A few years ago, I started noticing something a little funny within the photography industry.
Basically, I was witnessing some crazy-talented photographers doing amazing things behind their cameras and working like mad. However, despite their talents, when we’d meet for coffee or get together, photographer friends were saying things like, “I feel like I’m working so hard, but looking at my bank account and lack of bookings, I don’t know how much longer I can do this.” Or, “I would love to go full time, but I just can’t get the bookings I need.”
I started thinking about these comments and realized that while there are TONS of shooting, editing, and posing courses out there to help photographers improve their work, there aren’t many resources teaching photographers how to market their businesses.
I firmly believe I’m able to be a full-time wedding photographer because my marketing background has helped me understand how to reach my best customers and convert them into clients. With this in mind, I began to feel called to help other photographers understand how to market their businesses. And, a dream to host a marketing workshop for photographers began to take root.
Thankfully, my friend Jasmine of Jasmine Norris Photography is every bit as passionate about marketing and the business side of photography as I am, and she agreed to partner with me. I just love this girl!
The In Focus Marketing Summit is a marketing workshop specifically for photographers. Over the course of 2.5 days, photographers learn how to identify and target their dream customers, develop and communicate their brand, create content marketing and social media strategies, build strategic websites that inspire website visitors to take action, optimize their websites for search engines, and more.
While we break these marketing tactics down as simply as we can, there is A LOT of content, and because photographers tend to be highly motivated people who like to get to work right away, we decided to do things a little different this year. (You can see a recap of the 2019 Summit here!)
Rather than hosting the In Focus Marketing Summit in a studio, we decided attendees could get more done and be more focused if we all stayed in an Airbnb! (You can see photos of this super cute, Indianapolis Airbnb below!) And, I have to say. I’m SO glad everyone was up for this. It was the best adult sleepover ever!
Staying in an Airbnb allowed attendees to spend 2.5 days doing nothing but focusing on their businesses. Basically, we’d go through content during the day, and at night and in between sessions, our new photographer friends were able to get to start implementing what they were learning, bounce ideas off of one another, and get immediate answers and feedback while drinking wine, eating delicious snacks from Sassy Sweets Catering, and bonding with other photogs!
I think it’s safe to say that the In Focus Marketing Summit is officially a retreat! I’m already so excited for the next one!
In case you’re wondering what the In Focus Marketing Summit is like, here’s a quick recap of what we covered and did each day!
Summit attendees arrived to the Indianapolis Airbnb at 6:30 pm ET to unpack their bags and get settled in. Then, at 7:00 pm, we kicked off the workshop with wine, appetizers, introductions, and a game of fish bowl (one of my favorite icebreakers).
Side note: while we’re talking about appetizers, I want to give a shout out to Connie of Sassy Sweets Catering. Connie is a Lafayette, Indiana caterer whom Jasmine and I met through TuesdaysTogether. She is the sweetest soul you’ll ever meet and a PHENOMENAL cook.
Connie catered the entire Summit, and every meal was delicious. If you’re in need of a caterer for an event of any size, you have to check out Sassy Sweets!
After our bellies were full and everyone knew one another a little better, we got to work.
Because your ideal customer needs to be at the center of all of your marketing efforts, on night one, we discussed what an ideal client is, why it’s important for photographers to identify their ideal client, and how to identify your ideal client.
After the session, attendees worked hard getting their ideal clients on paper.
After a late but fun night of client identification, we started early the next day with a delicious quiche from Connie and other assorted breakfast items.
From there, we went through branding, websites, SEO, and getting published. It was a lot of content, but we took breaks in between, enjoyed soup and sammies for lunch and a taco bar for dinner, and attendees asked amazing questions.
Another side note: A lot of people start photography because they think it’ll be a fun, creative outlet. And, photography is certainly fun and creative, but having a business of any kind requires dedication and hard work.
The photographers who attended the 2020 Summit worked SO hard throughout this entire weekend. I have no doubt that each and everyone is going to do big things with their business.
After all sessions were complete for the day, attendees kept working (after some took a short break to watch Moana), and before the night was over, every attendee had their ideal client completely identified and their brand developed! Jasmine and I were so proud!
On Saturday morning, we enjoyed another delicious breakfast made by Connie and then settled in for more content.
