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Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits

Lesson 5 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits

Lesson 5 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

5. Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Agenda


Why You Will Fail


The Changing World We Live In


Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Day 2


Defining, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Clients


Day 3


Legal Issues


Day 4


Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Day 5


Pricing Your Work Part 1


Day 6


Pricing Your Work Part 2


Day 7


The New World of SEO


Day 8


Social Media - Facebook


Day 9


Social Media - Instagram & Pinterest


Day 10


Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Day 11


Proactively Developing Vendor Relationships


Day 12


Get More Publicity


Day 13


Booking More Portrait Sessions


Day 14


Booking More Weddings


Day 15


Understanding the Initial Sales Consultation (In-person vs Skype)


Day 16


The Engagement Shoot - Shoot To Make Money.


Day 17


Engagement Pricing and Sales


Day 18


Destination Shoots


Day 19


Working With & Training Second Shooters


Day 20


Growing An Alternate Brand


Day 21


The Wedding Day Timeline


Day 22


Managing The Wedding Day


Day 23


Post Wedding Sales and Pricing


Day 24


Post Production - A Real World Workflow


Day 25


Wedding Albums - Their Importance, New trends & Selling Them


Day 26


Ways Not To Suck At Customer Service


Day 27


Video - The Future of Story Telling for the Photographer


Day 28


Packaging & Final Delivery To Your Clients


Day 29


Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years


Day 30


The Journey Of You


The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 60 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan


Student Examples


Interview with Warren McCormack


Interview with Lenny and Melissa Volturo


General Q&A


Lesson Info

Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits

You know, when we start talking about portrait's where dig we're dealing with the landscape of portrait, right? What's the mean competitive out there picture people, wal mart photo lives, whatever the case may be right that those are those are your competitive landscape, you can walk into some of these places and its like nineteen dollars, ninety five cents and you're getting like fifty eight by tens twenty five five by sevens and everything under the sun that you could possibly imagine they're going to deliver to you for that price point. I'm not competing on that. We cannot compete on that price point, so if you're in the portrait market and you don't realize that this is part of the market that's that you're going after you're missing the boat yet again, we have to understand that this is part off the competitive landscape I'm dealing with moms and families good enough that see the picture people right? You're going to go in and you're gonna get maybe a seventeen year old with a cam...

