30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lesson 9 of 53

Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"

 

30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business

Lesson 9 of 53

Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"

 

Lesson Info

Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"

Today, we're going to talk about defining what your niche is, what it is that makes you unique and different and special. Why should someone choose to come to you over every other photographer that's out there? And once you're in business for just a little while, you realize that it can't be because you're the cheapest guy out there that needs to be something mohr, especially when it comes time that you do need to raise your prices, and maybe you even need to take fewer clients so that you can balance out that family time and that business time, and that time behind the computer, because that's, what really eats us up and really takes away from the balance and brings us to that state of overwhelmed that happens so easy in this business, you know, burnout is something that you experience pretty quickly and the photography business, because we do have to spend so much time behind our computers, we have to spend so much time on the business and not just working with the clients one on one...

, and photographing them that's, the part that we love and that's the easy part, but after you get going, and you realize how much time is actually involved on all the other things that we have to do, that's, where we start getting eaten alive, and so I want you to really think as we go through today really what you want to focus on and how we're goingto meet and reach those people that are going to allow us to just do those things that we want to focus on a lot of times people will ask why should I niche? Why shouldn't I just photograph anybody and everybody and really that's the way most of a start is we want to say yes to everyone but the smaller you can get that niche in the small you smaller you can get that's specialty that you have, the more you're able to nurture and grow that specialty in that niche. And so I want you to think today about really honing in and defining on what it is you love and really narrowing down because the more that you can target a small group, a small segment of the market place, the more impact that you're gonna have and you've probably heard the analogy of you know you don't want to be a big fish in a huge ocean you want to be a big fish in a small pond or even in a puddle the smaller that body of water is the more splash you're going tohave and that is so true in marketing the smaller that niche, the more narrow that niche becomes, the bigger the impact on the bigger the appeal you're going to have marketing research tells us that specific cells but very specific cells at a higher price thinking about narrowing your target base and that target market is really scary especially in the beginning when we are photographing so many things for so many people you know a lot of times we think well if I don't have enough business now how am I gonna have enough business if I'm narrowing in if I'm not taking as many different things but narrowing in and finding your niche doesn't have to be about choosing one product line it certainly can be you could be specializing in just newborns or just high school seniors or just weddings and that's great that certainly can be part of your niche and your niche marketing but it doesn't have to be there are so many other things that you can niche in two but the importance is finding that niche and finding your u s p and that stands for your unique selling proposition that means why should someone choose me and so we want to know what that is and if you know what that is you can learn to communicate it to your client and it makes it much easier in your marketing if you are very targeted if there is that one thing that you're known for and again it can be a product line it can be what you want a photograph but it can be a lot of other things so think about narrowing in and what it is that makes you special and unique the other thing about choosing a specialty is it makes it much easier for people to spread the word about you so think about it like this if you are everything to everybody which is very normal when you start it's very hard for people to communicate that message because really what is the message what is it that they have to talk about so when you specialize in something and makes it a whole lot easier for somebody to really rave about this thing that you specialize in and so that's the beauty of really honing in on what that message is think of a niche as a specialty and when you have a specialty you're going to be seen as the expert you're going to attract your target client because your marketing and speaking directly to them now it's perfectly fine teo master that one area of expertise and then grow it and that's okay you know once you master one thing at another and then another if you like but not until you've mastered the first and so we're going to define your niche today and then you know absolutely you khun ad and you can expand and you can grow your product lines once you've really honed in on that one thing and you never know you know keep that open as a possibility but you never know you might I just love that specialty because you're going to choose it based on what you love and so you're going to be able to grow that and you may choose to never expand and other product lines or other specialties or other niches but leave it open as an opportunity in your mind so that you don't close yourself off to the idea of really honing in on that one thing imagine somebody starting a new business this woman loves to cook and she loves toe workout she loves to help other people she's fluent in french and she loves fashion all she knows is that she wants to start a room business she's tired of doing what she's doing she's got a degree in teaching and she's been teaching for a really long time and she just wants to branch out and do her own thing now she's made the decision to do that but she starts out and all she knows is she's going to start a website and she's going to put some business cards together and she decides to call out her own name and she calls it her own name consulting and hundred website it says that she can help you with your cooking or she can even put a personalized meal plan together she can help you with your workout help you sculpt your body she's can also teach you french and she also offers french lessons and she's a wardrobe consultant are you confused? I am, you know and that's what we have to think about when we're offering so many different things to the marketplaces we're offering a lot of confusion along with that and that's one of the great reasons to really choose that one thing that one passion that really you love the most and so on that same person chooses something if she says, you know, I love cooking and I speak fluent in brent fluent french and so maybe she wants to make her specialty french cooking that makes a whole lot more sense and if I want to learn how to cook french cuisine she's the person that I'm going to search out she made even teach me the proper pronunciation of how tio, you know, really talk about the foods that I'm cooking and be able to make it that much more of an experience for the guest that I invited too teo eat my food and so you know, think about that as you're planning, we all want to choose a specialist when it comes down