Target Marketing for Family Portraits


Building a Profitable Portrait Studio


Lesson Info

Target Marketing for Family Portraits

This is this is truly one of my very, very, very, very, very favorite types of marketing, a waste to get revenue in my studio, and this is a really good thing to do gift cards. What we do is we participate in auctions for schools, primarily and then we also work with charity events like the cancer support center in walnut creek, some of the other local charities I prefer working with local business and local charities. And the reason is that these are my friends. These are people in my own backyard. I want to be able to affect and in a positive way, people right here and I love like I love the cancer support center and, well, not creak, because every single dollar that you send them goes right into the to helping people. And I think that's a really powerful thing and let's face it now for the schools. Is there anything that needs our help more than school, public school? Specifically, they are dying, and so I love working with schools and here's the great thing about working with publi...

c school when you do charity events who comes to a charity event comes who participates in a charity event. People who are interested in supporting that charity that's, right, people here, you said the operative word people that are interested people that come to an auction are interested, so they're not just strangers are there that pre qualifies them already, they're interested, and if they been on auction piece on on a wall portrait or on some smaller prints, then you know that they're interested in family that's something that is important to them, their it's, their step into into your door, they want a family portrait done, you're not having to rattle the trees to go get that business, so I love I love love auctions, and so one of the things that we do is we create we have a gift card that we sent out. They bid on the bid on our family portrait, so we'll send a gift card like this one out to the auction, and we'll say, okay, you know, here weighed like, tio, I'm being began trail, I want to be able to you stayed in your auction, I'd love to give away a twenty by twenty four wall portrait now hears that there's so many benefits to doing this besides the fact that you're helping them this's also tax you can write off here, you're dead your donation so we donate a twenty by twenty four wall portrait to our auctions, and then we also donate some smaller prince eight by tens for the silent auctions, so we do the large pieces are only for live auction and then the smaller donation of the smaller prince heir for eight by ten and it's really cute now, because we're doing this for so long now we're one of the more sought after, you know, products that people buy at schools and so it's, really nice it's kind of made us a little bit more of a celebrity because, you know, people know that I'm not the least expensive for tarver around so well, you're going to donate twenty by twenty four wow, that's really great and it's it's a really nice it is great from a public relations standpoint as well. So basically our gift card says this gift card entitles the recipient to a complimentary studio, our garden family portrait session and one enhanced twenty by twenty four canvas portrait valued at x amount of dollars. Photographs are created by international recognized portrait photographers bambi cantrell and michael van auken at the bottom, it says it has my web address on it and our telephone number, and then it also this is really important to have on that on an auction. Peace cannot be used in conjunction with any other auction, fundraising or special offers only one per household, okay? You know what that's important guess what? Because there's a few people out there who like to just buy more than one and then they go hey this is really cool a bit on like twenty of these things and then I get you know, family portrait for myself like for the next five years or something so you want to have an expiration date we have an expiration date on them a swell are there any questions about this particular yes I thought in california you weren't allowed to have expiration dates on gift certificates. Well maybe you maybe you aren't allowed to have them or I don't know but we I don't know michael are we do we put that on our pieces anymore what's not on this one so maybe when he took it off because it's not you know do they uh so you're giving this away and how do you benefit from this? Okay, how do we benefit that's a great question by repeat business no it's by the actual accession do you think that climb because they bought a twenty by twenty four wall portrait that that's the only thing they come in and have that done okay it's done we bought our twenty way already paid for that we're out of here remember money spent is money for gotten money spent is money for gotten not only that but they didn't buy from me they bought from the auction they benefitted a charity, so they come into my studio and we aren't going to just take one picture and that's such a good question, because that leads me to the style of photographs that you want to start taking and want to start covering that. Now that you want to think big term big think about ways that you can enhance the experience once they come in for that free session, because basically there, coming into your giving twenty by twenty four so you that maybe a wall portrait that she won't you're obviously not going to sell him that well, what could you what else could you sell them? In addition to that, we'll part how about upgrading it? Because the twenty by twenty four it's, not all that big one of the benefits of a studio my sizes that a twenty by twenty four looks pretty much like a postage stamp on the wall. It looks pretty small, it doesn't mean in your mind, you think twenty twenty four that's shine enormous, but then when you start seeing it on a wall it's like, well, maybe it's not so big after all, one of the reasons we have our couch area in the back is that we hang a big print over that couch. Um, one of the reasons that we have a sixty inch monitor is that we want people to see their image is large, we want them to see them as big prints, which is exactly why I do not believe in showing portrait sessions and those images online. I do not believe in it because they see them as a little bitty picture. How can you get something to buy a large print if they're seeing it in a small format? Here's another one of those card, this card entitles the recipient to a family portrait session and one enhanced eight by eight by ten museum matted portrait print valued at five hundred twenty five dollars for chester, created by international recognizable mob of applause and that's what they this is sent out for these smaller auctions. In addition to these pieces, we also sent to the auction a twenty by twenty four beautifully appointed wall portrait, and then we'll also send them