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The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan

Lesson 37 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan

Lesson 37 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Lesson Info

37. The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan

Next Lesson: Student Examples


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

The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan

Ninety days so remember what I'm saying you your business has to operate on this ninety day window at least that's how I run mine I think anything further out than ninety days are just like really long term goals on dso and I know that sounds crazy right to think like okay, it's january you're telling me june it is a long time goal in my world june is monies will be five years away typically focused on a ninety day window of time because if you start getting too far out to get a little too futuristic in my opinion I'm not talking about these big, lofty goals like I wantto have ah studio I'm talking about just exercise executing on tasks that you're putting together anything over ninety days I just truly do believe is too futuristic we've gotta focus on the here and now so here's what we need to do we need to evaluate the last sixty all too often is we're running forward in this race we never stopped to look back what went right what went wrong what we need to change okay so think about...

business truly as this race maybe it's a marathon maybe it's a sprint depends on how you want to run your business we're in your life but as you're running this race okay from your competitors to grow your business whatever however you want whatever analogy you want to give you got to stop every once in a while and go okay, what are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? What we need to pivot pivot to the right work here I think very successful business people are good pivoting there's a lot of things I do in my business where I'm like this is going to be brilliant and then we start doing it on like that in this kind of socks right on that's ok it's ok you've got to be honest with yourself and just be like it's not what I thought it would be let's pivot let's go another direction the worst thing you could do is go down with the ship and so if you just keep running forward to me the analogy is just going down with the ship you're running down a path and you know who I think is going down with the ship photographers who compete on price it's a race to the bottom you've heard me talk about this before there is no winner when you're when you're competing on price there is no winner and so that's that person who's just running not stopping to just take a deep breath okay and go what are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? What's working what's failing and let's make changes so keep that in mind do not compete on price sample albums next ninety days remember doesn't matter, by the way, if you're a wedding photographer, senior photographer, family photographer, albums or part of your business, you need samples, you need to show them. Well, guess what, you can't just call up an album company and say, hey, I need a sample album that you need to design a sample album. Well, that takes time. You need the pictures, toe edit to design the sample album that takes time. So your lead time here truly is about ninety days if you really have nothing. If you're starting from zero, where you've got to go shoot some some some portfolio work, edit those images, design an album and then order the album you're truly looking at this sixteen, ninety day window, get on it! Stop wasting time. All samples for your studio's free studio samples, pictures on the wall, canvas acrylic medals, whatever you're gonna offer samples have to be there if you follow the path I'm showing you ninety days is more than enough time because you would have done some portfolio work if you didn't already have it. You'd have done some portfolio work in your first thirty and sixty days, so now you're ready to order these samples start reaching out to your vendors, networking why's this in ninety days. Well the reason it's in ninety days is because if you really start reaching out to them in your first thirty and have the meetings I'm not saying don't try and schedule meetings but if you if you start let's say you call a vendor next week and they're like yeah let's meet I got I got an opening next week uh shit I didn't expect you to say yes right you're in that boat all of a sudden and now you're going in and you don't have any sample work you don't have any business cards you don't have any logo work you're not ready for this meeting you have to be ready for this meeting when you walk in you are in fact selling yourself make no mistake this isn't a meeting just like say hi you're there with purpose and so if you get lucky enough to get that meeting really quickly you better be ready because you're not gonna get another shot your promotional video so this is something we're actually working on which is really interesting how many of us have a promotional video of ourselves no, I would say none of us do we're so used to putting stuff out there that is about our clients which is good by the way that's what we do we sell we sell images images we sell memories that's that's fine but I realized over and over again I'm standing on this this platform or you know, whether it's a w p p I r imaging or just when we're teaching in