Pricing for Profit
Now I want to talk to you about we're going to talk about pricing and marketing and ways that you and I can create a variety of experiences so that we can be able to charge a little bit more but more importantly that we could be more profitable you see, you don't have to charge a lot of money to be a very successful photographer it's not how much you make it's, how much you get to keep and in my career is a photographer. As I mentioned to the other day, I started out as a wedding photographer and to this day I still photograph weddings but I also love photographing I photograph people so I will do boudoir photography I will do fashion and I will also photographed lots and lots of children because they're people the last time I checked their people and and there's like a common thread that runs through all humanity and that is we want to be noticed we want something about us it's got to be about the client and so I never goto a photo session with it's about me absolutely never it's neve...
r about me it's about them and it really bothers me so many times when I hear a photographer say something like well, you know it's not my style and I won't do that because it's either my way or hit the highway I am sorry you know we're not curing cancer here, okay? There's more than one way to do something and I believe it's imp important to embrace humanity, not try to put them in your mold why not love who they are? You know? And I just think that's just so important that's so fundamentally important when you're in a craft where you capture the person's soul on, you know, through the through the lens of your camera you know, I just can't even comprehend the thought of no it has to be done my way it's like taking a child I'm putting it in front of that blue background and requiring that they stay right there and they better smile and the reason I came up and I learned that lesson I learned it the hard way with my son cameron when camera was about four years old I had a lot of blue background as you all saw earlier this weekend I had that blue background and I wanted to do some port of him, so I took him and put him on that posing stool and then I said cameron smile and you know he would smile he kept trying to get off of that store and stool he kept trying to get off and I take him and put him back on it and so finally he was making me frustrated and I said cameron you get your booty up on that stool right now and new better smile for me and I'm not kidding you the child obviously burst into tears who wouldn't right and then I caught myself and I went check yourself before you wreck yourself girl that what you think that line came from the solo for me and I literally I literally did check myself wait a minute what are you doing? You are about to really create something wrong and that's when it made me realize how important it is to just take a deep breath and find out who people are find out who they are or what's going on inside and that is no more important than it is when you do a photograph, children, when you do boudoir work when you photograph weddings and the like I think that's why I believe it's all part of the same who have the woven cloth it's all part of the same thing so when I do a boudoir session I'm really tuned into who that client is who is that young lady? So when I did this when I photographed this young lady I always the first thing I do is not asked twenty questions I'm not going to ask her what kind of photography do you want? I think that's the dumbest question in the universe because how many clients know what kind of photography they want how do I find out who she is that if I'm not going to ask questions how I find out what? Listen well true you can listen but there's something even there's a there's a way that you can find out that will scream literally scream so loud and clear and you never have to open your mouth and you act all of this you should use your eyes what are they wearing? You see not that they're going to be wearing a bustier when they came in the room but how were they dressed? Are they dressed? Do have lots of bracelets on their wrist and and big dangly earrings. I mean, is she wearing makeup? Is she one of those girls that where is you know a nice amount of makeup? Does she want to be noticed that speaks volumes about your client. It tells you exactly who you're working with right away all you have to do literally within thirty seconds you look at that person and you can identify in a in a very broadway the kinds of things that they might do the kinds of photography the kinds of the bend that your photographic experience for them might have as was the case with this young lady when I photographed her I immediately pet her she was willing to wear a crown on her head she was absolutely that beautiful young princess kind of girl love she was just absolutely lovely we do anything I wanted and it did not surprise me one bit when she brought up that gorgeous black bustier was absolutely right on point with her personality and so I chose to photograph her in that style that's why that particular client when I photographed her with those texture backgrounds I knew it would be on point with her you see, there are many clients that would look at that and that it would not work for them like what? You know, there are some people that are very shy or very private and they're very they like a more understated appeal that they would look at that and go what the heck is that? So you really want to become visually in tune with who your client is, who your potential client is so that you can you can properly capture who they are and I'll tell you what if you become really observant make this your your hobby it is absolutely my hobby wherever I'm at, I literally always go and try to think to myself, okay, if I had to photograph her right now, how would I do that? What is kind of I want to see if I could get it and I will tell you I am really good at reading people because I pay attention to what they were and if you think that works for girls that are doing boudoir work, it works fantastic when you're interpreting a family portrait session and also when you are doing wedding photography specifically, when I interview a bride and I'm going to interview a bride this afternoon for you first question I asked them is, tell me about your dress. I want to know about that gown because that'll tell me volumes about who she is, whether she's, the princess that want the ball gown that tells me a certain style that's going to be very beneficial to her and you see, if you adopt this kind of philosophy guess what's gonna happen, you are going to be extremely busy, you're going to be that person that people want to come to, not because you're stuck in a hole and in a rut, but because you understand how to appeal to a larger segment of humanity and you have variety, and I think variety is the spice of life, so let's go farther, and by the way, I want to just