Introduction and Studio History and Tour


Building a Profitable Portrait Studio


Lesson Info

Introduction and Studio History and Tour

First of all, I am so excited. First, I am delighted that all of you are here today. I'm absolutely honored that creative live chose my studio to be the first studio that they've done collaboratively with a photographer, and I am so, so thrilled about that. I can't even tell you we've worked for, like three months to get my studio actually in shape because it didn't look like this, like three months ago. Um, I love being in venetia that's where my studio is that this building is about one hundred and fifty years old. It was a military arsenal. In fact, they used to store the weapons underneath on the bottom floor, there's there's tunnels that go from my building all the way down to the marina s so it's it's got it's got quite a big history to it, and this was one of those moments when I when I found this space, I absolutely fell in love. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew I was home, and we used to come out here, mike, when I would come out here all the time to go photograph high ...

school seniors, and every time we come out without exception, I'd be saying, boy, I'd love to have a studio out in that place. And I'm not telling all of you photographers to come out here and join me ok? But it was a great place and I'm I'm thrilled that I actually have a space in the building I have eighteen hundred square feet so I have a fairly good space and so it serves us quite well we do family portrait's and photograph children and do boudoir photography and I also photographed headshots and portfolios and of course wedding photography these days I'm not photographing as many wedding says I used to I'm probably down to about ten a year and that's by choice I really find that I liked the diversity that I have with doing a variety of different kinds of things I think it makes me a better wedding photographer to be very good at photographing children I think it makes me a better family photographer to photograph weddings because I'll tell you right now babies and brides are absolutely just alike so if you're a photographer out there today who is just photographing weddings don't minimize the value of an education from someone who also does portrait and you know when you tune in to go she's not talking about portrait's today don't don't feel that that's not going to benefit you because if you can photograph a wedding and you can definitely photograph families and children and you can also do head shots and you could do boudoir because the last time I checked underneath that bridal gown is a girl wearing beautiful lingerie so there's a variety things and that's always been my approach to photography is that one plus one equals one it's all the same you know and whether I was photographing a wedding, my mindset was that's a person that's a woman what what I do to make her happy how can I interpret those moments to make that woman enjoy the experience and that's the same mindset that I have when I'm photographing weddings? I'll just tell you roll briefing about the equipment that I use just so I can do that and get that taken care of you're going to see something a little bit surprising on this screen this morning and that is the word nikon yes, I crossed over to the dark side or I should say that I actually saw the light and you know, cameras don't take pictures but they do help you to do a good job and I had the opportunity recently to test some nikon equipment and I have to say I was really quite surprised I was prepared not to like it because I'm always been a cannon snob I mean, I'm proud to say that I was a cannon's no, I'm not, you know, it's just who I am and I was like, ooh, this is so great I have global I love my white lenses, okay but when I had this opportunity to test to test the nikon glass especially on the d for which is the camera body that I'm using I was like, whoa those those images are so sharp it's just shocking they're amazing I love the color temperature right out of the camera I find that very easy to work with and of course they have a variety of lenses that fit my needs I especially like that fourteen to twenty four millimeter lens that is a great piece of glass on dh then the twenty four millimeter one for you'll notice that with my lenses that I tend to like fast glass I do and I like good glass I won't buy inexpensive land I prefer to buy the ones that are their professional brand and that's because I believe that if you pay once you get it over with and then you have it for a lifetime and you don't have to apologize so I'm not one of those photographers who will say, oh, I'll do this now but then later on I'll get something else I'd like to say bite the bullet by the good stuff then there's no apologies you always have a good foundation and that's important to me I use the sb nine ten speed light which I tested the other day and I was like, wow it's very it's great just a terrific speed light for wedding receptions I just got a really cool toy to play with like three days ago for my friend gerry g jonas and it's called the ice light this is the equivalent to a video light on and I'm here to tell you not on ly doesn't look really cool, but it is an amazing light source to use for wedding receptions for portrait's of any kind then we're going to run it through the paces while you're here in class and I think you're going to find it that it is absolutely julie you have to have I love it I found it just absolutely amazing it's lightweight it's portable and of course it does it's rechargeable so it's just a really terrific tool we're also going to be using the pro photo d one studio stroh's for some of the work we're going to do tomorrow and then we use the rhyme light light panel for bouncing light. I like working with reflectors and I find this one very, very handy to have okay with that said, I'd like to