So basically where we ended was, yes, I chose to shoot the wedding and yes, we now know the circumstances under which that happened. So what she asked was for everything a thousand dollars when they came back to her was options of two she then had the option to yes, with me four thousand dollars and not have the disk of images or book me for fifteen hundred dollars. Now this then forced us to make business decisions about the kind of business we wanted to run. So don't talk about my numbers specifically from your one, and then how they played out from that. This definitely isn't the right way. This was my way. Please remember thing people always think that I become so attached to this theory as if I birthed it as if this is what I'm preaching to other people completely, not again, if you like, when I say great, if you don't like what I say, great, do what you do, you know you better than I know you and what you're capable of. I was more like a baby steps kind person, but I do believe t...
hat it played out very well for the strategic approach that it wanted to take now, um what what we want to focus on was creating a profitable business structure because I don't want you just running a business ah lot of times is this miss nomar is like we just like seeing the fact that we own a business that we're that we oh yeah I'm a photographer that's what I do unless you're making considerable profit on a consistent basis you are an amateur or your hobbyist a professional gets paid consistently for what he or she does please make no mistake about that if you want to be a professional I'm hoping that you will move towards creating a profitable business structure you want to do this full time you want to support your family with it are you knowing what the fixed costs are going into your business can you work in a transition to get from there again? I'm gonna see it for the third time is not the right way in my notes I haven't highlighted this is not the right way okay I can't tell you it's the right way but what I can tell you it is not the wrong way it might not be your right it might not be the industry's former right but I can tell you it's not wrong because four, five years later I'm standing here today very happy decision that I made very happy with the current state of my business so move a little bit more into that okay so now let's get into some numbers understanding my fixed costs this goes back to basic business principles about what it costs for you to run your business simple straightforward how you can move the minute you understand you're fixed costs then you can understand variable cops and then you can understand your profit the good thing about photography is that it's very very straightforward you can control the types of decisions that you're making so we just gave away of photographers edits giveaway prize from the beginning of my business and I'm gonna get into this when we get into this tomorrow these exact specifics but just surface to know for right now my fixed costs I will get into details tomorrow about my outsourcing was two hundred dollars at the time I was shooting around a thousand images for wedding at twenty cents an image to get processed I would call my images send them to an image processor I will tell you about about that experience and who I chose and how I found it tomorrow the life express was two hundred dollars average price per wedding for book keeping forty five dollars per wedding I didn't have a book keeper prior to meet creating a business once I started creating a business I wasn't working too often so a bookkeeper decide to take me on and just charge me a relatively like normal fee but I was going to charge it as a cost for my per wedding average my first year so well I shot my very first wedding in october of two thousand six so let's just take it six months from around october to june of the same sex is it whatever may june of the following year these are the types of cost that I was associating and a per wedding cost. Um I was spending about forty dollars of gas per wedding driving there and I was doing a lot of local engagement sessions and this was five years ago and gas was not four dollars and fifty cents a gallon. So that makes a big difference thirty five dollars average price per online proofing gallery simply at the time I was paying ex per month. So however many weddings that I shot within that year within that time frame I simply got that number and divide it by the number of weddings so I could get a per wedding rate as a fixed cost to be considered. And my guys following me are my talking trash okay shipping the hard drive because I was shipping a hard drive to outsource my post processing that shipping for two days fedex was costing me thirty two dollars to ship it there and to get pre shipping back to me the disc, the stationary the postage that I was writing or sending to the client was roughly costing me twenty dollars per per wedding. What I will say these are very basic numbers. There are a lot of other things that are going into this, but at its rawest, truest form from the top of my head, this was what was going on out of her wedding. We're not talking about the other factors that were playing into the business. We're not talking the other investment, so we had to make this is just basically what it was costing me to shoot a wedding. What does this total come out to be? Three hundred and seventy two dollars per wedding? That was my total fixed costs per wedding. Now the good thing then became most my clients weren't weren't ah, hiring me to shoot a wedding just only even if they had to re read restructure the budget they were always finding a way for me, teo provide for them the disc of digital negatives that's what a lot of the clients wanted. So I in the first year was having clients were painting fifteen hundred dollars per wedding. What that basically comes back down to fifteen hundred dollars, minus the three hundred and seventy two dollars gives me one thousand one hundred and twenty eight dollars. Yeah, my first year profits. Her wedding was one thousand one hundred and twenty eight dollars now coming from a girl who was working part time on a very limited budget, when I looked at that one thousand one hundred twenty eight dollars, I was like, what the heck like this was huge for meet other people might not be. So when I talk about my transition from becoming a part time to full time photographer, it might have been an easier decision for me because I wasn't in a seventy thousand dollars job, nor did we have a lifestyle that I had to maintain in order for me to be happy we were living simply, we kept a cost very low. I knew what my per wedding profit, wass and then I could forecast how many weddings could I book to match what my yearly income would be from the part time business. Once those two matched up, I could walk away from my part time job not looking back, at least for that year. And if I had to go back the following year and find another part time job, that's, what I was going to do are we on the same page? Great. Once you know your per wedding profit, then you can then gauge what your growth potential could be. Dj on. When you're gonna start buying jd a camera lenses, flash cf cards investing in a computer, I was working on a twelve inch ibook. And I had an external hard drive connected it to that that's. What? That was my wedding said, if I was editing on this twelve inch, I had a trackpad editing, photoshopped per image that's what I was doing because what were you doing taking what you have and you're making it work? That was all that he hadn't, so I'm not gonna pretend it's anything that it wasn't, but I knew my per profit wedding what don't make sense nobody's in paying attention? Nobody even knows what I'm saying mess of things I was like, your momma