Workshop Review


Building a Profitable Portrait Studio


Lesson Info

Workshop Review

We're going to do for the next few minutes we're going to do a very quick review of what we've learned over the last three days and I hope that you'll find this little trip down memory lane worth the effort so by way of review you know what they say about repetition being the mother of retention and there is no truer word ever said by the way just for for a point of reference you see this border around this photograph right here that is one of the borders from graphic authority and I love it for light toned prints it's really quite pretty and as you see you can see that little cherry c worked that one right there again if you buy you know some things that are inexpensive you don't worry about getting them trash and so it's a great way to do it circa nineteen eighty seven bambi cantrell's one of her first weddings that I ever photographed yes that blue background is outside as I showed you on dh that's what we used to do in nineteen eighty seven and which is exactly why you have got to ...

grow do you realize one day in the future you guys are going to be looking at pictures like this you know the equivalent to that your new stuff you're nineteen eighty seven work do you realize what happened what it would be like for me today if I still do that do you think I'd be here and for my gentleman who said he's fifty six and what does he do competing with younger kids this is exactly my point you have to grow you have to continue to try new things and it's okay if you screw it up you got tomorrow as scarlett o'hara says tomorrow is always another day and that when you could take to the bank I love quoting from movies as you can tell my favorite is check yourself before you wreck yourself I say that to myself every day okay what does your ads say aboutyou what does your promotional literature say about you? We learned from lauren what boring says don't we sorry sweety I couldn't help myself but it's all good you know you learn from your mistakes right and don't think I didn't used to do that I used to do that too so what is your ads say about you I shoot every wedding like it was my first now you might think that some it's pretty good we don't want to do that unlimited photography rehearsal ceremony bride langauge processions blah blah blah blah blah all that says is I'm so cheap I can afford to hire myself and there's always the worst part is is there's always going to be somebody who's even cheaper than that because there are those people who say oh I'll do it for free I just need some experience you know and so we don't want to do that okay who is the person that is a decision maker on photography period it is the bride and her mother those are the two women and if it's for family portrait it's the woman period very few men are the decision makers when it comes to photography so learn to think like a woman and if you're a man you need to if you're going to play in our pool you'd better make sure you know our rules and you gotta learn to become one of us and as I mentioned the other day there's a reason why women love going to their gay hairdresser because he's one of the girls right he's one of us so you know and I'm not talking about your personal lifestyle what I'm saying is that if I were a coach on the san francisco giants I can promise you I'd be want to learn all of the place of the san diego padres so that I could learn to beat them and you can't do it if you don't know anything about that team so learn to be able to communicate like a woman how do you do that by the way if your god how in the world do you learn to think like a woman john well true that's true what else do you do uh do women activities needing so I know I don't think so like shopping like well, you could do that. Actually, you could go shopping, but more important is that how about find out what women read and read what they read fashion magazines? I'll tell you right now, fashion magazines are absolutely a man's gold mine because they will tell you in a heartbeat exactly what we're thinking and what we want to do. Those kinds of magazines are amazing. I love love love fashion magazine will take one of my very favorite magazines in the universe is a magazine called noise and o I s e it's amazing fashion magazine. It is very contemporary, it'll rock your socks off. It is so cycle magazine I also like the magazine w I find that some of these magazines, they're just awesome forgiving you ideas. I am a hound for magazines, and I've been collecting them since like nineteen, eighty nine and it's interesting, because if you pay close attention to what's going on in the pages of a fashion magazine, you'll start seeing where the trends change and then you get to be a trendsetter when you notice the change and you ah ha, I'm going to adapt to that. You don't change who you are, but you continue to grow and adapt like that picture of that girl, that blue background you gotta grow some questions about that wee okay, okay dad shuts up and writes the checks. So those resource is that matter to us? Our store display. So, yes, you've got to go shopping, not buying but shopping. And I really believe that it's important and under, if you the next time you go shopping, I want you to walk in the store with a pair of new eyes and I want you to think, well, why have they got this display like this? And what are they trying to tell me? You can learn volumes