Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you're tuning in from, welcome to Creative Live. This is the complete wedding photography experience with Jasmine Star. My name is Celeste Olds, I was the producer for this bootcamp, but for the purposes of this broadcast here today, I will also be your host. Over the last week, we've been broadcasting two lessons every day from this bootcamp. So far Jasmine Star has taught us all sorts of things, like, how to shoot with intent, how to conduct a first client meeting, how to shoot with intention and, what was the other one? Defining your photographic style, that was a particularly good one, along with a host of gold mining information on how to do marketing and how to do engagement sessions. So we are just getting started, we have about 20 more lessons that we are gonna be playing over the next two weeks, but we thought it'd be good to get Jasmine in here to answer any questions that you have so far. So to ask those questions, we want...
them. Right below here, right below the video player, you'll see a little box, you can type your question in there and it'll push on forward to us. For those of you that are joining us on Facebook live, just type it in the comments, and we have operators standing by. Let's see, what else have we got here before we bring Jasmine on, oh! Let us know where you're tuning in from, that's the best part of doing these live broadcasts, is seeing how far we're reaching around the world. So without further ado, let's bring Jasmine in here, she is a fierce photographer and business strategist, and one of my favorite people, Jasmine Star, welcome back, Jasmine!
Hi Celeste! I'm so happy that we are back in action. This is going to be good.
It's good to have the gang back together, isn't it?
Yes it is, it is, it is.
So tell us, it's been two years since we shot this bootcamp, not to date it or anything, but I've had the joy of going back over it all, looking through it, and the content is solid, people still are digging it, loving it, how have things been since we did this two years ago?
It's been amazing, and just the opportunity to meet so many other photographers who are trying to already pursue their passion and grow their businesses has been amazing. So the feedback and the people I've met along the way, and understanding that all those uncomfortable moments of me being on camera and opening myself to be like, this is really awkward, actually it resonated with a lot of people, and it gave them the permission to understand that not everybody has it together 100 percent of the time.
Well we're gonna get right into it, we have a lot of people already online with their questions at the ready, right off the bat we've got Casey Lunn, who asks, do you agree with the saying, you have to spend money to make money, or do you think you're able to start a business without throwing out a bunch of cash?
I am a firm believer in things not being 100 percent of everything, so I can't say I 100 percent agree or disagree with that sentiment, because there's truth in both of them, in both options, like spending money to make money, well yes, starting a business requires a financial investment, and the more money that you spend on the front end, the more invested you become in that business because you want to make sure that you have a return on that investment. However, the caveat to that is I see a lot of people just throwing money without being really strategic on where to spend the money. And I think that what it comes back down to, and we're going to get into more of these business analytical perspectives later on in the broadcast, cause right now, what we're doing is we're selling the sizzle, we're talking up photographic style, we're talking about gear, we're talking about client meetings, we're going through all of that stuff in the broadcast right now, but then we're gonna get into the branding perspective. How can you spend a little bit of money and get the greatest amount of return? And that is through blogging and social media, and showing up and starting conversations online. All of that is free. Now where you're gonna spend you're money is on stuff that you can't get for free and we're getting into that in future lessons. But yeah, you have to spend a little bit of money to make money, you just gotta be smart with it.
I already see a couple other questions leading to that and I'll try and bunch them together, but I know you have a really great segment too on how to officially start your photography business, it's one of the bonus videos.
And that's another place that you really get into the brass tax of, how to do exactly that. So that's a bonus for those of you that purchase. We've got another question from Cynthia Magonna, if you are just starting your business, and have only had a couple of clients that you got through word of mouth, what are some things you absolutely need in order to actually get started and get things moving along, example, like business cards, blog, content?
We're definitely gonna get into that in future lessons as well, and I break it down as easy to understand as possible but because you've showed up and because you're asking this question, I'm gonna give you the shortest answer possible, and that is just get started. That's gonna be the main thing, you could always hold yourself back, like, oh I don't have the right business cards, or I don't have the best website, and you can hold yourself back but I'm a firm believer in actually taking the first step, doing the things that you need to do and then adjusting your course as you get going. Because one of my favorite quotes, and I don't know who it's by, the quickest path to perfection is procrastination, and so we're gonna wait for things to be perfect before we get started but there's no version of perfect, it's just get started. Do I think that you can book weddings without business cards? Yes, I did. Do I think that you can book weddings without a website? Yes, I did. Do I think that you can book weddings without having 10 thousand followers on Instagram? Yes, I did. However, having those things are going to expedite and catapult you to the next level, but all I'm saying is don't let yourself stop yourself from actually doing the dang thing. If people are willing to hire you without the bells and whistles, then most definitely build your business on that, and once you add those bells and whistles you're gonna be unstoppable.
I dig it, we need to get that quote on our wall here in Creative Live, it's a good one. So this one's from Elizabeth, I have a couple different styles that I love shooting, do I have to stick to one or is there a way for me to combine them?
Well, again, this is going to back to an answer to a question, I am not a black or white kind of person, I am a thousand shades of gray, and so I think it's gonna be important to understand that yes you can shoot and dabble in different types of styles of photography, I get it, and I empathize. But the issue that I see quite often happening which is what I said in lessons, it was either lessons one, two or three, of this week, we talked about defining your style, because once you define a style, you're gonna start attracting a very specific type of clientele. If prospective clients don't know what you do and every week it looks like a different version, people are less willing to invest in something they are unsure of the end result. So yes I want you to experiment, but my challenge to you would be, can you photograph something 80 percent within a specific style, either 80 percent photo journalistic, 80 percent lifestyle, and the other 20 percent you can experiment on your own, fulfill that creative cop, and then shift your perspective as your business changes, but you gotta sell the thing that people are gonna ultimately get at the end of the day, and if you're not clarifying what that 80 percent is, you're gonna have a hard time booking clients. So stick with the 80, experiment with the 20, and then slowly transition your audience with you.
