By Dana Lunden, FSA, FED 2010, Secretary-Treasurer

We all know the economic climate has had its share of hurricanes, droughts, nor’easters and pretty much whatever hardship one can think of for some time now. How long it will last is anyone’s guess. As business owners, there are numerous decisions we must make periodically, based upon our business model. Advertising and marketing dollars, especially in these trying economic times, must be invested wisely to ensure the best possible return. Notice that I said invested, not spent. 

Whether that money goes towards print advertising in a magazine, business cards, radio ads, whatever, we need to make sure we are really aiming for our target market. If you don’t have a lot of experience in this area, check with another photographer who does pretty much what you do for work, but in another geographical area, someone you’re not competing with, and ask them what they are doing for marketing. Try to determine what’s working for them and see what hasn’t worked. Then try it in your area.

A short time ago, my wife and I took a mini vacation and went to a couple of theme parks. It was funny, but at one point we looked at each other and said what recession?! There were a lot of people walking around, a lot of people in shops, a lot of people buying things. There is discretionary income being spent out there. The trick is to discover who has it (your target market) and how you can get them to invest it with you.

Now is not the time to cut back on certain things: marketing, of course and your education. “But I can’t really see a return on my education dollars” you may think. Think again. How do you learn marketing, lighting, posing, retouching techniques, the list goes on and on, unless you go to  Florida School, Convention, and seminars? Now is the time that you absolutely must be on top of your game as far as your education is concerned. The digital Dons and Debbies/soccer moms have a certain share of the market- that is a given. And it also stands that we don’t want that share. We want the clients who are educated and know the value of a high quality image. Do you see where I’m going with this?

It is our moral obligation to produce the highest quality image we can if we are charging a client what that image is worth.

This is where education comes into the picture.  Education and experience are what separates US from THEM. Our education dollars invested now will keep on returning over and over again in the future. That is what makes us different. That is one of the reasons we need to take an active role in not only our local guild but also at the state level. The Florida Professional Photographers are working hard to bring you the highest quality instructors at Florida School while keeping the tuition reasonable. The real question is: How much is your education worth to you?

This year is flying by- Florida School is only weeks away and Convention is a few months after that. If you haven’t renewed your FPP membership, do it now. Instead of coming up with excuses why you can’t afford it, write down the reasons why you can. In addition to having the ability to make a better living for you and your family, ie., more money, you’ll have the ability to bless more people around you. Now isn’t that worth it?