was like your mom. Okay, so what does this come out to be? My per and the average temperature was one thousand one hundred twenty eight dollars that's what? This is coming down too. Okay now follow me through this linear line of thinking, which is what? How they're putting take not right, but it's not wrong. After booking three weddings I take I took the advice that I asked my wedding photographer what should I do? He sent me the referral, so I was like, listen, I don't want to make you look bad, but hey, seriously, like you don't want to get into a thousand dollars betting with weddings, and he said, every three weddings you book raise your price is three hundred dollars you're becoming a better photographer if you're practicing ifyou're goingto workshops if you're watching creative live if you're shooting with your friends if you're setting up shoot you are becoming a better photographer. This is like any other company investing in our indy research and development if you decide to buy the download for seventy nine dollars or ninety nine dollars you I hope you would think you are seventy nine dollars richer as a photographer if your portion photographer you should raise your prices seventy nine dollars because after watching this course you are smarter not because of what I'm asking, but what of the other questions people are asking now you're developing and you're holding your business goals you have to recoup those costs to drive a probable in smart business after booking three weddings if I stayed within this price structure might my package one then became thirteen hundred dollars and practice to became eighteen thank you thinking anthony for the one person who answered eighteen hundred dollars my litle mathematician he's like a savant okay raise my prices to eighteen hundred dollars, but my fixed costs I fixed costs what were the three hundred and seventy two dollars that stayed the same? So as my prices raised by fixed cost stay the same but my per wedding prophet change from one thousand one hundred twenty eight dollars to one thousand four hundred and twenty eight dollars kate, following the same logic after booking six weddings, raise my prices to twenty one hundred dollars for that collection that most people were booking, which then brought my per wedding profit from one thousand four hundred and twenty eight dollars to one thousand seven hundred and twenty eight dollars, within a few short months and twenty one weddings later, which is not what we ended the year this was halfway through the year. I was then able to forecast this is my time to leave my job because I now know I can balance my bills. I can balance the fact that we need to re invest this money in the business. And two, three, two I'm ready to take a risk. I don't have all my ducks in a row, but they have him enough in a row for me to say I'm going to book more than twenty one weddings if I'm trending at the same caught at the same rate, if this then to become the same, we were profiting almost three thousand dollars per wedding. Fixed costs say the same, of course are variable costs. We're not the same. We had to get a computer we had to get here, I get that, but knowing at least the money that you have from booking the money that it takes for you to shoot that wedding. I'm from believing outsourcing because I wanted to be a photographer I didn't want to be a lightning editor or abridge editor I wanted to do what I want to do and far too many things to learn get about that we're gonna get into that tomorrow, that is the kind of thing that's I wanted, this was the kind of business that I wanted to run. This is the kind of business that I think a lot of people can run because it's not as intimidating as dealing with o and then you get a credit and then you get prints and then you get this and I'm totally for that once you hone what you're fixed, costs are and then you could drive a different sort of arm to your business. I get it, but in the beginning I didn't know which way was up, and he needed to be as straightforward and as lean and as streamlined as possible that's definitely what it isthe so that's pricing in it and of it self. Now I know there's going to be aton of questions coming from that. So before we get there, I want teo take questions about pricing for a distinct amount of time, and then we'll open up to all types of questioning I'm sorry if you covered this, but can I just get clarification and exactly what it was you're giving in that basic package so was that ten hours coverage it was the disk okay, so I believe in listing the most expensive still to this day when a client opens a pdf of my collections it's the most expensive on top because the lower ones look extraordinarily palatable, you know? So might a time I wanted to collection so at the time okay, back then I called the packages today and call them collections I'm a different photographer I'm very driven so my clients are driven by fashion and my favorite fashion fashion designers have collections sama spring collection of the fall collection it also khanna tate's that things change if you book a collection in two thousand five, it would be a very different collection in two thousand eleven at the time there were packages because that's what I saw other photographers doing until I became confident in myself I call them collections it's what I did, I didn't have anybody else doing it now I see a lot of people doing that's great, I didn't invent it, you know collection I've been around forever my packages at the time package one ten hours, two shooters, an engagement session, the disc a digital negatives fifteen hundred dollars package to ten hours, two shooters in engagement session that's what they got because what happens is I see a lot of photographers jumping in and they're offering albums and they're offering prints and they're not associating the time it takes to produce the albums they're not thinking about how long it takes to produce those images I know how much it costs for me per image to have that image online it's twenty cents tohave it post process plus the thirty five dollars per wedding divided over the thousand images which ends up roughly being three point five cents twenty five cents per image on the ellen gallery you have to know your numbers right if you want to run a profitable business I need to know that if that client is warning that picture the profit above that is everything minus twenty five cents minus any cost the printing company is going to take because of it are people thinking about that people are putting out an album because they think oh well the album only cost me five hundred dollars yes but how many hours does it take for you to design that album ten hours any profitability margin that you have made on that album you must divided over the ten hours and then you find out that you're making ten dollars an hour being a barista at starbucks for that amount it's just that simple I'm sorry I'm getting all fired up ladies and tell me to calm down I know he's like you're too you're too and I know I'm so passionate about people being smart about their business I want people to succeed, I'm a hard nose, I will push you because I love you and my sisters get crazy, they're like, stop being mean to you like I mean to you because I love you like that's, why I don't have children okay, because they're gonna grow up and, like, meet a shriek when they're eight, but when it comes down to pricing, you need to know all of those things I didn't get in two canvases, I didn't get into albums that you could get into all of that because I knew my price range wasn't enough to sustain that. When I got into the three thousand dollars thirty five hundred, I'll arrange that, then presented me a new opportunity to offer a different type of line and what I added to the line