about how to appeal to your client. And I'll show you some some ways that you could do that. So store displays, magazine ads and tv ads are awesome. Um, make your artwork special. This is a store window from harry winston. What do they do? They found a way to make two three little tiny pieces of jewelry that are this big look so special. And so they know that that that lady is walking through the through the store are the the hallways with her honey. And she sees that. And because they're beautiful butterflies it's a pretty display it's pretty it's. Interesting. And your oh, honey let's, look at that. Oh, look, it's jo isn't that great, can we go in, I just want a look. How many times have you ladies use that tool on your husband or your boyfriend, huh? I know I used it on mine all the time in fact I tell my husband all the time I'm going to do research so but this really does work and it really is important for the gentleman who thinks about commodities here you go kiddo is that a commodity you see, this is the point they found a way to make a commodity look so special that you're willing to pay for five times the amount for it not that you have to but look at the packaging packaging is the difference if they took those same three pieces of jewellery and stuck him on a tray in the end a jewelry store and just had him in the display window with fifty five billion other pieces of jewellery would you even notice them that's why you notice them is because they name special translate that into photography's so what did I do? I believe in making imagery that that looks unique that can be special and you can too is you've learned today you don't have to be a millionaire to do it all you need to be willing to do is to try forget try just do it just do it don't try because try means you're not going to do it do it and just give yourself a chance and try and you're going to do fine louis vuitton, one of my favorite one of my heroes not because they have expensive purses, but because they are selling something that you don't need. That's overpriced that's just made of canvas and leather. But I love them. I saw I have one, and I love my little louis vuitton handbag. Why do only rich women buy them? No. So I want to know how they're appealing to my client. You see, we want the same client. So if you're a new photographer and you're trying to build your business, study what these folks are doing, because there their clients are your clients or your potential clients. So what are they doing so that you can copy that? No, you don't have to go spend billions of dollars and get a mall display, but look what they did. They found a way to make that silly purse look good. They made it look like a bull's eye, and they they made it look very special. Um, in this store window, look at the way that there's on ly three objects. The number three three is a great pyramid shape three, two and one. This also translates to the way that you lay your album's out. You wouldn't even notice these dresses if there were twenty five dresses in that mannix in that window, would you? So I want you to pull back on the amount of imagery that you're putting in an album don't put every single picture of their mother and her brother put cut it by like three quarters if you have two three images off a double page spread as a general rule is, I don't like to do more than that on a double page spread, because the more the images you put in a book, the more it looks like a yearbook which looks cheap. And if you don't want that client who's got that kind of mentality, then you have to be willing again to go a little bit extra and just and give them some breathing room it's of space. Okay, what do I get from that? My goal is to create images that have that all that guard look, and this is exactly where I got the idea for it. You can see how reminiscent it is it's, not a copy, but it has that same flavor, so my goal is not to copy. Other photographers are copies store windows or copy magazine ads or anything like that, but it's to be inspired by them to be inspired and then find my own twist on the matter. We learned about hair wars this weekend and about the way that you and I, as photographers, can generate business very quickly. By doing things like hear worse when we get together with other artist and we start collaborating for a common goal, and that is to spread the word about how wonderful we are and how special and unique we are and it always will come back to it may not come back to you absolutely immediately, but it's, like every people, keep hearing more and more about you, and it is so affordable, you know, you may pay for an ad in a magazine that could cost you twelve thousand dollars for an ad in like a graceful months. Wedding styles twelve grand, so think about that that's twelve thousand dollars for an ad in a magazine one ad, what could you do with that? Twelve thousand dollars to get noticed? Think about how much you could do with that amount of money, so thanks smartly, and I'm not saying it's not smart to have get an ad and grace norman, if you have disposable income to do it great, go for it. But if you're that new photographer starting out and you don't maybe necessarily have that kind of funds, then you have to find other grassroots ways to be able to to get the same kind of results, and that is the more people that talk about you, the better off you are, especially in your community. Um this is the ad that I did or the