now talk to you a bit about after capture what do you do after you capture? Well, I use simply color lab I use also there simply studio software and in addition to that simply canvas for any of those and when we do our studio to tour, you're going to see this amazing joy enormous composite that simply canvas made for me and I'm not kidding you. When this thing arrived in the box, it literally gave me chills it's five feet by five feet, it's an enormous wall hanging and I'm very grateful to them for providing that they do a beautiful, beautiful job. I had the opportunity recently to go to ohio and meet the owner of simply campus, and I was quite impressed by his entrepreneurial spirit, and in addition to that, the co owner is a woman and I love supporting women based businesses or women owned businesses. I think that's really important not that I don't care for my male counterparts, but, you know let's go for the girls, right? In addition to the guys um, I use absent printers now you're thinking about me thinking to yourself, wait a minute, baby, you talk about simply color and simply campus why in the world are you talking about absent? I love printing my own work, I absolutely love it. I enjoy being able to think of an idea in my head and go well, what if I do this or what if I do that and then being able to work it out and then print it, I'm I just absolutely love it the cool thing for those of you that don't want to do that you know, because not everybody can kind of ford or wants to have the bother and it can be a bother unless you know what you're doing, and I do I like that for some folks not they may not want to do that for those that don't guess what simply canvas uses the very same printers that I do, so I know I'm going to get a great great results and I love their customer service, by the way, I think it's absolutely awesome for albums I used epoca albums out of italy, they do absolutely scrumptious job with a variety of different books, and I'm gonna talk to maura about how albums are important to us in our professional life and how they are money maker for us as the weekend progresses, so I won't get into too much detail on that, but I've got a variety of them there's one sitting right there that's a good war book um a variety of their products that are around my studio you're going absolutely love ah you sand disc, compact flashcards, graphic authority for textures we don't do a lot of textures, but when I do use them, I used graphic authority, I believe it's kind of like salt and pepper you used very sparingly on on an image or two, and if you want to see how beautiful those textures look if you go to this little boudoir book and see that you'll see some of their beautiful background layers and such in that boudoir album I used adobe light room and of course obviously did toby photo shop we use both of them I don't just use light room because personally sometimes I feel like a nut sometimes I don't and so what I mean by that is that sometimes I like some of the light room presets which brings me to photoshopped actions and preset I love love love you're avants a black and white actions and more importantly his black and white infrared actions my very favorite it's the most true to life infrared action out there on the on the market in my opinion and I will tell you I'm a girl who grew up with infrared film so I know what the real stuff actually looks like that was before any of your time right here because you guys all just probably just were digital shooters from beginning so I love your wants actions for that craig minnelli I love his beauty bar I use it every single day for enhancing a face I'll work just slightly maybe the eyes on a subject and just you know obviously clean up the skins on make sure that they're nice and smooth I don't go across the bridge of no return when it comes to retouching I don't want to see that that I don't want that face. You look so, you know, so smooth at that it looks artificial and I do not retouch baby spaces so that they look like plastic dolls. S oh, and by the way, you're not going to see any angel wings here in my studio just so you know, we took him and all put them all away. No, actually, we don't ever have any. Marcus bell has beautiful light room presets. He to me is the master of black and white actions and presets they look the most, like really black and white there absolutely gorgeous. Kevin cambodia has some amazing lightning presets as well. I love his vintage delish set. And of course, triple scoop music gives me a fabulous, fabulous music that I use literally all the time. We do not use popular music for our slide presentations. Michael's going to show you a little bit about our slide shows and how we do on actual sales consultation with a client. We use pro select to do that and I'll tell you right now, in my opinion, pro select is the best tool on the market for actually being able to do sales with clients. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to be able to figure it out. It's not, you know, you don't have to spend hours and hours and hours working the product to make it work. So with that said now, I think it's time for us to do a little bit of a studio tour, right? Right, teo, I'll just I'm gonna walk you real quickly. Just around a studio. This is our main camera room here. A cz you can see we have large windows around the almost the entire studio, and I love this. We used mostly window light. Tomorrow you'll see me working with studio strokes because there are occasions when, when the session will call for that one of the sessions we're going to do tomorrow afternoon is old hollywood glamour for a client. And so because of that, then we're going to set up our studio strobes and make it very old hollywood when we need to close and block out the sunlight. Then we have these large panels. Uncle mike. Um, our collins. You know what? Those panels what do they call the ones that we have