where albums because in through three thousand thirty five hundred dollar range clients then wanted an album for that type of investment, so I got a very simple album at least they had that option, although my I just simply added a package three to the pre existing packages because then I could know I know my bottom dollar four collections want for packages one and two package three was going to be a different type of profitability margins, but then offered a product line that I was didn't have before. That's what? It boils down to one hundred percent. I outsource my album designed to and so when you also show album designed it then becomes a fixed cost, not a variable cost. If I did it on my own, I would say hypothetically, I ke I kid on profit let's say four hundred dollars from this album. But if it took me fourteen hours to design one album on then it took me seven hours design another well that because variable costs because I have to divide the cost of the hours it took me to do designed the album by fourteen or by seven, which makes I per our rate of designing an album higher on my talking trash. My throwing it out is that what's going on? Okay, look, I'm telling you so much right now I'm sorry, it's so so those types of things I want to work in a business that has fixed costs, which is why I firmly believe in outsourcing it's the same across it's the same thing, it cost me the same to design on album every single wedding I started outsourcing from the very first wedding that I shot because my wedding photographer outsourced to amy and album esque I loved working with her. I dealt directly with her as she designed my wedding album, and I said I would love if my clients could deal the same thing I was not very probable on my very first albums, but guess what? I wasn't doing very much work with him to begin with it was a fixed cost and as I raised my collections that fixed cost for amy and elements stay the same, making so much more money albums now than it was then it's just simple math that's I'm a firm believer and kiss keep it simple stupid hundred percent hundred and there was a time I will say there was a time where I felt like the competition was offering like eight by tens and retouch my my seven and I had this guy had a collection that had that and then like, you know, three months after the wedding the girl was like, oh, well, here's a list of my two eight by tens they're classically retouched cause I listed them in the collection is classically retouched eight by tens and do you see the ira or should I do it again? Because I had to get these images retouched photo shop and I had to crop them according to where they need and then I need to send him to the ship of the printer than they need they need to be drop ship to the client it was like so much drama for what if that client's decision to hire me hinging on two eight by sevens and four by five by sevens she's not my client if she will not hear me because there's another photographer whose prices same white and gives her those prints sweetie go ahead I justin sweetie again do I say sweetie when I get miles maybe ideo I just think it's better for them to run that way but I do believe now we live in a digital age what the client wants what my client wants I don't know what yours most importantly she wants her pictures on facebook she wants her album but she wants her pictures on facebook because the people who see the album or the people that are closest to her maximum people seeing the album ten to twenty people people sing her wedding photos on facebook the average person on facebook has three hundred fifty friends to me three hundred fifty potential clients of mine amen and amen you know it's like mom is not trying to book me for her wedding her girlfriend from fourth grade who didn't get invited to the wedding that happens to like my work is that right there is marketing again we'll get in that tomorrow these are the things that I'm thinking about as I made my business decisions early on again totally not for everybody totally not for everybody yes if you um aren't offering them print uh where do you upload you? Upload your images online somewhere do is there print ordering from their option for the immigrants from their clients? Blimey, I haven't I haven't had a client I have had planes book me for collections without the digital negatives but once the wedding comes along they want the digital negative clearly so for me it wasn't so much about the client's ability to print them in an online capacity um it was for them to have the digital negatives at the accessibility so the proofing gallery could be approving gallery in any way, shape or form and if I made money on prince that's great that's a total byproduct I mean that that was awesome but it wasn't necessarily like imperative to my business I charge for my services up front and I'm ok if I walk away at the wedding having not made a single dime off prince that's fine, I'm totally happy anything I mean above and beyond that gravy totally happy with it and that's why I think I'm gonna be destiny transitioning tio thank you just there's a lot of questions about the disk of digital negatives uh I am a c seventy eight said how do you feel about photographers offering a cd of images instead of an album and I'm just wondering, you know it's one thing to charge for the wedding how do you can you talk about playing that value on that disk of negatives so I don't have to do value your collections getting to value people conceit implicitly, the price difference between collections and your accessibility. Now I want to start I don't want to be this one woman vehicle of change. I mean, I tried doing that law school, so you know, it was really so good. How about I just I'm hoping that I can teach my clients and if I'm gonna try it with my clients and if they don't respond well, well, then that's. Ok? I am reacting to the desires of my clients and what my clients want our accessibility and ease toe online imagery in addition to a few products, but their main trajectory I'm telling you from my eggs syrian is the ability to share them online, and tomorrow I will talk about how that has been my entire marketing vehicle. I don't have to spend money, I just have to make sure that my clients are happy and give them ways to share their images online. How do I feel about clients giving me photographers giving away the disk? Well, there was a large point time where film shooters gave there negatives to their clients. It was part of the course, and then we came into this digital area and era people started raising hell and high water about the ability for people to give the disc. Listen, I'm not going to cast the first stone I gave the disk, but I charge for that and even if it comes, my business gets to a point tour. I want to archive my images online and have my clients give the ability for them to host it in a cloud and pass that on to them instead of mailing the disk they then have the ability I don't need the disk. I can access my online gallery for my phone my computer I can download all the images if I want at any place in the world I will still charge a premium for that service because that's the value that they have accessibility to the images, not the disk itself that's how I believe the industry is going my client's still are ordering albums that's great has impeded them there's never been a hybrid of sorts and I'm not gonna be like no, no, listen you want to pay for the disk? Great, perfect. You want to pay for the ability and accessibility? Be it on a disk, be it in the cloud. Being online gallery we can have that conversation that's what I believe so again it's, not everybody's cup of tea if I was a portrait photographer, that model would be very different remember wedding for talking first deal on a voluminous model at