Building Your Portfolio


Marketing Your Photography Business


Lesson Info

Building Your Portfolio

So today we're going to cover some marketing ideas and we're going to go from like, you know, some boot camp you know, our grassroots approach I should say to marketing that are not going to cost you money but I'm going to cost you time, which is the one thing when you're starting your business out, you have plenty of you've got time just know money and we're gonna talk about some advanced marketing ideas that not necessarily are all going to cost money but required to be a little bit more further along in your career so uh get ready because get the note pads out start taking notes this is gonna be a lot of information today just like it was yesterday and for all of you out there get your questions ready I love keeping it interactive I love your questions I think it helps drive the discussion here's what's on the agenda today building your portfolio right? Where do we start? That was the number one question last time I was here for the five day boot camp. Where do I start? Sal, I love ...

this. I'm working a full time job. How do we get that first shoot under my belt? How do I break into a new niche so we're gonna talk about some ideas for getting that stuff going um right your weekend warrior a lot of us are that's where we all started that's where I started I was a weekend warrior but I wanted to quit my day job I hated it it wasn't my passion and I want to be a full time photographer how do I get from weekend warrior two full time pro and maybe you're a full time pro but your business is going the wrong direction it's going backwards right market share is being eroded by the shooting burners on all the people are just starting out and coming into the market how do I separate my business? My brand from the rest? So we're going to talk about that as well. Also the biggest challenge you hear me talk about it not only, uh, today or any time you've seen me before how do I get the right client? You always hear me talking about not my client and some of you step back and you okay? Great, not my client, but who the hell is my client? And so we're gonna talk about connecting with the right client, creating an environment that fosters okay, the attraction and connection of the reich line. I don't want the wrong client and believe it or not, bad clients just we get more bad client, so we've got to get away from that and I'm sure we all have those horror stories where we start getting bad referrals I don't know about you guys but when I get that call and I asked how'd you hear about us and they're like oh, you know susie sent us I start cringing because susie right he's a bad client uh and I don't want anybody even connected to her so yeah, I might prejudging probably but that's reality um do we do do we shoot for free or do we charge? How many of you out there here in the audience are out there right? You're just starting out your businesses you're not fully experienced you should not be out there trying to charge full price for your services you've got to kind of get some shoots under your belt you've got to build your portfolio that stuff takes time, it takes energy what you don't want to do is go out there, put yourself out there is a professional wedding photographer and school run the risk of scoring up someone's wedding day that's actually really, really bad I would never want to see you do that to any of your potential clients and the truth is you could ruin your reputation and take it to a point where it's you just can't recover and so let's be smart about some of this stuff and if you're being transparent with someone you say hey, I'm just starting out this is new for me then they understand what they're getting themselves into there's nothing wrong with that um dealing with friends or family anybody enjoy shooting their friend now I write shaking their heads and all right where were all in the same boat man when I when I get it I don't know about you, but when we go on any vacations, any trips it's just automatically assume that I'm bringing you know, forty pounds of camera equipment with me so that we're not gonna bring our camera sounds bringing his right no, I want to be on vacation too I don't want to photograph but you know it's amazing when you when you start getting better and better as a photographer all of a sudden you've got family members you never even knew you had like I'm talking like fifth generation cousins you're like no, I'm not shooting your wedding for free uh or they invite you as a guest and then they expect you to photograph there there were you're bringing your camera right? No, no, not so we'll talk about how to deal with at some ideas how we deal with it ah and go from there again. I've got five ideas for you on marketing on a budget and we're gonna explore those ideas and if you're out there get ready because I think these are things you can apply to your business immediately and same for you here now, I might taken idea, and I took an idea for babies, families, seniors and weddings and some of those who'll intermixed with each other. But I'm gonna start getting you thinking differently about marketing and going after these because there's no reason in the next sixty days all your businesses can't turn around completely, so I'm gonna make sure it happens. They want to go on some. I say five marketing ideas I think I put in the slide deck last night seven or eight different marketing ideas that are a little more advanced. And so there's gonna be a lot of fun to talk about and share some discussion with on how you can walk away from here and start implementing them. So you're right. There is the meet of what we're talking about while yesterday was like all this branding awareness, understanding, you know, some advertising concepts understanding the psychology of the sale that's all fine and dandy, but now it's about, you know, brass tacks, how do I get this out there and start doing here's your roadmap for doing okay? So everything I do, what I'm teaching you guys, I'm trying to kind of bread crumb it along, so you understand if we do this, this is what happened. Is next same for everyone out there so that's what we're going to cover today there's no reason you guys are stepping back after they scratching her head going what do I do next there's no way right unless you're just not paying attention that you're asking that question anymore and then finally we're gonna wrap up the day with selling the actual experience okay so I'm telling you we have to be more than just a photographer ok everybody's got a camera today we establish that yet yesterday everybody's a photographer everyone's our competitors well great I don't want to compete down at that part of the market I want competed a higher end I want to be more than a photographer meaning we have to start selling the experience that's great. That sounds awesome once again but what does it mean? What is the experience it's not just good customer service it goes beyond that so we're going to start drilling into the overall experience all right with that being said oh one more thing what products what services should I carry? Okay if you're going from this phase where you're just a shooting burner handing over a cd you don't know what you should be carrying you don't know what you should offer in your product line up what you should charge for it and so I'm gonna do a little refresher on pricing and packaging we've actually since we were here in november talking on the wedding boot camp are pricing and packaging has changed as it should. I told you that right back in november, I said we're constantly fine tuning our pricing model, so some things are the same, but things have been tweet, so I'm gonna bring up our engagement pricing and we're gonna walk through it so that you can see the new products were carrying and offering to our clients and what we're charging for those new products. And so we've tweaked our packages a cz well, so I think that would be really helpful, kind of bringing the day to a close. All right, so let's, get started here getting that first shoot under your belt don't tune out on this part if you're an established studio, because the first shoot can be just a new niche you're going after, right? So for us were established studio, but we we added a glamour line to our studio. In essence, I needed to get that first shoot under my belt, so it becomes very, very important, so this could be an absolute huge obstacle for you. As you're starting out, where do I go to get that first shoot under under my belt, right? So, lisa, is this something you're facing a challenge with right now? Is you're growing your new into the business? I already have a full clientele that I'm like, hey, you want to come play dress up for the day and let recent pictures of you in every form your salon? So are they receptive to that? Yeah, and that's great. So you've got this great kind of court to go after dana, what about you? You're starting out as well. Is this an area you're struggling in? Uh, yeah, because I've been doing some portfolio building and it's, like, I don't charge of a lot of money and now it's like, should I have charged money? You know, since I was just learning, so so let's talk about that for a second, especially for everyone out there who is just learning and wondering, should I charge? Shouldn't I charge? We'll get into that more in depth later, but the truth is, I don't think that you have to charge when you're just starting out right now. I understand you're trying to make a living, and we're trying to write, we've got a full time job. Luckily, your full time job is helping absorb some of those costs. In the interim, you should be hustling, right? Not one shoot a month or one should every two weeks like you need to be dedicating. Two days a week to figuring out what is your action plan? What does that first you look like, what do you strong at? What do you weak at those? Those are the questions you've gotta have answered. If not, you're just floundering right your way, all of you out there, you're walking around going. I just need to build my portfolio. No, you need to do more than build your portfolio. You need that experience. You need to learn how to use off camera flash. You need to learn how to shoot in a little light situations you need to understand your your workflow, your post production you need to understand products design photoshopped is a lot of things you need to start learning about don't flounder put your plan together, which, by the way, we're going to talk about tomorrow and, well, you guys will be trapped with me tonight, so we'll be talking about it more. Uh, tonight, but so do you shoot for free? How do you begin? When I was starting out, I'm gonna go all the way back to, like two thousand six. Ok? So I was still working at microsoft full time. But I had this bug and I had a five year plan which is kind of funny because at home my wife makes fun of me because what's a five year plan usually turns into like a five week plan, right? So we start moving very things get accelerated in the cicada household and so as you all know him on business probation not allowed to start any new businesses for this year but the clock is ticking, man so twenty fourteen game time um so here we are two thousand six my buddy that I worked with at microsoft he's got the same bug I have we go in half and rent a studio space together and which cost me one hundred fifty bucks a month and him one hundred fifty bucks a month so it was just this kind of one giant room with a psych wall that we were using in there and I knew nothing about lighting I mean nothing right and that's where a lot of photographers they're starting out right there natural light photographers, right? Well, that's pretty convenient to be a natural life photographer because the only reason your natural life photographers because you don't understand any other kind of light well you're doing a disservice to yourself and to your craft you have to invest that time right? But where, when how so when you're learning pick up a book there's nothing wrong