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Photographer's Guide to Marketing

Lesson 7 of 7

How to Reinvent Yourself


Photographer's Guide to Marketing

Lesson 7 of 7

How to Reinvent Yourself


Lesson Info

How to Reinvent Yourself

How to reinvent yourself, okay? So, a lot of times, you need to re-energize your business, especially if you've been in business for let's say 10 years or so. It gets really tough because there are always market changes. So, changes happen, man. You think you've got the greatest thing since sliced pie. I'm gonna tell you right now, it's got a shelf life of two years. Okay? So, you've gotta learn how to adapt and try to re-figure yourself and just work with technology because the technology is a lot of changes the most, and so you've gotta realize just going from digital, to film to digital was huge, and a lot of people went out of business when that happened. A lot of photographers did because they didn't know how to make that change, right? So, how do you get out of this change? You gotta learn to love new things. Always constantly learning, and you gotta not be afraid to re-invest in yourself to learn this information, right? And so you gotta make an investment in yourself. Sexy does...

n't last forever, okay, and I think we can all agree with that especially if you're a little older. Well, I was never sexy to begin with. (soft laughter) But, what I'm trying to say is sometimes you're doing your career, and say you're a wedding photographer, and you are the thing, and, man, everybody knows who you are and what you're about, and you're just killing it and the natural response is to think, "Oh, man, I'm just gonna stay "on top of this mountain forever." You're not. Trust me. In two years, there's gonna be some other hot-shot person coming in and stealing your thunder because your gig is already known, everybody's seen it, everybody knows what you do. It's been seen. Oh, well my friend did her wedding and it's his style and I want something new. So, you're out. So, then you gotta go in and reinvent yourself. What can I add to my photography? Well, one thing that I've noticed with these photographers that stayed in business for a long time is that they master the fundamentals. They know lighting, they know posing, they know composition, they know about post-processing, and they can change with the times because they've got the fundamentals down. It's just repackaged differently, but the content, the skillset, is still there, and they just need to repackage it every couple of years and they're still rolling along, still in business, okay? So, the fundamentals will last. So, remember. But it's those people, I notice, that get really, really hot, take the fast track, they're in it for a few years, everybody knows who they are, and then when they start to decline in popularity, if they don't have the fundamentals, they're out of business, done, because they don't know how to get it back again, okay? So, that's why it's really important to understand your market, okay? Be involved with it. Know the ins-and-outs of it. And so basically what happens is when you know your market inside and out, you see the ares where a certain sect of people or a small little target group is being underserved, and you can go, "Oh! I see a little hole there. "The market's not seeing the needs of this little group "right here, and I'm gonna go and fulfill those needs," and that's how you keep reinventing yourself, but you've gotta know your market. If you don't know your market, if you're not absorbed in it, you don't love it, you don't have a passion for it, you will never find that little ah. That's underserved. I'm gonna do that. Okay? So, it's very important to understand your market. Find needs and underserved groups. Start out, okay, so let's say you find that, where it's being underserved. Right? You start out with a high value package to that group so they just can't say no about it. I mean, I don't want you to lose money, but you gotta make it, you gotta have a package that's so exciting that it's like, "Oh, man! That's a no-brainer. "I'm gonna do it." Because they're hungry already because they feel underserved already, okay? And so-- Let's see, do I talk about this better? Yeah, perfect. Going opposite. So, a lot of times when I see what the trend is, I go completely opposite, right? So, for example, people would get excited about my work and they would take an international workshop with me. Like going to Paris, going to Italy. I've got some going to Cuba. If you wanna go, yes, we can get you in. Don't worry about the president, what he says. Don't worry about it. We got it covered. (laughter) Okay, you're getting in. Don't worry, we got that covered. Anyways, moving on from that. So, it's very expensive, right? There's tuition and whatever. It could cost you upward of five thousand dollars, six thousand dollars, to go, right? But, they love that higher-end learning. So, what I did was, "Okay, I know you like that higher-end learning. "Why don't I just come to you?" And, so, I've kind of created these really small mentoring pods, I call them. I started it in Las Angeles and said, "Hey, listen. "I'm gonna work with a small amount of people, "maybe like 10 to 15 people, "and I'm gonna meet with you on a regular basis. "Say, like, nine hours a month, "I'm gonna come and just mentor you. "You don't have to travel anywhere. "I'm gonna come and I'm gonna mentor you, "and, oh yeah, by the way, and it's for a whole year, "and by the way, it's half the price of going to my "exotic workshops around the world." I've found that's been extremely effective, and the learning has been really, really high because I'm rubbing elbows with them constantly. And, so, instead of one-way information, right? You guys know what one-way information is? It's just like a book or a video where there's no interaction. I'm totally opposite. I'm into two-way information. Okay? Where as I give you information, you go out, practice it, and then I see what you do, and then you bring it back to me, and then I critique it and help you with it. That's the highest form of learning. It's the most expensive, but if you really wanna learn, that