Master the Business of Photography

Lesson 22 of 41

Destination Shoots

 

Master the Business of Photography

Lesson 22 of 41

Destination Shoots

 

Lesson Info

Destination Shoots

Today, we're going to start off by digging right into destination shoots, and if you're following me at all, if you follow what we do online, you'll see that we're traveling all over the world. But yet we're shooting people in various cities around the world. Now we'll talk about different ideas on how to go after them, how it helps you build your portfolio, how it helps your brand building and look like this world class brand because you're traveling all over the place, aunt it's just genuinely exciting, generally exciting, I should say, to be in a different city. I always feel inspired when I'm in a city like new york or chicago or l a I mean, in what high school senior, what wedding doesn't wantto have some pictures from a city that's important to them, so let's get right into it from a destination shoot perspective on I hope you guys have questions, because this, no matter where I go, no matter what, I'm talking about it, there's all these questions around the business side of maki...

ng a destination shoot, work for the bottom line, who pays for it? How to travel work? Who pays for your travel? What's the session fee? Do you charge moment of mortar all great questions, you might find that the way we do it is maybe overly simplistic esso I try to keep it really, really simple when we're doing this with our clients I want to make it easy for them to travel I've seen other studios do it where it's like hey, we're goingto x y z city session fee and pictures fourteen ninety nine right some whatever that price point is fourteen hundred ninety nine dollars whatever that price point is the minute you do that my opinion you make it difficult you create a barrier to entry I want to make it easy because I know on the back side there's no way anyone's going to travel with me to another city, invest in a hotel, take off time from work, get new outfits, right travel, airfare all the things that go into it, get to that city and then go yeah, well, we'll just take two eight by tens just not gonna happen and if it does there's other mistakes you're making along the way in the system and so typically our sales are north of two thousand dollars. When we get to these destination shoot so I love and we get them and so let's let's kind of dive into it we'll talk about how to advertise them and book them we'll talk about what we charge for this session, how we sell to them because sometimes you might go to a city and that person might you might book a session from that city if I'm heading up to chicago and I'm promoting it correctly, I should be able to book people in chicago that no, we're on our way up. Well, how do I sell to them? Right, that's going that's going present some challenges? How do we make the whole thing work? Getting others to book while we're on location, what to expect from the sale? And then I'll just show you some recent images that we've taken from just various travel around the country, so let's talk about advertising to them, but first, you know, in order to talk about advertising to and we got to talk about how it all started for us, I'd love to sit here and be like, yeah, you know, I was sitting on ah, you know, on my back deck one day and it just hit me out of the blue, and I'm just brilliant, but I'm not, uh, you know, sometimes things happen and it's just dumb luck went when things happen, but a door opens and our business, and you got to be willing to step through that door, so this is a true story about how it all started I'm probably going back about five years ago, maybe four years ago. We were probably fine. We were sitting there, we had a photo, a senior shoot scheduled in st louis and I got called up to new york for a photo shoot, and so we called the high school senior and taylor was apologizing to second. So sorry, we have to reschedule your daughter shoot. We're heading up to new york. Sounds got some business up there on. We'll get it scheduled from when we get back. And without skipping a beat, the mom said, well, can we go with you and it's? Just the light bulb went off, we had no, we had no idea what to charge. We had no idea what to do anything, but it was like, yeah, why wouldn't we let you come with us? That is a brilliant idea, and if you take it from the positioning of the senior she's looking like a rock star now, so now we're up in new york city, she's walking through the streets, taxi cabs were taken, pictures her mom's there, her grandmother's there. It was like this girl's weekend trip up to new york, so they're bonding and we're just walking through the city, taking pictures, they're posting it to facebook her friends are like, oh, my god, she's up in new york with sal like now there's just just momentum of like we're not just a senior for tyrus do you're right? She's like a model she's like a super star in her own little right ecosystem and that's really, really cool and that's how it was born and so when that light bulb went off for us, we just embraced it then suddenly, anytime we started advertising that we were, you know, doing senior portrait or family portrait or posting our schedule, we always post now we say, you know, shoot in new york city june fifteen shoot in chicago, you know, july ninth, whatever the dates are and now we're letting everybody know in our seniors, families, babies, even engagement couples here's where we're going to be during those chutes and so now we're not promoting it last minute, right? Thirty days out, we're promoting it months out and it just gets momentum going against people asking questions they will start seeing whats this new york city thing about and so you want that mo mentum around something like this, but man, sometimes things they're gonna open up for you embrace him, just step through it, you'll figure out the rest you'll never have all the answers that's the biggest thing I see with all business owners, they want to know what about this? What about this? What about this I don't know there's a lot of things we do is a business I don't know the answer to I look at it and I go is there an opportunity there? Yes okay let's go let's go with it that's all that's all you need to know is there an opportunity jump on it the promotion is really casual we talked about this you know we're not running targeted facebook campaigns per se right? That's not that's not our goal it's not our it's just not our style I also don't want to start doing twenty photo shoots up in new york a year or twenty photo shoots in chicago a year that's not my ultimate goal so instead the promotion is a soft promotion about it where we might post something on facebook hey, heading to chicago anybody interested in pictures but really it's happening during the initial consultation so as we jump in the weddings doc conversation is happening during the initial consultation were sitting there having a convo about their engagement pictures where you guys from you guys travel it all right that's the softball question I throw up you guys travel it all because sometimes I actually somebody tell me yeah, I go I goto iowa all the time wow no, I'm not going to iowa for pictures that's not where I want to go that's not on my list so I don't say hey let's do your pictures in another city what's your favorite city let's go there and then somebody throws up iowa ride orlando nothing wrong with these places right more power to you but it's just not where I want to go for pictures so instead I asked you guys travel where do you go what's your thing what do you do for work right and just start digging for these these uh these answers and so in the spirit of that right it gets people excited when you