flyer that we did for robert jensen and what we do when we do hair wars is we'll go okay, we wanna have we want to come in, we wanted all photographed all of your hair stylist if you like what I've done then may I just say talk about me, put my images on your website and just say how much you enjoyed the experience that can troll portrait design going and like my facebook page after that, we provide them these beautiful little gift cards that that are a little coupon and basically when they refer a client to my studio and that client purchases a photoshoot from me, then we will call the hair salon and purchase a gift card from the salon in that hairdresser's name and that way it brings a client from their door to my door and then back to their door take interestings that are that are photographs that are interesting and don't be afraid to use interesting light patterns that fall on walls, be willing to put yourself out a news things that aren't quite contrast ing like this really crazy tree that's, very sharp and has very strong angles with this beautiful young woman who is very soft and very essential, so contrasts are very good those contrast also or excuse me when you're putting together a brochure, however make sure that you have harmony throughout the brochure you want tones tonality through the brochure that our complimentary so in this case, even the the the color of the background of the brochure is going to be similar in tone ality to the skin tone, so that it all ties in together and this is a trifle um, when you photograph your individuals, don't forget to dissect, pay close attention to what they're wearing, their body art, anything about them that is unique in this case. I don't know if you noticed it, but they have the names of their children tattooed on each of them have the children's names tattooed on them, so it would have very great meaning for them. If you were to make sure that you photographed that and you can get create the same kind of wonderful look for a children or family brochure that you can with, uh, that you can with with a other kinds of brochures, and this is using my personal temples of the focus on fabulous templates. Don't forget about the mud puddle club the mud puddle club is a terrific way teo, to start to give families that are have newborns a place to go to for four sessions a year so that you have an opportunity to become their family. Historian and that's really important you want to become their family historian, you don't just want to take ah photoshoot of them one time and then be done with it. I would much rather have a client that spent, you know, a thousand dollars a year or five hundred dollars a year for life than one who spent three thousand dollars from me one time, because you have a client for life, and when you have a client for life, how many people do you have the potential to impact throughout the life their lifetime? I mean, I have clients where I photographed the the family photograph, the bride's wedding, and I'm photographing their high school kids now, and they're you know, they're children's, they're they're adult children now, so it's, it's, amazing it's a wonderful experiences you grow older to have these wonderful relationships that you've built. In addition to that gift cards for auctions are a wonderful thing. We do auctions a number of auctions every year we do ah wall on auction for a wall portrait as well as one for smaller prints. And if you're going to do the one for wall portrait's, just remember that when somebody purchases a gift, car purchases an auction piece, they are absolutely qualified, is your client there? It's awesome remember money spent it is money for gotten money spent is money for gotten and that's a great thing it again if they're participating in an auction they're interested in the community they're interested in family if they purchase a family portrait so it's a natural win win for you do syriza's of photographs because when you do a siri's of images of someone they can't just buy one they have to have the siri's these kinds of serious like this these photographs that I took of this family started with the little boy then I did his little sister in the same doorway and then I photographed the two of them together why did I do that because I knew if I did that then they'd have to have every one of those on the wall in fact I want to have this collection done for our studio really like it speaks to me every time I see this grouping I love it so think in terms of stories and think in terms of siri's is of images and I will promise you your sales are going to go up if you do that even if you know don't change your pricing just don't think injust terms of picture and I have to say michael's been the one who's been really great for me in that because he hounds me all the time being but we got a shooting story because I just get tend to get carried away so let's talk for a moment about the lifestyles of the cute and cuddly, the cute and cuddly if you're going to dio portrait will say you do work out of your home and you don't have a studio location well, why not learn to become a specialist and photographing in the client home? I will tell you from personal experience, it is a wonderful tool, it is just phenomenal there's nothing greater than that. I love my very favorite thing is going to the home and doing family portrait and doing photographs of a child in the privacy of their own home, especially for