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Placing Your Cards On The Table

It never ceases to amaze me the number of photographers who don’t carry business cards with them and hand them out on a regular basis. Only last month I handed one out which two weeks later brought me in £1,000 worth of business.
In the past I’ve handed cards out that generated digital photography work for me for up to a whole year later as a result.

The secret to getting work as a photographer this way is to make your business card stand out. That way it won’t get binned straight away and may even make it into a potential client’s contact file or on their pinboard. A friend tells me he visited a Picture Editor again after nearly three years and she still had his promotional business card up on her inboard.

I often exchange cards with other photographers on jobs where there is a large gathering of us. Partly to stay in touch, but also to see what they are using as their hand outs themselves. A surprising number of professional photographers either don’t have any card at all, or no photo at all on their business card and to me that seems to be missing a huge opportunity.

Cards with a nicely printed photo on decent heavy-duty stock don’t cost the earth. It’s worth spending the money to give a professional image of your photography business.
People do judge a book by its cover, whether we like it or not.

When I first started out my professional career as a photographer I made the mistake of handing out my home-printed business card to a rather famous photographer at an awards dinner. He was very rude about it and made me feel about 12″ tall because my handout was in his eyes unprofessional. That was a memorable moment albeit not a a good one.  It was also a reminder that not all successful photographers are nice people! But at the very least it taught me a valuable lesson.

Today I prefer standard size cards-they fit into business card holders and wallets easier than custom sizes and are less likely to get binned as a result. With printing companies like Moo you can choose up to 100 different images so it’s possible to hand out cards with images relevant to the possible client’s business. Not all images will work at this size- so make sure they are punchy and create a talking point. A simple composition works better than a ‘busy’ image on a standard sized business card.

Once you have your cards ready, make sure you carry them with you-even when your not working. Personally, I keep mine in a metal holder so they stay pristine. Just as bad as not having a card is handing out a torn and dog-eared example of your work!
Don’t miss any opportunity to tell people about your photography business and then make sure you hand out your card as a reminder.

About John Robertson:

About JR

I’ve been a professional photographer all my working life, starting out as a trainee on a regional newspaper at the age of 17. Here I learned to deal with people and acquired a keen eye for a picture that stands out from the rest.

Since 1987 I have worked as a regular contributor to The Guardian and The Telegraph amongst other national and international newspapers and magazines such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The National, (UAE), Time, The Atlantic Magazine and Der Spiegel. From my base in the East Midlands I have covered thousands of assignments throughout the UK and abroad.

Twice voted UK Press Photographer of the Year, along with many other awards, I strive to be amongst the best at what I do. Always trying new techniques and fresh ideas to capture my subjects with precision and artistic flare.

In the past ten years I have branched out into commercial photography and have found it very exciting to dive into new projects.I aim to transcend categorization in my work and I hope the diverse range of subjects, objects and places I have photographed show this.From David Cameron to Angelina Jolie and Joan Collins, my lenses have captured people from all walks of life.

I’m very passionate about photography and where it will take me in the future-I love what I do.Reliability, creativity,enthusiasm and top quality results delivered on time and within budget are what drive me.

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