start having that dialogue about their favorite cities you'll see their eyes light up but we got engaged in chicago great don't do your engagement pictures in chicago we got engaged in you know in l a or we met in college in boston I booked a wedding one time guy walked up to our booth general conversation again I'm like so we're you guys from we but we know we're from st louis but we met in boston you met in boston where what were you doing while we're both going to grad school in boston right he was an attorney now she was a finance professional and they're like you know we met in grad school mike I don't know if you book our package is literally what I said at a bridal show I said if you lock in with me today I'll go up to boston no extra charge they just stopped he's like no extra charge you'll do it he's an attorney, right? So his mind's working he's like looking for the paperwork, the asterix and the claws, right? I'm like, yeah, I'm like no lion and I said we go up to new york all the time. I said, I'll just make sure on one of my trips to new york, we swing through boston will do your your pictures up, they're booked right on the spot he loved it loved the idea was blown away that we would be willing to do something of that because, of course, every other photographer in the bridal show hadn't even mentioned it, let alone be willing to do it. And so these are the ways you've got to start thinking when you're dealing with your with your clients, seniors, engagements, bridles, right? Obviously we're not going to a st louis wedding and get them up to, uh, to get them up to another city but a bridal session it's awesome waited to do another city for ah bridal session brides will pack up their dress and head to another city just about two years ago or three years ago at a bride who wanted to go to vegas you want to go out to the desert, rent a car, go to the sign graveyard, just do something really, really cool we did it packed up her dress mentor in vegas on dinner pictures out there so there's all sorts of things you can do to build your portfolio that's the really, really cool part now, if you really want to generate some buzz, you'll you'll promote this stuff online, so promoting it online is really cool. Weaken dio facebook weaken dio, you know, weaken tweet about it, we can do all sorts of things to let everyone know that we're going to be out there so that that's the other thing you can build momentum, we'll talk about how to make the numbers work in a second, but there's absolutely no reason you can't build momentum now for us. We might leak something on facebook or twitter or something like that, but for the most part, we're having one on one private conversations with people because you don't do so many shoots in the city typical shooting the city's gonna be much longer, then a shoot in st louis let's say so I'm doing an engagement session in new york city, there's no way it's going to be an hour or now and a half right, you're gonna get stuck in traffic, you're going, you're going to go all over on, we'll talk about where you should be going here in a second and so let's, talk about cost, right? That's that's usually the big question that comes up. How much? How much is this gonna cost? How how do we do this? You know, am I gonna make money? Am I going to lose money? And so we don't charge anything extra. Not a dime. We charge your session. So this engagement session I just made up in new york city, they paid zero because their engagement session is built into their wedding package, so they paid zero extra for me to be up in new york city for him, the numbers work, we'll talk about how to make that make them work dealing with travel. You are absorbing travel, so travels on you, you're not charging, you're not charging them for travel, you're not charging them for hotel, you're not charging them for meals, you have to absorb the travel now. In the spirit of all that I mean let's, think about it almost anywhere in the country. If you're going on southwest on one of those airlines, you can typically get there for, like two hundred fifty bahts or let's. Call it three hundred bucks or lives let's say you're going up there for one day call it, too. Right. You go to priceline and getting one of those sites you can find a hotel might not be a great hotel, but you can find a hotel for sixty nine dollars a night. Ninety nine dollars a night. So call it two hundred dollars there now for roughly five or six hundred dollars you're in that city. Okay? That's gonna be your cost all all in should be ok all in about five, six hundred bucks. This wasted cut corners and all that stuff, but just call it five, six hundred bucks in your head. No minimum orders but there's, we don't force him to place any order. You understand what I'm doing? I'm making it easy for them to do this don't make it hard for them to do it the hard you make it, you create that barrier to entry no one's going to go out there with you no one's gonna want to do it on dh it defeats the entire purpose, so no minimum orders I just wanted like a normal session get to that city. We're gonna make it easy for you where I'm going to make it hard for you is I'm gonna produce great images that's my ultimate goal I want produce images that you're going to look at and go I've never seen anything like that before yep bingo that means I've done my job that means you can't walk out of my studio and buy one picture it's gonna be impossible they already can't do that right when they're shooting in my local city they're so excited about their pictures they can't do it so if I could get them to another city I know I'm going to get them to spend more and more money all right so let's talk about you know, making the numbers work we already established that it's going to be about five or six hundred dollars on your end to get up to that city okay, so five, six hundred bucks plus or minus to get to that city what kind of sale would you need to have if you get one session out there? Okay, you get one session going at a minimum you should get five or six hundred dollars out of that cell at a minimum if you just brought somebody to another city and you can't get a five hundred dollar sale we got other problems in the process and so you're going to get that one session that's going to go up there and you're gonna get five or six hundred dollars but you're going hey wait sal I'm running a business that puts me a break even zero profit if I if I do that now I will make the argument you should be getting more money coming in then that five or six hundred dollars, but if that's, all you're getting is that five, six hundred europe break even and that's fine. Now can you bring any other sessions up there with you that's the key? So if you could get two to three sessions were at whenever you're in another city now, the rest of that is all is all clean profit. And how do you get those other sessions? While we can advertise it on facebook, we can do all sorts of things we can promote to our client list. If it's high school seniors we can promote to the seniors, we can let the seniors know that we're heading up there, we can let families know that we're heading up there. We can do some targeted, you know, direct now. Well, that's expensive, we newsome targeted facebook ads in that city to let them know, but I don't think that's gonna yield the results. You want that connection that you're going to be in that city in your circle, it's really about your circle, letting them know you're coming to that to that city that's how you're gonna make it work, but at a minimum, even if your break even your successful why you're producing marketing material, you are now showing pictures in your portfolio that are in another city. Now, if you remember in previous segment we talked about building