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General Q&A

Lesson 41 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

41. General Q&A


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

General Q&A

Let's do some rapid fire q and a we promised the folks q and a let's do it and you guys try men here as well. Well okay, so this one we've got a lot of votes on south ah lot of people wanting to know about packaging and pricing for other types of photography besides weddings. They have watched all the thirty days there thinking that the specifics were in pricing for and but are looking for portrait sessions and newborns hard to know how to implement your pricing model that we talked about here into those so how do we implement into those other areas is gonna be when he comes surprising it is going to be rapid fire, so try and pay attention some things it doesn't matter with. By the way, if you were to look at our studio families baby's wedding seniors all have the same pricing structure so here's the key lenny talked about this on his video as well. He was failing because he was putting digital images in the base package. No more digital images in the base package that's known as a pol...

e through item meaning you only put minimal things in that package. So what air pull through? So we have to identify, pull through that's gonna be digital negatives and album multiple locations and then bigger prints, so if your baby senior portrait photographer base package should be all small prints no digital images middle package should be middle sized prince sixteen by twenty four eleven by sixteen maybe you want to put digital images in there. Maybe they're lo rez digital images in there. Maybe they're unedited digital images in there and then your top package, maybe that has a senior album, a family album, the digital images, the edited digital images in that top package of sixteen by twenty four or twenty by thirty canvas or framed acrylic that becomes your pole through structure three packages again, it doesn't matter whether we're talking seniors, families, babies, three frickin packages don't jack with the recipe don't put too don't put four three it's all psychological people can go up and come down in price don't like to go up in price. What does that mean in english? Have your most expensive package first and then show them the value next to it. So all those things I taught in our pricing and packaging segment are still valid an applicant to the high school senior families, babies, right? So have the price and then have how much they're saving next to it or have the value next to it again, it's psychological and so I hopefully that helps I mean, we could talk like an hour and a half just on pricing so what what do we got next this one is from free go photography how important for the brand name to be first name last name instead of just last name I'm wondering from a branding perspective should I be daniel james free go photography or just prego photog ra see that's what the whole naming things let's talk about the home anything that's actually a brilliant question especially if you're buying into like a in the first thirty days I've got to get my brand together here's my thought process on it do with it whatever you want if you create a studio and your studio name is apple jack photography ok what is apple jack what's the first thing that comes into your mind when I say apple jack photography right it's definitely not high end uh it's definitely not um you know it's not high end it's not artist that's what you got to start thinking about right do you want to exude that you're an artist because with that that perception right we know perception's reality with that you can create different taglines right? So let's say if you're like fat kitty photography right you pose we pounds that's your tag line that's good stuff I mean maybe maybe that's gonna happen there's somebody out there they're changing their business model but when you say your salvator sin kata your susie freeman what whatever name you come up with I think it immediately creates that connection, if you will, to you being the artist and so that's what you have to go with what was his name again? Daniel james free go yeah, I like I like the daniel j free go photography I really do like that because eventually in our market there's no more photography in our market we're now just salvador cicada and I like that because we've worked really hard over the last eight years of creating and building that brand so we no longer have to have photography there, right? So I think you have to that would be the direction I would go, all of you, by the way, unless you plan on building a franchise if you plan on building a franchise where you have multiple locations, multiple shooters, if you're gonna have a studio with ten shooters salvador cinque otto would not work. I don't think that's that's a good name in that case would be something like studio see photography and then we'd have multiple shooters under me so you've got to ask yourself where you want to be do you want to be high end? And then of course what? What sends the message of high end and message of high end would not be a generic name it's got to be the artist name okay, mohr sal on different types of photographers this is from paul any advice for people who are like urban photographers, landscape photographers, very different model clients don't come to book us shoot aren't images and then look for buyers what kind of advice to give photographers from marketing finding buyers and so on still a business but yeah, it is where these business and it's one that's actually close to me part of my goals in my life, my bucket list is I wanna have a gallery opening and so I've been really fortunate in my life to travel all over the world and when I'm there I'm doing