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November 9th, 2010

What is Branding?

Posted by Michelle Loretta

Many people think that branding is a logo, a website, and some stationery.  In actuality, branding is the feeling that people have when they come into contact with your business.  It is a combination of your company’s mission statement, core values, principles, philosophies, and reputation.  Your branding identity – the logo, website, etc. – is the imagery that represents your brand.  Branding identity can have a very powerful impact on the emotion of your customers and potential customers.

First Things First

When we are defining our company’s branding identity, we often create a design based on our preferences.  We like red and such our identity becomes a red logo.  Or, the trend color is turquoise and the website becomes turquoise.  The problem with creating branding identity based on these preferences is that it is built on the surface of a business.  This type of identity doesn’t represent what runs deep in our business.

Building Your Brand

Want to build a strong brand that best represents your business?  Sit down and define the following:

  • What is your mission statement?
  • Who are you?  What is your business about?
  • What are you values and your company’s values?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What is your specialty?

From here, work to define the identity that will draw people to your company.  Powerful identity will work to link the customer’s eye with your business inside and out.

Go Beyond Branding Identity

Branding is so much more than your logo, website, and stationery.  It is in the way you answer the phone, the way you dress for a meeting, the way you present your porfolio.  Branding that is carried through all aspects of your business will create a consistent experience for your customer.  It is this consistent experience that makes your brand strong.  These factors are what makes a brand become instantly recognizable and highly valuable.

Wanna learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on mission statements, values, and branding.

September 16th, 2010

Selling Relationships

Posted by Michelle Loretta

It’s hard to pass up on buying new gear, new equipment.  There is always something cool and cutting edge out there.  And, we feel compelled to keep up with our competition.  We hope this will improve our work, give us something unique to offer the client.  So, we purchase and run with it…. Only for a few months… Until the next big thing.

Guess what?

The client could care less.  Sure – they want quality and they want delivery.  But ultimately, there is only ONE thing the client cares about: YOU!

The client wants to know that you are listening and want to meet his or her needs.

The client wants a RELATIONSHIP.

We all want this.  We all want to know that whomever we hire for whatever we need is listening to what we say.  We take our car to the mechanic.  Do we care what tool he is using to fix the thinga-majigger?  Nope.  All we care about is that he is listening to our needs.  We care that he is trustworthy and dependable and is quoting us a fair price for the work done.  We want to know that he is looking out for our best interest.  I had a mechanic like this when I lived in LA.  I still dream of driving my broken down car 3000 miles cross-country just to have John do the repairs.  Why?  Because I know he listened to me.  And, I trusted him.  And, I liked the guy.  I wanted (and still want) to do business with John.

When you stop to think about this, the client’s needs are quite simple.  The client wants a relationship with YOU.  Sure, your work will impress him.  You bet that she’ll want to know you can deliver.  But ultimately this all boils down to WHO YOU ARE.  Are you listening to him?  Are you helping them?  Are you kind?  Are you trustworthy?  Are you fun?

We are in the business of selling relationship, nothing more.

Wanna learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on sales to the wedding and event industries.

Hundreds of up-and-coming wedding photographers have already tweeted this statement to the world on emerge Photo Contest’s Twitter page in hopes of becoming one of 15 winners in the emerge Photo Contest.

Emerge is designed to give new wedding photographers a way to showcase their work, and for this reason, it is operated differently than most photo competitions. Emerge gives each entrant their very own website to feature an entire wedding photo story by submitting up to five photos in each of the categories: wedding preparation, details, venue, the kiss and favorite wedding. You’re submitting multiple images – not just one!

So why should you enter? We thought you’d ask so here are four reasons why you should break away from the crowd and emerge:

1) Exposure – The top five winners receive a coveted listing on The Knot, the web’s leading wedding planning site, one write-up in RANGEFINDER magazine as an Editor’s Choice, a profile on RESOLVE, plenty of Twitter and Facebook buzz and more.

2) Cool prizes – A Sony camera and lens worth nearly $3000, shootQ, Pictage and liveBooks accounts for one year, Think Tank gear, Induro Tripod Kit and plenty of others.  Visit the emerge website for the complete listing.

3) Low entry fee – You’re entering to win thousands of dollars in prizes and some fantastic exposure for a low entry fee of $29.  Go to www.emergephotocontest.com to get started now.