mention this to you. This is what our boudoir brochure looks like. This is one of my templates, by the way, that's in my group of templates that are available on control portrait dot com, backslash, creative, live, and you'll notice, by the way, that there's only three images depicted on the cover of this brochure and there's a reason for that I find that when you have too many pictures and too many things on a brochure that it starts making your look look cheap it looks a little bit less expensive and I'll tell you translate that go into the louisville thanh store, go into a gucci store and any of those very fine stores and you don't see hundreds and thousands of things stacked on shelves really tight together that's this is my interpretation of that that it's absolutely interpretation of that so I have one image that's going to really grab you photographically like a nice tight shot of the face on the back cover will be something that's a bit more subtle and then on the front cover is a really grabbing photograph I like red covers I think that they can you know photographs have a bit of red in them are very powerful because red's a power color and it's a strong emotional connection and I really believe that a lot of people migrate to that in fact in competition images that have something red in them score higher generally in my opinion than princess don't it's it's crazy thing but we are motivated by color red um my collection my four boudoir is called the focus on fabulous collection and so this is focus on flirtation I have three different little coverage is their their packages and I like package pricing because packages are very they're harmless and francis to give an example if if I bought this jacket do you think I went into the store and I said, okay, I'd like to buy that that nice little jacket and they said, okay, well, let me show you the fabric goingto pick out your fabrics and you're your buttons and all that stuff and and your buttons or twelve ninety five and your fabrics gonna be three hundred ninety five dollars and the little shoulder pads going be this or that and then you have to pay for the stylist blob of law, right? Wouldn't that be exhausting? So I personally love package pricing? Do we do all the card? Yes, we offer that, but I love package pricing, especially for boudoir sessions. So with our boudoir sessions we have three. The focus on flirtation is a very is kind of our mini session it's a small session it says the focus on flirtation experience gives you a taste into the amazing talent and vision of world renowned photographer bandy cantrell. Bambi is known for her unique ability to minute feel it to manipulate a woman's figure to showcase each and every beautiful curves with flawless delivery. Your private one hour session will take place in miss cantrell's trendy law studio and includes a hair and makeup session, a lovely hand printed archival portrait of up to eleven by fourteen size is including with this memorable experience. So you see how I'm painting also a word picture for you so that you not only are you just doesn't just tell you like logical knowledge, I don't want to just say logical knowledge because what happens when you just start giving people logical knowledge? They start thinking logically, and a logical minded person is not going to spend a decent a nice chunk of change on a portrait session like this. I wanted to I wanted to think illogical. I want to think emotionally, so you need to use emotion driven words. Does that make sense and it's also important? Because side of the brain do you used to read the logical side so he see we already are starting on the logical sides. I gotta pull him to the emotional side. I've got to pull them over and that's really important to women. If we can pull them over to the emotional side, then they will buy from us in spite of what we charge, not because of it and emotion is very, very powerful. Do you know how powerful emotions are? There is so important that do you realize we wouldn't have sin in our world if people thought logically think about that? Would we have what? Anybody go out and have an affair if they thought logically know they'd go no way it's not worth the trouble it's not worth the headache, right? Divorce would become non existent because you were thinking logically oh gosh, I've gotta give her half of my estate in california, right? Yeah, exactly. So that's how powerful emotions are and I'm not talking to you about bad emotions or your negative things but motions air good and that we can tap into that. And so you can if you use that in the way that you present your marketing material and the way that you present your brand that I can promise you you are going to be so much more successful in what you're doing here's. Another brochure in fact, I just created this this morning is also one of my templates, but I wanted you to see this because see how versatile and what you could do to create a really sophisticated look very elegantly and this is again just another simple five by five trifle and I just used to some of the images that I shot during our session yesterday. Now what do you think I'll do with this brochure? Guess where this is going? You got it not only hair salons, but this will also go to my favorite med spa in the bay area in addition to that because the hair stylist they were they did all the beautiful hair in this picture. Guess what is going to go along with this piece in that same hair salon? So you see they'll have my my beautiful brochure in their salon which they're gonna want to give their clients because guess what, look at my pictures on that and guess what? You see that yeah that's my big beautiful print. So are you starting to see how the photographic experience, how it works, how it translates to marketing how it all it's like a circle but because you have to have the interesting photographs that are unique and creative because if you just shoot boring stuff it's not gonna work because nobody's gonna want to show your stuff they're gonna look at it go okay, but if you have some pictures that are exciting that are interesting and I show you how easy that is, if I can do it anybody can. I am so not that great of a creative person but I hang out with people that are and I also take lots of workshops like this kind of thing. I mean, what creative live does I think is amazing because it is a free education I mean really that's crazy and so if you continue to build on that education, then you can build from one photographer should've next and the next and then you put all of the knowledge that you gained from all of those different people and you roll it into a ball and then it becomes you take a little bit from this one a little bit from that one and then your own style develops so that you're not like your event you're not like a copy of him or you're not a baby can't trolled copy but you're your own person and that's where that uniqueness comes in but it's