My beginning package is now $3,500. Somebody asked me the other day if I would fly to Dubai and do a styled photo shoot with a makeup artist and a videographer and, of course, once I wrote out how much everybody costs, it was $20,000. And I was like, "That is ridiculous, who would pay that?" And we sent back, "Well, unfortunately, "to get our team there it would be $20,000." And they laughed and said, "When can we book you?" And I was like, "Who would do that?" I know a lot of portrait photographers that earn big money, bigger than me. My average has always been 33, and I've kind of gone up now. My average is 35, and I think by the end of this year, I can honestly say my average will be sitting nicely at around $5,000. That's a lot of money, but I now have a bigger team, a bigger project. I shoot a whole day instead of three a day. So my average has doubled and I'm trying to triple it from 1,800, from my first three years in business, but the one thing that has remained consistent is I...
pretty much change from giving away shoots to get bums on seats and then hoping to sell, to pre-selling the package. So basically, worst case scenario for me is that they pay me three-and-a-half thousand dollars and I totally suck, do a bad job, and they have to get their money back. That hasn't happened to me, but I have almost dropped the ball and I have re-shot. So I'm gonna be honest about that. I'm now looking at creating bigger packages because I can, and I've got a bigger team and rah-rah-rah, but I'm doing all of my selling already printed. So here's a couple of scenarios for you. When I first did it, I did it for the videos that I was filming of behind-the-scenes. So I just posted a video on my blog the other day of Amy, and you get to watch her shoot and she sees her reveal. Those images were printed on an $800 Canon photo printer that is not really high quality. I spent $800. I was stupid, I didn't research. I don't research anything, I try it, and if it doesn't work, I learn the hard way. That's my personality type. I'm not a big researcher. So I spent $800 on a printer instead of committing 3,000 to a real printer. I spent $800 on a not so good printer and now I've got a really good office printer. They were good enough to do the reveal, but not good enough for them to take the images. So I then went and invested in a bigger printer. Why am I printing my images when I could just send them to a lab? And there's some great labs here. Was because I wanted the reveal the next morning at 9 a.m., so if my clients flew to me, they could be photographed, go out to dinner that night, come back in the morning, and their images were printed, revealed, and ready to be sold, to swipe the credit card, leave with the box. Now, it works for me for many reasons. One is I'm good at locking down what people are gonna buy. I never show more than 25 images. The folio box has 25 images, so everything I show, I sell, and I feel pretty confidently that they're gonna buy the whole box. Only, I think, once did I not sell the whole box. I sold like two-thirds of a box. Biggest questions I get asked around the reveal were, "What if they don't purchase them?" Then you have 25 new images to go in your studio folio, you have wasted 25 printed images, which, when you are looking at the bigger printers, work out to be about $2 a print. I think you have to be at a certain level to do this really well, but I will take any questions regarding it, and I will tell you why it works better. Nikki, just gung-ho, orders hers through her lab, puts them into the white sleeves, takes the box to her client and reveals on the lap, and it's working for her. So how often are you walking out of a sale holding images?
Well, I show like 35, so I always show more than that. Yeah.
'Cause the mattes are reusable.
So I did have twice where the woman, no, three times, she said, "I just want 'em all." And so we figured that out, but I usually, it just depends. I mean, I'm usually walking home with some, because I show so many.
I feel like when we became a digital age, the whole "I want a CD" thing came in and let's face it, everyone was like, "What do you say when they say, "'I just want the digital images?'" I don't sell just digital images, I sell prints and digital images. So if they were already printed, it wasn't that they wanted digital images, it's that they wanted them now. And it wasn't just that they wanted digital images, they wanted them for Facebook and Twitter or whatever, and social media and online dating. Well, if they got a CD and photographs, then they get the best of both worlds. So the one line I used to say to everybody is, when everybody says to me, "Do you sell a CD?" I say, "Anything you purchase, you will get a CD as well." And if it was already done and printed at the viewing, 'cause the Photoshop essentially was already done, then doesn't it stand to reason the fact that they can walk out of it right there that night puts your sales enticement up considerably higher?