era he's got a little squeaky toy on the top of his camera we're gonna lay on the floor where man that's not what I want to do for a living that's, not that's, not professional photography to me that's not what I want to do, I want to offer a higher and service but how do I differentiate that service from what they're doing for nineteen dollars and ninety five cents on what I want to do for a thousand dollar photo session for a five hundred dollar photo session? How do we differentiate those two things you've got to start thinking about that? Because that is in fact part of your competitive landscape, the other things we're dealing with in the landscape of portrait photography um, or in the spirit of portrait photography, I should say friend with the camera, anybody suffering for this I deal with it all the time, you know, I tell just recently I had a buddy and I love him to death, but I have a body and he did. I used to do all their family portrait. Now I see on facebook he's uh, he's doing his family's portrait. Okay, well, he's got a camera now so he's a photographer it's got to be a professional, right? I've got a photo shop I've got in design. I've got illustrator I must be a graphic designer that's how it all works and so nothing wrong with it. It's funny to me to watch because it's just it's just adding to the sense that everyone literally is a photographer and so I can't compete with that because everyone's got a friend who's got a camera now, what's that friend gonna do is that friend gonna offer high end products? Of course not. That friend is more than likely with the camera just going to give him a cd. Maybe they're gonna edit the pictures. Maybe they're not. Maybe they're going to call her correct them? Maybe they're not on dh. They're going to give them that cd and then that cd or thumb drive, whatever your delivery mechanism is is going to sit in a drawer somewhere in a box somewhere and nothing's ever going to get done with it? I don't believe in my heart that that is an end to end service, I believe that's an incomplete service I don't want to offer that that becomes my x factor that becomes my differentiator if you start competing on that, you're going to lose because you can't be free. A friend with a camera is free, you will never beat that and so I don't want to compete on price it's like I said, price is a race to the bottom. I don't want to go down to the bottom and said, I want to go together way I can look all of you in the eye and tell you I have never lowered my prices in eight years I'm not talking about running a sale we just don't lower our prices and so instead I'm trying to go the other way I'm trying to find the top of the market because that top of the market is creating separation something you've heard me talk about over and over again um louis vuitton you will never walk into a louis vuitton and see a sale going on they don't do it if you can't afford let's let's be honest if you're paying three thousand dollars for a bag okay four thousand dollars or bag eyes getting ten percent off really gonna make a difference you is getting fifteen percent off going to make a difference to you you either have the money to buy it or you don't and the people who have the money I don't know they just don't care about that sale everybody loves a deal but ultimately they're not looking they're not bargain shop shopping the person who's bargain shopping is the person who's looking for a friend with a camera if you want great photography you're not okay the friend with the camera unless there's a damn good photographer but if you want great photographer you want that family heirloom sitting on your wall you want that album okay or that giant family portrait uh in the fall that you're gonna put over your fireplace if that's what you're looking for a friend with the camera just won't do and so if you start competing with that friend with the camera, you're losing all that business all those clients who want the other product but you're so busy operating from a point of desperation okay, you start making bad decisions never ever ever operate from a point of desperation not that we will never be there we're all they're a different points in our career in different points in our lives that's, that's natural that's gonna happen but the minute you start making decisions based on that emotional pole based on the wrong data is the minute you start failing your business I guarantee you it's gonna happen because you're making the decisions for the wrong reasons we have to make the right decisions for the right reasons and those reasons are to grow our business, grow our revenue and offer a superior product or service you guys with me group on who here is not seeing groupon is a competitive and I guess you could make the argument and say, well, come on sally mean, you're charging thousand dollars or for a portrait session or I'm charging five hundred dollars for a portrait session house forty nine dollars really competition photographically I'm not necessarily suggesting that we're competing with each other, but as far as a service I've got photographers who are willing to offer a family portrait for forty nine dollars to me, it is it represents the absolute erosion of our market thing about it this way. Do you see doctors and lawyers offering discounts on groupon? You don't know a doctor and a lawyer is not is not going to go on group on toe offer that discount on groupon, and the reason is simple because they're not going to diminish the value ofthe their product or service. I'm not suggesting that we should never have sales definitely not suggesting that I ran sales all the time. I love sales, I love promotions, but the minute you start going on group on all group on cares about, by the way it is just not just sellas many units as possible. Thousands and thousands of units, hundreds and hundreds of units cause that's how groupons making the money, by the way, groupons usually getting more than you on the whole deal. And so I don't understand why. Is a business owner with limited resources photography's a limited resource? I don't have one hundred photographers under me, I don't have you know I'm not selling books or product that's sitting there collecting dust, I'm selling my time. My service group on is not a place I want to be, however, I would be ignorant if I didn't acknowledge that clients don't necessarily always see the difference they go well hey here's a photographer we could get our family pictures done okay for forty nine dollars how do I how do I stand out from the crowd and allow my clients to see that yes you're gonna get that for forty nine dollars but what you're gonna get from me for five hundred dollars for a thousand dollars is ten times better how do we do them