minimum, my clients are getting eight hundred images minimum eight hundred images. Do you think I want to have a gallery and price out prince and process the four by six for auntie may and idaho? No, never. I never got in the business of running for by sixes. For if there are photographers that pride themselves in the printing quality of a four by six and their packaging perfect, make sure that you charge a premium for your time to do that. That's it I'm saying the same thing however you want to run with it for the business that I run, and specifically for my clients. I know the client that I tracked, she is on the go she's busy she's a professional. I want to make it easy for her to access the images if she has her ipad and she's on the plane and she has like wifi. You know, yesterday I got wifi going up love it great she's on the plane on a business trip and she sits next to somebody in first class and there's a girl who has an engagement ring and she can pull up her image is on her ipad from my images on the cloud thank you man she probably walk around with their eleven by fourteen winning over. That's what I want again my business structure is not for everyone I say that time and time again he would like it awesome you don't like it equally as awesome this is how I roll sorry why you e e I think I can speak for myself but I think people are trying to process what you're talking about because it's a whole new model it is and I think that's why I like even on the internet people are saying over and over what do you mean what do people get if they don't get the dvd of the images? What were the present way? Are the top okay? Okay, okay. I'm sorry. Chase I'm sorry, john. I'm sorry. Okay? I'm gonna step on its way no more than anybody in this industry more than our clients. How viable are disks as memory options? Would you put your wedding photos on a disc and say I'm gonna keep this disk for twenty one years? Are you crazy? That's what we're selling the standard should be changed. The standards should be your house burns down. That is okay. You have your images in the cloud that should be an extension of my brand and I don't want to be this like joan of arc would go to a different listen, I'm going to do it my way if my clients like it if they're happy if they feel safe if it makes my brand look better piece has done not a question I don't have my pictures the pictures that I have of jd and I are being hosted in club buy the whole company I'm hopefully transitioning to boom done house gets robbed god forbid lord jesus never happened I know that I have this pictures how good does that feel? How good that I can tell my client the same thing that's where I'm transitioning this is what this is what technology empowers us to do and what I want you the disc the desk no play no it's not the disc you can now I feel like I could sell aikins I could sell that ten times I could sell it like you ice to an eskimo way implicitly understand that we back up emails we even back up our itunes how much we spend on itunes you know, if you're investing that in your wedding photography it should become I'll do it for you for the first I don't know I have to figure it out I'm still working through it but I mean I love feedback we get there do I hosted for a year after the wedding the same way that I would be responsible for the images so I host it for three years or who's there for five years do I have the ability to pass it on to a client? How rad would that be to do that? Maybe I don't know working on all of that so we'll see but yeah sorry this is total jasmine lots of questions what is the cloud? The cloud um these are servers that exist in different locations around the world that are all back so god forbid something happens in india and you had your own website on a server in india and there was an earthquake god again god forbid and then you are my server went down well when you host your things in a cloud then becomes on a married of servers in different places around the world so it's a good back up back up back up so this is like the ultimate extreme backup situation that's what in the cloud means in its most basic terms and you know there's a techie use like notes this coding to me like I'm really dead so that's the best way that I can explain it and have it be as simple as possible you know like a drove oh drive but scott thank you it's like the drill booth yeah it's like drogo in this guy if you're smart like in the x games and back up you said the extreme back up with that right that's right everybody's taking my damn it so do you want to talk about the company that used, did you I'm not yet okay, sorry. I mean, I don't want to endure I mean, here's the thing I wouldn't I'm not gonna endorse anything that I'm not using or like really one hundred percent confident sorry, fair enough, probably. Maybe when I'm back a creative life. Yes. No, sorry, I'm gonna go back to some pressing question is great. Yes, thank you, but by the way, the brilliant and I'm really excited to hear what you have to say more about that. Um, so photo addict had asked, uh, what if you are in a tiny market and people just are not able to pay your price is what would you recommend for that? We brought this up at lunch. Now, this idea of striving to be the high end photographer is this notion that should be redefined because the high end photographer is very different individualized market it's because you see one photographer charging ten thousand dollars does not mean that that should become your aspiration model. I too want to charge ten thousand dollars in, you know, smallville montana. If the market doesn't exist there, then rethink your your your, um, what's happening if you look at the photographers who are charging ten thousand fifteen thousand dollars when the market creates that demand? I don't I'm hard pressed to find a photographer that's charging fifteen thousand dollars if the market isn't there, then that photographer isn't working. You have to understand, though you know the high end photographer and I'm sorry for people who are in arkansas arbor, charley, choose arkansas and our beach, our lead shoes conway, arkansas I have a friend that lives there. I don't know anything about the market, no offense to that market, but I can guess that a photographer who's charging ten thousand dollars probably won't be in business as frequent as a photographer who's charging say perhaps five thousand dollars because in conway, the high end photographer could be five dozen dollars. But guess what? The house in conway that's five bedrooms with a yard and two car garage costs three hundred thousand dollars, where as a photographer is charging ten thousand dollars in los angeles, his or her market there's a demand for it and for a two bedroom condo with no enclosed parking is six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Those types of things become help you keep things in perspective, I'll never be able to charge as much as that person guess what you don't need teo because that's not your market if if you're in a market that khun dictate that demand, rock it out but keep your perspective in scope furthermore, if you wanted to get into destination weddings, you then become a viable candidate if there's a bride who's getting married in florida hypothetically guess what the florida photographer will probably because the market convict ate that photographer can public charge eight thousand dollars but you charged five thousand dollars? What if you cover your travel fees and you charge a little bit extra and you charged sixty five hundred dollars? Well you're still a better you're still a better bargain photographer who's local to her who could do engagement sessions at her mom's house and her bridles where she wanted them to be go to florida you diversify your portfolio