4) Exposure – did we mention that already?  The value of ‘exposure’ to the modern photographer… priceless

The last day to enter is May 31st, and that is less than two weeks away.  Are you ready to emerge?  If so, check the official rules to register – and away you go.  And for all of you experienced photographers, what are your words of advice for these emerging wedding photographers?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

There are few areas of photography that are as crowded right now as the world of weddings. The portrait and wedding photography market has grown exponentially in recent years, and with more shooters shifting in from other shrinking markets, that trend is likely to continue.

For those emerging photographers who are passionate about wedding photography but don’t know how to distinguish themselves from the growing crowd, we’re happy to announce emerge, a new contest for emerging wedding photographers — and not just because it’s the brainchild of liveBooks ;)

The emerge Photo Competition is special because it gives photographers the opportunity to tell an entire picture story through multiple images, uploaded into website portfolios in five categories: wedding preparation, details, venue, the kiss, and favorite wedding. Winners will also receive a full suite of tools to help them get their business off the ground and take it straight to the stratosphere.

A panel of wedding industry leaders and magazine photo editors will crown 15 winners total, three in each category, who will receive a prize package worth $1,400, including:

a one-year subscription to a liveBooks predesigned website,
a one-year subscription to a Pictage account,
a one-year subscription to a ShootQ account,
a 2011 WPPI VIP pass,
a Think Tank Photo Belt,
and a $100 Asuka Book gift card.

The top photographer in each category will also receive an advertising package from TheKnot.com valued at $1,200 and a professional photography kit from Sony valued at $2,000.

Check out more details here. Deadline for entries is May 31, 2010 and we’re looking forward to announcing the winners soon after.  Good luck!

Gene Higa is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but he’s got great tips for all kinds of photographers. In today’s Tip of the Week, Gene talks about the importance of diversifying your business, like his friend Ann Hamilton, who is a successful wedding AND dog portrait photographer.

“One of the things I do to keep myself balanced is I teach.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Gene has some great tips lined up, but we’re always eager to hear what you’d like to know more about. Leave your questions in the comments (with a link to your website, of course) and Gene will be happy to respond.

Gene Higa is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but he’s got great tips for all kinds of photographers. In today’s Tip of the Week, Gene explains how a regular email newsletter can help keep you connected with clients and colleagues, even when they don’t have time to check your blog.

“Photographers get busy and don’t always come to the blog for news.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Gene has some great tips lined up, but we’re always eager to hear what you’d like to know more about. Leave your questions in the comments (with a link to your website, of course) and Gene will be happy to respond.

Gene Higa is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but he’s got great tips for all kinds of photographers. In today’s Tip of the Week, Gene reiterates the importance of clear, comprehensive contracts and outlines the main points a good contract should cover.

“We want to make sure we are as specific as possible to keep our business safe.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Gene has some great tips lined up, but we’re always eager to hear what you’d like to know more about. Leave your questions in the comments (with a link to your website, of course) and Gene will be happy to respond.

Gene Higa is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but he’s got great tips for all kinds of photographers. In today’s Tip of the Week, Gene explains why it’s important to think like the people trying to find you online and he gives some foundational tips for search engine optimization to help them do just that.

“We have to put ourselves in the place of our clients.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Gene has some great tips lined up, but we’re always eager to hear what you’d like to know more about. Leave your questions in the comments (with a link to your website, of course) and Gene will be happy to respond.

Gene Higa is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but he’s got great tips for all kinds of photographers. In today’s Tip of the Week, Gene reminds photographers that magazines are often looking for just the photos you have sitting on your hard drives — and getting published is a great way to raise your visibility.

“You have a hard drive full of beautiful images and there are magazines out there who may want to use them.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Gene has some great tips lined up, but we’re always eager to hear what you’d like to know more about. Leave your questions in the comments (with a link to your website, of course) and Gene will be happy to respond.

Gene Higa is a destination wedding photographer based in San Francisco, but he’s got great tips for all kinds of photographers. In today’s Tip of the Week, Gene talks about the one light that always comes along when he packs his camera bags.


“I like that nice, available-light look.”

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Gene has some great tips lined up, but we’re always eager to hear what you’d like to know more about. Leave your questions in the comments (with a link to your website, of course) and Gene will be happy to respond.

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