how we showcase that we're going to cover a lot of that but all I want to do right now is understand the competitive landscape this is what we're competing with when it comes to portrait there's no way around it and if you're out there watching online right now and you've got you've got some questions specific to this police are posting him in that in that chat room because I'm really curious what you see as your competitive landscape where you see your your competitors we could have questions I don't know if you wanted to take any questions about the instagram people really dig in that information on dh when it had some specifics actually when you were talking about this from rebecca bridges and people have voted on this one too you're talking about ending your photos on your phone and uploading throughout the the wedding to stay relevant how are you actually doing that and not missing what else is going on? What do you editing yeah, way actually have ah segment on instagram were actually tell you what, aps every app amusing but high level just answer rebecca's question because I'm sure a lot of you have that it's kind of comical to watch me on the wedding day because on our wedding day when I am instagramming, especially if my client has a hashtag I like hashtag smith wedding, that means all their guests or posting to that hashtag it's kind of entertaining to watch me work because what I'm doing is I've got, you know, whether I'm shooting medium format or my cannon one deac, I'm taking pictures off let's say the ring, okay? And so I got the ring set up on the table. I'm going to take all those pictures with my camera, and then I put my you know, my five, six, ten thousand dollars set up camera down, I'm gonna pull out my couple of hundred dollars iphone out, right? Everybody starts making fun of me. They're they're like, oh, is that your professional? Cameron? We have a good laugh and everybody's goofing around, but now I take that picture that's the same picture every other guest would take, so now when we're going from location location, I'm actually sitting in the car editing these pictures on my phone now. All I would suggest you do is pick five five pictures from each part of day bridal prep group, perhaps ceremony reception creatives you got five parts of the day pick just take, call it three to five images the ring, the dress maybe get a nice beauty beauty portrait over as best you can from your iphone post that post that to that hashtag I'm going out with my iphone and then I'm picking up my camera and the day continues now, let's, say there's, just a shot that I get this big dramatic portrait, those air really what we're known for these big wide shots were my iphone is not going to necessarily let me get that shot. In that case, I would take a picture of the back of the phone, edit that and post that, and that keeps everybody going right? They understand it's not perfection. It's coming off on iphone, they're not looking for perfection, they're just looking for instant gratification. Does that make sense? That's a good question. Yeah, yeah, and you go further into that way dedicated to that, how we do it and what what tools were using because I mean there's a ton of tools out in the ap marketplace, but I found I'm a nap junkie I think by all these aps but then it keeps coming down to like the top three to five that I used on a somewhat frequent basis and so we'll share all those with you so so we do have a couple people asking commenting pimping pixels how can I stop being that friend with the camera on dh studio saying I am that friend with the camera this is miss hip how else am I supposed to get started building experience reputation yeah she's asking a great question I love that she's doing that and I love that she I'm assuming it's a she I love that there they feel like I'm not attacking them because I'm really not I'm trying to help them grow and so you know to that question if you want understand like how do I make that transition from being that friend with the camera being that part time person maybe you're not even a friend with counter maybe you're just doing a part time on weekends but you want to make that transition to actually making money and doing what you do that is exactly what this course is all about it's getting you from point a to point b that's why we put that workbook together for you because there is a path there is a recipe there is a formula for success you know they always come out with these books and they're like seven habits of highly successful people things like that in these books do very, very well why? Because when you're trying to grow and learn, it doesn't matter if we're talking photography or like I said, any any other line of business when you're trying to learn and grow, you wantto look to people who are successful and kind of find a way to follow their their path. There's nothing wrong with that, I think that's actually a very smart thing to do and that's what this course and why I teach that's what it's ultimately all about. So good question. All right, let's, jump into wedding's. Obviously, I'm a wedding photographer it's near and dear to my heart s so if your wedding photographer or even interested remotely interested in wedding photography, this too is a very, very powerful part of the second. So this data comes from the knot on the wedding report, and so there's data out their statistics about weddings and the trends and where they're going, these statistics should blow you away. Okay? And so pay attention to these I'm gonna explain them to you. So first thing up, a map of the united states most expensive places to get married in the united states number one manhattan the average wedding cost about eighty six thousand dollars in manhattan and you're pricing in some parts the country and you're thinking not my bride my bride is having a ten thousand dollar wedding at the v f w hall that's great they can do that I'm just letting you know this is a breakdown in the united states on average across the united states the average wedding is roughly twenty eight thousand dollars in that range across the u s okay taking into account all the big cities but these numbers are fairly interesting and so in the chicago you're looking at about forty eight thousand dollars in chicago suburbs thirty one thousand dollars go out to like southern california average wedding is anywhere from forty four to thirty eight remember this is all in this is there photography their flowers and these air averages you know so when I look at like new york uh manhattan where they say the average waiting is eighty six thousand you might think that's high and it is obviously it's the most expensive place but I did a wedding up there a few years back it was a three hundred