I dig it. Alright, from Photo Out Bell, how has the moment of millennials from Facebook to Instagram changed your marketing?
At the end of the day, I have to understand that marketing is marketing period. And I don't think that marketing to millennials has been any different from marketing to the x or y generation. People are on social media, people are reading things online in the exact same manner. I don't necessarily change my endeavors, I don't change my voice, I'm still who I am and I'm gonna be attracting that person. Now when I started my business 11 years ago, social media wasn't even a thing, I feel like I'm dating myself, like I'm about to start talking about the rotary phone but it wasn't even a thing and so as new social platforms were introduced, I learned how to incorporate them into my business as a division of who I was but not neccessarily changing my trajectory. And I still maintained the same thing, millennials, x gen, y gen, hey if you have time and money and the energy to invest in my business, and you're a great fit for it, then I absolutely will shoot it, but I is who I is and that's not changing according to generation.
I've seen you adapt really well from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat, I don't even have a Snapchat account, I see you jumping on all of these, using Instagram stories, I think that what you do really well is you see something that's new and you hop on it right away and what you're doing doesn't neccessarily change, your messaging doesn't neccessarily change, but you're really good at staying on top of whatever new is coming out on social media.
And this goes back, Celeste, to the question that we had two questions ago, like, how do I get started, and I said you just get started, and then you adapt, I am one of those people who just dive right in, because I believe that the people who are first to market, the early adopters, they receive, they don't receive, they earn the highest return on investment. They're avant garde, they're trailblazers, they're unafraid to make mistakes, and what I think is happening is I come across as oh, I'm unafraid to make mistakes, I'm actually terrified to make mistakes, but I will still make them because I understand that the quicker I make mistakes, the quicker I'm gonna learn, and that means that I'm gonna be expediting my pathway to success. And that's what I want to encourage other people to do, is that people become so worried that, I'm gonna do Snapchat wrong, let me break it to you, you're not gonna do Snapchat because there's no way that's actually doing it right. You're not going to do Instagram stories right or wrong, there's no such thing, and guess what, they disappear in 24 hours, so take a risk, you have nothing to lose.
I think that's great advice, and thank goodness I'm not a wedding photography cause frankly, Snapchat scares me, and Instagram stories scares me, they make me feel like I'm 80 years old. But I think that that's fantastic advice, just do it!
Celeste, there's filters that will make you look 80 years old so you'll fit right in, you'll fit right in. I'm gonna convince you, that's gonna be my goal at the end of the 30 day bootcamp, I'm gonna get you doing stories.
You have me hosting, and that's where my presence stops, it just stops right there. Alright moving along, Lauren from Pittsburgh, says, I'd like to charge more for my wedding packages but it's hard when my competitors are not raising their prices, how do I make my potential clients realize that I'm worth it?
We're gonna get into this too. This is the craziest thing, is that this bootcamp has opened the doors for photographers to learn more from a tactical perspective. How to shoot in natural light, how to shoot with artificial light, how to pose people quickly, how to work in adverse situations, we went through all of that. But the pressure point, again and again and again is, while you can learn the technical aspects of photography and not only my class but there are literally hundreds of other technical photography classes on Creative Live, the thing that I feel like is my power point which I'm going to get to in weeks two, three and four, is really breaking down what it looks like to build a brand, because if you want to raise your prices for kicks and giggles, but your brand your experience doesn't justify it, you're gonna have a very hard time. But let me tell you, as I've raised my prices throughout the years, people continue to pay them not because my technical aspects got better, not because I got a better camera, not because my lenses changed, but because the way I positioned my brand, the way I presented myself, the way that I continuously shared value and educated prospective clients, people said, I want her, regardless of how my prices were changing, so that's gonna be my advice, if you want to change your prices and your competition isn't changing their prices, you must therefore do something that is so different from the rest of the pack in order to justify that price height, that's to get a new website, that's to show up consistently, that's to do Instagram stories, that's to have a marketing newsletter, that's to have an engaging Facebook page, and that is hard work, but let me tell you something. Lions do not care about the ideas or philosophies of sheep, you continue to be a lion, you continue to charge forward, you do what you do, you raise your prices, and don't care about the sheep, boo because people will pay the lion's share. Yes, and amen.
I almost feel like we need to end there, but we've got 40 more minutes, but dang Jasmine, okay, and we're getting a lot of questions on things that we are gonna cover, so I'm gonna ask them anyway because we're glad you're here and we're gonna ask your questions, but if you guys go to the course page and go to course materials and look at the syllabus and if you scroll down below the video player, you'll see everything that's gonna come up over the next two weeks, we're planning two lessons everyday so you can see we're gonna get into a lot of shooting, a lot of marketing and sales and all sorts of stuff but, ask your questions anyway.
Celeste, just be real, you're telling people to go look at the syllabus because you worked so dang hard on that syllabus.
You guys, I worked so hard on that syllabus, you don't even know, but she's going to get so much into depth, I think each lesson's about an hour long, so if you see a topic that you like, note the day and come and look at that day, she's gonna get into it.
So we've got from Facebook Live, Elizabeth Martin Hernandez from Central Florida, asks what do you do if you have a place with a bad light because it's 90 percent artificial light and you've only worked with natural light?