all like little building blocks that's all I am to you is I'm just a little building block to you I'm one of many that you'll have in your career and I think that's such a powerful thing don't let the negativity get in your way they'll tell you it's just so important not to do that there's also something about this that I think it's important for you to know about too and that is look at the color harmony that is critical when you have an image that is this this tone ality this background needs to be in harmony with that this photograph and then also the photograph on the left hand side they all need to work and flow within the same key it looks sloppy and disjointed when you have light toned images and then something that's super dark it looks just a bit awkward it doesn't quite fit on dh so think about that when it comes to your brochures. These little fought five trifle, but brochures air very reasonably priced, you confinement many the color lives I know simply color has them, and the great thing about him is that you can order them in groups of twenty five so you can have a variety and that's really good, because let's say you're working with a couple of hair salons or a couple of med spas or a couple of bridal salons. Do you realize with a bridal salon that you could have a couple of the salons and give them ah, beautiful price she a brochure of your work there and have a big poster again of your stuff hanging in there? Salon that had they're beautiful gowns doesn't get any easier. That's it's great. It really works good. How about for other for family portrait? This is one I did last night. I just mocked this up this morning. Actually, when I came in at two o'clock this morning and notice again, this is a trifle brochure. Notice that I have one image that is emotion invoking that just has that warm, fuzzy hugging feel. All of them are in the black and white family. They're all in that same family and theirs and so you see that harmony again I really just like clean simple images when I want and they open that brochure the first picture they're going to see is this one I find that it's intriguing so they'll see it like this and then they open it and then on the other side is going to be that beautiful hugging picture of the mom with her with her husband or her boyfriend's arm wrapped around her and then what will be on the back side is that beautiful family portrait so that way it gives people a beautiful variety of imagery again all in the same family and you'll notice that my templates are very clean I don't like a lot of goofy stuff I'm not a real fluffy girl out out like curlicues and and whiskeys and stuff like that and the reason I like classic elegance I like things that are understated is that appeals to a very large segment you see if you have everything real flora lee and all fluffy and foofie and everything guess what you get a young bride who maybe doesn't really go that rush you look at yourself that's a little bit that's too cheesy whereas if you just keep it a bit understated and let your fur photography b the showcase see that's the thing too many photographers in my opinion many they tend to they tend to have their their work is a contrast to the brochure, and all you notice is the background of the brochure. You don't notice their stuff, their imagery remember, we're photographers it's about our imagery, okay, so when you're creating a collection of pictures, go through your your lightning catalog as you're photographing an event and you don't have to use the same family across an entire brochure as you go through look, make sure that they're all in the same key, though, that they're all that they work well together, okay? And then pull them and created a folder on your desktop for those images. That's what I have on my desktop in the studio, I have a desktop where I keep photographs that I'm going to use for brochures in the future, and that way you'll have to keep hunt them down. It's real super is simple and because there's just nothing more annoying, and I can't and only reason I know this is because I did all that stuff before colin came in and straightened me out. So that's really important questions before you move on, I do actually have a quick question ok, I'm saying is you did have the same family across that. Would you if you had, like, a really good client that, you know, you loved working with them or, you know, would you consider making a few these like instead of, you know, some client's order, you know, wallace as prince or a small print's not necessarily well is to share with the family, would you consider making one and maybe even printing like, a certificate of authenticity just on the inside of it? And then they can give it to their friends like you want just am his pumps. You totally gave me goose bumps that was brilliant. That was such a absolutely gosh, I'm not kidding, I'm thinking, please, baby, can I remember that with my fifty five year old brandy? Fifty? Whatever it is, I remember that I'll buy, of course, and that alpha male remember it'll be best under bucks I ever spent. Right? So by the end of tonight, I gotta remember that so but anyway, that's a great idea. One of the thing I will tell you that we've done is we have also taken, like the thought, the trifle, the trifled five, five by five brochure. Well, actually, what we'll do is we'll design it so that we have to. We'll design a brochure across two and a half inches across and then another one that's two and a half inches across the bottom, and then we take him to kinko's and having cut him, so now we have twice as many and they're really a cool, funky size so it's a really cool thing to do way will create like some little bookmark something it's like that for our clients so that they could give him out. Oh, one of the thing about this that I want to make sure I mentioned to you we also love doing gift cards and I'll tell you how I came up with this, um, nordstrom every year they send out a beautiful gift card to some of their their their clients, their customers that have used their services during the year will we get there? We got a gift card and it is amazing it's a beautiful car that comes in the mail and it's it's actually a little credit card and it's free it's fifty dollars for you to spend any way you want to, and it just says, we want to say thank you so much for all of your business this year and they just gave me fifty dollars guess what I'm going to do with that fifty dollars, I'm going to take it in there and I'm going to spend it so think about that you have some very good clients I know all of you probably have some people that you would love to be able to have more often why not give them ah couple of gift cards to give their friends because if you liked photographing them, you'll love photographing their friends and I have to tell you that's one of my favorite things this photographing friends of clients and then having those clients become my clients