Radio Interview Transcripts

Photo Biz Guru
with

 

ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the More Photos’ Radio Photography Spotlight brought to you by Morephotos.com helping professional photographers with all their internet needs. Also brought to you by Labimages.com. Finally, an e-commerce solution for professional photo labs that makes sense. Now here is your host, Damien Allen. 
 
DAMIEN: Good morning and welcome to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining me today on the telephone is Larry Padgett the Photo Biz Guru. Good morning and welcome to the program, Larry.
 
LARRY: Good morning, Damien. 
 
DAMIEN: What is the Photo Biz Guru, Larry?
 
LARRY: Well Photo Biz Guru is a marketing consulting service. It focuses on the business of photography, the marketing and the selling of photography, more photographic services plain and simple.
 
DAMIEN: What is your back ground and how did you develop Photo Biz Guru?
 
LARRY: Well when I got to thinking about that question, I realized that I started selling when I was 12 years old believe it or not and that goes back way many more years than I want to tell you and ultimately I spent 30 very successful years in sales and marketing and a variety of industries. So the concepts are pretty much the same regardless of whether you’re selling refrigerators or Eskimos or you’re selling photography. As an avid photographer since I was a kid, I gave up my marketing consulting business in the medical industry when I turned about 50 and so I spent about 15 years in commercial work after studying with a master commercial photographer named Frank Pironi and did an awful lot of commercial work, got interested in fine art photography and then after teaching at Lansing Community College for a period of time I established The Center for Fine Art Photography here in Fort Collins and I was the executive director for 6 years and after leaving that I just did what seemed to be a natural extension which was to share my experience and knowledge in marketing and sales and specifically focused on both fine art and commercial photography which frankly expands to wedding photography and anybody else. Like I say the principles are pretty much the same and that’s how I got to where I am.
 
DAMIEN: What are the goals of Photo Biz Guru?
 
LARRY: Well some places share my knowledge of sales marketing and the business of photography for those who have a passion for being successful in the trade or the art of photography, and when I say successful it depends upon how they define success. Some may want to make an awful lot of money at it, and some want to have an extensive showing of their art work. Some want to be on the front page of whatever photo publication is out there or on some particular industry magazine and I help them get from where they are to where they want to be.
 
DAMIEN: Now you talk about Integrated Design, what is the Integrated Design, Larry?
 
LARRY: The Integrated Design is nothing new. It’s fundamental to any successful business. I define it from a photography stand point as an integrated approach that is ongoing, tightly knit, coordinated, focused process promoting yourself and your work. That said, I guess the Readers Digest extension of that would be you start out by identifying your goals and knowing your strengths and weaknesses and believe it or not after I spend two to three hours working with most clients their goals are not very well defined and without doing that it is just about impossible to have a very efficient way to achieving them. So we spent a fair amount of time identifying what one’s goals are, determining what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then defining a path to achieving those goals, and once you’ve done that you can establish a strategic plan and once you have a strategic plan, you can bring in the resources you don’t have and you can learn the skills you need, define the equipment and buy the equipment you need if that’s what you have to do and learn where to market yourself and develop your marketing resources. So essentially what you’re doing is you’re defining the starting point and the end point and trying to have the shortest, greatest line between the two and during that whole process, of course, it may go on for a couple, two, three, four, five years depending upon what the goals are and where you’re starting from, but what I do is on that journey, so to speak, help people stay on course, keep focused, learn from what they are doing and refine their approach. 
 
DAMIEN: In today’s economy and with the advents of new technology and cheaper digital cameras, a lot of people are getting into photography on their own. Could tell our listening audience, though, how do you expand your business in a declining market?
 
LARRY: In 15 minutes?
DAMIEN: Just the top points will be fine.
 