I don't know if the question was, when she says you, if she's personifying herself or if she's indicating to me, but let me just break it down in both perspectives because the answers not gonna be different. So, Elizabeth, from Apopka, Central Florida, I have to let you know that I have worked in the absolute worst lighting situations known to mankind, in fact there's a video on Creative Live, I think it was labeled...
How to shoot in the worst light.
Yes, how to shoot in the worst light, and also there was a short little snippet video that goes back to my very first Creative Live course back in 2010, about how to shoot the key ball wedding, so it goes through this story of the absolute worst lighting situation and then what I did to make the best of it. Now I'm very accustomed to shooting in natural light, but also artificial light, awful, ugly, Tungsten lighting, and in both of those situations, I'll make sure that I look at my plan of attack. I arrive early and I say okay, if they're getting ready in the basement of a church, in the kindergarten room and there's pictures of Baby Jesus on the wall, and just a bunch of brightly colored chairs and you're like this is gonna be the worst case scenario, there's gonna be a couple of things. I will take all of the items out of that dark room and I will shoot them in natural light. Yes, I take things outside of the room all the time, or if there is a small window that is offering natural light, or if there is a door that I can open that's offering natural light, I will move all of those items to be shot in natural light. Now if for some case I cannot take the items outside of the room and if for some case I am not in a room that has natural light accessible by way of a door or a window, I am unafraid to use artificial light, so I will put on my flash, and I also use an off camera flash, and when we get into the technical aspect of the gear that I use in Creative Live which is a future lesson, you're gonna see my exact flash setup, I'm unafraid to put on flash both on my camera and off camera and really light it to the best of my ability, backlit, sidelit, artificial light dimension, and then I have to say, these were the cards that I was dealt, and I will make the most of it. However, I'm unafraid to test all of those three options and I have done so for 11 years, and I'm not intimidated by it, and that comes just by way of practice.
And Elizabeth, I will take this opportunity to tell you about the beautiful bonus materials in this class. Jasmine has created these great pdfs, shooting guides on four different tough shooting situations and one of them is how to shoot in the worst light. It's a thick pdf, I thought she was gonna give me this bulleted thing with a couple images, she wrote like a book on how to shoot in the worst light, how to shoot tall short couples, how to shoot a curvy bride, and how to shoot with intent, was that the other one? But it's four colorful pdfs, I didn't even print them all because I didn't want our office manager to get mad at me for using all the ink, but it's like a novel on top of the one hour lesson that she does on it, so we've got you covered, Elizabeth. Next up, is from Yasmin, hi Jasmine, as a luxury wedding photographer, how important is it to have your own studio? I'm torn between having a home studio versus a professional studio somewhere in the city and I want to target high end clients.
That's a really great question, and I have to tell you from my experience that I was in the exact same position, I understand that frustration of where do I meet my clients and what does this really look like, and about five years ago I made the decision to invest in an office space and it was great and I loved it, and there was a time about five or six years ago that I was meeting, I would say, about 50 to 60 percent of my perspective clients in person. So I felt like the studio was well worth the investment. However towards the later part of my career, I have noticed that maybe this has something to do with millennials coming in, is that time is the most valuable currency that the luxury market has. The luxury market values time the most because they want to work and make more money, or they want to spend more money, shopping, going out, eating, drinking, and time is where they want to spend with their friends and family, so if I'm saying come and meet me at my studio, that's more time for them, and I'm in Southern California, that means that there's a lot of traffic, they're coming from work, they're headed out, and then we say sit with me for however long, half hour to an hour, then sit in traffic all the way back home. I have noticed that the vast majority of the consultations that I'm doing is online. On their schedule, on their timeframe, and they seem to love that, they're just like, thank you so much for making this possible. So in order for me to answer your question, I'm going to have you track for the last four, five, six months, how many meetings did you have, how many of them took place in a studio, so if it's at your home studio, how many of them were coming to your home studio cause then you would just transition that to wherever your physical location would be in the city, and how many of those people actually booked. Because you could be meeting with 20 people and if only two of them are booking, for you to actually increase your fixed cost with rent and utilities, and designing your studio, you have to make an abundance of that, when you book clients for the remainder of the year to offset those costs. So for me, I run it by numbers entirely. How many people are you meeting, how many people are you booking, and can your finances exceed the cost that it would take for you to actually have that physical location. If you're just like, listen, I'm going to be on a luxury market, my home isn't luxury, then what I would heavily suggest, if you can't sustain investing in a studio, is meet at a very luxurious resort, restaurant, bar, or meet at their wedding venue. People freaking love, like people are always like, I can't believe she would come to my venue. Listen, I've shot at the same venue like 20 times, and if I go and I meet a client there, they're just like, oh my gosh, thank you for meeting us here, we're so appreciative, and I'm like, I could shoot this place with my eyes closed. But they just feel super well taken care of and we get a walk through the property, it's just the sizzle, like this is that sunset where we'll be, and you as a photographer can walk them through that, they think it's freaking amazing, and you don't need to pay rent. Maybe that's a little ghetto fab, but I'm scrappy and I like to show the luxury, and on the backend, pocket that money for profitability, yes.
So for those of you joining us on Facebook Live right now, we're just about ready to shut that feed off but we're gonna keep this going on our site, so just check out the video description, you can click that link and we're gonna keep this conversation going for a little bit longer. So next question is from Jamie from Minneapolis, you talk about exceeding your clients' expectations. Do you have any recommendations on what I should do?