with that get out there and experiment make mistakes on models and so that's what we were doing we would get models that were ready. Teo time for proofs, right? So if you ever see an ad t f p it's time for proofs that means they're willing to work for the digital images it's a match made in heaven get people in there for an hour and a half two hours because if you produce nothing and it's all crap you're still okay with your client because they're not they're paying you for it they understand that they're experimenting so everyone at home start making a list of what areas of your craft your week out what do we got? Tell me five things your week out when it comes to your craft I'm not talking about sales, marketing, all that other stuff that I'm going to say that's a given I agree with that, but technically where you not sound a lot of you off camera flash a lot of you not understanding your camera. It is mind boggling to me the amount of photographers that I sit down with that our workshops and I'm helping them figure out how to use their actual camera how to switch their eyes so how to move their focus points okay, so not hit this is not a shooting workshop but my biggest pet peeve in the world is when you focus your camera center focus right that little red dot we all have and then you recompose to put the person in the third reich bottom right? Third bottom left third okay, let me tell you about that technique that is horrible technique the reason is the very nature this is physics where having a physics conversation okay, you can't argue with me there's nothing argue about when you move your camera you're very nature of your lens is curved so the second you do this you are forcing your focal plane to move and they will be soft there's nothing to argue about theywill be soft and if you want to sell a twenty by thirty print you cannot focus recompose your image it looks great on camera on that little two inch screen so when you start selling two inch screen steer clients that will work out just great. But when you want to sell big ass prints and canvases, we've got to get tax sharpe images so you've gotta learn how to move that dot now kanan did this amazing thing and they gave this little green book that comes with your camera. Nikon does the same thing. It is the most boring I read in the world it sucks it's bathroom reading okay, but grab your little green manual head to the bathroom and read that damn thing okay, because we're all laughing but we have to understand how to use our equipment imagine you're in the field you're at a wedding and you're scrambling your struggling uh your flashes and going off you know many times I've been in a wedding and my flash just decides to stop working right or it starts dumping full power flashes so everybody's blown out and I'm like what's going on right oh you know what you do you just open up the latch take the batteries out put him back in turn it back on all right so it just got scrambled to get screwed up but I can't let my equipment my whole point of that story is I can't be in the middle of an event and let my equipment make me panic and more confident you are and confidence comes from experience nothing can go wrong where you don't understand what your equipment's doing and so you have to understand your equipment you pay thousands of dollars for it invested it now this is something I'm talking about when you're getting that first shoot under your belt these are the things you have to be working on right as your grow as you're growing your business dana you look frustrated you are you is this proper processing allergies or something so I'm just okay what you want to be mad at me today that I'm not mad I'm gonna hit him with this microphone and stop talking to me sound yeah um so let's get going. Um so what do you what do you charge? I think that's very subjective you know, when I when I was starting out I was shooting time for proof this is back in two thousand six, right? Not when we started up as officially in o seven as an official studio this is back in all six on playing around. I'm experimenting, I'm learning I wasn't making any money at all. In fact, my photography like many of you out there was a cost center it just cost me money. I was just spending money on new equipment, new lenses, new lights, things I didn't even frickin need, but I didn't know I didn't need it because no one was sharing information I just bought all I'm I need this right? I need a five way reflector I use one way I only use silver. So what are these other four ways? I didn't understand all this what's a scrim? I didn't understand all that stuff right? So I had to learn the hard way. So take that time as your building this and make a list. This is something you can do right now of the next five things don't put a list of one hundred things together it's daunting five things you need to learn on the technical aspects of being a photographer lighting reflector natural light open shade off camera flash right I'm just I'm just saying things learning how to move your focus point understanding how your camera performs in in low light understanding are you shooting manual mode or aperture priority um whatever way you want to shoot is up to you okay I always loved up he for professional debate that's always fun times right then you've got guys like job using whore friggin geniuses with a camera and he's like yeah I put it in p I get what I need to get and I move on right so it's not about do you put it in p for pro ah rapture priority it's about do you understand what your cameras doing right just because you put it in that mode doesn't mean you're any less of a professional what makes you less of a professional is if you don't understand what's happening with your camera when you put it in p right so we've got to understand our equipment I can't stress that enough for all of you so there's two scenarios here I'm a part time or wanting to go full time okay or I'm a full time wanting to go into a niche so those air too realistic scenarios I'm sure there's other scenarios but those air to that I think are fairly realistic to be thinking about so challenge number one obviously no one's ever heard of you when you're starting out you're an unknown remember I told you about yesterday worst thing that could happen your business is no one's ever heard of you and that's great if you're just starting out but how if you're three four five years studio or mohr and no one really knows who you are that is not a good thing there's no excuse for that anymore so we've gotta work on that that has to be mission number one for your brand right when I hear when I'm in st louis and I hear salvador cincotti photography do I have good thoughts about the brand do have bad thoughts about the brand that's on me if I have no thoughts about the brand that is not a good thing right there's always gonna be haters out there okay not only in the professional community in the consumer world right there just gonna just gonna hate hate on what you're doing not like it maybe they couldn't afford you whatever the case may be haters are going to do their job right they hate that's their job so they're good at it all right jules we had a conversation sent me a little video made me laugh last night but that's their job haters their job is to hate so keep on keeping on if that's your job for for us our job is to build our business build our brand now that being said there's no excuse after five years three years I should say that no one's heard of you or majority of people haven't heard of you we can't have indifference seniors if you're a senior photographer when you think of senior photography are you thinking about salvator cincotti photography if you're in my local market if you're not if you've never heard of us again that is a very bad thing this is what you need to be doing is building that momentum but when you're trying to get models becomes very difficult if no one's ever heard of you challenge number two this is mostly from males you've got that creeper alert man right we cannot have that creeper alert you've got to be careful right now I know you're young and you're you're trendy and all that other stuff but it doesn't matter we still run the risk of just coming across his creeper so I'ma share true story with you it's funny but it wasn't funny at the time so this is going back this is two thousand seven were in a barnes and noble's in back in illinois by our house, right? And at the time you guys all know I'm very outward personality, so I'm not very shy I mean a barnes noble and there's this just beautiful little three or four year old girl she's beautiful she's sitting there with her mom and her grandmother and I'm thinking myself I'm trying to build my portfolio back then right? So I'm trying to get kids in that are attractive kids, right? You don't wanna build your your portfolio on ugly kids sorry uh is that two rods that to honest? I'm sorry uh so we're trying to build our portfolio and I and I go up to this mom okay? And I put on my business card I say excuse me guys your daughter's just she's adorable she's beautiful I'm a professional photographer I'm building my portfolio and I would love the opportunity to photograph her and maybe give you guys some free prints the mother stands up in the middle of barnes and noble's and she goes oh, you think my daughter's attractive oh, you want to take some pictures of her? Well let me let me call her father he's in aisle three he's a marine maybe you could talk to her father I'm like ma'am this is a true true story I'm like ma'am I think you've completely misunderstood what I'm saying to you I said it was purely a compliment again I'm a professional no, let me get let me get her father I'm sure he'd love this hey, jim hey, jim he wants to take a picture of your daughter would you are you okay? I leave the store dude, I'm gone okay? So massive creeper alert when you're a guy right? If a girl went up and did that totally received completely differently but as a mail we have to be aware that that was the first and last time I have ever approached someone about photographing their daughter their kid, their dog anything I don't even want to talk to people when it comes to that so just be mindful of that challenge number three is of course confidence confidences where I see a lot of a struggle even to this day we still struggle with confidence you know the one thing that makes me laugh all the time is we all go and check out other photographers websites right don't we do that? We look at other tigers images and then after we do that we are convinced we suck we completely suck and and I'm guilty of that too I go to some websites I hate getting sucked into other photographers website I go there and I look at my man that's really good oh wow oh god we socked taylor come look at this right it's just it's just perpetuates this problem we have with confidence right as artists as photographers what are we all searching for ultimately its acceptance we want that acceptance of our artwork because we're putting our heart and soul into every image we make that's what we're looking for from our client so we all struggle a little bit with his confidence I don't want everybody anyone out there to think that even you know, the most season of prose isn't struggling with confidence we all have that issue and that's ok it's just understanding how to deal with it and identifying it and dealing with it so let's talk a little bit more about that confidence, okay? First and foremost it comes with experience and so what? I started off talking to guys about right? The first thing I did was I said tell me, um the one thing you have to do is get out there work with your equipment, okay? So you've got to start working with your equipment and that will make you confident. Well, if your wedding photographer and you're starting out where do you panic in the church? Because it's dark so I use my flash don't use my flash I don't even know how to use my flash I can't tell you how many e mails or phone calls I've gotten from people saying to me I have a wedding this weekend can you give me some tips