a smaller piece for the for the silent auction. So in one auction will have maybe we sometimes we'll have two pieces in one auction, the eight by ten section and then those those that want to purchase the wall print, but I will tell you this is so powerful, especially during the slow season like, I think want to say january through like april is auction season. And that is the season for doing I mean that's our dead time right that's when we're not super busy so it's a really good time to get people in and it's great because once you get into one auction it becomes easier the next time that you that you enroll in it but here's the deal if you're going to do auctions you better make sure that you're showing images that look a little bit different if you don't I promise you you're going to have people just going you know okay so what what's different about it so provide a variety provide a show a variety of images on your web site of the different kinds of things that you could do which leads me to lifestyle portrait and this by the way in my opinion is one of the reasons that many photographers are not being successful in our craft because what they do is they have a client come in the studio and they go sit here tilt your head this way tilt your head that way turn your face this way the hovel blue background a green background in orange background and then maybe to get really crazy and convert something to block and white when in reality here's the thing first of all if you want to move up the food chain if you want to be able to deal with the maura fluent client they want you to come to them they want you to come to them many of the I have I have a couple of clients who would have never been to my studio they have never been to my studio on day nor the norwood they guess what there doctor goes to their house so there are some people who just don't wouldn't do that. So in that case learn tio broadened out and incorporate lifestyle portrait's now you can do life self portrait in your studio you don't have to go to a client something I'm going to show you some examples of that in a little a little later but when you can go to their home do it it is well well worth the investment because what do you do with a lifestyle portrait is you start it's it's a way of showing them their family or their children as individuals at the age that they are and not just as in a studio once that you don't want and once every six years this can become their family tradition that you document their children every single year and I'm here to tell you you can only put so many wall portrait's in a client's home before they have a shrine going okay, but who could not put an album in there that home once a year and I tell you we sell a ton of albums I use epoca albums for my ellen company and we order literally hundreds of books we order almost every one of our clients buys an album of pictures because we do it lifestyle we do it in the lifestyle way the lifestyle photography is a bit more sophisticated in my opinion than just, you know, standing with your background kind of look it's just a bit softer and a bit more human and a bit more personal to that particular family so here's a few examples of lifestyle imagery I shot this in this client's home here in walnut creek and I started with the little boy and I got to tell you with this child he has the attention span of a gnat I mean he's like squirrel you no worse than me and so I had to find a way to interpret this child without trying to make him smile for me. You see there you really have to understand my pin you kinda have to become almost a little bit of a psychologist when you work with kids because if you think they're just going to do what you want to do, what you want them to do right away forget it. And so I believe in photographing them in a way that makes them feel comfortable I wantto I wantto join them in their pool I don't try to get them to come to mine so I don't confine them into a certain area I try to make the area that I want to photograph them in an area that they want to be photographed in. So in his case, I have his mom bring the dog it's up by the front door and us. Oh, you know, I just saw your puppies over here and so he mean, they ran to go start playing with the dogs, so I took that one and that one. And then afterwards I got this little sister said, you know? And she was a little princess I said, you know what I would love to have you twirl around like a little princess so I used the same doorway and shot that one and that one and then afterwards I got the two of them together. So you started to see how it's a siri's of images can they pick just one? No, they have to have the siri's that's. Why? Siri's is of photographs. Really powerful it's a great sales tool for you, so don't just say okay, I took this one on this background. I'm gonna go on. So learn to take serious of siri's is of images or a collection of images that must be shot together. Guess what, this would make a killer sixty inch vertical all the way across the wall and this woman has enough wall space for that so it's, a great way to get your families to get them interested in seeing their children. Azriel kids that are just all those are my babies, you know? So it's not all. Just looking in the camera saying hi, I'm on. And one of the things that I did it was like for instance, in this case is a stuffed one of his favorite toys right over here. So he obviously wants to and picked it up. I did not this this location was not selected. Um without thought, going into the lighting that was in the environment and the environment itself. So think about that the environments that you're going to choose for your sessions, think wisely about what again can give me the biggest bang for my buck with the least amount of work if possible, I rather not have to bring studio strobes. I want to shoot natural light if I can, because I find that children become less intimidating with all without all the lights, I will use lights when I need them. But most of the time I have to tell you, I generally try to shoot with just natural light. So and just from a technical standpoint, so before these children actually were in this area, I scoped out this environment, and then I went, okay, let's see, the light looks like so I walked over here and I saw that there was a patch of light, a beam of light coming in in this area right here, which would be great because I pictured in my mind, having that little boy bend over to be playing with this little truck, that the sun lights coming in, and it gave me a beautiful rim light on the little girl. And then it was bouncing off the sidewalk to illuminate his face. So you think carefully if you go about thirty minutes early, if you're gonna do home portrait's bill about thirty minutes early just to walk around the house or go on a different day to do a site check. And if you do a site check that's a really good thing because it shows the client that you're very interested in