I would love to have Nikki talk a little bit more about your turnaround time with regard to the reveal, 'cause it's a little bit different than what Sue is talking about, WendyDCM thanks you for taking the time to answer. So how long is that period from when you're shooting and then you're ordering the prints elsewhere and then the reveal, and are you happy with that amount of time in terms of what you're getting back in return?
I am, that's one of my strengths, for sure. I go from the night, after the shoot that day, I get home and I call it and I have it to my retoucher, I choose about 35 photos. I have it to my retoucher within 24 hours of the shoot. Depending on how busy she is, she gets it back to me within, usually, a week. And then right when I get it back, I do my edits, I do my alien skin, I make it my own. If I'm gonna turn black and white. It goes right to White House Custom Color is who I use for my prints and within two weeks I have them back either in my studio, if they live close by. I don't have a reveal wall, I have an A-Frame studio, and I just find it works okay to put 'em out on the couch and they open the box and, or if they don't live near my studio, which a lot of my clients don't, then we'll either meet halfway or I like going to their house, 'cause then you can spread out and so, within two weeks.
If you have a finished product in a folio box laid out, printed, in their home laid out on their coffee table, what do you think's gonna happen? 'Cause these aren't leaving my house, right?
I love going to the home. I find my sales, I'm still sort of exploring, but--
I hate going to the home.
I love it.
So let's talk about that. I don't like going to people's home. My space is my space, I'm in control of it. I don't like that, I feel very uncomfortable in other people's homes. You really like that?
I give them the option, though, 'cause I don't like people coming to my home. So I give them the option. You can come out to my studio, we can meet at your house, or we can meet somewhere in the middle.
Okay, I'm the opposite way. Also, when you said when you finished my workshop, you had a desire to stay connected to all the people. I'm the opposite, I never wanna speak to anybody. I went through my entire, built my business without doing one workshop. And workshops were just becoming big in the sort of last 15 years, and I did it on my own, because I didn't want to go and learn anything else but I already felt like I'd been in the studio for 12 years. So I was the opposite to Lori, and there'll be people out there, too, that don't wanna join a community online and don't wanna have that interaction with people. That was me, I didn't want to go and join a whole lot of people and learn something. I just wanted to go and do it, try it, but then again, I said I'm not a researcher. Okay, how are you currently, both of you, how are you currently viewing or selling your wedding packages, in terms of when they come in and see their photographs for the first time?
Most of our brides are about three hours away from us. So if we do anything with them, we'll actually go over Skype and show them all their pictures. A lot of the times, we'll have them waiting for them when they get home, and they get online and they view 'em. But we do almost, probably about 95% of--
Our selling is pre-selling.
Which is what I do with portraiture, which is what you're not doing with portraiture.
You're not pre-selling the portraiture.
And that's a big question that has come through, is wanting to hear about the pre-sell.
So tell me something, why is it you can pre-sell a wedding but you can't pre-sell a portrait package? What do you think's gonna happen after we take your photograph? You're gonna bring your children in, we're gonna take your family photographs, here's the surprise. We're going to try and sneakily sell them to you (laughter) at some stage after the shoot, but we don't want you to know this. So we're going to just try and lure you back to the studio where you can maybe see the images to nice music, and fool you into, perhaps, dropping two to five thousand dollars. Although that's gonna make your husband really uncomfortable 'cause he was not part of this process. So there's a really big chance of rejection there, but this is how we play this game.
So tell me what you think about this, because this is, I mean, we've only really started hitting the marketing and getting inquiries and responses in the last three months. When it comes to a wedding, people come already pre-determined they're gonna spend. And so you were talking about how weddings, they call you, portraits, you call them. So when they respond to us calling them or putting on a voucher or having friends that did it or whatever, they contact us and they say, "What's your pricing?" And we say, "12, 18, 24."