to something that's important to us and if you are elevating the level of your photography and your business and your pricing and your product, people are goingto seek you out when you specialize in something part of finding your usp and that specialty and that niche is going to be thinking about what's available in your marketplace already we all know that there are one hundred and fifty two photographers up and down every single street yusa and beyond. Wherever you are in the world, I'm sure it's the same. I know that I am doing a program in spain in november and in communicating back and forth with the people who are putting that program together. I have found that the problems are the same. It's universal. I've also done programs in london and in china and and, you know, all different parts canada hope me all different parts of the country, the world and our issues are the same, no matter where you are. This is a market place that is jam packed, full of photographers, and so I've got a really hone in and figure out why would somebody choose to come me, come to me, I charge a whole lot more than those hundred fifty two photographers down the street. Why would somebody pay me more? You know? And I want you to think about that as well, and you may not be the most expensive photographer on your street, but there probably is something that you want your client base your market to do, that's a little bit different than photographer, x y and z and so think about that think about how you can market that. So you s p is going to be defining what's already being done and doing something completely different or at least putting a big twist on it a big spin or looking at what's not being done well and fixing it so let's think about those things and I want you to follow through along in your workbook if you purchased this course, you've got a whole list of questions to go through and it's going to be a great little exercise for you to do now but also to return to later as your defining and evolving and really growing in your business as we go along through this together go through your workbook and really think about each one of those questions and defining your usp and your specialty and as you do that if you purchased this course you can pause as we go through and take some time to answer each one of those questions and I would rather see you do that then just scribble along and you know, jot notes as we go instead go ahead and pause as we you know asked, asked the first question posit and take a little bit of time to do that and get it done thinking about first what it is that you loves a photograph well, what do you love to photograph most? What really makes you happy? I know for me years ago when I was photographing kids and then started photographing high school seniors no if a high school senior client would call and cancel their session for some reason I kind of did a little happy dance and you know and that's the sad thing but I really would rather have been photographing kids or doing work in my business I didn't get upset when a high school senior would cancel, you know, now I feel differently about them I actually enjoy photographing high school seniors and so my answer is going to be a little bit different and you will too you're gonna evolve and change as you grow as a photographer and as a business person but think about right now what it is that you love to photograph what gets me motivated and excited to go out there and shoot and ask yourself what makes you happy and this might be something besides taking pictures now maybe it's your family spending time with your kids maybe it's drawing painting, maybe it's traveling think about all the things that make you happy and if you can do that, you can start thinking about how you might make those things part of your specialty you know I love traveling and so one of the things that I've incorporated into my business is doing travel, photography and by that I don't mean going out and going on vacation shooting landscapes I mean, going to different locations, different parts of the country and actually building business in those parts of the country, and so I have got a business based in chicago, I've got a business based in colorado and in texas, and I can go there at those, you know, those different places at any time and have ten to twelve sessions booked for me so I can go there and I can shoot, and then I could take a couple days to enjoy the area and the next question, what am I good at? And the one following is what people tell me I'm good a bit good at, so think about those two things, you know, what are the things that I feel like I'm good at, like, I feel confident and doing, and then what are the things that other people are telling me that I'm good at? You know, maybe it is the interior design in my home, and people say you're such a great decorator, maybe it's the way you dress, maybe it's, that you're good at making other people happy, maybe you're great organization or teaching others, you know, there's all kinds of things that you could be good at, but we need to learn to start defining those things. There can be all kinds of things that you can be good at and maybe even other people tell you you're good at but we need to learn tio find those things make a list of those things that were good at and then we can start figuring out how we can plug him into what we do and how to communicate those things to the people that were doing them for and then I want you to think about your strengths as a person this is a continuation of those things that were good at but think more about character and personality traits what are those things that are your strengths don't think about your weaknesses we want to concentrate on the things that were good at and that's one of the things that stephen cubby tells us in his book about highly motivated people and successful people is that when you concentrate on your strengths it's very easy to grow and evolve in those things it's very easy to make those things better we concentrate on our weaknesses were actually elevating those were making those things better and so don't even think about you know, I hear a lot of people say, well, I'm this to a fault well, that's not a strength anymore you've just given it a negative you've just given it a weakness and so on lee think about your strengths and those positive qualities as a strength and not as a weakness and think about how you can grow those things and then next and I feel like this is really, really important is to think about three to five words that define your personality, and you may take thes from your strengths, you know, maybe you are that organized person who always gives everything a place so that's going to define your personality as well, you're organized, you know, so you can work from those different list that you've made but come up with three to five words that really define who you are as a person, it doesn't mean as a photographer at all. You are not defined by your camera and so think about who you are when you put your camera down, and if you have a hard time with this, if this is something that you know well, gee, I don't know how to describe my personality, you know, ask somebody and that's something that I had to do is well with people that are more extroverted and outgoing and really have that bubbly personality it's very easy for those types of people to really make a list of what their personality traits are for people who are more introverted, like me and, you know, a little bit. Calmer quieter you know