thousand dollars wedding and so you think about how it's all about averages right? Some weddings not every wedding in new york is eighty six thousand people getting married in new york and suburbs and things like that for twenty thousand thirty thousand but on average that's what's causing people to get married on so it's just really really interesting but check out some of these other numbers bottom left hand corner top destinations twenty four percent people are travelling the california southern california probably to get married maybe that's not even true they're probably like northern california taylor and I we got engaged in san francisco that's one of our favorite cities that's where we went that was a destination for us and we hired a local photographer there and so we didn't hire a photographer from st louis are from new york we hired one that was there on the ground in that market so this is something to pay attention to. Twenty four percent are going to california twelve percent to florida and then nine percent out to the caribbean this was a really, really interesting stop how many weddings have photo booths? This one blew me away because this number is changing so I did one of these stats I think was like two years ago we did this and it was just really interesting for me to see how these data points are changing just even in the last two years how much they've changed check this that out sixteen percent in twenty ten had wedding booth over twenty five percent of weddings today have photo booths are you guys seeing the same trend? Because I know I am when I go to my weddings and that photo booth opens I'm in the photo booth I'm having fun with my bride and groom I'm getting in there all the gas clear the dance for they're no longer on the dance floor they're all hanging around the photo booth and so this is really, really interesting it's going to change the way you're photographing it's gonna change the way you're you're communicating with your client? Because if there's a photo booth going on, I actually made this mistake learn from my mistakes. There was one waiting we were at, we don't really know there was a photo booth and we're hanging out on the dance floor and we're just photographing people on the dance floor, but we were like, we look to each other, we're like, where is everybody? And we were getting ready to leave in like the dance or just empty, and so we went out to the side room where they had had the photo booth literally half the wedding was jammed into this room just goofing around in the photo booth with the bride and groom that's the trend can ignored its reality, it's even going to a whole new level now they're doing like slow motion photo booths, right? So we just found out that shutter fast twenty fifteen we're gonna have a slow motion video booth at shutter fast, right? Why? Because that's a trend that's things we want it's going to a lot of fun to do something like that right? I'll get the photo booth you guys khun smack me in the face will do stuff like that punch me in the face whatever you want to do um we'll let taylor do that let her get out some aggression but the's air the trends how do we embrace those trends? You know, what's next instantaneous posting and when I say next I mean it's happening right now. So now I'm in a photo booth, I'm taking a picture and it's being pushed out sites like events to graham. Have you ever heard of events to graham? If you haven't heard of events to graham, this is something you can actually start incorporating into your business. It's like one hundred you could you could buy a couple of different ways, but like one hundred fifty to two hundred bucks. Okay, now I can have a tv like this setup at the event and it's it's pulling from facebook, instagram, twitter, anything that has the hashtag that you said it upto have so now guess if they're in a photo booth and that photo booth companies willing to push these out online, they can have a tv just sitting there in the room up on top of the deejay booth whatever the case may be all these pictures of being pulled in strange life live now I don't even have they don't even have to look on their phone anymore now they're looking on a sixty inch screen that sitting in the lobby that sitting in the cocktail area how are you gonna embrace this change you sit here and ignore it with your head in the sand but if your wedding photographer you're seeing this stuff happened today I know I am how'm I gonna embrace it I'm looking for ways to get my images up there really time for that yeah how do you encourage people where do you encourage people to stay on top of all of these trends were clearly you do that where do you do it where do you find these things what's your process I would that's a really good question how do you stay on top of it I would consider myself a connoisseur of business I thoroughly love business and anyone who knows me knows how involved and with business I love starting new businesses I love nurturing them and so I read things I rarely read industry magazines I love reading industry magazines t just be inspired maybe see other people's images and work and just kind of keep sense of what people are doing but when it comes to understanding the actual just business in general and trends in general I'm really looking to our industry I'm reading business week I'm reading ink magazine right these are the kind of things I'm reading I'm reading books like there's a couple of books on like how our outsmart google or the google strategy like there's a couple other books out there uh that I read that literally have nothing to do with photography, right? Because it's it's about thinking innovatively and looking for opportunities you know, think about this from a photography perspective we always use the word vish, right? You always hear photographer say that we can walk into a room we can put this bottle here, okay? And you can take ten photographers and say photograph that bottle all of a sudden there's gonna be ten different images taken some better than others but very subjective we're gonna look at this, we're going to do that well, same kind of thing exists from a business perspective having this vision and so it's very easy for me I want to have vision when it comes to business, I want to understand the landscape, a business I understand what influences business, I understand consumer behavior. Most of us just won't understand how to be a better photographer, but if you believe me at all and you're you're buying into anything I'm telling you you're going to realize really quickly that only about five percent or ten percent has anything to do with photography the rest has to doing with being a connoisseur of business, understanding consumer behavior understanding