general and we're standing on this platform we're telling you personality is a big part of what separates you and then I go to my own website I go there is absolutely nothing on my website right? Looking inward at myself that really establishes my own personality there's a picture of me and taylor on our website that's it and so what we're doing my ninety days is I want to have a video that I use an emoto to do it because an emotive makes it easy to use an emoto many of you will follow us you have an emoto you use it in your business because we've shown you how to use it take that very same thing you haven't already owned and make it about you that's the key you've got to make it about you, so take that and you know an emoto does video, right? So now you can use this an emoto video, it can just be a snippet ham salad and kata uh, I'm a wedding portrait star for basic o'fallon illinois and I want to show you what it's like on your wedding day and maybe you just got behind the scenes stuff guys, this could be video captured on your iphone that shoots full ten eighty we don't have toe create this giant production and you're just dealing in three to five second snippets, so maybe it's like you got some video from bridal prep of you working here on the floor, you're doing your thing right? And then all of a sudden you can't tow like pictures that you got at bridal prep, then you're cutting to you, directing the groomsmen, having a good time at the groomsmen and you're showing some pictures from the groomsmen session, and so now you just create this two to three minutes short video, not cheesy, right? I've seen too many of those cheesy videos where you're like I'm sounds and kat, I'm the best wedding photographer on the planet and I get out of a ferrari and like I'm in a helicopter it's like what we doing? What am I really selling right? Salvi experience that's what this video should be about, not an ego trip just sell the experience that's what you want to be doing and so look, if you have, if you don't have an emoto get it again it's one of those tools it's a no brainer pick it up if you do have an emoto there's no reason for you not to do this this, by the way, is on my ninety day plan this is something I plan on doing your marketing plan completed. What a marketing plan. Yes, we need a marketing plan. What are you doing? Who? What? When, where? Why? What do you marketing who you marketing it to? What is the plan? Where you're doing it? How expensive is it gonna be? Are you doing it on facebook or you're doing direct mail, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You've gotta have that plan in place next ninety days, just all making sense questions on the ninety days, let's, take a look, I really I really love this point. And I love that you're actually pointing out the things that are on your plan as well. That's really resonating with people because it can get overwhelming as we've talked about hope about all these things that you have to do it like okay, south hasn't done his video get to I'm okay on my plan. I'm okay, but I really like that. You're also pointing out how you can make it easy and you can do it yourself with things like an emoto. Eso questions with the you here, but go back video. Actually, you do in your video blend works. Actually, I do have a thought about that, though, because because when you say pivoting like you're at a at a firm, point right now and you're making that pivot and I'm I'm not that far yet, so I'm not pivoting to focus on a promotional video because I'm still pivoting to focus on some of the other things you know actually like what you're saying? Because I think that drives the point home whether you realize that's what you're doing or not is that no matter where you are in your career, this is all relevant, right? It doesn't matter if you're new be it doesn't matter if you you haven't even started yet you're you're like a part time photographer and it doesn't matter if you've been in business eight years eso I've been in business obviously eight plus years now I'm still pivoting, I'm still learning I'm still making changes to my business plan and that's the key to understand the day I get up here and I'm still teaching things I was doing two years ago, I think it's really time for me to stop teaching on dh if you've been following me for any period of time, you know my stance on this, I cannot stand on a personal or professional level teachers who just teach and don't do on, so I take great pride in making sure that I'm always active so that when I am telling you about stuff like this like an emoto, that video or this heat map magic you know I'm doing it uh and you understand that I'm still reinventing my business today I do not take my business for granted I know no one's gonna hand it to me I know I've got twenty, thirty, forty competitors chasing me in my local market from behind so I've got to continue to teo reinvent so yeah all of you are pivoting just on different things right? So that's a really good point I thought you were raising your hand okay, this is a question we were talking about doing in person sales studio sales from darby doll what is your opinion on hiring a sales person for the after the session sales it's not my strong point and I would like to have someone coming to do this that is not a bad idea at all so I've worked with a lot of photographers excuse me helping them grow their studios in the one place they say I'm no good at sales no good in person sales I don't like it