Business Scorecard - Part 1
We'll start out with kind of a slideshow of what we've shot just in the last twenty four hours cash lesson that eighteen hours uh just so you can really see what we're getting because there's a difference between what you're shooting live and raw with kids and versus what you did liver so I will frame certain images so that I get the best look I want without interrupting the experience and then I will crop to what I knew I wanted when I even shot it to deliver it to the client. Um so what? We're gonna go and show you some of those, uh, right when we get back from lunch in this segment was there were there any other questions about the rooftop that we wanted to go over with? You guys, I have to say I have never had six assistance before in my life and it was awesome I'm sitting there shooting, I'm like, I'm twenty four seventy I'm gonna move over here, the background suddenly moved as well the diffuser move, the reflector moved and I'm like it will never be this good for me again like, ...
thank you very much I greatly appreciate all your help yesterday you have a question I could hire all of you, teo you guys are all available, you'll come to north carolina three times a week, wonderful excellent all right, so uh this segment is what we're calling the parking lot the business segment we put a call out to ask if anybody had questions s and we had a number of questions I believe this is just what made it to the board, which is fantastic there's obviously a lot of questions as it relates to the business of child portrait photography and I want to be specific here I've done two business courses here on creative live I did it taking care of business, which was a very general overview of running a creative business and everything you want to think about start to finish I also then did a sales sales sales course that was just related to the selling of your photography. This little segment we're gonna do right here is completely related to child portrait photography business which even the fits under the umbrella of portrait photography has some corks and difference is that when you really want to specialize in child if you make it a major part of your business you want to consider a couple other things so we have the board I spent all of four seconds glancing at these I'm literally going to pick up a question we're gonna answer it we're gonna have a very interactive session with the audience if you wantto ask about clarification anything that you want to hear more about and then we're gonna put it over here onto the business scorecard this business scorecard is loosely based off of the metrics I keep in mind when I do mentoring sessions with photographers, I do a lot of mentoring sessions in person by skype on phone on dh we'll meet about four times a year for anywhere from ninety minutes to two hours and just kind of go over these areas I don't actually send them the business scorecard and say fill all this out we just generally go through all these things all the time and we try to get an overview of where you are proving everywhere. So at the end of the last conversation the next one starts up with when we last left off these were the action items we're going to work on where are we now? And the action items relate to these area of areas of business so it's financial management shooting and delivering quality work, maintaining a steady pipe line of work sales, sales sales, time management work, life balance and client loyalty and referrals. You know, I think we put these up there, I would probably if I were to put it in chronological order you actually would range these a little bit differently, it doesn't matter too much for our purposes here, but clearly I think when you're when you're starting out and you're really kind of getting going there's two areas that most people get started on and it's these two maintaining the steady pipeline of work how do I get started? Like what do I do? How do I get business howto I market how do I, um actually create a business that will flourish financially and allow me to keep doing this and then shooting and delivering quality work? Um I I would say I bet you guys will all agree that the number one place people start anywhere here is this I wantto start taking better pictures I want to think about how it could take better photographs. Um, so this is shooting and delivering quality work, which includes not only the photographs we've been doing several live shoots, we'll do one more later this act, hernan um, not only the live photographs but what you do to them before you give them to the client and I highly suggest that you do do something I said do I try to separate it? I suggest you do do something because of the fact that when you have a little bit more knowledge about what you're trying to deliver, it enables you to be more on the fly while you're shooting what I have found with post processing is it's not a cheap tools it's not like what I'm doing out here, so I hope I can fix it in here it's not that it's the fact that if I'm going to lose the spirit of the image by trying to perfect the image I would rather get what I get and make small adjustments and posts similar to what I showed you yesterday in post processing you know what I wish I would have turned it a little bit more I wish I would've cropped a little farther out I could make these changes now um and just to clarify that last part when I said I wish I'd cropped a little farther it out and I can change it now what I do is cropped farther in to avoid the joints that's how I fix that problem so in these areas let's just grab something from the board this is kind of fun um here we go when it comes to kids photography what sells ron mitre I believe that is I think that's an a is that doesn't look like a day on the end looks like mitre okay this is a fancy a I'm gonna look for fancy a's on this writing eso when it comes to kid photography what sells that's actually a very good question I make a pretty strong distinction between what I shoot for marketing what I shoot for sales what I shoot for contests and what I shoot for portfolio let me explain let me sleep not enough time let me sum up uh who got that quote princess bride okay, somebody out there got that? Um, when I am shooting for marketing, what I'm shooting for