that type of personality it's a little harder to come up with those on your own and so what I did was I sent an email to my daughter and my mom and a few my best friends and I said if you have to think about my personality and traits that were my personality, what are the words that you would come up with and I'm doing a project I'm making a list of these things and I need your help and so when those emails came back to me I looked at the words that were the same in those emails and created my own list of my personality traits what that personality is and so if they don't come easily to you right now think about asking someone else what how they would define your personality when you khun do that you can start using those words that define your personality can use those words that are your strengths in your marketing and in your client communication and that's why I feel that it's really important to define those things because if we're using other words with for using something that's not our personality then our marketing becomes something that's not us and it's not true and so we want our marketing to send a very clear message we want our client communication to send a very clear message and if we do that from our own personality it's goingto always be consistent with who we are it's going to be our brand and you are your brand. So think about using those personality words in all of that communication that you had with your client, and then as you grow and you change and you evolve as a photographer, those things are going, you know, your marketing and your style and how you're communicating to the marketplace that's all going to grow and change with you. If it comes from something that's, not you, not your personality, then it can't grow and change as you grow and change think about why you're doing this in the first place. Why did you decide to become a photographer? Why are you wanting to take your business to the next level? If you're watching this, you're probably at the point where, whether you've been in business or just even maybe you've been just doing your portfolio and building your portfolio and doing things for free. We've all been there, but maybe you've been doing that for a year or two, and you know that you're tired of it, your family's tired of it, and you've got to make some changes, or he might have been in business for three years or five years and it's just time to take your business to the next level. Or you may have been business like me for a really long time and you just realize that the market is completely different than when we started and we've got to do things differently. You know, my phone used to ring all by itself I didn't have to do a whole lot now I really have to work at getting out there in my marketplace and defining my specialty that really thinking and communicating what it is that I am doing that nobody else is doing so define your why? What is your true motivation? Why did you choose to take this to the next level instead of just having a great camera and you can go out and photograph your kids in the backyard and after sporting events and have fun taking your camera on vacation? And you know why? Why did you choose to move away from that a lot of times? It's in the beginning because our friends see our images and they say all those air so great we take pictures of my kids, you know, that there's something that people see you with a great camera and maybe they've asked you to photograph their wedding or their cousin's wedding and we just think, how would that be fun? And then over time we realized how much dang work it is and so you know it's just time to make a difference but think about why what made you make that decision? What is your motivation for wanting to take your business to the next level? Once you've really thought about that, I thought about that why in that motivation next, think about who this message is best for and that's going to help you hone in a little bit further on who you should be communicating this message to, and I want to take a little step back and just talk to you for a second about, you know, once we even have defined this message, we have to then even make it more clear on what's in it for the marketplace, because while it's great to know what it is about, you that's different it's even better to know why this is great for your target client. What is it going to do for her? How is it going to help solve a problem for her? What is it? You know what, what's in it for the target client? And, you know, as much as we want to think that people want to hear our stories honestly, all they care about is them. And so even, you know, as you're communicating your message, make sure it's not a I can do this better, aiken, I've got this, I've got that, you know, make sure it's here's, what you're going to love here's, why this is going to help you here is how this process is going to lead you straight through to getting exactly what you want, and so think about it communicating that message, and once you've to find your why and your motivation, you can think about who is going to be best, too, receive this message, who is my target client, that I can, you know, speak to that it that my message is going to speak to, and once you've done that, once you thought about who that message is best for, we can really target in on who that client is, and we'll go through a list of working through that together. The next question your workbook, is, of all the people that I could be working with, who do I most want to work with? So, really think about who it is that you want to spend time with. I know for me, there are certain types of clients that I could live with or without, you know, and then there's, others who I really love, I'm really motivated to spend time with and do my very best for. So think about that sometimes that's going to be who you most identify with, who is most like you, and other times, it's going to be you know, maybe somebody that you want to be like, somebody that your wanting to emulate a lot of times, I hear photographers say, you know, I would never pay my prices and that's, okay, we're not necessarily always our target client it's going to be someone else, it's going to be another segment of the marketplace and that's, okay, but if that's, the people that I want to be spending time with, you know, I always like to think about you, even in the beginning of my business, when I knew I couldn't afford me, I really I couldn't dress like my clients, I couldn't drive the same kind of car my planes were driving, if that's ok, and maybe, you know, never will we get to that point. I always want to be marketing to the person that's, the next step up, but, you know, success breeds success, and whether it's, your clients or the other people that you're associating with, you want to think about really spending time with people that you do want to be like, and, you know, not spending time with people, and I'm not saying, teo, you know, x all your friends, but if you've got friends that are sucking you dry as well as clients, that are sucking you dry and you know that can happen, you know, you've got those clients who will sit down next to you and they want thanks for free, they want things discounted, you can't make them happy because they're going to complain because I think that's going to get them a discount, it's time to let those people go spend time with the kind of people that you want to be with the kind of people that maybe you want to be like, and then think about the person who's going to benefit most