What is a Luxury Brand?
We start out with the one thousand we got to the twenty five, thirty five now we kind of talked about the full timer. Now we're going to break into this area where we got this luxury branding with its five thousand plus ten thousand and so forth, and what makes this difficulty as I go to my fishing analogy again, is this, you know, kind of going from this one thousand and even into this five thousand level? It's really fishing one type of way, what we're kind of most of us are accustomed to, and so when you get into this category, this is a completely different way to fishes site going from trout fishing to deep sea fishing, it's different, you've got to use different bait, the whole different philosophy, and we're going to kind of unpack that issue. And so let me explain to me why I wanted to be a a ten thousand dollar photographer that was my goal from the get go it it's like, hey, I want to do this and one I wanted to raise my potential earnings ceiling, so if I was at five thousand...
dollars a wedding and I knew for a fact, I couldn't do more than twenty four weddings without, like, driving myself insane, because when you're doing twenty four weddings they're also doing twenty for engagement sessions at the same time so you're shooting every single week editing every single week it gets to be very burdensome I go well, if I'm only charging five thousand dollars, then what's five times one twenty four right that's one hundred twenty thousand dollars something like that if I could do my math, right? Right, so one hundred twenty thousand dollars that was my ceiling, so I wanted to get raised that ceiling a little bit higher because I knew I had a family I knew about my girls growing up and they're telling me to stick cysts statistics are girls cost two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year to get them to eighteen and I hearing all this stuff so I need to raise my ceilings I go wow, if I'm at ten, then I congrats s'more within my twenty four weddings, then also I also realized I wanted to go into teaching and so well who's going to really listen to me, you know? But if I said if I could do ten thousand dollar weddings than someone might give a shot at at hearing me and hearing my story, so would open more doors of opportunity for me, then the philosophy is this what happens if I didn't quite get twenty four even then if I doubled my price and I got half assed much business I would still may be making the same amount of money, but working half is less and so when I started to think in those terms because at that time it five thousand before I switched I really felt like I could book as many five thousand dollar weddings as I wanted to at this point but because they were just pouring in and I I tell you how that rave exponentially grows and so that's kind of like what was happening with me so I go well raise it even if I just get half a cz many bookings, then I'm still making just as much as I am now, but I'm working half assed less when that great eso it's like just getting a you know hey, you're gonna go down instead of forty hours a week you're gonna go down to twenty hours a week, but I'm going to give you the same amount of pay who wouldn't want to take that so I wanted a more balanced life. A situation happened in my life where my one of my good friends passed away very early in her life and I had just I photograph they're very, very last session andi they knew that her time was going to come and he asked me to photograph one like this I just adopted a daughter at that point and she barely had any energy toe gave her a lot just to this last session and we're close to him them because we'd also kind of talked with them in regards to adopting children and kind of mentored them in that because we had I went through that process so our families were pretty close and she passed away and I couldn't go to her for a funeral why I had a wedding and and I just started to realize my life on how much I was giving up because everything happens on the weekends and I started thinking about it that's like, wow shoot and that was kind of like the the straw that broke the camel's back and I go, you know what? I need a better balanced life and I need to be able to have time to spend with my family and do those things and to be able to go toe weddings of my friends and and funerals and so I could grieve and all that kind of stuff. I thought that was important it's like whoa that's it ten it's not worth it I'm ten thousand now and I'm just going to do anything to get to that point because I need to have a more balanced life, high profits in a balanced life on dh we talked about that it's just not about making money it's about having a balanced lifestyle too I think that's very important my desire for increased family time pushed me to earn top dollars with my photography and that's you know what I think a lot of photographers you know, if if if they're uh maybe they don't have children have children I think it's the best thing why? Because it really puts you in a different perspective first of all, it gives you this unsurpassed in joy that you've ever field in your life is completely different but then it really pushes you because now it's just not about me and that's the cool thing about it is you realize you're doing this for something greater and you go mad I need to do