them, and then you might see some really special little environments or something's about that child that make them very unique. And remember, unique pictures translate into more dollars into your pockets. Questions okay, now you have any questions before we move on, the stories say we keep moving on. Okay, okay, so now let's talk about stories of images, we talked about siri's of images, and now we're going to talk about but telling stories. There are so many little, many stories that take place in people's lives and especially in the lives of children, and I have to tell you, when I first started photographing kids, I was petrified I absolutely hated it because you know, you're really at their mercy here, so the mercy of a child and you can't make them, in my opinion, I don't want them, I find it really creepy when when they don't they just sit there like this, and I don't want to move because that doesn't seem to me like a kid. I like kids that are just I wanted to be themselves, so when they come into the studio were always telling the parents be quiet, they can't do anything wrong if they want to jump on the couch, we're comfortable comfortable with that in fact encourage that, so we have our couch back in the back here. One of the things we have the kids do, we say, okay, why should jump on the couch? Because we wanted to feel like this is the best fun they've ever had because if they enjoy the experience and guess what, they will want to come back and remember it's always about being positive about something if that parent enjoyed the experience that then they won't be feeling, oh, I have to go get my kid's pictures taken again I know you will want to come in and I have many, many clients now that this is their family tradition to come in at least once a year to have porch it's done the first year I prefer to get them in every quarter and I'm gonna show you how I do that in a minute okay? So let's talk about stories of images um I love going in the bedroom with little girl so what I did when I went to this family's home to photograph their three children I walked in the house and I just came a little bit earlier this was in atlanta, georgia so I wasn't able to do a site check days before and I had to just come in and do the photo shoot so I came in and I walked around the house and I had each of the children show me their bedroom I should just show me your bedroom I want to see what it looks like so they took me by the hand and then they showed me their bedroom so I knew hey, guess what she this is where she's comfortable so I walked in the bedroom and I just turned on the light in the background over here so that I could get a little bit of extra light to just kind of give this area a little bit of illumination and then I went in and open the drapes I turned on the ceiling light so that I could just give it a warm, ambient feel for that child, and then I just had her sit on the bed and tell me some stories about what she likes to do. Her favorite stuffed animals were up on the bed, I did a series of images of her in this bedroom, and then it became a great piece about that particular child. If you do that with three kids, think about how many stories that you can tell with those children one of the other families that I worked with, this's, a family in seattle and what I did is I went to their home one evening on I said, you know, I'm just going to come up and I came up with spent the night at their home, and so when I came up, I said, I want to come before the kids go have their bath, and I just think that's a wonderful story to tell with small little kids, little babies and stuff little children is just the story of them having their bath and the interaction between mother and their children and so on. This is the mom just cuddling one of her children. The only light source is just an open window it was actually about four o'clock in the after wasn't seven, it was maybe a little earlier before sunset and I was just open the window shot with a very high s o one of the great things about the cameras these days as you can shoot it like twelve thousand without worrying about it so that I could just create a very intimate portrait of this of this mother and her little her little daughter when it came to pass time I photographed both of the children with their mother and I mean is there anything cuter than that and this is to me where you have great lens choice in addition to the lighting that you use again this was all shot with just the window light but also perspective I shot this with fifty millimeter one point four lens and look at how those eyes are tax sharp and just having this little child look up at you like that was just adorable on dh these are the kinds of images that are priceless to parents there and because they are riel that's a mom and see that about her child she looked down at that perspective with her children and then I did a few more I love babies with their thumbs in their mouths I just think it's really cute so this was just one of the stories that I shot of their family which leads me to the mud puddle club do we have any questions before we move on see good question there are a lot we have one from our gunter photography who is wondering how do you convince clients who insist on having a formal portrait created with children ages one to six and they insist on having them pose in a dress or a suit very formally great question this is what we do I always will do what they want to do and then afterwards I'll say do you have could we just do something a little crazy? What I would love to do is have them bring in an extra something extra for them to say yeah, I know you want a formal portrait done but could you also bring in something casual just for fun? Just humor me okay? Because then it would do what they want to do and then do what I want to do I have to say if you don't ask you're never going to receive and if I want something I just go I got a great idea let's just do it sometimes. In fact, sometimes I'm so enthusiastic about it, I won't ask I'll just tell them I find that if you tell people what to do that they live into you and I think that sometimes were a little bit less not proactive enough so I really am a little bit bossy and I don't mean that in a negative way, but I find that if I walked into some said, uh come here care really? Yeah. Okay, first of all why did you do that? Did I ask you for permission? Ok, now I want you to walk back to go back there and then go back there for a second okay in this time carol when you walk back towards me okay switch places with me ok? Ok this time when you walked towards me I want to see some attitude girl I could do that ready that's the worst thing I ever saw you do it one more time ready on account three one, two, three go okay, what is my point? What is my point to embarrass karol? Besides, it worked really good care of. Okay? First of all, my point is is that if you don't ask you don't receive and that too many times we let people