from your product or your service, who is going to most enjoy working with you? And I have really now niche into the interior design part of what I d'oh, and so those are the target clients that I'm looking for, the people who are excited about decorating their homes, it might be people who have just built a new home or are planning on building a new home soon. It may be people who are in the middle of renovations on an old home and that's okay, too. In our area, we have lots of big, beautiful turn of the century older homes that aren't necessarily these, you know, brand new, multimillion dollar homes that some of you may have in your marketplace, but people really care about community here, and they care about preserving historical value and are midwest area so part of my target client base are those that are renovating older homes to help build community and areas of our marketplace and right along those lines think about, you know, when you're photographing what type of people or even name a person, what person do I photograph what mom and do I photographed her kids or what type of wedding? Who do I photograph that really keeps me motivated throughout the process and that goes back to thinking about we've all had those clients who totally drain us and we don't need or want to be working with those people and so define the type of person that motivates you instead of drains you and, you know, put down a name or put down a type of person maybe you don't have that target client yet maybe you really haven't even photographed that person yet. But think about somebody that you know from the gym or your church or your kids go to school with a child of that target client that you want to photograph, you know, there's always that person that that mom that everybody wants to be around that everybody kind of watches as she walks by, she dresses well, she's fashionable, she carries the right handbag and always has on the perfect shoes and accessories. Now we all know that person and that's usually the type of person I know for my business any way I want teo target that person who's fashionable who cares about the way she looks and carries the right handbags and accessories and shoes and you know all those things so that's part of my target client list is I really want to focus on those people who care about those things who are into interior design and by finding out thes little little things about our target clients we know exactly who we need to be networking with and who we need to be partnering with, who we need to be in front of and so that's the whole point of going through this exercise you know, if I want if I know I want to work with that fashionable mom if I know I want to work with that mom who is into interior design and decorating their home, I might I know right away that I want to partner up with interior designers or I want a partner up with ah high end furniture store we've got a place in our market that specializes in custom denham they are measuring people and adding bling and all these different things in every pair of jeans is customized, their hand tailored and finished and it's a very expensive boutique you know, if I know that my target client is there I need to figure out how I need to be networking with those people and the next question is who are the people that give you the most positive feedback about your photography or about what you're doing about the service that you have to offer and so think about that even even if you've been doing things for free think about the people who are the most excited to work with you and those are the people, those air, the little pockets of people that you want to breed and grow, you know, thinking about all these things and what gets you excited what keeps you motivated who's interesting to you all those things they're going to keep you moving in the right direction and reaching out to the right people and defining your message to that target client when you're interested in something you do what's ever convenient and that's okay, but when you're committed, you do whatever it takes and so find those things that you're really commited teo and, you know, really think through these questions and spend some time there. You know, when you've purchased this course, the great thing is you can pause and you can take some time to really go through these questions one by one and really define what it is you're after so let's think about some of the things that can be your usp that unique selling position or that niche that were after and I've kind of mentioned that my niche is just in the framing and just in the design concepts I'm designing for my clients in preview and showing them a finnish concept before I ever photographed them, and so we're designing and planning their session based on those wall concepts we're thinking through the whole entire process. My clients are very invested in the process because we do take these extra steps, but that has become my usp and, you know, that's, a really easy usp if nobody in your area is offering framing because they won't take the time to do it, or the resource is to do it and that's a really easy thing for you to offer, just to be different, just in that I've taken it to the next level by then, offering those design services and putting together custom concepts for each one of our clients. And so that could be your usp years ago camera technique or an individual style could really set you apart, but that's getting harder and harder these days and it's not that it's, not an option, and maybe you already know that that's your usb, that you're doing something different in the camera, or with postproduction that nobody else is doing, and that's great that's concertante lee still be that niche, if you can do that, but if you're like me and like the majority of photographers, you are photographing pretty simply maybe even you know you're in that newborn niche and that used to be a really defined niche there were not a lot of people doing newborn photography you know, twelve, thirteen years ago now everybody is doing it and so if you're doing newborn photography you better be the best of the best or have the most props available or you know the most unique locations you've got to find something that can make it yours because everybody's doing it and so think about those things you know if if everybody is doing something, what can you do differently? And I'm not saying that it can't be your style it certainly can be but really think about what's being offered about that and how you can make it different I know in some areas there's not a lot of people doing off camera flash for high school seniors and so if you can do that and not a lot of people are offering it great that's going to make your work look different and looks at a part but we also have to know that more and more people are doing it now people's work for seniors are starting to look the same and in that direction and so knowing that it's okay, if you're marketing it now you just have to know in your mind that people are going to catch up with you and you've got to keep growing and evolving that niche because it's going to be it's not going to be different and unique at some point besides framing, just having a finished product ready for the wall in general could be your usp. You know, a lot of photographers, when they start, are just handing out basic prince from their sessions, if anything at all, maybe it's just digital files, and there are certainly a lot of photographers doing that, and, you know, we definitely cannot be niche