One on Ones and Q&A
We are going to do one on ones for those of you who are watching online, I emailed ryan, melissa and nikki, and I said that after the last show, ryan came up to me at the end, everything leaving this place is almost empty and he's like jasmine, I have a question for you, and he asked such a simple question, and I felt so bad that in the course of talking him for two days, I didn't give him any room to ask me questions that pertain specifically to his business and where he waas. So we're going to do one on one for about seven minutes if that's okay with you guys. Ryan, nikki and melissa have questions that they prepared. I don't know the questions, we're just going to be an open book, and then we'll be taking a couple questions from the internet in between each of you guys. So that will roughly bring us out to the end at four o'clock. So nicky that's okay, we could start with you. Okay. First question has to do with destination. I think it's so important to an engagement session. So if ...
you have a client in new york or clients mark, how do you do the engagement session, or do you do it? It's going to be up to them? I encourage, and my goal is to always educate the client, let them know how important it is for us to get to know each other before. And then I give them two options they could pay for me to fly teo wherever they are. So let's use new york, for example, I will request that they cover my flight and that they cover my transportation to and from if I can book a flight on the way home that night, I will do a turnaround trip, and I won't request that they book a hotel if I cannot book a flight to get home to get home that night, I request that they also book a hotel for me so that's going to be a lot of added expenses however you can always if your clients are saying I'm getting married in new york, if they want to make their way to the pacific northwest, if they happen to be somewhere, or if they happen to be somewhere on the west coast and say we're going to be in san francisco in a few weeks, it's going to cost them less is to fly you to san francisco, then to new york, so I guess the answer would be find a way to get to yes, I've never hesitated, I booked a wedding in hawaii and it doesn't make sense for me to fly to hawaii and they know that but they're getting there happen to be traveling for business to las vegas so I said flying a day early I meet in vegas I got to be home that night with jd and polo they were like we love vegas let's do it so finding just different ways teo get to that that makes sense okay um one more question and this is more of your opinion because I don't think you can necessarily answer it for me but I'm just curious as to do with the name of my business so I came when I first started I was like I shouldn't even my name it sounds kind of like pompous like you know nikki closer photography and I just didn't know any better and so I ended up coming up with nick see which is people coming nick in the my last name starts with c so nick plus c is next so that's kind of you but I'm starting to see an industry that if people want to find me they're going to look for nikki closser they don't know that I'm called mixi photographer photography so I'm just while I'm in the process of maybe doing a new website and rebranding maybe I go to my name and my gut is telling me to go to my name I'm just can't answered maybe you nix the name think you answered your own question yeah I hear you talk here I don't need to see it I don't need to say it because I think you know ok d'oh yeah ok ok another question if not that's totally okay there's no no I think you've answered so many questions that really a lot of the ones that I have already you get you've answered so even if there is a possibility of you coming back next month with nikki closer or some division like of it really e really offended and really excited I think it's going to only the only thing that is bothering me about it is with facebook they only allow you to change one time okay your facebook name and so I already change from just next photography tunics in photography and I added nicky closer after it and now I'm stuck with that because facebook was like you may not change but the earl no, not the girl that my actual name that's another I think that's going to be a subdivision if anybody has experienced this particular situation in the facebook group or out online please shout out I don't think that nicky is the first person to have to deal with this maybe in some way somebody online is working with facebook and making shot out hook nicki up or somebody has gone through so maybe it's just a time frame I really do think. I mean, I think if a rad name I do. Which one? My island. Your actual name dio oh, yeah, I do. Okay, okay, actually forgive me. I want to take a question from the internet if that's ok, I'm sorry. You know, mickey, I love your name when she said I'm gonna be so excited I was like, thank you. Okay, this is a question from magnified joy if you got an email back from a bride after a few days after saying they went with someone else, is it okay to ask the potential brides what the reason is for going with another photographer to find out if the price is too high or they're certain aspects of the packages? Is that ok to dio? That is a one is such a great question. I wish I had the cone is to do that. If you have the confidence to do that totally go ahead. If that's what you want to do, I I don't feel comfortable asking why somebody went with somebody else but it's totally a personal decision. I know of a lot of photographers personally who will follow up and they get wonderful feedback as to why it was pricing or one time I did talk to a coordinator you know, I know that it came down to me and another photographer and I adored this couple in a door what they wanted to do the wedding and then I didn't end up fucking it I was totally sochi about because I was like, I felt like we really hit it off and then I had the opportunity to speak to the coordinator was very forthcoming and she just said it came down to aesthetic preference this photographer wanted I mean, this bride wanted x with this other for talking for great feedback, but I think that I'm more comfortable doing it through a third party wrap and not with the bride herself