that we blocked the window? Okay, that's, I thought you got has got about home depot, right? Call the insulation panel yeah, they're just insulation panels from home to you but I don't know about that stuff it's kind of like prissy I don't know nothing about birthing no babies well that's me you know okay that's your first quote of the day so any rate I love movies titles movies always inspire me with all kinds of one liners and I love one liners. Okay? So anyway, so if we need to we can block out our windows with instant with these panels and I like it better than drapes because they're there they move out very, very quickly it's also I like just framing my windows I'm really proud of the decor in my studio I like that kind of clean, understated look, I think it really works very well. I have a variety of sets within the space this is kind of my set for boudoir, something that's just a bit softer on dh then of course we'll use we have a couple of old doors and I'm gonna talk to a bit more about how we use our old doors pretty soon in a few moments you notice I'm not hanging hundreds of pictures on my walls and the ones that are on my walls are quite large it's because I want nothing to do I don't want to have so many images in it that you get distracted and that you can't see the beauty of an image so I'd like to have then yet where we have an image featured all of our photographs that are on the walls here are on those little where there's things called calling those little plastic, dutiful aggies, they're about this big, and then they had that little sticky stuff that you can take off the wall. Oh, well, they're all mounted that way, so because we use our walls just the wall, we don't use backdrops, we use just the walls, which is why I painted them the color that I did, so that there'll be a nice, beautiful, neutral tone for for as a backdrop. So they come off the wall quite easily, and then you can put it back up, it's very, very simple, of course I don't do it, my staff does it, which is great because I wouldn't know how to do that kind of stuff. Um, we project everything that we do on our large monitor right here, and that way, when a client comes in for a portrait session, we invite them to come back for a viewing. We do not show our port, we don't do portrait's and show them online, I don't believe in doing that, and I'm going to tell you, I can't tell you that I've never done it and I've got a little rubber band around my hand to remind me to snap it every time I get that urge to let a client talk me into showing them their images online don't do it and I'm telling you because it irritates me to death because I do it I've done it too and then you have a client you find on your web site or on your facebook page and bless their hearts they don't know that it's wrong to do that and they take and they take screen captures of your beautiful images and they post him and then they take him to school for their kids and make little collages and stuff and they've not been paid for and this is our profession, so I'm really learning I've got that little rubber band around my wrist to snap me when I when I have that weak moment and I'm gonna let a client talk me into doing that weddings absolutely we'll put him online all day long I like weddings online because I'm well paid to get there. I don't my profit is built into my coverage we'll talk about that more on that day so that's this particular vignette said this might be used more for boudoir and now we're going to take a perusal this way right in this room right here this is our print room and this is where colin and mike will actually they'll actually take our prints and we mount wth um we don't just hand a person a photograph we take those images and we mount them on and we have a beautiful way of presenting them to a client we put them on mats we have these gorgeous mats that we use for client work okay? They're a pli so they're absolutely gorgeous because people pay a lot for my product from my my beautiful portrait and I want to make sure that they get something that is absolutely fabulous and that it looks expensive and it looks like it validates what they've paid for for that particular product this is another one of our vignettes right here this is a fireplace mantel for any of you have ever seen some of my image or you might actually recognize this now here's the cool thing about this mantle first of all it's completely movable we don't mounted on the wall on purpose because we like to move it all over the studio depending on the time of day now you probably want to get it kind of wobbles little wobble around well because you've probably seen pictures where I have girls sitting on top of it well this is the clever thing if you move it away from the wall about this far you see all these trunks right here there's a reason for these trunks what we do is we stack them behind the wall I mean behind the fireplace mantle so that we have a stable environment from behind we have this much space for her for the gala were doing boudoir pictures or whatever for her to put her little heinie behind that which is great, by the way it's going to make something look slimmer, you just took that big girl the big bottom behind and let it drop off the back of that and guess what it takes off, you know it'll take off some pounds or whatever, so it looks really pretty on then in front to keep the fireplace mantle from falling forward, we stick one of our couches in front so that if a model or somebody fell off, they'd fall on the couch, it would hurt themselves so it's a real practical way for me to have somebody to be able to use a variety of my props because I get bored very easily and I will always want to change and try something new. I really like I love being able to go well let's, try this let's move here I don't I don't have that little string attached to my life so that I could only go here, I think that's absolutely the stupid