Interveiw with Tauran Woo
Torrente is a great friend of mine I appreciate tauron because thorn believed in me when a lot of people didn't because he was there first he went to my first very first international workshop before I started doing international workshops I used to teach a class I used to teach a photo shop class could you glee that and I was so scared of nobody coming side book a room and I just wouldn't want to go in there and there'd be three students so my very first classes I think I charged two hundred dollars for and I said, listen, you can come as many if you come to one class you can come as many times as you want when I teach the same class guess who being the night the chinese guy that is would pay once and keep showing up all the time to all the classes it was torn so he was there every single time getting his money worth money's worth but now he's becoming a man amazing photographer and I'm so proud of him and he's had a lot of longevity into the industry he's also been able to balance be...
ing a luxury photographer but also having two kids himself and like like myself he doesn't have anybody to take care of his kids like me I don't have a grandma I don't have an aunt, I don't have a sister we have nobody, everything. We have to be self contained, and I'd love to have him come up and share his little story with us. So please welcome torrent, brother, have a seat. You're gonna see some of his amazing images over here, too. Ok? So tour and tell me a little bit why you got into this wedding photography business? Well, you know, the funny thing is, I think the wedding photography is actually my kind of my fourth career since I was I started out as a graph designer, I did that for about five years, and I found myself in kind of ah, ah, brand new environment, I got a job in tv reduction actually worked for entertainment, I I did a show called talk soup did that for about five years, it was a completely different field, and I was that I was used to, but when the show got cancelled that day, that we went home, it was like my wife said, hey, we're pregnant was like, that was the most awful timing I'd ever had in my life, so I need to figure out what is my next step and, you know, during my time, you know, working in tv, and we mean, my buddy, we're doing wedding video and it was a lot different back then. It was this is about the late nineties and we were doing and not on these little, cute little laptops and these tiny little cameras. We were using a lot of these huge piece of equipment I really was like, I can't do another video carrying these big decks and more, and I thought to myself, I have a little bit of, like, you know, photography experience from art school, but I would really love to develop that, and I don't want to see the video guy want to be the photographer that's what I really want to do, and I needed some some way to get into that field. I was like, I need somebody to help me get there. I don't know what to do and that's, when I first hooked up with scott like he said, we were together at that at that photo shop class, and then the next thing that happened was he announced that he was going to have this international workshop and that's when it all clicked, I said to my wife, I think I would really love to go through this. Can we make it happen? Paris, right, yes, s o I mean, paris, come on, you guys, it was amazing it was I to this day it was one of my most memorable and amazing experiences had such a revelation in photography and it made life long friends there's well yeah so it changed everything great so what was that point where you kind of just felt like wow I and do this full time right so you went to the workshop but there had to be something inside you where you felt a lot of confidence that I could go full time and actually make it and not I mean I ain't turning back I ain't going to production or whatever right there must have been a uh kind of pulling right yeah yeah I had kind of like your jump off moment what was your jump off moment? I had a lot of different opportunities to do other things during that time I have a young baby and my wife is like, you know, maybe you should get back into graphic design do the other things and I was like no I really think I want to get to photography and we went to the workshop and you know and I had already been doing a little bit of talking business already and I was like this is the moment where I think am I going to go for a mai going to kind of like pull back and just say let's just try to try these things instead things that I was more familiar with and you know, after experiencing that workshop after doing those that doing all those amazing locations and paris meeting those people, and I felt like I think I have a knack for this, I really think I can. Can I vision myself living that life? Can I imagine myself out there shooting doing this for a living like? I think so? I feel like I have to give it a try. I have to at least try and make it and see if I could make it work and that's the moment when I got home from paris, I was like, we're going full throttle on this date, let's, order some business cards way, yeah, so then well, so okay, obviously, you did that you made the transition and you've been really successful their wedding for talking. But what separates you from, you know, what's your approach, what's your signature style. Um, well, I think a lot of myself, I think we all have a similar experience when we start out. We're kind of just learning the basics about not only how our camera works, but like just like looking at a lot of other photographers working like, oh, it really idolize this person, he really idolized that person. I really want to make my work, and you look back at their block, like I think it does a little I think they use a little bit more of this on their processing. You tried to tweak yours to make it look just like theirs, and I think I was a lot like that, too, on think what? That's okay, I think we all start out that way and eventually, and it took me probably a few years where I was, like, comfortable with it within myself to say, I'm just going to do what I like. I'm just going, like, hone in on what it is, the kind of imagery that I like to see, and I'm gonna try to make my my vision match more to what I have in my mind and not worry about what you know, other other photographers are doing anymore. And that's, when it all kind of turned the corner, I was able to really do the thing that I like. I like to see, you know, couples, you know, not only amazing locations, that liam, you know, amazing clothes and everything, but I love to see that connection with there. With their relationship really with like the intimacy and you know that anticipation because they're in that wedding process and you know what those feelings was the first love yeah, the reality of it yeah that's what I love that's folly the advantage of photographing weddings and because it is real it's not like two actors or two models that connection is really real and if you can kind of translate that what you do which is really great now again then you have this family right? So you do this develop your style you have this kid and we see so many wedding photographers that that that are going well is like they don't know that they don't have families right but you happen to kind of leap this hurdle and do your wedding photography and also have a family what kind of advice would you give any couple who was considering having a family? Um I guess I would say that don't underestimate the amount of what kind of you know what kind of a decision that is I think for myself I could