as well for weddings it is phenomenal because they it's like you're like at a family reunion when you start photographing all the different friends that they have and it is so special they come in the room and then you embrace oh it's so lovely to see you baby look at my children now there, there look at how big you've grown since last year when you did their portrait, so giving somebody a gift card, giving them like a couple of gift cards wrap them up for them so that it's totally easy make it really pretty and then say, hey, you know what? You're such a great client I wanted to give you a nice gift here's a couple of just gift certificates for your friends tell him to come in for a portrait session includes a print, make sure that you include a print with it so that it's not just a session and that way, if they wanted to come in for a single five by seven than they could, they're not going to do that. Okay, just so you know, ok, any questions before we move on? Just one quick one? Bambi, um someone and I'm losing I just left the question, but we're asking whether you use a copywriter for any of this for your website or any of your promotion materials. Great question, absolutely, I believe in copywriter I love having a writer, right? Because it can early spell trust me. In fact, I've used there's, a young lady by the name of shawna guards announced she just got married, I shot her wedding. She owns a company called ghost writers and she is a fabulous writer. So if you want somebody write for, you know, I don't have shown us because she just got married. I don't have her new email address, but if you'll remind you during the board the break, I will get her email address she makes her writing makes me cry I mean, it literally makes me cry she's such a great writer she's not inexpensive, but you know what? This is representing your company, so and this is really important your brochures in your look that goes out to the public is number one it is so important it is so much more important than actual pictures is it is so much more important than that and so I would definitely use a writer for that is just makes sense great question all right, this is the inside of my that my brochure and it gives you notice that I'm doing we have somewhere we can do all a carte pricing so if they want to buy a wall portrait they certainly can do so um by the way any front thing from an eight by ten down we charge the same price for you know why there's justice much work in making an eight by ten is there isn't a four by six so I think it's silly to charge like smaller amounts for a four by six why would I do that? It's the same amount you know just it's just us much work so we just keep it simple. Anything from an eight by ten down is a certain specific fee and then anything above an eight by ten of course and they they go up in in price way have we do albums for our clients? I think that's really important you think to be able to provide for them as I mentioned to you yesterday we sell clients almost every person that comes in including our boudoir clients might can you give me my my white that pretty boudoir book the one has the bow on the front could you grab that for me? I won't show you the whole book, but I just want to show you the cover and why I selected what I did with this particular album because this is also another area that you want to think about when you're creating samples for yourself think about the photographs that you're going to use and don't just pick a cover because you think it's pretty think about the cover and what's going to go in that book because again that represents you and if you have a a shoot that you've done that's that has a lots of air and is very soft and maybe a bit on the sophisticated side, then you may want one particular type of album if you have something that's a bit more earthy and like you saw my beautiful leather book that once filled with some fine art nudes that would that's in keeping with that particular style of album. So I try to have a variety of different kinds of albums for clients that's the one I wanted just this one right here, thanks, but this is not one of my good war albums and as you can see, is just very simple, understated it just has a bow on the cover this is by epoca albums and it's, a flush mounted book and then also by the way these are the temple of some of the templates from from graphic authority so it kind of looks like it's a bit nice and washing notice that the template in other words the background it has it that the photograph is in the same key in other words I wouldn't put a dark photograph behind this light of texture does that make sense? Okay so let's go on we got a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time okay so I want to just show you some ways now that are going to really help you to be able to count that cost because you know you can spend a fortune on brochures and you're going to get a writer to write for you those kind of things you want to be ableto to keep it not go crazy right? So here's what you do there are some areas where you can count the cost and that you could be that you can think smartly when it comes to props for your studio when it comes to your studio in general maybe it means you work out of your home and you don't necessarily have a studio well in a few minutes I'm gonna have a couple of fabulous scales from loretta design team are going to come and they're gonna talk to us and show us some really simple things that you and I can do to make our room look more appealing and that are fairly affordable, and in addition to that, I love consignment, shopping, it's one of my very favorite things to do, and I like it because it means that I can change my mind. I can have, I can keep up dating my studio, so I don't get stuck in a rut with the same blue background year after year, and this really is going to help you a lot, because when you have, when you have a client that comes in and then you and they refer you to another client and that other client comes in and they see something different, oh, oh, I got this, then it continues to show people that you are an artist and that they're not just going to come in for the same thing, and a lot of people are really fussy about that. They don't want to have the same things that their friends have, so you really need to have a lot of things in your bag of tricks. W anderson, from south dakota, is wondering when you give out gift cards to clients for their friends to use. Do you implement something of a referral program to the client, say, if you give them three fifty dollars gift cards, offer them a credit for print? I don't necessarily do a referral program, but only because I don't want to like I feel like I'm kind of bribing somebody to refer me I wanted to refer because they just love the experience we really tried to take care of the clients that we have so that they want to refer all of their friends to us and and I'll tell you that