Boudoir Photography Part 1
My guys, you're so far away hey, I'm very excited to be here thank you for having me. Um, I'm a little nervous about what I'm going to present to you today and not because I haven't but through it tremendously because I spent every waking moment of the past month working on this but it's a new concept asleep for me it is and maybe for you guys a little bit too. So I have a couple questions for you first, how many people here shooting boudoir or some version of working with women? Glamour? Ok, not that many how many people want tio? Okay, that's a better, better good answer okay, starting to get a little nervous um all right, great, so we're going to talk a little bit about boudoir business today we're going to a little bit of shooting today or any kind of mix everything up, please feel free to ask any questions because like I told you guys before this makes a ton of sense in my head. Hopefully it makes sense here too to start, I'm going to tell you just a little bit about me I'm not go...
ing to bore you, but you guys inside, I'm gonna have to look back here wants to know because I'm so blind I cannot see that far away my grade for a photographer so before I was the photographer was a stay at home mom, my daughter, just her nine the other day, as a matter of factually starting to give away my age not right uh, but I was stayed home, mom and I stayed home on for about three years prior to that I've been drawing my whole life since some very little I remember going to my grand parentshouse and my grandmother was an artist, and she would have me, tracy, people in the newspapers or learn how to draw people it really interesting. I mean, as a mom, I looked back and I realized just trying to shut me out problems, but it didn't get me out of her hair, but it paid off because it really inspired me to work with women and start drawing nudes, and I've been doing it since I'm a teenager. I remember having my mom fell out the permission slips like the naked girls at, like, twelve years old, but it was really great. I had no idea that it was setting up a foundation for me for later in life that it was just an interest, so I pursued that and I pursue that all the way through college, but when I had my daughter, I stopped working full time, slow down. Breathe, I stopped where people time and I was home with her, and I said to my husband, peter, me favor for the holidays this year, can you buy me a camera? Because how hard could taking a picture bay, right? I was one of those for sure on he bought me a camera, he bought me a nikon z eighty, and I was so excited, I ripped it open and I put a memory card in and I had no idea what to do with it, so I put it on p for photographer, and I just took pictures on did I don't know it was fun, but really, the truth is I couldn't control the cameras. I didn't really enjoy it, so I sort of just put it to the side about I really don't even remember the timeline because it didn't feel significant at the time, but looking back, I realised that it was hey said he came to at one point, he said, you know, jen, I brought you this camera. I said, all this money on it, you're not doing anything with it, what's going on, and it was a good reminder because the truth is I was between two, I have two children, but I was between children at that point, we were trying to have another I was not having a lot of lock and it was a very difficult time I'm not going to get into detail on board you and make you all sad, but it was a tough time for me and I needed an outlet so my daughter was in nursery at that point and a couple hours a day and I mean, how many times can women go to the gym and go shopping and clean? And I was like, I'm bored out of my mind I need to do something and I need to distract myself from what's going on in my real life so I think that the count one day and I sat down at the table and I put a glass down and I took a picture of it absolutely no idea what settings I was at or anything or what knob did what or any of that nature and I just took a picture and then I changed a knob and I took another picture so on and so forth and I taught myself what aperture wass I taught myself how shutter speed affected a photo and I just kind of kept doing all of that until I understood how it worked I asked for a couple of other photographers help can, you know, help me bring all these things together and make an image and before I knew it, I was just kind of out and shooting and having fun and anything I could get my hands on, I would take a picture of shortly after that, I started shooting some small boat mints in new york city so people would come to central park. I want to get married, I shot some of those and it was good because I got out of the house, I get away from my, you know, state home, mommy duties, and I made a little bit of money and it was like, ok, this is really nice, but I never really enjoyed the wedding part of it. It always felt like I don't know kind of heavy at, like, a big responsibility. What if you lose the pictures and I just I don't know something about it wasn't really connecting from me, so I didn't really love it in about early two thousand nine, a camera was january, february two thousand nine I got a new camera because now I was a real photographer, so I convinced my husband to get me a full frame camera because I was so really couldn't even afford my own and my business, right? I was being questioned by, you know, my, my, my husband's, awesome, everything I wanted, those, whatever you want. So is it whatever you want to and he bought me a full frame camera and it's the best decision I ever made because the truth of the matter is a friend of mine who was also photographer she usually photographs kids and somebody asked her to do but worship and she called midges that you come with me it's two girls your camera's way better than mine so I don't need you but we might need your camera I was like no problem I'll come with you you know, no big deal and I went and I loved it I had such a good time and I came home and I said to my husband I want to be a big war photographer when I grew up and he said whatever you want dead guy didn't do it um so thank god for him I forgot to tell him I wanted to turn our bedroom into studio but he soon figured it out and so I shot out of my bedroom for three years and I mentioned that because I think so many people use so many excuses I've done it myself teo I don't have a place to shoot I can't work out of hotels I have little kids I had this I had that guess what all excuses if you want to make it work, you make it work so I shot out of my bedroom it was very romantic we have lights everywhere and back jobs and you know, we've since moved from that house and the first thing we did in our new house was making new bedroom because I was calling a big girl bedroom that doesn't have light stands at it, but about three years ago, I moved to studio along on city I forgot to mention I did have a second child, by the way, because as soon as I picked up the camera forgot all about my problem boom, you get pride that's always how it happens, right? Everybody says, so I did get pregnant. Thank god I have a cute little boy who turns five on thursday, and so it was a very interesting time in my life because, I mean, besides being nine months pregnant and shooting, I mean, I have this flourishing business now, and I'm about to have another baby, and I'm working out of my bedroom. I mean, things just kind of seems tio go crazy. S o it was time for me to move out. It was time for me to have a little bit of my own space and to take it away from my children and, you know, being in a home studio is so wonderful like so many people say, well, how do I tell them I'm shooting out of my house? So great, I mean, people would come in, they play with my dog, they would see how cute my kids, where it made me a really safe person versus like showing up like a cold student at my studio. Now you'll see pictures of it soon is like super ghetto, like I call it ghetto fag or ghetto glamour. It's I mean it's, like, disgusting and dirty, and you would never want to shoot there, but it's awesome for what? Ideo, but it has a totally different feeling. When I shot out of my house shooting out of my house was, you know, it was great. I mean, we had great, great, great, great great time there, so I highly recommend it for any, but I wish I could go back to my house sometimes I'm a lot of ways, but it was time for me to go, so I moved to studio among our city and that's in queens by the big pepsi sign if anybody knows where that is in new york, on debt was a big week for me because I didn't have that overhead that I had before. So this was like I was starting to feel like, all right, we have a real business here, this's, my ghetto studio and it's super tiny this is actually deceiving because it's a patter, a picture. So it probably looks three times larger than it really is. I have a little video of it. You see it's even more ghetto. It was taken in my book on I use the term affectionately, by the way because I love it it's like I mean, I've been here for three years. I want to see because we do hear a lot from people who are like, I only have this tiny space. I only have this little thing, you know, it's great to see it shot here in this giant studio here. But what can I do right now to see that you are that man be awesome. Professional photographer that has studio with fabric and couches and not sorry. And I mean my studios literally ten feet wide by twenty feet long. I used to share it with somebody. So actually, this is spacious for me because I use the whole thing myself now. But before that, it was like literally half of it was for me, and half of it was for her, and the bed takes up like half of my half. So I mean, try to make that work, you know, and the funny thing is going back to my bedroom for a second shooting out of the bedroom actually made me a better photographer because there was a million challenges there too, so sometimes I feel like the studios cheating a little it's like four white walls in a window it's like cake you know, on dh sometimes I get bored they're like I'm sort of at the point where if I could find something else I'd be happy to but you know, new york is difficult it's hard to find great places the rent is very expensive and I have something good going here so it's like until I find the right thing I'm stuck there so I had to find ways to reinvent it again and again making sense so far. