Start Your Business
But I want to just start with tamara. What are the most common questions that you get about starting a business? Um, where do I even start? That's, the biggest one I get is where to even start. And typically, it's asked in a way that, like what's, the most important thing to start on. And when we did, you know, the way I started is not instead of the way I would suggest someone starts today. The way I would suggest someone starts today is, first of all, make sure you've got if the idea is, how do I start with building a photography business is work on the quality of your work, and so I would advise anything, anybody to do the same things I asked my associate photographers to do when somebody joins the studio to shoot, we need to make sure the work qualities there, that we have a clean gallery of images and good selection to show to clients that we've got those images that we can even market and the quality is there. So first and foremost, in terms of starting a business, I would make s...
ure that the quality of your work is there, and it takes you a couple more months. This is actually really important. If it takes you a couple and I've only recently realized how significant it is when I when I talk with people, especially mentoring, if it takes you a couple more months or six more months to build up a quality portfolio that you're proud of and you feel like the work is really there and you really put a lot of effort in and you've done a lot of practice, and then you launch your website and then you announce yourself, you were going to be in a far superior position then if you open a voice that because you want her to get in business and you're gonna work on your work as you go because everybody's first introduction to you is a watered down version of what you could do if you could give some more focus and effort and attention to it and right down to finishing. Like I said, when I shoot in camera, I expect that to be about halfway down. I've got my image halfway done, and I'm gonna spend the other fifty percent doing all the little changes that I couldn't do on the fly because I was going to much after I was going not too much on purpose going for expression. Shinin relationship in connection that's where I want to be so that all those little things I'll just fix it in post I'll spend a little time of that making sure I'd deliver finished image you saw the day I presented images to her that we're proved quality that's on purpose. Those would be how she would see the images, but I would say the same image, she said she talked about her hair and the flyaways. Oh, yeah, I would I would not want to print like that we're going to clean that up, but I'm not gonna put that effort and attention into that if while she's looking image of her with her two daughters, she sees this one expression in her daughter's face that just drives her nuts that I thought was cute. You don't never know those little things and she's like no thank you and I just said has been forty minutes clean up your fire weighs just present a proof, tio that's just going to kill me from a business perspective so those those considerations, the first thing I would do is make sure the body of work is at a level that when you do introduce yourself, you can feel like you can hit the ground running and get the best start, and then we can get into the rest of business things yes, so on that start up dean marsh says how do I know when my work is ready? Are you asking other photographers or you asking potential clients who should hooted by should you be seeking out? Yeah, so I you know, there are thinking community again next to such a close knit community you can look to some people whose work you admire and simply ask for some of their time and most likely, you know, it's a mentor thing or what? I want a report for your review it could be an appointment you set and something you invest in and pay for some of the time on a lot of people will email just images randomly two photographers and just say, well, what do you think a lot of photographers were busy run's gonna lie there? Peyton place so if you see somebody who you think you know that's, the style of work I'm really trying to produce and sometimes an hour sit down with them over a portfolio review that you schedule and invest in khun really be incredible difference in terms of opening your eyes on how to see things on being ableto immediately put that into your work. The other thing I would strongly suggest is if you have an opportunity to sit in on print competition, you can learn so much about imagery by doing that so I've had opportunity judge for I think the last five years now between various competitions and you're sitting there on the judging panel and there's often a room of people behind you listening to everything the judges are saying and they're giving invaluable information, but getting you to look at things about where you're composing your subject in the frame, do you have your dynamic range in places they're respectable highlights that you could remove to make this image more pleasurable to look at, you know, could you think about what could you pull away? I talked to you earlier about the top tips is, you know, what do I not need in this image? How can I make it a simple and clean as possible things like that by the time you walk out? If you sat in one of those things for two days, you'd have an incredible wealth of information to walk out of, you know, to be able to apply to your work right away. Those are the things that we sometimes miss when we're trying to learn a whole bunch of things at a shallow level, but a great suggestion. Thank you, tamara. So the next question is from angle seven seven seven when you build up report fully out, do you suggest doing free shoots or must clients pay? How do you go about doing that? When you are guilty and followed you to suggest doing free shoots well, I did it for free when I was building portfolio on dh. Then I got to a point where we have enough images and I felt like the work was getting there, and I would say that was probably nine months in nine months after I thought, you