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Imaging USA 2013 – Fave Trade Show Products

Imaging USA

Last week, I shared with you some booths at Imaging USA 2013 that overall inspired me. They gave me ideas for design, my business, photography and more. This week, I am sharing with you a few products that I loved and hope to blend into my business in 2013.


Wild Sorbet

Gray and yellow are so striking together. This was my favorite wall at Wild Sorbet. Tana, the owner, said it was her favorite wall too when I posted the picture on Instagram. So stylish.

Wild Sorbet Fave

American Color Imaging

Speaking of frames, these circle frames from ACI that you can print in whatever pattern you want would be so fun to offer. How customized can you get?

ACI Fave of Kia BOndurant at Imaging USA 2013

Packaging & Product

Rice Paper Supply

On to packaging, I saw two completely distinct looks that stuck out to me. Rice was one. They have developed a complete, gorgeous line of packaging that I would totally love if I were a client. Torn edges, fiber paper. Very tactile and they displayed it in such a fun way with clothes pins and wooden boxes.

Rice Paper Supply at Imaging USA

Wildcat Packaging

The other packaging that I really liked was on the complete other end of the spectrum. Wildcat Packaging offers brightly colored boxes and bags in a rainbow of color with full color printing at a really cheap price and quantities only starting at 25. Decisions, decisions.

Wildcat Packaging Fave of Kia Bondurant at Imaging USA in Atlanta Georgia


Another unique offering for printing is Woodsnap. I love the look of printing on wood, especially for fun signage. Fun idea here for sure.

Woodsnap Fave

Couture Books

I also always love the Couture Book line. They are so classy.

Couture Books Fave of Kia Bondurant at Imaging USA 2013


White House Custom Color

I’m also always looking for backgrounds that will go with the upcoming trends. Here are a few of my favorite my WHCC. Emerald is Pantone’s color of year so the green vintage background is great. And the retro patterns are also perfect with some of my favorite trends.

WHCC Fave of Kia Bondurant at Imaging USA 2013

WHCC Fave of Kia Bondurant at Imaging USA 2013

Backgrounds by Maheu

These gorgeous blossoms in David Maheu’s new line really jumped out at me, too. He said it’s absolutely brand new so I can’t wait to see how it photographs. Such an artist!

David Maheu Fave of Kia Bondurant

Giving Back


And last, I love the idea of giving back with Fotostrap’s fotolanthropy concept. You can customize your fotostrap with your name imprinted on the leather too.

FotoStrap Fave of Kia Bondurant at Imaging USA 2013

What about you?

Did you have a favorite inspiration or product you found at Imaging? Share it here. We would love to see what you are excited about in 2013!

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You simply can’t create a better product.

Super Bowl 47

Like millions of other people around the world a few Sunday’s ago, I was watching small blocks of entertainment wrapped around a football game. While the football game did turn out to be compelling, the commercials weren’t too bad themselves.

I watched the game with my family, my mom, my aunt and my uncle. The first part of the game, I watched with just my uncle. After the lights went out, my aunt and mom joined me.

It’s all about the experience.

Immediately following the Paul Harvey/Dodge/Ram commercial (scroll down to watch), my aunt made a very insightful statement – “They didn’t talk about the truck for one moment in that commercial.”

She was right, they hadn’t. They didn’t do one thing to sell Dodge trucks other than show a quick image of one and display the logo at the end of the 2 minute commercial.

Dodge didn’t focus on selling their product. Dodge focused on selling an experience (sponsored by their product).

What are you selling?

This is going to grate some of you, but the quality of your product means next to nothing. It’s true, and it’s not going back to the way it was 10-15 years ago. The quality of your product comes in second to the experience, feeling or relationship you offer.

As a service provider, unless you compete on price, you are selling yourself – not your product. What you offer is your experience, your customer service, and your experience. It is what sets you apart. Your product is just one of hundreds like it all around you.

Dont’ fight it. Accept it.

Dodge, I’m sure is constantly working on creating a better truck. They have to.

But Dodge realized this Super Bowl, they weren’t going to compete with other trucks, SUVs or Jeeps with a better product. They were going to compete with a better experience.

Here are 4 commercials that did a great job of accepting they were selling an experience above a product (all 4 are car commercials):

1. Dodge/Ram Paul Harvey advertisement.

2. VW Get in. Get happy. advertisement.

3. Kia Where do babies come from advertisement.

4. Audi Prom advertisement.

Are you going to take the same path? How are you going to sell your experience in 2013?

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How to identify YOUR target client

Photo Talk Forum 12 Days of Christmas bannerThis article is a gift from Lori Nordstrom and Photo Talk Forum. Lori is in the midst of her annual 12 Days of Christmas giveaways. She is giving away education and information that you will not believe! As a bonus to The Collective readers, she is offering a year membership to the PTF for only $89! Simply use the code: COLLECTIVEGIFTNOW. Also, make sure to read all the way through. Lori has added a FREE download for you to help you with identifying your target clients. Enjoy!

Lessons from an archer.

Have you ever been to an archery shoot and seen the painstaking steps the archer follows before letting loose his or her arrow?