boss us around and tell us what we're going to do and you know we'll go and then they'll say, well, I want this and then because we aren't willing to just put ourselves out of the box but maybe the reason they want that is that that's all they've ever seen maybe it's not that that's what they want, but they don't know that they have an option to do anything different my question would be is I'd love to know what's on your website because if you have lots of clients and formal attire in your wet on your website, maybe that's all they think you can do so that's why variety is important to me the other area, just just us a sidebar that I have to tell you about I have learned the hard way because I'm very been the photographer brazilian years is I've learned not to allow clients to dictate my policies for me. I do not let people boss me around if they want a discount, they say we can't have a discount and people ask me all the time. What is my answer to them? No, that's not what I say that's, not it. I wish I could think about that. I just said no to you, didn't I? But, oh, I wish I could I've learned how to say no in a nice way, because I've learned that if you let people bart start bossing around and that there that you're letting them just completely dictate everything about your business and guess what? You end up going out of business because you're letting clients bossed around you don't do that at nordstrom's, and my feeling is too, is that there's always going to be one client who's going to be a client who wants things done a certain way, and I'm going to abide by what they want. But in addition to that, I'm going to try to push the envelope a little bit and get them to do some things that are a little bit less than what they are, not less, but a little bit different than what they had requested because at the end of the day, I want to give them something that they can't get somewhere else, because if they can get just a normal family portrait from you, then guess what? They can get it from somebody else a whole lot cheaper than you tomorrow because everybody could do that. So I like to give them to give them a reason to want to continue to come to me. And I believe enthusiasm gets people doing anything you want. If you weren't enthusiastic with people, I promise you, you can get him to do almost anything you really can, so be enthusiastic about it and be willing. Tto just say, come on, let's, do it. This will be really blessed when I photographed this young ah high school senior I did. I created this newspaper dress for her and it was really cute. So but that's not why she came in to see me. She had no idea we were going to be new a newspaper dress she came in with her beautiful formal gown she brought him some of her regular play clothes and stuff and you know her cute fun dresses and so I did those things first for her and then after assisted you gotta humor me you are so beautiful you're so adorable I had this really crazy idea I want to explore with you wouldn't it be great if I wrapped you in newspapers and she looked at me like I was from mars I said come on let's do what she wants ok I said come on let's do it so I created this great dress on her this cute little flock this will fund skirt with newspapers and I stuffed black tulip underneath it so it looked a bit edgy she loved it will they buy that picture? Will ya? She did actually buy it but not everyone will it's not about that photograph it's about the experience and that's what we were talking about that yesterday about how corton toothy experience is because these air all steps that get you a reputation for being different and when you're different then people will want to hire you or the want your products because it's special you know it was a really good example of that apple think about it how many of you have ever bought gone in the apple store to buy something and you basically have to stand in line do apple computers do they go on sale? They don't have big sales on their products, do they? Trust me? I have a bunch of them in the studio. They are only ever go on sale, unlike the pc store and it's. So funny in atlanta, georgia, they have a mac store and the store is always packed. There's like twelve hundred people in that store, you walk and and and microsoft thought this would be really cool if they opened up a microsoft store in the mall. You walk in there and it's like being in an elevator because there is nobody there and there's elevator music playing it is so it's like, ok, because you're buying a product in microsoft store in the apple store, you're buying what an experience, if that doesn't tell you how important the experiences, nothing will. So it's not about it's, not about appealing to wealthy people it's not about, you know, having to be, you know, you don't have to be when I talk about the louis vuitton, I'm not talking about the brand louis vuitton, and that you have to appeal to people who are rich because not just rich people buy that a lot of people by that that that that would sacrifice their dinner to go have that really cute little purse, so you can't think logically about this business. It's not logical, it's not a logical endeavor. It is very motion driven questions all right? Another question is from kelly rochelle, how do you sell or package your lifestyle portrait sessions? Do you price it at a day rate, including an album? Or is it just a session rate and then sell them on the album and additional portrait at a sale session? Great. Is life it's different from when they're here? I actually know a lifestyle portrait session is very similar, it's it's very similar in the way we do it actually michael's going to take you through a sales presentation this afternoon so I don't want to tread on his toes on that, but I will tell you, when I do a lifestyle session out outside of the studio, I handled exactly what the way it is for a portrait session. I'm not there all day, I'm not there all day, I'm probably there for maybe an hour and a half because I know what I want, and I'm going to go with the prime time of the day like I photographed this one family and I'll be showing you some images in fact, of this little girl, a cz a matter of fact, this is all one child I did a series of images of her her first year, the mud puddle club, which is what leads me to the month panel club is a is a siri's of photographic sessions that are done throughout the first year of a child's life. We arranged to go every quarter at birth. We go then again at like, three months, six months, nine months and then a year old and we go and we'll spend maybe an hour, hour and a half with that child, and it is remarkable to see the change and a child as they grow up. And so we created this thing that's called the mud puddle club, and I have to say, I wish I thought of the name, mud, public love myself, but I didn't came from another photographer. It was very clever. This is my trifle brochure. This is, by the way, in the collection of brochures