know what? I want to be a photographer. I didn't go after super hard, I just said, I want to do this, and I started shooting warren warren. I start collecting images, and then I did something that I would strongly suggest other people do, which is using the reverse of my suggestions, which was I came up with a priceless of what I wanted to have I wanted to be at and probably would get to in about six months, and then I offered that to people to show them, and I said, you know, right now, I'm still the finishing stages of getting my gallery going. I'll happily do this that you know, this discount, which was maybe ten percent of it or something, but at least they conveyed that there would be a price according you know, the price that would fit the quality of work on dh that's one way to do it for free and then for a little bit of money and work your way up, and then when you feel like, okay, I've got a nice sizeable gallery of images to show on a website, you can shift that, and when it comes to images on the website here's, another big point is on ly show what you're really proud of, only show what you feel like is really good work don't put filler images in there because you feel like it makes it look like you've shot more. Have you ever gone to somebody's website and seeing, like, three images and rather amazing? And then like to that, okay? And then one there that's actually pad and then, like two more than amazing again, back to the same idea of with sales, when we're overwhelmed or confused, we don't buy, we don't move forward, so they only see, like, three great images. They're gonna have a very strong impression ofyou versus ten were seven of them are mediocre it's a really great point? Tamara, I remember when I was starting a family and children's photography business, and I didn't have that big a report folio, and I was putting up multiple images from one family's session on and to many is that ok in your mind? You're starting your business toe, put up multiple images of the same family or would you try to get just one strong image from different families? I would probably you know, I would max it out if it's truly the whole family, I would have no probably more than two images, and they'd be very different ages like we've been seeing us shoot, so be two very different images if it's something where there's a few different kids and you've got them separately in different things and no one's going to really know if that was from that family or this and that, and you can mix it in that way, great, but if it's something where it's five or six generations of the exact imposed that just a little bit different, I've seen that I've seen that a lot of the same family that's not showing much at all the way of that you've had a good variety of your work, and I'd be really careful about that and so further, if you when you're first starting out, would you recommend the images that you show on your site broken up into categories? If you are a family and children photographer, how did you do that? Or so initially I did not have enough imagery to put various categories, so I just put a photography gallery and I put them all in there, including, I think, a horse to get us a horse on a beach. My daughter floppy hat. I mean, that's. What? I started at us on dh. Then as I moved through that I started realizing at enough where I could section it out and get more clear about what I did. And and that idea of being more clear about what your style is and what you want to focus on just enables you to further be able to describe what you do to people and have them better understand what you d'oh s o I think my first one was I had child child and then family on dh weddings because I was moving in, etcetera. But now, you know, I have enough imagery that where I have to be careful, but mostly try to keep one's out, right? Any any questions in here? Um, how do you feel about using your own kids and family photos? Is part of your marketing? Do it today? I love it. Well, that's why I built the family wherever he looks different so I could have a lot of variety on my julia adoption. No, I I actually am a big fan of that sparingly, you don't want to have one child everywhere, like they're all your daughter you know but I think in terms of building out if you've got really beautiful images of your children and there's not a ton of them but a few here and there I think that's beautiful and over time they start to look like different children because they start to look like they're in children and then you have this longevity of imagery work those kids with the keeping the business and the pricing sometime once people start seeing your work they assume they're closer family member or a better friend than they really are so how do you deal with that commerce ensign like you so you know like oh hey you're like my bestie and you know can I get this for years you know I want you to come to my party but can you bring your camera kind of thing how do you deal with people you know, putting you in that position like what's the conversation like and even to take a further you also get confused because they are your friends too and your circle friends widens and deepens as you do more of this work it's one of the privileges of photography you actually start feeling really close to these people you photographed on dh it's not even just like oh they're my clients I'll love him it's like you have looked at them so many times you've got to know their family dynamics you really do genuinely feel close it's one of the privileges that we have being ableto zoom in this close and see everything about these micro expressions you feel like you know them s so that's a very valid point, not only if people kind of put it on you, but when you actually experience yourself. And so right back to the idea of how do I separate myself away from in the parts that I don't want to do? I don't I think sometimes we block out this incredible possibility we all have, which is to be able to segment ourselves in a way that best suits who we are on, so I'll talk to me in a second, but to answer your question specifically, what I did is