and tricks with my flash? No, I am not sending you tips and tricks and email on how to use your flush you need to get out there you need to practice, okay, but that's an area we struggle with and I want to pause here I don't want to go through my whole list yet I'm putting you guys on the spot what are you struggling with as your beginning from a technical perspective, let's start with you. I'm going down this whole role so you guys better get ready? Well, I'm not the photographer, but I do know that, um you never put a camera in your hand. No, it's not true. Okay, well, okay, so for me, it would be that the focus I mean, there's a long list of things that I would need thio were kind, but for my husband, I know that off camera flash. So he's constantly working on that I'm constantly a model for that because he's not yeah, so I'm you know, after work we're working on the off camera flash when I get home and on the out on the internet start start pilot in your comments, I want to know I want to see, like, three or five things that people consistently feel they're lacking confidence in so let's get some of those common jules, um, well, obviously there's a lot of things that need to work on, but, um, probably one of the biggest is just making sure that my settings air right going from indoor outdoor interesting, you know, and making sure that my shutter speed is fast enough because I tend to make it too slow so my subjects always blurry so that's ah that's great. Are you looking through your viewfinder when you're shooing shooting? Are you paying attention to your setting? Yes, and well, are you doing this? Well, I think my problem is that I get too wrapped up in the moment and being involved with a client and excited for what's going on, and I just want to make sure I capture it, but I don't take ten seconds to make sure my settings all right, so can I give you two piece of pieces of advice? Cause the challenge you're having right now, I guarantee you is the same challenge people out there are also having here's how I train my team that's, why I'm asking you guys these questions because all the insecurities you have anybody working on my team is suffering from the same things as they're coming up forcing I challenge my team to do is guess what they think theis o is in the room, walk into a room. Guess what you think it is, okay, second thing is, your camera settings should never go below one hundredth of a second. Now, does that mean you can't hand hold and get a sharp image at a sixteenth of a second of forty eighth of a second? No, I'm sure you can, but until you have that experience, I tell my team, I don't want that setting going below one hundredth of a second, okay? And if it does, first place you need to check is that your eye so is where it needs to be that takes practice, so when you're working with me and you're and you're coming up on our team, we walk into a room first thing I'll do is look to somebody who's working with us. What do you say? And they panic, right? Because now they have to they have to answer that question, and I want them to panic because if they can't handle the pressure of me asking them that question, they're definitely not gonna be able to handle it. We get into the real world and the bride's coming down the aisle and all these other things are going on, okay, also, listen, when you're so shutter, speed is love slow, you hear? I don't even have to look at your camera settings if I've got a shooter next to me or on the other side of the church and I here they get the eyes immediately and they know what's happening to because they're no dummies, they look at me too they look to see if I heard that because they know they didn't they didn't do what they're supposed to do finally test shot so before whenever I walk into a scene I don't care what's going on I forced my team and myself to take a test shot I even announce it all right hold on guys test shot no one tenth of a second and then I died and I make the adjustment right that test shot forcing yourself to take that test on is what will guarantee you fix that problem immediately so slow down all right and take that test shot good I have two things I'm really working on right now um exposure compensation because I never messed with that until my last shoot so you're shooting aperture priority then yeah right cause in manual mode really isn't uh exposure compensation so after property which is how I shoot by the way so avie mode so I've been messing with that quite a bit which really outdoors has affected beef previously I had no clouds but when I bring the stops down one or two I'm noticing oh mike lodger it's not all blown out in the background that's right? So some of that you can recover with the light room editing right is doing a great job with raw files yeah, so that's huge and then um whenever I have to use a flash, I panic that I just it's I'm very proud of you that you're working on the aperture priority right cause I'm a big believer in shooting operas your priority where you need to, where you need to work on immediately and walking out of here, and maybe we'll mess around with it tonight or tomorrow. We'll see what time looks like, but I want you to start working with off camera flash there's no, just get out there in practice, right? In fact, doing in your home when I was learning flash, I took a can of soda, put it on my kitchen counter and then just played so I don't even need a model. I don't care what it really looks like. What I care about is that I understand the tech what's happening technically, so when I hit that that right shutter button and I press the button what's happening here, what's happening when the flash fires, what happens when I bounce it off the ceiling when I bounce it off the wall behind me? When I bounced it off the side wall what's happening to the light, understanding the light? Just go practice, get a can of soda in your room and start doing it because we cannot happen is you get into a scenario, right? And you've got your bridegroom and you've got two minutes to pull off a shot, and now you're spending ten minutes. Jacking around with your equipment right that can't happen you've got the equipment cannot get in the way of the shot the equipment has to enhance the shot not get in the way of it sam make sense it does it just makes me panic like socially indoors if there's a cake shop and you have one minute I'm like oh my god manual setting on my flash make sure it's right thank god you know I'm just praying and I should meet teo on the flash right so I want to understand something and there's a lot of diehards thatyou manual mode nothing wrong with that if it's working for you that's fine I just believe kanan and I kind of put millions and millions of dollars into their media ring systems in the camera I want to try and use that as much as I can so I'm using the tl and then using exposure compensation to compensate for that because you can also do exposure compensation on your flash right so I take a shot and you're under exposed true in manual mode I would just plus one plus two well I could do the same thing an aperture priority now so the cameras going take the shot it's gonna go here's how much flash I think you need okay boom it's not enough I'm gonna go plus one and a half and then just keep doing it incrementally so now within seconds I've got to the shot right within two test shots you should be dialling so try that. Okay that's good lisa e I have a lot to learn about your evil e even know it is starr was like you're talking like with the whole e t t l think I love the experience level you are going from like what's a camera teo like five years of business so this is well I'm one of those people I was fortunate if we have it detached garage with huge windows I'm like, oh, I can do natural light and it's working for me for my portrait's and I'm doing a pretty good job so obviously I need to learn flesh let's pause there because I think what you're talking about is not uncommon for people out there and things there faced facing challenges with right I don't want you to believe right let's step away from the haters for a second right that's what they do they hate so let them hate there's nothing or if you're a natural life photographer and that's your business and that's your style and that's your brand god bless do it enjoy it be great at it okay be great at it but if you feel you do need to introduce some flash to adjust your look to control to build the brand to create something that looks different right that's not everyone can replicate then yes, you do need to learn it if you're gonna start shooting weddings yes, you do need to learn it but if you have if your natural life photographer and that's your thing go for it does that make sense? Yeah, right embrace who you are embrace your brand don't be afraid of it. My, my my big big thing is in the post production like putting my picture's out there I have no idea what I'm doing on photo shop I've got the general gist of it yeah, but there's still so much to learn in it actually, that is what we need to talk about because I guarantee you out there people are freaking out from, you know, with photo shop and things like that there's like a million plug ins. I was very fortunate I have a technical background coming from microsoft so learning new technologies, learning new programs that came a little easier to me but there's a lot of people out there who are just starting out and they're already struggling trying to figure out how to use their camera there already struggling, figuring out how to, you know, just handle workflow period on grow the business, which is where you need to be spending more time and now here you are sitting at home reading an eight hundred page thick manual on, you know, six and that's not going to help you grow your business at all, especially if you're not passionate about it. I happen enjoy editing a little, but even I still outsource because I can't get sucked into editing for ten or twelve hours after jobs. So you got two options. Either you're going to hire someone to do that for you, or you're gonna outsource it, right? Whatever the answer is, I can tell you what, it's not you don't have time in your life based on your businesses that you have multiple ones. You don't have time and family to sit there and be editing or learning how to use light room when then photoshopping and whatever else you're going to do. So that should scare you to death that but you need a solution. So by the end of this, you need to come. What are you doing? Are you gonna do it? Are you gonna learn how to do it? We're gonna hire somebody or you gonna outsource it. We just need an answer that you have it. You know what direction you're going. Good stuff, sal. Before we go there, we'll come back the last two in just one moment, but we have so many flooding in. Is it coming in good good yes so good job guys go to couple maybe get some feedback on those first I'm thinking about the biggest challenge I have with photography is people asking me to take my photo to challenge it's a challenge looking good dude won this interesting way and I'll get your comment on that because dauber says a challenge I guess he or she faces not being tall enough but they're five nine I know a lot of photographers who are below five foot five hundred dope in what they do this person said not tall enough in their five nine they said they want to get the crowd and get some good shot I mean I'm five ten it's not like I'm a giant walking through a crowd you know so you just gotta you gotta get your inner voice going man so it's out you know if you're you could be like a shy timid you know five nine and no one's gonna just kind of recognize you so I think it's more about your your presence uh at an event I mean I'm just being honest there's no wedding I'm at where it's not clear I'm in control of the event, right? So guests aren't controlling me I'm not getting lost in the crowd so find your inner voice or I dig deep find your inner sal and and go after him and uh you know just channel me right? Just poke somebody in the ribs, get him out of the way, and