this and I need to do for my family and then all of a sudden when you think that way and you do it, you realize that your life is better too and it's amazing process sack of wedding photographer sacrifice more than sacrifice more than most realized because the happy times are celebrated during on the weekends all the happy stuff is all on the weekends and just know that you're not going to be around uh to celebrate those and so you have to consider that I hate to see photographers overworked and making very little because you're giving up a lot not only are you losing money not on ly ru, but you're losing family time too and that's really important okay but there is a bright future for ten k photographers why? Because luxury sales are up okay there's an interesting phenomenon going on in our economy look at tiffany there is a fifty percent share increase in tiffany you guys know tiffany is a little blue blocks ok ladies know they're okay and so what is happening in our economy as I mentioned before is the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle is shrinking so the middle middle is either going up here or they're going down here and that's what's happening in our economy and so now I told you to be a luxury high end photographer right? You have to you have to have the courage, the stamina and the persistence to pass through that middle area right and then be that world class t hit that area and so what's happening in the industry these luxury photographers like any industry is that there's turnover right? People get out of the business and so people are leaving the photographers that service thes high end people they're leaving just because it's their time and they're moving on to other things who's coming in I don't see anybody come in yet because I see him hitting that block twenty five, thirty five and not making it and dropping out of business and then going back down and so I just don't see that passion to be this here, I just I just don't see it anymore as I teach all around the country in the world. And I just sense that they just go here and, uh, go back down. I tried it. So therefore this market is wide open. It's going to be there for the taking for anybody who pushes through and gets through that it's going to be all there for you. And I really sense that's what's gonna happen, because I could see that and what's going on in our economic situation. Also what's what also is contributing for people not getting photographers, not entering into that luxury area is that I even see it now. Uh, is that the prestige that wedding photographer usedto have, like, maybe five years ago, if you're going to be in photography? Oh, man, letting photographers are it. And people used to really idolize wedding photographers, and now I think a lot of the people that have got into the industry a bit and tried it and go the editing glamorous at all. I thought it was, but it's not right, and so people that the status of a wedding photographer is actually dropping, because they realized that that lifestyle is not is quite as luxurious as what it hopes to be, and then there's the all these other avenues that are coming through portrait artists and people doing stuff like what supervised does she's made that very popular and babies and they go well that's you know that's a good way and that fits my lifestyle more and so people are not buying into wedding photographers as much so if you have a passion to do it and you feel you're called to do that I think there's a bright future for it for you so keep pushing forward okay we again we targeted these street types of brides but there's the budget bride and that sheets basically going on a lower price and all she really wants is a acceptable quality files and she'll be happy with that the middle freis area is twenty five to thirty five now that's that's a healthy chunk of money that's not nothing to sniff about so she actually wants receivables she wants something he can touch something and to feel she wants an album I mean the queen quality of work is not as important but she wants stuff it's like hey, I'm paying thirty five hundred dollars I want to see some stuff I want to see something hanging on the wall I want an album I want some prints or whatever they want touchable receivables ok now there's fiona the fanatic that's gonna pay mohr yes, she wants all that stuff but she wants it field with style and she wants something that is like a luxury brand is that its unique? Not everybody can afford this, but I am into quality. So I'm going to invest a lot of money into this because I want style, and I want quality and that's where that position is right there. Now, the good news is this this is a little trick that I found out is that if you can consistently book five thousand dollar weddings on a consistent basis, you can book ten, fifteen, twenty, fifty or whatever, because the quality of the work at that point is the same across the board from five thousand up. So obviously there's some different skills that are needed to get that area because a lot of people can produce twenty thousand dollars weddings and in regards to quality but there's other things and that's, what we're going to talk about are these other things other than the posing and this and that and so okay, so let's get into it. Many photographers are actually afraid a booking, upscale weddings. Why do you think this is it's a fear of this one? Accountability. What you mean by accountability? They expect more. So you have tio produce more? Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. So we're say, wow, if we charge ten, I hear you I remember even at a five thousand dollar wedding when I was booking because coming from a guy who only made ten thousand dollars a year and then I will be in bed and then I wake up all of a sudden size tonight tomorrow I have to shoot a five thousand dollar wedding am I going to screw up? Well I'm so nervous that expectation becomes higher than mohr that you charge and deliver and I totally understand that good as any other fears anybody think why why? I mean if all these people I mean a lot of them have produced five thousand dollars winnings why don't they break into that next area what's what's going on there there should be more going into that luxury arena but there's not what's preventing them the other suggestions so one thing from sabrina says it takes time to develop your own style yeah that's true too yeah you have tio develop your niche and and have a clear luxury brand you have to know who you are and that does take time. Okay? Any other fears, right? Yes. I think when you get to that stratospheric level you know part of what allow you to produce good work is being able to control the process once you get to a certain level that clientele you no longer become necessarily the expert you might be the photographer but as the help you're not controlling your schedule you're not is able to command hey I need you to come do this come do that to be able to deliver what you're doing I'm at the five thousand dollars level versus a twenty thousand dollar athlete or ceo of a major company they're going to want to control your schedule okay verses right you being the boss you know yeah yeah yeah yeah boss they become help on dh then you can't deliver what you've been doing when you're the boss right right right so you kind of feel like when you're into that upper echelon area that you're just hired help and you're gonna lose some of yourself within that process will not not just even lose yourself but just not being able to control you know hey let's do this shot let's do that shot you know to make this look good so your output rise right? They are at a little bit lower level when you're young you're looked at as thie expert right? You're the star that day yes going to produce what theywant versus just the hired help here to get some shots exactly okay, I understand that okay any other? Uh thanks. Okay. Confidence and sense of worth like confidence and sense of worth. Okay, great, that is a good one we'll talk about this a little bit war I kind of see it similar to the tv show beverly hillbillies anybody remember that okay, yeah so that's about a what is this kind of like a uh where did they live? The hill hillbillies I can't remember some kind of rural area and what happens is they discovered gold and they became rich overnight and they were living like in tennessee some like population of forty people or something like that and then all of a sudden they struck gold and they became rich and so they're taking the beverly that the hillbillies and what they moved into beverly hills and it was just a whole different culture. And so sometimes we're scared because we're all uncomfortable moving into different cultures that's why sometimes we're feel uncomfortable going into a social setting where you're the only one of that type whatever it iss your let's say you're going into somewhere and they're all financial bankers and you're there the photographer or whatever you know, so any time you go into an area where there's a different cultural or social situation, we have a certain fear to it and it's kind of like some people are afraid of going from high school college, right? It's that same kind of wow I don't know kind of feeling do we feel comfortable setting a rate we can't afford that's a huge one? Do you feel comfortable enough to have a service that you know yourself? You would never pay that much for it that's really hard because we usually just ten to to put our rate at whatever we can afford because it seems logical to us so the price that that jai is not logical to us and so in order for us to feel its logical we have to understand that culture and how they think and then we can feel comfortable doing it that way okay, moving into the unknown is always scary, but an artist and entrepreneurs we must learn to do this on a regular basis. This as artists we always evolve and grow and we're changing we're always confronted with change because we get bored with things. And so as soon as we learned to do tackle feeling uncomfortable and moving into new areas will be better off to gain something more significant we have to let go of something familiar our life is like this it's like a closet okay, you open up the closet and it's completely filled with stuff what is that stuff time that's time with our family that's editing that shooting weddings that's whatever eats all filled up okay, so a narrow in order to put something else into it you always have to take something out of it that you complain something new and this part of taking out stuff that we're familiar with and letting it go scares the heck out of us and so that's why we rather just stay in