that same person I told you about that came in to assist me right? In the beginning, that was one of the things that was her job was to have this conversations that closed in terms of session fees, we put twenty percent friends and family discount up, it became something that over time was more narrowly used on, and I don't ever have this conversation because I didn't want to know what I have experienced before when I've made a comment like that is, well, that's good for you, you can say that, but no, but I said that back then I said that, you know six months nine months in because the things that make me feel extremely uncomfortable like here give me your credit card now you know or no so give me a credit card now or cash should I give a discount so I'm not giving this kind I feel weird if I am feeling if I'm checking it with myself and I am feeling very in ample I should not be doing it now that's different than move out of your comfort zone I just clearly I have so many things I feel very comfortable with and very excited about and if I have a pool one hundred things to do and I'm excited about ninety of them, why would I kill myself to do the other ten percent like I don't want to do that? I'm not going to be good at it because I have so much resistance and so I'm going to make it weird and I'm gonna make it uncomfortable and I'm not gonna enjoy myself so as quickly as possible. How can you get just a small amount of help with a small amount of dollars? This is not a difficult thing and so many people get tripped up on it I see it time and time again they're tripped up on the idea of there's a wall right here but it says get a little bit of help oh, I can't there's a wall right here but you can you really can we all can at whatever level you're at. So did you always have a studio then that people came to? I mean, what if you don't have a studio and year? I met tons of people you mean for? For what, exactly? For all I mean on location shoots, obviously, but then the whole sales, you know, process and having somebody else there, you say hire him for a small amount, but where that helping you at kind of, you know, if you're doing it out of your house, yeah, a lot of people could do that remotely much of this work. We're talking about his phone and email exchange in terms of meeting, like at a coffee shop or something have a secret always mean a client's home that's always a possibility and that could be something where you just someone you could bring some along with you to help with this and that, and then end the sale that's not a terrible thing and it could even be like, hey, rathergate, make it your sister make it your sister in law making a buddy, you know, say come hang out with me for an hour and a half going to phone and I'll take you out for drinks from whatever something just to get a feel for it because it's one of those things that once you've done it a couple times you're like I'm never not going to do this again this just got so much easier you know on dimension that is my sister in law came out with me just remember doing some beach shoots and thinking this has been so much easier having someone with me that's when I really started thinking about getting an assistant but I don't know what I've been open to it if I had to just hired someone and start to see out wins so there are things like that that you can do the earlier question though in terms of meeting somebody places yes I would have sales sessions in coffee shops just literally on the same side with a laptop let's just go through it I get laughs at this but truly wine bars or the best way to move product meted out wine bar and get comfortable relaxing and then just go through things you know and make sure everything's written down and the credit card is taken before they get in the uber I just wanted teo give a comment people really I thought your question was great and because a lot of people are in the same scenario on dh joan kroll said great question after many years as a pro shooter I'm now known as the pro photographer that shows up at a non paying social event without a camera yeah building those boundaries exactly you know, it's something I actually got to a point where I felt like I was having a camera but they want to bring it because I didn't want anybody to expect me to have to do anything with it. Yeah, exactly. Um okay, so, uh we have you also so stupid questions from people yet the next question I think that you have in your slide deck I think we may have covered this it was kind of about how starr is it fair to charge my work with the bat and pay for prince myself to be taken seriously? Oh, is it fair to charge my work right of the bat or should I do the job for free and pay for prints myself, as I do want to be taken seriously if I continue this work in the future, okay, so I think we kind of answer that, but just to be very clear, I think initially I wouldn't necessarily invest in prince to give to other people. I mean, I would say initially you khun do the work for free as you're building your portfolio and considerate education? This is this is years a mindset ship instead of I'm working for free, I'm getting a free education that's a big change get the education you need tto achieve the level quality that you want to present and it take four years of this university two years in this university if you've gotta buckle down for another six to nine months to get the degree that you get to have a free by working towards it do it it's worth it there really is somebody write that I was being recorded but that's good that's really good I I don't think I've heard anybody say in that way I have never said it in that way again that's a mind shift yeah it is a mind everything you're doing that's working towards getting your portfolio to the level quality that you feel proud of is a free education I wish I had a mike to drop laval doesn't do much throw it against the wall wait how about we have a video believe alright tio hi tamara this is james from texas my question is can you still be considered a professional photographer while working a full time job and doing photography part time