your portfolio right? All those exercises where we talked about building your portfolio, we're going to cost you money even if it's just sweat equity you got to get to that city you gotta you gotta feed yourself in that city you gotta have a place to stay in that city now I'm showing you a way where you're you're going up to that city and your break even which is success because now you come back and you have those pictures it's making sense questions about any of this yeah, rob so when you're initially trying to do this right, I know your situation's a bit different because you can travel with your team but like to make on costs like you're talking about airfare and hotel you're going solo, right? No assistant? Yeah that's right? Either find somebody locally that can help you or just go with him now. For me it was easy, so it's a good question for me it was easy because taylor was traveling on on southwest on a companion passed, so because we traveled so much, taylor has a free on southwest she flies free wherever I go so that part became easy to wipe that cost, but yeah, if you're if you're doing that, you've got to go out there by yourself now all of you are in different parts of the country, so if you're you know, think about it from this perspective, you can start easy. Just go within a driving radius, right? That's all you have to do let's rewind to a real world example again, my second foray into this travel was the biggest mistake probably of my career ever. We decided, hey, this is a great idea. We did new york it's awesome let's do a bunch of many sessions in chicago advertising here. Locally, we'll get a van will drive up to chicago will bring all the kids with us. It'll be awesome. Yeah, I wasn't awesome. It was miserable for everyone. So here's, what he did, we promoted on facebook. We said, we got eight spots, we're going to chicago. We're taking a bus get your pictures done in chicago. Normal session fee, right? So it was like at the time, it was one ninety nine or two fifty session fee, so they had to pay that session fee. There's never discount on those session fees when they're tied to destinations. So we ran this now maybe you can tweak it and make this work for you for me, I'll tell you where the nightmare was, we do this. I'll never get we get the van it's supposed to be wheels up at, like, six. Thirty a m well, of course I'm dealing with eight women, so we did not leave at six. Thirty a. M right? We didn't get on the road to about seven. Thirty, right? You might be thinking what's the big deal of an hour, you'll start seeing how the math plays out here in a second, it's four, four and a half hours into chicago from st louis. So now we're not getting there till midday. Okay, we get there. And there's a protest going on downtown chicago. I don't even remember what the protest was for, but we were three blocks from the hotel could see the hotel sat there for another hour. Could not pull up right. So what do you do? Because we've got all the girls, clothes and everything in the back. Every girl is part of this little excursion we're going on was getting makeup. Oh, yeah, makeup. So now I've got three makeup artist singing in a hotel room that are not applying any makeup right to get these girls to the system. So just call it forty five minutes to an hour per girl for makeup. Right, so now I'm looking at even if we start shooting them as they're coming out of the chair, I still got a couple more hours in the makeup chair. It was about two thirty three o'clock before I could make the first frame two thirty three o'clock I'm heading back same day by the way, same day we're heading back and so now we start now we start trying to shoot, we're having parking problems everywhere we go because we got a van it's, downtown chicago. I don't know why I was so dumb about the whole thing I'm from new york, so how did I not realize that we're going parking issues? So we had nobody that could just sit with the car? It was after nine eleven, so everywhere we went where we showed up with our cameras, right what's my style of photography, my style of tar v is very much architecturally based. I love being in like old old run down buildings when you want to go to an old run down building it's great when you just go with you in one person, it becomes problematic when you're showing up with you eight girls to assistance a makeup artist and their parents who decided they were coming on the trip too, so you should have seen this on the, uh, on the highway because they couldn't come in the van. We don't have enough room in the van so all the parents that wanted to go there was a caravan of just parents driving in the car behind us on our way up to chicago. So there's like six cars just heading it's like, you know, presidential, you know, brocade going just going through so we get teo the sun setting we're losing locations I'm trying to spend like ten minutes per girl think about eight girls spending ten minutes per girl per location it's eighty minutes so just call it an hour and a half. I don't know what it was going on in my brain when I had put this idea together. It's really sounded good on paper. Um, so we go through, we get to our last place the sun is setting aunt it's this old run down like kind of, you know, railroad tracks in the on the outskirts of, like south chicago, right? It's really cool place I rent in a camaro for the girls. And so at the time it was when that was so this will tell you what year was it was when the brand new camaros came out, it was like kind of cool, we had that in the photo shoot, we rent it, we pull it up, it's sitting there for for the shoot, just another car to add to the caravan of cars we put it there, I get the first girl in front of it boom cops well, iet's, just like just pull up on the scene were like, what are you doing? Like, you know, we're taking pictures you can't be here. What do you mean, it's like he's like it's goes nine eleven you cannot be here with that camera taking pictures I'm like, dude, I'm talking there's a cop and then there's feet the female officer, right? Right next time. So a guy and a girl and she was just not how she didn't care about anything. She didn't she was just annoyed by young girls, period, right? I mean, she was just absolutely annoyed he was like, I'm like, hey, man, I'm up here from st louis, I said, we have been on the road all day. I said, this is a high school seniors like we're not terrorists, we're like their moms or their like, come on, dude, he's like she's like you need to go now. I'm putting you in handcuffs like she is just on me. I'm like and he finally he's like he realizes his partner's being a little aggressive and he knows how much time you need like thirty minutes. Just give me thirty minutes because here's the deal he was takes me twenty minutes to drive back to my location. He goes, if I get back to my location, grab a cup of coffee, go sit down and look at the monitors and you're still here. I'm putting you in cuffs. I'm like deal so they leave and boom it's a shoot like we're just go, go, go, po, smile. Be happy, damn it, right? And you're getting all these pictures on. We get the pictures and we do it now with the drive home that night. Okay, so we bottom line is I don't roll up to my house till five. Thirty a. M I have been going at it. Almost twenty four straight hours. Sales monstrous. Absolutely brilliant. From a sales perspective, we had eight girls come in. You can do the math, man. Each girl spent well over a thousand dollars very successful, financially, physically, emotionally prime, one of the most draining twenty four hour periods of my life. So the idea has some, uh, traction. You just got to figure out how to execute it without making the mistakes that I made on it, right, so it's a really good idea, so to