Oh my gosh, Jamie from Minneapolis, girl I have you covered, we have a whole section on managing expectations and then exceeding expectation and I'm gonna walk you through exactly what I do, it was definitely an open book 30 day bootcamp, I wanted to show everything that I was doing to ensure that people who are watching and engaging saw how I managed expectations and then exceeded expectation, but right now some quick things would be, surprise gifts, responding in a really short amount of time via social media, or e-mail, sending thank you cards, or people just love when they feel like you're thinking about them beyond the traditional scope of what a wedding photographer client relationship is, so I can tell you that the greatest response that I would get from people is if I'm talking to a bride, let's say I shoot an engagement session and I'm talking about flowers and bridesmaid dresses and whatever, and hypothetically there's a bride who says oh, I'm having a nautical themed wedding, the girls are wearing blue dresses and we're having peonies and bouquets, and then I happen to be on Pinterest or Etsy or on J Crew, and I notice that there are pearl necklaces with a little anchor on them, if I were to say, get that and get a link and e-mail my bride, like, Stephanie, I don't know if you saw that J Crew is having a sale, they have pearl necklaces with a little anchor, it might look great with your nautical themed wedding. Brides are just like, oh my god, I can't believe you remembered that, oh my god, so small little thoughtful details go the furthest, and guess what, they don't cost any money. So we're gonna get into what that looks like in a future lesson but those are just some things off the top of my head.
Great Jasmine, as a producer of yours for a long time, I will say that even little cards go such a long way, the hand written sentiments and even just writing little things about things that you've learned about me, about my family, about Creative Live, even not as a client, I as a producer feel very well taken care of, from you as an instructor, so thank you for being so thoughtful.
Thank you, I want to stay there for one second when we talk about the human element, because what people often associate my advice with is very strategic and analytical and business like, but I think that the undercurrent that I really want to open up people's mind's is a human to human connection is gonna be the far greatest thing that you could do for your business and brand. When people know that the person on the opposite side of social media, on the opposite side of a portfolio, on the opposite side of a website is real, and cares about them, the way that they talk about you and about your business to other people comes across like they're talking about a friend, they're just like this person is real, this person cares, you have to hire her and I think a couple days ago we showed a behind the scenes of how I meet with my clients so we brought the cameras in and we showed what a real consultation would look like and the way that that girl heard about me was through her sister saying, you have to check out this person. And that kind of communication, that type of human to human connection, I could talk about marketing all day everyday, but that right there, that's the stuff that gold is made of, and if you could implement those things, small notes, thoughtful gestures, it goes so, so so far as you're building your business.
On that note, if we were to swing a little farther, from Vicky in Atlanta, is there such a thing as being too connected to my clients, how do I maintain my professionalism while still making my clients feel like they're my best friends?
Absolutely, there is such a thing as being too close, and you have to understand that where you draw your line is different from where I draw my line, and where my clients draw their line is different from where your clients draw their line. So there isn't like oh, you can only interact with them with seven point two minutes per day, it doesn't work like that, but the thing that I would caution you with is the minute that you become too friendly, people feel like they can ask for favors, like oh can you stay an extra hour at the wedding, and then if you're like sure, it'll be an extra five or 700 dollars and they're just like, oh well, I was wondering if you could just do it for us since we're like family, woah, that crossed the line, so I'm thankful that you asked this clarifying question is because I am very friendly with my brides but I don't ever come across like I am their friend. I am a person, I am a trusted counterpart whose producing their wedding day, but no, we aren't going out, we're not going out to party, we're not going out to drinks, we're not doing that stuff, before I am shooting their wedding or before I have officially closed their contract. So there have been plenty of times that brides have been like oh can you come to my bridal shower, or do you want to come to our engagement shower, and I think that is so wonderful to get invited, but I actually take a professional stance, like no I won't go to that because there's a good chance they'll be like, oh and can you bring your camera? And then what does that look like there, am I shooting, am I not shooting, do they want the images, am I gonna charge for that, it becomes very complicated, so I keep things strictly professional, there have been plenty of times when after engagement session, a couple is like Jasmine, can you come get drinks with us, can you come out to eat with us, and while I love them and I would love to do that, my always canned answer is, we just had an emotionally charged day. I want you guys to go get champagne or go get cocktails, I want you to enjoy, I want you to decompress, I want you to talk about this experience, talk about things that you want to change and get better so by the time the wedding comes around, I know exactly what you want and need from me. And that over the years has been really great because I notice that the one or two times that I had gone out with clients, it got too personal too fast, and I need to make sure that I put up a lot of professional barriers, be personal, yet highly professional. Now after the wedding is done, after the images have been delivered and after the wedding album has been delivered, in my mind that's a closed contract, I've fulfilled what I need to fulfill. Now afterwards if they want to go out to drinks, if they want to invite us to birthday parties or baby baptisms, we absolutely will get close to our clients, but then it's 100 percent personal relationship, not a professional one.
I think something that you talk a lot about in your how to conduct a first client meeting too is just setting expectations up front with them, so it kind of, not build a wall, but it sets the expectation up front that these are my hours that I'll be working this day and this is what you can expect from me, this is what you can expect out of the album and I think that you do a really good job setting those expectations up front so you don't even have to go there with your client.
Absolutely and then as we progress in the bootcamp, people are gonna see, on a subconscious level, now people are gonna be aware oh, this is how she's putting a line in the sand, or this is how she's guarding herself personally or professionally so I think that's gonna be a really good thing to watch in the coming weeks.
- Mmhmm. This one's from Madison Dresser, she says, hey boo, Madison from Detroit, Michigan here, would you touch base on your techniques for content marketing, I'd like to turn a new leaf in my blogging game and showcase awesome topics outside of photo shoots and client weddings.