she walks away with pictures as she wants and pays less for them then what that current market photographer is where she's getting married don't ever second guess the aspiration model according to your market if you think there's not a market for people who appreciate your work well one redefine where your market is like don't arbitrarily say I've always dreamt of charging five thousand dollars well if the average photographer is the high end is charging for well, then rethink the situation and once once you're shooting weddings consistently four thousand four thousand four thousand golden clearly you need a raise your prices if you're getting one wedding every five months at four thousand, well maybe maybe you're where you want to be but rethinking that room, rethinking that thing wherever you are in your market is a really good wade aaron was talking about she's from buffalo. Her wedding season is short, it is so cold and brides you know in california are getting married at over longer periods of time her, she wants to book out weekend after weekend after weekend because she can, but at the same time her aspiration model shouldn't be twenty thousand dollars, even though you could rock it out. You could rock out twenty thousand hours if you want teo, but I hope so, and I hope that now here's the thing collectively if photographers collectively work. I firmly believe that photographers in orange county and los angeles were the forerunners of really changing and creating a demand for wedding photography. New york, atlanta, san francisco all followed suit, but I kind of saw it trending that people were slowly raising their prices and creating value. Now, collectively, if photographers from buffalo saw that aaron for talking who's been doing this for one or two years, so it's kind of slowly raising our prices with other photographers, going to say she can do this there's a demand for what she's doing there start looking to you as a leader than those men they're gonna start reciprocating. She kind of raises prices, she can raise its prices if you all are competing within the same price ranger inadvertently educate your client for a price, a price on demand that then creates the market collectively, a rising tide raises all ships if you want to charge more, well, then talk to other photographers learned from each other, teach from each other, collude to make the industry better and pat people value more of what you d'oh if your complete outlier than your price wrong it's not that other people don't get it, you know you're the on ly person. Maybe it might be you and not everybody else. Sorry, that's long answer wait, we have a question from jenna in the chat room. How detrimental would it be to ask the client their price point first rather than stick to your own package pricing when you have no bookings to begin with? That's hard, I I feel that, like I think that every photographer struggles that have you been treating one year fusion in five years? Like I implicitly understand that I'm priced out of a mark, a big part of my market, an orange county? I talk to jd about it all the time, I wish, and we're not going to see the number because in their photographers in orange county or like a, I wish that I was at x at x, I'm shooting up a storm. I know the market and good weddings, cute details, amazing clients at this price point, but I don't want to shoot forty weddings a year. I want to love what I do. I want to create a boutique type environment for my clients to know that my attention on their entire weekend is dedicated entirely to them, that when they email me, they're getting an email response within twenty four hours. I need or want to know those types of things, and I want the clients feel confident about that. I want to ask what my clients budget is totally it's I don't roll that way, I just think that all of a sudden, even let's just say you would set your prices and you're like, ok, I could do this for a thousand and you're like, okay, okay, and you like, maybe I could make it work, and then somebody emails you for seven hundred fifty dollars, you are going to want you inadvertently drop your prices without letting her know, and then who's the person that you cheapen yourself. You cheapen yourself if you already know that you're not necessarily at, like the highest price point, and you're like, oh, and then somebody just barely does it gonna cheapen yourself. Send your prices and if they want to have a conversation I'm a firm believer in the conversation you know if they want have a conversation like oh, we're just right there do you think you khun do a payment plan do you think that we could paint by the disc after can we get an album at christmas that's the conversation put it out there and let people respond if they really care about your services they really want to make it work people do respond totally what you were doing price what do I do? Price range you know wondering but you know I mean here's the thing it it became like a like a major issue I would probably I do fifty fifty I would consider doing thirty three thirty three thirty four I would consider that but I'm just not in you know it's it's hard like my bookkeeper keeps track of everything I don't want to be going and being constant track of it I think a thirty three thirty three thirty four works that would be open to that conversation um but yeah, any questions in the unrelated to where I am now but how often do you raise your prices now? That's a really good question um it's different right now it's definitely on demand so um I raised my prices three hundred fifty dollars for like springtime weddings for next year and we're doing okay um I'm not changing my two thousand eleven prices because I want to shoot between twenty and twenty five and we're at twenty and so everything be honest is gravy I don't need to be like oh because I can I will I like where we are like I like where we are so it's cool absolutely and we have you know, there was some months where we're shooting like, you know, seven or eight weeks in a row and then there's some months were it's like quiet if I could fill in a wedding here and there and that would be fabulous and I would love it but it's fine, fine we're exactly where we want to be and I'm okay with that especially especially given where the economy is you know, at the beginning of the year last year when you kind of started booking for two thousand eleven my cycle is a book about a year in advance what you want to do is like back in like october I wanted to drop my price is five hundred seven hundred be like I don't know you know what doesn't work it looked like you know we'll block and he's like no we worked I have to practice what you preach and just trust that it will be there and has booking been slower than it has in pastures of course but I raised my prices of course it'll be slower and the economy has turned south of course it'll be slower, but I'm okay with it every wedding that we're shooting, this was so excited to be there really proud because they want us there and there are a large, more large investment to their day. So for those weddings, I feel I stand by them and I feel like it's a good decision. Um, do you find that? Well, at least when you're first starting out because you didn't sell the prince um, were you getting brides that knew that they wanted to book you and they weren't looking you because you were giving all these products away in your packages? I think that it helps yeah, I think that it helps more of a value on you, rather then on these, like printed products, and I'm like I said when I changed the packages to include that stuff I started attracting that kind of client, which was like the bargain barrel kind of clients like what can I want the most bang for my buck and I sort of realized, oh, this is not