Your Block: Seeing is What You're Being
We're going to keep going through this. One, approaching a stranger. Two, an inquiry, a consultation, a shoot, viewing, the pickup, the post contact, the business pitch. We're going to do specific words that make a difference. We're going to do things that change and make a difference. Every time one if you have an epiphany keep throwing your hand up because that helps me realize what you don't know, what is working for you, what is helpful to you. I learned all of this by doing it on my feet but it's quite amazing when you start to teach it that you don't realize how much you learned and know until you start teaching people what you learned. And now and then people are like oh, I need to do that, I need to do that. So this is where I started. So if I go back to what I learned it was this. We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. Okay? Anais Nin. Big quote wrote it on my wall, kept it on a wall for many, many years. Every time I would see something I would read this q...
uote. We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. If you see there is no money in your community, there is no money in your community because that's what you're seeing. There is always money. There is as much wealth as there is poverty in this world. Sometimes we focus on the lack instead of on the abundance. It's very easy to do but it is not the truth. It is not the final truth. It shifts and changes and it's out there and there's always enough to go around and this is very, very important when you start realizing what your blocks are around pitching and marketing yourself. I could not sell my work and I could not sell myself for the first 12 years of business. Not business, the first 12 years of my career. Once I owned my own business I had no option but to start selling myself and my business. So up until the moment where I was paying the bills, I was an employed photographer, I didn't need to sell myself and I didn't need to sell my work because somebody else did it for me. I simply could not do it myself. I did not value photography. I did not value what I was creating. I did not value it and I wouldn't have paid for it. So today I want to ask you when you pitch your prices, do you value how much you charge and I'm going to confront you about that as well. Because you will only sell as much as you're prepared to spend. Do you know that? Do you know that you will only sell what you're prepared to spend. So you need to address the value around that pitch so we're going to go through that as well. There's so many pitches in running a business isn't there? So this single action changed my career and it was that, getting this card printed. Out of the 2,000 cards I have probably five left that I kept as a memento. I never redid them because by the time my business had progressed into sort of 2006, 2007, 2008, I was still using them but the iPhone was becoming far more prevalent and easy to manage and carry. Although I still know the power of this card. This card, you know the most significant thing about this card is how confident I felt when I was holding it. I remembered it being like my Superman tee shirt. I remembered thinking I'm a real photographer. I'm not a fraud. Nobody's going to say to me you're a fraud, you're a wannabe, you're a has been. You're, you know? I was like I'm the real deal when I got this. That's how I felt. Trust me, print your work, carry it with you. If that's what you need. This was my suit of armor. It in seven images told a story of seven different women. Twins, sisters, a woman in her 60s, a redhead, a blonde, a beautiful girl from Africa that had the most incredible life story. Bella with her tattoos and her funkiness, It told so much this young girl, here, who was only 14. It was age-appropriate, it was appropriate for everybody. It had something to touch on, something to talk about. I know their names, I know where they live, I know their stories, you know? It was significant, it connected me to my work, and I felt so proud in showing people. Now if you ask me to pitch without this, I'm a very different person because suddenly the only thing they've got to look at is me. And I don't feel comfortable being the one that everyone's looking at. But when they would get this, they weren't looking at me. They were hearing me talk while they were going like this. And I used to laugh because this is nearly 10 years old and what people would say to me was oh wow, you're really good. And I would feel validated. Right? Consider to be armed with a folio in some way shape or form at all times to change your pitch.
Question from Berta Lucci who says when I show my before and afters, either on my phone or folders, some people just react as if it's all thanks to Photoshop and any photographer could do it. This is where I get stuck. How can I respond to that kind of comment?
