Interview with Sal Cincotta


Business Reporting for Photographers


Lesson Info

Interview with Sal Cincotta

All right, everyone welcome we have mr south cicada in the creative life house happy to be here we are so happy to have you back it has been a while and just go so good to see you. Yeah too too long so before we talk a little bit about your photo we class that we're gonna watch here in a minute we wanted to go back and go a little bit down memory lane because you have been here for a number of classes here on crete alive yes and just let's start off with your very first one I love to hear about the high school photography workshop your first class here incredible I've tell us what it was about s o that particular one was our first experience with you guys I'll never forget I met you and craig ing vegas that's right at w p p I that was awesome overwhelming we didn't know what to expect when we came here and but we laid it all out on the line and we talk about high school seniors the business of high school seniors uh it resonated well with the audience because everywhere around the worl...

d even high school seniors high school seniors want to be cool all right? I don't know any high schools any seventeen year old that doesn't want to be cool and so the high school senior program lays it all out from establishing an ambassador program to finding you know you know your market demographics creating, mailing list and really going after the high school senior market and then just showing us how you shoot to sell as well as another big one. Yeah, we took the back alley, the studio time, the studio I had no choice. They wouldn't let me play in the middle of street like I normally do. You remember that? Oh, ideo that was chaos last old remembers that you know, it's funny because after that celeste never works with me again. I wonder if she's sending me a message, but we had a good time. We went in the alley and we just really showed how you can take seemingly just a simple brick wall on turn it into and turn it into something more than just a brick wall. And then we went up to the rooftop. Yeah, we did some off camera flash though we talked off camera flashes well and overpowering the sun and bringing in that dark blue sky right, doing something more dramatic. So that was the full package of a course for high school seniors which wasn't even your bread and butter at the time, which is wedding photography so then we said, we need to get this guy back south and you did a five day wedding photography boot camp that was intense. That was the full package. Tell us about that. I can honestly say that from a speaker perspective, the five day boot camp, it was probably one of the most exhausting weeks of my life and my team's life, because it really was. It is truly a blueprint from shooting the wedding day, whether it's, the creatives, the bridal, prep, the groom probably went through every part of the day to marketing your business. How to run a bridal show. We showed you the bridal show set up on so it's from getting the bride all the way to final delivery and everything in between. And I think still, to this day, it's, probably one of the most comprehensive wedding courses that's ever been presented on creative, live and so there's a lot of great wedding photographers out there that'll teach you howto pose and lied and all that stuff, and we touch on some of that stuff. But as far as like a true business plan on how to be a wedding photographer, I still believe that's, one of the best courses we've ever produced, and I think that has come out of creative life. Oh, I agree it was one for the for the books, yeah, sure, I still get people talking me like I've watched her five day boot camp in I did this this and this and it's working and I always love hearing, you know, the success stories because that's ultimately why we teach where everybody out there who's following us in the past or maybe new people don't know this, but we're an active studio, so we we photographed thirty five to fifty weddings a year, we do seventy five to one hundred high school seniors a year and and somewhere in there I teach and we have a magazine and we do all sorts of other fun stuff so many things I don't know how you and your beautiful wife taylor even breathe or sleep like that happens to be here after let's talk about then you're next cap class, you came back and that you came back for more and so that was the mastering sorry, no marketing for photography business, right? And what we wanted to do in those courses was really because the one thing for tiger seem to struggle with it is just marketing and self promotion and social media on they don't really quite understand howto how to do that and that's a struggle because if you're going to the photographer and you're just hoping business comes to you it's not going to work that way, you know you've got to go out there, you've gotta hustle, you've got to get it on that's any any business, by the way, you know, in the analogy I was making to be selling cupcakes, you still have to know how to market your business and build a brand. And so the marketing and then, of course, the subsequent course was mastering eyes part two of that. So we really dove deep in both those courses and giving you marketing ideas and what I love about both those courses. Is there not pie in the sky items that are going to cost you twenty thousand dollars to go implement some of these air grassroots, just sweat equity marketing programs that you can put in place tomorrow that will cost you nothing, just your time and effort. And I think that's, the beauty of the way that you teach south is just it is you put it out there and you show people what they can do, and then they get to go choose if they're going to go do it or not. But it's it's no holds barred. It is your business man, and and so that is truly over and over. People will be successful or they're not. And and you you lay it all out there. So I think when when I look at what my strength is as an educator, it's my job is to just show you the way. Ryan, I'm the flashlight. I'm gonna show you the path, whether you decide to walk down that path or not. It's totally up to you, like you said and that's why? I think the people who follow us and embrace our practices really do well, because they're taking what we're teaching them, the heart, they know that we're a real studio and then they're applying those principles in their own way. You don't have to do exactly what I'm saying just take bits and pieces of it. You know what works for you exactly. So let's, talk about the little piece that we're about to watch here in our special edition of photo weak and you taught on, uh, reporting thank you business reported photographer you've got somebody teach on too many things so that the reporting was an element I felt was missing from all the courses that I've taught, right? Because it's more business heavy it's not sexy, glamorous models, lights all this stuff that photographer want to do it's like numbers, right? And none of us ever want to look at his numbers, numbers, numbers they're boring, but numbers are going to help us look at the past and predict the future and so this is an hour and a half course where we really try and dive in on some simple things I'm not looking for you to be an accountant right so it's meant for photographers simplified dummy proved so that you can look at your business understand the numbers you're seeing and understand what they mean and more importantly how to take corrective action on those numbers I thought it was ah really straightforward course I think people are going to love it jam packed and sal in ninety minutes yes let's talk just a little bit again about some of the things that you that you teach people you must have who knows how many people ask you questions and you must hear some of the same questions over and over and over