thing in the world I want to be able to be a free spirit and some days depending on the subject that you're working with you may have a complete idea on how you want that photo shoot to go and then they show up and then you realize they weren't who you thought they were and I liked to taylor my photos segments to the clients that I'm working with. Okay, now come on with me this is our high key area and as you can see, I have sheer fabrics here. Now this is one of the other things I'm so proud I feel like I'm colin's mom, because I'm so proud of this during kid, okay? One day I was I was making mike hang these shears from our ceiling on our on those red bars up there, which which are like sprinkler systems, which is probably not the best thing and so I was saying, you know, I'd love it if I just had some way to attach these these beautiful pieces of fabric and so colin go well, what if we made like a a t bar and I went, they'd be great, so I came back from from on assignment and looking lo behold, he had created these wonderful tea bars and got the bar from home depot and what's really great is they swivel so we can move them around the environment and move them around the studio so come on back this way now I'll show you my little high key area we have a wall over here now that is it's it's a light very very light grey and we do lots and lots of porch it's here you see sometimes I want a lighter tone background but in addition to that sometimes I also want a flatter light source because flat light can be very flattering for certain faces if you have a face that's real angular or very long and you want to broaden that face a little bit then using a flat light source is a really great way to do it you'll notice that we have these little pieces of plastic sticking in the windows right here these air just like from tap plastic nothing fancy they pop in and out of the window very easily so like right now you see the sun is actually coming in the window right here you'll see it right back here and so if I were doing some portrait sessions in this area this could give me kind of a little bit of ah you know, a strong light source and as the sun moves across this way lead be even brighter so these beautiful pieces of a pig platt plastic really helped to soften that light source of it um in addition to this area we have another beautiful gray wall which gives us just a different alternative and this by the way it's one of the fabulous doors that I had my friend carrie clayton you're going to meet her in a little while that she chopped painted for me and these air just phenomenal so we have lots of different props that we move around this is our printers of the ninety, nine hundred the eppes in ninety nine hundred and seventy nine hundred so we can print quite large and I'm going to talk to you more about printing large a cz the time goes on during the weekend because I print like for our bridal show boose or I will also print for our if we work with a hair salon or a bridal salon it's a great way to print a very large banners it's yours you can go into their song and such and so it's a really great tool so now I'm going to take you into the throne room okay, you guys are sworn to secrecy and just so you know, the messy desk is behind I totally claim it but you know what they say about a cluttered desk okay, come on said this is our r this is the command center. Okay, um and this is collins desk which is all nice and orderly and colin is our production person he's looking handles all of the production and we have client folders as you can see appear we write the name of the client on the back side of the folders so that these air active projects that we have going so you know, if we have a project that we've got going where we still are waiting on prints to come back or we have some framed pieces that we're waiting on our albums, this is where you find them and we have up at the top. We'll have albums themselves when they come in, we put him up there until the whole order is ready to go. In addition to that, this is our wall where colin keeps me and mike out of trouble all basically because he basically tells us what to do. He says, okay, we have a meeting, a production meeting every monday morning, and colin will sit and talk to me and mike and say, okay, you know, michael, how is this project going or when are we going to do what do we have the the sales consultation for this client and so forth? And these are the various steps that have been taken on different client orders that we're working on, and I think this is really helpful for us because it keeps us, keeps things organized, and it keeps us out of trouble and keeping clients happy because at the end of the day, it's really, really important that your clients if you drop the ball on this service and then you've lost a client I don't care how great a photographer you are back in this corner is an area where we keep all of our camera gear um and then walk this way uh I just want to show you real quickly the most important room in the entire place this is the meditation room. This is where all of the really important work is done. I'm sure um when a client comes into my studio this is the first little area that they see this's just model for your area and then as we walked through this is the first at the entrance to the camera room. That big piece I was telling you about from simply color this is it. I mean, you have to admit is that not just incredible? I just love this and I have to thank colin and michael last night because they sat up they were here to like nine o'clock last night making sure that this got mounted on the wall correctly. I mean, as you can see it's it's all separate pieces but my goal is to create a really interesting things so that clients when they commit the issue they have something else to talk about whether a client will ever purchase a piece like this I think yes, in fact, I think somebody would