I think we have a question about that in just a second, but a couple of people on the run's just a jump man and your unique guy, you are you coming in control space, which is a unique skill set. We talk more about that in the second and similar folks here in the studio. A cherry says a challenge they face is low life photography and softening a harsh flash and caroline welles photography flash ratio settings, yeah, flash ratio settings. So if you're in flash ratio settings, you're dealing with multiple light, a light set up that it starts getting very advanced, so to say you're challenged in something that's very advanced doesn't actually surprise me. You will find that I am never involved in ratio settings, right? So that means you're you're firing this light at full power this slide into third? I'm not messing with any of those ratios, I'm not doing the kind of work that would require that. So normally, if I'm using off camera flash that kind of set up, I'm just going through e t t l on doing that, so not to say there's no validity to the ratio settings that is an advanced topic practice, practice, practice. Get going! Uh, practice on that coke can and that's the only way to do it, but, man, I don't know what kind of event there photographing where they're introducing that level of complexity sometimes it's just not worth it, all right, tina? Harold asked our says getting people to relax so photos look more natural and not so posed on danielle brown. Photography says being seventeen and starting a business can have its disadvantages because no one takes you seriously, so I want to share something with you there's uh, I've been I don't know if I'm fortunate this is just the nature of the industry I've got this following of they're just kids, you know, they got kids that are eighteen and under that are following us, and I get their emails and success story, so I don't know if this is somebody I've met before and had an impact on, but if you are, I love it because can you imagine being sixteen, seventeen and eighteen and running? Ah, full time photography business is just absolutely amazing. Yeah, yeah, I mean, think about the head start that you have on the world doing that, and that is a testament to the technology it's gotten easier and easier there's a kid, I work with his name's, jonathan and and we're working with him and he's already shooting his first wedding he's like seventeen years old can you imagine so this kid so you're right when you're young and you're getting started, I would say if you're under twenty five and you're getting and you're getting started into this, you've got to learn how to get people to take you seriously now first and foremost that's gonna come from confidence the confidence comes from experience and then you will believe in yourself and know that you can do this and that you're in control of the event, but I love the common about posing everybody struggles with posing and getting them to relax, ok? How do you get people to relax and not be stiff? That also comes from a little bit of confidence, okay, because if you believe in yourself and you believe in what you're doing, you'll be able to control that my biggest pet peeve, right? You guys all know I own evolve at its that's the post production company I see images come through all the time and here's what drives me nuts when I see no connection between couples right? And so you see this in your own body of work, I'm sure, but you'll see you'll see just people holding hands and they don't really look like they love each other that's your fault, right that's your fault you own that you own the connection and I know we all struggle with it, but if you struggle with it and you're weak at it, why the hell aren't you out there practicing on this and perfecting it and it's really simple here's how I run our business here's how I teach all my shooters if you're looking at a couple and they don't look like they're in love, then they're not because you're about to make an image and document that forever and you're about to send that message back to the couple, letting them know they don't look like they're in love. That could be an engagement session that khun b ah wedding that could be a senior obviously seniors not in love, but they don't look, they don't look comfortable, so either they're in love or they're comfortable if they don't look comfortable come on, guys, you can look at somebody and your gut tells you they don't look comfortable if they don't want you taking the picture, why are you clicking? Shake it off right now what I do to a client when I see that mike, how you doing, man? You all right? You're right now? I can't yeah, I'm told time like you look really stuff, okay, so loosen up, shake it off, shake it off, shake it off, right? I start getting silly with him right because I'm gonna loosen them up there like I hate having my picture taken no no no we're not having your picture taken were having fun today let's have some fun all right you two I want you to look at each other I do me a favor just blow a fart on her neck for me please okay and all of a sudden they're not taking pictures anymore which is goofing around now do I really want a picture of my groom blowing a fart on his bride's neck? No what I'm looking for though is to get them to shake it off loosened up and I'm willing to say any ridiculous thing to get my couples to just loosen up in front of the camera that is my job that's our job as photographers right so it's not just to sit there and click another pet peeve I see with wedding images especially you'll have the bridegroom or even engagement pictures standing there right right next to each other and they're like three feet away from each other right you know what I'm talking about you see these pictures that they look like this yeah it's like this right? So if if I'm standing this far away from my wife is not going to be something I want to put on my wall because there's no way in real life if I'm with my wife and I'm like I love you so much I'm like I love you so much, right that's not how it would pose with my wife, right? I'd be like your mind right at puller into me. I know you're getting worked up out there, taylor. I'll be the other later, alright, but so I would I would I would, you know I'm gonna pull her into me, right? So I want to create that love between my client's, right? And if I see them doing this back what's going on, guys, you guys love each other. Did you just meet right? And then he realised there being so stiff there's an art to that, I promise you, but if you see it with your eyes and you make that image, I blame you do something about it, learn to come out of her shell and control that that is a great, great problem here people have because I know they have it. So good question for we go back for the last two here in studio audience but of course, early talk about knowing the camera no, that technical skills which are so important and let's be honest me, you're you're a very sociable natural guy when it comes to communication, who you see right now on camera sound the exact same dude when the cameras aren't rolling as well, so how about in terms of interaction from people when you're trying to get people to relax for you is just natural for you? Or is it just a matter of sometimes you gotta you gotta fake the funk until you get there and get people relaxed and get them farting on next and stuff? Yeah, you got it, I can already see the farting on next thing taking a lot could be a mean yeah, it's going to be hashtag fart on neck? No so you know there is there is a gift to it. There is an art to it all. I understand it. I understand it's hard to get you to come out of your shell. Sometimes you've got to find your own rhythm, so to speak and let's talk reality there's me and then there's taylor, my wife, right? Our personalities are completely different. We are eun young man. So I'm very, very outgoing. She's very much reserved, yet she gets the same response from clients. She just does it in her own way. Right? So don't think you've got to go out there and do exactly what I'm telling you to do. They take away from all this is understanding that there's a problem. That's where your experience has to kick in right it's one thing to be a newbie in your four months in and you take that you make this image right it's another after you've now been it's been brought to your attention and you do nothing about it that's the problem so how you do something about it you've got to find it within yourself but I understand it's hurting your photography it's hurting your imagery it's hurting your your sales it's hurting print competition right I want to see connection this is not connection I want to see the group if she smiling the groom needs to be smiling how many images have we seen where the bride is just intuit she's loving it and then the groom is like completely disinterested why would anybody buy that portrait for their wall so we've got to recognize it that's the part I'm trying to get across to you how you deal with it that's the part I want you to practice you might try something and think it's funny I mean there's times where I say things and I think I'm like that's pretty funny and nobody laughs at me I'm like not funny okay so I've gotta adjust my style to my client but I recognize that that's the cake great let's get back we have two more people here in the studio audience to share some of your we have opportunities and some of your challenges uh when it comes to technical I'd say more of those advanced lighting techniques when you add two or three more lights um when I first started in photography I was very attracted to the off camera flash so that's pretty much all I did I wouldn't say I'm perfect at it but you're comfortable I definitely don't have to like worry about my settings like I just did a job last weekend and it was like I got to the job and it was like I didn't even think about my settings also I was worried about was like posing and directing you know, the students that I was working with so so what's your number one challenge though today just advanced stuff or even just communicating with my client I just you know dana what's funny is I can see that in you on I don't mean that in a bad way I can see you as a person getting flustered with it right? And I think when you're like that again the only reason I see that so well is because my wife's like that and when I would work jobs with her and I would see her starting to get flustered I was just going to go next time back hey man, deep breath that's all I'd have to say it or just take a deep breath so that she knew I knew and would slow down because that's the that's the biggest fraud of all right we're panicking inside and we think we got it all together and everyone around us is seeing what's going on uh and you know, I've only been rattled one time in my career is a photographer and I may have told you guys this story one time but I love sharing true stories because I want you understand crazy stuff happens to us to I was on an engagement session they wanted to bring their dog and so they um they bring their dogs to the shoot and I had the shot in my mind I'm like look, I want to have the dogs here I want you guys to be about twenty yards away I'm gonna lay down in the grass and then I want to let the dogs go and have them run to you and just, you know, create this kind of natural environment I said no to the doge's listen and she's like wow not really well more this one and I'm like well we don't have to do it like let's not do she no no no I want to do it they'll listen they'll listen I'm like are you sure she's like yeah okay, so the best part was I had two photographers in from out of town training with me so they came out to consult with us that and they're watching us through the shoot and run it I had the mom and dad off the couple there so I'm like okay on three we're gonna let the dogs go one two three dogs go with one runs stops right next to them sits down beautiful the other one not so much runs up to them stops a foot away from them looks at them looks back at me as if to say you crazy man