what makes people reach for their wallet, what will turn people off understanding trends and so there's no one answer counted to your question, it's just being that connoisseur of business, drinking it up, or just follow me and I'll try my best to take you on the path every step of the way let's keep going average number of guests that wedding one hundred forty on average is a really interesting stat to we're seeing weddings are shrinking and there's a reason the weddings of shrinking we'll hit that in the next line, but the reason the weddings are shrinking is definitely something we have to pay attention to, you know, earlier on in my career, it was not uncommon to see weddings that had three hundred plus guests. I'm not seeing that anymore. That trend is really, really going the opposite way. People aren't spending money on on guess who they don't know they've never met. We have to start understanding the stats to understand the landscape of business. Maybe if you're watching you're thinking this is not sexy, this is boring. Can somebody show me how to do off camera flash? Uh, this is the kind of stuff that's gonna help your business grow without understanding this you don't understand the landscape of business, average number of bridesmaids and groomsmen for we're also seeing that trend don't get me wrong I've done weddings where I've had twelve people on each side complete insanity everybody they know got invited in their part of the bridal party but that's not the trend the trend mercy is going the opposite way we just taylor just did a wedding just last weekend that one bridesmaid one groomsman that's the trend that's where we're seeing it go smaller more intimate groups and weddings how does that translate for you and your business? This one though everyone needs to pay attention to this impacts you right here right now this has changed dramatically in the last two years six places brides are looking for vendors number one wedding bridal websites those air sites like the not okay seventy three percent are saying they're finding that there photographers or vendors on a wedding bridal website is really important what's your marketing plan for twenty fifteen where do you plan to be? This is the other challenge I find with photographers they think there's one silver bullet to marketing there's not one silver bullets a marketing there are many facets to marketing they all work together they all reinforce your brand there's no one thing you're going to be able to do so seventy three percent and these numbers they're not gonna add up to one hundred right because most people look to multiple places so this is just telling you in order of importance where they're going wedding bride a website number two right behind it's seventy two percent internet search engine seven out of ten brides are going to the internet search engine to find their photographer so when I go to your city and you type in st louis wedding photographer or whatever your city is where you coming up it's not page one page two it worst you're done seven out of ten brides aren't gonna find you there already telling you this is where I look now again if you're not a wedding photographer and your portrait photographer don't zone out because the same information applies to you if I'm looking for a wedding, a portrait photographer or family portrait michael into the yellow pages no, I'm going to the internet I guarantee you it's the same thing might even be higher seven or eighty percent seventy to eighty percent might be doing it that way so you need to pay attention to these trends because you can't possibly believe in your heart that if I'm looking for a wedding photographer, I'll go to google but if I'm looking for glamour photography or or portrait photography no, no, no I'm not going to use the search engine I'm going to use the yellow pages, okay? This is where they're going, so how is this going to impact your business? The numbers don't like sixty percent friend or family recommendation also known as referrals so we have to work our referral network sixty percent are listening to their friends and if I had to look at those three numbers alone and it's kind of extrapolating what those mean to me and my business what I'm going to do is I'm gonna go okay my marketing my advertising doesn't matter from doing weddings, families, babies portrait's doesn't matter my marketing and advertising my energy needs to be focused on the web social media ceo that whole thing in total and working my relationships, my referrals meaning anyone who I photographed do they have a reason to refer me if you haven't given them a reason to refer you beyond good service you're not gonna get referred why am I gonna refer you hey, if you refer me I'ma give you free free family session if you refer us and we book a wedding off your referral, you'll get a free sixteen by twenty four cameras whatever the case may be are you giving them a reason to refer you because you're seeing the top three ways brides are finding vendors? The numbers don't lie we can't ignore them fifty percent wedding or bridal magazine another fifty percent social media this number's up big time and it's growing fifty percent of brides are looking to social media so you don't have an instagram account you're not posting images that are hashtag wedding hashtag so this is what they're telling you social media things like pinterest and there's actually a strategy I'm going to teach you that no one's doing literally no one I was sitting in my office one day and I go how do I take all these things I've learned about social media about facebook? Pinterest uh search engine optimization how do we take all those things I've learned and turned them into a strategy and we did it and the results are mind blowing absolutely mind blowing everyone in this class could not wrap their heads around what was happening we went from way did something uh where we went from non existent in search engine to in two weeks or less showed up on the first page of google all things you can do in your market, I promise you and then of course thirty nine percent wedding in bridal shows, which that breaks my heart because I love doing bridal shows now this is not suggesting that you stopped doing bridal shows. This is not suggesting that you stopped doing any of this it's just showing you in order how brides are using their time and where they're going to find there vendors again, I would make the argument all these things work together to create a cohesive strategy because if they're seeing you at bridal show, seeing you on social media seeing you in the magazines all those things start working together to create brand awareness brand loyalty. They have to know who your brand is. If they just see you in a