purchase this that would not buy a regular wall portrait like that because it looks more edgy, it's more of an art piece it's not like a big picture of their family, so I think it has to be the right kind of photograph I think it's much it's younger and it's contemporary, so I've got some families in mind right now that I just did some photographs for that. I think this would be a great fit for so my goal is to create a variety of different products and viewpoints for each client, which leads me to my little area right here, where I have my couch, all of the furnishings in this entire room we use for photography, this couch is down filled, so it's really comfortable I love having families lay on the couch quite often when I'm doing a family portrait session, I'll have them lay on the couch and we put the kids and have him sit on the back of the couch. I want real cozy, warm, fuzzy families it's in a neutral color. I bought it from restoration hardware store, but there's an outlet here and I want you to know I'm not cheap, but I'm very, very I guess maybe I am a little chief, huh? But I'm sorry I'm not ashamed of that I like to be able to be you know, to get things at a discount I'm not um I'm debt free and I think that's important I don't live in extravagant lifestyle and you'll see when you see my home that I'm not living in some big mansion but I really believe that I can tomorrow morning if I decide I want to do something else I have the freedom to do that and I really liked it and I think it's about you know what is your quality of life I still have time for my family my son and daughter no live next door to us is there a better life than that? And my two grand puppies lived next door no grandchildren yet but we're working with we're trying to work on that wish the cans and start working on that but any right that's a whole another story so this is that vignette you'll notice it's not a huge couch again it's on rollers thanks to call and we roll it across the floor with I can actually do it myself it's very very easy we have a couple of variations from coffee tables these coffee tables right here we're super expense inexpensive I think I paid like sixty dollars apiece for them they had these little plastic white covers on them so I went over to the fabric store to joanne's fabrics and I found some really cool though snake skin that I just liked the texture, and so I brought him to the studio. I just kind of said, it looks like it's about that big, and I just cut it myself, and then I stabled it on the back, I mean, it's really silly? Um, this chair right here is one that I bought from restoration hardware store as well, and I loved it because when I first saw this chair, I said, I see babies, can you not see a naked baby sitting in this chair? I so can. So basically, this is one of my favorite environments to shoot in is this area right up here? And then over here, this is the last environment, and you probably if you've seen my wreath that work, you can tell, I'm a little bit obsessed right now with trees, I can't help it. I saw this in san francisco, I went to the flower market, and if you go after ten o'clock in the morning, anybody can go, you don't have to be a florist to go after ten o'clock, and I found this fabulous resource at the florist on the floor of the far mark that had these big trees that have been bleached out, and I literally fell in love with it, I mean, the color tones are just just exquisite. And then this is my big score of the century again. This came from my favorite store restoration hardware store in the store. They wanted, like, fifteen hundred dollars for it. Well, I found it at the outlet store because they were closing it out. I got it for two hundred and forty dollars. And again, I said, I see baby sitting in this I like is you can tell I like I'm an extremist. I like black and I like white and I like things. I like things that are much more of a contrast. So I like hard and soft and so, which is why sometimes I want something hard like this with something soft and fuzzy and fluffy, like a baby or something that nature. So any rate that's, the real quick thirty second tour of my studio, one of the other things I want to mention about my studio space is that this studio are this in this entire complex is filled with artist filled with artists. There are painters and sculptors and people that work in glass, and it is truly inspiring to me. And I feel that photography is just one more art. I've discovered by the way that hairstylist and makeup artist are in the same boat with us they're nothing more than artist just like we are and in the beginning when we first moved here, some of the artists were a little bit like oh, you're just a photographer you know, they get a little bit like, you know, they were just a new idiot with a camera, right? Just somebody with a camera and and now I think that you know, I hope that by are being out here that they've seen that that the camera is a tool like a paintbrush is the tool and that that wonderful tool in the hands of an artist can create a masterpiece and the same is true with photography that it's in in in the hand of somebody who actually knows what they're doing then you could do something remarkable um yes family we have a time of question oh, great good out the studio tour would be a good time yeah, this is great. Okay, fantastic. So a question from duel to two zero one what is the minimum size that you would say is a usable studio? You know, that's a great question I don't think I don't know that there is a minimal size I know a photographer jennifer rosenbaum in fact, you guys are going to have the great thrill of the hearing her in a couple of weeks that creative live isn't she went she coming to creative live february fourteenth through the sixteen mark your calendars valentine's day but I'll tell you what jennifer gives me chills she took my class like last summer she took my blood war