The Path to Success
Today you are a weekend warrior someone you sitting out here with me our weekend warriors in the sense that you have a full time job you are not a full time photographer what is the path to enlightenment so to speak how do we get there ah lot of you out there I know that's where you're at because you're constantly sending me emails and facebook post and you're saying south how do we get from point a to point b I hate my job I want to leave my job because most of you well today saturday so but some of you were watching yesterday from work so you hate your job we want to get you out of there this is the path one build your portfolio find your niche you've absolutely got to find your niche you cannot be everything to everyone you're it's not gonna happen and I want you to learn from my own experience that's what I did in the beginning I was trying to be everything to everyone and already shared with you yesterday I was shooting pecked parties right doggie birthday parties that's what I wa...
s doing not the career path I had laid in front of me after coming out of business school and corporate america that's not what I wanted to do right but the little squeaky toy on the top of my camera no that is not south friendly right there so builder for more folio find your niche what do you love what do you passionate about right so we talked I think on day one children not something I'm passionate about when it pertains to photography I just don't want to sit there for hours and hours on end hoping to get one shot I just might my energy is too fast paced for that kind of photography still life not something I'm passionate about at all however travel photography is something I love absolutely love travel photography mostly because my wife and I love to travel that's our number one hobby together is traveling and seen cities and that's what we love doing together so I love taking pictures for my home that I've taken during my travels right? So we've got pictures from paris in rome up in our living room and it's not something we bought in a store it something we did we edited and printed right so it's much more meaningful that way but guess what? I can't make money that I'm not ansel adams so it's not very easy to make money and travel on travel photography if I could someday that would be amazing azan aspiration okay because mountains don't talk back they're just kind of sit there and do their thing so it's much easier right there always a happy client for you s so what is your niche? Is it weddings commercial still life babies I say you have to focus on no more than two things I'm not saying you won't shoot photograph other things but focus on one or two things and I don't like being an expert you so everybody understands on just one focus point and here's the reason if wedding slow down I've got seniors if senior slow down I've got weddings and so I like the balance there ok if I'm just a wedding photographer the minute there's a problem with weddings what do I do? I have no idea what to do my business starts going backwards if I'm just a senior photographer and for whatever reason this year seniors start dying down what am I relying on? And so I highly encourage all of you to find to focus areas that you are passionate about and then there's always going to be those ancillary shoots that walked through your studio right? So we get the family shoots right? We probably do fifteen to twenty five family shoots a year but those air families that have photographed with us for seniors and for weddings so it makes sense I'm dealing with my clients I'm not dealing with that client who wants to go to the picture people for nineteen, ninety nine right and get all those images right so find your niche I cannot encourage you to do that enough and the sooner you do it, the easier it becomes for you to focus all your marketing uh, and energy in that area right there, trying to market to five areas becomes very difficult to do. Um, again, these are all things you tried to put them in. His much order is I could now that doesn't mean some of these things can start happening in parallel, but surely these this is the way things have to happen. Step by step so logo website facebook these things have to happen before you go out on your own, you're not going to get out on your own and have no brand or internet presence. We already know that most of our clients are looking for us online that's where they're looking for us so how do you not have a logo? I'm telling you from visual or you could get a logo for six hundred bucks. That is badass. So why would you not invest five or six hundred box to get that logo? It doesn't make any sense. Okay, no more lights, no more flashes, no more memory cards. Get your business present. Set up that's what matters so logo, then your website, then your facebook and for the website. Guys don't run off day one and get a custom website I couldn't afford that day one it was impossible for me I had a template site okay, so I went out there. I paid a monthly fee thirty forty dollars a month and I had a template site, but get your logo. Put your local on that template site so you start building your brand. Same for facebook. Next up on the list pricing packaging samples, pricing is the number one area I see photographer struggle with number one, everybody struggling with it no matter where they are in their career, by the way. So I even see ten years studio struggling with pricing because why? Because it worked five years ago and they haven't made the turn there's still pricing the way they were five years ago. You've got to make adjustments are pricing is changing. Honestly, every three, four, five months were constantly watching what? Selling what's not selling and making adjustments as we go. And at the end of today, I'm going to show you our price sheet for engagements that has changed since we were here in november. And so it's a living document your packaging guys what're you waiting for? You gotta buy packaging, right? So we showed some of this uh, yesterday, but you gotta buy packaging. We need it there's, no way around it, so start thinking of a cohesive thought, what are your colors, it's a simple question, what your colors what is your brand look like? Is that a flowery brand? Is it you know, it's an earthy brand is that um or clean corporate brand? Okay, and so these are the things this box I showed yesterday everybody makes, uh anybody missed it. These are the boxes we showed yesterday. This matches my brand this is what my brands all about when you open that box in there is that little thumb drive okay, that has my logo this is what I'm delivering to clients. This is what you need to be looking at for your brand now something like this might be a little bit more expensive. Day one so guess what we had prior to this? We were delivering them in a custom ten so the custom tin might have only been a dollar or two dollars to that tin but it was still a packaged, polished look that's what I'm encouraging you to do make sure that this look, whatever you're doing here is cohesive your colors match right? I don't want your website to be blue and then all your packaging is green that doesn't make any sense. Make sure your brand is cohesive. Start charging remember the whole what I'm trying to lay out here is the path from going for that weekend war from that weekend warrior out to getting out full time doing this, uh, samples another challenge I see a lot of the tigers even establish studios have if if clients