is the intention to pull people's attention, teo, get them toe look at what I'm showing to get them to separate me from the other photographers there seeing and provide enough a distinction in the quality or the feel of the work that they're interested in talking to me, that is, shoot ting from marketing, you're usually finding a little bit more of a striking subject or set up or expression or some sort of composition that's just different when I tell people to contribute to auctions, which we do quite a lot of things we contribute to forty, fifty auctions a year as a studio, um, one of the things I know having going to some these auctions and some things, you know, black tie affairs really common, one might be the american heart association black tie event, so you go there and they have a silent auction where you walk through, and then you bid on paper than everybody signs up for the bid number that they want. When you walk through there, you are walking through the photography section sometimes, you know, some places, mix it up and put all the prizes everywhere, but other people are donations everywhere, but some people will put, hears these people all doing portrait sessions and there's like six or seven things in a row, and I have walked through and had the experience where I just saw six family sitting in a green grassy field, and then one is a really striking vertical in the wind hair back, really cool, different pose and wanna metallic foil framed and and when you're walking through that thing, what is going to market what's gonna pull you in? What has the marketing impact it's something that's a little different? Little bit striking interesting on advertising to our twitter contest winner? The comment from this morning, but that's true. So when I'm shooting for market, I'm thinking about something that I feel for marketing. I'm thinking about something that I feel can pull people in, and that would be something that I would use in an auction situation or in a print ad or any sort of sit place that I would put an image like that when I am shooting for contests if I am specifically wanting to enter my work in a contest with the intention of two things, one to be able to win the contest and have award winning credibility, if that's something that matters to me. Um, and to to learn from my experience of entering a contest image critiques are amazing, it's why I really wanted to include them in this workshop, I think you can learn a whole lot by sitting in a room where there's a panel joe, but it's that air critiquing work and then sharing their feedback, you can walk out at the end of the day of a long day of judging and learns so much, especially if you're willing to put yourself out there. So entering compasses, competition, it's a whole different way of shooting because a lot of those posing rules, I went through a lot of them count, remember I said, when it comes to kids, I don't care. I took a photograph yesterday of angelina fuller, laurie fuller's daughter, it was really cute to sitting on this little autumn, and she had her feet out and the angle from which I shot hurt her feet were close to camera, but they weren't like huge and camera, but they were certainly larger than the rest of her body because the way she was sitting, I was fine with that. I was adorable would give that to mom without a problem, I would not enter that competition because I knew that would hurt me, so I'm shooting in a different way when I am shooting for my portfolio. I am only shooting for what I love it's the work I love it's, the work I want to do it's the work I want to create its the looks I want to find it's something that's totally different that maybe nobody would love but I love there's something about it I love. In fact, actually, I had experience about a week ago where I photographed a family cory, being and his family. If you got to listen to you, I thought he's a photographer, um, I photograph their family and when I delivered the images, it ended up being a timing where I couldn't do the sale session and my studio manager do the sale session, which she does quite a lot of. And she conducted the sales session, and she asked me because I just wanna double check right now. Did you want to leave this image in? And it was really it was an image of the mom looking down. It was kind of her hair was this way and, you know, it wasn't an image that one would normally by but it was something I loved. I loved the look of it, I loved her, the softness of her face, I just love that moment, I'm like, yes, I did and I'm embarrassed that you asked that I that I got all offended. We got a fight and she doesn't work for me anymore. But, you know, experience like that I'm shooting that because it's, just something I love and I want to get it. I have no intention other than feeding my own creative soul that's what I'm shooting for the fourth category is shooting for sails back to the original question is shooting for sales, which means that I want to photograph what my client wants to purchase. I have a really good idea of what my client wants to purchase on dyken tell you with really strong strong a surety after a surety. A word assuredness? Sure. Acid e um, that after photographing for ten and a half years with clients, everybody wants one image where everyone's cleanly facing the camera, you could see all their faces. You can see expressions. They look good, they look happy. Andi, all look together. That image sells every single time. Is that the one that feeds your soul? Everybody face in the camera looking the same, not not so much the full frame image we talked about where you can really see everything about a child, an expression is paramount that is a very popular image for purchase, a lot of people love that because technically it's not always so easy to get you think it would be just going close it's technically tough to get without distortion and making sure you get really good catch lights and make sure that you have the highlights in the right place in the low lights in replacing the right amount of modelling there's there's more to it than you would think in terms of just sticking a camera in someone's face so and I'll show you those images of rohan when we come back yeah, um but uh so those air to images that would sell quite a lot siblings together