class and she came in and she's showing me her work and I remember thinking distinctly in my mind I'm going home my goodness what is she doing here? I don't think okay let's see how she do that shot you know she's just amazing she's just brilliant she's out and she's not only is she a talented photographer but she's a really sharp girl she's really got it going on and so I hope that you'll come and join her program and I think her studio of spaces like three hundred square feet so it doesn't have to be it doesn't have to be huge like this is but what I think is really critical is that if you have a smaller space don't put tons of furniture in it if you put too much stuff and it makes it look even smaller and it makes it look cluttered and it makes people feel claustrophobic so I would make sure that the tones that you put on the wall the color tones they need to be lighter tones in my opinion so that makes it not look so so so cavor cavernous are so so dark, brother so I would say there's not necessarily a limit on that one thing. Another thing I would say and in just a moment you're going to see where my studio first wass my first home when I started in photography, I worked out of my home, so do we have other questions? And then we'll go on to that we have plenty on dh let's see along with what you were saying I j bowers wondering I would love to know the color and paint that you've selected for the walls I know it's a little detailed but need to paint the wall they need to paint their well soon, and this would be terrific to know what it's like to know if you use flat or satin paint fabulous question okay, now what I need you to do is I need them to hold on to that question till sunday because on sunday you're going to meet the design team from loretta. They're a little design company here in my building, and I literally waltzed into their shop there design architects uh just out of the blue one day because I was visiting my friend carrie clayton who you're going to meet in a few minutes who's an artist and I walked into their space and I was totally at a loss I know what I like I know what I like, but I don't know how to make it happen and so I basically hired them to come in and it's to help me you need to give me a blueprint not a literal blueprint but a step by step instructions. What do I do? So I was going to paint my studio that weekend. So what do I do? I brought them in and before because I know everything right before they gave me their paint swatches I found this nice color of gray and I thought, well, let's, just paint the floor we're going to do the floor it's going to be gray anyway, right? So I painted it this beautiful what? I thought gray and then the next week they show me these beautiful paint swatches. And of course, the great that I picked out for the floor was so incredibly blue it was awful and looked at that and what? Oh, crap. I'm going to have to repaint my floor, which I did. It was it was an expensive lesson, but the thing I loved about them is they helped me to put a harmonious palette together and that's one of the things that I want you to be able to understand is the importance of harmony, of color, harmony and of creating a gn underlying palette so that your studio looks so that you can create a variety of looks in your environment and your not locked into something because you're stuck with a certain paint color, which basically is what I had before night my walls were already in here great question, all right, so good a great question just starting out this workshop is from cherry how important do you think it is to have a studio? Would you suggest making it a priority to upstate obtain a studio space for those like me who do not currently have one? That is a great question, which is a fabulous segway two in the beginning you guys are in for a very rare treat because you're the first people to ever see where I came from. I'm here to tell you I didn't start from some fancy environment. I come from a very blue collar family, I am not wealthy, I never was wealthy and when my husband and I moved to california in nineteen eighty one, we literally moved here with ten thousand dollars because we sold our house in georgia for forty two thousand dollars and made ten grand well within three months we were completely broke. Within three months I had to go get a day job and so no, I did not become a photographer, I became an executive secretary, my boss loved me because I'd go get him coffee uh, I have a I have I'm very proud to say that I have a two point o g p a from hard way high school just so you know, don't be messing with me because this chick is really smart, you know what? I know I didn't I didn't attend college or anything like that on I'm not minimizing college, I think it would have saved me from a lot of problems, but I'm one of those people that I have a hard time learning from a book and it's really ironic now because I co author of three books with skip cohen on photography but I will tell you I'm not that just wasn't my thing learning from a book if I if I see it, which is why I love the creative live experience I am doing it I mean, next week I will go out and do it I'll make it happen, but I can't get it from from reading a manual, which is why it took me like three hours when I'm reading the nikon manual because everything on the nikon is different it's opposite like the lenses they focused they go this way to focus cannon goes that way, all the buttons are on the different side and everything is completely opposite, so it took me three hours to figure out how to work the camera was really hilarious so anyway, to make a long story short by the time my husband and I bought our first home in california, we couldn't afford to spend a lot of money and I will tell you one of the biggest lessons I learned from that experience was the importance of location, location, location so let me show you without further ado my first home in