Diversifying and sideways marketing for your photography business

Episode #71: Interview with Susan Stripling (48 minutes)

Discussion Topics

  1. Diversifying
  2. sideways marketing
  3. building a portfolio
  4. pricing and packaging

Susan Stripling

Award-Winning Photographer and Teacher

Susan Stripling never knew that she’d end up a wedding photographer. Though she purchased her first camera in high school she went to college to study theatre and dance, obtaining a BFA in 2001. Shortly upon her move to New York city after college graduation Susan realized that the life of a starving actor was not for her and went on to consider several career paths. She waited tables, was a receptionist at a failing dotcom, worked in a Broadway theatre casting office, and finally found her love for photography when she began studying digital and graphic design.

Upon her move to Florida in 2001 Susan photographed her first wedding and was in love. The fantastic theatre and emotion of weddings moved her in a way nothing had before and her business was born that year.

Susan has photographed weddings all throughout the US, the Caribbean, South America, Finland, France, and the Bahamas. She’s been published in Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Bride and Bloom, Modern Bride, The Knot, Professional Photographer Magazine, The New York Times Style section, Rangerfinder Magazine, Capture Magazine, Elegant Bride, in Trade Publications for Nikon USA, and Town and Country Weddings. Susan’s teaching career has developed as well; she has been seen at past Digital Wedding Forum conventions, gives private and group workshops throughout the USA, and has spoken at WPPI.

In 2009 Susan won third place in the Bride and Groom together category of WPPI’s international yearly 16×20 competition. In 2010 she won first place in the Wedding Photojournalism category and the Grand Award in the Photojournalism division.

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • Why you should diversify your photography business.
  • The importance of experimenting with different niches and trying something new.
  • How to transition from one genre to another and have it make sense for you.
  • The importance of building a substantial and comparable portfolio in each genre.
  • How to start shooting in a new genre without devaluing your business and current specialty.
  • The language and communication style to use with your clients when diversifying.
  • Tips on pricing your work and why a major price increase is not the best decision for you or your business.
  • The importance of knowing all of your tangible and intangible costs.
  • What Susan finds most effective when selling photography packages.
  • Guidelines for discount percentages in your packages and how to use a la carte pricing to help you sell them.
  • How The Dynamic Range can help you develop your photography craft and business.

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