Carefully the three fingers of one hand are hooked into a strong “claw” that draws back the string until it is taut and even with the chin. With his or her other arm the archer steadily stretches the bow, pivoting the wrist slightly to keep the arrow in place. Eyes locked in concentration, the archer sights down the shaft of the arrow to the target, looking straight at the bull’s eye and nothing else.

Can you imagine the archer at that point, when everything is in place for making a perfect shot, just pointing the bow and arrow off in some random direction and letting the arrow fly, hoping it might hit the target somehow?

Ludicrous as this picture seems, that is exactly what we do with all our efforts to build our business when we move forward without identifying our target client. We are letting loose our best shot with no target in mind. It has been said that the businessperson who doesn’t do any market research is the businessperson who doesn’t want to make money. Narrowly and clearly defining your target client is an essential step you must take for your business.

Until we know WHO our target client is, we can’t effectively develop a marketing strategy to find them and reach them.

Image by Lori Nordstrom

When we decide where our client is spending her time and spending her money, we can begin to understand what her needs and expectations are as well as what she values and what we can offer to her that will be in line with those things.

Ask yourself, what expectations does your target client have for the value of the product you are offering?

If I choose to buy my clothes at Siren in Des Moines I know I can walk into the shop and they will know my name. If I tell them what sort of event I am going to they are going to bring outfits to me in my personalized fitting room. My name will be written on the chalkboard that hangs on the door.

Inside the dressing room will be bottled water and chocolate. They will put together accessories for me, recommend a shoe style and continue to use my name throughout the shopping experience. When I’m leaving, everything is packaged nicely. I will spend much more than I would at somewhere like Kohl’s, but I have an expectation of getting extra value for what I spend, right down to the distinctive packaging Siren uses that adds pleasure to my shopping experience.

Whenever I think about packaging, I remember going to the shopping district of downtown Chicago and seeing all the girls walking down the street carrying a little red bag because they went to the American Girl store for a doll. When I saw the American Girl store’s distinctive red bag, I thought about the experience of taking your daughter to Chicago to get an American Girl doll and having a tea party in the store, having their dolls hair done and how different that experience is compared to going to a get a baby doll at Target.

There is nothing wrong with shopping at Target – I love Target!  But, if I wanted to create a memory with my daughter along with the purchase of the doll, I’m going to go to American Girl, pay 5 times as much, and be happy about it!

Asked and answer these questions:

  • Which experience are you giving your client?
  • What expectations does she have for the experience she will have with your business?
  • How does your business and your product meet the needs of your target client?

If you are stymied on how to answer some of these questions, look to yourself.

  • What businesses do you return to over and over again?
  • Who are you loyal to?
  • What are these businesses or services doing to earn your loyalty?
  • Do they remember your name?
  • Do they make specific suggestions that you believe are just for you?
  • Do they say thank you in a special way?
  • Do they take care of you after the purchase with exceptional customer service?

Lessons from a dentist.

An example of studying customer care is my experience with my son’s pediatric dentist. The dentist is great, but it’s the people and things he’s surrounded himself with that make us return each time.

When Jaxon walks in the door, they know his name and ask him questions about the sports he’s playing or about school. They don’t just ask about school, however. They ask how the 5th grade is, or call his teacher by name. Jaxon gets to play video games while getting his teeth cleaned and worked on, so he loves going to the dentist!

He always leaves with a little surprise and lots of smiles and hugs. They make him feel special, and that makes me happy! Because of the way Jaxon is treated at his dentist, there is no way that I could ever take him anywhere else!

What lessons have I learned from Jaxon’s dentist?

Well, I am a businessperson and I know that the hygienists and assistants at the dentist office probably do not remember Jaxon’s name, let alone his best friends name, or his dog’s name. This tells me that after every visit, they are logging in information about Jaxon, documenting the things that are important to him, and then taking the time to read and check those things before he comes in. What a great practice!

Jaxon gets to do something that he likes to do while having a service provided that is not so fun. I won’t say I’ve never heard a child cry there, but there is plenty around to distract them and occupy their hands and minds if a child does get upset.

How can we make our clients feel just as special?

I want to make sure that moms leave my studio knowing how much I care about them and their babies and children. Think about the things that you can do, things that you’ve learned from other businesses around you. Meet your clients’ expectation of value with customer care and an exceptional experience. Keep careful records on your clients so that you can not only call them by name, but also remember little things that are important to them, as well as the milestones.

After every contact with the client, write thank you notes. Do this all along the span of working with your client. Have mommy gift bags for new mommies, or a gift for the new baby, and don’t leave dad out of the pampering. Do something extra as a surprise for a nice order. Take the time to get to know your clients and their tastes. Ask about their homes and their décor and help them design their space beautifully. Thank them for referrals with a special gift or portrait credit. Offer extra services like going to their home to show them their images, or going back to their home to hang their portraits for them.

Photo Talk Forum with Lori Nordstrom logo

What is happening in my client’s life? Do those events offer any windows of opportunity such as marriage, a new baby, children hitting birthdays, a completed family, tweens, a high school senior, last family portrait before an addition to the family or wedding anniversary?


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Did you miss it? Yeah…me too.