that my marketing materials that are available for purchase at control portrait, dot com, backslash, creative, live and notice, it says, capturing memories and milestones and I think that's kind of what my philosophy is when we do the mud puddle club, my philosophy is to capture all of this wonderful milestones, so basically what I'll do is I will go, we'll go to a session, I go to their home. To do the first session, especially for a brand new baby. Most of the time, the baby's air sleeping I'll get maybe mother's nursing with their child, maybe pictures of just them interacting with their beautiful new baby and such, and then I'll come back three months later, the baby's like looking at people she's, she's interacting more or he's interacting more with your mom and dad at six months is like my very favorite because they're like they're a blob, ajello, there's still fat and everything. They look really cute, but they can sometimes sit up by six months, and so I can start getting photographs of them that quite often they'll come into the studio for those sessions nine months they are crawling and considering almost walking. And then, of course, a year, as you see right here, they're walking and walking down the path, playing with their toys. So it's a great, great product, and what we do is we have a special we have a fee that we charge specifically for this shoot it's for the shoot only in other words, it's for all four of those sessions during the year. Sometimes we'll have five instead of four depending if there, you know I want to get him if I have a choice, I want him right out of the chute. I'd like him within in like a week or ten days from birth and then I want three months, six months, so sometimes I'll include the fist session just because it's important to me, and then my goal is to tell a story. Sometimes I have clients that that purchased albums of every session and that's what we do, what we'll do is we create an album from every session that we do we pre design on album for them because I want them to see themselves and their pictures in a book I want them to see it, I don't want them to have to imagine because if you have to imagine something their gods are that people aren't going to be able to buy that, but if they see themselves in the pictures and they see that beautiful album, then you have told a comprehensive story and quite often they will absolutely have to have it, which is why our close ratio on albums there so incredibly high with this family, she bought an album from every single session for her child, and it was just phenomenal when I went and photographed this session right here, I'm gonna actually show you I think I think I've got that one in here this is actually that session so this is the album that I created for chelsea um and I think she was probably six months old when I shot this synthesis or six month session it might have even been nine months yeah, this is nine months so as you can see, I'm photographing a variety of experiences on dh this is these are double page spreads in an album so with her in her daddy I wanted to get some showing that she's trying to start walking now again and I'm using just the natural like a man from a window and I'm really it's very important to me to get in and get out of there quickly not because I need to take a lot of time but I find that if you spend too much time doing a job, guess what people think you don't know how to do it think about that if you get in there and you can get that job done in like forty five minutes or an hour and you get after and that says whoa, you're good, you're really good so I learned to get what you need to get what I recommend doing as you walk around the home or you create the environments in your studio new circuit there's environment number one there's environment over to there's environment number three and there's environment number for so that you have your environments already figured in your mind so that you can then you can start telling those many stories and this is a mini story you can tell those many stories very very quickly so basically it really doesn't take much time to say hey dad come here I just want to get some pictures of your daughter she loves to kind of climb on your legs let's do that and then have do a few photographs literally in five minutes I could do this then I might get a few of her crawling on the floor of course with her favorite stuffed animals this is one of my very favorite pictures infected the photograph that's out in the hallway the little baby walking that's her when she was a year old I absolutely am nuts about little babies crawling and that just that little I love to tell those kinds of stories if it's an image like this it would be wrong to put it on a spread with other images so in our books we're not going cram them full with a million pictures don't add too many pictures to a book because when you do it looks like a yearbook it takes all the mystery and all the beauty out of that book so I try to keep it very very simple and make a wonderful story I love this is one of my favorite spreads in the whole book but and this one has about those pictures in it. But I love this one because this is when she was first starting to learn how to feed herself. I mean, is that just as cute as it could be? Fifty millimeter. One point two lens. In this case on dh, I focused right in on the eyes of that child. So the eyes or tax chart I want her hand out of focus. Sometimes, if you have too many things that are in focus, it takes all the drama away. Especially like with ease. This siri's of little pictures right here. I loved one. And sometimes with little babies, they have certain things that they do with this child. Whenever her father walked in the room, she had taught her from a very early age like this because she watched football with her daddy. And he was a football fan. So a soon as she saw him, she went like this and that's a story. Think about it. That's. One of those stories we can tell and no doubt for you, the new girls that our mom is heather, that you have, like six kids or something? No, I watched six, ok, nine children only one's mine. Okay, but six kids holding out when I saw those kids sitting on your couch I was like oh my god, what is the deal with that? I thought that was that by the way, while you're here I said that girl oh my goodness she's she's watching six kids in this serious right here this was the mom's doll when she was a baby that was hers so again I try to think in story for matt and that's one reason I actually love love love going to the home to do the pictures if I have a choice I'd rather do lifestyle or mud puddle club pictures in their home I like that so for you for charter for south end that it may be the clicking moms or you're you know you're you're working out of your home here's a great way to do it do those portrait's in the client's home it's a great great way to do it you notice by the way that my backgrounds are very neutral