magazine, they're not gonna book you if they just see you with a bridal show, they're not gonna book you it's about all these things working together and kind of this perfect storm. You guys with me, right by the numbers here's the budget so if they're spending money on their wedding day here's where the money's going on their wedding day again. Really, really interesting. Uh, you can all see this on the screen, but I don't want I don't want to go into every single one of these details. What I wanna do is hit on what's important first of all, look with the average videographers getting thousand dollars that's getting you junkie video that you're not getting really good video. I'm talking about cinema quality video, which is what I'm advocating. We start producing the guys showing up for a thousand dollars he showing up in recording just this ceremony, right? And getting maybe some of the dances at the reception. Is that really the wedding day? If I had to think about my wedding day, think about it from a photography person. Could we tell the story of a wedding day just showing up for the ceremony and just showing up for the reception yet videographers this is what they're doing today not the high end people on average that's what a videographer is doing from my perspective huge opportunity huge opportunity what do we know how to do really really well tell stories we are good storytellers video is just another tool for us to be telling stories I want to use that video I want to tell the story so you're going to see how we do it we're going to show you how we do video what our final product looks like and how we get there here's the number I want to actually focus on I thought this was really really interesting here is the breakdown off of what money goes towards photographers so check this out twenty percent spend less than five hundred dollars on a photographer twenty percent sent spend between five hundred to one thousand twenty six percent twenty thousand two thousand sixteen percent to three thirteen percent three to five and two point seven percent more than five thousand my business we make on average about ten thousand dollars per wedding so my business is sitting in a part of the market that is so tiny I have to be really conscious that where's the sweet spot the sweet spot is in the one thousand to three thousand dollar range there's, about forty three percent of the total photography spend that's happening in that sweet spot, so if you're in that range of that one, two, three thousand, you may be thinking like, whoa, sounds priced way outside the market, how's he ever going to be successful? Well, it's, analyze this for a second if you're sitting in that one, two, three thousand dollars right now today with your business that's fine, because by the way, I sat there when I was going that business, I didn't just start being expensive. We started our business in our basement, and then we grew it and we kept growing and growing and growing, raising our prices all along the way. But when we were sitting in that one thousand to three thousand dollar price range, there's probably one of the most difficult times of my career because that's, where everyone is city, all the minutia ah, photography is sitting in that part of this of this range, and all this is doing is reinforcing what I've been teaching you all along. This is telling you from the not from the wedding report, this is where all the brides are spending the majority, or in that sweet spot, you're going to get forty six or forty two percent, make sure my math is right forty three percent is spending their money in that sweet spot? Well, forty three percent of spending their money in that sweet spot and you're there that's fine, but keep in mind so is everyone else. What I wanted to do with my business is separate myself from the pack easiest way to separate yourself from the pack is to raise your price guys with me now you can't just raise your price that's the one mistake I saw that's part of what this course is all about, a lot of you went off and you just said south told me I need to raise my price I raised my price how come how come I'm not booking business? Well, you're not booking business because you've got to do more than just raise your price you have to justify your price, you have to have added value to your price high level that means you have to order better offer better albums are you offering better albums to your clients? If you're not offering better arms reclines, how do you expect to charge more money? Are you offering better service your clients in a way that is tangible to them, not away that's tangible to you? What is better service to your clients? I don't know the answer I'm asking you because if you don't know the answer about what is better for your clients then how can you adjust your packages? How can you grow your business? How can you push into this higher area? I would rather see you on your journey especially my group right here because we've been working together you know for all week now I want to see you push into that three to five thousand dollar range that's going to immediately separate you from the minutia and again don't zone out if you're a portrait photographer it's the same logic as a portrait photographer what's the bell curve look like where's all where all your competitors city in my local market average senior spends about fifteen hundred dollars in our studio I'm sitting in a market where right up the street for fifty bucks you can hire my competitors and get a cd of images so how am I able to get so much more money out of a senior? We offer a level of service that doesn't exist at the fifty dollar studio at the five hundred dollar studio you've got to figure out what that level of service is everybody with me this is some interesting data to will wrap up this section here because you know this section it was really laying the foundation we have to understand the market we have to understand the opportunity I talked to a lot of you by the way uh and I was talking to one of my previous students the other night, we all went to dinner talking previous students is out of here in seattle, he's like I got this great idea, and it was a great idea, it's a really good idea, but what's the size of the opportunity if you don't understand the landscape, you don't understand the size of the opportunity just because something's a good idea doesn't mean we should actually go do it. Everybody understand that I'm going to pitch to you video, maybe you're an embrace video. Maybe you're not it's a good idea, but just because I've got a good idea doesn't mean you should go do it doesn't mean it's right for you photo booths we know photo booths are growing. I'm seeing a lot of photographers start offering photo