading their and your fame.
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4. The Manual that came free with that really expensive camera
Sure the camera cost thousands of dollars, but you got one of the best resources available included for free- the manual. Reading your camera manual from front to back about three or three hundred times will make you like the jedi-master of photography. I have been called a photo ninja about ten times now by clients, and I swear it’s because I pop up ev-ree-where. That is because I am so comfortable with my camera I can naturally change and adjust settings without giving it any thought. The humble little manual inside of that box should be your best friend until you know it inside and out. I remember an instance when  thought my camera was broken. I had read my manual front to back three times, and I just knew I knew all the things to know about my camera and it was most certainly broken…You know? I sent an email to Nikon to have it repaired, and got about one line back from Nikon telling me to make a one button adjustment, and sure enough the problem was resolved. I was so embarrassed, but I dug my heels in deeper and kept right on reading that manual.
5. Silica Gel Packets
These little beauties come in just about everything: shoes, handbags, electronics and even some toys. I used to just toss them, but with bags and bags of equipment I love saving them, and putting one in each compartment of all my gear bags. Silica absorbs moisture, preventing products from damage due to humidity. Cared for properly a good lens can last an entire lifetime, Silica helps to prevent fungus from developing on the inside of your lenses and other equipment. It is a free way to protect your investment.
6. WordPress Blog
It took me a long time to get on this bus, but when I did I kicked myself for not realizing the wonder that is WordPress sooner.  I am no expert, but a few points that I love about WordPress are: Great SEO, beautiful and easy templates, easy integration with a variety of other programs, AMAZING and SUPPORTIVE community. I had about five blog views and one comment in two years while using blogger, at wordpress I have found an eager community of wonderful bloggers who give feedback, comments and support.
7. “Thank You”
Don’t underestimate the business power and potential of gratitude. As I mentioned in word of mouth, above be nice to people and they will remember how you made them feel, they will evangelize. Showing your gratitude and giving thanks is an amazing way to be humble and let your clients know they are the reason why you are able to do what you do. A few ways I say Thank You are:  sending cards. Right after a wedding I print a preview image on a card and just tell my bride a sincere thank you for trusting me with her wedding day. I also do the same for the venue, because a happy venue is an amazing word of mouth resource as well. I also say thank you to god. Showing gratitude on a daily basis keeps me in a positive frame of mind, which attracts more positive things into my life.
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8. Window Light
This one is kind of obvious, but I really do think that the magic of window light is responsible for most of my favorite images, images that have shaped my brand. This free resource is super easy and super- available for anyone not trapped in a church basement or dungeon. I can’t live without window light because I use it in every single wedding I shoot.
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9. Templates, Actions and presets
This one takes a little effort but in the longterm could save you weeks of editing time. Create your own templates, actions and presets to automate your workflow. Creating Photoshop actions or lightroom presets is easy, and allows you to customize watermarks or edits exactly as you like them. Be sure to create email templates for all of your client correspondences. Of course I send unique email to every client, but the template already having the basic info, addresses, lists and links already filled in saves me about 20 minutes of labor per email. Another way I use templates is in my album design, Thank You cards, and Photo-collages. It takes some time to set up but you’ll be glad once the system is in place and saving you hours each day.
10. Laughter
Taking life too seriously is a business mistake I see all of the time. There is this magical balance between being professional and being personable and approachable. When you can find what that means for you, it is something wonderful. I have only recently found my balance, and am able to present myself in a professional manner establishing trust and reliability but can still be myself and form connections with my clients and their families. Laughter also conveys to anyone watching that you experience joy in what you do.  I read recently that your brand grows by the people who choose to support your beliefs and I have found this to be true. When you clearly demonstrate that you are happy in what you do through your actions, you will find that your brand grows quickly.
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Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, Lexington, Thomasville, and Kernersville Wedding Photography, Shanna Duffy

Call or Email  me for more information.

6 thoughts on “Ten Free Photography Resources I Can’t Live Without

  1. Well written and enjoyable to read. Wedding photography isn’t my genre, yet I admire you brave souls that venture forth.

    Check out Wedding photog, Neil Van Nierkerk. He is a wealth of information. And a master manipulator of light.

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