that point, rob the long answer. To your question is there are ways to make it work out if you get more than one write to me, the one is the bare bones you've got to figure out a way to break even. I don't want you losing money if you do just one, but it becomes really easy if you start getting two, three, four, five going now, I've never since that day never done a group session like that again. It was way too painful and then we got feedback from the kids on their parents in the feedback was really, really interesting, not the feedback I had expected I was expecting like you were speeding, you put my daughter's life in danger, that kind of feedback feedback instead was we had hoped to have more one on one time with south. That was the feedback that gave us right because I only had like ten or fifteen minutes with each kid in each location, and the parents really came to the studio. This shows you how my brand was already established in the community, they were coming to us because I was so hands on with each of the kids where they felt like it was a personal experience and they felt like this experience was less personal, so take that for what it's worth when. That when the client travels and their hotel they're covering their own costs for that but you that is correct we great question we are not paying for their hotel, their airfare, their travel nothing that's what makes this work? And we tell them that, right? So because there's other companies that do stuff like this and then they're handling some level of travel like hey, you should be on this flight you should stay here. I don't tell my clients where to stay. I don't tell him what to eat, I don't tell him anything. What I say to them is simply because I don't want to turn it into a mini vacation with me and the client that's not what I'm looking to do be careful of that because we go to another city it could turn into like it's this mini vacation we're all together let's get dinner, I got too much stuff to do, so instead what I'm what I'm looking to have happened is, uh just get there and that's how I pitch it to the client hey, we're going to be in new york city is what I did for my recent trip to new york city we're gonna be in new york city on these dates, okay? We've got a couple of times lots get up to new york city anyway, you can and we'll schedule you shoot around that. Now you've got clients, we're going, I've got a cousin in new jersey, we'll stay there with them, and we'll just take the train and meet you say, perfect that's awesome, or I've got plans to go, what part of the city should we stay in and then becomes a little bit more personal, like? Well, have you ever been in new york before? No, it's, our first time? Great stay in midtown, stay around, you know, some of the touristy areas, but you want to go to times square and start trying to help them plan their, you know, their experience. My couple, who just came to new york, I told him where to go with dinner. I hear there's, a restaurant here, that I've been, too you'll love it. A restaurant here, you've been to, how long you in town? So I try to make it more personal verse, just like, you know, deuces will see there, I just don't want to get sucked into their vacation, but good question, anything else? I feel like we can start expanding on this for seniors, this is a gold mine, absolute goldmine for seniors and think about it from your perspective, anywhere you are in the country, there's, a city that you can drive to she don't have to jump on a plane you can just drive to that city so if you want to test the waters that's a great way to test the waters aah sales for something like this average sale is gonna be about two thousand plus but in order to get that sail in two thousand plus I'm gonna keep banging you over the head with this becomes that ecosystem you have to have your pricing set up right? But hey, how about this? We had a segment on shooting and burning right? Can you shoot and burn and do something like this now not in staying business you're going to go broke he's the price of that cd that you're trying to sell it for I will not cover the cost of anything that's why you have to have a sales process in order to make this work uh so that's yet another reason why I stay away from that business model I want to do stuff like this and create stuff great stuff for my clients ultimately the sales process is the same because if it's from st louis and they're traveling with us from another city, that means we all live in st louis or write that area so it's easy for them to come back into our studio and then come right back into the sales process now something I don't have listed here but we should be what we should be doing is we should be instagramming it we should be, you know, social media, facebook things like that get everybody excited back home, make your senior or your couple turn them into many celebrities have fun with it, okay, yeah, you're big on for engagement sessions, not letting the couple pick locations. Now, if you're doing a destination, obviously they have some tied to that area. Are you looking more liberal than that? Is that is a really, really good question, and the answer is yes, I'm extremely liberal when it comes to that, uh, where I might put my foot down is when they're like, okay, we want to do the brooklyn bridge, you know, I'm just going to new york, we want to do the brooklyn bridge uh, our family had some property in queens on then we'd love to hit central park, ok, well, no that's not happening, right? Because we'll spend our entire day driving, but I drive the discussion, maybe that's a better way to answer it, I'll drive the discussion and say to them, okay, have you ever been in new york? Well, yeah, we got boston was a good one, yeah, we're you know, we went to boston university that's where we met, okay? Guess what a majority the shoot is in that boston university area that makes sense, but in a new york city, my new york city couple, they're like, I've only been here one time on business, I have no idea about anything in the city I go great, why don't we try and do? And my bride is a control freak she was the first to tell me because I'm twitching right now I know why she was because this is when I met her in the lobby getting ready to go to shoot because I have no idea where we're going I go okay, well, you hired me. You're gonna let me do my thing because I trust you implicitly, right? So it's it's going to run the gamut on what what you do, but ultimately you want to know what's important to them, right? If they're like, we love the empire state building, okay, let's, try and do something around around there so, yeah, short answer much more liberal longer answer is it depends so back to the sales process if they're from st louis, we're gonna bring him back in if they're from out of town, which can happen, right, they can be from out of town, because now that we this is starting to happen to us more, more right where photographers are actually coming to me for their pictures, so it's kind of interesting, I do enjoy it it's nerve wracking, photographing another photographer and then there's always that pressure where was so critical, but now when I'm like, hey, I'm gonna be in new york. They're like, oh, can you do a headshot? I need a new headshot for my website. Could you do ah, pictures of me and my fiance or I mean, my husband would love for you to photograph us. So now when I announce that I'm going to a city, I'm getting more more request from the city. So how am I selling to that way? Have to use skype and we shoot proof, right? That becomes really, really important to be able to use those tools. So you've gotta learn to embrace skype for the sales process don't just go ok, you're out of town, I'm gonna post them online. If they're out