it's so hard to get sylvia's together when they're not punching each other, you know, or rolling over each other or doing anything, you get them together in a way that feels comfortable, natural and especially authentic that is a significant image. The other thing that sells really well is when you have multiple children getting a really nice image of all of them that stacks up similarly so it's all three quarter shots or it's all head shoulders is all full up so that you can sell them as a pair together in some way or is a siri's or a trip tick or is a spread in an album when you'd go out with a family with four kids and you take three great ones and the one is from far distance can't really see him you lost the ability to sell that next level which is all of them together so those sort of it sort of images of the ones that say all right thank you ron we're going to throw that here boom wow that's that's all I got does I am going really great thank you thank you I am go I'm going to do this with the perspective of how did I give you as much knowledge is possible per question versus trying to get through the questions okay okay um let's see gosh there's so many of them um what are the best ways to invest in my business so and I swear to you crave live did not pay me to say this but educating yourself investing investing money in your education most people will not do that they'll try toe get a little bit here a little bit here a little bit here and then put the money in the hardware or the software when I used to work for my background is a stork for accenture previously andersen consulting and my role was as a management consultant and when I joined the firm they told they told us that they spend ten percent of the company's uh money revenues revenues for profit I'm not sure actually I think it was actually revenues which is a huge number on on the education of their employees which seems like okay ten percent it's a huge number and it's a significant investment and you have to take a core curriculum every year because they understand the value of that education it goes a long way that is something that I've kept in my mind since I've left accenture I'm since I went into starting my own executive recruiting company and then moved into photography I constantly place a value on education for a couple reasons one I want to get better to get inspired by other people in that case my creative fuel going three I could have something where I watched someone do a whole thing and it didn't didn't take has to watch it four five six times now big ah that's what happened sometimes we run through these things so high level we don't get it you know so just really sinking in and giving your yourself the opportunity for this I'm not even meeting this is a plug but are course on relationships I was talking you a friend and she said you know even if your class is horrible she's like even if the conduct just sucks the fact that somebody would devote a whole weekend to just caring for the relationships how can they not learn so much you know and that's that's what you do when you invest in education is you give yourself the room to do that and also the course wants sakai promises very good eso education is a major one. The other thing is when you are looking at purchases in terms of gear to go ahead and invest in high quality purchases that last you longer instead of cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep upgrade break of great break it's. The idea of when you buy furniture instead of buying super cheap furniture got replace in six months. Unless you have a dog that chews everything up. I have a puppy nine months old, just lost quite a bit. Quite a lot of furniture to this puppy. Unless that's the case, you want to invest in higher quality products that you could just keep every linds I have purchased a czar. A lot of people know I switched over to nikon from cannon about nine months ago. Prior to that, every single lens purchase I made with cannon I kept for the whole time I will be doing the same thing with my khan. I will be keeping them the whole time. It makes a lot more sense for me to invest in lenses because they just stay and they're great versus cameras where the technology changes every forty six hours. Um, I will invest in a good camera and I will hold it for a while and then I will upgrade when it makes sense. When I have so many benefits I feel held back by the one I had lenses, I will invest in the good stuff and have less of them and slowly pick them up overtime, then by a bunch of cheap lenses that severely affect the look of my work and make me feel less confident about what I'm shooting. I've seen people with amazing raw talent working with crap equipment, showing me the image and saying what's wrong, and I'm saying nothing's, wrong with you, you're you're using a crap lens, you can do everything right, but you don't have enough equipment to support your vision and you're holding yourself back. So get rid of every lead you have and just buy the one making yvan trade and do a ton of work with that one, and your work will be that much better. So that's what I would say in terms of investing in your business and I would put that under financial management investments money? Um, okay, let's. See amanda brooke wrote, how do you feel about outsourcing? Are there certain things you will not outsource? Ok, the very first presentation I ever gave ever as a photographer. I was in two thousand eight and the whole program was about streamlining your business and outsourcing, and I have never moved away from the joy of that concept I also believe in outsourcing everything worked, somebody had my kid. I believe in outsourcing everything that you don't like to do to the fullest extent that you could do that. And that's a home that's in work that's with cleaning that's with a car detailing its with whatever it is. If I find that I hate it, I know that I do a worse job at it than I think I d'oh and I found this to be true time and time again. The sales tax is a great is a great example. It's actually sits now sit down and run a quick calculation of my sales tax revenue, which I have a software program that will do it for me, then to go online and pay my sales tax bill to the local department of revenue takes technically eleven minutes. I