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about when I first started because I think a lot of people say to me, what is the key to your success? How do you know everything you know? And some of it was just dumb luck I'm not gonna lie to you. When I started six years ago, there really wasn't that much competition there were only maybe four, five photographers in new york that were shooting booed wire really nobody maybe one person was shooting it exclusively, although I don't even think so when I look back, I think maybe they were doing weddings also, so most people were not doing like a boom you are on ly business I from the beginning was like I'm only boudoir and people thought I was crazy they were like you can't make a living only doing one thing and I was like I really want to do anything else I don't want to be around other people's children I you know and photograph them I don't want to be shooting weddings it doesn't there's no connection there for me I mean what else am I going to do this makes me feel alive and this is what I want to do and I always self in the beginning that if I'm going to leave my family or I'm gonna roll out of bed and I'm going to take time away from it has to be for something that I love so I've always felt that from the very beginning so in on ly six years the industry has changed so much it's only six years think about it like when I first started my business then we'll talk about this and in another side but I think about this all the time when I first start my business facebook was just starting like I remember my girlfriend calling me um she I remember her saying you have to sign up for this thing facebook it's so weird like I found all these people from college that we haven't heard from in such a long time I mean this was only six years ago no weird because I feel like now how would I like do anything without facebook? We've become so like, you know, hung we hang on to it it's so crazy so it just goes to show how much like how quickly things change so, you know, boudoir became very trendy also boudoir wasn't really much of a thing six years ago, I mean, there was sort of like, glamour shots and, you know, it was available and it was around, but it wasn't like it is now people are, you know, back then I would say to somebody, I'm a boudoir photographer, and they say what's boudoir, and it was like music to my ears because I felt like if you didn't know, then the only place to go is up, right? Like, I could start spreading the word and I can start to start telling people and, you know, we're going to make this happen, but now everybody pretty much knows of good juarez they even know how to pronounce it it's like gotten that popular right spelling pronounce it um so and everybody shooting, but right now, it's, not just food war photographers, right? So I have a lot of people that write to me all time, jen, I don't really shoot boudoir, I shoot, you know, seniors, but one senior mom asked me if I could you before for her do you have any advice or I shoot weddings with the bride wants boudoir so it's becoming much more available as far as what photographers air doing special ism is a wonderful thing and I'm sure if any of you are familiar with anything I do I've spoken about specialist before I truly believe in and I think it's amazing but now that it's so popular there's a ton of boudoir only photographers out there in boudoir only studio so that doesn't make me special anymore you know, back in the early parts of my career I would say, well, all I do is shoot boudoir so everything I have my props, my cameras, my lenses, my life everything is made for boudoir which really meant nothing but really you could use it for anything but my clients were like she only she's before she must be an expert she's the only expert on long island or the only ask for new york city. So now I don't really have that to hang my hat on any longer because there's a lot of people are only shoot boudoir again. Social media has changed and it's not just facebook I mean now there's instagram there's, twitter there's a million things I probably don't know about the my nine year old will tell me when they get home there's group on that didn't exist six years ago right living social all of these different sites that are trying to ruin our lives and we buy stuff from them anyway but you know, none of that existed six years ago, okay? So marketing was also very differently when I started my business. I don't go to facebook and according to twitter I don't like really work to see people face to face, you know, make things happen so it's totally different now starting a business and maintaining a business so social media is a funny thing too, because we rely so much on it now and it's, so limiting and it's like every day facebook changes there are rules what we composed, but we can't pose boudoir photography is even more difficult because but there's a nipple showing and I get reported and they're gonna ban you for four days or another photographer thinks you're too good, so they report you to facebook even though you had no nudity in your image there's a lot of, you know, craziness going on around facebook and and it's hard, you know, even in my business I struggle with it because I always want to think, well, facebook is not a marketing tool, I have to build my business outside facebook, facebook shut down tomorrow what are we all going to dio right but the reality is we have to have some sort of facebook connection and, you know, everything and now twitter and instant, I don't know there's a lot. Are there others that I'm missing? It's like there's so many now, I can't even keep track of my own stuff anymore price ranges that's changed a lot, too, so I think it was interesting when I first started, I think that most people were kind of like a medium price, like, so not now, I find is much more differentiation that people either really low or really high there's, not as much middle price like back when I started, it was kind of everybody was sort of in that same general area let's say, five, six hundred dollars and just making up a number, but everybody was sort of in that area, so people chose more about what style they like, who they felt more comfortable with. At least this was my experience in new york, as I saw it. Now we have, like, a much greater differential. I think a lot of people it started when I did that five six year mark, we're sort of at the point, we're like, all right, we're really dealing now we need to raise our prices, we need to be high priced, low volume this is how much? Because and then there's still a lot of people coming in that are newer that are a little more intimidated or unsure about their pricing and they come in at one hundred dollars mark or the two hundred dollars mark and so now there's this gigantic gap right? And our clients don't really know what to make of that they're just like what? I don't understand why you're charging two thousand she's charging two hundred and it looks the same to may, you know, so I didn't really have that it was sort of like we all kind of price ourselves in sort of that same area in the beginning and that's a challenge in itself also changing economy don't even get me started on that I can't wait to one day be a good photographer in a good economy like that's gonna be awesome for the last six years if I could make it in this economy when it's a good economy that ever happens it's gonna be amazing and you know, forget it, I'll be out shooting like crazy but it's something to think about when I say changing economy I'm not just talking about you know this is something that will affect you wherever you are I mean, in new york it hit us a little bit later and then it is hard and now it seems to be easing back a little bit but then you know there's certain times of the year certain times that like things happen like terrorist attacks or stock market drops or things just happen and it kind of messes with people I mean you guys are all from the west coast right? Or like middle I know we have ohio but like is anybody from the east coast we have about that winter oh you mean you don't know because you're in florida but like really I don't think anybody booked any photography sessions in all of last winter at all I mean the weather I'm still shaking from it I can't believe that it's going to be fall because it was the most horrific winter I've ever seen anybody none of us left our house is for like six months and everybody was sort of crying the blues like where is everybody? I'm like you can't get out of your house just six feet of snow in front of the door you know, who's leaving so you know, things affect the economy that's going on in the world at that time and this might just be my experience you might not experience out because you're in florida and that might be something different for you but you know, this is stuff that I see happening and there's a lot of people across the country that kind of dealt with that weather situation so cell phones the evil my husband's like I'm thinking about getting and I watch, you know, when I get new watches, you have to be more connected on the phone. I mean, is it even what you just build it into your forehead like, I mean, we're so attached to these cell phones right on, by the way I got my hair makeup done today so what's the first thing I did right on it's killing us, you guys like it's killing us? And I this is my biggest my biggest pet peeve? You guys never see this might be in the next the next slide actually. Okay, have you ever seen that iphone commercial? Where will I get my husband in front of me every time it comes on? Because I always go hit the scores it's like people taking pictures and all they're doing is taking all these pictures of all these amazing things and how your life has changed because of all these pictures and it comes up iphone five or whatever it was, and I'm like such bull, they don't even talk on the thing it's a phone it's a camera and every time now the commercial comes on my husband like I can, I don't think it's true it's, so if they mean they marketed as a camera, have you seen the nokia phone? It's a camera that rings I mean let's face it. It's it's a camera, you know, it's sick, like take sixty eight like people like jen. Look, I'm like I said, I don't want to see it. I hear it. I won't know about it, you know? Look, I could put a lens on my phone now like it's a phone call me when you want to talk. I don't want you taking my big serve, you know, I get so mad, but the truth of the matter is screwing up our business, ok? And it's it's makes me so mad even in my studio at girls will get ready in like, but in effect, I think boudoir photographers the most, and that might just be a totally partial statement because I only am a boudoir photographer and I don't know anything else. I mean, I'm sure is a wedding photographer your bride to taking pictures and they're putting themselves up and you're like, I want to be first. But think about what we dok it's intimate it's personal. I mean, everybody sent to dirty message here and there, right? Like it happens and you're not gonna go hire somebody for that. Right it's a spontaneous spur of the moment away look good today oh, I love how this looks at me I worked out of the gym last week I look hot my bathing suit I'm going to take a picture and it's like right then and there and men you might not understand this but for women it's very fleeting like if I look hot now it might not be five minutes now so I need to like, take a picture I need to document this right you guys alive because you know I'm right so I went to my brother in law got married a few weeks ago I worked really hard to get in shape of this wedding and I went to the wedding I stuff my face and I was like, oh, how could I be so gross yesterday it was like I fit into this judge I worked hard today