tw selling digital files, all we can do is compete on price with digital files, that's a personal opinion, but I'm kind of put it out there. It is not unique anymore, and honestly, people don't even know what to do with their digital files. I have talked to so many people who got digital files for their wedding or even a portrait session, and they are confused and they're frustrated by the end of it because they haven't done anything with them. They're sitting in a drawer, and I always think about digital files kind of like how I grew up going to poland mills. You know, every few years, my mom would take us to poland mills and the thing that happened with olin mills or, you know, we're serious, or jason penny or any of the chain photography studios, you know, you pick your package at the end and you'd get all these prints like a lot of them, they stuff them in an envelope and you take him home almost like school pictures, but you know they would go in a drawer and that's kind of what's happening to digital files now they're going on the computer and they're living there and they're dying there they don't, you know there's nothing else done from them there's no finished product and so just offering that finished product and then taking it a step above not just offering paper prints but doing something that your client has never you know felt and touched before and so you know, I highly encourage you when you're ready to take things to the next level to have that finished product offering so something that's a ready to hang on the wall or an album that they can sit with and enjoy an image box, something that's tangible and with your image boxes do mounted and textured prints so it is something unique and different and I can't run over to wal mart and have this done it feels different it looks different, so just having a finished product can be your usp especially if everyone else up and down your street is offering digital files if you are just offering digital files, make sure how you're presenting them to your client is unique and different and one of the things that I highly suggest we all at this point in our lives and in our digital world we're all offering digital files in some way but if I sell digital files I also want to sell a proof collection with that and these are finished prints you know if we're selling digital files we're going to be touching those images anyway make sure that you're paid for your time and the values there but also do give them a tangible tangible product and in the way of either proofs or something else something that they have in their hands and they convey see what it should look like when it's professionally printed also you might want to think about you know, custom usb drives or specialty dvd packaged you know pieces that you can put together for your digital clients just to make it a little bit more special on a little bit more unique you do have to be priced for it but you can present it differently I also want you to think about educating your clients if your a digital photographer because you know digital files are not forever every hard drive has a shelf life they are all going to die at some point and you know we never know if we're even gonna be able to play a dvd a year from now two years from now they're going to be a cassette tape at some point it's just done no, both of my new mac computers do not even have a place to put a cd in them and so think about that when you're educating your clients that no, we have to let them know that digital files are not forever, so how can you put a twist on it and make it different? The next thing on the list is offering an interior design service, and we've talked about that a little bit, but I would encourage you that if that is a route that you want to go a software like preview and that's what I use or even pro select now their software out there now that make this easy for us. One of the things that I say to my clients is I have a state of the art design software, and I'm going to create something custom for you something that's all about your home style, your decor style and something unique for you. Now it might be the same exact wall grouping and design that I put together for the last client, but it's going to be unique to them because we're planning it around them. So even if there is a large family peace and, uh, you know, a place for each of the kids individually underneath it and that's the same thing I did for the last person the colors of the framing might be different for one, I may be doing chemise rap instead of traditional framing. For another, I might be doing wild sorbet framing, so it still does always say unique to the client, and they believe that I'm custom designing it just for them. One way that makes it unique is by getting those snapshots of the client's wall so that you can design right on their own walls and that's what makes it a design service? So even if you don't think that you're great at interior design, maybe even for your own home, maybe you've just never been into decorating or it just doesn't come easy to you. You don't have to think about it like that. You just have to think about it in the best presentation for your images, and most of us know what that is. If you really, really don't then hire somebody to help you do that if you're interested in it and you can find that person that is that the fashion oriented that mom that you know loves looking great and has a great home and great sense of style, you know, talk to that person and have her help you custom designed some walls, another thing that you can do is use a service like wild sorbet. They have a division of their company where they will actually take your client walls and put a design together for you to present back to the client and it's a great service it does cost you more money but it takes the time away from you you don't have to be doing it yourself and you know it's going to be you know if you know it's gonna be perfect it's going to be a custom designed for your client so build that into either your session fee or build it into a design fee that you want half your clients or make sure that it's built into that final product but either way creating those interior design services can certainly be your usp that thing that really makes a difference in what you're putting out there to the marketplace next is offering excellent and unexpected customer service you know we can't just offer excellent customer service anymore people expect to be treated well they expect things to be done done well and done on time no they expect toe have excellent customer service and so I've added the word unexpected there because we always want to be able to take our customer service to the next level what is it one of the little things that we could do that air completely unexpected and those are things that we want to learn tio put into our marketing and our client communications little things that they can expect I work with a photographer that I've been consulting with for quite a while and she specializes in maternity newborn portrait's on one of the things that she has in her home studio is a relax ation room and for the newborn session she brings mom into the re lax ation room there's robes there's a footbath there's a para finn hand wax there's all kinds of things to pamper this new mom and that is something that you know really gives people a reason to leave and talk about the service that they got when they took their newborn in for their session on one of the things that she does too make sure mom is