right comes running back to me and I'm getting pictures of him running around gone dog takes off we're in a park just takes off gone all of a sudden two minutes later you hear ah boom so taylor is out there just a true story by the way is up there and she's she looks at me and she just goes like that she's lying not good I'm like you've got to be freaking kidding me I got people in town training with me I just got a dog hit by a car this dog better not know and I love dogs that's what makes it worse? We are huge dog lovers so we go running up there mom's uh the mother of the bride is holding the dog like a baby okay and just got a little cut on his forehead and he's got a little cut on his leg and he just got this look on his face like what just happened right and my bride says to me she goes here I should have said something he likes to chase cars I was a mess okay so here's where I'm going with all this I was a mess I thought I had it together and I didn't I was an absolute mass but inside in my mind I'm like I got this I got this it was my wife who had to come up to me and she's like pull it together right she's like you're finishing the shoot get it together I'm like whoa taylor got all in my face right so right we've got to understand what's happening in our own head we can't always shield what our clients are seeing now you have to work on that that's going to come with experience we sometimes crop goes wrong one time I had my camera the mirror inside just broke two snapped off I took a picture and you just heard technician teaching open up my lens I look in there the mirrors completely lucid it snapped off in there put the lens back on right I started pretending to take a few more pictures and then I was like all right we're good that's a wrap I'll see you at the next stop I had to run to the convenience store krazy glue uh the mirror back to my camera and finish the job right so I had to stay calm and composed so we all go there, right? With me, it's a lot what you were just talking about with the a lot of it's like anxiety driven, like posing, and I have all these crazy ideas in my head. Like what? To set my off camera flash. Adam, I don't want to do like a sixteenth of second on the flash over here, the sun's over here and I I overthink things too much where I don't really need to do that. That was the word I was going to use, by the way. Overthink. Yeah, because I mean, with light room, you can fix a lot of that stuff that you're wasting all that valuable time on, and but, you know, when you're in the hot seat of a shoot, especially on weddings, when you have an hour to get, you know, one hundred awesome photos on you, I panic like michael, we've got to get all this done, or I just need to slow down yeah, that's part of what you're saying, by the way, because you're being so honest with your answer right now, I guarantee you all of us, I have had that same anxiety driven response, whether it's time related or just we don't want our clients to think we don't know what we're doing. And the answer there is slow down take a deep breath start thinking about what you're trying to accomplish and think about the most efficient way to get there so we all know right you can go into photoshopping there's eighteen ways to edit an image same thing when you're on a photo shoot you could put ten foot photographers one model one wall and none of us would take the same image we would all see something differently so when you get onto those shoot if you're on a commercial job you've got all the time in the world to take one shot right when you're in a commercial job those guys could take three hours just to set up the lighting and that's great it's a commercial job you're in a wedding your bride right is looking at you getting visibly annoyed if you take more than thirty seconds so you've got to think long and hard before you put yourself in that situation because you're almost creating your own anxiety and I want everybody out there to think about this before you start going to take the shot while it may look great you don't have time for three lights set up a two lights set up sometimes you got time for one shot go back to your training go back to basics and make that shot perfect so this was really really good discussion let's keep going here so confidence get out there and shoot. We talked a little bit about that all you guys are saying what I already knew would be said because everything you're talking about I went through nothing you are going through right now is anything I didn't go through when I was starting out and that's what I want you to understand I went through it I overcame it from hard work shoot often shoot for free nothing wrong with that be honest with people tell them where you're at okay work on things you are weak on this whole fake it till you make it then you've got to be careful. I'm not a big believer in that right? If you're just starting out being honest with people hey, I'm starting out and building my portfolio you're not going to go from I'm just starting out to making four thousand dollars a wedding that's not gonna happen that's not reality say reality is baby steps okay, put a plan in motion start taking those steps and you're building your building, your business, you're building your future this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, okay, whatever business we're talking about again, you could be making cupcakes you could be a photographer, I'm not getting into the business short term if you are there's, this isn't worth it stop now just continue to be a hobbyist but if you're serious and sincere about wanting to run a real business, this is a long term commitment, so just put the road in place the infrastructure in place so that you find success no quick hits because you could destroy your reputation. What do we con posing and lighting? Skip the fake it till you make it? That is not what I want to see you guys doing, not on weddings and things that if you screwed up there's no recovery, no recovery for your clients. So where do we begin? Facebook, craigslist? Yeah, absolutely love both ideas we started on craigslist. It's how I got my first two weddings. Actually, I'm going to share with you some language to get some shoots under your belt. So here's, what I want you to think about before I share this with you in fear at home get ready to start writing because I'm giving you the language to use to start getting some of your first shoots under your belt. So regardless of whether you're doing it on facebook or craigslist, here's the language, this is what I used when I ran my first ad local photographer looking to expand their portfolio, I didn't say brand new photographer never had a camera before looking to expand their and looking to shoot your wedding for free that's not what I'm saying okay, I'm assuming, you know how to use your camera. You just may not have experienced photographing weddings local guitar for looking to expand their portfolio to include weddings basically says I don't have a lot of weddings and under my belt, right? Looking for the right couple of work with translation anybody want to guess attractive? Easy going, right? Uh, work with who are getting married in the next three months, not three years, not six months, nine months I'm trying to build my portfolio, I can't wait a year to build my portfolio. Do you know how much your business will transform in the next three months? Okay, I can't wait in fact, I'd like to say in the next thirty days I just might start getting really the wrong client. So ninety days willing to photograph to weddings, not unlimited sense of urgency to weddings for five hundred dollars, including digital files. No album, I am, in fact encouraging you. You've got to be a shooting burner, there's no way around it. If you're starting out, you are not going to be able to come right out of the gate and start charging two, three, four thousand dollars for weddings just not possible, but I've also taught you right you might be thinking, wait a minute stop being a hypocrite. Is this flying in the face of his advice? No, we all start somewhere. You don't just open up your doors and you're charging five thousand three thousand four thousand dollars for a wedding when I'm encouraging to you is take two weddings at a very low price so that you can start taking twenty weddings at a really price and become a real business. Is that making sense to your everybody here? Please send photo on any questions too if you don't send me a photo a photo. I'm not even responding to your e mail it's not worth it. I need to see a photo of who I'm getting involved in. And maybe you think that seems superficial. It is not superficial. You are building your brand in your portfolio. I want an attractive couple in my portfolio. Also when I say the right couple is not just looks driven, that is very, very important. You understand that it's personality driven. If the couple doesn't care about photography, you're gonna have a very difficult time getting them to do what you want to do. Getting them to give you time. You need to flush that out. You need to have a meeting with him, so one of my very first weddings I met with the groom at a starbucks okay, now he didn't want to spend a lot of money on photographer photography was important to her. He saw this ad, he saw an opportunity to get a photographer. A two reasonable price went met with him for a starbucks. She came along and I was completely honest with him. I said, look, I know how to take pictures I said, but I'm starting to get into weddings and I'm looking for the right couple of work with I hit it off with them, okay? I've had a relationship with them through their first or second kid because of that, and so this doesn't mean you're going to be relegated to this area forever. This is just a way I'm giving you a way to get there. And, guys, this is the language to get there, so you should be feverishly writing this down if you're trying to break into that market. What about? If you want to do it on facebook, I would change the copy a little bit so here's the copy if you're gonna run it on facebook hey, everyone, as you know, I'm expanding my business to cover weddings and I'm looking for two couples to work with you are getting married in the next three months. I'll be offering to limited slots for five hundred dollars including digital files if you have any friends or family that you think would make great models please have him send a picture to your encouraging them actually to share this so they can actually now start sharing this on facebook and driving traffic to you thoughts here thoughts out on the internet can you do this? Yeah actually I kind of did that, but my only mistake was they're getting married in two thousand fourteen yeah, you know where your fingers will be in two thousand forty no that's what my boyfriend said he's like do you understand like how much you're going to be kicking yourself in two thousand fourteen when they get married you're doing it for you know seriously, I guarantee you by twenty fourteen if you're doing what I'm telling you to do now only what I've taught you here what I've taught you in the past I guarantee you you're going to be charging two thousand dollars over mohr come twenty fourteen and now you're gonna be bumping this wedding for five hundred bucks or less would you charge for eight hundred hundred that's not bad that's good, but you will still be kicking yourself that's exactly what he said because you don't have all that framework in place how many hours all this other stuff um what about you, lisa? Because this is important for you because this is where you are yeah what I do basically is I offer okay you get the hair the makeup and the photo shoot for one ninety and then I kind of just right now I'm doing at cost for theirs you're building your portfolio I'm okay with you doing that cost man but that is tough that's a lot of time to be investing because I guarantee what you're saying cost is not cost right you're you're not valuing your time at all I know that okay so you know what you get in too but we got changing lisa so I'm aware