I'm not I'm trying to keep the clutter down so I look for locations that are going to be simple like a blank wall I try to take the lock ward with that little girl when I did those pictures of her like that just a blank wall that's just sitting on the couch with a bunch of stuffed annals it took a bunch of stuffed animals out of her room perspective I love photographing from high because it shows how small the child really is and I also like babies that don't always have a smile on their face because I think that's one more of those fabulous little experiences that say hey that's my child that's her look I love it and then bath time bath time's my very favorite time I love I mean I'm not kidding you if I can do bath time at a client's home I am crazy about is so much fun and again here's what's beneficial from a marketing standpoint I always want to bring it back and I don't want to show you pretty pictures I want to keep bringing it back to your business again we're talking stories quick stories that can be told buy you as a photographic artist now what's the difference notice again how the background is blurry so it really draws you in the lighting you know what with what ah how I shot this I let this there was this an overhead light fixture it was in a tiny bathroom that was very small that whole bathroom's probably no bigger than this little segment of my well I mean like I'm standing outside of the bathroom it's so small and the mom had sex a little tub in the sink for her childhood take to giver her bath so what we did is michael stood just off camera with a reflector to bounce the light back into the baby's face nowadays, I'll tell you what did you guys see the ice like that I had yesterday from gerry g honest, this ice light that's what I'll take with me on these kind of sessions? Because that is the best dog on tool it's so compact and it really brought it spreads that light out beautifully and its color balance. So I think it's just an absolute phenomenal tool yester love michael, colin or someone with you? Yes, always not always but many times. And when you see michael and action this afternoon, we photographed the family. You understand why I love taking him along? Michael is there's nobody in the universe that's more brilliant with children than he is. He is absolutely the kid whisperer. I'm not kidding. So I've done a number of these sessions in fact, a number of these not this particular one, but I've done a number of this family where I went by myself, but I find that I get better results when I take mike and what I recommend for you photographers out there is a recommend that all of you bring someone with you that is good with children that can help to draw that child's eyes to you that can play with them because my goal is to give them a reason to smile. Not ask them to do so. They want to give you a recent smile and this is one that this is one of the great things that have everything. Okay, here, give me five. Why you I'm not giving you that stupid, stupid thing, it's embarrassing. I do it all the time, but with little kids, I'm not joking you they will laugh their heads off and then they'll want to do it, like for twenty five minutes where you're banging yourself in the head with your hands. But it's a great, great tool. So it really does work. And so I took a few images of this child in this kind of a scenario. And then here is when she was a year old, I was going to run through this real quick for you. Doesn't it make you feel as though you're there and it's one of those things? Can you imagine how price listens? Is her big brother? How priceless is it to create these wonderful stories? How could any mother not by the entire collection because you painted a picture? So before this mom ever saw this before she ever saw any pictures? I made sure that I designed a book because I want her to because it's overwhelming, you know, if you take a lot of photographs of a client this is my favorite spread I just love this that look it was running michael standing outside that door and he's calling her and then she'd run in and then she'd run out it was just so adorable it's so cute! Um I love the scale I love the scale it makes it shows how small she actually wass so okay, we're going to stop there from the from this segment, but before we go before we move on with other things, I just want to go I want to just mention to a couple of points about the importance and we can ask questions as well about what we've talked about this morning. First of all tell stories don't just take pictures, tell stories second of all, when you are photographing pre designed those books for those clients because if you do, you help you draw them into the story and they can't see just one picture, you see, if you just show them one picture after another, then there's they're forced to choose well, I want this photograph, I want just this picture they can't imagine in their mind the way that the story unfolds. So that's, why I pre design? Yes, it takes a little bit of time to do so, but you know what? I believe that if you're going toe, you know that that I have choices that if I wanted to buy a book which is a nice chunk of change for me is you know, a very nice chunk of change I think we charged like twenty five hundreds are small book if I wanted to buy that that I'm gonna have to invest an hour to design that book is it worth it to me? Yes and that's that's the last thing I want to talk to you about in this segment was the importance of not undervaluing your time you see your time is very valuable it's not just oh I can do the work myself so it's not costing me think it cost you something it cost you time with your children it cost you time with your husband and your family and those vacations and such a you can't take those you're out shooting a wedding for somebody else so think about that when it comes to the way you price your products and I do recommend that you sit down and calculate what it is that you want to give a client what is it you want to give them? What is the experience worth? What is it? Do you want to give them in the way of an experience and then I want you to sit back and I want you to think about what is your time worth what it is your time worth? Is this going to be just a hobby or is that your profession? And I will tell you for those of you that I already have a day job the greatest thing in the world is you have a day job because do you realize you never have to start at the bottom of the food chain? You don't you have the freedom to be able to say you know what? I want to start at a higher level I want to able to make my profit I want to make have my my profit be eighty percent, not just seventy five percent or ninety percent so I want to be able to think about the six and if you do have a day job, you have the luxury of being able to do so. But albums are a terrific, terrific way for you to increase your bottom line because they really are well worth it. One of the other things that