where I want to go. Um, yeah, and then I let the hair youto, like other photogs like, oh, this photographer will give, you know, when they hate to wait just a flat price that it's just they're buying you definitely and when I want to add to that is like it's the client like you know you give him the disk but um like a recent wedding you shot two three weeks ago the mom disordered prince that I didn't see coming and I was a great you know, like that that's that's great that's awesome but again that's just, um it's just you know, grady was just great stuff that you like but I never anticipated coming. Yes, no, I know that you plays a huge emphasis on word of mouth organic online marketing have you ever played around with the idea of advertising on like a national magazine like nod or something? Absolutely and thinking like, you know, that kind of exposure can raise your prices and you could be getting more and more profitability for each year weddings? I think it's uh what's your opinion on a uh, mind shift because how I'd here's the thing I mark it to myself maybe your brides would look at advertisements in a way that I wouldn't look at advertising how I look through advertising and get what I want to go that's how I look and once I'm done with it I threw it away you don't think coordinators look at the magazines and say like, oh who's, you know, hot off the press this year not as much as they do block wei live in an online we live in an online society where uh, click to push quick to buy is brilliant, the amazon one click buy my demise you get feature like I get featured, you know, stomping pretty that's one klick to jazz and star, I get featured in a national magazine, which is awesome. I'd like to create a hybrid I love print publication, and I love online, but if I had to pick one it's gonna be online because the probability of a bride picking up the magazine not only singing advertising because advertising, I just don't think they national advertising it in a national magazine will renew nine to ten thousand dollars. If you have nine to ten thousand dollars and you want to spend it on a magazine advertisement you will have to wear. What is your price point? Are you a five thousand dollar photographer? You're gonna have to book two weddings from that magazine alone just to break even. How do you even know that they're looking for tim king instead of? They're just looking for a a person who advertises in that magazine, I have a firm belief that the larger my funnel, the more probability I have to catch a bridezilla I'm not trying to have that, I'm trying to go after a very specific client, that's a client who wants me as the wedding photographer, I hope that everybody aspires to that type of thing, and if you have ten thousand dollars and you want to get spoken about, take the ten thousand dollars, take it to the children's hospital, make an anonymous donation, offer your services for free to two or three families who don't have the ability to have photos for a child who is terminally ill, you want to be spoken about, do that that'll get you farther, they'll get you farther hands down, and when you are, when brides are looking at these blog's, what happens? And I will talk about this tomorrow, but they look at these these blog's and it's, a single frame, and the photographer who could've been featured after me and the photographer could be feature built beneath below my post, right? So chronologically, this photographer charges ten thousand, this photographer charges four thousand, and there and there I was, charging fifteen hundred two thousand dollars for a wedding. Now in their eyes, if this water is freezing my work in tandem, corresponding with the other work there thinking these brides because remember, we're dealing with an uneducated, a client who wants to buy sophisticated product when they're looking at that, they think that that playing field is even because blobs like sell me pretty creates an even playing field, abby says, this is pretty bride's believe this is pretty regardless of that photographer charging a thousand that's for overcharging ten thousand dollars, it is a click to buy purchase from a block. I will invest my time in that's everything and that's how I started early on two, one hundred percent um, as faras coordinators go, too, you know you want people to talk about you do something amazing by yourself. Don't depend on a print notification to do that for you because they will vastly letyou down one hundred percent. I got notified to market in very popular online forum, tons of clicks, a lot of members, and it costs five hundred and fifty dollars for a three by three metrics square in the side margin myself in seven and seven other photographers within my demographic because you buy, you buy marketing ability for your region. So you played tio the orange county version of this with the los angeles for five hundred fifty dollars, and this is what you get now. What? What is it? One of the probability that one bride, a prospective bride, would click on that, then? Be my type of bride and then be able to afford me and then four not be a bridezilla like those odds got smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and then was even attracting the type of bride that I even wanted five hundred fifty dollars times twelve months ends up being roughly eight thousand five hundred dollars a year to advertise with this online forum if I was going to make them type of investment, I needed to know that I would be able to book more than more than the clients who are willing to pay eight thousand enough clients who would supersede the eight thousand five hundred dollar mark if or when that happened I realized I don't have eight thousand five hundred dollars to invest, but what happened was I started a conversation how did the conversation happened? One of my block and I wrote an article about first looks because a lot of my clients do them and a lot of people asked about them what I do with my bloggers, they use it as an educational tool for perspective client I run it from a first person narrative, but what I'm really saying is I to believe you should have a first look right because we can't we can't want but other people don't know they want we have to educate them to show them that this is a better decision as you make wedding decisions so I wrote about this one of a very popular person on this forum went and posted a link to my block and said ladies, what do you think about this? How much would I pay for that advertising as my block stance went through the roof nothing that's my marketing doesn't cost anything you want coordinators to talk about you I've had three at minimum and probably more coordinators ask for reproduction permission to post on their blog's what I wrote about a first look and I'm like wait you want to advertise for me? Yes go ahead and feel free to use these pictures in the hues of my post too that's what that's what that's what marketing should be it shouldn't be here let me tell you how great I am it should be empowering others to tell you to tell others how great you are that's powerful marketing and I think that's what we do in a viral community and I think that's my bride my demographic which is where I'm going in trending heavily believe that's where the industry's going to and for others who doubt it I would say take a step back and look with what's going on in the past year three major wedding magazines folded like it's not as powerful as it wass invest wisely about what you're doing and how you're doing it okay okay um we probably have like maybe thirty minutes for questions um if we have pricing questions, be great, anthony and actually do we do um so I think more things that you did so well it was kind of break the mold and really be yourself um and that probably was a huge part