good question james james a great guy by the way he's in texas he's closet very very funny but he comes across as very straightforward so he actually sent me he said this video and then he sent me james is a couple of my workshops and he sent me another video that he hadn't sent into creative live which yes because give me actually question day maria when you stand next to chase jarvis does his hair smells goes I think it smells like you need to forget that. All right, so the serious question is are you considered a full time photographer if you have another full time job are you considered a professional photographer? If you have another full time job and you're doing this on the side or part times of the weekend honestly, you are a serious push women you are you're a full time photographer cause you're full time everywhere. I don't know why anybody would question that like to me, you are working really hard and I've seen this debate out there like the designation do you get to call yourself to other people get to call it like these weird kind of blogged war's about it? I truly don't understand it. I think if you all love this in a j and you're working your own way in how you're going to get to it, kudos great! We're all out there working if you're working a full time job and you're doubling up by working on the weekends and at night and you're constantly working to improve yourself, I think that's admirable I think that's amazing, I think that's impressive and I think you're a professional photographer no, I think there's any question about it that's easy answer all right, good. Let's. See a couple more follow up questions on when you are working on that education and doing the work of mindset, building our portfolio. Jessica asked if I'm not charging processions should my client still pay for the product they order if I'm not paying set again, if I'm not charging for a session, should the people still order product? Yes, yeah, you're not going to be giving them free product, right? No. Yeah, you're like, I don't even understand why you're asking. Ok, so what if they come here and you say, I'm not like the the question of judah comprehended, so the question is, should if I don't charge anything for my service and then they went products, should I charge them for him? I mean, maybe that's question am I up charging for them? Or am I just providing sort of a place? Yeah, well, certainly I were I wouldn't give somebody a free session and then pay for free product products to give to them. I would not do that, because now you're in the hole now you're no longer getting a free education, right? You're paying for it and that's the american way, but still we don't do that here, s o, if the if the only variances to that, of course is if you're going to get some extraordinary marketing benefit from it, if you're going to do a free session and paper products and they're gonna hang in a location that's going to give you additional traffic in terms of your web site and increase in bookings? Yeah, I'd invest in that, and I have invested in that, and I do invest in that, I think that's an investment if the idea is I'm just trying to get up to speed and do I have to pay to give them things? In addition to that, I would not do that. I think you're digging yourself into a hole and you need that money for the equipment and everything else. Things along with photography and what she meant was just cut chimed in again what she meant was that up charging like, is it okay to start figuring out what your price points might be, even if you are just building your port? Well, yeah, so even though I would strongly suggest you get to the point where you feel really proud of of your work and your portfolio and you can go hit the ground running and people can immediately see your work and want to to book you and that's awesome, I would also, though even at the earliest stages build your business in the way that you want to be where you want to go, build it now to where you want to go and if you have this larger price list that up charging and maybe you're slowly moving towards it with varying level of discounts till you get there. But every ready has in their head that this is the kind of photographer you are this tea structure that's a very valuable thing and if you did a free session and and you would normally charge a little bit less for products and and maybe that's not one way the other two clients who loved the work the free session and you want to charge now closer to that nicer, priceless go for it there, but he loved the work. Yeah, I'm jumping ahead a little bit, but as far as like when business, how far along were you when you started having people sign like model, release or contracts or just any kind of when you were bringing paperwork or having people find stuff later than I wish I had? I wish I'd done it day one and I would suggest every does you have so many opportunities to market yourself and you can get really snagged up and not having the proper releases, so right now we use shoot q, which is, you know you can lease it monthly, I think, is how it works and built into shoot q is the ability to have an agreement that you can either take one of their templates or you can supply your own burbage we've already talked to a lawyer and got our verbs together and we're using that, but basically what the ver bitch is the one page or just saying we're confirming all the details for the shoot, you understand that all images are delivered in photography, choice in color, black and white or artist toning you have expectations is that you have to read through it before you sign it. Hopefully you do you understand that this session fee is just for time and expertise? You've seen the price list and you understand these images could be used for any marketing on the blogger advertizing purposes and we know in the last two years since I've been working with mike on a lot there releases air really detailed legal releases so everybody I photograph who's under twenty one that nikon uses any marketing presser advertising I now need a notarized release so that's that additional layer of complexity we need