is the highest form and you will learn the fastest that way, right? Because if it's one-way, you could learn something but you could doing one slight little thing wrong with it, and you'll think that, oh yeah, that method doesn't work. I've tried it. But, if that person, instructor, saw you do it and go, "Oh, no. "You just need to twist the waist a little bit more "and then the lighting will fall that way." Oh, wow, I didn't realize that. Oh, okay, right? Two-way learning. And, so I'm going opposite. And, so I did the same thing with just getting started with Creative Live, right? Does anybody remember crazy, stupid light at all? That's a few years ago, okay. I did this popular thing, crazy, stupid light, and I showed people how to use their flash, but I, at the time, everybody was going TTL flash, TTL. I went opposite. I am just teaching manual flash because I believed in it, and so I would have people ask me about, "Oh, can you speak on posing? "Can you speak on--". Nope, nope, nope. I'm just speaking on manual flash, and that was it. That was my focus, and I got real popular that way because I focused down on my lane. I said, "This is my lane, this is my focus, "and it's opposite with what is trending." And, so it got all those people who weren't kind of in that popular wave, who maybe tried it or whatever, like, "Oh, I wanna do this." So, sometimes you can go opposite of what's happening there and you can gain traction that way, okay? Be a specialist. I think now, because of the internet, more and more you have to be a specialist at what you do. Okay? So, like, Alexa's class. Was anybody in there with his flash class, or Alexa's, right? What if he just taught about gels, period. Like, here's how to use gels. Right? Very specific. It wasn't about studio lighting and this, and, you know, all that different thing. It's just I'm just gels, because he could create traction with that track because he's a specialist at it, right? And, so it's great to specialize in something, but it does take a lot of energy to produce excellence on it, right? So, it takes intense focus, but once you reach that excellence, and then, too, this is the key factor, you have to have a rave about your business. I wanna ask you right now, are people raving about your services, your photography? Are you seeing posts on a regular basis, people saying, "Wow. This person is amazing. "Their photography is great. "You should hire them. "My images were fantastic."? Do you hear that on a regular basis? That's what you want. Because once you get that rave, that's when you get money. Okay, it's about the rave. Are people raving? It's just not your work is good. It's about the rave, and that's really what you want. So, you've gotta do a lot of your marketing and everything's centered around getting that rave and treating your clients right, okay? And sometimes what we just need is a repackaging. We might have all the content there. Have you ever noticed, like, some software thing that's old, and they just put a new package on it? It's like, "Wow, they started selling it again?" (soft laughter) Right? It happens all the time in the marketplace, and sometimes we need it, and so what you could do is, especially if you're on Instagram, let's say, you know, I think gone are the days, and don't get me wrong, but I think gone are the days where you go to the website and they do babies, and they do weddings, and they do family portraits, and they do whatever, and they're all-in-one shop with everything. I don't think today's client is kind of looking for that all-in-one service. Why? Because if they want some maternity shots or whatever, I'm just gonna go to the person who specialized in that because they're gonna do it the best. Doesn't that make sense? So, perhaps, what you might wanna do is repackage your Instagram accounts and have each one for whatever service you're offering, and that will look a little bit more cohesive, and look specialized. So, let's say you do weddings and you do head shots. Just have one for head shots, just have one for weddings, and be specialized in that, and let's say you don't-- I have a thing about Instagram, too. I think it's great, and I think, especially for younger people and newer people, (fingers snapping) that's your business card. Right? And, so it's like, "Oh, hey. "How can I get ahold of you?" Oh, my Instagram handle's this. "Oh, okay." That's it. Right? And, so, I feel like if you're just starting out and you don't have a lot of stuff, right, a lot of photos, a lot of jobs to support what you do, then I just say, "Hey, just get an Instagram account," because how many photos do you need for that first page? You just need nine. Fill up those nine squares then it looks like you have a full Instagram account, and then you can just, and you're just starting, right? Somebody asks you, "Oh, yeah, business card? "Oh, you can find me on Instagram, this." Bam, there. There's your website. Because, if you're just starting out, it's really hard for you to fill a webpage out with amazing content, and about me, and all this kind of stuff, and plus, you probably have a full-time job at the same time. It's like, how are you gonna juggle doing all this stuff? Then you gotta constantly update it all the time. It's really difficult, and now-a-days, kids are just looking Instagram account. That's it. Boom. Done, right? And, so that could be your business calling card. It's just that, but specialize in it, right? Have a cohesive set about that. Maybe even, just, like, for my Instagram, I don't even put anything personal on it. I just show my pictures on it, my work. Where as I do more personal stuff on my Facebook account. So, you know, just a slight repackaging works wonders, and, hey, while we're talking about repackaging, sometimes we need to repackage ourself, right? And, so sometimes that means, hey, we wanna feel good about ourself, so why not just get healthy, buy ourself a new wardrobe? And, sometimes, just that little thing of making us feel good, we're gonna go out there with a bit more confidence, and I'm telling you, if there's a big decider on who they wanna hire, and let's say these people, their skill levels are the same, more times