I feel it you know it just doesn't feel right I'm not good at it whatever the case may be do I hire someone? Yes you absolutely can hire someone but the hiring someone is kind of the easy part the question really becomes how do you compensate them that becomes the challenge and so my recommendation is if you do decide to hire someone make sure they represent your brand so sorry personality, energy, the way they dress, the way they carry themselves all matter and then the second thing is when you're compensating them, I would pay them a low hourly rate plus fifteen percent. Okay, so if they sell a thousand dollar package payment peyman hondros paying ten percent pay one hundred fifty dollars, okay? Or tear it hey, if you sell my top package, you get fifteen percent. If you sell my middle package, you only get seven percent if you saw my base package only get five percent and so you're incent in them the right way and that would be how I would do it. So now you're not having someone sitting in there, the reason you're paying them that commission so they don't sit there and just go I don't care what you buy, you want them to care, you want them to have some incentive on what they buy, and then of course, if you hire a sales person, monitor it, which you want to make sure is that you don't have high pressure sales tactics in the sales room because that reflects poorly on your brand, but it can be done so good question we have a couple of good questions on dollars let's do it because this is really what it comes down to, right is all that so tracey two thousand twelve had asked we had a number of votes on this you talked about the hard caw gse or cost of being between fifteen to twenty percent? How do you figure out a safe number for spending on education, new gear, studio decor, etcetera? How do you figure these out? And was there section on that there was no section on that? Unfortunately, I don't believe there's a magic bullet and here's, why or magic answer I can give you because in my opinion, education is ongoing. You should be doing this all the time how much you spend on that is really up to you, depending on where you are because let's be honest, we all learn differently when I look at myself there's I learned from creative life, right? So I like watching video, having video in the background. I also like learning hands on workshops, and so you've got to figure out where you weak and how do you how do you learn? How do you take it to that next level? So some of us like learning, shooting, okay, so maybe part of your training plan is you're gonna do one hands on workshop a year, you're going to one conference a year and you're going to subscribe to two magazines a year on dh, maybe some online video training to give you an actual number like percentage doesn't exist because if your one year into the business I remember when I was just starting out I was a sponge I was buying. I would go to barnes and noble's no lie once a week and buy two, two, three books on photography. This is when I was starting out. Well, now I don't go by two, two, three books on retire from now instead, when I want to learn something new, I got practice. I go experiment. But when I was just starting out, right, I knew I didn't know what is an experiment. What does that even look like? What should I be doing? What should my s o b what doesn't have to stop? I didn't understand any of these things so I would go and just be a sponge. Then as I got kind of in the middle of my career. Two years toe five years I started doing hands on workshops. You know, when I was coming up on video video is a perfect example. We obviously offer video services. You saw one of our videos earlier on when we wanted to learn that video way, then went ok and went to ray roman. Roman workshop, great video guy in the industry that's how I learned to produce video so I went to the experts to do it, but you've got to be willing to make that investment, so I apologize. I don't have a hard number on training that's going to come down to, you know, robbing peter to pay paul, so to speak, right? So maybe you have to pay yourself a little bit less money this year so you can go to a workshop. Those are the kind of decisions you have to make because obviously we can't do it all. Or maybe you don't buy that new camera that you think you have to have and instead go to a training course or hands on workshop instead to help you make more money. What's gonna help you make more money that's ultimately what it comes down to it, I'm willing to invest ten thousand dollars in training if I think that ten thousand hours and trains will help me make one hundred thousand dollars next year always worthwhile. So what did you mean? It is different for different folks? I don't have a solid answer, so I apologize. All right, so I want to remind you, we show this earlier on the course, but I want to I want to drive this point home these numbers I showed you in one of the first few segments university of tennessee study forty percent of all businesses fail in the first two years okay these air starts fifty five percent of all businesses fail in the first five years seventy one percent of all businesses fail within the first ten years I'm in that ten year window my business is about eight and a half years old ish so I'm in that window where seventy percent of the people who started the same time I did have already failed where you in this list and you understand the odds are against you being successful the odds are against