a lot of landscape in travel photography but unfortunately it's very difficult to make money at landscape in travel photography you know it's it's just not reality, so but that's my passion and when I started in photography it was more around architecture and you see that in my wedding photographer you always see these big architectural or landscape portrait and then wow there's a bride in there and that's where that influence comes from. So I'm actually thinking about this how do I take my business principles and make money into that? And I still believe in that package based system, so I'm working mentally this is probably a one or two year goal for me my thought process is very raw, so I'm just sharing with you off the cough I would have to have a plethora of products so let's say I have this travel print of big ben in in london okay let's have got this well there's pictures of big, big ben everywhere anybody can walk up, take a picture of big ben with their iphone so I'd want to create a unique view ofthe big ben maybe it's a long exposure maybe it's you know, an evening shot long exposure maybe it's a unique time of year maybe there's snow or something like that then you have to have unique products and then unique sizes to make that possible so you could still put that package structure in place and build that website so that you're driving traffic there and then take those tips I've taught right and people are going to look for that kind of stuff right may be big big ben, right? They're going to look for that the london eye they're going to look for that you want your pictures coming up when that when that seo search happens so maybe you create that site and then you're selling christmas cards thank you cards customized acrylic block small blocks of not not these big gigantic art pieces but then of course as you go through the package structure, the top one might be a giant you know thirty by sixty acrylic fur like a commercial off office based something like that so anyway thes air things it's a raw idea I hope that gives a little bit of clarity but that's how I would approach this I would still use that package size pull through a cz my way and then of course offering unique products because anybody can walk up and take a picture of big ben fantastic. Thank you. I mean again. It's business principles, business principles, business principles. Okay, this one is from constantine photography test it's about testimonials. When is the best time to ask a client for testimonials after the wedding sail after the album delivery? Both they almost never write one. Yeah, so the constant is asking a really good question and I've worked with him a swell and helped him with his business. This is a really good question for all of us and I face the same challenges. Everybody's going home, I asked for the testimonial right after the wedding sale so after they come in to see their wedding pictures, I say, hey, we're updating our website, right? So I give them some sense of urgency. We're updating our website. Uh, if you've had a good experience, my business is really based on referrals. I would love to get a referral from you in the next two weeks if you can just take five minutes and just write one paragraph and then I send them a link to my current testimonial on my site, I say here's, what other people have written just to give you an idea? It doesn't have to be long, and I would say some are going to write testimonials some or not, I always send them one reminder. Hey guys, I know you're probably busy this time of year if you don't mind, could you just send me a testimonial? And if they if they don't do it, they don't do it, you don't want to nag them and pastor them either get to it or they don't know it's hard to make it priority I don't give them free prince. I don't bribe them or anything like that. I just want them to write from the heart verse being, you know, kind of encouraged the wrong way. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, we have our good friend lorenzo, who is from bellingham. If you watch crit above a lot, you will know lorenzo, but this is a good one. Several votes about studio management software. There are a ton out there. Do you have any recommendations or what to look for when looking at studio management software and why would you even use studio management so, yeah, so we use in our studio we use up a product called studio cloud we've been using studio cloud for man it's got to be close to seven years now is that the best off we're out there no um it's you let me tell you why here's what I like about it here's what I don't all these studio management systems have like built in cr m customer relationship management they have financial tracking so you can keep track invoices and product sales and on the invoice tracking most of them tend to be really, really cumbersome to use you gotta enter in all your products all your sizes all your prices all your discounts holy crap that is way too much work for me it's just too complicated so we don't use it for that we use it just for you because I'm never going to ask taylor to run a report taylor hominy eight by tens of we sold in the last thirty four days that's never gonna happen I don't I don't want to know that number I really just care about what my sales averages are things like that so from that perspective it's not why use the tool but what that tool has that I've not seen another tool have uh and this is why we stay with him all these years is the ability to create custom emails bye session type and you might not even understand what I'm talking about so let me break it down you have a baby session their sessions next week, I want to send them a reminder about their session, right? I don't want to show up at the park and they forgot this system has automated e mail reminders. If it's a baby