the mud public love that first year it's awesome for me, I feel like I'm on auntie and that I get to go see this baby is she's learning how to crawl on dh walk and to run? It is so incredibly satisfying to be given that privilege think about what an honor that is to go into a home of something that they trust you so much that they let you come in and document your beautiful family as it begins. And I love that it's just absolutely amazing keep it simple you don't have to have every tool by one camera or rent it, preferably by it and one lens get a good lens and then when you go out and do your portrait learn the difference between an f stop and a bus stop. So, in other words, you need to learn your craft. I will tell you the biggest reason that photographers in my opinion today are starving to death is because they don't take any better pictures than an amateur would I'm sorry, but if you stuff sucks just like an amateur's, you're probably going to be competing with people who do it for free. But if you create imagery where you understand the way light crosses the body and you're able to keep and create, create a dimensionality, your work screams in your behalf and you don't have to yell so loud about how great you are. Your work talks for you, so learn your craft and that's. Why it's important to take courses like this? My goal for you? I still take classes every year I think it's so important for us to grow. I was one of the first women in america to test digital cameras and there's a reason for it cause I'm a really slow learner and I'm telling I was terrified, but I learned really quickly that if you didn't that if you tried to run from something because you were afraid of it. That you must just go get another job because you can't do that with life, you have to be willing to just get after it shut up and just go forward and just be too stupid to know that you can't think about where your failure not just don't worry about it, just go forward. So so if you're going to do lifestyle images, arrange to go when this child's having lunch or breakfast, I love that time, and if if you need to, if the lighting isn't perfect, just ask them on hey, do you think we could like, go sit down here where it's a little bit sonny, maybe open the door so that you get a little bit of natural light? If you're not proficient with using lighting, I prefer to use natural light, I just find it less intimidating to a baby, and so do that. Make sure you're there during bath time. I'm telling you that it's a great use a longer focal england's or use a lens a has a fairly shallow depth of field shoot a little bit closer to wide open, maybe two point eight, one point eight or whatever so that you can blur out things in the background and focused right in on those eyes, work with a wrangler, work with somebody who is brilliant with children. And if you don't know anybody that's good with children, I'll tell you where to find him go to your nearest daycare and how they got people there that are probably, you know they're good with children just a look could I pay you ten dollars to come and help me or twenty dollars to come help me? I need some who's really good with playing with children two come and help me with the photo shoot you'd be surprised what people are willing to do to help you out but won't find some who loves kids and who really is a child themselves and no, you can't have michael, but I'll tell you what when you capture images like this, how could a parent just get one see see you start saying by tens telling stories what you're doing is you're giving a reason for people to buy mohr they cannot help it themselves, they can't! How could you not? How could you not have that image? How could you not have it? And you see because it's not like this is a moment that can't you can't fake it it's not something that that other people can just get it's special it's their child in a very riel moment that's the secret sauce that's, the secret sauce kids it absolutely is count the cost, make sure you count the cost and if if if you're working with if you want to do some of the fun things I've done today is I showed you earlier this kind of a photograph just remember you see ten yards a tool go online to buy some of these things they're so silly inexpensive don't be afraid go try it and if you are afraid it's all right, just what's gonna happen if it doesn't come out. So what? It's not a big deal? Why did you call it? Well, that was thirty, thirty one dollars and ninety cents, so it was real expensive if that bothers you, then do do something more simple where you just have somebody wrapped this young lady in tulle and then go out and go to the woods and go cut you down a tree. I'm not giving you there's a really cool tree about about two blocks down the street here that I'm dying to cut down. I keep thinking maybe I can talk someone into cutting it down from I can't do it, but but I'd love to cause I migrate to dead trees. I think they're beautiful, I really think they are, and I really think that's one of the things you know, so many times you feel like we have a photograph in the summertime or in the spring or in the evening, you know instead of just saying I can on lee do this or that say what can I do with what I have? So if the sun is streaming through the windows right there hey we just put our little sheet of plastic in the window so that we can work right now so instead of saying you can't do say what can I do