So is it Photoshop? Like what are the comments? The point is is that if somebody said to me oh, is that all Photoshop? Say yeah, there's a little bit of magic in there but I wouldn't be offended by that. If somebody said to me, it's what you're getting offended about. So when people write and bid, somebody rang me today to ask for a shoot and I told them the prices and then they had this shoot and now they're trying to talk me down to a fifth of the price and I'm really upset and offended, why you upset and offended? Most people are trying to get a good deal. There's no need to be upset and offended, it's what is upsetting and offending you that you need to consider. So if somebody says that's all Photoshop and you're offended by that, not everybody you show is going to say that but somebody said it to you and offended you because some how that made your value less. It's like when somebody says okay, just so we're clear, I don't like any negative posts on Facebook. I'm like keep your laundry in the laundry room. Your dirty laundry goes in the laundry room, not on Facebook. One of the things I didn't like was when people posted that you must have a good camera. Nobody's ever said that to me. You must have a good camera and if they say you must have a good camera I say yes, I do and I know how to use it. Like I'm not offended by that comment so why would I make something of it? So just address what you're offended by. It's very easy to be offended by something because you're offended because it somehow personally is attacking you. That's what you need to address. Do I not value my work and I think people think I overshot my work? Is that your problem? Like what is it that that your problem is? What are you seeing because here's the thing, where did I write it? I wrote it, it's coming up. You always lead into my questions, you people, knowing full well what I'm going to say. What are you seeing because that's what you're being. Right, so when somebody... very few things about my work hurt my feelings because I see it all the time. Negative comments on Facebook, negative comments about me being an instructor. Recently somebody attacked me physically. My weight, they wrote something really horrible on Twitter like I used to want to be Sue Bryce and now she's fat and she's single and she's nothing to envy. And it hurt my feelings like I cried, I posted about it. The reason it hurt my feelings is not because of what they said but because there was truth in what they said for me. So there's truth around my weight and around being single at that time that made me cry. Now, they've said something that has struck a nerve whereas if you called me stupid or a dumb photographer or not a good speaker I would have laughed because none of those things would hurt me. They're just like okay and I would have made a joke out of it but they've said something that has resonated with a pain that I carry and that attacks my self value. So when something hurts you, you're seeing that. So when you have no value for money and income and you see poverty everywhere around you and competition, that's what you're focused on. Do you understand? You cannot see past it because that's all you're seeing. Now you have to consider that that's not the truth. Right now that is not the truth. That is just what you're looking at. Does anybody have any questions about that because I need to explain that, something fierce. That is like if you can shift that. If I could challenge you to shift the one thing you believe right now, I could change it. Does anybody have a block that they just can't see past that they need to, that they want to share with me? Microphone. Are you brave enough to throw that out there?
I do, I have a block that I've been struggling with. I think that a lot has to do with and how you pitch is your story. You know about you and who you are and why you do certain things. And for me after a lot of thought and I guess some soul-searching if you will, I've determined that what hurts the most... my story the most is it comes from a place of loss. I had a very tragic loss in in my family. I've had multiple of them and it's something out of a movie. I mean, if I tell it now everyone would be balled up crying and that made me more aware of making connections because I lost someone very dear to me just after making a real connection with that person. It was my brother and passed away three months after I made a real life connection. A real life, I was the little brother, he's the big brother, after I made that connection I lost him. And I want to tell people that you are beautiful and you should exist in photography. You should exist for yourself and for your family because you never know but that's such a sad place for me that it's difficult for me to translate that to hey, you're beautiful and I want to photograph you without getting into sort of the gloomy side of it and without pretty much balling into tears about really that situation. You can't really walk around in parties doing that. So my why is difficult to tell people. It's difficult for me just to explain and it's difficult to translate that why I want to photograph you and why I want to make you happy. It's important for me to make people happy and make real life connections with people. Relationships are key to me.
Okay, can I address something now?
I've lost a hundred pounds. If I was to walk up to a woman, especially a woman who had a hundred pounds on and said listen I used to be a hundred pounds bigger, I know what it feels like to not like myself. Do you think she would be stoked about coming for a photo shoot with me? No. If I even brought up that story. All I'm talking to her about is her weight because I know what it's like to have a hundred pounds on. If you come up to me and said I used to be overweight. I'd be like why are you talking about my weight? I wasn't I was talking about my weight but we instantly relate it to us, right? Because it's our thing. So I realized that I don't need to tell that story. My pitch is so authentic that what I believe permeates. So now the skunk is permeating something really beautiful and it's called sincerity. Now I don't need to pitch anything. No matter what weight I am whether I'm curvier, skinnier than I am now, if I walk up to a woman and say to her I want to photograph you. And when she says why? I say because you're beautiful and I want you to see it. That I don't need to explain why. Now when she comes into my studio, if her body image comes up, I can relate. I can have a personal conversation and I can say I lost a family member. I lost a family member four years ago, I don't have a single photo of him. The power in that statement is enough but you don't need to say it in your pitch. Your sincerity and authenticity to