Celeste, could you repeat the first part of that question?
Hey boo? (laughs) Would you touch base on your techniques for content marketing?
Absolutely, so it depends, I'm gonna answer this in two ways because I'm not sure what the clarifying question would be but if you're talking about various topics in relating to content marketing for wedding photography, and if you're talking about content marketing outside of wedding photography to build another funnel of attraction, the approach will be the same but the topics will be different, so let's talk about the approach so we lay the foundation. Content marketing for people who are watching and who are not familiar, is creating content that allows people to search for certain topics to find more information, to find helpful stuff, basically they want free information on the internet to answer their questions, so your job as a content marketer which is what I talk about heavily in later lessons in this course is to create content that fills an informational void, what are people searching for? What do they want, what do they find interesting? So you have to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective bride, what is she looking for? Is she looking for photos of peony bouquets? Is she looking for the most comfortable shoes? Is she looking for blinged out shoes to wear on her wedding day, is she looking for the fun bridal party poses, is she looking for the quickest way to get your family formal so she has more time at the reception? These are all topics that I have blogged about in the past because I would want to come up in a search when people are like hey, what shoes should I wear? What should my first dance be? What are popular bouquets I should have? They search and guess what, my blog is indexed and it comes up. Now I understand that blogging is not half as popular as it was eight, 10 years ago, right, that was like the start of what social media has now become, but when you have that content archived on your own blog, on your own website, on social media, when you're out, and people are like oh what shoes should I wear, does anybody have any bouquet inspirations, now you can just leave a comment and say here's a whole detailed post about what I'm referring to. Now, conversely, if you're just like, I'm not trying to attract brides, I'm just trying to attract girls who will eventually turn into brides, okay cool, then you have to think of, here is your bride, your perfect ideal bride, who is she before she's engaged, where does she spend her weekends, how does she spend her money, who is she spending time with, what is she pinning on Pinterest? What accounts is she following on Instagram? Ask all of those questions and then reverse engineer, basically start backwards. If she follows Anthropologie on Instagram, and if she's searching hashtags like the everyday girl, if she's following that's darling or whatever the case may be, I want you to go to the content and see what are they producing, are they talking about the best cappuccinos to drink, the cutest deviled egg recipes, are they talking about what's the best down comforter to have, what are the hottest shoes, are we ever going to move away from Pinterest pink, you know what I'm saying, all these topics, basically what we're gonna do is be like, who is the single girl, that will hang out with me, transition to be a future bride and then hopefully, in a perfect situation, transition into a friend, either way, reverse engineer who she is before becoming a bride, what is she doing, what does she care about, what is she searching for, then create content around that. That was a long answer, dang, I need another cup of coffee.
Well I'll try and ask this next one slowly, and I know that I can't, I was trying to look for what lesson it was, but I know that you get into this in depth in how to define your perfect client, and catering to them specifically, I know that you have a really good segment on that somewhere in your 29 lessons that you have in here. This one's from Dominique, have you ever lost your passion or your inspiration and how did you overcome it?
Yes, of course, I think as creatives, it's gonna be really important that we talk about things openly, I think there's almost this taboo that we should come across as I'm so passionate, I'm so enlightened, I'm so zen about the art that I'm producing all the time, that all of a sudden when we don't talk about those real moments, those moments of like, I was doing these things because I loved it, I've had some really tough situations, I had bad clients, I have a family that doesn't support me, I don't have money, I feel uncreative, you go through all of this rigamarole, and then all of a sudden we can't talk about it, but I firmly believe that the things we cannot talk about publicly are the things that shackle us, I would rather say there have been plenty of times where I was so burnt out, there've been plenty of times where I had to fly to a state and shoot a wedding for clients who I didn't want to shoot that for, and it killed a part of my creative soul. I would rather say that to empower other people to say I too have had bad days, but guess what, there is light at the end of the tunnel, there are things that I can do to put up emotional barricades, I can think of clearly one situation that just four days before the wedding had started of a very luxurious wedding, it was out of state, and the bride's parents were affluent in their community, and the bride had a set of siblings who were very successful lawyers, and at the end the contracts were signed, you're ready to go, and four days before the wedding, which was two and a half days before we were going to leave to the wedding, they completely dismantled the contract, saying that there was exclusivity clauses, that I couldn't use the images, and I was like, no the contract's already signed, we went back and forth, and I said listen, I am not going to the wedding if you continue to treat me this way. It was the most stressful situation. I felt like, do I need to get a lawyer now, what's going to happen, what's gonna happen to this bride, it was soul crushing. And at the end of the day, I stuck to my guns, but I also tried meeting them halfway, that the entire gallery was not gonna be shared, that they got to preapprove the images that I was gonna submit for submission which was something they stated they wanted, they said we want to submit the wedding to get featured, I said okay, and now, three days before the wedding, they're just like, well no, you can't share the images, and I'm like, what is going on here? Anyway, I end up going, I'm traveling, it's so long, and the thing that I told myself is when I get back from the wedding, I'm not going to dive into the images. I'm going to do something that repairs my soul. I call it, like I'm coining the term, self care. Right, this goes back to like, let me talk to you about this thing called self care that I invented. I decided to get a massage, I decided to go on a walk, I decided to watch an indie film with subtitles because it helps me use a different part of my brain. I decided to have a wonderful home made meal, now I didn't make the meal, but I decided that we would have one, and to me it was my way of refilling my creative cup because I felt like somebody walked around with a sledgehammer and just tried ruining it, ruining the joy that I derived from it. So once I took care of myself, then I could go back to the images and look at what the experience was, curate a wonderful day, and say, you can't remove that power from me, so people who are getting tired and frustrated and burnt out, what fills your creative cup, is that time with your family? Is that cooking, is that indulging in a pint of Ben and Jerry's, whatever it is, do that, and that will get you back to your source, your source of energy and creativity, quicker than you just trying to push through it.