session, it'll send out one kind of reminder you can write custom copyright custom words and say, hey, you know we can't we look forward to being with you next week, make sure you bring three outfits, whatever the case may be for baby sessions, well that's going to be different than when I write for an engagement session? Correct the engagement reminder might be something completely different. This software allows you the ability to create custom emails if it's an engagement session, a wedding the day after the wedding shoot all those things tied to session types one of the only software programs out there I know of that does it and that's why we continue to stay with him. So studio cloud is the program, check him out. I think you know you like everything else. They're all about the same. I think studio lot even has like a free version of it. I don't know enough about it or what version we have that's all taylor's domain I stay out of it, I think the concept of why you would use it it's fantastic, very helpful thank you. Okay, we have a lot of votes on this one I won't read the whole scenario but somebody we see this a lot where people are are in the military and so they're moving around a lot and have trouble breaking into new markets on dh so this what air some creative ways to break into a new community, any suggestions on how to market to a community that knows nothing about me? I want to stay focused on building a positive reputation I actually believe it or not, I actually get this question you know, either direct message to me or email to me a lot or it comes up in some of the facebook groups so it comes up quite often here's the reality whether you're in the military or you're just moving to a new market you are you're looking at an uphill battle I mean it's not easy because so much of photography's based on relationships and getting to know you and even being able to trust you so think about it. A bride doesn't typically want to book me if she thinks I'm moving in six months, right? A bride's not gonna want to necessarily book you if you're pregnant and you're do anywhere around her wedding day right thes heir concerns that go on in people's minds now if your family baby seniors this may be isn't such a big deal but your reputation is still really powerful, and so if you're looking into a new market, that whole segment we taught on facebook that is the easiest way in my opinion to break into that market and it doesn't matter whether we're talking seniors, families, baby's, head shots, weddings that is your easiest way because you're able to connect directly with that client some of the other things I would do, uh, fundraisers, charities we were starting off, we did a lot of fundraisers, charity work, meaning we would go to the booster clubs of the local high school and we would say, okay, raffle to win a free eleven by sixteen framed print and a free session fee three hundred dollar value signed upto win and when we're working with these charities, you can say to them the only way will be part of this is if we get everybody's name who signed up or everyone's email who signed up think about it by collecting those names I can now say contact of ten people signed upto win this I can contact the ten or the other nine, right? Only one person's gonna win and then offer those other nine a special deal special promotion so there's a there's, a quick two ideas really quick that you can go after and relatively inexpensive to go after it and make some money so let's, keep going, ok, let's, keep going a couple more because we are running out of time. You cindy sipe asked, I get tongue tied with customers calling in do you have a call sheet available to follow? We do actually on our website there's ah, sorry to sell you something, but there's actually our communications script on if you don't buy it that's fine, create your own script. What do you want your script to say? And I will tell you that when we started our business, it was really interesting because we're obviously we're husband and wife team taylor and I write, and so I've been trained in sales my whole life, whether, you know, just being in the corporate world. Taylor was not the quintessential sales person that wasn't her gift in life and so she's very much a soft sell, which is perfect that's what we want for the business, but she would get on that phone and she would just start saying random things and you have to understand something when you're in sales, what you say and what you don't say carrie's downstream ramifications, right? So the philosophy I have with my team internal because I trained my entire team is you can never just say no, do you guys offer baby sessions? No, but what did you just say like it would start massive fights in this in kata house in the early years because you can't just say no you always say no why offer a solution so if you're getting tongue tied on that phone ah lot of the reasons you're getting tongue tied is because the caller has asked you a question you didn't expect okay that's the first problem not only they asked you a question you didn't really expect you don't know the answer to it so now they asked you a question you didn't expect you don't know the answer to and now you start just who knows what you're saying writes like diarrhea them out and you get yourself in a lot of trouble actually you're laughing so I can only imagine that because I mean it sort of happened last week you know somebody I was on the phone of somebody and he he wants to book a session for his his pregnant wife and their new more baby and all that stuff and he's like but we don't want to do a full session qui qui book two half sessions right then I'm like well unfortunately you can't really book a half session why? Because? Well I told him that that doesn't even exist ok what I could dio is and then I moved