I'm like, oh, I can't standing but that's the way women work right? So we need to be really careful that and, you know, it's it's like I said it's privately that they want to send a picture to somebody or they're flirting with someone or they want to send a picture, their husband or whatever it's just right there and it's it's just happens that they look good it looks good if it doesn't it's toss away and that's part of the problem it's training people that photography's disposable because that picture is on ly good until the next good picture and then that was garbage right? We've all done it I've deleted pictures on my phone where I'm likeable the one I took yesterday of me a creative I was better than the one I took today so we'll dispose of this one or what you know we've all done that so we're basically training people through cell phones that photography's disposable which is very difficult for us especially when you're talking about an intimate situation that they might be nervous getting in front of somebody else's camera so how is this is the important question right? How is all of this affecting us in our business? How we gonna work around that? You know, how how is it changing the landscape of boudoir photography? This is stuff I didn't have to deal with back then so let's try to get through how we deal with it so I asked around, you know, like as I'm sitting here and you guys are shaking your head and it's so great that you're affirming to me that this is real and I'm not the only one it's not in my head but sitting behind my desk I mean I've said this before photography could be a very lonely industry and when you're sitting behind your desk and you're dealing with all of these problems and you have no idea if anybody else in the world is feeling it it's really difficult and this is where facebook especially socks because you go on facebook and you see somebody puts up a picture it was like oh my god I had the best shoot today was so and so and tonight I'm going for ice cream and tomorrow I'm gonna post a picture of myself of my news six pack abs and like life is awesome and you have no idea behind the scenes they're really struggling also is this a paid client? Is it not a paid client? Was it a workshop? I mean I've seen it all you know andi it's it's so hard because we compare what we're doing to what everybody else is doing it puts that much more pressure on us. So instead of guessing like it's, everybody else going through this I started like calling people and asking around other photographers and other areas of the country people that I'm close with that I built a network with some of my old creative live audience members I'm like hey guys, what the heck is going on dying over here? You dying over there like what? And I was just honest and I said listen this is where I am right now, which I'll get into a little bit more as we go where are you what's affecting you? I called some of the vendors I work with some editing companies. Hey, are people sending in work or not? Like what's happening? I'm trying to figure out what's going on are you busy? And so I collected kind of a whole bunch of information and we're going to talk about that a little bit. And by the way, such a boudoir, the boudoir industry, like I have some very close friends, their wedding photographers there also kind of crying like I don't know it's going on all of a sudden, things are changing, so I spent a lot of times we're thinking about this change and why it's happening and what we can do to work around it. So here's, what I found in correze air definitely coming in, right? Are you guys finding that you're getting in grease? And I mean, I was I was definitely gonna increase all winter and but the bookings were slow it wasn't this it like people didn't have that same sort of zest is like ok, like, you know there will be a time I'm on the phone yes, this is how much is great sign me up let's figure out a date perfect, I found it would be a little more all right, let me get back tio we think about it you know, those are all words of death, like, if they have to think about it, that just means they're checking with other photographers there, you know, thinking if they really want to do it or not or whatever, and I'm like I said, I found that a lot of people were in the same boat there's one photographer in particular who I will not call out, but I see posting facebook stuff in it, like man she's, so busy, and I called him like, so what's going on she's like, I'm tying, I haven't had a client book in three months, and this is the slowest winter I've ever had, and I'm like, wow, you know, like that, I mean, thank you for being honest with me because most people are not honest about this stuff, so I got a lot of honesty from people I do think that people are still looking for professional photography. I'm not trying to be like, we're screwed guys, peace out, you know, I do think that people are looking for professional photography, they're looking for that experience, they're looking for something different than their cell phones can take sometimes. But I just think that they're not is willing to maybe spend as much money as they were before because again there start learning that these pictures are dispensable and disposable on dh that just makes me sad but we have to face that is a reality right? I mean that's a reality of what we do and who knows what this iphone six now they're saying it just time lapse recording and I know it's crazy so this is the other thing that I found like myself I find that people that are feeling at the most or more of the higher price photographers right the higher priced low by that's what I have been considering myself higher price low by and I was doing about four shoots a month higher price ranging about twenty five hundred dollars a shoot or so somewhere around there and you know the reason I'm going to be really like this is like me bear like really really really honest right now part of the reason why I ask too many questions and I asked them of different people in the industry is because I do teach okay I do travel the country I do teach travel about once a month I write articles I'm working on a book I have all these other things going on so I don't always have one hundred percent of my attention into my photography business I maintain my photography business I keep busy but it's not the only thing that pays my bills. Ok, so I'm going to be really frank about that for a second. So a little part of me was like maybe I've been traveling too much and I'm ignoring my business and it's just may, you know, maybe I need to settle down and take the summer off and get back to my business. Cindy what's going on? It turns out it's, not just me. Ok, so this is why I'm just being really honest because I know people always say but you know, I found that for me I was a higher price photographer. People are hesitating at the price, okay, so talk about positivity for a second cause. Everybody right now is about to cry to different issues. Oh, there's a box right there. Perfect. So here's the thing I know you guys probably aren't so familiar with me of cnbc before, but the truth is I'm such a positive, energetic, happy person. This is just how I live my life if I feel bad for my husband. But I am like this pretty much all the time. So this is how I live my life I'm always looking at the positive side so if something is wrong and I'm feeling like oh, that must really not be good right? But I'm feeling I always feel positive so I'm not trying to be negative about this industry whatsoever the rest of my presentation I promises about all the things they're going too good but the reality is we have to be honest with ourselves what's going on with this industry and by the way this would be true of any industry like you could replace me with somebody talking about car parts or communication systems or shoes or anything we have to be real about what's happening in the world and we have to face it and understand what's going on in order to be fluid with it does that make sense? So the dilemma is if you're in business and it's changing or it's slow or you're just starting what can you do to make your business work and survive and sometimes even float through the hard times right? Like sometimes you just want to get through the hard times so that when things get better okay at least we survived okay, I come from a family of entrepreneurs my husband comes from a family of entrepreneurs both of our parents, on their own businesses and by businesses I do mean multiple like if you have an entrepreneurial spirit spirit you don't just on one business everything you do turns into a business right like I was baking cookies with my mom a few months ago she said we should open a cookie business okay can we not like I but but I mean like for five seconds I was like maybe you're on to something if we could find somebody to bake them for us and cook them for their market for us and do everything for us I could put my name on that because you know but that that's just the way entrepreneurs work right and my husband has his own business so this is like it's a sick family we all live in but I learned this you know, from being in the business it's like the one piece of advice that I could get anybody being in a family business which by the way worked in my family business prior to being a stay at home mom but and like since I'm ten you know because that's my family is this work to oh you want to label envelopes awesome but I learned so much from it because I saw the roller coaster that my parents were always on it was always like in good times you're preparing for the bad and bad times were preparing for the good it's like, you know, there's a roll of course or that you're on is a business owner and that does not I mean, anything different to us, you know, we're in the same exact position. So that's, really important. So how are we going to do this? So I thought about this a lot. I'm just a little bit about my my have insomnia, little energetic in case you haven't noticed. But I go through bouts of insomnia, and so my husband has this habit when things are slower than usual or, you know, and again every business sort of has this, you know, up and down this pendulum, right? So when things are really busy, who, when things are slow, it's oh, my god, what's happening what's going on? And so we'll go to bed and I every night before we go to bed, I'll save me. Did you book anything today? So I just I'm trying to run black, you know? You're kidding me. And did I book act like we not talk about business in bed like this is needs to be a rule, you know, like I don't go to bed and go. Hey, did you book any jobs today? Did you could make money today like this should be a sacred place and every night he goes to look anything today. And I started realizing the day after day I was like no not today but I spoke to a few girls don't worry it'll be fine tomorrow science faras in today you know positive positive and finally one day he said to me did you book anything today would you just shut up already like stop asking me ok I didn't book anything today I'll make it work I always make it work okay fine