Alright this one's from Madeleine, hey Jasmine, I found that clients sometimes ask me to match their budget and lower my prices, I know I need to hold to my own standards but I've found that difficult so far since I'm not in a position yet to let potential clients walk away, how would you respond to a question like this to prevent yourself or your clients from feeling negative about the situation?
Well I don't think there can be a hard and fast answer, especially in the beginning years of my business, I was in that exact same position, I didn't want to lose clients, because there wasn't any clients, so I wasn't having this plethora of all these options, now when people tried coming back with budget concerns, I really looked at the way that they were presenting it. It's crazy, when people felt, and where they made me feel like they valued what I was doing, but they just couldn't afford it for a myriad of reasons, then I tried coming back, and my first response would be, is there anything that I can take away from the collection to fit their budget needs? So if they said Jasmine, can you lower your prices by 700 dollars, then I would come back and be like okay, well what if we omit the engagement session, or what if we have a mini engagement session and so instead of an hour to an hour and a half, we meet together for 25 minutes? Or, my collections have eight hours of coverage, and if they wanted a 750 dollar discount, I would be like okay, why don't we do seven hours, anything to make it feel like I was protecting my time and my energy, there are creative ways to work with budgets, but if somebody's coming in and being like can I just get 700 dollars off? Without any other explanation, without giving a behind the scenes story, without anything, then it's kind of just like, well no, but if there's somebody there that you really want to work with, that values your time, but says we can't do it, what can you do to make it a win for yourself? I would try to get creative when it comes down to adjusting prices for people you want to work with.
That's great. This is from, oh they didn't put their name, User 22227, hi Jasmine, I'm not a wedding photographer but, everything you are teaching can be used in family, maternity, and any other session, thank you. And I would like to say amen, I'm not a photographer at all and I've learned a lot producing this class. So thank you User 22227, we've got another one, if you have photography experience but not in weddings, how would you go about connecting with a photographer as a second or third shooter to get that experience?
It's gonna be really really really important to offer value first, because I can't tell you how many e-mails I get a day from people who are like, I want to shoot with you, and I'm just like, okay but you're a stranger, like okay, but why, I mean, I'm a straight shooter, I'm just gonna tell you exactly how I feel. I get an e-mail from a stranger saying they want to shoot with me, and I'm gonna be shooting at this beautiful, luxurious place, with beautiful people, who trust me, beautiful on the inside, and on the outside, who trust me, with this amazing creative team, I've worked over a decade to build a brand, and you want me to invite you as a stranger into my life, as a division of my business, on one of the most important days of somebody's life, that's odd. Thank about what this really means. If somebody were to approach me and say hey, I have experience in this, I have done this, I can provide value here, I have PR experience, I'm a journalist, I'm a mom, I'm whatever you think that you can position it as a benefit to a wedding photographer, lead with that. Beyond that, before you actually make the approach of approaching somebody to become their second shooter, I want you to follow them for months. I want you to follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I want you to become so acutely aware of what makes them tick. I want you to understand the gaps in their business that they themselves cannot see. For example, I put out content, and there was a girl who followed me who's trying to become a photographer but in her current job, she's a copywriter, so she downloaded one of my free opt-ins, I have a free social media guide, so you sign up for it, so she signed up for it, and then she e-mailed me back, and she says Jasmine, I'm a professional copywriter, can I proofread this doc, and she's like well in fact, I already proofread the doc, here are the changes for you, if you want, she's like please don't think it's disrespectful, and I read this and I was just like woah, this girl provided value for me on something that's totally unrelated to photography, and then she asked me a photography question. Do you think I'm not going to answer her questions? Homegirl just gave me value and said I follow you, here's something that I think can make your business better, now I have a couple questions. Yeah, good for you girl, I like how you roll. So that's gonna be the thing that when you approach somebody for an opportunity, lead with value. Hey I noticed that you're in Minnesota, you're traveling for a wedding, have you tried this particular coffee shop, my grandmother loves this apple pie here at this place. Leave it alone, next week, did you try the apple pie? Speaking of apple pie, I shot a photo of an apple pie and I'm trying to get into photography, whatever it has to be, go to the gaps, provide value, then ask, build trust, then ask.
I think what we just learned is that the way to your heart is apple pie or food, is that what I'm taking away from this?
Why is there a question mark at the end of that? We made every Creative Live meeting around food, around drinks, how many calories can we intake right about now?
The way to my food is, the way to my heart is food. I just said the way to my food, yes, the way to my food is food, let's just double up on it, yeah.
Alright this one's from Angela, she says, is it important for a photographer to have pictures of themselves and their personal story out for the world to see in order to have a successful business, how do you get over the fear of putting yourself out publicly?