boots in there offering I tried it, I stepped away from it, there wasn't enough profit margin in it. It was eating away from other things that I could make money on just because it's a good idea doesn't mean we should always do it. And so what I started doing was asking myself, what is the size of this opportunity? Meaning how much money can you generate? Far studio and so were the point now where if it's not a six figure line of business I'm not interested in doing it if I'm going to go after photo booths and I can't have that generate gross sales of at least one hundred thousand dollars a year it's not worth my time and I know that might sound to you like wait wow I would love to have one hundred thousand dollars yeah, maybe you would maybe you wouldn't you have to start looking at it from a business perspective for everything you do there is a cost so if you decided to start offering photo boots and let's say you said I'm going to charge a thousand dollars for a photo booth you might go that's a lot of money south I want that extra thousand dollars absolutely how much of that thousand dollars profit verse buying new equipment first adding somebody in man not booth right? All these things are things you have to take into consideration that's why to me if I'm going to go after something it's gotta have at least six figures in it because that allows me to hire staff that allows me to market it it allows me to advertise it and on and on and on there's cost that you're not thinking about so when you come up with this new idea that you have ask yourself this simple question what is the size of the opportunity both gross sales and profit margin how much money am I going to make on this so yeah, I might have one hundred thousand dollar line of business, but then when it's all said and done all that risk all that work I only generate fifteen percent profit that's not enough got to make more get so it's looking this average length of engagement this is also something that's really interesting fifteen months now so the average time couples are engaged is much longer. How does this impact you? Well, this impacts you because now I'm starting to see brides start kicking tires way further in advance with no sense of urgency because they got all the time in the world they're going to be engaged for fifteen months, sometimes longer and so I'll never forget I met there was a bride I literally saw heard about five different bridal shows I'm like she's just she even engaged at this point I'm really wondering is she just going there to taste all the food from the catering halls or you know she even engaged and so finally one day uh she didn't end the piranhas she hire another photographer but I called her out on it was like the fifth show I seen around are you even engaged or you just just here all the time and she's like no, I'm engaged but working and it was like she was getting married like a year and a half out so she was just you know just like a groupie like uh bridal show groupie I guess and she's just going to different bridal shows but this impacts our businesses well we have to understand now this has longer lead times longer sale cycles the most popular months for engagements this way if you're in weddings this should really be no surprise to december is the most popular month for engagements okay, well that's why bridal shows are typically in january and february because of that very statistic that's when people want to start planning their weddings you have to understand this now the question I will put to the portrait photographers to the senior photographers to anybody else like that when is uh when is the most popular month for family portrait? I would say in october november right? So the messaging that I'm trying to get across to you isn't just relevant to wedding photographers it's no matter what mitch you're in you need to be able to answer these questions glamour photography if your glamour photographer glamour boudoir whatever you whatever term, whatever niche that you're you're in there when is the easiest time to start selling stuff like this when we talk about it in this course valentine's day yeah you canoe glamour photographer year round and you got models and things like that that's that's great but if you really want to sell this you got to be thinking about it now if you're if you're trying to get ready and do something for valentine's day and you actually wait till, like january and you're like crop valentine's day's next next month, you can't wait now is the time you got to start planning for that. You don't understand when is the most popular month for it? This is a great valentine's day gift. This is a great anniversary gift, but anniversaries, of course are spread throughout the entire year lease for valentine's day you know, it's that romantic holiday you have an opportunity to go after and do something and bring money in in this whole month ah, weddings most popular again if you're into weddings, this should be no surprise anybody june may in september and when I look at my calendar from a photography perspective, the busiest months I have almost every year and then finally, I think I alluded to this earlier the average overall budget not including the honeymoon across the entire united states for wedding is about twenty nine thousand dollars that's not really the most powerful start there. The most powerful stat is who pays today's bridegroom my client eighty percent of them pay for their own wedding or contribute to it no longer the days where the parents pay for the entire wedding it doesn't really exist anymore it's really about the parents chipping, chipping in first paying for the entire wedding well, it changes the dynamic a little doesn't it the dynamic changes in the sense that your client is now the bridegroom when the client is the parent you're shooting his different parents are looking for something more traditional something that they can connect to not necessarily with their kids can connect and you have to be conscious is that dynamic and so there is the foundation for kind of the course and all the things that are going to come after that and so way to go to you than the next segment I kind of lied in before I hand it to you canna is gonna be the client and so tomorrow we're going to dig into defining your client and that worksheet you got for pre registering that is going to give you a lead or heads up on what we're going to be talking about what we're going to drill into the fur factors that determine your client how to connect with your client had a book more clients and ultimately is not what this is all about we want to make more money without clients we can't make more money it's that simple what do you think everyone are you ready to give it up