what are some of those with regard to business for starters was the biggest question that you get and what's the answer and why do you think people keep asking it yeah the number one question I get asked from photographers around the world doesn't matter what market we're in is about pricing and packaging that work right how do y price my work and it's it's a question that seemingly has no answer because how you price your work is up to you right ultimately and that's why in the both senior and wedding courses we really dive into the framework to price you work right so I'm not going to tell you that okay if you're in business one of two years you should charge a thousand dollars or five thousand dollars I say charges much as you can right I want to make this much money is a kind of a business person instead what we like to do is just give you the framework on how to accomplish your figure out what your pricing should be and that's where we've seen people have the most success right because you can't just say across the board everybody needs to price this at this and this and that that's never going to work there's no there's no money so that you can you can go to mcdonald's get a cup of coffee for you know, ninety nine cents in good starbucks and somehow pay seven dollars right? So yeah, what she's having but somehow you know it works for those businesses that you've got you've got understand the underlying framework that drives pricing in consumer behavior is something that as photographers we have to understand they don't normally want to think about that stuff so that's why I try and make it easy for me just great we don't actually don't and it's just hard to know where to start so huge huge question that we hear over and over again what about on the photographing side what what most people want to know lighting yes, yeah, so when you're when you're starting out as a photographer on this is an area I think I'm really good at not necessarily an understanding lighting ratios and fall offs, and not that we shouldn't understand that that if we're going to perfect our craft, we need to understand that. But what happened for me was I watched my wife, I watch taylor as she was coming up is a photographer, she had a book on lighting off camera, flash and lighting ratios, and and I just saw this look on her face of, like, just panic and trying to understand all this. Yeah, and I'm like, I'm like, what are you doing, she's, like, I don't understand this this doesn't make any sense and, like, look, here's, what you do a boom, boom, boom, and I handed her cameron, I didn't just like, well, that was easy, and that was when for me, the light bulb went off that this is a topic photographer struggle with to simplify it, you know? And I think for tired, he used to be dominated mostly by males aa lot of math in figuring out ratios and math and fall off and, you know, I mean, this is not the world we live in anymore, right, and so like I said, to master your craft and that diminishing that's skill, but when I'm photographing a wedding that's not what I want to be thinking about, and so we try to make it easy for him. Great. Fantastic. Well, maybe one more question when so you are a businessman when you got into your photography business, what is the one thing that you wish you knew about, say, the wedding photography industry coming in as a businessman that you know now. Ah, well, the one thing I wish I knew maybe it's not even something I knew. I just wish it was a mindset. I wish I didn't give a crap about what everybody else thought, and with maturity of my business and myself, I've learned to care less and last what people think and on, and I don't mean that in an arrogant way at all. I think if you're going to be a successful business person, successful entrepreneur, if you're trying to follow what other people think you should be doing, you can't possibly be successful because you're just copying everybody. And so my measuring stick today is, you know, if I'm not if I'm not pissing someone off, I'm probably not doing it right. And so that's kind of my goal my goal today sorry, but that is my my mentality I want fits you perfectly yes, yes you either love me or you hate me I am I am a polarizing person to say the least but look we love what we do we love our industry we love teaching people but when I first started out I just wish I had enough confidence right in my work in my vision for my company that I just stay true to that and it probably sidetracked me for a good two years until I found my rhythm and just said I don't care I'm going to do what I think is right and you think that people don't have to go through that in order to then get teo they don't care yes, I think it's something we all struggle with, right? But here's, what happens? Some people don't make it over that hump and then they give up on what they love, which is photography, right and that's that's the thing I want everybody to hear out there is just understand that all of us go through that all of us have confidence issues, all of us are trying to figure out where my competitors doing where they shooting, how much are they charging and then you'll get to that point in your career where you either go and fail because you just give up you three hands in the air or you just go screw it. I'm going to do what my god, my gut instinct tells me is right, I love it. Make it over that home. All right? So outside of what we're going to watch your credit live, tell us what else you have going on and then the never ending world of cells and gotta shudder mag shudder fest yes, it's insanity, you know, twenty thirteen I was on business probation. I was not allowed to start any new businesses, but taylor knew that she's now figured out that by keeping me stifled for one year, that was not good. So you're going out with twenty fourteen I got all sorts of things going on, so we got shutter fast, which is an industry first free conference for five hundred photographers were already planning it for twenty fifteen and we're going to open it up, tio even more photographers from around the world, we've got people coming. Shutter magazine is another free magazine eighty two thousand subscribers to the magazine just incredible! I want you here when you were here on crete, if I did remember that it was exciting, it was exciting for all of us see what an impact it's made we love creative, live we love what creative live inspires us, right? So we look at what you guys have done for education and then, you know, we try to put our own spin on it and what can we do? And and recently we've launched shutter network and what shutter network is is it's me for, you know, maybe twenty minutes I bring on an expert, my accountant, my attorney, just to talk about relevant topics right there in that moment it's not meant to replace creative life, we're coming back on the end of this year it's just meant to get a little bit more of a dose of salad gas in between my creative live appearances but shutter network, you know, was watching over one hundred two countries in its first week and so those are things you guys were doing. But for me I was like, I didn't even know there was one hundred two countries in the world, so it was an educational moment for me as well. Well, it's, pretty exciting it's always inspiring to see you continue to create you and taylor both it's just never ending and it's really great. So thank you happy to have you back here today excited to watch your segment again and to continue to see what sal and tailors in qatar do thanks again, thanks for having us, we'll see you

Class Description

It's time to put your camera down and learn the secrets behind every healthy, booming photography business. Join award-winning photographer Sal Cincotta as he teaches the fundamentals of pricing, packaging, sales, marketing, and everything else you need to build a thriving business.