so we have some folks and again this is going to be also check with an accountant because it probably different by state but in general for you where you live do you collect taxes on the prince and the services or just it's all wass and that's from I'm signing a contract right for the total amount if I start separating the service out the service aspect and the prince out it's going to create more work it's one contract total price the truth there is as much as I'm a service business what am I actually delivering a product now we getting this might depend away your area is but where I'm from we side oui sign a total contract we don't separate it out at one point I used to own a deejay company believe it or not I actually sold it for the mere fact that people I thought when I was lecturing weren't going to take me serious because I also could emcee a wedding and you know I loved being I'm saying I would do the photographs and I'm seeing the same time I used to wear a headset like janet ...
jackson it was so cool but the fact is on a deejay company it is a service so what I would have to do is separate it I would charge a flat fee for the service and then when they purchased like expert things like handouts and giveaways we'd have to charge sales tax on those items separately that was more work than was definitely needed lady's question from mccaskey seven how do I become best friends with doug uh well it's actually really simple by the ninety nine dollars video and I'm always with you no that is there's a question from paula smith who said um do you have a manual for this part how to make a plan uh emmanuel is very very simple it's a matter of I can set your business plan it's very very simple but you need to figure out there is no set business plan I think that's what people are going to miss the business plan is you have to figure out first what I want to accomplish then you have to define a vision you have to have deadlines you have tohave set entities when a business consumes your life it's no longer a business is your life and and everything else falls in place we have something that helps photographers it's in our store and it's beyond helpful it's called the business plan on what the business plan is every form that you would ever need to make things work for you what's the most important formica never give you the contract it protects you against thing that's in there all of our receipts all of our agreements all of our e mails all of this is in our business plan which you guys are all get the business plan has hundreds of forms it's got advertisements that's got all of the things because you need a contract that protects you what happens if you if you just sign a consequence amount but it doesn't say when you screw up you're only liable to the customer deposits are you taking a deposit or are you taking what retainer what's the difference between a deposit on a retainer deposit's refundable but non refundable retainers are not these little things got to know about them so we have a business plan it's in our store but it's kind of guiding you in different directions when we do cells you're going to see I have a phone script I have a script for every part of it because these are important things you need to learn how to deal with complaints because they're gonna happen question just a comment teo uh paul a smith you can always buy this workshop that will be your business plan too because you can watch this over here and over and over again should I take another one I should move on I think we can move on okay great so now here's what I want you to think about important with business what you don't realize is being proactive you have to be proactive when you make a mistake do you sit on it and hope that they hope they never show up and pick up their pictures didn't happen call them and let them know because if you're proactive can anything bad come of it not as much and here's the other thing people love to lie people love to lie we love to live to save our own what our own but so the fact is very simple should you ever lie to a client no you need to be honest with him in a front now saying you screw up because of incompetence maybe you're going to kind of build around it a little bit and say someone walked in front of me that's why I don't get this image or the camera broke not because I'm a complete total idiot and I screwed up and sometimes I will say that if I screw up something to tell them but my clients can't get mad at me if I'm honest I tell them all the time how you deal with complaints is what really set you aside it's a business when you deal with kinds in a proactive way that's going to change everything when a client has a problem they call up and they want to speak to me I'm the owner it ends and starts you know starts and ends with me this is the first thing I say to him I'm first of all it's nice to speak to you and I am so sorry to speak to you I'd like to begin by letting you know how sorry I am that you are unhappy I don't apologize for anything we've done why should I apologize because I may not even agree with them I'm sorry that you're unhappy I want to begin by letting you know that I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that you walk out happy now here's the way this is gonna work I obviously want to hear what's bothering you the most honest individual that you're ever going to meet when you tell me something and I don't agree with you I'm gonna let you I know that I don't agree with you and I'm going to try and still make you happy when I agree with you I'm going to apologize profusely and I'm still going to make you happy but we have to have some ground rules there is never a need for you to yell at me there's