make somebody beautiful, to want to share that is permeating out of you. The way you pitch to someone, I didn't tell you what the words were, I told you how you feel. If you walk up to somebody feeling that they will feel it too. Trust me. Energy is remarkable and it's so attractive and we are so drawn to it. Why did that girl come and sit by me? Why did that woman call me the next day? Because they wanted to know something in the way I told them that. They wanted to know more about me. They were interested because I did something that nobody does. I walked up to a complete stranger and I paid her a compliment that was genuine, sincere, and full of authenticity. When you are having that conversation and I tell you this, I have got so many stories Richard, they go like this. I was about 30, photographing this family, and I was thinking what I do doesn't serve the world. I make people look pretty, I put makeup on them, I sell photographs back to them. I have a shallow job and it really doesn't mean a lot. That's how I felt. Didn't value myself, didn't value my income, didn't value my work. I photographed this family. Six weeks later, the dad dies. He was an amazing man. He was a pastor and his family were just incredible. He had four kids that each had a partner and they all had kids and I didn't know whose kids belong to which couple because it was 16 of them because they treated all of the kids like their own kids. Like they were a family unit that you just wanted to be part of. I was like if I could choose my family, I would live with this family. This family loved each other. I never knew who was a sister-in-law and who was a brother, they all looked similar, they were all beautiful, incredible, he was the matriarch. When he died I printed this photo for each of them, bought a 3040 of this photo with this dad in the center. It broke my heart. They just had so much love for each other and they were talking about how the little kids talk to him at the table. I saw the value of photography that day and I will never forget it. I was like here I was thinking what I did was shallow and I reconnected to that. Now, I wouldn't never bring up that story unless a client said to me I lost my mom a year ago and going through the photographs I just wish she had been here. I would then tell that story because then I can connect. I can talk to them about their mum. I can even offer retouching services for any images they might have that I could salvage for them. Think about how many emotional conversations are around our why but you do not need that in your pitch, you only need to hold it in your heart while you pitch. And all you need to say to anybody, even if it comes up was you know, I'm a photographer and I lost my brother. And I made a promise after he died that I would approach more people on the street that I really wanted to photograph and you're one of them. Because I made a promise to myself that I would be confident enough to do that. Take my card, have a look at my work. If you're interested please call me. I mean, think about it. There are a million ways to say what's in your heart if you're brave enough to say it. But you don't need to actually say it. If the energy in your body is I've got to pitch to them but I don't want to sound sleazy. I don't want to be sleazy, I don't want to be creepy, you're going to be sleazy and creepy. If the energy and your body is they'll probably find out how much and then they won't want them then yes they probably will tell you no way, I'm not spending that money. If the energy is in any way, whatever you think it's going to be is really what it's going to be. This is going to be your making. Okay, whatever the energy you walk up to somebody this is what it's going to be but if you can start with paying compliments to complete strangers then you're going to be okay. And if you can connect with them. Now, somewhere coming up on my slides we're bouncing around because people are just asking me questions that are relative that are coming and I put everything in sequence but the truth is there is no sequence to this. It's all about the self anyway. Is there are a million different groups, organizations, that gather. Business groups, you know. There's grieving groups. There's millions of reasons and ways for you to go and share your true self. And there is always an opportunity to stand up and tell that story from a place of marketing myself. You know something really weird? When I met Nikki, I met Nikki because she Jill's best friend. Jill is who I took to Paris, Nikki and I took to Paris. I met Nikki and Jill in Paris. And like a month's time on the two-year anniversary of Jill in Paris we all, us girls are going to New York to meet Jill, to photograph Jill, to give people an update on how Jill's health is. And Jill's last two years has been remarkable and Nikki and I worked together a lot and I've been so lucky to gain both of their friendship. And over a million people have watched Jill's video and I have received tens of thousands of emails just of people who it's helped them, changed them, done something to affect their life. Connected to Jill, connected to Jill's family, connected to her story, it's been remarkable. One guy, one out of one million and I'm sure there's other negative stuff but I don't see it so it's good. One guy tweeted way to go Sue Bryce, furthering her career by using cancer patients. I was not upset by their tweet because I know the truth. So you don't get upset by stuff unless it is hurting you. I know what I did for Jill. I know what I did for myself. I know what I did for Nikki. I know what I did for every person that was part of that project and I feel really good about it. Did it further my career? Yes but not because the marketing furthered my career and I was using Jill or exploiting Jill but because I've believed 100% in my heart on what I did that day. The decision I made to take them to Paris, to give Jill that gift, to still be connected to them. I 100% believed it and I permeated that. I feel like that was a good thing. and none of that hurt me. Nothing you could say about Jill would hurt me because I believe it. So you know what I mean? Hold it in your heart, let it permeate your energy of why you're brave enough, why you're confident enough. Hold your brother in your heart when you go up to a complete stranger and say you know when my grandmother died, I had to read her eulogy and I was so terrified of public speaking but wanted to do public speaking so I said Lorna Mae you're on the other side. Give me strength to stand up there and speak to these people. Cure me of my inability to speak publicly. Use the power of the people that love you and the energy of loving them to stand up and do what you need to do and watch that change.