In the morning, Jasmine walked everyone through content marketing and social media for photographers. Then, we got everyone in front of the camera for headshots! (You can see a few headshots of the lovely 2020 Summit attendees below!)
After headshots, Connie had a delicious pasta bar ready for us. (Nobody’s Alfredo sauce is ever going to compare to Connie’s again as far as I’m concerned!) Then, we wrapped up the Summit by discussing client experience and 15 things Jasmine and I wish we would’ve known when we were first getting started as photographers.
In summary, it was an amazing weekend!
Each and every attendee arrived at the Airbnb ready to grow, learn, and ask questions. They took notes, helped one another, gave each other feedback, didn’t hesitate to share their experiences when they knew that they had something that could help another attendee, and stayed up late getting work done.
I think it’s safe to say that photographers—or even creatives in general—are naturally driven, determined, passionate, goal-oriented people.
And, because not everyone functions this way, it can be easy—as a photographer or creative— to feel like there’s something wrong with you.
I’m by no means saying that being a workaholic is a good idea or that finding your value in your work is healthy. That’s not it at all, and in my opinion, many things should be more important than work.
But, it did my soul good to spend 2.5 days with other photographers who share a passion for art, business, serving their clients well, and finding balance in life.
I can’t speak for attendees, but I hope that they felt the same way about this weekend. I also hope that each photographer who attended left the Summit knowing that they have a support system and community that they can count on in Jasmine, other attendees, and myself.
If you’re a photographer who would love to learn to strategically market your business AND add some supportive photographer friends to your tribe, I have good news for you. There’s going to be another In Focus Marketing Summit in 2021! And, if you’d like to be the first to know when registration opens, you can join the waitlist!
As of right now, dates are TBD, but the Summit will likely take place in Indianapolis on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in February 2021. And, if you’re a goal-oriented, determined photographer who wants your business to grow, we’d love to have you!
To be the first to find out about the next In Focus Marketing Summit, register for the In Focus Marketing Summit waitlist! We’ll shoot you an email with all the details as soon as they’re determined, so you can save your seat (or bed since this is a sleepover)!
Now, here are a few photos (Okay. A lot of photos!) from the 2020 In Focus Marketing Summit!
The house was so cozy! I want whoever decorated it to come decorate my house!
This fire place was also a great touch!
And, I don’t really cook, but if you ask me, these are kitchen goals right here!
On night one, we kicked off the Summit by talking about what an ideal client is, why it’s important to identify your ideal client, and how to identify your ideal client. Then, everyone got to work getting their ideal client on paper!
Also, having the chance to chat with photographers with wine in hand is officially my new dream job (besides photographing weddings, of course)!
On day two, I had the pleasure of talking to attendees about branding, website development, and SEO.
I’ve realized I have the most ridiculous expressions while presenting, while Jasmine looks flawless and smiley. Just wait until you see her!
Because there is so much content, there’s a lot of sitting. We encouraged attendees to dress comfortably. I 100% wore slippers all weekend long!
Jasmine wrapped up day two’s content talking about getting published. This is definitely her genius zone!
I can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are that Connie of Sassy Sweets Catering was willing to cater the ENTIRE Summit. The food was delicious, and Connie is one of those people who makes everyone around her feel loved. Like I said before, I can’t recommend Sassy Sweets Catering enough!
All of Connie’s food is good, but her cupcakes are particularly amazing!
And, yes. I fully recognize that everyone else in this photo looks adorable, and I look deranged. LOL!
There are no words to express how thankful I am for this photographer friend. Jasmine is always there as a friend, and she’s also the only person I’ve ever met who works further ahead on things than I do. She’s prepared and loving in every situation. Jasmine, thank you for putting up with me. I can’t imagine having a better partner for the Summit!
On day three, Jasmine walked everyone through blogging and social media for photographers. Then, we wrapped up the day by discussing client experience and 15 things Jasmine and I wish we would’ve known when we were starting out as photographers.
Attendees were so attentive and asked great questions all weekend long. I admire their work ethics so much!
On Saturday afternoon, we had the privilege of getting attendees in front of the camera for a change for headshots! Aren’t these ladies lovely?!
So thankful to now be able to called these women friends!
Jasmine and I are oh-so thankful that we got to spend 2.5 days with these amazing photographer friends!
Amy Hall Photography