will spend three months trying to not do it, pay a major late fee, and then end up having that three months of it hanging over my head and everything so much worse versus hiring an accountant and saying, please take care of this are asking your studio, manager and assistant to make that part of your job. If it's something that you hate to do, even if it takes a very, very little time, you will stall on doing it. Another great example like that redefined show add a rama is very kind to support the redefined show of free web series we put out every few weeks we have another one coming out very soon, actually, like maybe today with joy bianchi brown talking about getting started in a new market with your business, so that would be a very good what? But, uh all I have haven't set up a really great agreement where they do the editing of the interviews, and all I have to do is record, eh? Fourteen second audio intro, but then they put into the recording and they go live with I hate doing that. I have all I have to do is open garage band used my little mike say my thing and send an mp three file. I don't know why I can't stand these activities, but I will drag a production from going live three days because I just stall on it. Do you know what I mean? These little things that don't aren't actually a big deal, anything like that, I would outsource in my business. I outsource accounting. I obviously have a studio manager. I've had a studio manager, um, for the last seven years. Uh, gosh. Eight years. The studio manager's job description is basically the opposite of mine. If you would take a sheet of paper and open it up everything that I do she's doing the counterpart to so I might come up with the vision for how I want to run our marketing efforts she make sure it's implemented and she goes and does it I will say something like I would make sure use this kind of packaging then she'll go out and find the best bender for it and make sure we have it on the shelves and overview kind oversee how things get wrapped and set up um and then I will go out and do the photo shoots put him altogether edited hand them to her and then she'll make sure should coordinates that the right image is go in the right frames and the frames you want are coming in etcetera etcetera so her best skills are my my worst skills and my best skills or ones that she's too busy to dio that shot out for you sarah that was for you because she has the skills to is what I'm saying um so uh what will I not outsource I won't outsource photography I love shooting unless of course I don't have enough time to shoot in which case I have associate shooters and they photograph clients uh and they do a fantastic job but they're under the umbrella of my studio but they do their own work but in terms of my work I won't outsource photography um, I have tried to outsource editing and I haven't found a great solution yet. I think it's, because I'm really precise about how I like the images tweet that's something I think I could work on and do better. I outsource I mentioned already thie accounting I outsource but my presentation of images when I present my images, I have them all set up in an emotive slideshow. And that is done for me, it's. Very simple. I literally just put it in and go and we have a code for them right away. Ah, animo dot com fort such tamara, that is the hardest one to forget. I will know that animo dot com force that's tomorrow you get a, um they're giving a fifty dollars, towards a, uh a model of a year. You know the words what he said so an emoto is extraordinarily simple for me that's something that I used to spend an hour and twenty minutes developing the most amazing slide show and I'm not joking with that number that's not of anywhere I remember that was my number. I would spend about an hour, twenty minutes going into pro show gold and timing the images with the music and slowing this down first look, this takes seven minutes now and in our production assistant or intern um kaylie will help you do this for us now we'll give it the images and she has exactly what to do. Should I tell her which songs I want? We like to vary the songs a lot. I love along a lot of the songs shield she'll pick one of the triple scoop songs, put it together, and this is something like that's, a major weight off my shoulders and that's an easy thing to outsource. So those were some of sort of things all outsource anything I'm not good at or I'll procrastinate doing or it doesn't make sense for me to do when I could be using my time doing the things I won't outsource, which is the actual art and the craft in the writing to do obviously quite a lot of writing presentations, that's the stuff I won't outsource her back. Did you question a ce faras the animators sledges? Do you also sell those to the clients? Yes, we can then sell them as the dvd. I don't actually put it on my priceless because I don't want to distract and have it be one more overwhelming thing to khun sitter. I'd rather than look at the overall options that I that I want to sell first, but it's something that they know they can have or when they ask that we tell them that they have when the order's all put together or if they ask up front you know, I'm sure you guys have had this to like my kids have not stopped watching it over and over and over and then we well we will remove it after a couple days we don't leave the slide show up for very long after we remove the slide show then they ask is there a way they could have it at home just for themselves and then we'll sell it as a dvd which you can burn right off an emoto okay, so good do you feel like that all got answered I'm gonna make that announced time management work life balance question okay here's one that's kind of similar I said it said how much per year should I earmarked for self education? I stay with that tried and true percentage about ten percent of what I'm making will be sunk back into, uh, education if that sounds like a high number for you think about that the results what you get, um what I teach nowadays I feel like I spent, like just did itjust this workshop I didn't know this for years like years and I'm not even kidding like I I had to flop around and figure it all out at some point in your seven I was like what's this s o thing all about uh, but you can shortcut