You want to take a question?
And I'm asking this question because there's been a dozen people that have asked it.
So people are still struggling with it being about you more than others I think. Where do you find, this is from Kay Kerch. Where do you find clients who value enough to pay you what you're worth? I've tried partnering with two gyms. One high-end, a couple salons, a couple boutiques, I'm unable to generate interest from this market much less get people to pay thousands of dollars for my work. I've been following you for over a year, employing your techniques but cannot generate interest from my community to get leads.
Is you work good enough? For starters because I get a lot of people tell me like I'm doing everything you're doing and it's not working. And I look at their website and their work is crap. And I'm like have you considered that your work's not good enough yet? I mean, seriously. This is not a joke, this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. This is a learn a genre of photography, build a business. Secondly, when you tell me you cannot generate business, there's something about what you're doing that is putting a big wedge in that. And today we are hoping to find out what that is. Because you are the one that is repelling that work. You either don't believe you're worth it, don't believe the value of what you're selling, or somehow you're permeating through that pitch that you're not worth it. You are doing that. Yeah. I have seen some of the best photographers in our industry can't make money. You know that right? Can't make a dime. Not a dime. Some of the most average photographers in our industry make a perfectly healthy living. Some of them a big income. Don't you look at those people and think there's something in what they're doing that they're doing wrong? It's not luck. It's not I've been doing everything that you tell me and it's just not working. Why is it not working? What would you say to somebody that said that to you? You're in your first full year, what would you say to somebody that that's not working because you're making it work without my help. I mean, Nikki don't get me wrong. Nikki and Mopwanna do everything I say. If something goes wrong and they ask me, I tell them but you know, they don't talk to me outside of CreativeLive. I mean, I only see Mopwanna when she comes to CreativeLive. I mean, we're on Facebook but you know. She doesn't like get access to me 24/7, I always ring Sue and ask her how to deal with this problem. She goes to the Facebook group but when I built a reveal wall, the next week they did reveals. I never coached them through that. They just saw my Facebook post and they were like I'm going to do that. They apply everything I've said. What would you say to somebody that is just not generating any business?
You're not working it. You're doing something wrong.
What do you think it would be?
From hearing, I can relate to the my block is money so I would just say you're not valuing yourself. I mean something, you're not valuing your work or your work's not good enough or--
Notice the language also was let alone loan pay thousands of dollars.
Yeah, they're not valuing their own work.
You're not trying to build an average of thousands of dollars. You're trying to build an average of twelve hundred to start out with. 28 days folio shoot says you are working up from an average of 400 to 600 to 900 to to 1600 to 1800 to 23, to 26, to 28, to 32. Those are the increments that photographers seem to go up. watch that segment. You are just trying to create a product with around $900 because that's going to actually get you a profit margin, a small one but a profit margin. Enough for you to build up to the next level. There's no profit margin at 700. Not with a makeup artist and a studio but you know there's a tiny profit margin at and a better one at 1200. Your sweet spot is 16 to 18 hundred. Susan.
Question about money. So I've heard a lot of photographers say you need to price yourself to where you couldn't afford yourself. You said you have to believe you have to actually be able to spend that money on what you're selling. So which one do you think it is?
I don't think you could price yourself above what you would spent.
You just have to believe it.