I'm going to move into taxes, taxes oh yea taxi's coming up yes, this is like, well, this is since last year's, my first full year on paper okay that I claim and stuff so I just wanted to know how you prepare for like taxis and then like how do you organize yourself for that throughout the entire year? Because I know you're a very organized person. Yeah, okay, so the pretend lawyer and me the girl who went to law school for a year I feel like I have to have a caveat every state is different. You have to look into your own tax laws and how they apply to you and gets be confidently about california state tax which is where he reside as well so we're on the same page in regrets that state taxes are really close to each other but there are certain differences so wherever you are as far as taxes are concerned if you are booking a collection you must charge tax period there's going to be a lot of back and forth now in california if you have a digital only business so you shoot the wedding you put it in a digital gallery and they download all the digital images and they're zero product involved there is technically a loophole you do not have to charge services for that but if that client at any given point in time we can order a print from you one single four by six you are then eligible to pay taxes on the entire collection so you need to find out in orange county at seven point seven five percent my clients have to pay seven point seven five percent taxes on top of the collection yes you like when you give them your collections is there like a little prince is in the bottom like this we attacks no I say I tell them seven point seven five orange county state tax at seven point seven five percent is applicable on every collection okay so there knowing from the gate now there are some photographers who include the taxes in and then they just tell they're they're telling other clients taxes included you were mean to me it's like a spin whatever you want to do it fine but you have to know you're paying that do you ever talk numbers and your e mails or do you always like say the numbers like if someone wants a customized collection absolutely you always like this absolutely email, email, email because then you have documentation for it and then for me my answer is yes I will never tell you know there's going to be a cost with it but I'll never tell you know so I'm all about itemizing everything so do you have set hours in your collections that you have eyes the maximum my book is eight hours eight hours great so what if and then well then the thing want more hours they pay an hourly rate to keep us both there okay, so what if they're like six hours up but the cake hasn't been cut? How do you approach them about overtime ready for that moment right here, right at that moment wedding like they don't like they don't know that you're you're six hours got it, which is why I think six hours is a really tough collection six hours is a that stinky collection because you're giving up one of two things are giving it the cake cutting or giving a prep and we have photographers want to shoot prep but brides want the cake cutting you're always in had the awkward conversation so if I were you know, like on the wedding day yeah, yeah okay here's the thing we as photographers are professionals, the brights aren't we know how the wedding is trending right when that reception starts, we know they're not gonna get there six hours and we know that implicitly if you already know that if there's going to be dead time so let's just say they're running twenty minutes behind for grand entrance and then the speeches went ten minutes over thirty minutes boom totally screwed, right? So as the clients are either getting up to walk to the buffet if you can work with the wedding coordinator that's going to be the optimal situation so you could use him or her as a third party but what you need to do is just have a grown up conversation if you okay, the best situation is if you could make friends with the maid of honor or the sister or the cousin because then they become that third party. I always try to pair up with somebody always try to find out who's the closest there who's a little bird on her shoulder if I don't have a wedding coordinator and her sister is the maid of honor and we're running late and I'm seeing this and she gets between the fate will come to me melissa I was just like I think that we're running a little bit late I don't want to bother nicky the bride and want to bother you nicky I think we might have to add on thirty minutes unless we go to the cake cutting right now I'm totally okay to do the cake cutting right now, but she needs to make that decision and I'm totally cool staying, but if you could like, let her know that that would that would be great hearing it from you you don't have to directly like she's getting her like beef tenderloin I was like go exactly and then if they decide if they decide to add on ours, I get then because I'm speaking to a maid of honor, I have a third party documentation if I was speaking directly to bride, she can at a later point say I didn't say that and I couldn't be like, well, j d heard you well he's on my team if I have her sister her sister's not gonna lie I'm always going to defer to protecting, you know the integrity that have with my clients so the sister or the maid of honor or the cousin or something will speak to her if there's not a wedding coordinator and then I established okay, this is my hourly rate I charge in fifteen minute increments I really do not want to stay past my hours I really don't want to get home to my dog I want to take a hot bath got to be real would you like me to stay for the fifteen minutes or thirty she'll say thirty minutes perfect this's how much going to cost you invoice you at a later point in time you just go on party guess what I don't have to release her gallery until she's paid me the final balance and you invoice like everything like the collection they send me a fifty percent retainer I said them documentation this is the check number this is what you sent it with then weeks a couple four weeks before the wedding I sent him this is your final balance bubble bubble block that was in your email template yes exactly exactly um this is a total different question but yes what do you do the