still a part of the session she's got a video camera in the room where she shoots in her camera room and there's a monitor than in the re lax ation room so mom can watch the whole session but still relax and you know enjoy herself while her babies being taken care of and photograph and that is a really unique usp really unique a little something that this photographer has to market in her area where there are so many new born photographers but she's the only one that's offering this special and unique customer service the special and unique experience that her clients on ly are the ones who get and you know she just ended up using her baby monitor from when her baby was born and they had one of the video monitors that came to their tv and she just ended up thinking what a great experience for you these new moms to be able just come in and relax and you know, she's having them come straight from the hospital and so it's a great marketing message that you know, I am asking you to come straight from the hospital and you know, it's really early on but we're really going to take care of you and really step it up on the pampering and you know, you're going to be surprised when you get here, you know, ask people what they like to drink what snacks they like are they allergic to anything and you don't really get to know your clients and take it up to the next notch what's the next best thing that you can do for them what is it that you can do to get them talking? The next idea for you is to offer delivery or even installation of your products and, you know, delivery is one thing. If you've been on the all on location, you probably haven't really thought about it as an extra step of customer service you may have just been thinking about it like, I don't want him coming to my home where I don't really have a place for them to come and so I've got to deliver this stuff well, you know think about it instead as just an extra thing that you can offer to your clients and market that market the fact that you're going to be delivering their product to them that's a huge level of service for them that they may not get from someone a lot of times they're not going to get that for me I want them to come here to the studio to pick up their products and so somebody who's working on location has that as a benefit and so you know, charge for it make sure that when your marketing and when you're communicating, what your session fee includes let them know that it includes delivery of their final order or installation and that's another thing that you know you can offer actually installing your client's portrait and that is a huge benefit and service to offer them and to mark it to them and you know you do again you'd have to make sure that you're charging for these things when you step it up a notch, but if you're communicating it, you're communicating that value of what it's worth and so couple little tips if you're thinking about doing installation for your clients make sure that you're insured for it and that for me when I started doing that was about two dollars a month I had to call my entrance company and just get a rider put on the insurance policy and it was an extra two dollars, in some, um, a month for me to be able to do that. You can also hire anybody that's, the contractor or a builder. They're goingto have insurance for installations and if you know, if anyone that has a large contracting business, you may have a whole team of people to choose from. You know, that contractor might say, yeah, you know, painting fifteen dollars an hour and I'll send somebody out to do that installation for you. And if you're using software like preview, you can actually send them a layout on the wall, you know, right in the room where it's gonna hang and they can see it finished so they know exactly where you want those portrait's toe hang. Another thing that you can do for your clients that is unique and different is to offer to show them their images immediately following their session and that's a scary thing. A lot of times for photographers because we all spend way too much time getting the image is ready for our clients to see, but if you think about it as a service to them, it becomes a whole new thing, and when I started doing that, I started doing it for events back in two thousand, two thousand one. And we would do it for our charity events and the things that we wanted to do, where we were packing people in over the course of a day or a weekend, and I really needed them to see their images right after because I couldn't handle that volume back in the studio, I am a firm believer that you cannot put your images online for sale, and this is different with weddings because with weddings, hopefully you have your product purchased before the wedding ever happens, then yes, absolutely put your images online, and if you get another sale from uncle harry, you know what great weather does not work for portrait work, even events a lot of times, and I'm not talking about like prom's and daycares. I'm talking about events like your portrait events, your charity events or your vintage valentine's or, you know, the little events, the special events that you're doing through your business. And so for those events, I wanted teo offer to show them their images immediately following, and instead of making excuses for that, make it a service, you know, they don't have to come back a second time teo meet with you are you don't have to go to them a second time, they're going to get to see their images immediately following, and so if that's something that clicks with you you can learn to communicate the value in that they were going to get it all done altogether. And so I started doing that with special events years and years ago, and then about two thousand eight, two thousand nine, especially, I started getting complaints from clients or questions about coming back to the studio to view their images, so our normal routine is so let clients know on the first phone call we booked their session, and then we let them know about a week after your session, we're going to bring you back to the studio to view an order, your images, and we started getting comments from people where they would say, no, do I really have to drive back all that way? Can't you just put him on line? We'll put him on putting them online is not an option for me, and so I had to find a solution that was a yes for the client, but also a yes for my studio and my business, my family. So yes, answer became a full day service, and so what we offer to the client, if there's any objection at all about coming back a week later, if they don't schedule that with us right away, then I'm going to offer to them are full day service. And what that means is they'll come to the studio and they'll be photographed it eleven we photograph our sessions at eleven and one and so they'll take that eleven o'clock spot and then we will send them out to lunch and they will come back to view in order their images after lunch and so they're of course not heavily edited we're just going through we're getting out the uglies and then we're presenting their images to them and that is a service you know, that's something that we offer to them and I don't charge more for that service because I found that if people are invested in coming to do that that full day experience they're coming very prepared and very invested in the experience and so they're excited you know they want to come back after lunch and they're still you know they're excited and they want to be their images so we