you know and he went to bed and he's snoring five seconds later and I go how much you make this work how am I going to do this to kids I'm so busy thousand other projects going on I'm traveling I'm china book clients I have obligations up the wazoo what the heck how am I going to make this work and I just said to myself jen what makes you happy because right now like in that moment I was not happy and I hate not being happy he and I just felt like you know I'm going to show my age you know those dolls that like you pull the arms anybody know that you know and like the arms stretch I felt like that like how am I going to do this you know and there's a there's a responsibility here you guys like I have a lot of pressure from the industry okay and I'm not saying that the industry pressures they have a lot of self inflicted pressure because I want to come up on creative live and go, guys, I I'm never going to say I got this, but I'm going to say I am figuring it out I am making it work, I am changing things, I'm going to give you advice and it's solid advice because I took it myself. I'm not one of those people that stands up it goes here's what you guys should do with your business and I'm going to go home and freak about mine, okay? This is all, like super real. This is everything I've gone through and I I'm like, how am I going to do this? What am I gonna dio? Okay, so what makes me happy? I realize it it's funny because I mean, money brings a certain amount of happiness, right? I mean, it's, nice to have nice shoes and my stuff in a nice car and freedom to travel and give my kids everything they want the entire world. But I started thinking about the last year with my teaching, and I would go over my pricing, and sometimes people say to me, you're not expensive enough, you know, like I paid to come see you speak, you should be charging three thousand dollars a client, that success, right, or you know that that money is sick and you know what? Listen, even even I think my husband measures is that way a little bit like when he says to me, did you book any clients? If I would have just said to me I booked a client today, he probably would have stopped talking because stuff asking me because he would say, ok, then money coming in and we're good because that's how a normal business owner things they think about the money flow and how everything is working in that way, right? But it just doesn't, it never has and never will make me happy. I'm not saying that making money is an important I just want to make this all clear. It is important is my goal, obviously to make money in my business and to not be broke and I can tell you from day one, my business has always supported itself. I've never borrowed my own personal money. I've never taken a loan at the bank, my business has always been self sufficient and that is really it's me. I would never have it on any other way for me, so there is that pressure, but it doesn't make me happy, so I'm like laying there, I'm thinking, well, what I like what I really want. Ok, because screw the pressure from everybody else. I'm just going to block out what everybody else has to say to me how much I should be charging, how much work I should be doing, how many clients I should be shooting all the time and just think about what makes me happy and it just hit may why I'm doing this and you're it's probably not the reason you think and you're on your like I said, we talk about money and everybody says, you know, my husband even sometimes is we're doing it for the money, baby, this is, you know, it's a business it's about money, but it's not about money for me, okay, the money was limiting may the money was stopping me, I was just focus that money, money, money, money. How can I make money? And I wasn't thinking about the client. I wasn't talking about the business. I wasn't thinking about the marketing, I was just thinking, how can I make money? Do any of you go through that? The money, the money, the money, it's like such a black cloud? Isn't it my mission? This is my mission, and I realized when I look back to those years where I was figure drawing and I was, you know, joining women in newspaper two years old and a lot of other things that kind of came to me over the years that this was not about the money why I'm doing that then why I loved it was not about the money because I could have made plenty of money shooting you know, low moments in central park I could've made tons of money shooting on my friend's kids I didn't want to do that so this is my mission and my mission is to help every woman celebrate her unique femininity shamelessly it sounds like a very simple statement it took me about two and a half years to come up with it on it's a lot of work but really this is at the crux of what I do every day all the time not just when I'm shooting okay right now in this moment my camera is the tool that I used to do this that could change tomorrow it could not change tomorrow I don't know but when I'm true to myself and I say what do I want to do in my life? It always comes back to this and I'm laying in bed at night and I'm going you know what I want to reach women how I want to be doing this the more women I could reach the better that's what I'm here to dio right so if I do that want the money just happen if I shoot more women want that you know, if I reach women, won't that just happen? So do you know what tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'm not gonna think about the money anymore it's negative and it's not who I am and I'm just going to think about my mission it's my road map okay, I know and especially the guys right now, probably like here we go with this emotional girl stuff. But you know what if I really think that that men and photographer could be driven in the same way especially if you want to be shooting boudoir, you really need to think about why why you doing it especially for men? Okay, it's such an important message to send women because you know when why women thank you. Shooting boudoir. Exactly. Ok, so you have this mission in tow have a message and to say this is why I'm doing this is so important it is your road map and and I find for me like I said, it's not just a roadmap for photography it's a roadmap for my life that's how I parent my daughter it's, how I handle her and her friends it's how I hands of my relationship with my husband it's, how I'm a daughter, a town, a friend it's all of that okay, so um you talk a little bit about this book that I'm actually going to be really honest, I'm not totally done with however I still think it's totally awesome and I wrote to the author and I'm like I'm going to talk about your own creative live you're still awesome I was like that like groovy chick I loved it it's called the desire map experience and it's still funny somebody like I totally believe that the universe works in these ways to somebody recommended this book to me at the time I needed it like it's not insane so she talked about her core desired feelings running your life based on your core desired feelings that's what I've been trying to say all this time, right it's not just about my mission is how I want to feel running my life based on how I want to feel, right? I know you guys, I get some like yeses and some like total blank stares like I thought I signed up for the boudoir class wear the naked girl that she talks about going after your intentions in ways that reflect your core desired feelings so sometimes that core desired feelings might be I don't know anybody anybody think it was like something you want to feel like it could be happiness, it could be femininity, it could be joy it could be I don't know I don't want to put words in anybody's now if anybody want to share like a feeling that they want to feel every day and it could it doesn't have to do with photography could be anything that you want to feel on a daily basis freedom my word for two thousand fourteen is freedom I love that anybody else I think a word once a year to it's so funny that ugo independence yeah productive okay, we'll talk about that joy yeah, I love joy peace great. Just happy yeah, collaboration great fulfilled. I know you're learning and new experiences I'm just gonna move this theory the guys are always like I'm not right inside up therapy I signed up for naked girls great feel grateful like I'm giving back sir being grateful is so important and so hard I don't know why it's so hard but like I do a lot of meditation and stuff in one of the things always like being grateful for you know and talking about everything in your life that you're grateful for and it's so good when you do it why is it so hard to remember to do it every day it's like that I need to put it on my to do list is it really that hard to be over for whatever reason it is ah authenticity great I love it april ramon who says they want to feel excitement one of thompson's is alive, successful and suji says she wants to kill yeah I love that I love alive to that's one of my things like I don't want to tell you guys how old I am but I'm reaching a big birthday and it's not thirty on you know I always thought I would give me one of those women that didn't have a hard time aging I'm having a really hard time with it and forty is freaking me out big time I mean I want to reach it don't get me wrong universe I'd like to get there but it's freaking me out and alive is one of those things too that I'm struggling for right now or I shouldn't say struggling for but I'm I'm working on like that feeling of like this makes me feel bluff I'm dumb in it I don't feel live you know like this is the prime baby right norton say's downhill from here because I don't think I like to think it's not. But if this is good where you know where I am now is a good forty has advantages, I think I'll let you know next year the way you're pursuing what you're pursuing needs to be sole affirming, not soul sucking worrying about money is the most soul sucking thing that you could possibly dio listen ok, I've done well in my business, my husband does well of his business it's not like you know we're going broke and were desperate and this is awful and I realize that there's some people that are in position different than mine, ok, so maybe it's a little bit easier for me to let go of it, but I have to be honest it's not easy to let go of it. It's not easy. I have two children, please. If I told you what I paid last year for nursery school or pre k from my son, it was more than my parents paid for me to go to college. It's disgusting, um, but that's, what I needed to do on his parents, you know, I mean, this is my daughter's in every after school activity they they created, you know, and these things cost money, you know, I don't ever want to say no to my kid, I mean that's not true, I do say no to my children will start getting hate mail like you're one of those parents. I do say no to my children, but when my daughter says to me, mom, I want to try to go toe learn to snowboard this year, I'm not going to be like no honey, mommy didn't book enough shoots this year for that, like, I want to be like, yeah, let's go snowboarding, do it totally, you know? So that's that's