of town and you post them online, your sales will be left. I mean, a quarter of what they will be face to face. I promise you, they're really, really bad when you just post them online. Um so what I want to do is I'm gonna actually show you guys shoot proof here for a second ah and show you the back and and so it's a little feature of shoe proof that I think has really really need er and so what it allows you to do it's just a little feature is on the back end of shoot proof what you're seeing is these air all our galleries that have been posted all right and what I love about this is when you go you can actually see who's logged in to look at the pictures but then they can mark favorites this is one of most powerful features I'm sure the people that you prefer like no no we thought we got many more powerful features but for me this is powerful and I'll tell you why on so let's see here looking for so we did the t j oshie shoot okay uh listen what am I going to gallery visitor sorry we did the t j oshie shoot right? So that's that hockey player so there's not gonna be a lot of people looked at the shoot there shouldn't be right it should just be the publisher of me going back and forth but what I love about this is as you go into the gallery you can actually see who's logged in when they log in what they looked at but more importantly over here they're favorites so they can tag their favorite pictures and now this was how I was working with my publisher and so when I was working with the publisher of the magazine she's like how do I get tell you what pictures I want? Have you ever had to deal with out with clients where you're going back and forth back and forth and then shit's getting lost in the mail and there's this one misunderstanding even if it's just one picture now this is the way we deal with clients they can flag and mark their favorites they can flag it, mark their favorites um and going here and let me know which ones are their favorites everybody took a drink that's awesome because I said a bad word yeah everybody at home you gotta let everybody at home in on this little thing so just so fluid it comes out so naturally I'm sure the people in the back are loving it so this this allows me to keep track of all this for my client's right and that that's really, really important it's a really nice way to keep track of it and it works in reverse I can actually mark favorites and for my client so I could say my signature edits are here so guys here's the top three pictures I think you'll love check him out there in your favorites from folder so this is a really, really cool piece so we can go back to the slide back but this is the kind of stuff I want to do just to make things easier for me and my clients it's those little things that make a big difference on this wood those were some of the challenges with other hosting solutions personally I had so just keep that among uh tracking favorite so let's talk about the ultimate goals when we go on a destination should remember I've been saying it day after day after day we cannot we cannot just go on a shoot haphazardly we have to have a purpose why are we going on to shoot what are we looking to accomplish? What are we looking to do? You've got to go out there with purpose and so if you're going to go all the way up to new york city chicago l a wherever the hell you're going you've gotta have purpose in the actual shoot and that's the part to think about so for us it's a city right? We're going to a big city don't go toe dont goto a park with trees in the city all right? Even if it's central park don't just walk in the park like oh here's some trees let's take pictures with trees I could do that back home I don't need to do that in new york city so we want to showcase these iconic landmarks where we can in the city's right if you're in new york city showcase the empire state building ah showcase freedom tower showcase you know the water I mean the statue of liberty like come up with things that make that trip memorable the last thing you want to do this is if you want to have big sales the last thing you want to do is go to new york city and then go hey look we're in a park their streets that doesn't make any sense that's not going to really sell it might be a beautiful picture I'm not saying don't take pictures in the park I'm just saying think about it with actual purpose is that making sense you know it so we um if we go back to this when we're in another city let's say it's a city we don't know right so for example from here I head off to hong kong well you know I'm gonna be shooting in hong kong wherever I go I'm gonna make sure I get a shoot scheduled for me a minimum for me so wherever you are right and you guys were already talking here you're here in seattle we have an off day you guys are putting a shoot together for the ten of you right the uh the shutter fest love for everybody but ashley because now you're a member of shutter fatso now we can include you in the shutter fast family yeah twenty fifteen your shutter fast alone my love it um and so funny story is they tried to make you sit at your own table for dinner last night just banish you teo I like it I like it shatter festus top man it's a tough group tough love um but no you guys are doing smart things you're gonna get together you're here in a city it's a different city build your portfolio right or you can go sit in your hotel room and eat chips and watched tv but we gotta hustle we gotta have that hustler mentality and so we're going to get out there you guys are going to shoot you're gonna get a model together reach out did you guys come up with a model yet no you'll come up with one okay reach out to the folks here in seattle I'm sure you'll be able to come up with a model and today though now you're going to go and build your portfolio you're shooting for you so here we are in seattle what's the most cliche spot or icon off seattle space needle right now if you live in or from seattle you probably hate the space needle much like if you're from st louis I hate the st louis arch I despise it with a passion and when my clients are like you know we'd love the arch it's so beautiful and I'm like oh man, I can't take it no more I don't want to do the arch but what I love is when you guys come in from out of town in st louis that's, one of the first places you go right because it's it's different to you. So you got to use that mindset when you're here. If you're if you're honest, you declined here showcases space needle. Now you get home, do it in a cool way. Of course, right? Don't be cliche about it. Uh, now when you get home and you add to your portfolio, your clients are going through going, wow, this person shoots in seattle person shoots in new york, this person shoots in st louis this person's all over? Yes. So on my marketing material, it says new york it's a st louis, new york, chicago world wide and that's what we're trying to do, we're trying to present our brand is a higher and brand that's the way you start doing things, so I'm really proud of you guys. We're talking about making it work for you remember what I said earlier on, at worst your break even, right? If you can get any kind of sail, any kind of traction, you should at least be break even. Cover your expenses for this on daz, you grow. You'll start learning okay when I go on a destination shoot I'm making x amount of dollars five hundred thousand fifteen hundred whatever that number becomes for you as you grow you'll know what that number is now you can make a decision on what you're willing to invest back into that chute that's totally up to you and that's fine and so um at a minimum it's a portfolio builder now you're adding to your portfolio new work you're inspired because you're someplace new uh we can advertise to