of how you got started, but it seems like a lot of people are doing that now everyone's being themselves, which is awesome so started out now I mean, you've broken that mole and that's out there. So how do you differentiate yourself from another thousand two thousand people that are blogging and being out there and really be themselves? How do you make that? Okay, so there's that this is a two part answer one ever take ownership in the ideology that I was a mould breaker? I only did what I had like I only worked with what I had and the only thing I had was me so I put myself out there in a different capacity. So do I believe that I put myself out for capacity? Yes do I think that there were molds to be broken? I don't know, but I won't say yes, thanks. Um yeah that's, right? No, I simply did what anybody else wanted to dio and maybe just didn't have the nerve to do it and call me stupid because a lot of people didn't beginning one of the things that I thought was a differentiating factor in my business was the fact that I liked to right and people scoffed it guess what? Who's eating crow that was my point of differentiation the cat who said that um landscape architecture was his individual asset who's laughing at him now you got a one on one you get to sweat while he was doing it and I don't I think he would do it ten times over for free could pay for that hands down so how do I differentiation how do you differentiate yourself? There is no other even thank you I personally think your fricking hilarious ah lot of people don't I mean I don't know I don't know I don't know I do here's the thing I haven't wasted here you guys I chose you because we're like, you know, we were cracking up at breakfast and the tables around us were heavily annoyed do you guys notice that I did? They don't think we're funny we happen to think we're freaking hilarious and we'll probably higher each other to shoot each other's weddings right? Because we know each other in a different context in a different capacity so you continue being you you shoot your silly videos or whatever as a way to be different I actually had the opportunity to speak to anthony at w p b I and one thing that I said hey like you should, since you're so good at video, you don't ever want to know what is like the video guy because you want to make sure that you brand yourself as a photographer, but what have you branded yourself as a photographer who creates, like, two minutes like, I don't know, not promo is just like tutorials anything contact another like higher end photographer in san francisco followed him to an engagement should be ok. Can I put together like a two minute video of you like shooting, talking about what you're doing? And you could use it on facebook or blogged or whatever and all thanks to you for my blawg, if somebody you know yeah, great let's do it that's a point of differentiation that he as as a photographer going and what is he doing on that shoot? He has front row seats to seeing how one of the photographer works and how much did that cost him? Elbow grease and at any time, if he's willing to do it that's a point of differentiation and an asset that he brings that nobody else has rocked it out. That is, you that's your differentiation point. I don't know, everybody has different things, so guess questions wait, so yes, we have time of pricing questions. Ok, ok, so a lot of people in the chat room um wanted teo back to something a little practical um just to clarify you had mentioned before fifty fifty, thirty three, thirty three, thirty four could you talk a little bit about how much retainer you require up front and a percentage how people should go about looking at that? And then like when when do you build the client's type of thing or when did they okay, I think I understand the question correctly and I don't answer it right and just like let me know I require fifty percent there is no right way or wrong way to get your money if you are getting paid, don't you don't try to fix it like you continue doing you I started this because it was working for me and I've continued with it because it works for me it required require fifty percent retainer to ensure that that day is locked in health. There are other photographers who charged a thousand dollars retainer and then they require the the rest of the amount of front because of how I'm working and because of my demographic I think I suspect and I don't know that somebody would easily turn away if clients are paying me ten or eleven thousand dollars to shoot their wedding in orange county turning away one thousand dollars to find a photographer for four thousand dollars they will, like, save money and have the opportunity to work with somebody else if somebody's out there and they're hungry and they desperately to be smarmy business practices that's their ifyou're gonna invest in me, I want to know we're on the same page fifty percent retainer that requires a locked your date. I required the remainder fifty percent plus the eight point seven five california tax fourteen working days before the wedding. Now do I expect my very busy clients toe ever remember this? No it's my responsibility to email them a month in advance and hey, just to let you know the payment is due on this state, and then I send them look a little like statement of where we are like a little invoice of sorts on check ten ninety seven you sent five thousand dollars. What is this is the remaining balance the remainder the eight point five california tax this is amount that's do here's a refresher of where to send it. Thanks so much by this time, I'm already hoping that I have a timeline. If I don't have the time line, I'm having that conversation with him, can I get the time line? All of those things are coming for five weeks in advance, that's exactly the answer wait, which leads me to my next question from michelle mcnichols what about clients who don't pay on time? Well, I guess the question we back to michelle have are you following up with your clients? Like your clients are planning the most important day of their life, but I don't think I should be your top priority. Okay, you have one hundred thousand dollars food bill a pelican hill, but me, I need to get paid no know if they have a coordinator and falling over the corner like so all full up for the bride and a ccu coordinator, because if that client does not pay me a couple times, a client hasn't paid her, but she says, I'll have that I'll have the check for you if she's working with the coordinator who I know and trust, I'll go with it if it somebody I've never heard of, never like whatever I'm like, ok, can you bring it cash? But at the end of the day, even if they don't bring in cash and then you bring me a check, I have what they want. They're not getting their not I'm not. I'm not releasing the gallery, and so I don't want nothing recently, the gallery, I'm not missing the disk, I'm not gonna do anything until we get the final payment, but that has never got to that point. I know. Hey, I'm not going there scowling. Listen, you only like fifty five hundred dollars that's, ok, which is a move for my shoot your wedding. We have a blast that remember, we're leaving a taste in our client's mouth there last personal experience at least of my client's happens on the wedding day. I'm not going to go in there and be like, yeah, and shoot that. But since I couldn't get paid, I don't no, no. But again, you have to know that you have what they want and they're really not gonna mess around, you know? Yes. So if there's anything that comes up, you know, god forbid in crisis or never stat catastrophe, um, you just keep the retainer. I mean, after what it goes off. Oh, okay. That's, a different type of situation. So I had have clients again. I do not have a hard and fast rule. It goes back to