than not, they're just gonna look at the person who's put together better. Boom. That's it. Because they don't know. And, so there's this report that, by Yahoo, and they said someone, most people, sum you up, have an opinion about you, in five seconds. They put you in a box. What box do they want? What box do you wanna be in? And, so, yeah, I mean everybody shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I'm gonna tell you reality is that we all judge people when we only look at them for five seconds, and we think that you're one way, unfortunately. So, why don't we put ourselves in the best possible position? Why not? It's in our control, right? I mean, I have to. I have to do that. Why? Because I got five seconds for somebody to look at me, and I'm a short Asian dude, okay? So, if I'm not put together, then I don't got anything going for me at all, right? (laughter) So, it's like, hey, man, I at least gotta look respectable when I meet people, because I'm not one of those, like, you see, Nigel Barker, the exact opposite. That's me, right? (laughter) And I know it. But I-- It's like we all have positives and we all have negatives. We all have baggage and we all have great things about us. Right? Ain't that the truth? Right? So, we just gotta accentuate what we are in changed-- I can't get any taller, right? So, I gotta take what I've got and I've gotta use that, and that's more than enough, more than enough to do whatever you wanna do in life, really. So, despite all the challenges and all the shortcomings that we think we have, we don't have any, right? I just posted something on Facebook. This photographer with no hands and no legs doing amazing work, okay? So, if you feel bad about yourself, just go watch it. Anybody see that video? It's like this guy, he has no legs and no hands, and he's going out there, taking these amazing pictures. So, what does that mean? We have no excuses. There are absolutely no excuses in life, okay? Yeah, we've got baggage. Yeah, we've got negative things. But, we have been given enough. We have been blessed enough to be successful, and we've gotta own it, okay? No more excuses. Own what we are and go forward with it. Alright. Create, okay, so this is another thing. If you feel like you're in a rut and you don't know what to do, what's great is sometimes it's just build new business relationships. Do another project with somebody else. Maybe that's somebody that's completely opposite of your style or whatever, and so, what I've learned to do, for example, like, anybody hear of Samy's Camera? So, Samy's Camera is probably the largest camera store on the west side of the Mississippi, right? So they're pretty big. Wouldn't it be great to have a relationship with them if you're an educator? So, that's what I did. Just concentrate on trying to get in with Samy's, right? And sometimes it means me doing something for a low cost or whatever, just so they can see who I am, right? And, so now we've kinda put together some things we're doing together, a workshop in San Miguel, Mexico, which is totally awesome, right? And then I'm speaking like four times a year, right? Doing something for them, so that audience can see who I am. A new relationship puts me in a different light, okay? And, same thing, right? And, so I started this wedding bootcamp. I love weddings, and so I said, "Let's do some workshops "just dedicated to shooting weddings," because nobody wants to shoot weddings anymore for some reason. So, what, go opposite. Nobody wants to do it, then you should do it, right? So, I think it's a great market, and so I teamed up with my friend, William Innes, and we just started this wedding bootcamp that we're gonna do around the country, right, and we're just focusing on weddings. But, it's a new relationship. It's a new dynamic, right? Kylen went to our workshop, right? It was pretty funny, right? Good times. Because, like, we play off each other. We're good friends. We've known each other for 10 years. He's different than I am and it's great. So, it brings a new, just a new twist to things, right? Guess what? I'm on Creative Live again, right? I haven't been on here for years doing these workshops. I'm trying to work out some things so that maybe I can be on here a little bit more regularly. New relationship. New audiences, new things, and those times when you just don't have it in yourself, just combining you with another organization, or another person with a new energy, together, it can re-energize something, and that's a very effective way of building your network, and doing something different, and keeping it fresh again, okay? Okay, let's end it up now, and then maybe we have time for a couple questions. Let's go back to our story and their dilemma, right? We had Mr. Beaver, we had Mr. Mule, and they had a wedding that they needed to get to. It takes five days to get there, but it's in four days. So, it takes five days to travel to get there, but there's only four days 'til the wedding. They had a big dilemma. Mr. Beaver wants to try to figure out a better solution or something, and then the mule says, "No, we can't wait. "We just gotta get going right now." Right? But, guess what? Mr. Goat comes along. Goat. What does goat stand for? They say this in athletics. You're the goat. Greatest of all time, okay? He comes along and says, "Okay, my friends, "don't worry. "I know a short cut and I can get you there in two days. "Let's go together." Right? Bam! Problem solved. (laughter) What do these things represent? Right? What does the goat represent? (soft mumbling) Goat represents the mentor, the coach, and sometimes we're so focused in on seeing a solution one way because that's all we know. Somebody who's experienced can step back and say, "Wait a second. "You're doing all this. "You don't need to do it. "Just go right here. "It's much faster, much better." It's that expert, that greatest of all time person, that comes into your life and show you things that you never thought of because they're outside of your box and can give you expert information, right? And that's great, and that's what you gotta do, and that's why you're here at Creative Live, right, is because you're getting this