Category Archives: Commercial Photography

Commercial photography services by Jim Crotty Dayton Ohio including event, editorial, product, facility, location and studio photo services

Twitter vs. Facebook or Twitter and Facebook | Fired Up for SummitUp 2010

Fired Up for SummitUp 2010 | davidebowman.

I’m registered to attend the SummitUp event in Dayton, next Tuesday. Quite a line-up of interesting speakers. Lots of marketing and PR-types from throughout Ohio will be attending. So what does it have to do with photography ? Well, if you’re a photographer who has any desire to make a name for yourself and sell your work and services, SummitUp could very well be a treasure trove of pertinent information, as well as contacts, on the realities of marketing and branding for the independent professional in the 21st century. Three words: social media marketing.

But do all the available channels – Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, WordPress, Blogger, etc., etc. – fall conveniently under this catch-all description ? It will be interesting to listen to what the industry experts have to say on what works best when it comes to producing measurable results (actual sales $$$) versus pulling all of us backwards to those painfully insecure days of adolescent popularity contests.

I’m cool with Twitter, okay with LinkedIn but I definitely have a “love/hate/but more toward hate” relationship with Facebook. There’s something inherent to the basic platform and origins of Facebook that is well . . . let’s just say high school. What I do love about Facebook, however, has been the results obtained through the use of their ad program.

I’m a photographer. I’m an observer, not only of what is often overlooked but also patterns and behaviors, in all aspects of life. And the patterns of online behavior observed on these various social media channels is fascinating.

Photography is my profession; my business. I look for results (actual sales $$$). Commercial assignments, portrait sessions, fine art print sales, photography workshops and image licensing. Sure, I have an ego and there are times that I slip too far into the touchy/feely – the nebulous elixir of the artsy-fartsy emphasis on collaboration and everyone feeling good about themselves. That’s nice for social get-togethers at the local gallery, but then the cold, hard reality of cash flow comes calling, again and again.

Which gets back to why I prefer Twitter and why recently I’ve made some changes to my approach toward marketing my work and services via social media marketing. In short, I’m much more comfortable at driving content initially through my Twitter account – where’s there’s more of a clear boundary between what’s business and what’s personal – and THEN flow it to my Facebook business page. Previously I had made the common mistake of welcoming all sorts of “friend requests” on a Facebook personal account and then pumping-out photography business content at an entry point platform that was initially designed more on social acceptance and popularity.

Granted Facebook has been quick to make changes and adapt, moving away from group pages and more toward what I see as business-friendly “fan” pages.

Mashable recently posted a very good op-ed that begins to define the primary difference between Facebook and Twitter, which reinforces the lesson I’ve learned regarding both networking platforms. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will be discussed at SummitUp 2010 next week.

Photography and social media marketing – both a constant learning process. All in all, a good thing.

Head Shot Portraits for Twitter and Business Blogs

Professionally taken portrait head shot photographs can go a long way in projecting an entrepreneur’s personality, particularly when used as profile images on Twitter and business blog pages. I provide this service here in my home studio. The following image is from a recent session with Sara who was looking for head shot images to use with her Twitter page for her business.

One of the reasons I like doing these photography sessions here at my home location is the opportunity to use an ample amount of daylight coming through my southward facing windows. I show how this works in the Photographic Moment video tutorial that was shot this past January. It’s worth the extra effort and time it takes for me to move furniture to the side and set-up my lights and backdrops. I’ll be setting-up this arrangement again this Friday for another high school senior portrait session.

The following image was taken using just natural window light –

Tips on the Business of Photography

The following was a response to a Facebook friend and fellow photographer who was asking for advice on pricing and taking his work to the next level, from hobby to part-time endeavor and possibly profession. Some of my comments are unique to the local market here in Dayton, Ohio:

Right off the bat Josh, you’ve got the eye and the talent. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. And don’t allow anyone to tell you what you should be shooting according to what they like. Shoot what you love, and stick to it.

I took a quick glance at the article. Nothing new or surprising there, but it is a good read for those just starting out. As far as assignment and stock licensing rates according to the ASMP guide – forget in a market like Dayton. I say “non-exclusive, limited usage rights” to potential buyers here locally and they don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. I’m not being mean. It’s just a fact.

Market your work and yourself outside the traditional boundaries. Look for buyers where no one else is looking. The local arts groups are okay for some initial advice, but they can also become a real hindrance and quite limiting. More often than not these groups are very subjective when it comes to who they will support and who they won’t support. Don’t give the so-called “art experts” power of you. Your work is too good to be limited that way.