the experience if a client which hasn't happened if a client decides not to get married like two weeks before the wedding. Well, I can't book another wedding within a two week time frame, and they have to understand that if it's two weeks out the venues not giving them their deposit back she's not getting a refund on her dress like, why do we feel as personal vendors that we should all listen and feel inclined to say, ok, no there's a lot of people who were put out for this if a client let me know far in advance, and I feel like I have the propensity of booking another wedding in that time frame, I'll talk to her about it and say, if I should another wedding, if I get another wedding on that wedding date, I'm gonna refund your money if she weren't if it, you know, she books me and, like a month later, she decides to call the wedding. I'm sending her money back, you know? I mean, I had fun believe, like, run your business as you would want a business to treat you in the context of which it iss I understand if I cancel on somebody two weeks before probability, I'm not getting back, um, you know, ten months before, well, then we're having a conversation about what it is, I want her to come back to me as a client again. I really do I'm not gonna piss her off I'm not going to suffer friend leader so you have a question from arturo, iowa and that is what do you think about posting prices on your website and this says with password protection but I guess maybe with or without maybe you had password protection well then what's the point of putting them out of mine because it so the equivalent of keeping them and then millennium out. I know what I feel about starting like my collection starting at I post the starting at price because access a filter clearly a client who has a two thousand dollar budget probably won't be emailing me because I'm not within striking distance of her collection rate, so that's just used as like a away, but for me I want to create a conversation with client I want to know I just don't want clients just looking and think, oh yeah no, I can't like I want to know where, mike so when somebody e mails me, I want to know where they're coming from windsor wedding day I want to know if they don't look me like what happened not that they would not that I would ask that sometimes they went with this photographer or we change a date or whatever the case may be, I want to know those things I want to know where my leads are coming from, because then that will allow me to say, if this log is sending me a lot of leads, well, I'm should be investing more, you know, time there or whatever the case of the so I believe in posting starting prices, but I don't post everything out because I want to know what people are saying thinking, I want to get a vibe about who my prospective clients, okay, I have a two part question, okay? And I mean, business is business, but at the same time you're human being and, you know, people there's so many variables, right? So ryan had asked about special prices for friends and relatives, or would you recommend doing so when you're starting up? And then whitney had asked her had said, I understand that you want clients to relate to you, but how do you handle clients below your price point that you really want to shoot? I mean, are you just like you stick to your prices and you just don't there's no, you don't well again, I think of the workshop, I feel like for us to make really like huge strides think of your life in black and white, because one the minute you allow the tainted bit of great, everything becomes deluded, so do I offer discounts? No, not so much. If I were a close knit friend, I'm sure your wedding for free, like I charge my sister three thousand dollars just kidding. I didn't order anything. I know I didn't charge my sister anything like you were like my best friends know that if I end up shooting the wedding, I'm going to shoot it for free any my inner circle knows I will do whatever to take care of you, and then that periphery it's a slippery slope, because inherently, we're implicitly built to categorize people. So this is level one french of this is level two, and we have a little circles and the wide the circle. And then what does friend number two you would give? Like a forty percent discount for a friend in circle number four who happens? We're friends, friends in no circle to, we'll only get a twenty percent discount, says you gave her forty and all of a sudden it's a slippery slope. People are pissed off when you feel like, okay, I'll just match it, and then you're unhappy to be there and she's unhappy because she's not sure if you really want to be there, it just gets so crazy, listen, if you're going to shoot the wedding at a discount like no way for the school really really want to shoot that wedding if she believes that shooting that wedding at a discount push her business further than booking another wedding at her regular prices well then let's think strategically about it if you're as passionate about it do it for the love of what you do but try to not always do it at a desperation because people smell desperation and then people also smell good will okay, yeah I totally like shy station annunciation you say I think I said in the last crate of life so I'm j d and I will shoot one to two weddings um at different rates for different people given different circumstances I will talk about that the weddings and I post are nobody I don't do it as a condom I don't do it as anything except for the fact that my photographer paid it forward and I will swear on my life that I will continue to do that for other people and it's not necessarily that they become photographers but that they know that there are people out there who believe in their ability to succeed in whatever it is that they want to do but to continue whatever that is to pay it forward to somebody else who may not have that same opportunity so if she really wants to and she feels like this is such a great opportunity or maybe she just thinks they're great people and she wants to use her skill set to bless them, rocket out, do it. I'm not like I'm not so much of a hard nose, but she has to know that she can't keep on fluctuating because and she doesn't know her own self worth, she feels confident in making our decision. I mean, that's, basically, what she's asking is, would you do the same thing that david j did for you is now ideo and so you d'oh, that's awesome, but I know it's so funny because the one girl who, uh, on my facebook wall, she wrote, so last time I was here a creative life. I spoke about a t ball wedding, okay, run out like how if you could shoot this people wedding like you shoot the brand like the world series wedding? Well, then it becomes a very different thing. Well, she wanted the facebook wall and she says, who was the face? Who was this feeble wedding? And then, like, like, fifteen minutes later, she's like, oh, I think I found that the t ball wedding and she posted the league and I had to remove that comment because I do think that that bride still follows me, and that wasn't the table wedding. You know, yeah, that makes me happy. I shot a wedding. People cannot tell which the like, which are like the wedding that we do because we shoot them in a way that he takes it wanted, takes you back to your roots, gotta be creative with whatever you're given, and it reminds you of what you're doing it for it's, for the passionate, for the love of what you do and that right there is, like it's worth its weight in gold. So, yeah, so, yes, I'm still doing with david j. We did agree, but I don't have to put it out the same way he did. Put it out, so I'm not a raise like you and khun talk somebody into it, like you talk one on one million, like you don't have one in one million like that lotto ticket is mine.