existing clients hey, I'm heading to chicago I'm heading to new york, I'm heading to south jersey whatever the cases I'm heading here would love to do your family portrait right advertise give people enough time to process where you going don't just let people go hey, I'm going next week which is fine too you can do that but if you really want to get traction you should start promoting this like three months out. All right people operate in that three month window I do not operate I don't think many of us do any more a year out it's very difficult for me to process what's happening a year from now in fact it's very difficult mean process what's happening tomorrow I'm kind of like real time everything I'm working on and so for you guys think about your client's nobody's going to be thinking six months out might be nice. Drip it to him, put that seed in their head, but ultimately, there's no way they're thinking six months out, so get three months out, start promoting where you're going. Start off, do a four hour radius now you're driving, you don't have to worry about airfare, rob, you don't have to worry about paying for your assistant to fly there just in a car with you. Okay, now I'm not again. I'm just being real with you when we when we travel for for a long, long time when we travel it's me, taylor, elissa, lauren, all crammed in one room, not everybody's getting their own room. I don't have this like fifteen, you know, one hundred dollars, footprint at a hotel, guys, when I'm in the city were out ninety percent of the time, the only time we're in the room is to sleep and shower. So from that perspective, get cozy with your team share rooms pulling a rollaway bed, there's no reason we have to incur this massive amount of cost just to sleep if you got team members that are that are prima donnas and just can't deal with that. Oh no, I have to have my own room. Okay get him off your team again and today we are crammed into a room we don't care man we just want to do what we gotta do do our job and I'd rather take that money and go out to a nice dinner with my team that's kind of our mindset and even the team so I've never had any of our team members complain that we're all crammed into a room it's food for thought at a minimum if you're up in that city and you have one client get a second client get a model do time for proofs right maximize your time in that city much like you guys were doing here in seattle maximize it there's no reason why you're not continuously shooting more and more and more right just get their work work work you've got to be a hustler it only takes one we've covered that to be break even but pick four locations where do you want to go where do you want to expand your port folio into do you want to expand your portfolio you know like some of the other people I've worked with they want to go from florida they want to start moving into new york great start advertising that start working with it are you in a small market so for everybody who's back home and you're going you'd understand tell him in a small town I can't charge a lot of money great so start pushing into other markets if you can get in your car and drive there, I'd be pushing into that market. I don't just photograph weddings and seniors in st louis we do weddings and seniors in texas we do weddings and seniors in chicago we do weddings and seniors in new york. Eso I'm willing if I can get on it on it plain or more importantly, just a car and drive it's easy st louis four hours you could be in chicago, right? Roughly four hours you could be in chicago. You could be in nashville. You khun b how far I don't even know how far it is to atlanta there's. A lot of different cities. I can be in in a four hour drive in that in that radius. So you gotta ask yourself, where is that where's? That dr where's that radius and then, of course, just the overall perception off your brand. What is the perception of your brand? When people start seeing pictures? Excuse me from all over the all over the united states immediately your brand recognition, your brand value starts rising and your work looks different and that's the key when I go into a bridal show, I want my work to look different, so think about it real talk I'm a st louis wedding photographer and there's thirty wedding for tarver's at the bridal show so I do a bridal show in january there is literally thirty for tigers I'm not exaggerating it at that bridal show if I go to every photographer's booth what's the one shot you think I see the st louis arch right that's the shot I see everywhere I go and so instead of looking at the st louis arch now I'm showcasing paris I'm showcasing brazil I'm showcasing new york city it's going to stop my bride's dead in their tracks and they're going to go are you are you from here? Is this how do I do that? I'll never forget a few years ago at a picture that was taken in paris and was sitting in the front of my booth it was really good picture it went loan collection for the people, eh? It was sitting out in the front of our booth and I would have person after person stop look at the picture and go you photoshopped that right like I'm sorry what? And they're like, you photoshopped them in like so you could do that for us? I'm thinking myself get away from my booth before I murder you right there like yuka photo shops and I'm like no it's no photo shop we were there, we were there in paris and took their picture they were like what they couldn't wrap their heads around that we were we were traveling and going all over the world now in the years that have passed of course that perception about our brand has changed but it's gonna be really interesting for your brands questions about this yeah ashleigh question so I definitely understand when you have travel our client's traveling into that city that their investment is going to be higher what about if they're from the city or traveling to like I travel to and from denver so I could pick up clients in denver but are they gonna have as strong an investment if they're not traveling anywhere there from there they won't so that's a really good question so if like so in your scenario you're talking about like a I'm heading up to denver I'm doing local clients here in denver you're not it's not a destination for you it's where you live will the sales be as high as this no it won't it doesn't matter that's not necessarily the goal you will have sales tied to it you will have money so now you're offsetting your costs and you're still making more money and you're expanding your market that would be the way I would be attacking this right because if I can do my mind said what texas is a perfect example now since I've gotten too busy but for me in st louis we do seniors in the may june july august timeframe well, you know what you're not doing in texas in august is taking senior pictures right? That the heat is miserable, so what we do is we started growing our business there we've since pulled back on it because I just I'm too busy, but we started expanding down in texas and doing senior pictures in the january february time frame, which is slow for me in the midwest. You can kind of do that same kind of thing there where it's not necessarily meant as a sales boom in that you're gonna have double the sales average it's just meant to keep your studio busy and what's your connection to denver. So are you right now? Like I do? I do go up every summer to visit family and I booked jobs when I'm there and it just pays for my trip, so I mean, I'm already doing and on a smaller scale yeah blowed out those start running joint promotions like promote in denver try and run like a mini business up there for the off season because that's, what goes on for me and taylor in texas? Our families from houston and so for us we just