california, I thought it would be really helpful to you all today if we want a short video tour of where I started from the first home that I bought in california was I purchased it in nineteen eighty nine now coming from a girl from being in georgia, we paid thirty two thousand dollars for our house there. Well, when we moved to california, buying a home was very much more expensive even in the eighties it was still over one hundred thousand dollars to buy a house, and so needless to say, I was still trying to get my photography business up and running. I did work out of my home for quite a few years and no, I didn't start with some fancy location or anything really crazy like that I started in very modest surroundings and these are the surroundings that I had now like many of you, I didn't have a great deal of disposable income, so I couldn't afford to get a big studio environment and hire employees and such and as you can see, this environment is not exactly, you know, the ritz carlton could we say so I had to think of some ways that I could make what I had look appealing, so the first thing I did was I made sure that my clients came to my home after dark. You see, after dark, they couldn't see that my neighbor parked his car in the front yard. No, not in the driveway but in the front yard. Nor could you see the beautiful oil refinery. We're very, very close to one of the oil refineries here. You couldn't see it during the evening at at night. In fact, it just looked like the emerald city, so it was it looked beautiful at night and looked very romantic. That was the first step, and so for you all, if you live in an environment or you work out of your home and your environment is not perfect, let's think about some ways that you can make the best of what you have. So I made sure first of all that they came after dark step to us is that as soon as they came to my house, it was very well illuminated had beautiful little lights up above above the ground said they could could like their path very nicely as they came up to my house. As soon as they came to my front door and walked inside, I wanted to make sure that they forgot everything that was outside, so I made sure that the room was absolutely spick and span very, very clean. I hope that you've enjoyed this short, little tour of my first home studio and environment, and I hope that it gives you encouragement and that I've been able to give you some simple tips for making some progress in your business. So, you know, as you can see, my first home wasn't in some really fancy location, I would say to you, if you, you know, if you're looking for a new home to buy by the smallest home in a nicer environment, then by the biggest house in an environment, that is not quite as nice, but I don't believe that that is the key to your success. I really believe that it's all in how you look at things, so a said, if I had, if my street west and all that great looking, or if I had the oil refinery right down the street, I just made sure that I made that look the best that it possibly could. When they walked in the door, I had a room designated as the room that I was going to show clients their images and that was just for them that was the one night because I became a mom when I started in photography. In fact, I was nine months pregnant my first year in business I literally I got pregnant like december and then I started in photography and like january and then my son was born in september, so I don't know the math you do the math, something like that, but but the point is, is that that first year that I was in business that I was doing photography I was pregnant and so I really understand how it feels to be a mom and have to juggle a lot of different things and and I gotta tell you, I enjoyed working out of my home and at the time it was a great tool for me because as my son grew up and when he went to school when he came home from school, guess what mom was there and I don't think you can put a price tag on that. I think it's really important we have to we have to be balanced and I know that there's a lot of those moms out there click and mom's I think is one of the folks that it's that's here today as well and I would say for any of you knew photographers or those of you and and there's, a lot of men that are also the state home moms and they're also trying to be a photographer, too. I would say, make the best of what you've got, have one room that is designated for photography. Don't let your children play in that room, don't have toys in there, or if you do let their blimp plan there that's the room that you make sure that it is spick and span don't put tons of furniture in it. I have a few large portrait's in it that will showcase your work beautifully and then went and dress appropriately. This is what I wear. If I've you are working the client accept, I'll wear my dress pants. I do not dress casually in my home. I want them to think I'm a business. I want them to recognize that, yes, I work out of my home, but I am a business and I think that's really critical and that's absolutely the key to my being successful today, so don't be discouraged, but think about that. When when my son was small and I had clients coming in my husband that was the one night of the week that he would take our son and they'd go do men things they'd go to chuck e cheese they would go you know they'd stay upstairs and my husband will read my son books because our son cameron of course the entire universe revolved around him as a child you know, one child's kind of like having a pit it really is it's easy lots people will baby sit your child so it's easy to arm or my hat's off to you women it's it's really? You know really cool so the moral of the story is I think that's really important, so I hope that helped to answer a couple of that question. Now let me show you where my next studio wass and that was in my home that I currently live in and as a city