that is such an important thing for us to do is to just do whatever you can to be those friends networking, networking, networking remember it's who you know not what you know it's who you know so your clients then they could be free to other people so I don't ever look at it from what you know to try toe to bribe them to do so all right, another question we may have talked about this already, but the question is do you get specific model releases to use your client's in those emotional brochures? Boy, I'll tell you right now that's the best question of the entire weekend? Absolutely. Yes, I am very, very particular about model releases and let me tell you why I'm going to tell you now a little story that I hope will put the chills down your spine and I'm going to let myself be vulnerable to you because I screwed up about fifteen years ago I had a client that I photograph their wedding and they were beautiful cute little kids are just adorable and so I photographed this young lady's wedding and about two weeks after the wedding, as soon as they got home from their honeymoon, I was about to create some new promotional literature from my studio, so I called her, I say, hey, you know, I'd love to get you kids in, and I'd love to do another photo shoot of you because I'm creating some new problem pieces that okay? And they said, yeah, absolutely that be fine, so they came in our rented a tux for the groom, we went out, did a photo shoot, and we have all this great stuff, and I gave them, like, thirty by forty wall portrait, and I'd like twelve pages in their book, I mean, a bunch of different things, and then esso and I did not get a a separate model release for that, you see, it went in the album, so I'm thinking, hey, my model release that I used in my wedding coverage should cover me right wrong. Well, guess what? I forgot, obviously I didn't do that, and then about a month later, after that, I got a phone call from a frame company of big frame company they said, baby, we need some images to fill frames, and I went you know what? I'll use that picture because that's a really good looking photographs and I was about to write my first book on photography and that picture was going to be the cover of my new book. I was writing with skip column so any rate I am so I use this picture in the frame company for this frame company and they sold millions of those frames in macy's all across america. Well, guess what happened. My client, my really good client they were great friends of mine. They saw these frames in, um basis and they went what? Wait a minute, that's my picture? Yes. What? The groom was an attorney all of a sudden he felt that I was degrading his profession and I was, like, two facing his name by putting one of his wedding pictures in there, right? And so he sued me and big people court let me tell you, you don't want to do that. It was and extremely upset. I can't. It chokes me up. It was such a horrible, horrible experience, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me because thank god professional photographers of america has you can purchase liability insurance through them I thank god I did this to get this I had liability insurance. Do you know why I had liability insurance? Because I wanted to photograph on the beach in san francisco and they won't let you unless you have two million dollars of coverage right? So I very reluctantly griping all the way to the bank I'm going I want to go photograph on the beach see it all had to do with photography had nothing to do with being a smart businesswoman stupid stupid stupid right so I said okay, I'll get my policy was eight hundred dollars for the year whatever and I got my insurance so I bought my my policy and when I got the letter that said hey you're going to be sued and big people court and this is not good big people court his million dollar court it's not good um I literally almost had a heart attack I'm literally shaking like this I call the insurance company to go hi uh just checking tio see about my liability insurance so thank god I had my liability policy and I've had it for twenty years now I that's the the happiest check I ever right the moral of that story and the reason for me telling you about that is this that I've made all the don't mistakes you could make I'm not super smart and obviously I should have, you know, paid more attention but I hope that teaches you something really valuable and that good bad things can happen to nice people and that sometimes we do things, and we just get carried away in the moment, and we just, you know, forget or we we think we've covered our bridges, crossed our bridges and crossed our t's and dotting our I's, and we haven't, and so thank goodness I didn't lose my home over that think how you would feel if something like that happening, all it takes is some little kid tripping in your studio or falling down the stairs, and if you don't think that can happen, think again question, because now I'm scared to death, and you should be in about what my model release says and making sure that it says the right thing because mine actually says that I will not sell the image unless it's for advertising or or educational purposes, and they signed that. So does that cover me for everything? You know what? I want to check with your attorney on that? I couldn't tell you, you know, that all I know is that I I have everybody sign now we saw and everything and I have specific model release signed for everybody that does, even if even my wedding clients, if I'm going to use one of their photographs for an ad like I just have, ah, one of my images will appear in an upcoming ebsen ad I had, I went back to the client and I had her sign an additional release even though for that it was a wet photograph taken on a wedding day there is a bit if he has to, whether I'd be covered. If you're going to use anything for advertising, I would absolutely get a separate model released for it and that way it just, you know, it just means you could sleep good at night, you could just sleep good and and, you know, people, you know, it's, you can think you're right and you could actually be right in my case, it was really actually quite gray as to whether my release would have held up in court, but what my attorneys would not go to court because it cost a million dollars to go to court and they say it's easier for us just to pay him some bucks or whatever and get rid of them and that's what happened? So it's, um, one of the things that's just best not to have to worry about that and and the sad part is is you would not believe how many photographers like a percent, do not have liability insurance, many do not, they don't bother, they are nothing will happen to me, right? And yet things do happen and all it takes is one time and you could lose everything you own your home, your cars are your entire livelihood and will be silly so do you have any questions from the internet? There are many people