They immediately go, "I can't spend that on myself, "I'm done," and they go dark. If we get them in and shoot them and they see the pictures of themselves, now they understand the value and now, they're willing to spend.
Yes, but you still have to educate them in your final product, even if you just give them a free shoot.
So regardless, if somebody says, "I'm not spending $1,200, "I simply don't see the value," and you say, "You can pay it off," that instantly draws anybody who was struggling with the income side of it, not the value side of it?
And I think that's a big aha for us here.
That's a huge aha because
Yeah, that's a big one.
If you say, "Well, you can pay it off so it's accessible "financially and then you still get the package," then they go, "Well, I definitely wanna do it." If they don't see the value, don't wanna pay it off, they don't actually wanna do it, you let them go.
You don't buy every dress you try on. Do you, Dustin? (laughter)
I get that as well.
Most of 'em don't fit.
They'll send an email, an inquiry, and I'll give 'em my link to my PDF. That's a link and everything, and then I won't hear back. And what I need to do is get 'em on the phone and try and talk to them, because when you're trying to sell someone through email, they can't hear my voice, they can't hear the inflection, tone of my voice. So I struggle with, okay, I want them to see my link with all of my work, because I set it up to try and draw people in prior to seeing my pricing, 'cause I want them to fall in love with the work and then, so I'm kinda--
Which is why you have a visual PDF, but I mean, let's look at it like this. Let's say you get 100 people saying no to the $1,200 pricing and then you get 10 people say yes, isn't that 10%? Isn't that marketing internationally?
You know what's really dumb, for us, anyways, is that I just realized that what I just told you is the exact same thing that we face with our weddings. And we don't care. We track every single inquiry. We know that we got 450 inquiries last year, we have a 8% booking rate, so that's 92% rejection rate and--
You don't cry about it.
No, we just say, "This is how much it's gonna cost for your wedding," and if they walk away we don't even think about it. And here I am telling you that we have the same problem with portraits, and yeah, thank you, self-revelation two.
We need to keep each other in check.
Good job. (laughter)
You're not rejecting me if you don't book me.
And I don't even think about that when it comes to weddings.
Maybe we weren't a fit. Not good pricing, not a good budget.
And you're not a fit. And whatever that fit was, maybe they contacted three other people. Maybe they went to their mum and said, "Mum, check this link out. "I found it, it's amazing. We could do it," maybe the mum said no. Maybe, in three weeks' time, they'll call you back and say, "I've been looking at your work for a year-and-a-half "and I'm finally committed to doing it. "I just got my text back." You do not know the reason. The bandwidth that you are using making up the reasons that people aren't booking with you are made up by you. They are a story that you are telling yourself.
And when you ask me what your value is, and I say, "Well, tell me why you're not getting bookings," and it's every other reason under the sun other than, "I'm doing so much marketing "and nothing's coming back to me," which is never the answer. (laughter) I always look at it and go, whatever you tell yourself in that moment, is what is your lie. My website has had, I know 'cause Dustin taught me about looking at my website, like over three million hits in the last two years or 18 months.
It's way bigger than that now.
Oh, is it?
Yeah, it's like eight.
I know, I was like, "Three million seems low for you."
Yeah, so my booking percentage is way lower than yours. (laughter)
It took me so long to not be rejected by that, but if you get seven, nine no's and one yes, you are on track with every other business in this world.
I'd rather have one yes at $1,800 than three at 600. It's a third of the work for the same amount of money.
Yeah, that's smart. Alright, Christian?
Yeah, can we talk, Sue, a little more about, people are really intrigued about the reveal wall, the sales process, and maybe you've covered this in 28 Days itself, but just a mini version of, this is from Jen Shannon, which was on your blog, "Do you show," okay so I would, almost like a walkthrough of what a sales meeting looks like after the photos are taken, you show the slideshow on a TV to music if you're only showing 25 images? Is that, that's not very long.
There's no slideshow.
There is no slideshow.
There is no slideshow, there is no digital product. I have gone back to printed product. Women are tactile.
