Is the Professional Portrait Business Dead?

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4 out of 5 Americans own a camera reports the Consumer Electronics Association. With the influx of inexpensive, high-quality cameras, professional photographers are finding it increasingly difficult to find clients according to The Joy of Marketing.

In an economy where many small businesses are already struggling to keep their businesses running, professional photographers are facing particularly tough times. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, nearly 80% of the United States population owned a camera as of 2010, and the number continues to grow as the price for higher quality imaging tools drops. And, as more consumers become owners of cameras, they are visiting professional photographers less.

“With all of the technological advances in cameras and image prints, we’re facing a market where fewer consumers see the value in professional photography,” says Sarah Petty, successful photography business owner and founder of The Joy of Marketing. “We have to educate our customers and show them the value of what we do.”

But, for many photographers, that’s easier said than done. “I think for a lot of photographers, there is more panic than there is planning. They have knee-jerk reactions to the circumstances and the challenges. Even though they have some great gut instincts, if they don’t make a promotional plan and phase it in, they never give it a chance for success,” says Tim Walden, owner of Walden’s Photography in Lexington, Kentucky and President of the Professional Photographers of America.

To help give photographers the tools they need to develop a successful promotional plan, Petty’s company The Joy of Marketing, a leading provider of marketing education for photographers, teamed up with the industry’s premier lab, White House Custom Colour, to host a free online event. On November 6 & 7, twelve of the industry’s most successful photographers will join together to share their best promotional strategies with photographers throughout the world.

“We really wanted to dig into what photographers should do when they don’t have enough clients and for whatever the reason, business is down,” says Petty. “Many photographers don’t have large marketing budgets, so we’re bringing in some of the industry’s most successful photographers to share low-cost promotional ideas our viewers can implement right away.”

Topics covered during the free online event will include the values of networking, display marketing, online promotion and building and utilizing a database. To learn more about the free online event, Get Fully Booked This Year, visit

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About Sarah Petty & The Joy of Marketing
Sarah Petty is a highly-acclaimed speaker, New York Times best selling author, MBA and coach who has inspired thousands of boutique business owners to use beautiful marketing to take their business to the next level. Her expertise is based on over 20 years helping build the Coca-Cola brand, meeting the marketing goals of a top regional advertising agency's clients and building her own successful boutique photography studio. This studio was named one of the most profitable in the country within just five years in business. Sarah is also the founder of The Joy of Marketing, a company focused on providing marketing education, small business marketing ideas, beautiful design, and inspiration to help others enJOY marketing and build a powerful business.

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Erin Verbeck

Sarah Petty
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