we do with our sessions no matter what the session is, is before any client sees a single picture that I've taken, I do my retouching first. Yes, the first thing we do is we edit our event with it support recession will edit down and get rid of the losers you know, the ones that we know are going to be the blanks, the ones that are bad we want to edit down to about the best sixty pictures if we can the next thing that would do is we will retouch the ones that need to be retouched. If there's a mom in the picture, I am going to have my finger on it or calling will, we will make sure we re touch her to make her look her most beautiful because we don't see ourselves the way we really look. We see ourselves through those little rose colored glasses, and we think we look hot that day and we had spaghetti sticker, our spinach sticking out of our teeth, so I want to make sure that they see themselves the way they thought they looked. And let me tell you why there's a great deal of philosophy might my mindset that goes into this and I'm really adamant I would never, ever give a client raw files. In fact, I have a number of clients that have asked me that like to play in photo shop and guess what they've asked for. They're raw files. What did I say to them? I wish I could and I don't I'm very adamant about that, not because my raw files aren't good cause they're great, but I want them to see the finished product because you see when they only see what you show them, they see perfection, and they see you as a perfect person. They see while my photographers perfect. Wow. She made me look great and get this. This is really important. And you guys out there in tv land or wherever you write this down, this is one of the most important thing is you're going to hear hope I can remember it. S o and that is because you don't ever get a second chance to make a first impression. You better make sure that that first impression, when they see themselves, that they see themselves looking great and here's. Why? Because one day when you do your retouching after the fact, when they look at your their pictures and that mom sees herself and she sees you know, those flaws we all have about ourselves ago oh, my goodness, I wish I'd done my hair better. And, oh, I wish I'd least like I need a little makeup or something. Oh, I looked a little bit too heavy. Then guess what? And then when you say, oh, I can fix that in photoshopped. Guess what? You've just taken your craft, and you've equated it to us. A cheap trick. Now when you do your retouching ahead of time and you notice when you're looking at those photographs that mother had a little bit of hair that was sticking down or or maybe she's got a little bit of ah ah little bulge in her and her top and you know that you can go in and you can clean that up and fix it right away and she sees her pictures for the first time and she sees how beautiful she looks and her family looks guess what she goes what an amazing artist you are you see when they see that first image you see that beautiful picture it's equate with beautiful pictures equal great photographer not photoshopped tricks mother's telling you do it that way yes it is a pain but I'll tell you what the ramifications the other way are just not worth it and quite honestly it's not for my own self respect from my own honor I want them to see me is perfect and my perfect no you guys l'm issue yesterday you know I'm not perfect and I make mistakes and sometimes I take photographs out of focus but a client will never see that out of me they will only see me as perfect they'll only see me as the confident person that they think I am I'm not confident at all I'm completely insecure I'm completely screwed up just like the rest of us are everybody is but I just don't want them to see that, because I know that it'll translate into the way that their experiences handled. So I hope that that helps questions. We have plenty about these albums specifically, we just wanna make sure you mention that michael would be talking about sales later today we'll be talking about these albums. We ask questions then, or request, we'll talk about al basilica. What specifically so about the physical process? Mainly when you maybe I was wondering when you do you make the book to show them or so the loud of the book on sir screens raised questions. No, we make the book on screen show them on screen, just like you saw the books that you just saw. Let me say that look like her. Yeah, this is what they would see. They would see their book laid out just like this. He's, your double page spreads and this is exactly what they're going to see, so that way they see the way we've laid it out, they won't see like we're not going to go make a book for them. We'll show him this and say, by the way, and this is the way we handle it will say something, the effect that we'll show them they're beautiful images on a slide show of michael's going to show you how that was handled, and then we'll say, you know what? We got a little crazy with your pictures, and we've designed an album for you because a lot of our clients find that books are phenomenal because this is archiving your family history and it's. So easy to see many clients. What is the objection if you try to sell them a wall portrait? Well, what? I don't have any more wall space, right? Oh, I can't. I don't have any more wall space. Well, you certainly always have room for another book, right? So, it's a perfect sale and the great thing. And I'll tell you why I came up with this idea about doing books because I have a client. We have this one client, and she is fabulous. She every single year she comes in just absolutely faithfully to have a portrait done of her for her three boys. Well, we started noticing that she was we were getting a little bit of resistance with her on walt portrait. And suddenly, because she has got a shrine in her home to her kids, I mean, she's got hurt, walls are covered with pictures, so we kind of kept thinking, well. You know, we're gonna actually end up losing her as a client because she's going to think, you know, I can't go in and get more pictures taken because I don't have any more walls, so we had to come up with something tito to make it worth so she could start seeing wow there's another alternative and that's where albums are concerned and the great thing also about albums is that albums once you get that process started it becomes a routine for them this is part of their their family history they do it every single year and it's way better than a wall portrait cause some families for walpurgis that maybe come in once every six years to have a wall portrait done but albums you can promise you're going to get him and so even if you're not getting in huge dollar volumes, if you're not getting in thousands of dollars, maybe only get a thousand dollars from them a year that's still a thousand dollars a year versus maybe three thousand dollars once every six years. So don't think that just