I don't live in an extravagant lifestyle but I'm debt free and I think that that is very important because that means I can have I can have I save my disposable income now for the things that are important to me I can afford to decorate my student could afford to buy that camera things of that nature that I want and I think that it's I have a comfortable lifestyle and I believe that that in today's society that one of the biggest problems that we face is that we put so much pressure on ourselves because we get into serious debt and I would say to every one of you here, if you have to borrow lenses dot com instead of buying every single thing you have to have don't don't buy into that feeling that you have to buy everything now and get into serious debt because it steals your joy it means you have to just have that monkey on your back all the time instead of being able to enjoy your creative process so take it from mom let me tell you that is truly one of the most important things oh, I got a couple things to show you before I get that I forgot about this part. Okay, you want to see where I was in nineteen eighty seven? I want you to get a look. This is one of my first weddings that I shot. Okay, how much should I charge to shoot a wedding? Four hundred and twenty six dollars. You know what's really scary about that is that there are photographers today in two thousand and thirteen that are charging four hundred twenty six dollars to photograph a wedding it's really embarrassing it's shocking and boy, let me tell you there's one thing I hope that all of you whether you work out your home or not we want to become more profitable so that you don't have to do that it's just just awful and then look at it included eighty to one hundred previews they could choose twenty four eight by ten cell it also included on album for goodness sake ok so obviously was I making any money probably not I was paying my client for the privilege of photographing their weddings right so take this to the bank well there's going to tell you this isn't a good thing to do um okay this is kind of a photography that I did circa nineteen eighty seven beautiful portrait okay but what you can't see this is going to make you die laughing okay you ready for this? Try the fact that this was shot outdoors oh yes in nineteen eighty seven what were we thinking we would take this painted blue background outside and we would photograph our families and our brides us outside with a blue background what is wrong with this picture? It just makes me die laughing so I just had to put this in so you know the thing is is that what you do today isn't gonna be where you're going to be tomorrow and you have to be willing to be adaptable I think that's what's really important so learn to be adaptable okay, now this is where my home is now hi welcome to my home I felt that it was important photographers that air working out of their home to see where I came from because, you see, for many years I also worked out of my home. When my husband and I bought this home in nineteen ninety four, I selected this home primarily because I loved this room. This is where I wanted to meet clients it's completely separate from the rest of the house have to french doors that open up. And that way I can keep a very private area for just clients. And for those of you that work out of your house that's, the first thing I think you should do is designate a particular room that is just for clients. No kids, toys, no, no paraphernalia of family things, but just something that is designated for just your business. So come on in and tell you a bit more about how we did it. This is where I would have sat teo interview with clients, wedding albums and such would be right on the floor next to me, I believe it's important for me to be in charge of what they see. The first question I'm gonna ask any bride when I interview with her is telling about your wedding gown and that way I know which album to show her first because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This wall that you see here now covered with mirrors is a wall that I wouldn't have my prints hanging on. You'll notice it's directly opposite the client and so it's it's very visible to the client. In addition to that it's very well illuminated with light, I think that's a really important that you and I spend the money toe light our prince well, as you can see, this is not a role opulent room and especially there's, not tons of furniture and I think that's important because I don't want to have lots and lots of brushes. It makes the room to clutter and makes a small room look even smaller. I've enjoyed this little second this morning. This is hope will help you to appreciate that you don't have to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You don't have to live in some really opulent place to create art and have an environment when you're working out of your home is a photographer. The most important thing is, is that clean that it be inviting and then be simple and that it highlight your photography?

Class Description

Are you thinking about creating, revamping or maximizing your home or studio space? In this creativeLIVE photography course, Bambi Cantrell shows you how to take everyday materials to design stunning shooting spaces, and how to use available areas such as doors and windows for special effects. You'll discover how to use your marketing money in the most efficient way, including strategically working with local businesses, auctions and bridal fairs, as well as how to create a strong marketing brand. You'll come away from this photography course with everything you need to identify and create inventive shooting spaces, a strong marketing plan, and a new look for your business!

In this in-depth look inside Bambi's studio, you'll see all of the materials and processes she uses, including how she scours thrift shops for props and sets up her award-winning shoots.