can't see touch feel it they're not gonna buy it you gotta show it to sell it we've all heard it why aren't we doing it? It's not a lie it's true, I've got to see what I'm buying start charging right start off in a price point that's low enough to get you busy and you start getting busier and busier start raising your prices incrementally if it's for a wedding I like five hundred dollar price increments I still do it today so when I move my prices on my wedding packages I go from prices starting at thirty nine ninety nine two prices starting at forty four ninety nine so I'm moving that by five hundred box when I'm moving and that's still in this stage of the game so if it works for me, it'll work for you of course let's start charging the samples keep learning right so we want to keep learning creative live hands on workshops nothing will ever replace being in the field doing something side by side don't get me wrong I understand the power better than anyone of being here in this environment and getting on demand teaching and learning but if the end of the day at some point you have to step into the field you've got to know how to do this stuff under certain conditions you've gotta have that field testing under your belt so goto hands on workshops find somebody you believe in go to their workshop learned their system side by side that's what those are all about reid what is wrong with reading it's a great thing read learn that's what I do right? Grab that stupid green book that cannon made for us nikon has for us was born is that bookie's? Learn about your camera, go to the bookstore, buy a book on lighting, right? You might learn one or two things. Can you imagine if you spent forty nine dollars and learned one or two things? I think that's an amazing return on investment, I will pay anybody twenty five dollars to teach me something I didn't know it's the best twenty five dollars I've ever spent and so there's no way you pick up a book and you only learned one thing it's just about sitting down making time for that in your in our busy lives what's the marketing plan remember again, I wanna stress it again. We're going from the weekend warrior to this becomes our career if you don't have a marketing plan in place, you're walking into a dark room with your eyes closed looking for a light switch how do you expect to find clients magic? We need the marketing plan draw a line in the sand this is the one because I get all the letters from you all the e mails from you saying help me I want to get there I want to quit my job put a line in the sand what are you gonna quit? When are we gonna stop talking about it and when we gonna make this real this needs to be really this needs to get riel put the line in the sand and jump because if you don't put that line in sand you're going to keep making excuses maybe next month maybe next year oh it's not the right time it's never the right time it's never the right time to quit your job and become an entrepreneur it's scary write it scares all of us but if you don't put that line in san rachel on that point fingers it will never happen okay, so we've got to do that we've got to take that leap. No, I'm not you're saying like you guys at home are watching, sal told me to fall backwards let's do it okay that's not what I'm encouraging to do what I'm encouraging to do is put that line in the sand and say I am going to follow my dream twelve months from now I'm going to do it and the next twelve months are going to be dedicated to taking that leap that's what I'm telling you to do and you can do it okay if you start doing everything I'm telling you how to do you will get there in twelve months I swear to you okay and then finally refine your plan the plan I had a year ago does not match the plan I have today this is a living breathing document you've got to continuously grow this plan would find this plan and and never think that if something goes wrong on the plan you failed you didn't fail this is real world this is real life sometimes you've got to take a detour and get back on track that's what it's all about so wow um good stuff you guys learning before we go to break here? Yeah yeah, it is really powerful stuff so I got a question for you I've got part of what I'm talking about is, you know, growing your brand and doing new things well we created an an emotive slide show some of big fan an emoto on not only that I get you guys a super discount on an emoto but I wanted to show the sideshow before we start saying taking some questions so if you guys are out there if questions before you go to break start, write them down but what I want you to do is take a look at what we did so we film video but fusion right now is a hot topic, okay? And so if you're thinking about getting into video but you're too scared to get into video because it is a big task, a big challenge, there's, great opportunity, because we all have those those cameras okay, that film video and so why not start out just getting snippets of clips throughout the day of video? Right? And don't even tell your client you're doing it by the way, right? So we've got bridal prep groom prep ceremony, reception creatives there's five parts to the day every wedding days. Pretty much those five parts. Now take your camera during bridal prep. Just get three or four. Five second snippets during groom prep. Three or four five second snippets. Okay, ceremony. Michael grew up during the ceremony. Okay, so start recording vows you can get up from adirama. You can get a h one recorder it's less than a hundred bucks. Get a little laugh, mike. Just like I'm wearing right here. You put that on them. You put him in his pocket. You are now the only one who has the valves from the wedding. You can't sell something that you're the only one who has it in the world. And you are horrible sales person and have not been listening to me at all right so here's what you should then be doing an emoto offers a great opportunity you don't have to be a video editor using their tools so let's take a look at a fusion piece we put together using pictures from the wedding and some video clip it clips from the wedding wait lost in a way I don't want to live a day without you I just want to be the one who makes you happy happy I don't want to live a day with now you I just want to be the one who makes you happy happy a thousand something I need you wait no way this way you just want to be the one who makes you happy I have a way of thousand it's all the same way something I need you in every way tangles this way wait wait so hopefully everybody out there thank you thank you here but hopefully all you guys love that because it's it's easy to produce right? So we're using automotive for that we use it for all our client slide shows and the price point of an emoto is just honestly in my opinion ridiculous so it's so low compared to how many times you're using it so you definitely want to do that and what I want encourage there's look it's not a fully edited video that's not what you're looking to accomplish when you're using a tool like an emoto, you're looking to take short clip its throughout the day or snippets throughout the day and create a slideshow video for them with little to no effort. That's. The key. Could I spend ten hours producing this video or twenty hours producing this video? I sure can, but I can't do it at a price point that I can show an add value for easily. So the animal to solution, in my opinion, is a great kind of gateway into full video production.