really my goal? I want to be able tio, I have these feelings and to help my kids and understand those feelings to so yeah, so this is this is a really great book I'm still working on mapping what my core desired feelings I give you guys credit for, like, just throwing words out because the truth is she goes through all these things. I actually listened to the audio book I like listening to books and the author's voice, I just feel like it makes me connect with them a little bit more. Um, but this is what I'm also going to buy and hard copy, too, because there's a lot of writing and notes that need to be done for sure, but I'm still working on what my core desired feelings are, and she promised you with all these questions, asking really tough questions like I do a lot of walking and I was listening to and I was walking, and I found I had it just like, sit on the sidewalk and just absorb what she was asking because there's a lot of, like, immediate answers like how do you want to feel happy? What do you feel joy grateful I mean those air sort of things that are all amazing but we're programmed to like those are like program where it's like oh, I want to feel happy I wouldn't feel joy what does join me into you because what it means to you what it means to me might be two totally different things so you have to kind of get really really in there it's hard work to figure out really what you want to say I'm still working on it because I haven't gotten through the whole book yet so heavy it's like I can't I need a little break from this but when she started talking about this soul sucking and worrying about money and I was like, yeah, this is what I'm trying to say I'm putting you on creative live thank you so this is the thing even though I don't know my core desired feelings just yet although I have a suspicion what they are I do know that when I'm not in alignment with that these are the things that I'm feeling right boredom, unfulfilled, unhappy, even lonely because anybody ever shot a session with what you might think is a perfect client and you walk in and you're shooting and you leave in your legos I that was there was nothing there there was no connection really lonely I feel like nobody understands what I'm going through here like I wanna have this connection or I mean, like I said, my husband is a business owner too so we can connect on a lot of levels but sometimes in the photography world is very lonely, right? I know I said that before as anybody else experience that it's hard to suck it up and call another photographer and go you're the only one that can understand it but I'm really struggling right now can you help me? Photographers are not always the best going yes, I can help you let's think of a way to increase your creativity so you could get more business, right? So luckily, I have that in my life I have some very close photographer friends, but I know that not everybody doesn't just giving them a shadow because they're gonna be like whatever I know not everybody has that so it's, so important. It's so it's you know, like there's times where I complain like I feel so uncreative and I'm in a rut and people like, what are you complaining about, man, you have everything you want that complaining but we just need to be in alignment I think with our core desired feelings in our mission, so when I lead with money those of my exact feelings elsa, right, boredom unfulfilled unhappy but when I lead with my mission I feel accomplished and powerful and strong and fulfilled and feminine and happy I leave in session where I like want to be shooting it and I'm like yes, the world is beautiful the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing that was the most awesome day ever had the back can't wait to load these pictures into my computer like how many of you have ever gone through a session where you don't load the pictures for like a week? I've done that that's so sad and I go to bed tonight going I hope those searches were on that guard because it's another day that's gone by that I didn't know them into my computer I love that feeling of going home and being my kids don't talk to me I'm loading my guard you know like give me twenty minutes I have to see what I got I love those days that's how I want to feel that's what I want to dio and when you do that when you can't wait to see was on that car, chances are there's good stuff on that card and that client's gonna be happy and they're going to pay you for that right? So it see how it all kind of connects so I realized at that point I need to think about my goals in a different way so go usually looks something like this now I just made up a number okay I want to make one hundred fifty thousand dollars a year right that's a good goal the lofty goal it's such a goal oriented person if there's anything to know about me I am like we were talking about this before at lunch I set out to do something I go do it there is no black and white and it's like no gray sorry everything is black and white I want to do something I do it okay I wanted to run a half marathon I train for a half marathon I want to speak at the convention I go speak at the convention I don't know of like no, you can't do it or the self doubt stuff that we all put in our heads like oh I don't know what would happen if you do it no I just do it if I want something I just do it so thinking about my goals in a different way is very weird for me. It's very difficult but what I found is that these goals are sort of just weighing on me lately like I've reached so many of these goals that I wanted to do that now they just feel heavy they just feel like a burden right now so how can I think about it a different way so what if we took away the finish line and swap the goal with more of a dream okay I think dream has like a really weird meaning something people think a dream is impossible it's like in your head but for me it's like I had this dream okay like I have a dream of reaching women of making every woman feel uniquely feminine and shamelessly feminine I love that that's my dream so like I said goals air strike heavy and stressful and words they make you feel like a failure if you don't reach them that's the biggest problem okay so if you set out a goal of making one hundred fifty thousand dollars a year and you're one first year photographer let's say that's a very lofty goal okay it's probably not gonna happen right now what happens when you don't reach it you make one hundred twenty five thousand dollars which is a great amount of money but you didn't reach your goal you're going to like such a failure ok that's what I would do because I'm not go oriented person I missed my goal I suck this I'm a failure and now is your breaching and you're you know you're putting in your head all that negativity and I'm a terrible and it's awful and I didn't reach my goal but you made one hundred twenty five thousand dollars like that hm? You know any other person be like whoa so living your dreams means feeling all those wonderful feelings and truthfully if you think about it they're just is motivational if we do it right if you're motivated to do something you really want something bad enough a dream could be justice motivational as a goal it's just a little more open ended so like I said my dream is to reach as many women as possible and help them feel shamelessly feminine let's show you like let's look at this they're both really the same kind of thing okay because of course I do want to make money that is part of my dream maybe should say my dream is to reach as many women as possible and help them feel shamelessly feminine and make money at the same time it's going to say that because that's not you know that's implied of course they're gonna make money at the same time here it's so limiting I'm just worried about the dollars and cents here I'm reaching women I'm affecting them I'm touching them I'm making them my evangelists I'm feeling better about life I go home happy it changed the way I see things right and the money is coming so both will make me money but one feels better than the other and is less limiting and by the way if you do this maybe you'll make two hundred thousand dollars a year well maybe you make two hundred fifty thousand dollars this year, right? And you won't feel like a failure. So when I was just thinking about money, I felt like I was losing touch with what was going on in my life because it so heavy you carry it with you all the time it's it's here or it's here or it's here? And I'm like, you know, doing things half way like I feel like I was doing a lot of things halfway I was being a mom halfway, I was being a wife halfway I was being a business person halfway. I'm just sort of like making it through thinking, ok, when is the next client get a book? What is gonna happen? How am I gonna fix this? It was like, like a constant record in my head all the time. How am I gonna fix this? How am I going to get up on creative live and tell people about what I'm doing in my life? How am I going to be really have, you know, it's like a constant it's like, just shut up. Just so you know, when I when I started changing to a more mission based thinking, it just shut up. Now I think, ok, what can I do to reach women? This could be awesome, so what do I want with my family, um e I always think it's good luck to put a picture of my family and every presentation I always work it in some kind of funny I mean, come on, I have the best cross I'd get over it this's my my brother in law's wedding a few weeks ago they had the best photo right there and of course my daughter could not stay out of the photo booth and the guy came to me he's like ma'am, I don't think I have enough paper for her. I like get these in digital right? So for me, what do I want? I want a life where I could be home cooking dinner for my kids and my husband and I could pick them up from school and I can bring them to the after school activities and I could help them with their homework and I could reach women's lives and I could have time to work out and take care of myself and I could feel feminine and sexy and great for my husband. I know it sounds like really are you living in reality like this is the woman who has it all right but I want all of that and one of the least try to have all of that and there are times there are moments and glimpses of it in my life I go okay today I have my stuff together right, but then when I start thinking about, like, the second my daughter's doing her math and aiso now ongoing nobody's booked, let me check my email that just got, you know, so we want to make sure that we are focused on these things, and this is really what I want for my life. I really do I wanna have sort of this all over balanced life. Yes, I realize that that means guys, I'm not working from six in the morning until eight o'clock at night all the time I'm cutting my hours. I always say I work a full time job part time hours, so the hours that I do work are intense, like do not talk to me do not bother made this is where I am right now because I have to fit that full time job into the part ten hours, but the times I'm with my kids, I don't check my email, I don't