you you got to get tough skin you gotta understand this is a game this is a competition no one is gonna hand this to you and so if you understand this is the most interesting facet of all this is that the reason the number one reason businesses fail incompetence you know what the hell you're doing somebody gave you a camera and you said and they told you oh my god you're so good you should be a photographer and now you're a professional photographer you don't know I so from f stop right to shutter speed you don't understand the triangle you don't understand depth of field you don't understand life fall off you just got a little camera you put it on auto and oh my god they're so beautiful that's not how business works you can be a photographer we talked about it early everyone should enjoy photography everyone it's amazing to be able to create capture memories but not everyone should be a professional photographer this drives that point home and then when it gets into the incompetence specifically emotional pricing you know whose horrible at pricing photographers horrible I was dealing with this thread online I'm not going to name names that's just happened like two or three days ago and this woman which is kind of like I don't know attacking me because of pricing and how things should work and that's too expensive and no one would ever pay that emotional pricing she's not letting common sense prevail what you mean no one would pay that this people who spend two hundred fifty thousand dollars on a car that they put in a garage and then they have to pay ten thousand dollars for an oil change no one's going to pay five thousand dollars for a wedding how are we talking about right and so she's making emotional decisions because she doesn't feel that someone would pay that I don't care how you feel we're here to talk business dollars and cents cost of goods we have to understand all that stuff so we can't make emotional decisions non payment of taxes was another reason no knowledge of pricing this isn't about photography by the way I'm stressing this again this is about business so the university of tennessee did this and it's all businesses doctors, lawyers, bakeries flores lack of planning no knowledge of financing no experience in record keeping nearly fifty percent of all businesses fail for these reasons this is what I'm teaching you this is what this courses about it is about this there's a million people out there who can teach you howto like things with flashlight underneath the ground within led light hanging upside that's not what I'm teaching I'm teaching your business I'm teaching you how to avoid the fifty percent of the reason people fell that's what this course is about and if you've got if you have not gotten that out of this course I don't know what you've been doing that's what this is about and so you have to do everything in your power to protect against that fifty percent that is what we have to avoid that's the controllable part noticing there doesn't say they failed because they didn't know how to use off camera flash they didn't know how to pose they didn't know howto design an album or use photo shop that's not what's in there there's no technical skill in there it's all business that's the part we got to get under control and so let me you know in the spirit of all this I've talked a little bit about it but let me show you my twenty fifteen right? So operate a little differently a lot a big part of this is part of my ninety hundred a hundred twenty day window. This is what I'm focused on right now for twenty fifteen I want to book forty weddings fifteen or more I want to have full video with ok as of right now, we have over twenty weddings booked for twenty fifteen I feel really good I'm sitting in the first week of january. I get over twenty weddings book I don't know off the top of my head how many have video but I feel really good about about video in our packages I want to do one hundred plus portrait sessions that's great, I don't really have any portrait sessions booked right now, right? Because it's january that's not really how portrait's work, but weddings are contract based, which is why I love weddings. But now that that's on my twenty fifteen master list I've now in the next ninety days have to put a marketing plan together to go ok, how am I going to get those hundred weddings? I can't just be our hundred portrait sesh, I can't just be like a one hundred portrait sessions hope the phone rings, I've gotta have a plan together, right? That plan has to be put together now I want to do new senior sessions if you've seen my senior boot camp it's a very good course but the way I shoot seniors is all on location last two years in st louis ah the heat index is in july in august so two months of the year the heat index is north of one hundred degrees eighty percent of the time kids are melting their makeups coming off their miserable it's not a good experience so this year salvador cincotti photographer he's gonna launch a high fashion senior chute okay, I don't have all the logistics figured out I just know I'd rather be indoors at my studio in a beautiful temperature controlled room where no seniors are miserable we don't have to reschedule them parents don't get pissed off so we're gonna launch this this year so follow us we'll share with you what we end up doing but that's the direction we wanna go shutter fest of course our conference right that's our hands on a conference in st louis actually we shamed you into