never a need for me to yell at you or just respect you or any of that such we will have a conversation like two adults and remember what we're really dealing with is with someone who's unhappy no matter what this is not the end of the world so let's not overreact let's respect each other and try and make things work if I set the ground rules before anything even starts do you think the client's gonna explode on me and if they dio you think I'm gonna tolerate it because if I give an inch an inch how much they're going to take they're going to take miles and miles and miles it's about being proactive and it starts with having a plan so let me give you ways to have a plan how do we start our business your new you've never shopped before but you're ready to make it happen I want to make it happen I want to make a business I want to make it work where do I get clients from where is the best place to advertise wait I have no money to advertise I have enough money to buy a camera press a button and I'm pretty good and I want to make this happen number one do you go out in charge automatically right away no here's what you do here's the biggest thing where do you get clients from its thoughts with you networking you need to network yourself and you need to work for free because right now you're only expensive this point is what your expense is going out and taking your time to do it is that an expensive course of this is your work and finishing the images of course it is but it's also practice because can't be held responsible if you're not charging anything where do we go to do this well why not go you may be religious goto a church function go to a school go somewhere along the line to do things volunteer for a charity get your name out there to take photographs and events and different things so you can work your skill to get it to a pete thing now here's what you're not thinking you may be well I'm not getting paid to go to work you're networking people are going to remember that you did something good if someone really likes you when you take their portrait well they'd be more inclined to hire you let me give you something that we did how did I become a school photographer I'm a wedding photographer what wedding photographer shoot school portrait's it's unheard off you want to know how he did it because I decided I wanted to get back to the community so what my small little school district here's what I did this is the smartest thing I ever did and I didn't even know how genius it wass listen to this right it down because it's going to give you more business than you know what to do with you know why we do three thousand portrait's over the next month because we do family photo night what the heck is family photo night go to your children school go to your grandkids school whoever go to your local school and say hi listen I'd really love to get back to the p e t a on the best way I know possible is to give a gift that's going to give forever what is that gift I'd like to do a family portrait of all the families who were interested in the district and here's what we're going to d'oh we're going to set up a family photo night we'll do it into schooled in the gym I'll bring a college background whatever it maybe now's your chance when home and do this perfect time a year on what we're going to do is I would like you to charge a ten dollars setting faith the ten dollars sitting faith is about one tenth of what I normally charge for a sitting faith that ten dollars is going to go to the p t a and I'm going to give them one eight by a portrait for that ten dollars my gift is that a buy a portrait my holiday collections which normally started two hundred fifty dollars are going to start at forty dollars and I'm going to give thirty per cent of that money to the pizza as well now I'm giving a big gift to the p t a r and I so maybe I make a little money maybe eight or even but the fact is what did I create when they like me when their kids are having the communion when having a bar botnets for when they're having a sweet sixteen or kids and yet where they're getting married what am I creating and I gave money back to the school so you're thinking but I didn't really make anything it's not about making something is about networking and now although schools that I did that family photo night they're like oh my god we've never dealt with photographers like this can you do our school portrait you want to make some money school photography is off the grid there's a company who does school photography there are over a billion dollars I believe a billion dollars day nationwide obviously at that lodge a company it's very hard for them to be personal as personal as you want to be you have that availability so now here's the thing you have the people right in front of you you've network you could do it all you're going and doing a family photo night and guess what you're going to make money do you know how much money you make on the school we just did a school over the last two days was worth over thirty thousand dollars thirty thousand dollars was taken and we give the school back thirty percent of that they make nine thousand dollars the photographers are on salary there in staff and the expense of the prince is very little and now on top of that money we're also going to send something up a family photo night which will block us out for five nights do you know how many of those people in the community keep coming in for other photographs other events other reasons so when they come in for a communion do I charge them the same forty dollars or do I charge him the two hundred fifty dollars sitting feet and guess what you're thinking about the forty dollars package you're saying