So what do you, so they walk in the door, walk me through it.
If you hold something, they want to own it. So when you're trying to sell a beautiful iPad, you give it to them, you can't do that with a digital print. And it just occurred to me, if it was ready to go today like a CD is and they were like, "Yeah, "but we want it today," it's ready to go. So I got Nikki's husband, Dan, to build this little, wee shelf in my studio that held 25 mounted portraits. Three shelves, and we would print them, put them into my folio box mounts, which just slide on in. No, I do not fix them down with tape, they do not move. Yes, I use a matte luster art paper, we print them. We do the retouching, yes, they are retouched. What if they want more retouching? Then you need to hold back some of the images, do more retouching and re-print them. What if they don't buy them? You can re-use the mattes. Yes, you've got more images to hold in your folio. The idea is that they walk into a wall of images or a coffee table, or hold them in their hands of a finished product, and they cannot say no. You are running the risk of losing your print cost. There are a lot of other risks in that moment, and that is not your worry, and it's not something that I worry about.
Me either. It's just something that it's in the back-end, I put it in in my budget, and I don't even think about it. It's so much more, I feel like my sales have just skyrocketed because of it.
My prints have doubled.
And the only time I would do a slideshow is when I have people fly in from out of town, I do a Skype session with them because they're not--
You have to.
So I'm a strong advocate of if you're not doing online sales, I'm a strong advocate of doing Skype sales, 'cause you can share screen and show them your screen and have control without them taking the images. Also, you're there to talk them through it and also sell. So how I would walk you through a session. Nikki, what you do is a session with me is $3,500. That includes a full makeup and a whole day of shooting. We're gonna choose four or five outfits for you, and there's lots of options there. I would like you to maybe look at rentin' a runway. You can rent, lease, clothes, buy clothes, go shopping. Great excuse to go shopping, you can also borrow off girlfriends, bring anything you want from your wardrobe that's significant. I want you to think about colors, but not necessarily patterns or florals, unless you're just a pattern and floral kinda girl, and I want you to bring some variations. Now, most women, Nikki, tell me that they haven't got five outfits, but they always turn up with 25. So I know that most women are lying. And when you come into your shoot, I want you to have no makeup on. We're gonna do a beautiful makeup and we're gonna talk about how you wanna be photographed on the day. So have a look at my website, have a look through my galleries and just screenshot or take note of anything you like. When you come back for your sales session, your viewing session, we're going to print them all for you and put them up on a beautiful wall. Now--
Sign me up.
I know. (laughter) When would you like to come in? So my old process used to be: A sitting with me is normally $190. We're going to give you the session, the make-over's included, and $100 to spend on photographs. So what you spend is entirely up to you. Now you can come in and have a look at your photographs on the wall and if you like them, you buy them. The beauty is, you do not have to buy anything, you're under no obligation to purchase. I do not hard-sell you. My job is to take beautiful portraits that you wanna walk out with. So let's talk about what you would like to wear, who would you like to be photographed. "What, I can be photographed with more than one person?" Yes, Nikki, you can bring your mum, your sister, your best friend, or anybody you want to be photographed with. Instantly, I've gotten to experience. And then you can bring them back for the reveal wall. Remember, after your shoot, you're gonna have professional hair and makeup, so make sure you plan a night on the town, girlfriend, 'cause you're gonna look hot. I've locked that down over many years. I say it repeatedly. On 28 Days, I say it over and over again. I think you can even pull a script from it, and practiced it. I walked on the beach and practiced it until I could say it with feeling, with sincerity, and with authenticity. I found my way of saying it and I feel like it's really, really important that you do that. We've got 15 minutes to ask these people more questions before they go.