I'm only gonna let you get away with that smile for so long and then I'm gonna start making you work I have a few weddings this year but I want more would this be beneficial for me what's your price point now I love your question by the way a lot yeah so what? Well anyway you're under your belt I have three and I have another one who wants to book so hopefully for but I like toward twenty thirteen yeah okay and what's your entry level package thirty five hundred okay so here's what I'd rather see you do and I love your question because I guarantee you more established studios don't want to go to this go this route they want to figure out where is the happy medium so let's kind of role play here you're established, you need to book more weddings, why not offer right a, uh discount? So come off your thirty five, because if you go from thirty, five hundred to five hundred, you just destroyed the value of your brand. When you're starting out, there is no value of the brand, there is no brand yet, but right now you do have a brand and I don't want to see you go backwards with it instead offer a discount. Hey, getting married in the month of june last minute, brides forty percent off book this month, forty percent off here, the dates veiled bride that I did a voucher on wedding wire and, um, I think we put a post on facebook to saying five hundred dollars voucher towards any promotion on facebook and indu promotion, so I think it probably got you know, I got little that I know about the news feed, innit? But now not only can you do that promotion on facebook, you khun target engaged couples, so that doesn't make any sense to do a promotion right to ten thousand people if only two hundred of those ten thousand are engaged, you're looking for engaged couples on lee, so you need to run a facebook at our facebook promotion and go out to those cup couples I really like this country's, same voucher and pin it to the top so it's standing to the top but it's going to be part of the ad as well so once you make a promotion when it showing up in their news feeds and they click on it they're going to see the voucher okay so I want you to take everything we talked about yesterday now go right back at your concept because I guarantee it was getting lost in news feed and that's not the only thing you should be doing what you're heading to some bridal salons why aren't you producing a nine by six flyer and heading to some local bridal salons and working that way my fiance keeps telling me to do it and your fiance is always right you should listen to him I'm kidding he owes him he owes me big favor announces watching right now so sure he's like see these like I told you no but you see what I'm saying right and so I like I keep saying I like this because I don't want people out there watching this going oh that's not me I'm going to now here's somebody who's an established studio just not having a good year for twenty thirteen how do we jump started and get things going without destroying the brand okay so I like that idea do you like it? Yeah good would you suggest I do forty percent off to really get people I would be like we need to work on the copyright. The copy would say something to the effect of, uh, looking for a wedding photographer getting married in twenty, getting married in twenty thirteen I've got five slots available for brides and sense of urgency. I've got five slots available, and again, I know I'm throwing this at you fast and furious, but I'm making this up on the fly five slots available for twenty thirteen book by end of june get forty percent off any package we offer, okay, okay, something to that effect whatever number you give off though, right? Make sure you're still making money on those packages. That would be the worst thing to see happen to you because I'm not looking at your pricing, so I don't even know if you have wiggle room on that. So whatever number you give off, make sure that's what you're doing, but it doesn't have to be a percentage off maybe it's like get a free engagement session that's included in our collections, though maybe we need to alter your collections to make it makes more sense get a free sixteen by twenty four campus okay, let's, you start thinking outside the box, right let's brainstorm on this, but you see the direction I'm going right, everybody out there same direction for you, it can work yes, let's get hit. I'm sure were being lit up. The internet is loving this by the way uh, lcj asked how many weddings until I can increase the price from five hundred dollars? Um how many wings before I can increase the price point by five hundred dollars? Okay, from the excuse me from the five hundred dollars like for the example god, the second you book those two weddings um that is done it's over now I will tell you what happened to me. I put this out there all of a sudden I got ten fifteen request there was no way I was going to shoot fifteen weddings for five hundred dollars. So I took the first two at five hundred and then what? I told everybody else who called into my guys that specials totally over. My normal price is two thousand dollars per wedding. However I'll do it for I will take your wedding for a thousand dollars right total lie at that time. Okay? Because but what it allowed me to do was immediately start establishing value for my brand and they still saw it as a deal. They didn't see the price is going up from five hundred dollars. They saw it as the price being half of what I would normally be and so that's a good way to do a great question a couple more questions coming in from our line south. First question guiding danielle, and if she does the promotion like you just mentioned, have you ever had situations where you conducted promotion and discount or something like that and existing pre existing customers that book's prior to that? Like, yo, dude, yeah used for thirty, five hundred and now you just did this for twenty five? Yeah, that is a great, great question, and part of what I said to daniel was, if you were listening is we may have to alter your packages that's the key. So what you're offering this discount on might have to be a reduced package, so maybe in the package you're selling today for thirty, five hundred, that includes eight hours a time, I'm making it up this reduced package at forty percent off, whatever you're doing on ly include six hours of coverage. You see what I'm saying and not so we have to do that because we can't run the risk of our existing clients coming back feeling like they've been screwed on this, so we're gonna go hey, you're not being screwed, here's what you have that they don't have, and this is because they're booking last minute something to that effect, so very good objection. By the way, from online you cool for a couple of questions over here with a couple of let's do it another one right here so well, this is good when you mentioned that you only accept clients who would send you a photo so you know what you're working with right? So in gates wants to know excuse me hey, z's guys like to know how this is a cure how you do this how how do you politely turn away clients that are not your type of clients? Yeah, the good news is this is where email is your friends, right? Because you're getting emails, you just don't respond to those e mails that are coming in unfortunately there's just you know, you could tell him hey, we've already booked the sessions thanks for your interest, something to that effect but those air not you've just got to be honest with yourself don't feel bad don't take these jobs they're not gonna help your portfolio. Uh, and this is something you have to be aware of. So that's where this is a time where email can be your friend uh this is not a customer service concept, you're building your portfolio, you're just starting out so yeah, we're not shooting those wet things just be tactful about it, please great couple more we have all right, so samantha are says hey saleh's faras raising prices go what do you recommend raising prices after every three weddings or when you feel that your photography is now on a new level for yourself right now my most expensive wedding packages at twelve fifty but I like to charge more so I can offer my clients a better products last service instead of a personalized cd yeah, I love that I love the question so here's what you want to do after you book three weddings raise your prices by five hundred box immediately and have to book another three book in another five hundred and now let's fast forward to where we are today is a studio if you book me early on let's say for twenty fourteen if you start booking me today for twenty fourteen, my prices are less because I want to book my twenty fourteen calendar okay, so we already have weddings booked into twenty fourteen as twenty fourteen approaches, my prices go up or as I get closer to my goal for the year, my prices start going up because basically what I'm saying is I don't care if you book me I'm already booked I already have enough weddings I'd rather enjoy my saturday maybe go play some golf, do something with my wife do something I enjoy if you want to take me away from my life that I'm sacrificing every weekend off it's got to be for the right price point and so I do this every year by the way so never have my prices remained static they're constantly moving and that's not I'm trying to screw people it's based on supply and demand so as I'm already booked up there's less supply of me to go around, my prices are naturally going up so hopefully that makes sense not only from a beginner standpoint when you're starting out but also has a more advanced studio start practicing that last question for you we keep getting going and this from in yates with sal uses language for seniors or couples to build a portfolio if it's not a wedding great question because the next slide is senior so I'm giving you the language for that so that's a great segue way hopefully everyone out there is appreciating this I know that's where people struggle with is I throw an idea or concept out of it and you're like, oh, that sounds awesome what do I say? Just tell me what to say well, here you go I the last to slides I'm telling you what to say, what if we're going after seniors? So here we go local photographer expanding portfolio this would be if you're going on craigslist hey look avatar for expanding portfolio looking for two high school seniors willing to model for a free eleven by sixteen portrait and a free photo session valued at for ninety nine so immediately establishing value there, police and photo and any questions, too, so notice the language changed a little bit from the photography from the wedding photography, right? So you can adapt it anyway. You like it's just tweaked a little bit. I'm also giving them a free eleven by sixteen print, but I'm establishing value based on the print they're getting and the session feed that they're getting. And so that's. What you have to do now is yours for ninety nine I don't know you've got to make the adjustment yourself, but I would try to get whatever you're giving them to be that three, ninety nine for ninety nine value because that's enough to incent people to start responding. Well, let's say you're doing this on facebook and you're going after seniors, seniors, seniors who typo on my end senior models class of twenty fourteen that should be the header off the post, okay, you want to get their attention? You don't want to lose all the copy in the right, losing in the body then as they're going through their news feed, they lose it among all the other words there and maybe tying an image with this right? Maybe do a promoted post with us so everything I was teaching you yesterday this is how you're going to promote this on facebook? I'm just giving you the language here. What it should read. We are expanding our portfolio include high school seniors and we're looking for two teens. Let me pause here we are expanding our portfolio. I want everybody to understand the language there. We're expanding our portfolio. Does that mean that means I'm not doing it today, so I'm not going to put in