so much time and wasted energy and frustration and kind of creative blocking by investing in education. So that goes there. Um, what's another one was one of the things I should definitely not outsource. I believe we answer that, um, hugging your children. Uh, how much should I pay for a bookkeeper? That is a question that will very considerably based on where you live. This could be anywhere from ten dollars an hour to fifty dollars an hour, based on your market and the level experience. You want your accountant's tohave or your bookkeeper? Tohave? There is a distinction between a bookkeeper and accountant. We have both. Ah, bookkeeper is the one who literally will kind of check your books. Make sure that everything's reconciled comfortably with the bank. Make sure things in the right category give you a heads up kind of flag you on things that you may want to consider for tax purposes. Thie, accountant for us is the one that comes in twice a year and does the quick overview of everything that quick. The thorough overview. So only a couple times a year, but a pretty thorough over a few of where the business is, well, look at accounts receivable. Look, accounts payable will look through the our balance sheet. And we'll say we're is everything, any, any prominent tax changes that I should know about or that I should be, considering we just made a shift in this last year where I had always taken my salary. Um, every couple weeks I had an amount that I just took out on dh, then it was just on auto draft to me, we just made a shift where I moved myself to a certain percentage of the money I take home. Every year is now on a salary that goes through payroll, and the rest is in a bonus that comes out every two weeks, and that calculated figure between payroll and bonus allows me the maximum tax savings. I can have a tax savings on taking some money as a salary and some money as a bonus, and we figured out the optimum obstacle number based on my projected income. Having an accountant will help you do that and to the tune of seven to eight thousand dollars a year, sometimes just on how you pay yourself so an accountant can be extraordinarily useful. Another example. But about when accountant was phenomenal, we had we were living right here in san francisco, had a business. Newmarket partners, an executive recruiting firm, were working down in menlo park with a lot of dot com and venture capital firms, and we were helping find find them place placing people with them to do executive level work, vp level work, director of sales, etcetera, and they're fourteen of us, and we were in a building for two years in an office where the bottom dropped out of the market about eighteen months into this business, and we made the call to get out right away. We've done quite well the eighteen months before, and we said, you know what? Let's, just call it let's, shut it down let's not wait this out. In hindsight, I'm so glad we did because it did not bounce back fast. Uh, it was a really good decision, but when we pulled out, we had put in a mint on the place we that a blip business on dh then we had some other monthly considerations that we're beholden to long, short, long story short our town, our accountant looked at our whole package overall and said, do you know that if we do this this this and file this form, I don't know what all those things were? Um, we basically get forty four thousand dollars back at the end of the year that I would have never considered or known toe look for even thought about on my own and remember that figure very strikingly because I was like, where did that come from? Like that's, what a really good accountant can do for you things that you wouldn't even know where to find our look for so I highly recommend at the very least, you have one accountant look over your work at least once a year look over your books onda counted depending on your market will run anywhere from fifty dollars an hour to several hundred dollars an hour, but somewhere around you confined avarice, I can't even say that because it depends on your market what that dollar figure is, but I suggest you find one that's highly recommended by other small business owners and someone that you could sit down with for a few hours and not fall asleep with no offense for I don't mean that against accounts, but when you have a different nature and you're sitting down with somebody that you know, it's, a subject you don't want to talk about and you're having a tough time interacting, um, choosing somebody that you can have interaction with you can really learn is helpful, okay? We're gonna get so many e mails from accountants what do you mean by that? Um, how much time should I plan for sales after the shoot? We did a whore shop where is that you're out, uh we did though he did a three day workshop on sales that went through this like crazy, but the gist of the answer to how much time should plan for suit sales after a shoot I believe what I'm reading the question is it saying how much time should the actual consultation take? Is that what you guys a reading from it? So I believe for us our consultations take anywhere from an hour, sometimes two, three hours based on what kind of images were going through, how much we're gonna power through what we're gonna get done my intention for every sales consultation shin is we go till we get done and we don't make this happen again because as you know, if you can't get everything done in the first sales meaning it can drag on forever and become a lot less fun and become more of a chore than a really fun experience and that's what I wanted to be. But I would say on average and about on average, about an hour and a half to two hours is how much time we spend after a portrait session sitting down to put together the sale. Did you have a question after how many days like decision was today? So after a week after five days, ten days oh how often after it's three weeks, what is she on the roof? In three weeks? Images would be ready you will have the slideshow delivered in three weeks um, that sideshow will go away two days later. And I would like you in my studio on that third day. Think that's the ideal set up. It doesn't work every single time. That that's, ideally, how we want it to work. And we try to make it work a lot with that way.