asking it's about you know what insurance company you and just I love one comment abby lillian in toronto says real businesses have riel insurance for real reasons yeah you got that right I think that's a smart that's exactly right and and I think that's why we really need to put on our big boy panties and girl panties and stuff and be making sure that we handle ourselves as professionals and it's really hard for photographers because we're artist and we just you know we're like little butterflies were totally our little butterflies that just flit here and there and just leaving our little sprinkled arlo fairy dust everywhere don't we and so it's important for us to become that business do we have are ready to go okay great so with that said now that we've gone down that path I want to just know how much we're going to switch gears I must show you a little a little clip from a local consignment store hi we're in one of my very favorite places in the world and that is consignment plus in walnut creek california I love this store I literally been here like at least once a week looking for new props for my studio I really want every photo shoot to have something about it that's a little bit unique and that way this client doesn't have the same backdrop and the same field as the images that I'll take for another client and think that's really important in keeping my edge in these tough economic times and in this very competitive world of photography I'm with patti evans, the owner of consignment plus in walnut creek and I wanted you to get to know her because this store is just amazing and I wanted you to see the woman behind the store so tell me, why should photographers want to come into a consignment store? Well, you know, especially in the store the size of ours we have about a hundred things arriving daily wow! And so you never know when something cool is going to walk in the door. Now I love finding new props and I'm in here two or three times a week is there? If I purchased something, can I re consign it back? How does it work? Yeah, and that's a great idea stagers use that concept all the time what? They would buy something and then use it is in a staging project and then we consign it so that they can keep their designs fresh. So if I purchase something and I used it for a shoot, then I bring it back and then I re concern with you is that correct? No that's awesome, yeah thank you so much, patty I really appreciated my pleasure. I'm glad you came in today. Yeah, me too now I gotta go look for some really cool stuff so today I'm looking for a kind of an interesting chair I want something that's got good bones it doesn't have to be perfect looking it just has to look good on camera and we're going to paint it so even if it's dinged up a little bit that's fine with me too I love the bones of this wicker chair I think it's really unlike the way that it's laid out um it's very sturdy and I think that if I paint this a really vibrant color like maybe a short truce or a hot pink that this is going to look fantastic against one of my great town walls something that's just going to add to this really cool pop of color I'm gonna replace the cushion I wouldn't use the cushion at all but I want to have something that's a little bit unique and I just like the way this one feels it's kind of good look to it it was like by the way thirty bucks I mean really one of my favorite sections in consignment plus is the area where they keep framed pieces you know, this is a terrific fine for the photographer just starting out and maybe you don't have five hundred one thousand dollars to have one of your beautiful photographs framed nicely for your studio. Well, here is a beautiful frame. In fact, it's. Quite heavy. I might have to set it down because it's such a heavy piece. It already has a beautiful map inside as well as a lovely bevel. I'll take the old photograph out, put one of my new pictures in there, and I'm good to go such a terrific way to frame some of your pieces for your studio with very little cost. I think this frame us like, what, fifty bucks. I mean, you just can't beat that. I love this. You see, some people might look at this and see well, that's a rug. You see, I see this as a potential prop for my studio. How about a the fabulous backdrop? I love the fact that there's all this texture. This could be really, really an interesting backdrop for some for a very avant garde photo shoot, which I've got coming up in a couple of weeks. It's very inexpensive. And so we are taking this bad boy home on the day. But you've got kind of you get the point of consignment shopping you can find some great deals I'll tell you the framing thing is a really cool cool thing to do that's one of my very very favorite things to find in a consignment store I mean I don't I mean I have some pieces that are in my home that I've spent a great deal on havering framed frames could be extremely expensive now I'm not talking that you would give these frames to your clients of course she wouldn't do that we're going to we're going to sell clients beautiful frames and there were going to buy them new right but if you're that new photography was just starting out and you want a couple of big prints for your studio or your home that you can showcase your work let's face it fifty dollars with a beautiful bevel and you know a nice beautiful mat and a really heavy frame that's a nice way to get you started it only has to look good on the wall I mean if it's if it's not if you don't even have the paper on the back that's okay so does that are you starting to see how you could become a little bit more practical minded sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves we feel like we have to have everything and we have to do it all and have everything perfect right now and I know I found myself like that feeling like that when I was working out of my home and especially when my son was younger and when disposable income especially when you're just starting out is not there and you keep thinking well, I really want the best business and I want my studio to look perfect and then you put yourself under a lot of pressure and then sometimes many photographers put themselves under great financial harm and in very financial jeopardy and I got to tell you that you don't want to do because the more financial jeopardy you put yourself in the more it stifles your craft it stifles your creativity when you don't have to be so worried about bring it home you know having you know having to pay those extra bills you can actually be free to do more things and to try new concepts that you wouldn't have that privilege for us I know every time I've been in her financial stress it really locks my brain up and I can't think creatively so I'm my husband and I live a very simple life we don't live extravagantly we have a very are homeless only nineteen hundred square feet um but we don't have any debt and I'll tell you what that's so