forward with it but but it's funny because it actually happened and I'm like who how do you book a half session? You're going to show up and not me yeah I'm gonna show you which it doesn't it doesn't even make sense it doesn't matter when you're in business you're going to find that some of the most off the wall questions come in how you deal with that is going to define your business now here's what I would recommend was it cindy you said so what I would recommend is and we did this in the beginning we created a top ten objection list okay? And we have that in our communication package but creature on okay, what are the top ten objections that are gonna happen? You won't know them day one you'll just realize they keep happening people one former fashion they're going to keep asking the same question what's your answer to that and I can guarantee you that if I were having a conversation with any of you and you said what do you do when a client says this you would have an answer from me immediately not because I'm a know it all but because I've encountered that question before or some variant of it and so that's what all of you want to do for yourselves? What does that look like and what's your script and by script you don't want a call centre script? Hi I'm sow how are you today it's sunny here. How is it there? That's? Not what I mean by script. Bye script. I mean, what are the bullets? What are the talking points? And so if somebody's calling in for a baby session, what are the top five talking points you want to have on every call? And then it has to be natural conversation. That's how you become a better sales person? You're never going to be a good salesperson if you try and follow this dialogue. In fact, I am horrible, right? I'm on camera all the time. This is completely at home. And so if you try and push me to a script, I will have a meltdown. Elissa right. You've met eliza. She is always behind the camera filming me so every once in a while we have to do a commercial for someone, right? Maybe it's an animal or something like that and they're like here's what we need, sal, this say oh, man it's not a five minute film. It's now an hour to an hour and a half because I keep screwing up the blooper reel would be hilarious toe watch. But if you just turn me loose and let me talk to talking points by kind, I do here it's going to be fluid it's gonna be seen once while the same was true for you? Just get talking points together and just talk in your own words, your own natural language and that the reason I'm telling you that is because then when somebody asks you some random question, you know the answer because it's a bullet somewhere that you've hit sammy consents so no, why offer them another solution? That's great and especially just focusing on those ones that you keep getting over and over, they're gonna have to start there. I would say ninety percent of the time, it's the same ten objections we hear ninety percent of the time, okay, south so I'm gonna ask a couple of questions that just kind of tie into you wrapping this up. Ok? So jonathan solace it does this apply this being the class for someone doesn't that does not want to do this full time, just part time and how to and when to give the jumped a full time it's kind of a two part question again, who is this class for? And then the other one is from d miguel said, I only have one wedding book for two thousand fifteen is it possible to take what I've learned from this course and book more for this year? Or do I is it too late in the season and should I focus on next year um and if you could also before that tell us where people couldn't continue to ask you questions after this wraps up yeah okay so let's do it this way because I'm gonna have to come back here I don't think I remember everything castillo so so the first thing is who's this class for this class is for any photographer business owner even who wants to take their business to the next level I've given you marketing tips I've given you strategies I've given you a multitude of things you could do immediately and then I've given you that blueprint so I really believe it's for anybody when when we were talking about anybody if you're a part time photographer and you're going is this for me because I'm not sure I want to be full time here's what I'm gonna warn you about be careful because when you start implementing these strategies you are going to see success almost immediately and so which is a good thing right? You just have to be ready for it and there's nothing wrong with continuing on in your full time job and making money why not make more money on the side and if your goal ultimately go full time start now so that one person as should I wait till next year no dude it's january don't wait till next year, there is no tomorrow you do it now you put this stuff into practice now today, this is when I would start doing it. It is the perfect time of year for all of us to reinvent our businesses, and if you've watched any of my other courses this time of year, me internally, we're doing what's called a swat analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats it's a four grid google it I think it's in my wedding boot camp or one of the other ones, and we talk about how to do it, but regardless, at the end of the day, you've got to do this every year, and so now is the time to go after changing whatever you want to change in your in your business. There was one other part to you question, I forgot it. The last one was, where can people continue to ask? Yes, where can they continue to ask questions? So goto there are, like a gazillion different groups out there, and I love all of you, but you're making it impossible for me to keep track of it, and I do try to respond to everybody's emails and direct messages, but I can't keep up man there's just way too