Outsource your printmaking. Develop a solid, trusting relationship with a commercial lab and stick with them. Don’t get yourself and your money bogged-down with large format inkjet printers, paper, profiles, ink, time, etc. Trust me. It’s not worth it.

Set limits with customers who are only going to buy a print or two. Look at the return on how much time you might put into a sale for say one or two 11″x14″s. That’s what online storefronts are for. There are a lot of people who will devour your time and attention and end-up buying just one print.

Time + talent + skill + expenses + profit = price

I will be going over these and other lessons on the Sunday afternoon of my September workshop at the Inn at Cedar Falls. I’m also going to be doing a half-day program on the business of nature photography on a Saturday in November. Just haven’t confirmed it yet.

Once again Josh, you’ve got the talent and the eye. Don’t sell yourself short. Think outside the boundaries and rules everyone else is playing within. And always stay true to your creative vision.

Photography Services for Owners of Private Aircraft

One of the few upsides to a down economy is the number of individuals and businesses looking to sell property and various assets. I say “upside” from a professional photographer’s point of view, that being the opportunity to provide photography and digital imaging services that will present property listed for sale – both online and in print – in the best light possible and for the most visual impact. First impressions count, but with marketing products and services on the web, first impressions are EVERYTHING.

Private and corporate aircraft provides the perfect example. I recently I had the opportunity to provide exterior and interior photography of a Cessna Citation located at the Dayton South Airport. The owner was very supportive and helpful, graciously allowing me to use some of the images from the photo shoot for a promotional piece marketing my services for this niche in commercial assignment photography.

One of the key benefits of hiring my photography services is clearly listed in the flyer – ‘respectful of client property and privacy.’ Over the last seven years of being a full-time, professional photography I’ve completed photo shoots for a wide variety of both corporate and editorial clients. Also, I come from a corporate background, so I like to think a bring a bit more to the table than just the ability to deliver great images.

High School Senior Portrait Photography by Jim Crotty

I’m pleased to announce the addition of senior portrait photography to my offering of professional imaging services. Graduating high school seniors can choose between in-studio portrait sessions at my Centerville, Ohio location or portrait sessions shot outdoors. Senior portrait packages start at $300 and include up to two hour session, proof prints, select custom 5″x7″ and 8″x10″ prints and select images from the session delivered as high resolution JPEG files on DVD. Other options include a private, online proof preview gallery, custom slide presentations, enlargements on canvas up to 30″x40,” and post-production digital editing such as custom black and white conversions, montage composites and spot color.

Also included is a pre-session consultation with the graduating senior and his or her parents. From the consultation meeting I help families in deciding what type of portrait session will best serve the type of senior portraits they have in mind, or perhaps explore some new creative approaches in visually capturing the essence of this very important milestone in a young person’s life. The pre-shoot meeting also helps in building rapport between client and photographer.

One thing that’s important in capturing the client’s true personality is to have fun with the portrait session. I encourage seniors to photograph in a several outfits and bring along items that best symbolize their high school experience, such as medals, letter jackets, art projects, sports items, etc. A favorite playlist on an iPod through studio speakers is encouraged as well.

There’s also an option for a post-session get together to review the images from the photo shoot and select the photographs for both prints and disk. Client consult meetings are held in the comfort and convenience of my home studio where client images are viewed on calibrated, LED Mac cinema display screens.

As with my commercial portrait photography services, I utilize professional-grade Canon EOS DSLR camera bodies and lenses, a variety of studio strobe lights and light boxes and muslin cloth backdrops. All client images are captured in digital raw file format for highest quality standards. All original, raw digital files are carefully archived and retained by Picture Ohio, LLC, which can be accessed in the event the client loses his or her DVD with JPEG image files.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consult meeting, call 937-432-6711 or email jim@calmphotos.com. I serve high school senior clients throughout the Dayton area. Professionally insured, recommended and certified.

Capturing the Feel of a Place

One of the advantages of working with a foundation in fine art nature photography, and subsequently transitioning into architectural and interior imaging services, is the ability to pick-up on the small details of a location, whether it be a home or bed and breakfast inn. Also, awareness of the subtle effects of natural light upon those details. Together the “feel,” or spirit, of the place shines through in each photograph.

Below is a quick snapshot of the cover and interior spread of the most recent issue of Housetrends Magazine. This is from a home and garden that I had the pleasure of photographing for Housetrends, located in New Carlisle, Ohio.

And here are some of my favorite images from an assignment shoot I did this past February, for The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio: