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Tips for Hiring a Professional Photographer

Professional photography Tampa, professional headshots

At some point in our lives, we all need a professional photographer. Whether you need a photo for your web site, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, product shots for your business or photos for your wedding, there are some things that are best left to the pros. Below are some tips for hiring the right photographer for your business needs.

 

Identify your goal for the images

  • Product photography for a website
  • Product photography for a printed catalog
  • Portraits or head shots
  • Environmental photographs to tell the story of your business on your website

 

Tampa Bay law firm portrait, attorney photosReferrals

  • Keep your eyes open for photography you like
  • Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations
  • Many people have a go-to photographer that they trust
  • Make sure to be specific about what type of photography you are looking for
  • Use Google to search for keywords that fit with your goals. For instance, if you are a law firm and you want traditional head shots for your attorneys, you could search “law firm portrait photographer” or “law firm head shot photographer.” However, if you are a law firm and you want something a little different for your promotional materials, you could search for “portrait photographer” or “environmental portrait photographer” to find a wider variety of styles

 

Take the time to look at each photographer’s website and look out for the following:

  • Is their work consistent?
  • Do they show enough images to demonstrate their skill?
  • Do the images look like they are from multiple shoots or do they look like someone took a bunch of pictures of cousin Jimmy for a quick fix website?
  • Compare the work of several photographers side by side – you will start to see large differences in the quality of work of photographers who claim to be professionals
  • Look at client testimonials and reviews to see if the photographer has a good reputatiion

 

Consider your budget

  • If these photos are important enough for you to seek out a professional photographer, expect to pay a professional photographer’s rate
  • Research market rates. There is a lot of information on the internet about professional photography rates and you will see that exceptional work is not cheap

 

Contact

  • Once you narrow down your choices, call or email several photographers for rates – communicate what you are looking for as clearly as possible, including where the images will be used, how many images you need
  • Compare the work/rates and the pros and cons of each photographer to narrow down your choices

 

Meet face-to-face with the photographer before making your final decision

  • Part of finding the right photographer is finding the right personality fit
  • A good photographer will ask a lot of questions about the project to get a very thorough sense of what you are looking for
  • Great photographers may even turn down a project because it’s not a good fit. If they have a recommendation, make sure to follow up on it

 

Finding a professional photographer for high quality business photos is not an easy task, but it does not have to be incredibly difficult either. Thorough research and clear communication are your best tools, and it is well worth the time and effort it takes to do both. Too often, business owners choose a less expensive photographer to save money, but end up having to reshoot when the images are disappointing or do not serve the intended purpose. Avoid paying twice by hiring a true professional and being very clear about your expectations.

 

Pinstripe Marketing offers professional photography as one of our many services. Photography is one aspect of a complete marketing strategy – our images are created to fit the story of each brand we work with. From environmental portraits for editorial use to modern head shots for your website, Pinstripe Marketing can help you create beautiful images specifically for your project.

 

Tampa Bay public relations

Writing a Compelling Biography

Writing a good biography

If it hasn’t already happened—don’t be surprised one day to have someone ask you for your bio (e.g. short biography). Employers often want them for the “About Us” or “Our Professionals” sections of their web sites. Bios may be needed for a press release announcing an important new hire. Meeting planners ask for bios of important guests or speakers at conventions and conferences. If you have your vital information on hand and ready to go at a moment’s notice, you’ll earn the sincere appreciation of a lot of people … and may save yourself some embarrassment.

You see, people very rarely write their own bios. Composition is usually left to a marketing professional. Often authors know nothing more about their subjects than a few scraps of provided information. And ‘scraps’ is an accurate description. It’s not unusual for copywriters facing a fast-approaching deadline to cobble something together from a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook page and—if they’re lucky—a hopelessly out-of-date resume. If you want your story told straight (and in a pleasing manner) give your biographer something good to work with.

Key Information

There are different types of bios (technically, an obituary is a bio) but most are going to be career-related, so that’s what we’ll discuss here. To make your story interesting, the writer will want to create a compelling narrative. Much of the needed information will be simple facts, but portions may be based on your feelings. Here’s a list of potential ingredients:

  • Full name
  • Current title where you work
  • Birthdate
  • Place of birth
  • College degrees
  • Professional certifications and organizations (officeholder?)
  • Awards and honors
  • Serious hobbies and charitable work
  • Names of immediate family members
  • List of employers (with dates), titles and primary responsibilities, and notable accomplishments
  • Your ‘claim to fame’ (in what aspect or aspects of your profession do you specialize)
  • What motivated you to enter your line of work
  • Career goals—immediate and long-term

Not everything on this list is likely to be included in any particular bio. If it’s going to be one of many in a document or on a website, having uniformity in length, design and content will be an important concern for the composer. Items like hobbies and family member names, therefore, are usually the first things to be cut. There may be a ‘lowest common denominator’ effect as well, where if one person is missing a relatively unimportant bullet, that same bit of information may be deleted from everyone’s bio. Still, it’s always better to have the option of including any of these points of interest. If you provide this information, any competent copywriter or journalist should be able to construct a tidy narrative of your career.

Writing Your Own Bio

There’s a saying that if you want something done right, do it yourself. If you have confidence in your writing skills, have at it. After all, no one knows you as well as you know yourself.  Just remember, you will want to tell a story—in about 200 – 300 words—that will be interesting to your audience. Here’s how:

Introduce the hero – Give us your name and title up front so we know who to ‘root’ for. Then let us the readers know about your special skills and abilities that you’re going to demonstrate over and over again.

What’s your backstory? – How were you drawn to your line of work? What was your inspiration? This might be a good place to work in your educational background if you attended a school that specializes in preparing students for work in your chosen career field.

Tell us about your journey – How did you become the successful person you are today? List the places you worked (provide dates and titles as reference points) and share your professional victories at every stop, concluding with your current position. Include mention of any awards or certifications that are relevant.

Hint at a sequel – Wrap up with your aspirations for the future.

Whether you write your own story, or see the task delegated to another person, you will want a composition that’s both accurate and truly worthy of you. Taking a few moments ahead of time to list the most important moments and factors in your professional development, will be your best guarantee of having a bio that you’re happy to share with anyone.

 

Tampa Bay public relations

Kris Solberg Wins Pinstripe Service Excellence Award

Pinstripe Service Excellence Award, Ad 2 Tampa Bay, young professional of the yearAd 2 Tampa Bay‘s immediate past president, Kris Solberg, received the 2015 Pinstripe Service Excellence Award at the American Advertising Federation – Tampa Bay Chapter’s ADDY Awards held on February 18 at The Cuban Club. Presented annually by past recipients, the award recognizes the young professional who demonstrates the most outstanding contributions to Ad 2 Tampa Bay, the advertising industry, and the community.

Solberg joined Ad 2 while he was a student at University of South Florida and immediately became involved in the education committee and mentorship program. He later took a leadership role as co-Public Service Director, managing the organization’s pro bono advertising campaign for a local non-profit, which ultimately won the 2011 National Ad 2 Public Service Competition. As president for the 2014-15 year, the chapter earned District and National Club of the Year, the National Ad 2 Public Service Competition, and he was recognized as Ad 2 President of the Year. He currently serves on the National Ad 2 board of directors as Treasurer and is a mentor to Ad 2 Orlando.

“Kris has demonstrated his passion and commitment to Ad 2 in a very short amount of time,” said Ginger Reichl, president of Pinstripe Marketing and former Ad 2 president. “One nomination stated, ‘I can only hope that each year we gain another Kris Solberg for the community.’ I couldn’t agree more. He has been instrumental to the success of the chapter and will play an important role in grooming future leaders.”

Solberg is Account Director at Social Forces in Tampa.

PICTURED: Vinny Tafuro (’05), Jeff Morrow (’06), Kris Solberg (’15), and Mike Compton (’10).

 

About Ad 2 Tampa Bay

Ad 2 Tampa Bay, Inc., an affiliate of the American Advertising Federation, is a non-profit organization of advertising professionals under the age of 32.  As a eleven-time National Ad 2 Club of the Year, the organization takes pride in providing both members and the community with quality educational programs, national award-winning public service campaigns, professional interaction, member employment services, fun-filled social events and much more. For more information, please visit www.ad2tampabay.org.

 

Do You Have Your ‘Elevator Speech’ Ready?

Tampa Bay marketing firmYou and a stranger are standing in a hotel lobby waiting for an elevator. He has the appearance of a fine, upstanding chap and you’re in an affable mood so you comment on what a nice day it is. He’s welcoming of conversation. Additional pleasantries ensue, followed by introductions and the customary handshake. The elevator finally arrives and just as you and your new friend step inside, he asks about your business.

It’s time for the ‘elevator speech.’

Of course, this is a very literal exposition on phrase; it can take place practically anywhere. The elevator speech is brief (the time it takes to take a typical elevator ride), to the point, and delivered in a casual, conversational way. It’s the friendly alternative to a dull recitation of your organization’s vital statistics or suggesting someone visit your company’s website.

An elevator speech shouldn’t be confused with company ‘boilerplate’ that commonly appears as a paragraph at the end of a press release. The purpose of PR boilerplate is to identify your business—where it’s located, when was it founded, what it sells—and to let people know where to get more information. An elevator speech, on the other hand, informs the audience why an organization is worth getting to know in the first place.

Elevator Speeches Can Pave the Way for Future Sales

We’ve all seen the stereotypical sales rep in movies and TV shows—annoying people who never miss an opportunity to launch their pitch. Doubtlessly such behavior in real life would be a colossal turn-off. As annoying as such salespeople would be, however, they are correct in realizing chance encounters might possibly bear fruit as a sale.  A nicely crafted elevator speech gently plants the seed.

You simply never know what doors new acquaintances might open—either as a buyer or as a potential referral. And when people ask you about your business, they’ve given you permission to ‘promote,’ so take advantage.

But what if you’re a dentist, a CPA or some other professional or highly skilled service provider operating a small business? People are already familiar with those occupations, so how much of an elevator speech could these professionals need? The answer is “just as much as any other company.” There may be a lot of other folks in your line of work, but there’s only one business that depends on your skills and unique expertise. Here’s your chance to differentiate your operation from your competition.

Tell Your Company’s Story in 30 Seconds or Less

It’s time now to sit down at your computer (or pen and paper if you’re decidedly old school). The goal will be to tell a story, and do so in about 75 words or less. As with most stories, there are three essential parts:

  • Introduction – Identify your business and its general purpose.
  • Body –  Describe your typical customers’ needs or challenges
  • Conclusion –  Close with how your business benefits your customers.

Example: I own Big Mike’s Express IT. We set up computer networks, provide disaster backup systems, monitor hardware and software for problems as well as other related services. Our clients are mostly local small-to-midsize businesses. They need fairly robust information technology but lack the in-house resources to manage their own systems. Basically, we solve our clients’ IT problems so they can concentrate on what they do best.

Your value proposition should play prominently in your elevator speech—so your audience understands how your business benefits your customers. Be aware, however, that honesty is THE fundamental element in a good elevator story. If you believe what you are saying, your listener will be more likely to believe it as well. Sincerity comes through.

Finally, let’s say you’ve carefully distilled, refined, crafted and edited your words to deliver maximum impact in the least possible amount of time. You don’t want it to sound rehearsed. Read through your elevator speech a couple of times, then set it aside and try to repeat it aloud. The idea isn’t to recite it word-for-word; in fact, that’s exactly what you don’t want to do. Your delivery should sound natural. As long as you hit your main points and deliver them in the right order, you’re prepared to help your business make a good (and memorable) first impression.

For some additional takes on elevator speeches, you may want to check out the following articles:

Tampa Bay public relations

Is It Newsworthy?

Tampa Bay PR firmEvery day, in every city of the world, babies are being born. It’s truly a monumental event in lives of the parents and grandparents, relatives, and close friends of the family. Yet, unless it’s the offspring of a major celebrity, we don’t see a lot of news media coverage when a child enters the world. The press simply doesn’t consider run-of-the-mill birth announcements to be newsworthy.

It’s a similar situation for business owners who have a major development or special event at their companies. Perhaps it’s the opening of a new branch, maybe the company has its 25th anniversary coming up, or maybe an “exciting” new product offering or service is about to be made available.  Bursting with excitement, the business owner contacts the local daily paper with the news, only to receive stark disinterest and maybe a consolation-prize suggestion that the item be submitted to the local “business happenings” page.

The problem is that journalists and editors make decisions based on the interest of their entire audience. Time, space, or journalistic resources are limited. Any report on one topic means that something else won’t be covered. Sadly, what may be of great importance to a specific business may not matter much to the public at large. Take heart; it’s not that your “baby” isn’t special. It’s just that so many folks already have their own equally marvelous “babies”.

This isn’t to say that businesses can’t make news—and in a good way, rather than the 60 Minutes investigative-report kind of way. If the story meets certain criteria, media outlets are likely (though not guaranteed) to be interested. If you think you have a story that deserves press coverage, try evaluating it against the following considerations:

  • Timeliness – News is something that just happened—or is expected to happen in the near future. There’s simply too much going on in the world every day to reach back for a story. The facts of an old story may come up again as background for another article, but a news item’s “sell-by date” is a brief window of time.
  • Impact – To state the obvious, an occurrence or development that affects a lot of people is more newsworthy than one that affects just a few. It’s psychological: the larger the number, the more likely the audience is to imagine themselves being affected (e.g. “There, but by the grace of God, go I.”). Impact on a smaller number of people may still make the story worthwhile, however, if the effect is particularly significant or unusual (e.g. things that make you go, “Hmmm.”).
  • Proximity – The local angle is big, especially if it’s a source of community pride or concern. However, the connection may not always be to the immediate area but could be cultural, emotional, religious, financial … etc. For instance, the press in a small town might pay more attention to a professional sports team on the other side of the country if one of the star athletes hails from a nearby high school. Or a community largely comprised of Cuban-Americans might be keen to keep up with news about Havana.
  • Notoriety – Some people are only famous for being famous—with publicity feeding ever more publicity. This kind of news sells papers and magazines, attracts Web page hits, and gets ratings. There’s no real logic to the phenomenon, that’s just the way it is. Unless you’re Elon Musk or a Kardashian is one of your customers, however, notoriety isn’t likely to come into play for your business stories.
  • Human Interest – These stories often defy the conditions required for regular news articles because we can personally identify with the subjects. Human interest stories usually elicit an emotional response—making us feel happy, sad or inspired.

Frankly, there is no constant, objective standard for any of these considerations. What one reporter or media outlet will find newsworthy, another may scoff at. Whether a story gets picked up is also a matter of what else is happening at any given time. Relevance to the audience will be the key consideration. But if you can clearly explain what makes your story newsworthy when presenting it to a news outlet, you may actually have some news coverage coming in your company’s future.

Tampa Bay public relations