So as how CLRachel says, who is in our chat rooms, that people are chomping at the bit to know the sizes for the reveal wall. So can you quickly review those again, the sizes that you do? The sizes that you reveal will be whatever you want to sell. So, how big is my ottoman? Big enough for a lady to lie on. How big are the images I want to reveal? As big as you want to sell. My images are 7x10 on a 11x14 mount, which goes in an 11x14 box. I use the 11x14 box from Seldex and Finao, that is my choice of portrait box. When I went to a single product, plus enlargements, I doubled my sales average. When I took away everything else from my sales list, I doubled it, because people then had less choice. It was really only how many images they want in the box. How many you sell is entirely up to what you want to sell, and I feel like once people get over that, they'll understand that what you put up is what you sell. What you show is what you sell, so do not put a $600 package out if you do not wanna sell a $600 package.
We do have WendyCM, WendyDCM, who wants to know, Nikki, you work with a retoucher. Do you have tips about how you found working with that person? Where do people go out and find retouchers to work with?
Oh, lord, I'm gonna open a can of worms here.
The topic, again, is also, "Who do you trust to do your retouching? "I love every aspect of my business, "so letting go of that part somehow "is holding me back."
I do practice. I need to continue to practice, because if I ever lose my retoucher, I'm in trouble. So I need to make sure that I'm practicing. So I think it's important for all of us to really hone in our own skills. As time-wise, as well, is one of the reasons I--
So I have a retoucher, I have two retouchers that I trained in my New Zealand studio, the big studio that I built, they are my retouchers, still. And I have shared my retouchers with a private group of photographers that have done workshops with me and they service them for $30 now. I feel like my greatest strength right now would be to take a team of 20 retouchers, train them, and then let them go to the world because I feel like, for the people that can just take $30 off a shoot and just give that to the retoucher and have their images come back retouched. Now, don't get me wrong, they do, for me, the most basic retouching. Skin cleaning up, smoothing, dodge and burn eyes, any little minor tucks, nip-tucks, warping. Everything else, I will do, or I will do the whole shoot myself. They just do the real basics that take off an hour, two hours, three hours of your time. It is a great way to do it, but remember, the smartest business decision I ever made when I built my business was I taught my makeup artist how to retouch and I outsourced my makeup and my retouching to her until she had full-time employment. Then I hired a second one, and I had double makeup artists, double retouchers, and when they weren't doing makeup they were retouching and when they weren't retouching they were doing makeup and they constantly made me enough money to support them. Everybody in my studio is double skill based or they don't work for me, 'cause otherwise, you're wasting my time, if you're a one-act pony.
I had a question for Nikki. With the reveal wall, as far as product, what are your thoughts on like for the top end? Like for your biggest box, do you find that an album would be a better product versus 20 images of yourself?
I don't think so because if I'm going in saying the minimum collection is 1,200, I want them to buy 2,400, but if they only, or my $2,300 package. So I want them to buy 25 photos, but if I already have an album pre-made, how do I decide how many--
You can't reveal an album.
But I mean, offering that as your, for me, personally, I'm thinking from a personal standpoint. I wouldn't want that many images of myself.
See, a lot of people say that, but I say, "You get to give it to a gift, your grandkids, to your--"
Hang on, but if you photographed you and your children, you wouldn't want 25 images?
That I would, I can see that if I had that as a family or something like that, but if it's just strictly a glamour shoot, would that be something you would offer only in your top package? Like you could say--
To offer an album?
You could have either/or?
Dude, I sell 25 images to everybody and they want all of them.
I would want all of em. I'd want 'em in an album so I could like show people, I just wouldn't want the.
The beauty of the box, for me, is you can reveal it and take out some. The second cool thing is they can frame them if they want. And I say that, you can take 'em out of the box and frame them, they're just sitting in there protected.
You talk about the tactile nature of it. We were offering albums, and we've switched to boxes. The boxes just feel so much more substantial, so much more of a unique--
And more luxurious, I think.
Luxurious product than a little album, or even if it's 7x10 versus 7x10, the box just feels like more, still. And we've--
I don't know why, but it does.
And our clients are responding to it better, without ever having known that they were missing anything when they were getting albums.