worry about work and that's just great. So I'm going to do all of this while fulfilling my mission and make money, too. I mean, is it too much to ask? And I'm certainly not saying I'm going to be successful at it every day, because I doubt that that's ever gonna happen that's like one of the things in my goals and my missions in my dreams I'm just gonna take right out of there I will not be perfect all the time I think perfection is boring is how and I love to be in perfect and I love surprises and I think that I can't be everything to everyone every single day. I'm a very accepting of that. So based on everything I've told you my dilemma the mission's, my goal, my dream here's what I came up with that night I was lying in bed I said to myself, you know what? I'm gonna have my clients decide what they're going to pay from now on way had a very quiet, very simple uh, you know, there is a sound heard around the world right now I kind of think ok, so this makes me really nervous my palms are sweating right now because I realize that this is kind of a new concepts and people are probably thinking crazy and they're probably right all of you that just gave me those eyeballs falling out of your head are probably right. However I can tell you this is a matter of fact sure is me sitting here today this second I came up with it breathing on the world lifted off of my chest lifted off my shoulders and I said, this is what I'm going to do I'm gonna let my clients to side with they want to pay for their sessions from now on and with my husband woke up music got dave you're awesome thank you for pissing me off last night I had the best idea this's incredible and he thought I was ok, jen whatever you want but you might be crazy but whatever just make it happen and so with that I know there's plenty of questions but I'm going to go backwards first it could be like hold on to that thought because because pricing is like not that black and white it's very great, right? I've changed its more times and I changed my underwear, which is a lot in the past six years um I always people make fun of me because they'll be like once they get to know me my prices like so what's your pricing this week and I do I change it a lot it's a living and breathing object guys you're pricing should always be sort of shifting and moving it's not a january first thing for may like this is you know you look, if you like my prices today, you better book made because tomorrow they might be different and I know I mean they're not so drastically different, but I do feel that's one of the areas and very confident in my business it's just kind of having a tap on what's going on and changing it so we're going to go backwards first are we good with that and start from the beginning you can all gather yourselves now and might be like what is this chick talking about? Okay, any questions before we go on to the pricing because I know I kind of weighed a lot of heavy stuff out there all right? So a lot of this is what not to dio just so you guys know, but I'm going to tell you about my experience with it anyway when I first started I started with a shooting burn model because I didn't know anything else I didn't know any labs I didn't know really how to edit photos I really didn't know anything I started editing on picasa I didn't even own photo shop at the time so this is like really newbie pricing like just out of the gate let's see what happens, eh? So we're going to start with the shooting burn model there are actually advantages to this okay? I'm not totally against the shooting burn model for certain people in certain scenarios it's less expenses is less work it's much quicker delivery which is always great especially when you have kids or you have another job or you have you know whatever cats I don't care what you have everybody has a busy life right I mean, I feel like everybody always like I'm a mom like I don't care if you're not a mom, you have a busy life till we all have busy lives so there's some advantages and there's disadvantages to I mean there's definitely lost sales, okay? You're not making as much money as you probably could be making and even worse is like no prints or crap prints like that I am guilty of that myself. I mean, I literally just printed for my new house some pictures that I have been sitting on for, like years like my son is like who's that my picture like that you students, you're like three months old there um, you know, so I'm guilty of that, you know, I'm guilty of it, I can only imagine what my clients you know, we've all receive that email like I shot with you four years ago I don't know where the pictures are ready to blow them up, you know, brutal that said, this is kind of how I started now I'm not going to go through all of this please don't write it down seriously because it's so bad on you shouldn't do it, but I'm just kind of giving you an idea of the the methods that I've tried, I feel like I've been a guinea pig for everybody on for six years basically early two thousand nine two thousand ten when I started doing this reveal I charge about two fifty three hundred dollars I think that was before this it was two fifty quickly raised it to three hundred which actually is really funny it goes to show how six years ago things were so different because three hundred dollars actually wasn't so bad for a brand new photographer who had no idea what she was doing right and I was still sort of on the cheaper end of the medium so they're supposed to show that people really in like that medium areas of everybody else's charging five hundred I was kind of like a charge three hundred I'm probably a little more than half better than them so I'll just figure it out that way um you know now people are doing it for free or fifty bucks one hundred bucks or like real like professional full time photographers and shooting for three hundred dollars and I'm like what I did that my first you know, six months so it kind of just goes to show how different things were back then I didn't really I just it was fifty to seventy five photos I mean this is really horrendous but I charge about three hundred dollars a session I delivered fifty to seventy five images procession edited in picasa and I could only laugh because it's so true it's embarrassing um makeup was optional I shot at my house I mean like I kind of made everything sound so fancy and great but it was actually fancy and grade it was incredible and I really enjoyed it and girls came in for this it was it was good here's a quick way to not make any money you should have a boudoir party where four girls come in he basically tried even less so well it was like three fifty okay, whatever, but it was really full sessions and they were exhausting and the thing is at the time they were amazing for marketing of referrals and getting my name out there. But the truth of the matter is that I really made no money on them and cheap clients do this great thing they tell all their chief friends about you they try to get a client that spent three thousand dollars to tell ten of her friends about you is the hardest thing in the world but cheap clients singing from the you know, the top of the mountains I have this great photographer she charges next to nothing you should go see her. Andi I did this for a while now I don't have regrets I mean I do regret it didn't make money on it, but I don't have regrets in the way that I got a lot of experience not only with photography but with types of people and personalities and lingerie and lighting and timing and reworking my contract. And then we working into getting to make sure if a girl doesn't show up, she knows she's not getting her retainer back and introducing the retainer and all the different things that, you know, you have to go through in your business that you're like, oh, I never thought of that all those scenarios popped up during this time because it was just the craziest thing ever. So from there, once I got over that whole shooting burn thing, I went to packages I started realizing that maybe people wanted me to tell them what they should have, right? This is and I started learning about the whole like, middle sandwich, you know, like, the middle package has to be the one you really want, kill the book and then you have the low one, so you look less expensive, so people will look at your pricing and you have the high one that probably nobody's ever gonna book, but when they do, you should raise that price because then that's to be your middle package, you know, I kind of felt for all that stuff to I'm not saying it's not true, okay, I'm not discounting any photographers ever said it worked for me for a while. But I just kind of was making things up. I was using what I call pull it out of your ass pricing and it was like, well, what would I pay for this? Oh, this sounds about right, but there were advantages. First of all, I had different price points, which is an advantage when you're when you're presenting your pricing to a client, you want to make sure that you have some different options for them. So that was really great. It wasn't just like this is the price and that's it. Um the one really good thing about packages is you know what kind of money you're making up front. So if a girl books you for a thousand dollars, you know, if she gives you three hundred dollars retainer, you have another seven hundred dollars coming to you could sort of for the work flow and the business and the cash flow coming into your business. This is a really good advantage because you khun budget yourself. You could say ok, you know what? I need a new lens. I have ten clients coming next month. I can afford it. It's ok, I'll buy it now and that's a really big advantage of the different packages. Some disadvantages are I still think that there's lost sales because you're basically saying to claim this is what you get and so they have it in their mind that this is what they're getting and they don't always look further for more things and it s customized which I found which you'll see soon to be an advantage customizing your sessions you know just kind of saying your client well this is course sort of cookie cutter this is what you're getting she might not be one hundred percent happy now well, I didn't really want this album can I have that and you are not really good it up selling or changing or negotiating it could be a disadvantage for you so in two thousand ten I had these four packages they were really I gave them really cute names like you should write the tease the flirt the heartbreaker in the victim uh so embarrassing anyway they spit at three twenty five and they went up to six seventy five and again this is pull it out of your ass pricing people this is what's the minimum I want to be worth and what's the what is it that I think I'm probably really worth like what would I pay for it or maybe a little above what I would pay for it and in between is really what I was going for so like that five seventy five package was about where people I fell like before something to five, seventy four, twenty five to five twenty five most people were kind of falling in that area in late two thousand ten, it was basically