want to go down there hanging out with the family and if I can shoot for one or two days while I'm down there for a week I'm happy it's paying for me it's paying for meals on of course we're going to make a profit so I would be running that is kind of a parallel market for you in your offseasons right that we were running so yeah yeah because I'm spending summer there and it's hot and it's exactly exactly smiley in texas what you did my daughter was a senior this past year and I took her boyfriend, another friend they want to go to disney world well, I hopped all over up kat with these kids italy, france I'm not going to italy anytime soon, but their pictures they're sitting there e mean chris accord with that what was that's like? So we went all over the gondola at epcot. Oh yeah, I mean italy, we were there. I mean, those pictures are they look like we were I like the way you're talking because you're like, well, I had somebody contact me their daughter's a freshman I want to do that when my daughter is a senior before they know it was that yeah, I told him we were in epcot and their liking their disney fanatic. I'm serious about that though that's actually a brilliant idea I love it, but it's the same kind of thing I'm saying is put to get this is what I'm creating buzz now bingo and then st louis is a you know a ninety minute drive for us so I take girls out there but nashville was my one this summer I had a girl book a five hundred dollars session to go national for the day but put I would say if I had to do that she's the one I was talking about that chicago trip I took eight girls to chicago find to do that all over again I probably limited to three or four girls right that's much more manageable on maybe it's an overnight trip on that would be something I would do so I love what you're talking about five girls we're going we're coming to st louis isn't an overnight trip now today over the warehouse district you know just for the day okay when you're done with that trip I want you to talk to me and let me know if you were like salad you're right it was chaos yeah maybe yeah like that's cool on that I want to know how that gets but the whole up cut thing if you can't go to italy that's going to epcot new advertising campaign into italy in that car there we go yeah yeah yeah the eiffel tower in vegas I was paris yeah that's funny and so what I wanna do is before we wrap up this section is just kind of show you some pictures that we've taken on some destination shoots just to give you kind of ah you know a feel for what we've done so I just went on our facebook site and just grabbed a few of these rights so this was that being I think we're in dallas here right new york city this is very much my style right? So very edgy off camera light here texture I love texture on pictures on then we've got you know, empire state building in the background so these are the kind of things we want to dio to just keep things moving this was a engagement shoot we did in new orleans so we went down to new orleans for that writes got that look and feel signature added this is ah client we did photography video for on dh then they came in after their wedding bought multiple albums from their wedding so we did a volume approach foreign volume one volume two we'll talk more that we get two albums but right we went down there we have no pictures like this these on trees that are right you know, in st louis wouldn't have trade trees like this, right? So that was a cool part for us. We got a bunch of pictures for him, right what's that there's that donut shop in uh in uh new orleans what is the name of it you remember? You know that what is it don't remember we were all going to go crazy, but we took him to the billiard shop. They sat there, we did stuff that was like photo journalistic where we just had a meeting and laughing and having a good time, like in a coffee shop, that kind of stop. So when we went down there with them, it was it was truly like a four hour photo shoot, and we had an absolute blast, right? This was from new york city. Okay, this isn't photoshopped in we didn't photoshopped the bridge in I was laying on the floor were firing off camera flash on them on, then you're seeing you know, the brooklyn bridge in the background, write graffiti everywhere in a city like new york city. So this was one of our girls and then grand central station. This was one of my favorite pictures. We just kind of did like american gothic inspired went to grand central station got yelled at for ah, a little bit while we're while we were there, but hey, it's, good times, you know, grand central station or more public, more more public places you can photograph in, but you can't put a tripod or light stand down, and so this was ah hand held at about a tenth of a second in order to get all that motion through there and so originally I tried to put my tripod down to take take that shot I obviously wanted it to be stable on so we did it at I got yelled out immediately cop came up to me he's like you can't you can't do that right I'm going to arrest you if you don't pick up that tripod right now so we just did it hand held and then they didn't bother us it's actually interesting so you could photograph in all these places as long as you're not putting down ah tripod of any sort this was in d c and so we went teo went to dc the was it the national mall right which if you're from d c and you know every time I talk to tigers from dc there like you'd understand man we get chased off everywhere and so we have shots from the lincoln memorial shots from the mall just doing stuff like this this is a shot my client they bought twenty by thirty you know they weren't really big with it why because of course I shot it with a sixteen thirty five they're super small they can't go with this in a five by seven it's that there's no point okay it's gonna look like the picture that came in the frame and so they've got a new things where we shoot for you know for the south so any other questions about this stuff? Destination shoots no reason we can't embrace or even give it a try. That's what I would encourage all of you to do experiment, get out there and try and put your own formula together find a city that's three, four hours away from you put together a trip promoted if it's for seniors try and put something together where you take three or four seniors with you. I think anything more than that you're gonna have ah, nightmare, just managing all this, michael three months out is this facebook advertisement that you're doing or what are you doing to get the word out? Yeah, I would not. So really good question me personally, I'm not looking promote this to people who don't know the brand. I really want to promote this to my my, my personal network, right? So people who are following us on facebook, I want to do that, I don't want to just do general facebook advertising where we're pushing it out to anybody, who's sixteen to twenty years old, I want to push it out to my personal network. Uh hey, we're heading up to new york city, I want to get your pictures taken or know someone who does. Something to that effect, right, and maybe put a graphic together, so don't don't use, put tacks, put a graphic together that gets people excited about about going up there, right? So if I would, you know, go back to this, and I were going to go, hey, you know, I'd put a campaign together that maybe hot and this image, and I say, hey, we're heading in new york city want your pictures taken or know someone who does. We've got three slots open. That would be the way out. I would go about something like this, right, and promote it with my internal network. First, that's, that's something. We're going to get traction because people know you and it's much easier to do it that way.