Something that I initially started was little black books, but I found that people just wanted the little black book and wanted to skip everything else and then that was another reason my sales went down. So I got rid of the books, but you could do it as an add-on. If you purchase a collection, you can do an add-on.
It's a big overhead to do an album versus printing it.
Right, maybe just have a sample? I mean, it could be something as an add-on if you find that's what people are asking for.
They don't ask for anything. They buy what you show them. I don't get clients ask me for things, it's really strange.
Well, if they were, to your point and Nikki, you talked about, some of your clients say, "I can give this print to my grandma," or maybe you're encouraging that, but do you know, Sue, how they use them? Positivity says, "What do people actually do "with the pictures that they buy of themselves? "Does the folio go in a drawer? "Do they put them on a wall?"
Do you really care?
"Does anyone feel vain putting pictures "of themselves up in their home?"
When you sell somebody lingerie, do you like, "What are you gonna do with that lingerie?" (laughter) I mean, is that going in a drawer? Are you gonna save it for best? Are you gonna run around the backyard in it? Is your husband gonna wear that? I don't care what they do with it.
And from a sales perspective, if I say, that's why the interview process is so important. "Tell me about how you wanna be photographed, "what inspired you?" And then you can, "Oh, I opened a new business "and I really want a new website photo," so you can hone in on that. If I say, "You can use it for Facebook, "you can give it to your grandma," and they're like, "I don't have a grandma "and I don't want it on Facebook." So that's why it's important to get to know your clients and what are you using it for, so that you can be like, "Oh, god, that website photo's "gonna be amazing."
But also, okay, "These are the products I sell, "these are my enlargements." "I wouldn't put anything on my wall." "Oh, well, then you're gonna be better with the folio box "because the good thing about the folio box "is it's a keepsake, and you can keep it on the bookshelf "or hide it under the bed if it's a private folio, "and then it's not out there in your face." "Oh, no, I'm more of an on the wall kind of girl." "Well, great, never mind the folio box, "let's choose some big enlargements. "What do you like?" You can actually get a very good idea of what your client wants pre-shoot by just asking them those questions and showing them great products in your studio.
I think a good purpose for a photo, even one or two of 'em from the folio box, for a woman, and the reason that we're photographing this, and the reason that I actually believe in this so much, to start all these groups, I'm not getting into that, but putting it on the easel and having them, suggest to them, put an easel in your room, maybe actually supply them an easel, in your bedroom, so that when you wake up in the morning and you see yourself, you remind yourself of how beautiful you are from within to the outside, and it's a good place to display it if you've got that vanity issue and you don't want it in your living room, or so to speak, but if it's a shoot where you're doing a sexy kind of image where there's a little bit of, maybe there's a bustier or something being worn, and maybe have it out there 'cause it's a romantic situation. You have a husband and wife, and you want that displayed for some reason in your living room, but then whenever it's Thanksgiving and you're making dinner, ya take that one away and ya put the pretty one of you just smiling and a pretty, gorgeous shot of you if you wanna keep one in your living room.
I've always sold them like that. Move it, rotate it, frame it, change it.
So much versatility.
Alright, we haven't really talked a whole lot about makeup artists and working with makeup artists.
Sure, it's a good question I noticed in In Bed with Sue and in the 28 Days.
So a question from Theresa Fay, "How do I coach my makeup artists? "Should all my clients get pretty similar makeup? "Do you decide how much makeup you want "when you choose your outfits?" And then some other folks asked if either of you had worked with makeup artists for free in the beginning or just, and maybe you could talk, also, about what's in 28 Days about working with makeup artists.