many groups, so please do me a favor. All those questions go to the facebook bt shutter right so it's facebook dot com bt shutter which is behind the shutter that's our kind of site for training and education go there and I will do my best to stay plugged into questions on go from there so all those other groups I've tried t be involved this I can't apologize it's not that I don't want to be involved it's just I I also actually have a a business to run so I can only handle so many groups to keep track of but keep the conversation going like I said, I mean that you learn so much from everybody who's in the community that's where that we see here in the chat room so keep that converse station and I want everybody out there to know too I actually enjoy the feedback I want your success stories police sent me those messages on facebook, but if you're going to send me a message not this long this one right? One of my favorite quotes too many words I tell my team that all the time there was an interesting thread going on on facebook on uh um shutter fast group they were doing their favorite south quote I thought that was funny then my team started getting involved so taylor got involved in elissa got involved saying with their favorite sal quotes wherein one was too many words so internally if you send me an email and it's this long I'm more than likely just gonna hit reply too many words break it down so hit me with your bullets keep it short into the point and I'll answer I will answer your your questions so all right so we'll wrap it up progress let's let's talk a little bit about the future alright final thoughts here you know when we start talking about we did we did this for thirty days where do we go from here so ultimately no one is going to hand you success and I don't mean that as being a jerk I don't mean that is being you know, cocky or arrogant I mean that is giving you practical real world advice if you're looking for someone to coddle you if you're looking for someone to just patch on the head and tell you it's all right I am not your guy I'm so sorry I'm not your guy I'm the guy who's gonna kick in the ass tell you to pick yourself up, get up work harder work stronger work longer and it can happen so success absolutely can be yours I fully believe it or I wouldn't be teaching you what I'm doing but I'm the guy I'm your coach that's what I'm here for, okay? So there's all sorts of different people in your lives that are gonna help you feel better uh what I believe is going to help you feel better is making more money and being successful so I'm gonna help you get there but you have to believe no one is going to hand it to you in fact everybody wants your success and you will see it as you become successful others in your industry people you thought were your friends even if it's just you've booked two more weddings than them they're going to start hating on you right they're going to start it's a kitchen titted chatting in these rooms and talking and saying things that are just stupid ignored you've got to move forward you've got to focus on you your family and that thing inside that fire inside of you that makes you tick you have to want it you have to be competitive this is not a love fest we can't all be friends okay we have to be competitive and if you're an athlete if you've ever been an athlete you understand what I'm saying on the field it's war so if we use my own world st louis I want to destroy my competition I mean destroyed and then I'll pick you up we'll high five and we'll go home we'll have a drink together okay? Because that's the way that's my mentality I played baseball in college I played football in college I play tennis in college super competitive I want tto win but that doesn't mean we have to hate each other that doesn't mean I have to go talk that about you behind your back that doesn't mean I'm gonna go on facebook groups I can also celebrate in your own success but you got to find that fire in your belly man what's going to make you competitive do you wanna win you gotta wanna win and where you struggling so as we're wrapping up this course where you struggling all of us are struggling somewhere even I'm struggling somewhere where you struggling write it down what is that thing that's killing you this year and next year it'll be something different by the way but you got to attack it so if you're struggling with time management attack it if you're struggling with flash attack it whatever it is that you are struggling with right now marketing whatever the case may be go at it head on don't ignore it don't pretend like it doesn't exist go at it head on and attack this problem and your business will grow immediately you will grow as a person and it's january twenty fifteen now is the time not tomorrow I just gave you the blueprint for crying out loud take the blueprint put it into practice start making this stuff happen don't wait till march april may june I'll get to it some other time take this stuff put it into practice now you got that workbook used that workbook to your advantage you understand everything that has to happen, let's, make it happen, man. Let's, make twenty, fifteen your year, right, look at yourself in the computer monitor window mirror at home. This year is my year. I'm going to make it happen. Let's, make shit happen, we can do it, man on. And of course, timing is perfect, right now is the time to go after weddings and go after seniors, and so you just got to start putting that stuff together. So other than that, hopefully, everyone out there has enjoyed this course. I hope you had a good time. I hope you feel motivated, inspired, and I truly do hope all of you go out there and make more money, because that's, what it's all about, give it up for salsa and kata, everyone.

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