night before the wet before you have a wedding do you have any like rituals? They're the same harris aka wei xu's most of the wedding's on saturday that's generally what it is in our house and our house that's just me and jd friday nights are date nights that's kind of like sacred in our house we have like the same few restaurants we go to I feel and you know it sounds really stupid but I do feel like an athlete it's the war game day I'm not going to go out I don't drink very much I might have a drink maybe to relax we might go see a movie but I'm in bed pretty early I haven't early I'm keeping the most level head I'm getting focused is owned in I'm going through my inspirations which our magazine clippings I'm just chilling out I'm like queen of say yes to the dress on friday nights I never admit that but I'm like she got that dress is like oh no we're gonna be the wedding tomorrow very typical I'm a wedding junkie cool and how many pictures would you say that you and j d photograph our shoot I tell my clients we average about a hundred images an hour the collections I know but I'm getting there I'm getting there I know you're going teo between us both we average about a hundred images an hour so the clients are getting anywhere between eight hundred thousand images between us both were probably in the ballpark of twenty, two hundred to five hundred depending on how busy that winning is twenty, two hundred twenty five hundred so I'm cutting yeah, just really seventeen down I feel that we're the curator of our work and we need to make the best decisions if there's one photo that's a standalone it always makes the edit you know if I shoot eight bridal portrait she doesn't need eight she needs three and it's our job to really siphon it down for her this may be a very generous I'm not generic but this's probably your last question I'm sorry no no no no no I want this last session I just wanted to give you a heads up sorry you know how many on average how many emails do you go back and forth with for a break from the initial invitation up until the wedding day I know it's a it's a very hard question to answer because I think it would vary with I have something I have some rides I I have some rights who are so hands off there just like we trust you here's itinerary and then I have some brides who are this is their dream they've been waiting since there were twelve years old so I get emails of I went dress shopping what do you think of this bright address this dress or this dress what do you with this? Some girls want to be really involved in the photographer like they the belt of report they feel like they know me so I'm part of the wedding process for them so I will absolutely indulgent with that you responded that within twenty four hours and like love you know that that fifty seventh shade of love e I like it but I'm a wedding donkey so thank you ryan thank you were gonna go teo question on the internet all right, fantastic! I love that you're doing this little one on one because again that's so helpful for everybody else. Okay? Alim photo is asked what do you think about offseason discounts in the winter months to keep cash flow alive for those of us that work where winter holt's our booking again, this is such a it's such a personal decision and I think that just teo, you don't show all my cards very spoiled I'm in california we have so much of the fragment in winter season we are pretty it's possible to shoot year round in california southern california I don't I don't know I can't speak to the discounts might remember about for me it's not about sticker price for me it's about profitability? Is it better if you're not shooting any weddings in three months time period and all of a sudden there's one random wedding at the beginning of december and you know in the past three years you've been shooting weddings you've never shot in december and there's a bride that comes around and she's asking for a discount? I'm not saying I agree to the discount but know your numbers find out what it's going to be worth it to you and is more important to be at home or is it more important to get that wedding even if it's in a fragmented discount that's gonna be my answer so now we're gonna move into questions with melissa, and I don't know if that was a very smooth transition, okay, so okay, my first question is I struggle with a za mom like what? I should pass out on the internet, so I think like what? I put my personal things out there because I mean, my kids and my family life, that is the majority of my day, and I think I want to put that out there, people respond to it, but I don't feel like I'm related to my bride. My brides aren't moms, and they don't, you know, most of them don't have kids, so I'm just I'm curious on your opinion of, you know, that balance get relating, and somebody recently asked me what what they think like my good balances between personal and professional post to me, I don't think it's a about you asking about your kids, I think it's you asking how much is too much about the personal aspects of my life? If you are blogging, say, once a week, which is where I would hope as business people want to keep things fresh, I look at it as a month, so over four weeks, one out of four posts could be personal without you ever having to think anything because as a person is scrolling there's that mix between professional and personal and you won't have to talk about your kids for it to be a personal post, you can talk about how you made your favorite blueberry pancakes or here in santa you guys have these berries like blackberries I think they're amazing they're just wild blackberries that just grow randomly out of crevasses. So if you were to take pictures of like the sunset or the sun rising behind a blackberry and you were to write about how you made blackberry pancakes before this seahawks game, I'm going to probably like you a little bit more. I don't know why I like food, I like you more, so it doesn't have to be about your kids for it to be personal, but I kind of like the one four, three show, but there isn't a right there isn't right number here, I mean, I follow mommy bloggers who are not photographers, they just take pictures of the kids that write about their lives. I find it intriguing and again you're on ly trying to attract a