I feel like the best advice you can give anybody and a makeup artists is, tell them what you pay and don't ask them what they charge, because then they will say yes to the work instead of, "Oh, I charge 400 a day." "Oh, I can't afford you." "I pay $100 for half a day." "Oh, yeah, I'll take that." Second is, ask the client how they want their hair and makeup done, and then provide exactly that. I've seen too many nightmares where people haven't spoken up. Third is when the makeup is done, you tell your makeup artist to go and wash their brushes, and tell your makeup artist this is gonna happen, you're gonna turn to the client when the makeup artist is out of the room and say, "Are you happy with your hair and makeup? "These are your photographs. "If you wanna change your hair and makeup, "you need to do it now." Do you know how many times they would look at me and say, And then you go, "Okay, what do you wanna change?" "My eyes are too dark," or, "My eyes are not dark enough." When my makeup artist comes back in, I go, "Catherine, "can you just bring Nikki's eyes down? "They're a little bit strong "and she wants them a little bit lighter." I take control of it straight away, my makeup artist is not offended because she knows it's gonna happen. My client is happy, and I have taken charge. Now the biggest question a makeup artist should ask, like you, is, "How do you wanna be photographed?" What products do you like is, "How do you want your hair and makeup?" And if they go, "Look, I don't wear," however you think is not the right answer. If they say that to you, you say, "No, no, no, no, no. "These are your portraits, they're going on your wall. "You've got to love your hair and makeup "and it's very important."
Would you ever recommend starting, or did any of you start without using a makeup artist, with having clients just come in with their own hair and makeup?
Yeah, I tried that.
Sorry, somebody asked that.
We tried it, yeah. We tried sendin' them to the beauty--
We never got the results we wanted.
It was like a hit and miss sometimes.
Then we started hiring one to come in.
Yeah, we paid one to come in, 100 bucks a head. And for hair and makeup, and she'd come and do it and then eventually, we started hiring staff and one of our staffers does all our hair and makeup and we coached her on exactly what we want, how we want it, what to do. We give the girls the option. We ask them what they like and what they don't like.
What else does she do for you?
Photoshops and shoots.
Yeah, we're training her to shoot, so whenever we do decide to have a family, we can. And then also, we do show them that--
So when you do have a family, Dustin can stay home with the children And you and her can go and shoot?
I'm gonna babysit them with T.V., so.
But we always show them that the makeup app that you have that show the lightest to darkest--
And they really like that, because they can choose.
And so our makeup artist, Lisa, also knows to ask them how do you normally do your makeup? What do you like? What do you don't like? Do you usually use thick eyeliner? Do you do this? How do you do, Have you ever worn fake eyelashes? How do you like them? And so we make sure to dial it in to exactly, we have control over what we're doing but at the same time, we're making sure that they're getting what they want and when we were bringin' in random makeup artists, we never knew, even if we told them, some of them weren't receptive. We never knew what we were gonna get, and now, we have exactly what we want out of it.
What are you doing with makeup?
Well, to answer your question, to start out, yes, I did have people going elsewhere. Nordstrom Counter, wherever, but now, I have three consistent makeup artists who also have businesses, so it just depends, but--
And what are you paying your makeup artists?
125 per person.
If I have Katie McMullen, who is a makeup artist who also used to work for Sue, if she is my makeup artist, she will stay through and do assisting as well, so I'll pay her an extra $20 an hour to stay and assist. So it depends on who's available, so I have three who I--
But you see, Nikki's already pushed herself to a stage where she's got an average sale. So I feel like the biggest hurdle at this stage is before you're making money, is trying to get the makeup artists. So there's a couple of ways around it. One of them is you have the makeup artist come to you, but you get your client to pay them directly, and then if they don't purchase any photographs of you, that's not a cost that you owe. The hardest part is finding good makeup artists that are available. So when I first started out in my business and I had no money, zero money, and I was just trying in my first three months, I met a young girl that had brilliant talent and I trained her myself and I said to her, "I can, "you live at your mom and dad's?" She was 18. "I can only afford to give you $100 a week "for 12 weeks, while I train you and get going, "but by the end of that 12 weeks, I guarantee "I'm gonna have an income and I will afford "to find a way to pay you a full-time wage." And it took me 12 weeks to pay her a full-time wage, and she's worked for me for six years full-time and is now my retoucher, still, in New Zealand. So she was 18 then, and that was 2003. Yeah.