here. Hi, I just got my camera. We're starting off. We are expanding. Our portfolio is a very nice and subtle way of saying I don't have experience in this area, so hopefully that makes sense to everybody. So how can I ask a quick question? Yes. There's another word that that that jumps out to me is the word we versus id. Is that still a certain confidence in that potential customer vs I exactly creep guy and barnes noble isle that's, right? Yeah. I've come such a long way from being the creeper and barnes and nobles. So yeah, so the wee establishes right from a brand perspective that we isn't as an entity, right and that's what I want. I want them to think of us as an organization as a company, as bigger than I. I hope that makes sense I want them to have the experience of eye that one the one experience but I want them to understand they're dealing with a wee as as an entity so great question um two teens willing to model for the day in a notice for the day I'm expecting you to go here in practice I'm expecting you to make mistakes I'm expecting you to take that time and have that three lights set up and even though you have ah meltdown while you're trying to put it all together it's okay because it doesn't matter this is practice and they understand they're here for the day helping you build their portfolio uh build your portfolio in exchange for a free eleven sixteen and free photo session send photo any questions but then notice because it's on facebook added that final line feel free to share if you know someone who may be interested I won't encourage the sharing of that because now grandma's on facebook okay and she goes, oh this would be great for little susie boom and she shares that also notice I said um teens it doesn't necessarily have to be a high school senior there's kids that photograph that was sixteen years old and they look like they're twenty okay, so I'm just looking for two teams that are willing to do this that's the key there does that make sense um then uh questions on this this is easy to do man I'm giving you the language I'm giving you the blueprint yes so for this would you still dio like your styling and hair and makeup or would you just you know they're going to do that that was a great question do not assume they're going to do it because they will show up and disappoint you all day long they will show up and have horrible clothes horrible wardrobe you have to be involved in having that conversation with them to get them there but most importantly have the makeup so again true story I had a senior show up early on in our career and it was like for this brief moment where split eyeliner was all the rage right so have her I was silver half her I was black okay in her eye makeup and I'm like wow that is not going to help me in my portfolio and so after we had something like that happen never again when we're doing a portfolio or anything like that do we allow these people to do their own makeup we always try to have a make up artist handy do not underestimate the value of a good makeup artist and then after that would you still do like your sale session like get practice on that was right so from that you're gonna try and sell him and we're gonna talk about those techniques later on today but yes all right, so other options we talked about this a little bit promoted post ah facebook ad these air things to take the language and copy that I've just given you I copy it verbatim use it I don't care that's why I'm giving it to you guys on dh use that to start trying to drive business whether it's a family could do the same thing for ah family portrait right so there's no reason this isn't working or shouldn't work for everything friends and family so first and foremost everyone becomes your friend when you're a photographer don't they I mean everyone is my friend back home they uh you know could you could you take a picture we were talking a little bit about that this morning right? We'll just take a couple of minutes no big deal no it's never just a couple of minutes it's always a big deal and there's always a crap load of time I've never been on a photo shoot that was just a couple of minutes okay so there's a lot more involved there this could be the worst experience in the world for you so I've had family get married and get divorced before they had their wedding album that was a nightmare force to deal with I've got friends getting married in a week actually so I'm going out to kansas city my best friend he's getting married I'm going out there photographing his wedding and you know what? I'm just doing it for free that's my gift to him, the only thing they're paying for is for their album and they're paying my cost for it that actually makes life so much easier for me when I know I could do it for free I'm in a good place in my career that I can afford to give up that saturday and do that for him as a gift. When I was starting out, I could not afford that I'm looking for my friends and family to help me grow my business, not mooch off me and so in the beginning you offer a straight twenty five percent off that's it I tell my friends today when I get calls for weddings on my guys, if you get married in off season, I will do your wedding for cost right? Meaning I'm not paying my staff, you would have to pay staff I'm not paying for any outsourcing you would have to pay for the outsourcing I'm not paying for your album, you would have to pay for the album, so I'm willing to do your wedding at cost if you get married in the off season meaning you decide to get married between may and october no way I'm sacrificing that day to give it to you for zero I can't do it, it doesn't make sense I wouldn't be a good business person so if you don't value your own time, there's no way your client's gonna value your time or your friends or family, for that matter, all right? And everybody's got to be going through this. I can't be the only one who's gone through this with friends and family. If you get married during prime season may through october, choice is yours. Best I could do is twenty five percent off any of our packages. Okay, you want to get married in private season? That is totally fine. But if you want me there photographing your wedding, I can't do it for free. It's just not possible. It's called opportunity cost by giving up that weekend. I'm now losing money that I would make from another wedding that would more than likely be able to book all right with me. I'm not talk to me about friends, and I mean, do you have a question for you real quick? Yeah, because it sounds like they listen to you correctly. Now when you have a conversation with them, south shows that they know salva friend, right? Right, sal, the family member, but sounds like you're making a clear distinction. We're having a business conversation right now, we're not about to have beer, so you're really clear and creating that that that line between church and state you do and that's a perfect way tio stated it's church and state you've got to separate the two because here's what I found in the beginning I worked a few jobs for my my family and I did him for free right because that's what they expect and we do it for free no one took it serious no one showed up on time no one showed up prepared they didn't listen to the conversations before jules you're nodding your head yes because you've had probably had this experience they're not valuing my time the only way to get them to value your time money they put money on the table skin in the game so to speak suddenly they're going to take it a little bit more serious and that's ultimately what I'm looking at to do is force that to become serious especially if I'm gonna give up you know what saturday eso again once you once you grow up you want your business grows and you've got opportunity and you can look do it it cost my media family of course I'm gonna do that at cost for them but I'm going to put the same pressure on my immediate family to not get married in october if you want to get married in october I cannot guarantee that we're gonna want even be there is guest let alone keep the date open so that we can photograph it let's take some questions here before I go on to this you mentioned earlier about the guys you guys in the audience were nodding your heads as he was talking about family and friends could convey because someone here share some of your experiences whether positive or negative about working with family and friends how is it work for you? Um well with me I guess starting out like my sister had a child and stuff like that I would do the shoot for free but I would I would always charge them for the prince good I wouldn't just like give me a dvd and be like, oh yeah here's everything completely for free so they at least took me in, you know, somewhat serious like you were talking about and it's okay, if you're building your portfolio there's nothing wrong with that, right? If that's what everybody's on the same page with what's happening here but it's when you've got studio space camera equipment and you're trying to do all this stuff and now suddenly people are expecting you to start doing this all for free, it becomes very difficult becomes a big challenge, so don't be afraid to push back on them uh t get things going because ultimately you're hoping they'll help you grow your business right? I mean that's your biggest network when you're starting out where's your number one network it's friends and family so you're looking for them at least help you through through that and give them a deal give them good product and hopefully that will help you daniel I saw you reaching your hand out there pretty fast and thinking it's nothing cooler share my niece last year was getting married and my aunts or my sister law came to me and asked us teo to photograph her wedding and I said oh yeah totally and I kind of ran down the collections with her or that time when you have collections by ran down the pricing and she came back to me well you're getting married soon so how about we trade I'll help you plan your wedding if you do her wedding for free and I had to go back to her and say unfortunately no I can't you know as much as I want teo I this is a business and I almost feel offended that you asked me to do my nieces wedding for free and august where is the busiest time of the year ah so yeah I I had to turn down a family member she actually got a girl locally from tacoma to photograph her wedding and just now received her wedding images how how late are they so august and it's april wow. Just seeing their images yeah just said they turned out horrible write what you know what should offend you more than anything else is that they were willing to pay someone else I know that's, not me that's the most offensive part, right? This is what ends up happening with friends and family, so if I say no to you, you're actually going to go pay someone five, six, seven thousand dollars to photograph your your wedding, but you won't pay me anything to photograph you went and they don't mean love the images they got from other wedding. She came to me and said, I know you had your camera. Can I have those images when it comes? Unfortunately, when it comes to family, they can be both a blessing and a curse. When it comes to the business part of dealing with family, I try to stay as far away from it as possible because it just never really ends well, if it was just a can of product that I could hand to them it's one thing, but it's my time and I don't have ah, you know, stockpile of that that's why I'm so protective of it. So hopefully you guys out there having ah, similar stories and you can relate to the advice I'm giving you let's take some questions I'm gonna use this is up. Break point to go to break but then let's take some questions and then we'll go to break yeah I let the internet know that you wanted to know about their success stories or issues that they had with working with friends and family and I think a good success story comes from tina harp old who says she sometimes a barter for friends and family I have a friend who's a chiropractor who pays me and