“Well, it doesn’t really have anything to do with cake. Shouldn’t it be something a bit more ‘cakey’?” he said. I was really excited to be sat in my first proper ‘grown-up’ business meeting, up until this moment.
It was my first year as Restoration Cake and I was trying to get to grips with the concept of charging strangers for my creations. The afternoon was to be spent with a colleague who knew all the financial stuff. I went to the meeting with a website, a Twitter account, a growing list of orders, and a name.
“Restoration doesn’t really say ‘cake’,” he said.
The name Restoration Cake came to me in early 2009, as I sat at my dressing table (yes, I am totally spoilt) putting on my make-up to go to work in an office I absolutely hated. My boss didn’t like me and didn’t really attempt to hide this fact. I had just bought a house with the man I love and there was also this big thing looming called a ‘recession’ so I kept calm and I carried on.
You may have seen me talk about Bitchless Bride before, especially on twitter. She is my new wedding industry hero! The alter ego of a wedding planner (and no, even I don’t know her true identity!) who was sick to death of crazy bridezillas and mental wedding vendors, she set up her blog to give it to us STRAIGHT. I loooove her. She’s a hoot. And hell, she rocks a pink wig. We’re definitely destined to be BFFs.
I just about wet my pants with excitement when her video guest blog landed in my inbox. Some exclusive Bitchless Bride on Rock n Roll Bride?! Hell. Yes. We are a match made in wedding heaven. Listen up brideys, listen up wedding suppliers, cos Bitchless is about to give it to you. No holds barred.
(FYI there are a few swears in here, if you’re at work… or you’re of a delicate disposition then you might wanna save this for later…)
Originating from New Zealand, wedding photographer Cathie Watts of Phunkey Photography is a Facebook wizz. With just shy of 11,500 ‘likes’ on her photography facebook page she boast more ‘likers’ than many full time wedding bloggers! So how did she get so popular on the social network? What things did she do to get herself ‘liked’?
This week I asked Cathie to share some of her top tips for getting started when using Facebook for your business. If you have any more specific questions for her, hit us up in the comments. I’d certainly love to read a follow up from her! Over to you Cathie…
Brand your Facebook page
A consistent and streamlined brand is essential to your small business. If you’re unsure about your branding, a good place to start is to decide on three words that you want your clients to use to describe your business. Once you have these words, be sure that all your Facebook posts clearly communicate at least two of your three words.
For example, my three words are fun, funky and professional. So I make sure that the content (‘content’ refers to everything you put on your page, from your profile picture to your ‘about’ section) I publish on my page communicates at least two of my words. Branding is a subtle art, you can’t set your ‘about’ section to say ‘Phunkey Photography: fun, funky and professional’ and expect people to just believe you… they have to feel like they’ve formed this opinion on their own… after all, actions (even digital ones) speak louder than words… right?
For more (glorious) information on branding read ‘Enchantment’ by Guy Kawasaki.
Ansel Adams famously said, “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
I find myself coming back to that quote a lot. Not just as a photographer, but in life, I say to myself, “Why in the hell am I standing here? I should be standing over there!”
As photographers, our job is to observe and document. Wait, that is oversimplifying. We look at the world and we choose a way in which to convey what we ‘see’ to others. That better? Anyway, sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are seeing through our lens that we don’t stop and take a look at our surroundings.
Deep, I know. This whole thing is a metaphor for life, weddings, work in general… and this doesn’t just apply to photography. Whatever your profession, you need to take a time out and observe yourself and what you are doing.
If you have been working on weddings for a long time, you probably know what it is like to get into a ‘groove’. It isn’t hard to do, especially if you are working on 20…30… or more weddings a year. You just have to make sure the ‘groove’ doesn’t become a ‘rut’ where all of your work feels exactly the same. The same pictures if you’re a photographer, the same designs if you’re a stationer/cake maker/florist… because that is not good for you or your clients.
I was recently on a photojournalism assignment that included covering the opening of a gallery show by Courtney Love. There were at least half a dozen other photographers there, all waiting to get photos of Courtney when she came in. When she finally arrived, she began talking to one of the people there and gave the crew of photographers her ‘full back’. Some of them started shouting her name. “Courtney, over here! Courtney, this way! Courtney! Courtney!” No good. I could have either stood there with the gaggle of paparazzi or I could find somewhere else to stand. So I moved around a corner and got some fantastic shots of Ms. Love talking and gesturing, with no idea she was being photographed, with the gallery sign for her show in the frame as well.
You and your product are awesome. You feel you have set a fair price for what you offer and in the words of our Cheryl “You’re Worth It” Then what’s with all the potential clients wanting to barter with you? It can be utterly soul destroying to be repeatedly asked to lower your rates because somebody else up the road is doing the same thing as you for less.
There are some vendors who love to haggle over prices and don’t ever expect anyone to pay their full rates. If this is you then I wish you well but most of us set a price that we actually want to achieve and feel disheartened when asked to take something off. Interestingly, the most haggling happens at the lower and upper ends of the market. The couple with around £1800 or less to spend on photography often feel that because this end of the market is so overly saturated that they have the power… and quite frankly they do. They have a huge amount of choice and there any many wedding photographers out there willing to compete on price to get the work. If you are somewhere around this price bracket, and find yourself repeatedly asked to take off 10-20% as ‘that is all they have budgeted for photography’ you will quite often get to the wedding and find that the bride is in a £3000 dress or they have a Choccywoccydoodah cake that cost more than you. What that couple actually meant when they said they were on a budget is that they didn’t value your services above some of the other things at their wedding. Sadly these are usually the things that are only there for the day.
Perhaps supported by some kind of celebrity culture, but it seems to be widely accepted that in order to be deemed as ‘successful’ in mainstream society you have to be liked by as many people as possible. You have to have a certain number of ‘likes’ on your facebook page. You need as many followers as possible on twitter and your most recent blog post is only as strong as the number of comments that sit at the bottom of it. While this is not all together wrong, I’d like to start thinking about the other side of the coin for a minute.
Think of someone you admire. Someone that is regarded (by you) as successful. It doesn’t matter if they’re successful financially, creatively or because of their social status, but that same person that you obsess over is certainly also going to hated by someone. Not just disliked. Hated. It almost seems a given these days, that in order to really make a difference, you have to ruffles some feathers… and as well as connecting with some people in the way you present yourself you will, in turn, repel others.