Class Description


Business skills are non-negotiable – you must have them to succeed. Develop yours in Master the Business of Photography. In this 30-day bootcamp Sal Cincotta will teach the business-first approach to photography you need to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

The viability of your photography business hinges on your plan. In Master the Business of Photography, you’ll get actionable business insights and guidance from Sal, an award-winning photographer, author, and owner of the million-dollar photography brand, Salvatore Cincotta Photography.

Sal will coach you, start to finish, through the process of developing a winning sales, marketing, and business plan and how to implement it. You’ll define your ideal client, learn how to get your price list right, and develop effective responses to sales objections. You’ll examine emerging trends in engagement and wedding photography and learn how to integrate them into your business. Sal will help you re-imagine and energize every aspect of your photography business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Build a portfolio tailored to your ideal target client
  • Use social media to grow your business and expand your influence
  • Proactively instigate vendor relationships
  • Use marketing to book more sessions
  • Apply the new rules of SEO

You are not entitled to make money – you have to earn it. In this class you’ll develop an action plan for growing your business – no matter how long you’ve been in the business – with 30, 60, 90-day, and 1-year plans for keeping your growth on track.

Photographers work in a competitive industry and everyone can benefit from learning fresh, new marketing, pricing, and sales techniques. Commit to the success of your business and join Sal for Master the Business of Photography.


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.

fbuser 0af5cf47
 

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!