on top of that, but if you're not there yet, yea, model releases are as easy as could be if you're not there yet and I know there's also great katherine hall has a great model release I think it's called top model it's an app that you can have on your phone or your ipad so right on the spot every time you're photographing somebody and just flip it and have it digitally signed can you confirm that that's what's called? I think it's called top model, but now of course I'm thinking that's the show but I think that's the point, but this doesn't have to be a complicated, difficult thing where you've got a binder paperwork instep just simply be an app that signed and done, but I would do releases right away make and make it part of your portrait contract if you representing your client right of the gate with a portrait contract but they just have to click it and it's digitally signed so it's not a big deal with signing and paperwork that just confirms everything you agreed to anyway, you're in such a better position you've made the expectation is very clear we have a very transparent conversation happening and bonus you can now have this release for all your work, anything you shoot, you can just go, you don't have to go back and ask extra permissions one more like going with that when you blawg when wade right now uh but that when you bog from a session or from whatever dio tend to use pictures that people of it already purchase or they just your choice like bill prefer to use the ones that they've already purchased so they don't have and get used to it. No extra stuff on dats not that brings up another really good point about not just blocking but also social media, and I see a lot of times people will post fifty images from a session just just had the best session ever hear stiff the images from it, and they're fifty great session images. I can understand why they're excited, but you just put everything out there, and not only does that hurt your chances of having a better sail with a client, but what also happens is your kind of minimizing the impact that you can get with just one great singular image or two great singler images as it relates to portrait sometimes is having an image is like and there's been multiple images that I've had, where in a whole session is a cool image as a stand alone it's outstanding, you know, and there's a difference in terms of impact like that, and I see that with other people's work to open up an album and like the fourth one and that's kind of buried is like, whoa, that is so good, why is that buried in this whole collection of images? That should have just been just that impact so yes, it will be after the sale as that relates to and it will be a minimal amount of show just because too much is sometimes too much great question lots more questions coming in tomorrow just to clarify are you saying that you shoot cute to do all of the contract building and signing? We already had the burbage for the contract built by working with a lawyer independently before we started using shoot you and then she said you can use one of our templates as a portrait contract which I believe are just built in or you can supply your own burbage so we use that information and made that into a contract okay, great and this was just going back because I know that a lot of people are building their business is doing doing shoots for free to do to get portfolios as we've been talking about, would you? This is from joe rodriguez in that case would you give the people pictures for free digitally when I'm building up my portfolio? Yes and how much time might you spend on editing them? I'm having flashbacks to myself when baggio or whatever, but what I need is your level of standard when you are doing that yeah, I actually have ah are really strong opinion about this, which is if you are still figuring out editing if you were still learning how to do this, if you need to figure out how to do it better and quicker and more smoothly, and while you're going, you're stopping to look up a tutorial to see how to do this. You're getting a free education, so worked the images, give them a great gift while you're working your own knowledge anyway, if you're past that and you're like one more thing, I could do this in my sleep, and I am currently supposed to be sleeping, and I'm still doing this. No comet down, crew finish. Every image you've seen me present during this whole workshop has either been raw or proof finished. Most of them have been raw, but a couple of well, those were all pro finished that we have with emily on dh those air very quick, those air popped saturation tone. You know, if I need to do a little highlight exposure adjustment, shore that's, what I would be delivering if everything else is free, if I feel like you know what, I don't feel like I've got my work in the range, I feel like I got mostly there, but I blew the exposure, then I would take the time to do all the extra effort toe work that image so that you can deliver a good quality image deliver less of them, so you're not crushing yourself learned from that lesson and go out on the next shoot and shoot in a much more careful way so that you don't have to deal with that again. But you don't want a handoff images that you clearly are not proud of tio anybody, you don't want that out there because especially if you were just building your business later, if you've been shooting for a while, if you shoot a crap in that you can say, let me teach you why I shot. But now, like, right now you're going to really care about getting out images that constantly speak to the quality of the work you do, so I would either hold back on delivering those images or learn something, get him in range that you're delivering something good, just do less of them do not work around the clock. What I would not ever dio is work on one hundred fifty images from free session to the ants agree image for image, for image per image for image because you're not moving forward, you're really staying stuck in some place, and you're not able to progress and all these other things that you need to do to be a professional photographer.