do provide child care if we need thio which just means one of my employees you may meet me mean your teenager it may mean a neighbor, but if that's something that you want to offer, figure out how you can make that a really smooth clear plan for your studio that you can really promote that value to your client and our clients to love that that's definitely an added service that we can offer them is to see their images immediately following their session and then I want you to think about the things that are built in for you are you shooting all on location? Are you shooting in ah home studio you know, learn to communicate the value of those things how can you make that unique and special? You know, maybe everyone and your market has a home studio so hockey make your home studio something that is completely you know, a new twist on what everybody else is doing, you know, and that may be a playroom that maybe a place where kids can come in and watch movies while they come for their ordering appointment it may be that you have gourmet snacks that you have brought in or maybe you like to make it could be that you're just learning to communicate the value of bringing someone into your own home. And you know, when I had a home studio one of the things that was really important to me was that my clients coming in I could see how important photography was to me and so I had things decorated how I would want them to decorate with portrait I only had my children and my family on the walls but I had groupings and I had you know exactly how I wanted them to purchase it showed what I wanted to sell in my own home and that's something that I learned to communicate tio my clients was you're going to be able to come right into my home and see what I do with my poor trips of my children and that's what I'm going to suggest to you, and if you learn tio, use those words, you know, I'm going to suggest to you x I z it gives you permission to actually do that and make those suggestions and, you know, they can't say yes if we don't suggest and so I think that through is you're thinking about the benefits that you have to offer your clients by coming into your own home by letting them see how you value photography. And on that note, I will encourage you to be photographed by another professional photographer, pay for it, go through the entire experience and have your family photographed by someone else. And I know a lot of photographers, especially in the first few years of being a photographer, you know, it's kind of scary to do that because, you know, well, if I'm photographed by somebody else, won't I be sending business to that other person want to be advertising for them? You know, I don't believe that's true, I will leave what you're doing is sending a message to your clients about how much you value photography, how important it is to your family. And so think about that and think about what you're actually displaying in your home when you bring people in and think about the little things that can make it unique and special. The same thing goes for working all on location how can you communicate the value of that to your client? Think about the value of going to them instead of asking them to come to you think about the value of being in their home to help them choose personal props to help them go through their clothing and pull things together, even just those last minute things, you know, whether it's putting on a scarf to add some color or changing shoes so that they're not distracting, you know, whatever is you can just make those suggestions right there. Let your client no those things let them know what the value is there. I love working in people's homes. I know if I'm working in somebody's home, I'm going to make more money, you know, I am asking my clients all of them, to send me those snapshots of their walls, any place they would consider hanging a portrait? I'm asking them to walk through their home, take those snapshots for me, text him over to me, and I'm going to design for them, I'm gonna design this custom concepts. But what happens when I go into their house and I'm going to see other options for them that they didn't even see or think about so I can make those suggestions and so many times when we're making those suggestions, we do become the expert in that they want our feedback they want to know what we think and what's gonna look great how they can best present their images and so by making those suggestions, I'm often times selling another concept just by being there and say, oh my gosh, we have to do this for this room this is gonna look amazing or I have these amazing frames that can go in this room and we've got, you know, one hundred twenty colors to choose from with the wild survey frames, and so I can pull a pillow off of the couch or off of a bed and say, you know, I'm going to match this perfectly and we going to do this, you know, really special grouping for this room it's going to show off all the rest of the decor that's in the room and so by me getting excited, I could get them excited I'm always gonna make more money and so learn to communicate all the little value things that you have to add teo being on location in someone's home especially, but even if you're going to parks or arboretums or whatever your thing is you know make sure you're learning to communicate the value of I'm gonna come right to you you're going to get to choose your location we're going to meet there you don't have to come to me you know and then maybe you're going to go back to their home to sell which I also love doing you know I get stuck in my studio because I have a huge overhead and so I kind of have to be here but when I get to go to a client's home I love being there I'm going to make more money and you guys on location don't beat yourself up for not having a retail location or not having a studio take the advantage of being in somebody's home and making those suggestions walking through helping them choose you know just the right piece of furniture to pull outside or the right area of their home that you're going to photograph in and help them choose clothes and you know just all those things you can't even help him with hair if you've got that in your background like ideo you know there's sometimes when I'll actually let somebody know that I used to own a hair salon and you know I can help out with straightening their daughter's hair putting some curl in it and then a couple of other things that might be built in for ur locations that only you have access to so maybe you have a home studio and you're on an acreage and you've got the coolest red barn or you've got animals on your property or a great wildflower field. Whatever it is, take advantage of communicating that to your client that on lee you can photograph here. Nobody else can, you know, might be a vintage car that you have access to or whatever it is. You know, personal props, locations, those things that on lee you have need to be communicated and, you know, put that message out to your marketplace, giving you just a few ideas of different things that can become your niche become your usb. And it doesn't have anything to do with just photographing newborns or just photographing seniors, just photographing families, you know, think about all the different things that you have available to you without actually choosing a product line as a niche, although that can be your nature usp. Think about all the ways that you can make the circumstances that you're in right now very unique in the eyes of your target client.