saying they never buy your thing that I don't make anything if they didn't buy a thing it's your fault I gave them an eight by eight what do they need a frame on when I direct them to my site to go and show that family the pictures what a mice creating upper and within the family because when they go to my image quick site it's about me it's not about image quicks that was one of the things that I love most about that company it was branded from may so they're goingto my sight they're going into packing photographer dot com there seeing a slide show of me and all the different types of photography they're doing then they're going to wind up going to a site they're going to see their image brand keep putting the name out there make a right make a brand put my name everywhere my favorite place in the world and I hope I could say this out loud if you knew you know me you know it is is disney world I am obsessed I go to disney world a good ten to twelve times a year it is my favorite place in the world we're actually building a home inside of disney world that's how much I love it there making four hundred fifty homes inside disney world so I will be able walk outside of my home every night and watch the fireworks and do my little dance and speaking a why because I'm happy there but you know why I love disney besides being the greatest place on earth they are the smartest marketers on earth because when you walk into disney the first thing you see is come back tomorrow come back tomorrow keep saying the name all over their marketing to you is your there you should come back tomorrow you're gonna get a discount come back tomorrow that's what I'm doing I'm putting my name out there everywhere I can put it I put it this way it keeps getting seen it doesn't become local photographer they know packing packing packing packing I keep putting it out how many times did I say it here I want my site overloaded I want people to look at him do you know how many photographers call me and say can you do my wedding because it's a brand it's an entity on dh if I ever chose to sell my company if they got be able to sell it with east because it's a company brand it's not about may ladies wow did that family photo night thing light up the boards a little bit because it's absolutely as well disneyland are you really moving to disney world yes you're gonna buy one of the condos are no it's not a condo it's actually a home ondas called golden golden oak it's literally inside of disney world it's the first home ever in terms of that building four hundred fifty homes and it should be done within the next three to four years my eventual goal if I'm being dead serious my business is very self sufficient at this point would be to move to disney when the kids are old enough my son is an eighth grade my daughter is in six I'd like to be down there permanently lived there and I'd liketo work in disney world in some capacity you know you're going to laugh but one of my dreams would be to actually photograph on main street as families came in to the magic kingdom because I just I love it when I walk in there I'm home I absolutely adore and it's at that point I hope I don't need money and I could work for disney but your housewarming uh has it when your housewarming every day every hour I love you even more thank you that's an incredible story thank you it's the best place in the world um family photo night does anybody have questions about that because honestly that's a game changer because there's so many schools there's so many kids you could start your business off of a family photo yes so the family for tonight you give them the prince right there and then no because I don't want to print them there I want to try what we do dio at family photo night now we don't go to school anymore the families come tow us on the reason I want him to come in us like I said we're shooting inside the studio my studio is built like you when it believes in a room like this and as I said the other day over here I have one christmas scene all we hear I have a new york city fire escape scene with all sorts of light over here I have fireplace with steps I have the magical doorways I have santo set up save everything you can imagine we do it like an assembly line bam bam bam bam bam bam bam move them around and go straight and now what they getting the same attention that all regular clients who are paying three hundred dollars for sitting or no we can't give him that much attention because they're only paying ten dollars on the idea was ten dollars one print but now we're getting maur this way they buy more on the fact is these people keep coming back every family that comes into thousands we do we know now we know who they are we see the same families here fear now on a christmas card that goes out let me ask you they sent out a christmas card do you think my logo is on that christmas card anywhere with a phone number what do you think you bet because the best place to market it's what the people you already have so I'm not back in an area see when I flip it over they look on it teo what's here pack and photographer oh my goodness this is beautiful portrait of people call from not on our wedding thank you cards to use think our name is on the back of those of course they are we're not putting it on a print we're putting it on the back ladies so many questions are coming in about the family portrait night so first question um will ask is this is from pine apple tree what type of contracts involved family night photo and each family sign a model release or contract no because they don't need to sign a model release because I'm not going to use those photos I'm not going to use those photos I will not use the photos