the same as a year before I gave myself a twenty five dollars raise, so fancy a per package? Um, yeah, we'll just get past that alright, twenty eleven was what I call the year of three hundred women I shot almost three hundred women out of my house by myself that year, it was insanity and at these prices now, if you look at these prices and you multiply times three hundred it's a pretty good year, right? It was like over two hundred thousand dollars or something ridiculous like that in my bedroom, I mean, it was like, this is the best thing ever I've never even had to leave my room, but I wasn't really making as much money as I wanted to make. I wasn't getting to keep as much money as I wanted to keep at that point, because here's, the thing when you shoot three hundred women now they need somebody to call three images you need a office manager to answer the phone and the book the climb, and I was sometimes shooting forty year old a month, it was just like, I mean, it was a factory, and again, I I don't regret it because it gave me so much experience with so many things I think it it was like a fast track to business for me like I think that in my first three years I probably did what most people doing ted ok? And it was for that I'm very grateful what I was not grateful for was the burnout that I felt the end of the arrivals like screw this if I can make money and I'm killing myself here like what is happening, what is going on here? So I changed my prices pretty drastically after that which will see but this is kind of where I was and I remember oh my gosh, I remember that the top package which basically is embarrassing if you look at it like I'm giving them everything, including my date with my husband on my firstborn child I mean it's like everything I own is in their cd an album and I mean it's ridiculous, but it was nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine dollars and I remember saying to my isn't cut who would ever spend a thousand dollars on boudoir photography? I thought a lot of money and I booked the package a week later and it should have been my indication there was still too inexpensive, but I didn't know I thought, my god that's so much money that's crazy who would spend that okay so early two thousand twelve this is what I call the belly flop here that was the year I just had it was three years in eye shot of agillion women I was so spent and you know here's the thing this is this is the truth of the matter overall the less the less people spend the more of a pain in the ass there it's just a rule it's an unwritten one maybe now it's written I don't know but it's the truth is the less somebody says the more of a pain in the ass there so I was dealing with a lot of pains in the ass is I mean I know you said only three images are included but can I just have five? No, you just can't have five this is how to make a living by the way we you can't have five okay then can you just retouch thes three till I you can't even tell I have skin anymore I mean it's like you know it was just a lot it was just crazy and I and I so I said to myself and not only am I sick of not making money but I'm sick of my clientele I have to get rid of them I have to get a new clientele because this is just a bad corner that I've backed myself into, so I jacked my prices up and now I start listening them from the top down because that was what I learned that if you listen from the top down it's better that way I don't know. So I jacked it up thirty two hundred's my highest package seven hundred dollars my lowest package now, this was good and bad for me. It was bad because I basically lost all my referrals. So everybody, that was like, what do you mean sally book to last year for three hundred dollars now you're telling me the same thing is gonna cost seven hundred dollars? Yep take it or leave it and they left it. So here I was for the first time face with that I'm going to recover from this again. What am I going to do? What did I do to myself? I'm unhappy. I'm scared my husband saying, did you book any clients today? I mean, this is not the first time I've been through this, this is, you know, this was the first time I had been through it and yeah, it was really it was really very stressful, but I knew that I had to do it because I said to myself, you know what? I would rather go out of business trying to make money and I'm busting my ass to going out of business anyway right? I mean, I'd rather sit here and work on my business and not book anybody, then book everybody, not make any money that's just seem crazy. So in february two thousand twelve, I stopped online galleries. I started in person in person purchasing sessions, and I started in all the cart model. That was my way out of that dilemma. There are advantages to the olive garden, the in person sales. Of course, one of them is that it's more customized is very high touch. I had a lot of connection with my clients at this point before when I was shooting three hundred women. I mean, I didn't even know their names like they came in and out so quickly. I couldn't even tell you who they were, but now I was getting to know them. I'm doing pre shoot consoles, I'm helping them pick their lingerie. We're designing sessions around them, it's definitely less limited. There were much higher sales within person viewing and I get to keep more money so it was much more profit built into that. The disadvantages are definitely unsure of sales up front, and this is why pricing it is so important. Making sure your pricing is correct in this model is so important um and it's definitely more time consuming. But you're going to see later is we're going to talk about this name your own price. This time consuming thing is kind of a big when I should probably have made that bold. Because again, when you have a very busy life and you have a lot of things going on sometimes it's not worth the money to put in so much time. Sometimes it is at this point, it wass it started like this again. This is still what not to dio so no note taking, uh, but it started like this, and there was a lot of stuff. I had a lot of different albums, and I had different packages, and I offered some prince and it was kind of overwhelming, and it took me a little while to adjust, teaching the clients that they got to pick whatever they wanted. I did charge a session fee. I started for fifty. I quickly raise it to about six fifty because people booking too easily at four fifty and they were like, it was confusing them a little because they were like, yeah, my friend booked for three twenty five year old book you for four fifteen like, no, no, you have to understand you to buy stuff after, and it was just kind of confusing to them, so by raising it first I felt I could get away with it because I was in new york and I felt like ok could push it a little bit um but it also helped me kind of say to them, no, you have, you know, that kind of understood that it wasn't really the same thing that sally book last year, so that helped me out a little bit with that. It did include hair and makeup and in new york that's very expensive, it was like to fifty for me to just do hair makeup, so of the six fifty session fee, I was taking about four hundred in my pocket, which, like, paid for my rent if you if you're talking about, you know, four clients a month or five clients and months I rent about thirteen something so, you know, with the utilities and insurance and all these other things, my feeling was if people came in and I shot their sessions, even if they didn't buy anything after I at least cover my studio in my hair makeup um there's a lot of stuff on here, though, and it's chaotic and it's too difficult even for me to explain to you, so I can't imagine that a client would be able to read it and absorb it properly s o then I changed my logo to a cool new logo and I changed it around a little bit. I started adding digital's I know that this is a very highly debated topic I personally believe in boudoir that it's okay to offer digital is because they're not making ten prints for grandma or blowing it a big necessarily to hang in their bedroom, and if they are, chances are they're gonna come to you to do that because you're not going to take a chance that they're going to blow a picture up of themselves and it's not gonna look good, so my clients were all coming to me for that anyway, so I was like, you know, why am I losing this money? I mean, you're talking about two hundred fifty, five hundred thousand dollars for digital's see, I didn't even see that, right? Seven fifty, eleven, twenty I can't read my own priceless, but, you know, that's that's, good money that we're leaving on the table if we don't sell those digital, so I was like, our next seven hundred dollars, five hundred dollars, whatever wass sure I'll take you can have the digital make a copy because I'm going to raise mine, you know, major, you have a good back of god on that's the other thing too, I don't store my pictures forever, so I might as well sell them all I can so now I changed my method. If you notice before it would be it was listed by album let's, say, and it would be by how many photos from the out now I'm listening it per photo. I find that that's a little bit easier, so they today I say to my clients, I'm charging you per photo, you can pick his many photos you want fifteen is our minimum, so I don't have to worry about minimums sale per se, because I can say to them, well, if you're gonna make an album, the minimum amount of picture looks good. An album is fifteen pictures and that's really a genuine answer. It's not like I'm only trying to sell you fifteen. I want to sell a twenty page album minimum, so I want at least we'll say I want a ten page album minimum, so I want a least fifteen pictures right now. U two's I go through, they choose their pictures and we'll talk about that a little bit more later. But in this considering I'm sitting with them, they choose their favorite pictures. They narrow it down to twenty seven pictures. I go great, twenty seven pictures, you're in this change, do you want the classic album, the luxury album or digital? Or both and there it's much easier for them to pick it out that way when I would send them the pricing up front when they would ask me how much I cost I would tell them about the session feet and then I would send them on lee this I wouldn't send them the print price list and the reason why is because in my studio I have it sort of like a menu so when they came in to see the pictures we would choose the amount of pictures they had already fallen in love with twenty seven pictures now they open the menu to see how much is they go oh, you offer prints too versus all you offer prince okay, I'm only gonna take one picture that I want so way sort of avoid that whole like I really only just want one pretty picture because I can't make my living on one pretty picture okay on again I made this special it was an album with thirty five photos the digitals of those and a digital slide show which I use enomoto for which I'll show you and it was nineteen hundred dollars the nineteen hundred dollars plus the six fifty session he puts me right