When you collect your mail, you probably get advertisments a few times a week. Some of them come in the form of mass mailings, a.k.a. Junk Mail, which I neatly deposit in the nearest trash can. And then you get a few advertisements that pique your curiosity and actually get read. Photographers also need to get the word out. One way to do that is by sending a striking postcard to potential clients.
When you decide to show potential clients how great a photographer you are, remember the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You’re a photographer selling your services to a target market. Which image in your portfolio has drawn the most “oohs and aahs.” That’s the photograph you use for your postcard.
Designing The Card
You can design a postcard in Photoshop. All you need to know is the trim size, and the safe margin. The trim size is the finished size of the postcard and the safe margin is the area in which you put all pertinent material such as images and text. Material outside of the safe margin may not print properly. Ask your printer what his dimensions are for the trim size and safe margin. He may be able to supply you with a template in Photoshop’s native PSD format.
If you’re using an online printing service, you can probably download a template from their web site. The template shows the trim size, and safe margin. Just remember to delete the guide layer before sending the finished product to the printer. The image on the right shows a postcard being created with the use of a template. When creating the card, I made sure the text was well within the safe margin. You’ll also have to know the color mode and resolution required by the printer. As a rule the printer will want the document delivered using the CMYK color mode at 300 DPI resolution.
Designing The Back Of The Card
Your goal when designing the front of the card is to get the recipient’s attention and make her want to flip the card over and see what you have to offer. When you create the back of the card you need a brief desciption of the service you are offering. Don’t take the kitchen sink approach and tell them everything you do. If you’re a multi-faceted photographer offering many services, the print will be too small and more than the recipient’s willing to read. Besides, the right side of the card is blank for the recipient’s address and postage. So that leaves you with limited room in which to work. The headline of the card should be large boldfaced text that describes the service you are offering. Follow that with a brief sentence telling the potential client how she’ll benefit from the service you are offering. Follow your benefit statement will bullet points that tells the potential client more about your service. Here’s an example of the text on my portrait photography postcard:
Save time by having Doug Sahlin Photography shoot professional portraits in your office, on location, or in the comfort of your home.
- Individual or group portraits
- Professional studio lighting
- Color and/or Black and White images
- Images for the web and print
- High quality prints available
- Competitive prices
- Quality assured
At the bottom of the card include your contact information, tagline, and a call to action. Your tagline is a brief sentence that describes what is unique about you or the service you are offering. I specialize in portrait photography on location, at the client’s business, or home. When I photograph at a place of business or in the client’s home, I bring backdrops and studio lighting, hence the tagline: “I bring the studio to you!”
Many postcards fail because they don’t ask the potential client to take action. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer and your target market is event planners, you’re more likely to get a call if you add a line that reads: Ask about our 2-for-1 wedding album special.
The Blank Back Postcard
I also order postcards with blank backs. These are perfect for sending a personalized “Thank You” to a client who has used your services, or to a potential client with whom you have met. The postcard has more punch than the standard Thank You card stuffed in an envelope. It’s also another chance to get another sample of your work in front of a potential client.
I’ve had a lot of postive comments on an head shot of a gorgeous model that I converted to black and white and then used the History Brush to selectively paint color back into the model’s eyes and lips. Many people suggested I should use this for my literature. The following is an example of a postcard created with this image.
After you design a postcard and have it printed, your next task is to send it to your target market. Some photographers purchase a mailing list, while others create their own from scratch. Mailing lists will be the subject of a future post.