our little cocoon of wetter, whatever it is because we're afraid of taking something out of this closet to gain something greater and it's a risk remember why I talkto erm and we talked about that transition and I said, everybody has to go to the high dive and jump off, you have to do that every single time you want to gain something greater in your life, and when you stop wanting to jump off, then you settled for the life that you have that's it because you're afraid to risk at this point go forward. So we have a lot of fears, we have a fear of losing what we have, I naturally, oh, man, if I try this and I go there, I know I make a decent living here, but if I go somewhere different there's, I'm going to be I'm going to risk something, and I'm not sure if I want to do that. We have fear of dealing with people in a different economic class in the culture, I talked a little bit about that we have fear of losing our sense of identity right there, right? We talked about that we built up over the course of several years, and we just mentioned that we have a certain way of doing things a certain way of control certain, ah now I have to give that up because maybe they're going to make me want to do something different and I don't feel comfortable doing that then we have a fear of meeting greater expect expectations right? You charge more they're expecting more but remember if there's long as you can prove provide five if you can do five thousand dollar weddings you could do twenty thousand dollar ways the quality is the same it's identical it's just the other stuff okay fear of our own insecurities whatever we have there that's could be a big issue that brings up this I have a kim kardashian story you wanna hear it? Okay, I was doing this wedding one time and I met this high fashion designer in fact, he did a lot of things and he shot paris hilton and you know and we got to be friends, right? He was fascinated by me because he goes like how could anybody make so much money doing wedding photography is just kind of intrigued we got we were talking on the phone and stuff you got to be friends and whatever and he goes scot man come on, man, you gotta challenge yourself. Come on. Yes deep liv you know, you got to try doing some fashion stuff like I kind of sense that you like that come on let's like let's do it get out there let's do some fashion stuff like okay whatever it goes uh no okay we're serious about this well let's see um shoot I'm not sure if we could shoot paris hilton because your schedule and that's tricky there wait a second she has a friend kim kim kardashian you know she is yeah I don't think okay hold on a sec I'll call her mom it's in the phone calls and mom would yeah okay you know what we're gonna do this shoot uh and I just asked mom if you can come along and do some shooting in whatever it's all cleared okay? You're coming okay let's uh well oh uh okay right when we end and and I go well just let me know when that event is gonna happen okay? I just put the ball back in his plan I didn't call I got too freaked out that was too much sand for my truck I couldn't handle it I was like you want I'm going to go it's like shoot kim kardashian right now and I like it be trying to do they're going to want me to do fashion stuff my I'm the wedding world I don't know if I can do that I'm so unsure theirs those are like movie stars and rich people around and what happens if there you know I don't know doing things that I'm not accustomed to I'm so scared so I dropped the ball I don't have a kim kardashian story because I never went because I didn't wasn't aggressive enough to keep calling him and ask him hey, what's up we go on air, we're doing it right and then just that I just didn't I just let it go and I got scared and maybe he tried calling me and I didn't reply or whatever and then the friendship kind of dissolved and that was it because I was scared because I was afraid to go into that area that was unknown for may okay, so this is what happens it's called the okey dokey plateau I don't know if you've heard of this thing what happens is when we have nothing, we're willing to risk everything because we got nothing and that's what I was in the beginning, I was only making ten thousand dollars a year all sue let's try this wedding for that I've got nothing to lose let's just try it right? But as we start to gain things in life and have things where are our tendency is to lower our risk because we're fine where we're at and so we don't take higher risks and when we have everything, then we don't risk it all and so what happens is is we reach this plateau and we say, hey, you know what? Our life is pretty good I'm not bad, I'm paying my bills, I'm doing this and I really want to go to luxury branding weddings uh, no, I'll just stay it's a pretty good life so lesson is is that if we want to keep progressing not in regards to money but growing as a person and figuring out what we can achieve and seeing what are put full potential is in life, you continually have to take risks I never get to the point where I made it don't have to do it because that's the point where we stop growing as people so continue taking risks can't be afraid to reinvent yourself every once in a while and that's what I did just very recently I came to that, you know how girls came to that transition point? Well, I came to my