tell you about how we structured our family life and my wife works full time as well and so basically she you know she has a regular hours like a thirty to five and that's when I would take care of the kids that including like milk diapers thanks well, you know there's all three bottles okay, god, I didn't have to actually physically do that, but but you know, all the things that comes and today they that means snacks that means pickups, homework and stuff like this, their mom sort of yeah, and then when my wife comes home, we transition, she becomes the caregiver for our children, I end up working my office, and so we try to keep that balance and also make time for ourselves, and I will be honest with you, it's still a challenge, but we try to keep it, you know, as balance is possible, and I really owe a lot to her because I think she had so much to do with my success in terms of when I ever I have a success I attribute to her because she the sacrifices that she made made it possible for me to live my life, the life that I envisioned. So a cz you're watching this, honey, I love you. I love you too. Well, that's great! And that transition is always is hard to do and it's just amazing to see how far you've gone and tell me a little bit about that sacrifice. I mean, come on, you're mr mom the whole day, doing all the feedings and picking up in everything she comes home and then you've got to start all your stuff all your editing and how many weddings were you doing at that time when you were doing and how many wings a year? Um let's well, when I get back from my first workshop I booked five weddings and that was only half of the years I think we went in junior to right side books five for the rest of the year and after that I was doing twenty five and then forty and then while doing all that other style doing taking care the kids and uglier like so give these people a sense of time how much sleep you got? Well, a lot of the things that I enjoyed as a person without children or it's a single person even like free time things like, you know, I mentioned earlier back playing basketball playing video games were fun, but they were time eaters those had to go on a lot of times sleep is the one thing cause I'm like, well, I could I have a family life I could have my business or I could sleep and a lot of time to sleep lost. But you know, as I got wiser with my decisions in terms of pricing and structure my business we brought the forty when he's down little bit more reasonable so that I could live a more balanced life he didn't take my mentorship keep telling you you're doing too many uh do you have any questions from the audience about any of this uh process yes can you tell us more about the about how the mentor ship relationship developed? I mean being a mentor is a huge investment and I'm curious how how you started working together and how that how that worked out between you he kept on showing up at the workshops right? And so I kind of feel like well he's he's investing in me and he's spending a lot of money helping me provide for my family and so I'm going to give back to him because I felt so blessed that these people were paying me and helping me and going you know, we're having a great time in paris or wherever we went in spain and all these places and so I go well I'm seeing them so often we kind of live in the same area too and his persistence yeah and so it just naturally developed by just seeing each other a long time and I felt like I really wanted to help him because he really helped me by investing so much money into going to the workshops and things I guess um so pricing wise we always are curious you don't have to say what you're at but did you did you ever find yourself in a point where you jumped up and really uh when did you become kind of a luxury brand what you say yeah, well, it was during that time, I think I was building a lot of my client based in those first couple of years people that really believed in me and, you know, took a chance on somebody who didn't have a lot of experience and the they on dh I try to give them, you know, like scott was talking about earlier charging a small about giving them something that was worth twice as much and helped me to that that next wave of clients, next years, I was able to raise that pricing very generously, innit? And still maintaining that same amount of clients that I need to make the business work each year kind of thing so that's, the balance that you need to find as you're going forward, you're like, ok, I think if I raise it, if I double it, I can still do the mount I want I want to do twenty twenty, twenty five weddings in away to make x amount of dollars so that's sort of the equation that works for me. Any other questions? Yeah, we have one from curio, so and I'm a little curious about this myself because I'm a graphic designer how does your average hourly rate compare as a wedding photographer compared to doing graphic designs way? Well, let's, as a graphic designer, I think I I mean, it's um I've made decent money, but I think it was a lot I didn't I wasn't a very successful business person at because I was doing a lot of freelance myself and so it was later in life as I develop more life skills and as I got my photographers where really made a sense of like how to charge appropriately for pricing and so I think I mean, I'm making more money now as a photographer and it was a graphic designer, so thank you a lot of people are wondering about sort of the packages that you offer and I was looking at your website and you have all kinds of products and how do you go from kind of the the entry level teo getting those higher packages? Well, I do offer array of different packages range all the way from about four thousand, then go upward from there and so usually I'm going to book somewhere in the middle all way up to the higher end of ultimately but I think that for me with the business model I tried to keep is something that I can you know, interest somebody even at the entry level and then see like what develops after that so interesting that client right the very beginning with, you know, something that they looks like they can ford and then see, you know what else that they might be interested in after that, I'm very open to working with people like that you can't go in a little bit lower, and I always felt when I met somebody they always had two thousand more to spend that was just it so, like, you know, so they're closed. I just feel like if they really want me, they'll find two thousand maur somewhere. I wish I could talk a little bit of I ran out of time with slides, uh, talking about that, but that that was one thing that I went in leaving well, you could just tell them to let ten people off their list. Yeah, she worked with us if you weren't with us on day one, we talked about laying out some of the numbers and that people spend on average two hundred dollars per per guest, so but I still stays in my mind, and I keep coming back to that because it really does set a tone for how you are, what everything's relative? So if ten guests is two thousand dollars, people usually confined a place for ten more guests if they need teo so, so same thing we'll turn thank you so much for being with us for this interview and sharing your story with pretty incredible I've tell us again where everyone can find you well, you can see me at torren dot com on d e a r, exactly t a and dot com. Or you can visit me in my web at my facebook page. Facebook slash tauron photography. And I'm happy to take friends and my first page. Tarn tarn woo. Facebook in time. All right, well, thank you so much, let's. Give.