because you don't charge a lot it's not about how much you charge is what you get to keep that's what really matters so that's the other thing I want to make sure that you won't understood was that I'm not telling you you have to charge thousands of dollars to be profitable just remember it's what you get to keep that matters so think about what your cost of goods are and what it's costing you to do business and then make sure you have a very nice bit of profit built in so that you can be successful as a business owner all right? Awesome s'more album questions from l thompson for do you pre qualify the client in some way before you pre design that album? I think for some clients it's not worth the time it takes me long a lot longer than an hour would need to get better at that but still not every client is an album do you know I don't pre qualify people and let me tell you why because every time I try to pre qualify somebody they surprised me and you know you never know what's really going on sometimes in people's lives so I just blanketly we do it we just do it for everybody because first of all I am assuming I believe everybody no matter who they are can afford my products. I really do I believe anyone can afford to purchase a cantrell portrait image it's it's what you're willing to give up you see sometimes so if it wasn't important to you what is important to you and if somebody is going to take the time to come in for a portrait session that tells me that they're that pictures are important to them unless they're just coming in for a quick five minute head shot then I know that pictures are actually a bit important to them so I don't like to pre qualify a find that pre qualifying tends tio you're becoming the purse police on people would basically what that means is like you're kind of looking at people going well you know I don't think you can afford to buy this so I'm not gonna offer it to you I'm thinking think about it would mercedes do that does the apple store do that no because that we believe anybody can purchase it we wouldn't have the national debt in america if people bought within their means okay, so it's what's important? I mean I know there are some women I know that that lived that are living on food stamps but that still have to have a really cool pair of shoes because this is a priority right there's certain things that we feel our priorities so I believe in letting them make that decision and I would just say learned to get a little bit better at what you're doing so you said you could do it more efficiently by the way there's also some programs out there that are very that allow you to design album story very quickly I know your bond has page gallery software that if you want to be able to have that to software design it you just drag the pictures in and it'll it'll actually designed the book for you very quickly and I know there's other software out there as well there's also cos that will do the designs for you I know that with epic albums that you can send them your pictures and just say hey design a book for me so you know if you do that kind of round it's not it's not super inexpensive but if you don't want to be bothered with that sometimes sometimes this is what many of us as photographers think we think well I have to do everything myself because I can't afford to hire someone else when in reality that's not good thinking because sometimes way are our talents are better spent and francis and marketing and we're sitting behind that stupid computer you know, retouching a photograph one if we just sent that off to color lab to do it for us then that could free us up to do other things that are much, much more important better use of our time that's one of the most important lessons I've learned in my career is that I needed to learn to delegate and I liked doing it all I really do I like it I like being able to own the universe but I learned but I learned that I can't have I can't do everything and that if I'm and I learned to do what I'm good at I'll tell you what I'm not good at I'm not good, I don't know that I'm not good I don't like doing my finances I don't like paying my bills I don't like handling money, I don't like sending out invoices I find that boring so I hired an operations officer to handle that for me I don't have to think about it and if you ask me right now, how much money is in my checking account? I couldn't tell you for business, but I don't worry about it because my operations officer will not allow me to go below a line and she makes sure she's a little purse police herself, she makes sure that I don't spend money flowed frivolously and and she's taught me a lot, which is why I'm very careful about the way I spend my funds then also like colin, when calling came to work with us, I learned to delegate to him and he doesn't way better than I do it. And so I've learned that there's it's funny how things work out, where you can start feeling like I have to do everything and then when you hire somebody it's like, wow, what did I used to do with all this time? Now I've got this time and you find that you don't actually ms, I find that you that you spend money anyway and so sometimes I think spending it on your people is a great way to go uh so we have time for maybe one more question and we're having a lot of people asking do you let people change the pictures in the albums or you've got black and whites and colors do you let people say, oh, I'd rather have that one in color me guilty and let people make changes yes we will we let them make changes our albums these books are not there not like epic movies and otherwise there if there's probably twenty pages and many of the books that we do so it's not a lot of work for us to change out of photographs in addition that you notice that we're not putting a lot of pictures on a spread and we just said that if they want to put more photographs on a spread we will discourage I say you know, you really don't want to do that it's gonna look like that's going to look like a yearbook and they will many, many times they defer to what are I mean I'd say like ninety nine percent of time they'll defer to what we want to do on dh then as far as a color and black and white this isn't here where michael gets on my case all the time because I like to just make it the way I want it to be either certain ways, I know certain images are gonna look better black and white in color. And so I just go press that button of no return and say, ok, I'm making that image black and white, and I'm not going to give you the color follow to go with because I want it black and white and he's, always something, baby, you've got to give me a color picture, so so, yes, we will give them. We'll give them the opportunity to change it to color if they desire to, or they'd have it in color. But but the color file is the retouched file, so that when we convert it to black and white, it's all perfect, so

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.