where I want to be around twenty five hundred dollars a client and most people would go for the special okay, all right, so again we talked about this little we want to make sure that your least expensive item is where you want your minimums even if you saw that least expensive item you know you made your money for that day so a lot of people say well I can't make any money jen can you help me okay what's released expensive item three hundred dollars well no wonder you can't make any money do you sell that? Yes well you're selling it because it's available stop making it available okay it's like we feel like we have to give that lower price item to suck people in but it's really not fair to ali were just screwing ourselves really because then they end up buying that item and the more like what I don't want you to buy that I want to buy the other thing well then just don't make it available so keep your products to minimum you could see only sell two albums the classic album his white house custom color thie looks yeah we'll miss video I customized some covers for them I design different you know they get to choose what cover they want and it's very simple those of the two options I don't go crazy I'm not like you have fifty eight different options to actions that's it I have two samples in my studio that's it very simple I'm going to show you an example the slide show that I use I always show a slide show before they seal of their pictures it's sort of like that like little buffer because women don't recognize themselves sexy it's not something that ever say guys you probably think we look in the mirror and we're like make sexy faces that ourselves all the time and although we might that's not our real sexy face to really sexy face happens as a reaction it's like a hormonal reaction you see something that catches your eye see it ah guy or a girl that's attractive or something makes you feel a certain way and you just make the face we don't recognize that face, so the first time women say it they kind of go what is that booth? So we want to kind of raise that emotional component game a little bit of a buffer get get themselves used to seeing them that way wait, wait what you need but I love that and you see, I put the words in there those are all custom. Those are things that the clients have told. May I have some quote I really like to use in there and it just raises that emotional component now she's, like I can't wait to see my other pictures and I love it sometimes I gifted to them at the end or included in that package which add value even though I've already done it doesn't really cross me anything and that's the thing ana moto is so affordable that it's like stupid not to have it so I'm able to use it as an added benefit for my packages, which is really great. So that's an example of that? I know we're running a little bit short on time here, so I'm gonna go through the next few sides a little quickly basically here's the thing when I started doing the the in person sales, my averages went from about six, seventy five a client up to about two thousand dollars a client and it was raised another five hundred the year after that, which was last year ok, so that's a pretty good john I mean that's no joke I'll take some extra time out of my day to go see a client another time to do in person sales for sure here's the thing I'm here I really want you to remember that I'm not just charging morrow's offering were also because that I was spending more time with them. I was doing appreciate consuls my sessions were a little bit longer it was only one client a day there's a lot more personal and I really enjoy because I really got to know the girls but it was definitely more time consuming and emotional like I found it hard to do more than one or two a week it was like such an investment for me also so this was probably a really good place to take a little breath. Do you guys have any questions about what I've gone over so far with the pricing? Uh, let's see so our silly botello had a question when you change your prices, what exactly do you like what's the process of changing the prices do you just all of a sudden one day it's completely different and anyone who, like used to come to you and now comes back to just say, oh, I did something different, kind of like waxing it hurts less if you just rip it off, you just have to do it and here's the thing if it's a really good client and she comes back to her she's like I'm referring you to my friends, this is the thing. You're the boss, you could do whatever you want. I'm giving you permission right now to do whatever you want. So if you I say to her, listen, I just changed my pricing, but I'm going to give you my old pricing. Fine, just don't tell anybody it's special for you, whatever you want to do, you're the boss? Um that's what's so great about what we do and that's the one thing I think it holds people back you forget that you're the boss people you're like oh, I made these rules and I have to go buy them and and I said I changed my prices so I know you did you could just do whatever you want there's no light guidebook that says if you charge this client this and this client that you know I mean come on we've all shocked at a store that you've been to a lot of you go come on take twenty percent off for mayor give me a break I bought a car here for the last three years give me you know, a good price we all do that you know so it's okay to do it in your own business I'm not saying let your clients talk you down what I'm saying is it's okay to break your own rules sometimes and just do it the way you see fit in that moment sequence photography I'm in my first year of becoming a legit business would you recommend starting at a higher price or easy in my way into raising my prices do have portfolio already built up but I'm scared I will not book anyone if I start off to die I agree with that one hundred percent I would probably have given you a different answer a year ago but now, based off of what we're going to tell, I mean, she should really tune in, like a hope, she's not going anywhere because this is gonna blow her mind. I do think that a medium price to begin with is a very good place to start because you're not devaluing yourself. You're giving yourself an opportunity to make the money, you could always have room to move, so if she starts that, I'm just throwing out a number. I don't know what her numbers are, but if you started five hundred dollars, you can always go to four hundred dollars, you can always go to six hundred dollars is not really that much of a difference there, so I think to start at a more moderate price and work your way up as you build clients is a really, really good thing to do, and I didn't do it, so I had to keep reading, you know, like stressing out of reinventing myself that would have been some advice that I wish somebody gave me years ago. One more from leaking paint are celibate cello and a whole bunch of other people were wondering with boudoir being such a private type of session, how do you build a portfolio you could actually show? Since a lot of people probably wouldn't want their photos to be shown on good question, I started with my friends after I told came home and told my husband I wanted to be able to our photographer. When I grew up, she was my second phone call, and it was like, if you love me and you want to be my friend, you need to take your clothes off. Uh, I only have getting, um so yeah, I mean, friends is great. Showing anonymous photos in the beginning is great, but truth of the matter is I would run some contests on some local boards for weddings. For some brides. If you want to win a session with him, you can hear the parameters. I have to be able to show your photos, and I'll give you anything you want. You know any of the photos you want, I mean there's, a lot of different creative ways. You can do it. You can put modeling calls out. The one thing the one lesson I learned, I'm going to stand up for a few minutes, right? The one lesson I learned is that you have a model release that you're going to give somebody if you want to use them through portfolio always make sure you put in your model release some sort of legal mumbo jumbo that you're gonna have to ask your lawyer about because I don't know what it's going to be a but it's to say something to the effect that if they revoked thie option to use the pictures like if they call you one day and they say I changed my mind, I know you gave you all my files I don't want I don't want to use the pictures anymore that they have to pay for them because I learned that lesson the hard way on it's not really a big deal if it's one girl, two girls, but like what happens if a group of five girls comment, you shoot all of them and then they're like, you know what? We changed our mind. We really just wanted a free shoot. Now you're in trouble, it's a lot of work and a lot of energy to put in, so get creative there's a lot of different ways you can do it. One of another really good way is working with people in your neighborhood like a trainer or a hairdresser or somebody that has a big mouth that we'll talk about you on top of you being able to use their images so you know, get creative and kind of find those women and in your community that you want to work with the have a lot of friends one more question here of so your business fell off when you raise your prices but now you say you're shooting one session per week where you getting your client how are you getting them in the door? Yeah so there were for once I started the business kind of back up again and I started changing to that name your own I'm sorry the ala carte pricing people started booking again because the difference was now their investment on front with six fifty so the investment up front wasn't you know, three thousand dollars there wasn't you know the packages were difficult because people in the economy was kind of going sour and the people were like I don't want to give you fifteen hundred dollars for pictures you haven't even taken yet that's crazy so it wasn't that they weren't willing to spend the money they just weren't willing to spend it up front so now my deal is different instead of saying ok, you give me fifteen hundred dollars I take pictures of you I say give me six fifty I take pictures of you and then you decide if you want to spend more on them so that gave a little bit more flexibility and the clients felt much more comfortable with okay now you have an obligation to take good pictures because I haven't paid for them yet, and I think that they felt it was more of a given take so. And as I showed, people spent more money with the ala carte than they did with the packages, which is pretty funny. But once I gave them the option to choose, they decided what was worth it and what was not worth it. So I think that the at the time, the ala carte pricing really helped me with that, because it got women in the door. They only had to give me six fifty on money, spend his money for gotten. They spend it up front when they signed the contract, and when they came into the studio, it was like money long gone. They didn't even think about it anymore.