Photography Sales System

Thursday (September 20, 2012), Sarah Petty hosted a 3 hour livestream sharing some nuts and bolts on how to sell more effectively. Here are a few things she went over:

  • How to do an in-person consultation if you don’t have a studio and my clients don’t have time.
  • How to close every single sale regardless of what you like to photograph – kids, seniors, families, pets or weddings.
  • How to handle it when a client tells me they want to go home and think about it.

Photography sales system by Sarah Petty of Springfield, Illinois

Second chance opportunity

I missed it, but I have another chance today to get in on a recorded version – so do you. Monday, September 24 at 1pm CDT, you can see that same recording to help anyone who is having trouble with any of the following:

  • You are serious about running a profitable photography business and are frustrated that you aren’t as profitable as you want to be.
  • Your sales averages are under $1,500 (for portraits, weddings, kids, families, seniors or pets).
  • You are not doing in person consultations because you don’t have time and can’t get your clients to come in.
  • You are selling online or with proofs.
  • You feel like anytime you start to sell you sound smarmy.

All you have to do is click this link – – Monday at 1pm CDT (that’s 11AM PDT) to get this info and more.

If you haven’t seen any of the other pre-recorded videos already online, you might go ahead and start there. You can find those videos HERE.


Both Rod Evans and Julia Woods were interviewed during this 3 hour presentation on how to take a wedding or portrait business from near failure to complete success.

I know Sarah, Rod and Julia personally, and I can tell you it will be worth your time to check this out!

Double Bonus

If you missed The Collective Weekly email last week, you may not know about the bonus product you’ll receive for purchasing the Photography Sales System (the livestream recording is completely free).

For the first 15 purchases (from the provided link), I’ll throw in the Build Your Senior Studio package for FREE. I only have a handful left, so if you know you want in…don’t wait. As you can see below this is a $400 value!

Build Your Senior Studio Package
There is a need I'm asked by photographers all the time - "Where do I go/what do I purchase to learn to start a new high school senior portrait business?"

I've created this package to help answer that question.

It includes education and marketing templates both from and used by professional photographers from around the country who are successful in targeting, reaching and selling to high school seniors.

It includes:
1. Senior Portrait Artists DVD training series (not downloadable)
2. Sparkle Marketing Campaign
3. spa Notes 1
4. spa Notes 3
5. Fast. Easy. Marketing. Using Tumblr & Instagram download.

BONUS items:
*Marketing to 3 Generations for 1 sale MP3 recording by Andy Bondurant
*Senior Success MP3 recording by Kia Bondurant

The normal, individual price of these products would total over $500. The bundled price is less than $400!
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Overcoming sales objections in your photography business

image of Sarah PettyThis is a guest post by Sarah Petty. Sarah is a highly acclaimed speaker, New York Times Best Selling author, MBA and coach who started her own boutique photography studio after working for Coca Cola for 20 years and then meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency’s clients.

Make sure to see the bottom of this post where you will have a chance to watch a FREE video from Sarah AND ask her questions about improving your sales system.

I dread the sales session!

As a photography business owner, if you dread selling to your clients because you know that there will be objections, you’re not alone. I hear from photographers all the time that they would rather not have the sales presentation at all than to be put in the uncomfortable situation of facing objections.

But objections don’t have to be those inevitable, dreaded parts of the sales presentation. Instead, think of them as opportunities to get to the root of why your client REALLY isn’t buying, so that you can overcome those feelings and close the sale with a thrilled client.

Image by Sarah Petty of Springfield, Illinois

There are several times when you can overcome objections, but I prefer to handle them BEFORE the sales appointment, so that the experience is more comfortable for both the client and me. Then, when it comes time for selling, I’ve already overcome my clients’ concerns, and the ordering is easy and low-pressure.

A typical objection:

Here’s an example of an objection I come across in my photography business when I explain that we focus on creating large wall art for my clients’ homes:

“I don’t want a shrine to my kids.”

You can handle this objection a few different ways and here’s one I use in my photography business.

Ask a question.

Redirect the conversation to open their mind to another way of looking at photography. When the client says they don’t want a shrine, respond by asking,

“What do you hang in your home?”

Typically when I ask this question, it will uncover that people don’t give a lot of thought to their home décor. So when you ask them, you are encouraging them to pause and think about photography as home décor and not just an image or two for dad’s desk and the grandparents. Not to mention, they may start to question the last time they decorated their home and justify to themselves increasing their budget for photography, as it becomes décor for their home and not just small images of their family.

By overcoming objections such as this one prior to meeting for the ordering appointment, I take the pressure off the selling situation. I’m free to focus my attention on helping my clients pick out the images I know work best for them, ensuring they leave thrilled, and ultimately resulting in a fantastic sale.

logo for Photography Selling System

Interested in learning more about increasing and improving your studio sales? For a limited time, Sarah has re-opened her Selling System program. Take 20 minutes or so and tune into this FREE video from Sarah.

She shares one of her biggest breakthroughs she made in her photography business and how she handles that first phone call to make sure she books the right clients.

If you have questions after you watch the, just leave them under the video as Sarah is jumping in to answer them.


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