LARRY: Well the short answer is you have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to get out of the box and you have to think very creatively in terms of how you are going to tap into new clients, how you are going to get their attention. This applies to whether you are a wedding photographer, commercial photographer, fine art photographer, under water photographer, I mean, I have done all of them except for the under water. I’ve done aerial so I can speak with some experience as well as appreciation for what it takes, but I think the hardest part for most photographers who are all artists in some form whether they want to believe it or not; to be successful they are artists, and it seems that as with most people it is hard to get out of their comfort zone and the real trick is to get creative and there are different ways in which and this is where I think I play a very useful role is to help people learn how to think creatively from a marketing and sales stand point.  And there are a number of different little techniques I have for helping them take what they already know and the experience they already have and finding new markets that may not seem obvious to them, but they are right under their nose. So it’s nothing new. It’s the same thing that every successful company has ever done during any kind of a challenging market.
DAMIEN: Now looking at your site we also found the concept of an "Opportunity Tree" fascinating. Could you please explain this process and how it works for finding new business?
 
LARRY: Well that’s a good question. It is a follow onto what we were just talking about. It works on the premise that you look at your existing clients or art style and then you look for similarly related clients, art styles and begin to physically draw a map on a blank sheet of paper that shows related opportunities and so the way it might look is that if you’re a commercial photographer and you have been photographing cars for a period of time. So on that sheet of paper you draw the other studio in you photograph cars. And you might put a circle around that. And then draw extensions off of that, little legs and then you start writing on the end of each of those legs what might be related such as paint shots that work with detailing or pin stripping cars and going to their places or going to motorcycle, custom shops that do detailed painting. Or you might think about going to race tracks so these are three different legs that might come off of your existing in-studio automobile photography and then you can take each one of those, let’s take the going to the racetracks and say, oh ok fine and that gives you four or five other options, dragsters, NASCAR, Indy Car and so each one of those becomes an opportunity leg off of just racetracks. And so what you do with this process is, and I have actually had a number of clients do it the way I suggest is you get a big sheet of paper and you put it on the wall and you keep drawing the legs and ideas for a matter of a week or two or a month and when it is all said and done you look at it and which leg has the longest chemicals going off, different branches going off of it, and that is a way of identifying which opportunity branch has the most potential and one you would want to pursue. So that’s a real thumbnail sketch of an opportunity tree and you can go on my website and see more detail.
 
DAMIEN: What other types of services does Photo Biz Guru provide?
 
LARRY: Well in addition to my consulting which most of which we do over the phone and via the internet. I do workshops and lectures as well as I do a fair amount of extensive writing. I put out a monthly newsletter much of which can be seen on the website, although, it is not quite up to date right now.
 
DAMIEN: What’s going to be new for the Photo Biz Guru in 2010?
 
LARRY: Well Photo Biz Guru is a combination of two things. One it’s my personal services and secondly it is putting an awful lot of information that I think is helpful out on the internet via my website. And after doing this now for a period of time, I have received some feedback from people that caused me to go in a little bit different direction or new direction and that is: 1) To make it a little more interactive with people so I can respond to their specific needs through a Q&A process. I am doing a very extensive study on the use of social media as a marketing vehicle for photographers and so I’ll be doing a report on that in the next month, and as I mentioned earlier I’m going to update the website with all my newsletters from last year which will probably triple its content and hopefully that will be of some value to people who get to the website.
DAMIEN: Larry, if someone wants more information, how do they get a hold of you?
 
LARRY: The easiest way to get a hold of me is go to www.photobizguru.com or call me at (970) 530-0252. I currently live in Fort Collins, but I am moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Where I live really doesn’t make any difference. Most of what I do with people is either face to face at workshops and lectures or on a one on one basis via the internet, emails, telephone conversations, and so on. So I’ll be glad to talk to anybody when I’m sitting on the coastline in Madrid drinking my mint julep and doing whatever I can to help them.
 
DAMIEN: Thank you very much for joining us today and talking about Photo Biz Guru with us, Larry.
 
LARRY: It’s been a pleasure, Damien, appreciate it.
 
DAMIEN: You have been listening to More Photos Radio. We have been speaking with Larry Padgett, the Photo Biz Guru of www.photobizguru.com. Everybody have a great afternoon.
 
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