for south and kata people are fired up that's good that's what I like to do on polarizing either love me or you think it's one of the other well, we love it here so that's also why we keep coming back alright, everybody well, sal, before we close out for today just want teo address a couple things making sure everybody understands how this thirty day boot camp works as well as what they are going to get out of it is this class for you is what I want people to know so I made a list of things of what people the biggest challenges are and I'm going to throw them to you, sal, and ask you if we're going to cover it and maybe even a one word when we're not went but what the topic is so here we go okay, so everybody look so yes. Okay. Hey, attention, everyone! If if this resonates with you a lot of people having the same issues so ambien exposure photography he is looking for the best way to use social media to drive business that's our biggest problem without it out, we're actually gonna give you actual strategies. I'm telling you the part on social media that we're doing is going to blow people away literally no one's doing it it's not even regurgitated material it's not even something I was doing six months ago, so if I had to look forward to this course to buy for any reason, it would be that because that I guarantee you will change your world alright and being exposure photography adam part biggest challenge letting people know that I exist to call me in the first place there you go and that's gonna come up in that ceo that's gonna come up in the vendor relationships on all those things so yes, we're absolutely covered this people are getting it I mean this is about business ah this is about embracing social media it's about embracing the changing market to take your business that next level lately so similar barcelona sue golden photographer marketing and having a presence online so potential clients confined me we just talked about that from mike ohio based biggest challenge I don't have much experience in running my own business it's very intimidating trying to get a foothold when you're not so sure we'll talk about that yeah we're so as far as like running the actual business there's certain facets of it we're going to cover like for example working with second shooter's marketing vendor relationships we're not getting into the nuts and bolts of like accounting and things like that but we are getting into all the other aspects I think that are more important than that the accounting you can outsource to someone right give it to your bookkeeper but we are going to talk aboutthe legal landscape as a business owner that's very important don't underestimated as a sole proprietor and then we're going to talk about the you know, the social media and you know, just the marking advertising and getting over being intimidated by it because once you learn what you what you can dio, then you do it yeah, it was it was like I said earlier on the I think being in business it's like once you see passing your like looking into the matron's right once you take the pill boom, you see it, you see everything and upfront it's like it's just this hidden thing you don't understand that you're scared, you're intimidated, but truly I think if you have a culture mentor somebody leading the way, it's kind of like a flashlight for you absolutely, absolutely c p a retired competing with the four hundred dollars for hundred fifty dollars shooting burn photographers we've talked about that already today that's what you're going to learn, you are definitely gonna learn about that on if it's one thing I hope you walk away with is how to not go backwards with your pricing with your packaging it's really how to keep moving forward and keep growing. And I think as photographers or business owners, I should say everybody's in a different place everybody is either you're starting out, you're a seasoned vet on if I'm at eight years, nine years of my career and I'm reinventing myself after eight or nine years why would you not want to reinvent yourself all along the way? And I think that's probably one of the most powerful aspects of what I've learned over the last two years all right couple more big net biggest challenges emily and chelsea christine said I just moved to a new city, a new state or in the military move around a lot I literally know no one here going to overcome that, right? Yeah, well social media is gonna be the biggest friend and so yeah, I it's funny because I do get a lot of requests from people we're like in the military and their photographers we see that a lot yeah, and they're like every time I move how do I reboot my business? And I got news for you. The easiest way for you to reboot your business is understanding the ins and outs off social media without social media, the facebook, instagram and everything else it's almost like every time you move it's like trying to rebuild a building and that's really, really hard to do so you've got to have something that serves as the foundation and I think that segment, if you will, will serve as the foundation for all right fantastic one more because I think this is what we talked about a lot here at creative live lindo cafe says the number one thing I guess is me I need to get my stuff together and finally launch yes, uh, this particular course is it's. Like I said, I think my teaching style, if you will, is one people either love or they hate it. It's, not about necessarily fluff, not a fluff kind of guy it's really been about telling you what it's about how it is and where it's at and you may not like the message, may not want to hear it, but I'm here my ultimate goal. It's, always it's, always with the right heart, so I'm not trying to beat anyone down. I love everybody. I want success for everyone, and I love our industry, and so if you want to coach, if you want to mentor who's, gonna kick in the ass, that's me, if you want somebody who's going to give you fluff, er, I'm dying, I'm not your god.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Master the Business of Photography - Workbook
Master the Business of Photography Slides
5 Tips to Finding and Booking Your Client

Ratings and Reviews

Brandon D

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.


Amazing course. Sal is such a great photography educator. Terrific course. I'm not usually big on watching business courses, but this course as taught by Sal was terrific. Down to earth, entertaining, packed with real life experiences do's, don'ts and lessons learned. This courses business A to Z and Sal is very entertaining to watch/listen to. Thanks CreativeLive for getting Sal.

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I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!

Student Work