of children or such or things like that for the mere fact they didn't sign on for this it's like one of the things when we talk about sales later on I may have said it in the beginning of the week and my samples do you think I have pictures of all the guest on all the other people at a wedding that I focus on bride and groom so when my clients ask why don't you have the other guests but well I don't want to violate them like that because they didn't sign on for it is that the real reason no because the bride and groom signed a waiver for them the fact is I don't show it because it's boring nobody is interesting looking at family pictures they want to see a love story so I eliminate them and I used the other portion of it to kind of be like every other photographers shows that stuff question good just a smile okay so a question from jason photo is how would you deal with the pita who wants to get paid a base amount before even talking about letting you in well that will happen on occasion and like anything else it's a gamble you need to look at it they're not going to ask you for a base fee for a family photo night what they will do is ask you fora basically if you're going to shoot the school so you have to determine that base fee could be a thousand two thousand dollars no here's what you need to watch out for you pay all the money directly to the p t a but occasionally you get those crazy p t a moms who are doing the dealing who may ask for something a little extra do we get involved in that new we don't I need to look at the school and say okay there's one thousand kids in the school they're asking me for a thousand dollars that's a dollar child now let me take a look at it this community here what's the average median income okay the average median income is about fifty thousand dollars I'm goingto bet that at least fifty percent of those families are going to buy photos are thirty dollars a pop so how much is that going to bay that's going to be fifteen thousand dollars now is that thousand dollars a gift and then I'm gonna have to pay commission on top of it where's the thousand dollars going to come off of the twenty percent commission so I have to look at it and weigh it out it's a business if they want it up front it's an investment like anything else but here's what I'll tell you when we talked about it earlier in the week do I pay catering halls commission why would you give a catering hall five hundred dollars because if I ran an ad on one of the big wedding sites and it cost me four thousand dollars of my guaranteed anything but if I have to pay the to get to four thousand dollars from the catering halls how many weddings that ideo eight did eight weddings a excites the whole finger thing I did eight weddings which means what which means I was guaranteed eight weddings they don't get paid unless they make money is that better advertising you bet question from cat cab how long do you save the images photographs for the family photo knight do you give the clients a deadline to order prints we get them when do you think all clients order those family photo night pitches that night that night that night why because their end there the kids are screaming they're picking fast they tend to buy more get them in right away because I want the money when now now the second they leave what becomes less important everything it's about excitement I had so much fun shooting with you doug awesome come inside the room let's look at him will put on a little music from song freedom will pop in one of our artists that's why I used that company because it's not fake music its really artist on I should say that's an insult I don't mean fake music it's not independent music it's music that people know which is going to draw some type of inspiration into them music definitely carries the way it goes where if it's a newer song it may not connect them so I apologize that wasn't meant to offend any independent artist yes you do what you're explaining earlier where you have them tethered in someone's editing as the photos are being taken up do you know how many schools were doing we're doing over eighty schools this year do you know how many we turned down we turned out hundreds because we can't do it we tell them if you want to do your family photo night we're gonna have to start it like june or july my business is self sufficient without any advertising because of one reason I let the people work for me you know I do know advertising whatsoever the advertisers pay me to advertise on their site do you know how because they know that I'm the most credible brand there is so they say well if people see that you're advertising they're going to do it because I've reached that level of being a brand I give the advertisers credibility wow really impress eighty schools eighty schools and that's because we that's all we can do we can average we have two schools per night that's how we're able to fill it in such a short period won't have forty days we could accomplish this I have another present for people like us you don't have someone in the background to edit while we're still shooting do you think we need to develop a workflow what you would do is figure out you could do one setting per half hour okay so you do fifteen minutes of sitting you do fifteen minutes of editing get your spouse to get a family member to sell it okay that's how you work it because we do send photographers in the beginning we send photographers to schools by themselves are you going to get us many families but no maybe you work every night of that week and you could work on the same school it depends the p t a you allow this is how it makes it easier for you you allow them excuse me in our case we