with what I've got? What can I do under this set of circumstances that's always in the back of my mind what can I do with this set of circumstances? And if you adopt that philosophy you are never a photographer who's that a loss so when it's raining outside in your client's crying oh my gosh I really had this beautiful garden wedding you go that's ok that's why you hired me? Because I can make this place look fabulous and then when they see how you turn that first church of ugly ville into this amazing gorgeous place because you have skill it validates them hiring you and just remember where I came from and where I went to on weddings it's really, really important it's absolutely true let's talk for a moment about what it cost to do business you got to sit down with your numbers and I tell you what I'm is bad I have been is bad about that is anybody but I really sat down and figured the cost this is how much it cost to do business the way I want to do business. I want my clients to have paper proofs, I don't want them to have that stupid little proof book. I don't like that I want big, beautiful four by six prints that you can touch and hold and feel and pass around to every other woman because something online that's, antiseptic and the pictures of this big, I just don't like that. I want I want riel pictures, and I also want I want to train my client early that really photographs matter. Do you see when you and I start that right off the bat with weddings and we what are we doing? All we're doing is telling that client guess what? Get prepared, because from now on, when I photograph your family's, we're going to post them online, huh? So you see, you see you want to start early with your weddings, start early and so okay, look, this is how we do it. We have beautiful in this case, we do proofing or we're going to show you're gonna have beautiful prince. We're not going to just post something online ten by fourteen album or a thirteen by nine book, by the way. With thirty sides is around between six and nine hundred dollars I like a better book because I want you never get a second chance to make a first impression I don't use cheap things how in the world can you move up the food chain if you show that client inexpensive cheap things that they can buy online for twenty dollars how in the world do you think you're going to do that you can't do it you can't show something somebody something cheap and expect them to buy high end so invest and I use that term invest in your profession invest in one nice book and by the way many of the album cos if not all of them will give you half price on your sam bles s o I know epic a gifts gives a discount on the on your sample book so invest in something beautiful invest in a neutral book make your first book you're gonna order don't make it that real flashy sparkly book make it a beautiful leather bound album that is a neutral book maybe in black and that way it'll eh it's it's trend it's timeless it's timeless it's not something that's going to be datable your wedding assistant if you're going to a wedding you're going to need an assistant I would not do a wedding without it because I can be more creative with an assistant I pay my assistance to help I think that's important your second shooter if you have a second shooter along you know you need to pay them well, you know how in the world you can't beat people to death if you want them to do a qualified job it's been my experience that if you pay someone well to do a job they'll want to stay with to you and they won't run away do you know the gentleman who hired me? I started working for another photographer originally and he paid me two hundred dollars to photograph a wedding for him that's what he paid me every week was two hundred bucks to shoot a wedding. Now the funny part was was that you know, I came to him one day and I said, look, I've worked for you for five years and I'd love to get a twenty five dollar raise not twenty five dollars per hour twenty five dollars per wedding what would you do your senior for charter for all the work in the studio was theirs. They were the one who was doing all the work for you. Okay, I have to train somebody new which takes time twenty five bucks raise your rates by twenty five dollars, right? Duh, he wouldn't do it so it's okay that's it so guess what guess who started her own business very reluctantly I didn't want to own my own business and by the way for you all out there in internet land you can hire me to work for your company I can be bought for a price because at the end of the day owning your own business is not all that much fun I mean I love shooting I love being a photographer and running a business is a pain in the neck sometimes with employees, taxes and all the rest that nonsense so the expenses are at least twenty seven, twenty five and that's not including what it cost you for sales tax or all of the other the other kinds of cost that go into I'm not even showing you re touching or anything like that and twenty five percent means that you have to charge ten thousand nine hundred dollars to be within that twenty five percent a cost of goods so you know, think about that I mean, that sounds ridiculous doesn't so at any rate, what not to do if you're using textures make sure that they go with the photo and more importantly please please please use attractive people in your brochures just because you know the people and they're really nice nobody