Okay so I'm Puerto Rican which means I have an attitude, I say exactly what's on my mind, and I'm half Mexican which means I'm a hard worker and empathetic, so this is coming from both of those places. Get over it boo, get over it. You might be uncomfortable, but guess what? What you are selling, is having uncomfortable people stand in front of your camera, so if you yourself cannot stand in front of a camera and build trust, you're gonna have a very hard time to have people who are uncomfortable stand in front of your camera. Can you believe that the thing that you're selling as a photographer are your images, yes, but what people are buying is you. Your time and your eye. If you cannot build trust immediately upon showing who you are, you're gonna have a very hard time. It's like you're adding one extra hurdle in your business that doesn't have to be there. You do not have to be perfect, you do not have to be beautiful, you do not have to be male, female, skinny, fluffy, young, old, you don't have to be any of that except for you, show who you are. And I always bring this back, out here in California we get oftentimes a lot of realtor information so we get free notepads, or advertisements, like it's time to sell your house, this house is for sale, and every realtor has a photo of themself, not because they think that they're extraordinarily good looking, but they understand that as humans, we are all highly visual, we look at somebody's eyes and we tell ourselves, that person is trustworthy. Based on what, nothing but a photo. Psychological studies, I was actually never into politics but recently I've really dug into politics and I found this study really fascinating, there was this study group where they showed people pictures of four different males, and then they asked people who they would vote for, based on their appearance. And the vast majority, I'm talking about over 60 percent of people voted for one particular person and they wanted to know why, and people said, he looked like I could trust him, he looked like I could have a beer with him. On a photo, so people are judging who they want to lead the free world based on who they think that they can have a beer with. So let's break this down, to invite somebody, you, into a person's most important, personal, highly emotionally charged day, they want to look at you and think, can this person blend with my family, can this person show up at a good time, can this person be professional, and guess what they're judging on, a photo. If you don't have a photo, you're just adding another hurdle in your business, where they have to surmise, they have to think, can I trust this person, put the photo out, trust that you are enough, and trust that you can build trust, simply by looking at a camera and smiling, that easy.
We've got another one here, from Arlene, what do you say when a bride disagrees with how you're suggesting how she should pose? Is the client always right, even though her opinion may not produce the best image?
100 percent, the client's right, the client's right. But you know what I do, to set expectation, manage expectation, and exceed expectation. So when I have a bride, and this happens quite often for some reason, the pose that will define an entire generation is the hand on the hip, the girl's going like this because they saw some youtube tutorial on how to look skinny in photos, they put their hand on their hip, they go, okay, so every single photo is this girl with her hand on her hip doing this little thing, right, like, one, I can't have a whole engagement gallery, of the hand on the hip, booty out, tilting this way. I can't, it's physically impossible, but if she tells me Jasmine this is how I look best, I say okay Stephanie, I'm going to do this pose for you because I trust you, and I want you to feel really good, so let's do this pose, but then you also need to trust me, and I'm gonna give you both of those photo options in your gallery, and you can choose which one you look better with. But let me tell you something, I'm so confident with my ability that I'm going to owe you a bottle of Dom Perignon or Veuve Cliquot, whatever you want, if you decide that your poses are better than mine. Now, if you like my poses, if this is what I see on your engagement announcements, if this is what I see on your wedding website, if this becomes your new Facebook profile photo and it is my pose, then you owe me full trust on your wedding day. So I have set expectations, I have managed expectations, and then I'm going to exceed expectations when I leave a comment on her photo on her newly updated Facebook profile photo and be like, I won boo, I won, wink face. So by the time the wedding comes around, and she wants to do that little pose thing, I'm like okay Stephanie I'm gonna shoot this, but you gotta trust me for the rest of the day. So it's about setting, managing and then exceeding.
I know this is something that we see, we're actually gonna get into this week when we do the Knot wedding, yes, as I recall this actually happened with the bride and the groom and they were wanting to do a pose and you were like, alright, anyway, you can see it in real time if you tune in this week, and speaking of, we have a couple more questions, but I want to get into a little bit more brass tax about what we're gonna see the rest of the week and to set expectations with the audience, if you will. So like I said, we're just about ready to get into the Knot, which a lot of people might not even know what that means, can you set the stage for what the Knot is, and just, the wedding?
Okay, so, when we originally recorded this amazing boot camp, and I say amazing because the people who actually came together, they made it amazing, they were the wind at my back, but I had this amazing opportunity, I was voted photographer of the year by the Knot magazine, so it's the largest national, actually international wedding magazine, and it was a big honor, and the time that I received this honor was actually amazing because we were going to be filming with Creative Live and so it was this synergistic kind of hurricane that happened. So I had this opportunity and I said can I bring these cameras and can I showcase how I shoot a wedding live, and it was really great because this opportunity gave an inside look from beginning middle and end. Yes I was able to meet with the clients for a lot of people to see during their engagement session then I shot their engagement session, and we went through some ups and downs on the wedding day, we saw the whole gamut, but then post, what I've been able to do is get that wedding published as the Knot wedding of the year, which was great, so to see things go from beginning, middle and end, and understand that there was definitely rocky parts of the wedding day, there were days that were disastrous, there were days that we were dripping sweat, running, there were things that were so unglamorous, but what we revealed at the end, the people we showed the gallery, when the clients saw everything, we were able to curate a day, so to me the value is, yes, watching what happened on the wedding day, but the true value is understanding everything that went wrong and then the ah, I'm giving you all the images and all they remember is the good stuff, all they remember are the beautiful moments of the first dance, not having their entire photo and video crew running all over the place because the timeline was so off, we shot in the middle of the day, sweet baby Jesus, it was almost I think, like almost 100 degrees in Sonoma Valley, and it was bright sun, and people are watching online and being like how is she shooting this wedding, and to that I responded, I have no idea. We just made it work, and I think that's gonna be really important to show you make it work and then you deliver a tight, entirely different product than what they experienced on the wedding day and then it just unfolds magically for them from an emotional perspective.