don't do this but when we first started we won't allow the pita to make the appointments and collect the ten dollars and in this way they get their money and they just hand us the less so we don't have to be bothered with it in our case we want them to call the studio because we know the ptl start doubling up appointments because they're going to take every appointment they could get and sometimes well five families and at the same time which we just it's not possible because if you get dealing with family photo night it's like dealing with a pediatric doctor nothing can run on time you can't you're the main scene a baby yesterday if all those babies were like that beautiful little girl would be great but you know it doesn't work that way you know it doesn't work that way I needed one winner I got four and that's all I needed at that point okay I mean there's so many questions where we end you want to keep going we have about for what we have a couple of minutes we have about five minutes yeah do you want so should I go into something else or we could take you in for the next five minutes yeah ju in a is there a lot of questions or because I'm gonna get to touch on this more during business portion but the biggest message here's your business you're not a person so let's go to a real quick before you get back question number one creative plan go home albert sit down and write your plan down don't think about it while you're jogging or you're eating write it down journal it created text at it I don't care what it is to find a plan set a vision set a goal I want to make this much money this year this is how I'm going to make this much money I'm going to do family photo night I'm going to go to the church I'm going to do this for free I'm going to go work for these three charities because I want to accomplish something I'm going to do this I'm going to do that and this is how I'm going to do it so tomorrow on monday I'm going to reach out I'm going to take that business plan that doug wrote in that business plan there's an email for you to approach a school and what makes my business plan great is you just go in you copy and paste it into your email and sign your name and you don't have to do anything else it'll work it's proven it's a track record that's what's great about those things every email to a client that you could imagine or potential client is in there to find a plan to find a vision go out and get it don't take no as an answer it's a matter of good luck is opportunity created I'm gonna mention my son here my son is the perfect example probably kill me because thousands of people watching this I hope you're not watching this port here's the thing my son the wonderful boy that he is and he is an angel and so is my daughter they're just amazing but you know what I appreciate about my son he's an eighth grade now he liked a girl he went and he went for it he never got the answer he didn't know so he went back again because you know that young they don't really know how to answer a response but the fact is he did it it's not being afraid to fail it's being afraid not to try and that's what business is it's a matter of going out and grabbing it keep reaching keep climbing that is why I am jumping through that damn window because I'm not giving up on it people at home I need you let doug play yes ladies home hashtag don't go home all right well we are going to take a forty five minute lunch break now doug order we're going to do when we get back we're going to talk about how to sell I'm going to talk to you about howto answer the phone I'm going to talk to you about a sales consultation and more importantly I'm going to talk to you about how when a client is ok we'll let you know I had a nail it on the spot to get it done now because when they leave remember when they walk out the door and you're reaching for him I'm already over there pulling them in I want you to think about me trying to get that client because I'm gonna grab them I'm going to take them away from you
Doug Gordon is a New York based professional photographer, writer, and speaker. Doug runs Patken Photography, a family-owned studio with a staff of 27 shooting 1,000 weddings every year. Doug has been a professional photographer for 22 years and a
I loved every minute of it! I watched and re-watched the Live show 3 times and now have the video version to burn into my mind. I don't get sick of watching it, I learn something new with each viewing. I have notes upon notes, inspirational quotes and I was truly inspired. I saw you live at your workshop and I wish we would of covered the business section a bit more in depthly because after watching you here on creativeLive I was floored! I can't wait to attend another one of your workshops because you are a wealth of knowledge, energetic and you inspire me to be better! I'm so glad I wasn't afraid to try even though I was terrified at first. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an amazing mentor!
a Creativelive Student
Doug is AMAZING! The way he teaches makes it fun and easy to understand. The way he poses his couples are so fast and easy to learn, I have taken my photography from mediocre, to world-class. I would love to meet him and thank him personally one day. Thank you Creativelive for introducing me to Doug, and thank you, Doug, for introducing me to CreativeLive! The best community for learning!!!
Doug has so much enthusiasm, it is beyond measurable. He is truly a fantastic motivator. He helps you understand the best ways to work with the light you have and shows you some very simple yet effective posing techniques. I highly recommend watching and buying this course if you want some great advice on improving your photography.