information from experts and I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, "Oh, man, "I was doing it this way, "I saw this teacher on there. Wow. "I can't wait 'til I go out there again." Right? You need that on a constant basis. Every single month, you've gotta have that, not unless you wanna take 15 years, 10 years to get there. That's fine, like me. You have an extra 15 years in your life, I guess you could do it yourself, but if you really wanna excel fast, you gotta look for those who are experts and they can really help you, okay? Alright, so, here it goes. Social media and not posting anything personal, I get that. Like, I get being professional and just having your work on there and using it as a website and portfolio, but isn't there something to be said for the current, kind of, market on social media where they want to see behind the scenes, Yes. And they want to see your personality. So, how do you work that in without showing. It's all on my Facebook. Okay, so that's how you do it, okay. Yeah, I talk about everything on my Facebook. Okay, cool. I talk about my ideas, about my family, I show pictures of my family there, and I mix everything. That's my hodgepodge thing. Okay. Because Facebook's more acceptable to do that where it could be just your life, right? And I don't even get a business. I do have a business page only because if you wanna create ads on Facebook, but really, it's all me and my personal-- So it's your personal Facebook, not your business page? Yeah. So, like, I'm maxed out on my friends. I've already got five thousand, but they still can follow you. So, I have like five thousand friends and like 12 thousand followers still. So, that's where I get a bulk of my people going to my workshops. Where they find out is usually through my Facebook, but I share everything there. I'm not afraid to do that because I want people to buy in because I learned very soon in my career booking weddings is that, you know, the people that pay a lot for weddings, they really value photography, and if they got you on your list, they wanna stalk you for an entire year before and check you out. They wanna know everything about you. So, I would go to these appointments. You know, I would get these consultations with clients, and they'd be so excited and go, "You know what? "I know more about yourself than you. "I know that you adopted two daughters. "I know that you used to didn't make any money, "and I knew that you started your career at 37," and I'm like, "Wow." Right? It's because you're trying to get them to buy into you personally. So, that's very, very important. So, I think there's a branding of your business and that should look a certain way, but then I think there should be outlets where you can share your personal life, too. So, that's why I said maybe just do your personal Facebook on something else, too, or personal Instagram. So, you can have an Instagram account that's just your family and stuff like that, too. Right? And link it. Yes, question. So, when you say Facebook, are you saying on your personal page because with the business page, Facebook limits you. Yeah, yes. So, I was kinda doing the opposite. That's why I'm not keen on business Facebook pages because I can't share as much Okay. I can't link as much. I've been feeling that, yeah. And so what I do is-- Unfortunately, is that I can only accept five thousand friends and if you want to be my friend, you can't be my friend, but you can follow me. But, if you come to one of my workshops, I'll kick somebody else out to add you. (soft laughter) You're special. (laughs) Yes? You can take one last question. One last question. So, you talk about every couple of years, your brand might get kinda old. It's time to repackage. Yeah. Would you put that on your calendar? Like, if things are going great right now? No. You wouldn't think-- I just feel by business. You just feel it out every year? You can tell. Like, oh they're not calling me as much, you know? They're asking this other person to speak and not me. You know, you just sense it. You just feel it. So if you're successful, you stick with it until it's time? Until it dies. But, in the back of your mind, you might-- So, as creatives, we're notorious to do that. We're notorious to start other projects, way too many projects, and that's usually us, right? (laughter) Are you kidding? Usually, we just do one thing? No way. (laughter) No way. So, that's not usually a problem because we've got all these other things that we've been working on anyways, right? Maybe it's just time to push one of those forward or whatever, yeah. So, good. Scott, I think we can slip one last one in. Any advice on finding a mentor? Any advice on finding-- I think the first thing you gotta do is you gotta identify with that person, right? And so you have to... And also it has to be kind of your, let's say photography-wise, let's say you shoot seniors for example, right? You may not necessarily want a person who shoots street photography because that's kinda way too off as an expert, right? So, I think you have to, whatever you shoot, you have to at least appreciate the work that that photographer, you have to respect that work and admire the work that that photographer does. Because then, in your mind, he's producing at a high level, okay? And so you gotta buy in to that, and then it's just like building a relationship, right? So, maybe he's offering a workshop or something and say, "Oh, well, okay," or, "Let me just check them out on Creative Live." You can't hide on Creative Live. When you're doing a long workshop on Creative Live, you're gonna see what this person is about. So, maybe buy a Creative Live class like, you know, crazy stupid light or whatever. Think like a day-cay whatever and you get to see them on a longer, and then you can maybe go on one of their workshops, and then slowly take it from there. Go, "You know what? "I think this person is a good fit "because, you know what, he also has a family "and I have a family, "and he's a one man show, and I'm a one man show, "and that seems to work," and whatever, right? And it's a good fit, but it's really developing a relationship, trying to develop a relationship.