adjustments time for time so it's like respectable professional trades that's good barbecue for barter is that is that the dura don't I try to stay away from bartering because I've always it just never works out for me it's like whatever I thought I was gonna get is part of the order usually comes in subpar so I stay away from it but if she's getting amazing back adjustments than yes but that will work out great it's when you know like your situation daniel were like we'll trade wedding services you have probably had the worst planner ever planning your event because they just die they phoned it in right they don't they're not truly a wedding planner oh oh even but she's a sister law who said I'll help you plan your wedding but yeah I want your help planning my wedding not really a planner write you slept at a holiday inn last night you're not really a planet so no I get it we have another coming in from online. This is from toronto. Photographer I'm assuming the joining us from the tea dot in toronto canada cell can we charge? We have a mention like deposits too much. Can we charge for ah holding dating time that that's non refundable. Do you recommend doing that? Yeah, yeah. So repeat that question to me. Can we charge for holding a date in a time? That's that's nonrefundable versus the package price. So doing he's the deposit all right, right. So for us in our contracts especially if we're talking weddings or even portrait sessions, we have a session fee. So for our wedding, when we're talking contracts in the contract it states clearly all deposits are non refundable. And so what you do is when you give us that deposit, we take a thousand dollars at the signing of contract. At a minimum, you should be taking five hundred dollars at the signing of contract because that's real money. If it's only one hundred dollar deposit or two hundred dollar deposit, they're willing to walk away from that if it's a portrait session it's the entire session fee has to be booked up front before you even allow them to book the session do not collect money on the day of the session because then you turn into a bill collector right and not an artist. I don't want to be a bill collector on the day of the event, so all monies air paid before when it comes to the session fee or especially the wedding the wedding's paid for in full before he ever show up. So, good question, great, another quick question, something you mentioned earlier. This is a copy that you provided, whether on craigslist or facebook seeking out for seniors or for weddings. Gary thomas asked, how do you turn an eye into a we do? What is that? Do we decide to add other photographers to our studio? If I'm clear and you won't get the wee that's just presenting yourself in professional matter, that doesn't mean you're adding another photographer that's right doesn't mean you're adding a staff of fifteen people behind you, the wee becomes your business entity, right? So to me that we is we salvator sing cotter photography, that entity will are looking to grow our portfolio, right? So I'm the business is not a singular entity to me, it's a plural entity so it may be it's a play on words, but your business should be more than just you, right? In theory, your businesses, you, your accountant, your marketing people, you're outsourcing people whoever's helping you, we the entity, so to speak all right, this is a question for people who who are just starting out uh jandali photography in from dubai as a beginner can I charge the customer I charge the customer and I don't have a trade license or do you prefer I create the trade license then start charging what were they thinking? Maybe like a business license here in the united states there from dubai I got you. Okay, so so look here in the united states you don't have to have a license to be a photographer, okay? So you could go out there do your thing when it starts coming down to applying for permits or taxes and you need a tax identification number that's where you need to be an established business entity uh and that you're going to go to your local town if you're are they working I guess we don't have a whole lot of detail there working out of dubai here we don't know. So look, let's, just I'll make up my own question for this if, uh if you're working here in the states and your let's talk about what kind of entity you shoot should be, we are an s corp and so we're an escort, not a sole proprietor, a lot of you out there if you're doing this on the weekend if somebody trips and falls over your bag okay or you screw up someone's wedding they're going to sue you and they're gonna own you you're home and everything else you have we are set up a cz an s corp meaning there's a layer of distinction right between me and my personal assets so if god forbid someone trips over a bag at one of my events breaks their neck first of all I've got insurance you need tohave business insurance it's very inexpensive we've got a three million dollar policy so if somebody trips and falls hopefully we're covered for that and then ultimately they cannot reach through and sue me from attacks perspective an s corp allows you to file your taxes as an individual not as a corporation so that's the best form for you to be versus sole proprietor. So look into that it's a long answer to your question but I think that's where they need to be and do they need to get do that before they start their portfolio weddings or their senior portfolio it's going to be a chicken and egg? But knowing what I know now is a business person, I would suggest you do it immediately to protect yourself protect your assets but that is going to cost you in most states about a thousand dollars eight hundred two thousand dollars to get your your s corp set up so you definitely need to protect yourself there just trust me. You don't want to be like hey, I saved a thousand dollars and then something happens and it's the party's over sallis do one last question, then we'll go to break. And we talked a lot about pricing yesterday. We're talking a bit about it today as well. This is a really good question this from from boston. When do you show prospective clients? Pricing? I know some people say hey, have all information on your site. Are you on those people that say, hey, have that conference have list those prices after a nen face consultation? Yeah, no. Where is that camera, man? No pricing online. Get it off your web site. That is my number one pet peeve? If you put your pricing online, I'm going to find you hunt you down and we're gonna have a very bad conversation. The reason for that is simple. You're encouraging bad behavior from your clients. You're putting your pricing online and you're encouraging them the price shop. How can I ever pry shop for my brand? Right? If you are more than just a guy or gal with a camera, you are more than a price sheet because your price sheet is going to say again it's understanding the psychology of human behavior I'm going to look at your price sheet and natural I'm gonna go okay. Well, I get eight hours of coverage I get an album says I get an album a ten by ten leather album and I get a cd of images wow, there are only four hundred ninety nine dollars that's amazing. Wow, I get to south side and he wants you know he's got an album to but he says italian leather who cares? I just want a leather album oh, and he's five thousand dollars I'm gonna go with this other guitar for for for ninety nine five, ninety nine ninety nine right? They just made a price decision. They have no other information available. I need to get to the meeting. We all need to get to the meeting so that our personalities air showing and we show them that we're mohr than just a camera were more than just a cd hears everything else we bring to the table that will never happen on your website that can only happen getting to the meeting so have prices starting at on your website that is totally reasonable prices starting at twenty nine nine nine nine nine nine wherever they start out for your business that's reasonable why you have the price of one eight by ten on your website defies logic doesn't matter when you're booking me for your wedding you should not be thinking about eight by ten prints at this point in time daniel talk about this later but how do you get clients to stop asking about price through the email when they're insisting tell me your price tell let's role play okay let's do it we're making it up right now hit me with your question so a bride emails me with can I see your collections? Hey thanks so much susi for reaching out to us prices in packaging start at thirty nine ninety nine and go up from there are packages are all inclusive include time an album and engagement session and a host of other options what we find is sending you a bulleted list of item's included in a package tends to create more questions than answers if we're within your budget what I'd love to do is set up a meeting with you sit down and walk you through all the things we have to offer please let me know a time that works for you boom done right but there it is same for senior same for family saying for babies okay did you write that down and get that whole thing down okay so that's the response now let's keep role playing now she writes back no no no I really want to see what your prices include yeah that happens is that your client you had no, not your client, she doesn't get it, it's. Not that she's not connecting you say, then, sorry, goodbye, just nothing. No, you reiterate what you just said, susie are average package is this. It includes it. I really need to get you to a meeting. Please let me know when you have time. I'm gonna role play for you. Well, we live in new york. We can't. We can't get there for face to face meeting. Awesome let's, jump on skype, let me know a time that works next week. I'll make myself available, and I'll show you everything on skype. If, after two or three reasonable answers to her objections, she still keeps coming back to you on price run, not your client. Your spidey senses needs need to be going off and run, not your bride.

Class Description

Learn actionable and affordable marketing strategies you can use to help grow your business from Sal Cincotta in Marketing Your Photography Business.

In this class, you’ll learn how to generate more site traffic and prospective customers though easy-to-implement digital marketing techniques. Sal will show you how a combination of social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) and search engine optimization (SEO) can attract leads to your site. He also show you how to build a marketable portfolio that impresses potential clients once they arrive on your page. You’ll also learn how to determine if your marketing plan is working, and how to fix it if it's not.

This course is great for both beginning photographers and established studios. The basic strategies provide a good fundamentals refresher for established studios, and the more advanced information gives less-established photographers a roadmap for the future. There will be advice for ANY genre of photography marketing.



I'm currently a business owner in another industry. The business is financally successful, highly respected and the envy of our competitors. In order to market the business how I visualised our brand/customer, I learned how to take a photograph! I then feel in love with photography... I can completely relate to the concepts Sal is offering. This is fantastic advise many of which I have implemented in my own business. It's amazing how this advise can easily transfer to marketing any business or product. Unless like I had done you want to find the time to read countless books on the subject of business marketing, learn from trial and error, then simply fast-track years ahead and buy this course. It's a no-brainer! If only CL had been around when I had literally fought my way through setting up my business I would have found success a lot earlier. Sal's passion, drive, creativity and determination is what he can't teach you however. You are gonna have to do it your own way! Good luck to you all and Happy New Year.