Class Description

The strongest portrait photography businesses have one thing in common: a dedicated, strategic plan for artistic and financial success. Join creativeLIVE instructor Lori Nordstrom as she goes through 30 Days to Design Your Portrait Business, an intensive course that will give you the step-by-step tools you need to survive and thrive as a portrait photographer.

Over 30 days, you will work with Lori to develop a plan of action for marketing, branding, and pricing that will keep your clients happy and your business growing. Lori will outline the lighting, posing, and shooting skills she uses to make sure clients come away from a session with photos they’ll love. During each daily segment, Lori will discuss the topics covered in her 72-page workbook (included with purchase).

By the end of this course, you’ll have the concrete skills you need to attract clients, build a successful, satisfying business, and deliver stunning results every time.

Lessons

  1. Day 1: So You Want to Be a Pro Photographer?
  2. Day 2: Setting Up "Shop"
  3. Day 2 Bonus: "Setting Up Shop"
  4. Day 3: Getting Organized for Success
  5. Day 3 Bonus: "Planning"
  6. Day 4: Studio Image
  7. Day 4 Bonus: "Studio Image"
  8. Day 5: Defining Your Niche
  9. Day 5 Bonus: "Your Niche"
  10. Day 6: Defining Your Target Client
  11. Day 6 Bonus: "Your Target Client"
  12. Day 7: Marketing Part 1
  13. Day 7 Bonus: "Marketing - Part 1"
  14. Day 8: Marketing Part 2 Ideas For implementation
  15. Day 8 Bonus: "Marketing Part 2"
  16. Day 9: Networking
  17. Day 9 Bonus: "Networking"
  18. Day 10: Pricing For Profit Part 1
  19. Day 10 Bonus: "Pricing Part 1"
  20. Day 11: Pricing For Profit Part 2
  21. Day 11 Bonus:"Pricing part 2"
  22. Day 12: Projections for 2014
  23. Day 12 Bonus: "Projections"
  24. Day 13: Scheduling and Planning
  25. Day 13 Bonus: "Scheduling & Planning"
  26. Day 14: The Inquiry: Handling Emails & the First Phone Call
  27. Day 14 Bonus: "Initial Inquiry"
  28. Day 15: Client Education & Customer Service
  29. Day 16: Defining Your Product Line
  30. Day 16 Bonus: "Product Line"
  31. Day 17: Packaging Your Product
  32. Day 17 Bonus: "Packaging"
  33. Day 18: The Portrait Consultation: Designing & Planning Session
  34. Day 18 Bonus: "Consultation"
  35. Day 19: Photographing at the Client's Home: Shooting for the Wall
  36. Day 19 Bonus: "Wall Concept Shoot"
  37. Day 20: Shooting On Location: Client's Home with Older Kids
  38. Day 20 Bonus: "Mandi Shoot"
  39. Day 21: Shooting On Location: Client's Home
  40. Day 21 Bonus: "Dryden Shoot"
  41. Day 22: Adding Video to Your Portrait Sessions
  42. Day 22 Bonus: "Adding Video"
  43. Day 23: Shooting with Studio Light
  44. Day 23 Bonus: "Studio Lighting"
  45. Day 24: Portrait Workflow
  46. Day 25: Sales
  47. Day 26: Handling Objections: Finding Your "Yes" Answers
  48. Day 27: Special Events & Mini Sessions
  49. Day 28: Charitable Events: Give & Get Day
  50. Day 28 Bonus: "Charitable Marketing"
  51. 29: When Should I Hire Help? When Should I Go Retail?
  52. Day 29 Bonus: Skype call with Lori & Carly
  53. Day 30: Goal Setting & Motivation

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