transition point and my transition point was do I want to continue to do weddings and do this and maybe grow into multi photography studio and maybe start going after twenty thousand fifty thousand dollar weddings or do I want to do something else and teach see my heart was into teaching and so I had to make a decision and I remember having this conversation with my wife and I said, honey, sir, birthday today happy birthday um to do will you let me if I go into teaching, um I might make half assed much I might cut my income in half but I really feel led teo do this and we have built so much trust up together we have gone through so many battles together that I had a lot of cachet built up because our relationship was so strong going through these trouble times together she said you know what? I just want you happy I see you grumpy trying to do everything and you have no time you have no time for me you have no time for the kids yeah do it you know, we got to the point where money isn't everything and so she let me go took that risk and move to the next forward and that's why I'm here is because I had to make myself available for teaching right? So it's the same thing with weddings is if I filled up my schedule with weddings then when somebody asked me to teach I wouldn't be available so that's what I had to do okay, so um let me just kind of scream through this a little bit for so this is the low risk area and that's the higher risk the maurin there we're going to have to risk something uh and give up something okay afraid of success and that's what happens we get afraid of success what is a luxury brand it's about quality it's about style that represents a lifestyle so whenever you see advertisements for luxury items, they're playing polo or there and on some amazing vacation yacht somewhere it's it's basically it's represents a lifestyle it's a culture it's like joining a club whatever right a sorority or something like that it's about feeling good and being rewarded with hard work it tells you you work really hard you deserve this it's oh yes it's not a necessity it's over and above but you deserve it because you've were darn hard to earn it. You watch the movie pretty woman and you're familiar with that and that's kind of like what luxury branding is it's just repackaging our products? We may have that talent or that raw skill, but it just needs to be re packaged we need somebody to come in and tell you how to eat when they're seven utensils on the table or eight right we need somebody to tell you how to dress with jewelry to wear things like that because it's a completely different culture. This is one book that really helped me understand about millionaires and it how they think it's called the millionaire next door is the surprising secrets of american wealthy and it gives unlocks on on on the way that they they see finances and money and what they expect from services and that's all you could get that for ten bucks you somewhere on on amazon so let me tell you about my little bit microphone preferred vendor who, uh, being a preferred vendor at the hotel bel air hotel bill, there is a really ritzy area hotel it's secluded in the area. It's a small little place is kind of a little bit hard to find, but opie, room fee love staying there when she comes, do I'm doing weddings there and then look back and up. Oh, man, I'm gonna hit somebody. Oh, that's christian slater right there with her kid, right? And so is that kind of place. And so I did my one these weddings there and I had my pretty woman experience, so I go on doing this. I had a wedding there. Somebody from japan contacted me and say, hey, I'm going to get married. Can you do the wedding? But I'm going to be at this hotel hotel bill arrows had never been there before, looked at abu, okay, it looks like it's a nice area. I go there, go! Wow, this place is also I want it. I want to do wedding so I did the wedding and I'm like, hey, I wouldn't mind doing weddings here. This is great, so I contact the person and it's like, hey here's, my card, if you're interested, I you know I'd be happy to do weddings for you whatever just okay right whatever right? And then all of a sudden when I do I really wanted to go to that place into weddings there so that wedding that I shot I made a complete album like it cost me I remember cost me like three hundred bucks or something like that and I just sent it to her just send it the wedding coordinator right? And then I sent it and then I got called back and said, hey, would you be interested? We're going to give you a shot at this don't get excited we're going to give you a shot at being at her hotel and shooting some some events here would you be interested? Yeah oh yeah of course I'll do it right whatever and and I got into it and I had the right personality and you know I did some advance and you know you do an event and wow here arnold schwarzenegger watts through and stuff like that so you meet some pretty high up people and I learned so much about luxury branding there I was in the culture and they showed me how they treated their clients and they and they and how they acted and how professional they were and health how they dressed it was the best learning experience for me so that was my pretty woman experience that helped me understand the culture so to understand luxury, brandon, you have to have