repel if they don't like you, if they don't like your post and don't like you that they're not me a client, right? Precisely yeah, I love the idea of you whether you have kids or not yeah just make sure that I'm relating to them I don't know absolutely but again do you want to book a bride who thinks that you're unable to capture her wedding because you're a mom it's true, right? So as your schooling joe I want to see pictures of your kids here are pictures of your kids here then it feels like a mommy blood and nothing and ten blocks like I said, I fooled my blog's level but finding that balance between professional and business is gonna be a good thing that's good. Okay, so my next question I'm about scheduling like so I mean, your life has got to be insanity I mean, this last month for me has been insanity and outing one no, what your life was like bawling like a futon thing. So I'm just I'm curious from because I feel like I'm not if I don't schedule things for myself a menace productive don't you know? But I'm just curious for you, like how how much do you micromanage your life? O I'm like I micromanage like my workout my meal, like I mean, I really have to know I was just curious I'm trying to deal right now, okay, so I'm gonna be very, very, very honest and micromanage my micro management it's probably not a fun person to live with jd is the complete opposite which is the only way our relationship works I'm at one end of the spectrum and he is on the opposite complete opposite end so I have it I'm an early riser I wake up between six and six fifteen I have sixty to seventy five minutes for email judy's up at this time we walk the dog for twenty minutes I go on workout for an hour to hour and fifteen minutes I come home if I'm lucky I took a shower within the first ten minutes I make myself a snack I sit down at my computer I work for three hours get up we walk the dog I come home from lunch then I turned my wifi back on because I turn my wife I off during certain hours in the day because I know I'm gonna want to check twitter when I want to check facebook to me I use social media as an emaciated carrot if I finished these three things then that's when I can get on there if I finish this then I can get on there and then I control the amount of time and there are moments where my date is so busy that I use social social media management to plan what I want to say I plan in my tweets and then I turn off twitter because it's just teo teo much to believe that all the time sucker okay so but j d night every morning sit down and we talk about what the day entails. Where you at this hour? Where am I? At this hour? If I'm at a shoot, we do not shoot our engagement sessions together. I go on my own and then I come home what his dinner look like where plans the following day. So everything is scheduled in thirty minute increments. And what makes my weekly daily schedule and then I have to give myself I have to be done with this project by eleven. Fifteen. I have to be done with this pressure by eleven. Thirty five. I have to be done with this project. What if I'm not, then oh, shoot! Sorry. What if I'm not? Oh, great here, but I don't know. I give myself realistic timeframes, realism, time frames and I have to get it in if I heard my ones heard. If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. Sorry, teo. Teo may still good. Yeah, yeah, good, good, good. So and that's an off chance that I don't change if I don't book. I'm not booking. What do you suggest I be doing? We're not answering that question right now. Because that's not you know I'm not going to shut it down like this what I'm going to tell you is that I don't think that your website is a representation of you I don't see you in it at all and I don't have to say that promised it right so you have yet to have pictures that actually look and represent you you haven't done your open house yet you haven't had enough meetings with your girl friends here in seattle so that when they're booked who are they thinking of melissa like there's just too much of the unknown quite yet next question yes exactly well what's what happened like bronx e in an ideal world I would love to do more destination weddings like I love this nation wins and so how many destination weddings have you done to okay, I'm and so I I'm just not quite sure how to sit about they're like how do you know like how do I put that bait out there that I want to do that like I don't know how excited you just stating on your website like I think nikki you have like a picture of a state and then you say like loves to travel or something like that putting it out there's going to be a good thing but you could sit there and scream and shout all you want I want to shoot a station things one thing what let's let's pair things back a little bit I want to demystify the idea of destination weddings yes they are brilliant and amazing to shoot there so exciting to see the world but a wedding in gig harbor in seattle getting there is thirty minutes and getting home is thirty minutes getting to san francisco is going to be if you are the wedding's on saturday you're leaving on friday and friday morning because you don't even plan for incidentals and you gotta get to the airport and then you're not leaving on sunday morning because you have your wedding day hangover you're leaving during the afternoons so you might be able to charge like a travel feed but it's not like you're making that much more so you have to understand that you're almost tripling or quadrupling your working hours so your profitability drops drastically and then your three days away from your family so I just want to state that out in the open so make sure that when you want to do destination weddings you're charging for them accordingly to charge for the time that you're away from your studio have to put a price on that then you have to charge money for the food that you incur while you're out on the road so I know that going into and you can say you want to shoot this mission's weddings all you want but what you need to do is start shooting weddings because then what happens is the girl who is getting married here in seattle she had a sorority sister at the university of washington who now relocated to texas and she flew into the wedding for the wedding and then she went