Class Description

If you're serious about running your own photography business, marketing is a 24/7 part of it. Scott Robert Lim will explain how to use marketing to help plan and achieve your financial goals. He'll discuss steps to take with your photography so that you grow and evolve with the market, how to raise your rates, and ways to leverage social media.



Scott Robert Lim is one of my all-time favorite instructors. He is humble, honest, engaging, funny, and down-to-earth. Most importantly, he truly cares about his students' success. You can tell he truly wants to help less experienced photographers to grow their business and their skill sets. He is brutally honest in a good/helpful way. In this short class, he provides numerous "nuggets" of information - specific things to think about when analyzing where you stand/where you want to go....things you may be doing that are holding you back...and specific and actionable suggestions for getting out there and drumming up new clients/work. His beliefs/values/ideas all resonate with me. Glad he is still teaching at Creative Live. Hope to see more classes from him in the years to come.

Margaret Lovell

Scott is one of my favorite instructors. Very engaging, and you know how much he loves what he does. He's enthusiastic. My biggest issue is in marketing myself better, which is why I signed up for this course. I'm glad that I did. The material was on point, concise, and Scott provides many actionable tips that can be used right away. I highly recommend this course.

Kaela Comontofski

Great class! First time hearing Scott Robert Lim speak and I really enjoyed his personality and presentation. He was concise but covered a wide range of topics and gave helpful examples. He was knowledgable and although some things I already knew it was said in a way that sparked ideas and excited me to try new approaches.

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