Guest article by Barry Nelson of Captivated Images

Various marketing seminars will often stress the importance of developing business relationships with vendors such as wedding venues, florists and bridal dress shops. The idea is that if you can develop those connections and create a network of referrals, your business will overflow with customers. What those seminars don’t tell you is this: vendors can smell your self interest from a mile away and they don’t like it.

As a company who has used this strategy with success, I can tell you that there is only one way this strategy works; you must give to the vendor without expecting a single thing in return. I have talked to our vendors and I have asked why they chose us to work with when they get offers all the time from all sorts of photographers. The vendors always have one answer which is, “Because you guys offered to help us without asking us to do anything for you.”

When you see a new photographer hitting their doors, they already start the, “yeah, yeah, yeah, um no thanks.” For us, the formula is simple. And I honestly can take no credit for this because it is my partner Dominique Harmon who does all the leg work and develops relationships and friendships with our vendors. When offering to do something for them with nothing in return, that could mean providing them with large prints (with our logo of course), or a portrait session for their family. Even a commercial job for a flyer or brochure. Heck, I’ve even created simple websites for vendors who didn’t know how to do it themselves and couldn’t afford a big firm. We have learned that when we give and ask for nothing, that is when we become welcomed and trusted.

Don’t forget charitable giving as well. Each year we create a calendar for the Morris Safe House, a local no-kill dog shelter here in Lubbock, Texas where all of the proceeds go back to the shelter. Another thing we do to give back is create a “Don’t Text and Drive” poster to provide for schools and businesses. This poster uses the best known player on the Texas Tech football team, usually the quarterback. This year however we have a consensus All American tight end in Jace Amaro:

Texas Tech, Jace Amaro, Text and Drive, Captivated Images, Topaz Labs, business relationshipYes, these posters cost a chunk of change. But we are giving them away to anyone that wants one…and everybody wants one. Does it have our logo on it? You bet. But here’s the thing–we really don’t do it for any other reason than to deliver the message to the community. I have lost more than one relative to distracted drivers and this means something to me. So when we deliver the posters to schools or businesses, we ask for nothing in return. We hope that it is cool enough for them to hang, but if they throw it in the trash, we don’t look back. But I can tell you every year after those posters come out, you’ll see them with “photography by Captivated Images” all over town. And you just can’t buy that kind of publicity or good will.

About the photographer:

Owner of Captivated Images in West Texas, Barry Nelson is a portrait photographer who specializes in senior, wedding and family photography. Captivated Images has obtained many awards including the Fuji Masterpiece and Texas Professional Photographers Association Photographer of the Year 2012. See some of Barry’s work below:


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