Yeah, because you don't believe that. I believe you're only going to be able to sell as much as you would spend. I believe that. I know what I would spend and I don't spend higher. Otherwise, you know, somebody said to me the other day they sent me an inquiry for a photo shoot and I sent back the $3,000 package and they're like can I see the price list? I was like that is the price list. I'm one package on $3,000 plus tax and then they're like oh, I can't afford you. And I was like okay, they can't afford me right now but they might be able to in the future, you know? I don't get upset about that but one of my friends said lucky you're not $10,000 now and I looked at them and I was like oh, thank you. That's really nice thing to say but I would never price myself at $10,000. And they're like well, you could and I said says who? I would never get it because I don't believe I'm worth $10,000. I'm quite happy at $3,000. I'm quite happy with my package. I'm quite happy with what I offer and I get paid for it but it took me a long time to be comfortable with that. I would pay $3,000 for my experience but I wouldn't pay 10,000 and then I thought about it and I thought Annie Leibovitz is 20,000, her sitting fee and I was like would I pay $20,000 to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz? I was like wow. I mean, you're talking about a deposit on a house. I said would I really save up $20, to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz? And I kind of thought about it and I was like maybe I could do that. Maybe, and then I thought about all my friends that own homes and I don't own a home yet because I haven't settled anywhere and I thought about taking my house money and I'd be like instead of buying a home I chose to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz. I would have to really value that, wouldn't you? Yeah, so everybody has a turning point but remember, I've told the story many times about my friend who every year chooses a photographer. She takes $1,800 out of her savings account. She rings up the photographer, eight years she's done this. She says I'm a photographer and they usually know who she is because she's quite high up. I've got a son, I'd like you to photograph me, and she pays them $1,800 and she says all I want is a beautiful 1620 black-and-white image for $1,800. She makes it very clear that she's a photographer. She goes through the whole sales process, the shoot, everything to see how other people do it. She enjoys the process. She buys a beautiful portrait. There's eight 1620 portraits in her house of her and her son and every year of his life for eight years. And she looks the same in just about all of them and I was like what an incredible thing to do. You honor our industry, you honor and value the cost of what we are, you have it on your wall, if anybody comes to your studio they walk through your home they see your portraits. Yes, I value that because I pay for it. Wouldn't the smartest thing you do as a photographer would be to come to me for a photo shoot, get a beautiful portrait on your wall, and then show all of your clients that you did it? Because you value it? And yet I know so many people that don't believe in the value of what they're doing and giving. They don't believe it. So if you don't believe it and you wouldn't pay for it I can't see that anybody else would. So in the stream of being stinky, if you're being stinky with your value and you think what I wouldn't pay for this and I don't think that it's worth it, you can make money but you won't hold the money. The money will just go straight through, that's how it works. I believe anybody make an income but you can't keep it unless you value yourself. That's why I want to do the in-person workshop so I can really ask people their value questions. So I can really say, I mean I would love to spend a day with that person because I know it's hurting you hearing this. And I know you can't see past it. And I know that you don't see any other option than failing. And I know I'm telling you it's your fault. And I know that you have no insight around that. And I am so sorry that it's not easy to understand. And I'm so sorry that you're going to get hit with it over and over again until you learn what it is. And I'm so sorry that there is no elevator to success. I just put that on my Facebook page. It's a stair and it goes up and up, a stairwell, and you get burning thighs and it hurts and you want to give up and you don't want to climb any further but you've got to keep going because you know, if you read The Artist's Way, it's like you're going up a mountain and you're going up a mountain, different altitudes, same view. You will learn the same lessons over and over again just from a higher view, higher view, higher view. Same view every single time just a higher altitude. It doesn't go away. There's a question at the end of this talk that's relevant to the person that asked me that question. The question at the end of this talk simply says... What is it? You cannot learn what your block is until you see it over and over again. You cannot take responsibility for your block when you're emotionally involved in it. All right? When you are emotionally involved in what's going on, you can't see the wood from the trees. You're in it. You're not above it. Only when you step above it can you see down and go oh, I'm doing that. Do you get it? So when I'm telling you it's your fault, it's kind of like, it's not fair is it? Because you're crying out for help and I'm telling you it's your fault. And you're going to get smacked in the face over and over it over again until you confront what it is. So Nikki and I were talking about that. I said to Nikki, you have a block around money and she was like ah, I do. And she said I never realized it. So we started to talk about value at dinner the other night. I was like what do you pay for? What would you pay for? What are you comfortable paying for? How much money you comfortable spending? Like you know, recently Nikki spent some money on a dress for a wedding. It was more money than she would ever spend on a dress and to me it was nothing like what she said she spent because I value shopping so you know. If you follow me on Facebook you know I do it quite regularly. I have a black belt in shopping. And so to her it was a big deal, she's spending money on this dress but she wore it and she loved it and she'll wear it over and over again but there's value around it and I'm listening to her words and her words are telling me that that's a lot of money to spend on myself and it was difficult to do. And I thought you're talking about $300. If you expect people is give you an average of $1, you need to know, I said I want you to save $1, and go and buy something you really want. It has to be something you ridiculously want. I don't care if it's Gucci shoes or a Prada handbag. I said buy something for the value of what you sell. Buy it, feel uncomfortable with it but say I don't care, I want this more than anything in the world. I challenge you to do that. And I said to her would you pay me $1,800 to photograph you? She said yes. And I said well you didn't the last two times. No, I'm joking. (audience laughing) So I was like so pay me. Pay me and I'll take you somewhere and I'll photograph you how you dream of being photographed so you can feel it and then you can show those images to your clients and say I did it, I loved it. You know what I mean? Yeah, there's a connect there that I think it's really, really important.