Today Ana Brandt from TAOPAN is on the show sharing the marketing strategies that helped her launch her photography business and eventually become a newborn and maternity photographer with celebrity clients.
When Ana moved to southern California with her husband 15 years ago, she didn’t know anyone or know anything about the area. She’d been a photographer for years but worked as a web designer and had never really considered switching fields. When she found out she was pregnant she rather suddenly quit her job and jumped into the photography business. Building a brand in a new market that she had no connections with required a lot of hard work and outside of the box thinking.
Ana began by asking herself an important marketing question, “who is my client?”. She knew that she wanted to specialize in newborn and maternity photography so she began visiting all the places that those clients would go. She quickly learned what the high end, popular newborn and maternity boutiques, play date locations, coffee shops, party locations, etc….were and she didn’t just visit them, she shopped in them. Many of the stores were places that sold things like $90 baby jeans that she would never buy, but she knew that didn’t mean she couldn’t shop in the store.
While she was always on the lookout to see if other photographers were forming vendor partnerships with the shops, she approached the businesses as a consumer first and built relationships with them. By the time that she was ready to ask about leaving an album or business cards at the register, the people who worked in the store knew and liked her and were willing to help.
On her personal field trips, Ana realized that just because she wouldn’t spend $90 on baby jeans didn’t mean that nobody would.
“Our own biases prevent us from walking into the higher end stores, attracting the higher end client, getting the bigger sale because of our own previous experiences and bank account”
Ana is a successful photographer. She teaches, she photographs celebrities, her calendar is booked solid and yet you will still find her manning her own baby show booth, in a parking lot, on a hot summer day. Why does she do this?
“We still need to meet the people.”
Sitting at your computer in your pajamas posting to Facebook isn’t going to bring you success. Whether you’re established or just starting out, you have to leave your house, meet and build relationships with potential clients and partner businesses.
Ana loves the word of mouth marketing that custom mobile apps facilitate and considers it a vital part of her business. She delivers her custom mobile apps by using StickyAlbums.
“It’s better to have other people talking about you than you talking about you.”
It’s not unusual for clients who haven’t received their products to refer new clients after sharing their custom mobile album.
She also uses StickyAlbums to help her clients be more present at their sessions. Every client knows up front that they will receive a complimentary custom mobile album of their ordered images. This has helped with the problem of parents taking cell phone pictures and posting them to social media during the session rather than sitting back and enjoying what’s happening.
To hear more of Ana’s story, photography marketing tips and how she’s using custom mobile apps watch or listen to the interview.
Audio only version here:
Born and raised in New York, Ana came to California in 1999 after marrying her husband, Geoff. Fifteen years and three kids later, Ana has built a successful photography studio with over 3000 clients. With her proximity to Hollywood, Ana can count a few of those clients to be celebrities as well. Fans of her work from all over Southern California book sessions at the Studio for her unique pregnancy and newborn images. They continue to return year after year, with new arrivals and growing families. A true trailblazer in her field, Ana’s business continues to grow as she expands her creative talents. Ana is also on her 4th year as the photographer for eleven cover issues a year with Parenting OC Magazine.
It is not uncommon for Ana to spend two hours in a newborn session, counseling the nursing Mom and explaining sleep patterns to tired new Dads. Over the years, many have called the studio for advice even after they’ve talked to their Pediatrician. Ana knows that it’s about more than f-stops and shutter speeds when working with pregnant woman and new babies.
As an adopted child Ana has never seen what she looked like as a newborn. She has no pictures or memories of her birth mother. After being abandoned twice, her foster family adopted her and gave her a home. And now, 43 years later, she has filled her own home with love and feels blessed every day when each new client brings their bundles of joy into her studio – so she can give them what she never had.
Get the industry's best tips on marketing and business. Delivered straight to your inbox each week for free.
As an added bonus, we'll send you our list of the
Top 106 Resources for Growing your Photography Business.