going this year you'll see it's there so you guys they're shorter magazine it goes to print that was on my twenty fifteen agenda and of course we just launch shutter magazine print for the first time monumental accomplishment for me and my team these air my goals we're launching a new camera strapped company called salvator, so we're making modern camera straps we're going to have new lighting solutions for photographers. I want to push a new book, but most importantly, I want to grow outside the world of photography and so if you follow us, you've seen us. I'm an entrepreneur, right? So you're looking at my punch list for twenty fifteen should be seeing a couple of things, right? You're seeing me grow my core business. Salvador cincotti photography I'm inactive photographer that's never gonna change. So you seeing us grow that you're also seeing us grow our business to you guys right on what we're doing for photographers, but now you're seeing another segment where I want to grow outside the world of photography, I'm an entrepreneur, I have business people who follow me and ask us for coaching advice that have nothing to do with retired. We've actually just signed up to speak a two industry conferences, social media summits that are once in new york and once in las vegas, so I'm gonna actually be sharing the stage with the ceo of wal mart that's cool for me, that's one of my personal goals that's what I wanted to do, I wanted to break out of just the photography world, I think I've got a good message to share. And so these are my goals I'm sharing with you what's on my piece of paper. So I hope you appreciate that that is not being put up here for any other reason, but that this is what is your paper look like, right? That's what I want to know. What does your piece of paper look like? What are your goals for? Twenty. Fifteen and just like I tell you, you need to write them down. I write them down because then this becomes the marching orders from my team. So I can't put, you know, forty weddings up there and then in sixty days, what are you doing to get to those forty weddings? Ah, well, we didn't really do any bridal shows this year uh on and on and on, right. So it's there now I take action on semi consent. I think I want to show you next is video if you haven't it's only a minute and a half but this is a video we put together. Hopefully it inspires you motivate you it's about shudder shutter magazine and what we went through toe take it to print and so it's the whole kind of a little one minute video of the whole thing enjoy it way all have dreams some big, some small dreaming is what built this country dreaming is what keeps you going is it california daydreaming was it looking into your future I think chasing those dreams is what keeps us young at heart it's what keeps that fire burning and like most dreamers they told us it couldn't be done they doubted us underestimated our resolve I say game on challenge accepted to all those naysayers the people who doubted us debbie downers in the pessimist way encourage you to take a long walk off a short pier because today today I will chase my dreams I'll do it for me I'll do it for my family I will do it because you told me it couldn't be done chase those dreams and don't you ever give up is a life without dreams is a life unlived thiss shutter magazine you guys kind of enjoy that video and mostly the messaging behind it right to me it's a giant middle finger to anyone who ever doubted me doubted my team doubted what we can do bring that magazine to print was no easy task what is that task in your life? We all have those tasks and who were the people around you who doubt you who tell you it can't be done get rid of those people be motivated inspired by those people for me that motivates me tell me it can't be done please because I'm coming after you I want to prove you wrong that's that fire in front of me, right? We talked about that on one of the last days of the course. What is that fire inside of you that motivates you at home what's that fire that motivates you to prove that you can do it, find it because, man, when you find that place, that place where you're just on edge, right it's that edge of being motivated, pissed off angry, right? Inspired when you're in that moment nothing's impossible. You can do anything you put your mind to you've got to find that place. And so for me I'm really good at finding that place. That's what that's what I do so hopefully you kind of enjoy that video and kind of messing around it. Twenty fifteen what? Your dreams now is the time guys we are in the first week of january. It is the time to make twenty fifteen yours. What are your goals? What do your aspirations? You have to believe in you when no one else will no one is going to hand this to you. No one is gonna hand success for you but that's, just the reality of the world we live in, you have to work hard, you have to be competitive you have to believe in yourself when everyone else is doubting you that is the hardest part. I think about being an entrepreneur it's, really easy when it gets tough. When you're working those long hours, when it seems like nothing's going right, when you got customers lightening up because you're doing something wrong, how do you stay? How do you stay in that moment? How do you stay motivated? You've got to continue to believe in yourself, your own cheerleader.

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!

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