home, and then she sees like your blood post and she's like, oh my god, these are the best photos and I'm getting married in six months. I wonder if she'll come to texas. You first just need to get your name out there don't put the cart before the horse, so what happens is word of mouth leads to people in outside territories and online digital area has changed the way that we book weddings and destinations infant testament lee so just get busy for last question, I was curious because I'm the same way where I'm on I'm not a sales person, I'm definitely more service based on the product based, and I really like him than hot on the idea of doing bridal shows recently, okay? And I'm not I don't know, I just don't know what you thought you don't do bridal shows, right don't rattle shows, but again, this is going to be really specific to the area and to your strength I knew that bridal shows they're huge in the south and some people say you can't have a business unless you do a bridal show I don't know I'm not from the south I know that I run a successful business without bridal shows and the issue for me became especially in the beginning when I wanted to get my name out there in southern california is very expensive anywhere it's super expensive to have a bridal show so let's just say you pay four hundred fifty dollars for an eight by eight booth and then they have to pay a hundred dollars to get carpet and then if you want lighting and a certain partition you gotta pay another hundred dollars and then do you wanna have like the bootleg booth or do you want to rent a sofa or bring us so far from your house with your husband has to set up you're going to need do you need a large screen tv are you going to rent that because this right here is probably five hundred dollars rental or you dismounted from your wall and take it with you do you have printed product material because you can't just show up and say I'm a great photographer you have to have albums got to get albums printed but then you're like oh that wedding was so old I need to get a new sample album and then you want to get five by sevens printed says people can pass away on then it's just all of a sudden what happens is it's no longer the five hundred dollars booth rental you have to think about everything the monogrammed water bottles are you going to give away an engagement session to create more judge, are you going to feel coming to give to compare yourself to all the other booths? I did the math and in order for me to even just break even had to book three weddings from a bridal show, so I had to do all that work, and then I had to book three weddings just from that bridal show to break even ivy's philosophy that the bigger my funnel is, the more propensity I have to attract a bridezilla at a bridal show, people are going for photographers, they're not going for my services and that's where I think a huge defining factories is I don't want to have somebody come to me looking because I happen to fit in their budget. I want them to come looking for me because I can service them in a way that nobody else can that's not to say you shouldn't do it. I know people a lot of success, but for me it just didn't fit into my model. So adrian, far from england, has asked if pricing yourself low because of low demand, how do you then avoid attracting the wrong clients like the people that expect everything and want to give you nothing? First I want to say hi to adrian because he e mailed me after the first restart and I remember his name and he seems like such a great photographer good person andi was asking how to avoid attracting the wrong client ifyou're trying if the market there's low demand in the market and so you're pricing yourself very low how do you then you know keep the price low but then attract the right clients not like I said I'm gonna go back go back to the basics what you put out is what you attract that's why you need to not just show pretty pictures you need to show pictures that are distinctly your style and then the more that you put out of yourself in a personal capacity for more than a bride will have a distinct opinion about you and I will say that a lot of photographers have fears attracting like these terrible brides I put a lot of weddings on first year about thirty eight winnings my first year and I had one bride that wasn't a good fit for me so you know have a little bit of feet and then you have to be flexible these are the most important day of a girl's life and she's always right and just cater turn you always say yes yes and you should be fine you really should I love how you always bring it full circle okay yeah, so this is a wonderful problem to have. Congratulations, teo, came our photography. My question is, once we have reached your quota for the year, I've reached twenty congratulations, and I'm already feeling overwhelmed by the idea of shooting editing them next year and yet I'm still getting regular enquiries. At what point do I just stop accepting jobs and maybe that's also that question about yeah, it was her name or his name came arif photography. Okay, okay, you're in deep right now. You have twenty weddings. What this photographer we can't look back, right? But if you if you feel like you're trending towards booking twenty weddings, what you need to do to need to throttle your demand, you need to raise your prices. So it is february twenty weddings that means you're pricing there's touched man, you should raise your prices to slow the amount of people now that this person has already hit their number amping up and ended up. And if somebody does book him or her for that wedding, they this person can include the cost of outsourcing that wedding. So instead of feeling overwhelmed, put your outsourcing costs in there at a little jewish or profitability and added time it's going to take to be communicating with the bride. Cover your costs. You get a build your portfolio, it's not taking the eighteen hours to edit the wedding. You're adding mortar portfolio and it's a win win, and you see the portfolio because I'm just like more wedding, but you can. Now, this this wedding photographer can charge whatever he or she feels like more or less right gonna be added bonus on top of that. But before you get to twenty in february, you should've throttled before them.