else knows them and they don't care about them but they know that that beauty cells and it's horrible we live in a society that is very beauty driven but you and I are not going to change the universe we're not going to change that. I mean hollywood has brainwashed people inmate for that I mean that's why we have all those skinny girls there you know that are just skin and bones I'm not saying to adapt that kind of lifestyle I think you can be balanced but you should use attractive people in your promotional pieces it makes your work look better and it's sad but it is absolutely a truth look in any fashion magazine look at victoria's secret catalog do you see a woman in that catalogue looking like me? Why not? And yet women a lot of women that are my age and my body type were things from there are husband probably wish we were more of those things from their foot that's all another story it is getting late. What can I say? I'm starting to say stuff that it really is bad um and if you in creating brochures create imagery that is fun and that looks a bit playful you'll recognize this photograph on the right hand side is one that I shot yesterday of our little farrah now what's interesting is you see how she's wearing our window screen picture in our window screen in this photograph now do you see what I did? You guys know that that was addressed that I created out of a window screen? How many of you thought of that dress as a bridal gown so you can it can depending on the brochure that you use it in there's a lot of dresses now for weddings if you looked in the vogue magazine and in the many of the new great vermont's wedding style there are a lot of there are colored wedding dresses, so I started working that final last night and went you know what? That looks like a great wedding gown and so I chose to put that as the cover she was one of my bride so she has been a bride so it's not like I'm being you know being dishonest in any any sort of fashion but notice again the harmony that goes into this beautiful piece and this is also one of my my templates if you're interested in my marketing templates there kantra portrait dot com backslash creative live um I have three coverage is good better best my collections the best of the platinum collection you notice I don't say probe a schedule a b or c platinum gold and silver you know how I came up with this idea because I noticed that wedding gowns had names they don't have a name there's the platinum collection there's the diamond collection from priscilla and all that so that's where I got the idea to start creating that kind of a look do you know when you buy a pair of shoes they all have a name there's the lucille or whatever so think about that when it comes to your brochures and noticed this, I'll just read one of these to you. It says the gold collections is my least expensive. The gold collection today is your wedding day, a day you have planned for dreamt about and discussed in detail for quite some time tomorrow, though, is your future, and if any of your tomorrow is remind you of how you felt today, then your wedding day is truly worth its weight in gold, and then it goes into my pricing. So again, if you're going to create promotional literature, make sure that you paint a beautiful picture before you put in your your your your literal pricing information, it's just one more of those things that make people feel feeling about your work. I'm not going to say that's going to be the holy grail, but it surely it's one of those things that will validate you and what you provide create dvds or cds for our shows for bridal fairs. I know that simply color does those little cd cases make something really pretty so that when you passed out your literature at a show that it's something that people actually want to hang onto, don't give him the piece of copy paper because I can promise you it's going in the file cabinet and more importantly, what happens when you give them that piece of copy paper is you force them to think about you and your work in the logical way. Is that what you want? See, if they think about you and your work logically, the chances are whoever is the cheapest guy in town is going to get the job. So if you want them to override that logic with emotion and and feeling and go oh, my gosh, I gotta have, like that para shoes that you saw in neiman marcus that even though it was twice what you could afford, you had to have them because you obsessed about them. Okay, there you go. And that pretty much sums it up for me. Do we have any questions by the you have any questions? Maybe we could ask you questions all day long, but, I mean, I think that was a beautiful summary of what we have learned here this weekend. You know, I really care about our industry. I care about my fellow photographers very, very much. And I can't even tell you how much it breaks my heart, to see many of my fellow compadres not doing well, and I see them floundered, and I see them really just at a loss so many times, and I see them struggling. But sometimes it's not because there's a struggle and no there's, no question that the economy isn't perfect, but people are still buying cars. People are still getting married, people are still having babies. I think that we just have to. We've seen what happens if you just do the same thing you always do. Why not try? Why not try to do something a little different?

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.