That's right, so for those of you tuning in for the rest of the week, you can expect to see, I think everyday we're playing two lessons that are a different part of the wedding, so you see the ceremony, you see the reception, you see the group photos, you see all of it, and then the following week, or at the tail end, I have it here, I can actually just tell you rather than making you do all the work, this next week is the Knot wedding reception, the bride and groom, wedding ceremony, bridal party and family, bridal party prep, you see all of that this week, and then next week starting on June you see post wedding workflow, post wedding marketing, and Jasmine working on all of these images and kind of talking through what went on that crazy crazy day. So with the purchase of this bootcamp, if you so choose to do so, you'll get 29 lessons, everything you're seeing last week and the next two weeks is 29 lessons, about 34 hours worth of video content, on top of all the bonus material that Jasmine's put together, you get those shooting guides that I talked to you about, it's four different pdfs that walk you through how to shoot in really difficult lighting scenarios or posing scenarios, on top of two or three, actually three bonus videos, one is a social media q and a with Jasmine, which is exactly what it sounds like, and if you know Jasmine she's a social media queen, so it's a really great segment, as well as how to officially start your photography business which again gets into the brass tax of how to literally do the legal stuff, how to sign the business, all that stuff, how to physically build it. So those are two videos that you get with purchase, as well as, I feel like Oprah, and you get the shooting guide, and you get a bonus video, and the last one is the gallery access. For people who purchase, you get access to every single shoot that you see in this bootcamp, so it's the Knot wedding, the Knot engagement session, and all of the other shooting, the curvy bride, how to shoot in the worst light, tall short couple and a couple of others, it's six different shoots, and you can just go log in, we give you the password, and you can literally see, not every image, but the selects from every shoot, it's a lot of stuff, so for those of you that decide to purchase, that's 34 hours worth of video content, 29 lessons and all the bonus material, it's normally 249 dollars, but as long as the broadcast is happening it's 199. So get it while it's hot, and let's do a couple more questions, cause we can, so Jasmine, this one is from Adam in Atlanta, what advice would you give to you from five years ago. So wait, I was gonna ask a clarifying question. If I could go back and tell the Jasmine of five years ago advice, I would tell her, ooh five years ago, that was a tough year, I would say, you'll be okay, that you're stronger than you think, that in spite of what other people say about you, or their thoughts about you, is that the person who needs to extend grace to yourself and permission to succeed in spite of the odds in front of you is yourself, so you can't expect grace from other people if you can't give it to yourself and you can't expect love from other people if you can't give it to yourself first, and beyond all other trials that seem insurmountable, if you continue to put one foot in front of the other, you will end up at the summit. And guess what, when you arise at the peak of a summit, you realize there's another valley in front of you, and there's another summit to climb, and the more that you prove that you can reach a pinnacle of one success, you understand that there's a series of those to come and to continue, to keep moving forward in spite of the odds in front of you.
We've got one more powerhouse that I'm gonna end on here. This person says, I've been watching the broadcast every day, and I even purchased the course. Good choice, this person's smart, I like them. And I've printed the syllabus, oh great, I've printed the syllabus and the class materials and they are fantastic, thank you. I've been a second shooter for about five years. I've done family photography sessions and engagement sessions on the side, but I love wedding photography. I finally decided to take the plunge, quit my career as an educator of 15 years and pursue my love of photography, I'm overwhelmed, I'm anxious, and I'm scared but excited, any words of advice as I begin my new adventure?
Yes, and the words of advice would be to understand that there is beauty in failure, that there is strength in resilience, and there is assurance in a storm of doubt. I think that so often when we find the thing that we want, and we set our intentions and our goals, we want it right then, we want it immediately, and especially because you have past experience with different genres of photography, you expect or you hope that you can make this lateral shift and then it just starts raining clients, or doors start opening and everything is flawless. But I will tell you that you must understand it is a long road ahead of you. It is so fulfilling and so gratifying to do the thing that you want, but understand that the pitfalls are making you stronger. Understand that this curve, this swing of highly stressful wedding days can actually yield to have amazing beautiful art and a tribe of supporters in the future, to understand to put your head down, understand that focus, understand that wedding, the wedding photography game specifically is one of the slowest moving businesses you could get into. Why, because people are booking you, and then you don't shoot their wedding for another year, another year and a half, right, so you have to understand that you are playing the long game honey, do not get burnt out, trust in your ability to succeed even when it's slow. Trust in your ability to surpass expectations because you've managed those expectations. And trust that if you have known that this is the thing that you have to do, you will hustle, and you will slay, even if that requires you to take a side gig in order to fund your ultimate dream, do that and understand the journey is long, it is hard but it is so fulfilling and I wish you all the best.
Jasmine thank you so much, and if you guys want more of this, we're going to be doing one more q and a with Jasmine on June 30th, followed by the final lesson that we'll be broadcasting, that's June 30th, and you definitely want to tune in that day, it's full of this, these answers that are just powerful and inspire you to go out and pick up your camera, or just do something great, this last lesson on June 30th will give you goosebumps, it might make you cry, and it will empower you to go and do great things. So Jasmine, thank you so much, we'll catch you again on June 30th, and for the rest of you out there stay tuned, we're going to pick up the broadcast again and the two lessons we'll be playing today are, oh it's the shoot with the Knot's engagement session, followed by post-engagement workflow and marketing, so we'll be switching off with the two of those all day today, and continuing on with all the lessons from this bootcamp over the next two weeks, so thank you so much for joining us, and we will see you again on June 30th, for the live q and a with Jasmine Star.