great because it really means you're like a butterfly you can literally be free to do whatever you want if you decide you want to go full time as a photographer you wantto stay home a weekend and you don't want to accept two weddings a weekend you know for for over a month instead of four weddings that you have the luxury to do that and you know at the end of the day you can you can always become a photographer in the future, but you can't always get you can't get those years back of being apparent so your kids have to come first and I'm telling you that as a mom first and that that is so important when my son was home, my husband and I were home schooled our son from the time he was twelve years old till he got out of high school and then he went often did you know his what you got schooling and so forth but we home schooled him because we felt that it was so important that we be involved in his education and that took a great deal of time. But I have the luxury of doing that because I worked out of my home, so don't be afraid and don't feel like you have to be that you have to have a studio, you have to be balanced, be balanced about life and say to yourself, okay, you know what? Today I'm going to work out of my home, but I'm gonna make this one room of my home sing I'm gonna make sure that it's fantastic I'm going to make sure it's decorated well and then I'm going to make sure that my pricing and that I have ah prophet built into my my photography well so I could be well compensated for the time I do spend there okay now what I want to do now is some of you gave me some of your pricing material and we're going to review it we're going to talk a little bit about what you do and so I've got a couple of girls by the way thank you so much for giving me your materials to share with folks out there okay, first of all I'm going to talk with let's see uh let's see first of all lauren um lauren yes okay, um I have to tell you, first of all, laura when I reviewed your pricing you're actually not far out of line you're you're not doing bad when it comes to you know to badly you're depressing reports it's it's not it's not great and what I want you to know I want to ask you a couple questions um do you know what it cost you to print on eleven by fourteen photograph? Actually I don't, but when I was creating my pricing I did base it off of my cost of good okay, I don't remember off the top in my head. Okay, but, you know, and I can tell that you did that, that this wasn't informed decision because you weren't completely out of line. I'd love to see you adjust your pricing just a little bit to keep within that twenty five percent. I mean, don't have your cost of good to be more than twenty five percent. Actually, where I found of on issue for me was in your wedding coverage is her coverage is she has a couple of, like, four different coverages. Correct collection, eh? First of all calling your collections. Is that what they call which aren't there called? Right. Okay, by the way, tell me how you present your your pricing to people on the copier paper. Oh, shut eye. Your goodness. Okay, I know that that's problem number one there is okay, but that's care that's why you're here right now. Okay, so obviously, if you want to move up the food chain, you know, you can't hand somebody piece of copy paper with your price. You got that? The first of all, they're not going to look at this and go oh, that's. So cute. And you see women like to keep things you know this is what they do in a bridal fair I think this is so interesting whenever I'm in a show I always give out my broom pushers and I always give my pricing out at the show I'm not ashamed of my pricing I'm proud of it I'm really proud of it so I give it out if they want to know if they like it great and if not and yes it cost me you know two or three dollars to have a brochure made for for a bridal fair but you know what if it's a beautiful brochure they don't throw it away they go oh gosh this is too pretty to throw away it's too pretty five by five size, by the way is a great size because you could also I know that simply can't simply color also has they have dvd cases where you can put a photograph on the front or that their house have slip once for the champ a cd inside that's a great way to showcase for a client more than a couple of images that they would find in your brochure so if they want if you wanted to show them a complete wedding album, do a slide show, put it on that cd, set it to triple scoop music and then you're you're good to go and you're not doing anything illegal and then you can so that you give them something nice and that they don't want to throw away. And so for a bridal show, I love pretty packaging. I'm all about that because it's important for me that that young woman that gets my brochure, that it makes her feel special and that you oh, this is so pretty I don't want to throw away, they won't even write on my brochures, they won't even write about. Oh, no, this is too nice to write on, and I think that's a good thing, because then when they look at the pricing, they don't have a heart attack. They look at the pricing and it's validated by the brochure and here's my challenge, all of you out in the audience and those of you that are here in my studio audience that's what I want you to do, I want you to go find goto a big city and go to a gucci store or in armani store or a y s sell any of those those designer stores. Now, I'm not telling you to go in there. You know, I'm not telling you have to buy in there, but you can learn so much and get a phd and marketing without spending a dime walk into the gucci store and say, do you have a brochure you want to see the way the brochures that they'll give you they are gorgeous there so pretty you would not even dream of throwing them away. I wanted the chanel store in las vegas las vegas is a great place to clean house and buy all kinds get all kinds of brochures from their stores because I have all the good stuff there and in the chanel store walked in and I just was looking at the different things that they had and I said, do you have a catalog? Oh my goodness they gave me this case this box this beautiful linen box that had like this little velcro peace not that you open the box had to cost twenty bucks I mean, it was and then they had a beautiful little catalogue innit that had the different items that they sold in the store but it was like it validated and made you feel special so that you might consider doing that. Now I'm not telling you to spend twenty dollars on a brochure, but I do know some photographers who do that and there and it really validates them. So if you're the photographer who wants to move up the food chain and you're and you want to move up the number one create interesting images number to create interesting marketing pieces that people actually want to keep I can promise you guess where this is going when they leave that bridal show because