experience with those services and products, and so that means what? Just go ahead if you don't have any luck, grams, you deserve to go get some advice. Um, just go ahead and do it. Okay? S o what is upscale bride wants? The upscale bride has hired you was probably stalking your work for a while because they really have been checking you out. They want consistent quality world class reputation signature style celebrity endorsement helps. Like, if you've done other celebrities are well known people, they want a nice album, of course, exclusive. They like the higher price because then there other friends can't hire you because they're willing to pay more for you. You so they want to be the only one, because why? They don't want their wedding photography looking like somebody else's they don't want a cookie cutter. They want something unique, okay? They want someone to be published. They want emotional response. They have to have an emotional response to your imagery. It has to move them and they have to have a social bond with the photographer. They have to feel like you're part of the club that you understand what style and luxury is that's, very important to them style. They have to feel important to that, and then they want peace of mind. They want to know, hey, if I'm going to charge a lot, if you're going to charge me a lot and this, I just want to know that everything will be taken care of, no matter what. Can I get your word on that and that's part of luxury, brandon, is that guarantee of that service like joe talked about? And she needs a reason to justify the high price that she's paying you and to brag to her friends, she needs some justification for that and that's why it's important to have award winning shots have be published and be well known because they in a sense, some of them I want to be put on their block where a lot of people have seen them, they want to feel like movie stars, too. Ok, so you need to create a social bond with these people present are we need to present ourselves just as important as the quality of our work. Our parents and social skills are very important influential client may have a very high profile, so they're careful about the person they hire because you represent them just in case in this one one, one event that I went at the hotel bel air. You know arnold schwarzenegger is going to show up if they hire me they don't want me to acting like a fool and just like oh, can I get your autograph and all that kind of stuff? They want to make sure that you then because I represent them you get you're a representation of them you're an extension of who they are and so that that has to be passed through style and professionals and means a lot to them so we must reflect those characteristics to and so style it may mean us getting a little bit fitter and healthier, right? And if we do that, it could mean that twenty to thirty thousand mawr in our income just with that by just looking better and more trim and fit ok, that this is the key that I really want to get and I might this might be the last slide that I get to, but this is a key right here is developing professional equality okay? You have to be at the same level they are. So if your work is internationally renowned, if you're winning awards, if they know that you're published that you have a reputation and select some celebrities of hired you or some whatever it is and your work is no guess what they see you the professional and expert at the same level as they are because you're an expert in the field and so therefore when you're the same as them, they make a lot of money so they don't expect you to make any less it's logical and that's what I had to learn and so if I could build myself and that's, why was important for me to submit into contest and to win awards and things because I just needed the validation myself, okay? It doesn't what I I just needed to myself and being in magazines and stuff like that so I could feel like I was a professional and an expert and one of the best in the world, and so I could put myself in that level and I could talk to them toe to toe when it comes to negotiating prices and being firm with my price and being just blank. Hale here it is I'm at four hundred dollars an hour, okay, I had to feel that and you only get that when you feel it yourself and that's. What the thing that's what I needed to do to get me to feel that way. So I need to know for a fact, and so it was important for me to win some awards, to be published in magazines and to teach and all that kind of stuff because I need to feel like I was a professional expert and that I could stand toe to toe with anybody okay, so time is equals money always talk in terms of time, because, really, that's what it isthe high level professionals appreciate things done for them. It's, more efficient, they are not d y irs luxury class is not d y I. You do everything for them, they're going to pay you a lot of money, but they expected done for them. The reason is this. They're making three hundred dollars an hour. Well, I would, but I can't. If they just hire somebody for twenty five dollars an hour, they do it because they're time is worth three hundred dollars an hour, so just do it for me. I don't care, just and they don't mind paying more because they're making mohr, but they just want it done, okay, and that's the mentality on that.