I have kind of a question, as far as, I have four people that I work with, two are licensed and two are not, and so there's a significant price difference when I pay for the, between the four. But my two that are not licensed are incredibly talented and they're my favorite. How do you kinda work with that, if they're not licensed, or do you just put them under--
Washington does not require. Only if there's manipulating of hair such as cutting, coloring. So it's not, I didn't go to photography school, so I'm not gonna judge a makeup artist if they didn't go to cosmetology school.
But I'm saying like for liability, would they just be covered under your, Like when they sign a--
They have to have their own business, and at least, that's how I do it.
Their own public liability.
That's what I mean. 'Cause two of 'em are not.
Coming in as a contractor. For me, anyway, that's how I do it. I don't know if you guys do it differently, but--
So are you looking for proof of insurance, by chance? You know what I mean? If you say they have to carry their own liability, would they show you a certificate of insurance?
I have never asked for one, no.
I'm just interested, I have never even--
You don't have to in most states.
California doesn't require it.
There's only certain states that require it, and you can look into it, but I've had people ask me that question over and over again, and I was always like, "Never where I've been."
We did a lot of research, and unless you're an aesthetician or doing like skincare kinda stuff--
The application of makeup doesn't require a license, and so they just, ours fall under our general liability.
Alright, so we have a unique situation here where we have a makeup artist and photographer in the house, Lynn. Lynn, would you be able to, just briefly before we go to break, talk a little about how, as a makeup artist, photographers can network with you or, and do you do both? Tell us about what photographers should be asking when they're looking to find a makeup artist to work with.
That's a really good question. I think a lot of it is, gosh, it's about communicating with the makeup artist. I mean, there's a lot of things that can push application a little bit further than what was intended, shoots can run behind, it can be really physically stressful. I am choosing not to necessarily go down that route, just because it's actually a very hard job. I think there's a lot of criticism for makeup artists, and well, I would like to defend them because it's artistry, it's literally painting, and I think it's a great way, I mean, as a part of the community, it's a wonderful thing to collaborate with photographers and it's the multiple skillset, as you said.
If I'm a photographer, I'm in Seattle, you're in Seattle, how do I go about finding people to work with? Where is the makeup artist community?
Well... I think there's, a lot of people either touch at some point in different locations, like Makeup Forever, or they'll be reps or they can work in a store. Is it Model Mayhem, that there's a lot of people that post on that? I always follow certain makeup artists on Instagram, just because I love watching their passion for a specific artistry.
The makeup community is about five years behind the photography community in terms of social media. Last year, I spoke at PHAMExpo, which is a massive expo of makeup artists, and I talked to them about social media etiquette, Facebooking, blogging. Basically doing the Instagram, marketing through. And most of them were at the, "Could you please go back "to how to do the business card thing?" And I was like, "Okay." So they're a very similar community, they have their rock stars and they definitely are promoting and they've got some huge expos around the world where you can just go into. But I suggest, as a glamour photographer, you find the makeup expos because you will find a wealth of women clients that love beauty images. And I would like to teach them more about marketing, Instagramming, Facebooking, because most of them are not marketing themselves very well. The one's that are making the most consistent dollars are shooting wedding, sorry, doing wedding makeups. They're often the best makeup artists, 'cause they are available during the week for shoots, and also, they can do makeup on any age face. So a lot of the makeup artists wanna be fashion photographer makeup artists and they can't do older people, they can't do everyday makeup, and so I find the wedding makeup artists that are making money that way are always the best. And if you Google makeup artists, they're either on Model Mayhem or they have their own websites now, but they are just a little bit more behind in terms of the photographic industry. But now that glamour photography's kind of taking off again, people are finding them everywhere, but I do suggest you look. When I went to PHAMExpo, they were hoping for six to 12 thousand go through their show in three days. And they were 98% girls, and I have never seen so much hair and makeup in my life. Like they were ready to be photographed. If you took your diary and your folio, have fun, because wow, you'd not only find makeup artists to work with, you'd find a whole heap of clients.