there's nothing that makes them want to keep it and it just is not warm and fuzzy. Okay, now and by the way, I'm not trying to beat you to death on this, but it's more for the audience. Okay, so she has four different collections collection a is thirty nine fifty. I'm not a bad amount just to give a client, and with that they get seven hours of coverage. They get a thirty page wedding album and two thirty page eight by eight albums, a twenty four by thirty six gallery wrap and a disc of low risk files. Okay, now the one that's below that is twenty nine. Fifty sorts of thousand dollars left less. Rather they get a twenty page beautiful wedding album and they get to twenty page eight by eight flush albums the third collection it's twenty to fifty and they get their beautiful twenty page album and then their disk of images and so forth. Now the reason I brought that up let me ask you which one of these coverage is is you're more popular. Um actually this next year um it wass twenty nine fifty okay, so it's yeah, and I'm not at all surprised the twenty nine fifty one is the second one from the top why do they want to buy the top one? You give them everything they need in the second coverage so this is what you want to think about and this is this is this is you're gonna go home and you're going to make your going to become a star this is so great okay first of all top coverage is unattainable it's you don't that coverage whatever is in that coverage that particular wedding coverage is ridiculously expensive for you how much wood would you feel if you if you were toe say for yourself lauren what would be ridiculously expensive for your you as an individual to charge for something cover someone's wedding while on there it's four grand okay so how about let's just say for it's ridiculously expensive for you it's six thousand ok now it's not in there to be book it's in there because it's the most expensive and there are some people out there that love to buy the most expensive thing because she's a little princess and she got her portion when she was sixteen years older or she got her little vw bug when she was sixteen because she's daddy's little princess they don't want the middle covers they don't want the but they want the very best and you see if it's at the top of the chart it's the very best so your top coverage he needs to be ridiculously expensive for you okay where you want him to go is the next one down so now you move down your next coverage down is maybe your four thousand dollar one and take out the two parent books I'm sorry I wouldn't even why? Why even bother? I mean, so what? You get a few more pages in your wedding album? It doesn't make sense because they get to parent albums with both coverages and they get a beautiful wedding on one comes a twenty page that's okay, but my mom and my groom's mom both get an album so it's your not cost effective at all? In fact, you're losing money on that middle coverage by a great deal because twenty nine fifty, twenty nine fifty for that and included tooth parent books and a bridal album the average cost for wedding album in years maybe a little bit less but the average cost for a wedding album is between six hundred and a thousand dollars for the main book and parent albums air around eight hundred bucks six to eight hundred dollars or five to eight hundred dollars so think about that do the math so actually you're your portrait prices are not so bad but your wedding coverage is you need to do a little bit of work does that make sense? Definitely ok cool so the next time I see you, what do I want to see you do so what? What are you going to do it? Okay, um work on my collections um to basically change the coverage around so it makes a little bit more sense and also make it look a lot nicer, right? And then also one of the thing I would do is I would get away from saying collection a b or c that's a logical thing that's a guy thing that's you know, that's a solution. In fact, one time it was so cute I had this gentleman that was in my one of my wedding classes I was teaching and he goes and he handed me his brochure to critique and the name of his company was wedding solutions. What does that say to you, houston there's a problem on we're going to fix it for you. Okay, how many of us women think we have a problem? No, so it was and it was in the brochure was black and red he's so adorable and it was just it was so cute because it was so guy I was such a guy brochure you could tell amanda made it and it was such a very masculine, strong masculine wording. So think about who your clients are they're not guys, they're women, women are very soft and fuzzy and we we want so we want tohave things flowered up for us so that's the biggest thing those are the things I would change okay, first of all dorina tell me a little bit about first of all is this what you give people? Um I just made that very recently so very few people have seen it. Okay, it is one copy paper usually right. Okay, so but and now is this is this you're like, do this for a living permanently. Okay, frank so basically, then this is what you might give somebody, right? Ok, so obviously, from what I just said toe lauren, we want to change that now are you photographing? Okay, you have packages too? This thes packages easier for portrait portrait sessions, so they're not they're not you're not doing weddings and okay, I will tell you, when I looked at your pricing, you're actually not out of line on pricing you're you're doing okay on your pricing. It's not bad and I thought your your packages are interesting. I like the fact that you've packaged price your your portrait because I think that's really clever to give people so here's a package because they tend to be they seemed in the mindset to be a bit more affordable, but I'd like to see you tweak it just a little bit because there's not a lot of difference your top package for your top collection is only fifteen hundred and then your middle coverage number two is a thousand and you're third coverage is five hundred, so I would move your top went up a lot more. I mean a substantial amount so that people immediately go to the middle and then adjust your other coverage. Escorting lee. One of the other things I wanted to mention is that when you do package pricing it's generally good to have three good, better and best, I'm not saying call them could better invest. That sounds awful, but call them good. I mean, they don't call them good, better and best, but it's the best is like unattainable it's for the little princess that got a portion when she was sixteen years old, and the middle coverage is where you really want them to go, and then the smallest coverage should be el cheapo. It is on attractive, make it unattractive. Do not give them those darn digital files heck, widely won anything else. If you're going to give him everything that they need, you know, in one fell swoop, so I would that would be my recommendation.