From Nothing to Profit

A Business, Arts and Visual Arts podcast
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Looking for a more positive outlook on the coronavirus and how it will effect your business? If so, this is the interview for you. Rod is such a fresh breath of air in the time of doom and gloom. He has been in the industry for a long time and has been through hard times before. This recording couldn't have come at a better time.
Today we interview Rose Coleman.  Learn about her story of growing up in the industry and after years, switching from a boutique photography studio model to a volume studio based on club sports.  She said no to overhead and yes to profit. It is important for Rose and her husband to stay debt free.  She shares some great ideas on how to have less debt and more profit.  As Rose says in this episode, it is all about the money you keep not the money you make.   Rose is known for photographing athletes, sports, dancers, and gymnastics.  Where she makes piles of cash is photographing 11 club teams in one night. Listen to her explain why this is such a profitable business model.   You can follow Rose on Instagram at @RoseColeman or @centerstageportraits and also on her website Books from the Episode Strength Finders 2.0 Brendon Burchard Girl Wash Your Face Other Resources Matt’s Ant Farm YouTube side note: Additional Free Resources at Read Full Transcript Rose: [00:01] This is Rose Coleman and you’re listening from nothing to profit. Speaker 2: [00:03] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Today Kia: [00:20] we are going to be interviewing Rose Coleman and rose has been part of the photography industry for over 18 years. I’m going to say more than that because she’s actually grown up in the industry and I’ve known her for forever it seems like, and I’m so excited to have her on here. She’s a as, as I said, she’s grown up in the industry and been a part of it, but what she’s done as a business owner, after her second child was born, she left behind the boutique studio business model and created a fast paced sports photos, photography company with her husband in 2015. She is known for her clean, beautiful work with dancers, gymnastics and athletes. And if you follow her on Instagram, you’ll see some of that amazing work. And just recently she and her husband purchased a five acre homestead that they are going to live on with their three darling children and they plan to create their dream studio there. So I’m assuming it’s going to go back somewhat to the boutique business model but still incorporate her love of sports photography. Is that true rose? Rose: [01:31] Yes. We have been looking for a piece of commercial property and rent is very expensive and so kind of our business model has a lot to do with just our financials, like kind of more more of our decisions as we’ve kind of grown and evolved has been majority focused on like is this profitable enough? Like when we were in the large studios space, um, a lot of it went to general expenses and employees and overhead and upkeep of things. And as we continue to kind of move forward and we kind of gotten to a spot where it’s like we’re going to have in two years we’re going to have to have something and we rent only like two months out of the year when we need to have something. So we’ve always kind of known if we can get our hands in something local that has a home property, but also has a place for an exterior building, a metal building barns, something of that sorts with some land that was my ultimate dream and I’m kind of where we’re at those very expensive. Rose: [02:32] So it’s like either commercial property or just can we evolve that into having it in a space or home. So, you know, most of our expenses would be, you know, linked into together and just be more efficient, be more profitable. So yes, we close actually next week on Friday and move into that building. It has five acres. I’m an older home that we’re going to fix up, but it has um, five acres and it has a barn because it was actually a ranch, like a horse ranch. And so there’s a 40 by 60 large barn, um, that they had stalls in and we’re going to convert that all into a studio space that we can shoot out of, you know, so we don’t have to use rent, we don’t have to continue to look for commercial property. Where are you guys located at? We are on the southwest side of Oklahoma City. Cool. Cool. Yes. This is so exciting. Matt: [03:23] So one of the things that you mentioned in your bio that we didn’t mention roses, something about, um, kind of, you mentioned something about being debt free type of thing is so, and you were talking about finances when you just talked a second ago. So is, is that something you guys kind of focus on is definitely staying out of debt and does that kind of your thing? Rose: [03:40] Absolutely, absolutely. We have not. I mean my husband will laugh and tell you that he married me. One of the main reasons is because I was debt free and everyone else has thousands and thousands of college dollar debt, a crew to them. But yeah, debt free is a big thing. Like we bought this and we’ve even talked about the piece of property, you know, it’s actually a 12 acre lot of land and work on a parcel off seven of it and sell it, you know, to cut down our expenses on that and then how we can get it actually paid off in five years. Like is that a doable thing? You know? So yes, debt free is huge to us it is all about the money you get to keep. I feel like when you work, especially when you work for yourself. And so that’s been a huge, huge focus on vest. So I mean we don’t have card debt. I mean we just, we just have our house debt now that we know it’s going to be larger, but we’re like very, very. It’s very, very important to us to have a debt free lifestyle and figuring out how to get those things paid off. Matt: [04:35] Absolutely. Kind of makes fun of me all the time because when I married my wife Allison, I brought lots of debt to the Chi of, refers to me as the ultimate catch because definitely married up and not only looks but also obviously in the financial world as well. So. Rose: [04:56] Okay. Matt: [04:56] So real quick, kind of tell us what your expertise is or what you’re known for. Kind of talked about it a little bit and I’ve been on your website and seen some of your dancing pictures and stuff like that, but tell me a little bit about what you’re known for. Rose: [05:08] So, um, I would say that I’ve known for shooting athletes and shooting sports. I come from a big portrait background in I love, I absolutely love and adore, but in the last few years it’s all been athletes. So we do a majority of dancers, gymnastics, volleyball players, anything that’s a club level sport, which in my world there’s either little leagues which are just the masses, you know, of like tee ball players. Then there’s club which is, um, a higher level like a parent is going to spend more money to put your kid in a club sport and um, we focus on that and then you have high school, junior high levels of the same kind of things. You could be a baseball or at high school you could be a baseball or in a club or you could be a baseball or in a little league, but we focus on club because there’s generally about, you know, at least 150 to 350 most often in a club sport. Rose: [06:04] And those are people that have already, their parents are already paying a higher dollar to have their kid be in there. So, I mean, they’re already invested, you know, you’re going to get a sale from that and they all want photos because they’re invested in this. It’s just kind of the, the nugget we go for. So we shoot a lot of those. I do a lot of dance work. Um, my parents have a dance photography business. I still help them quite a bit with that. And um, a lot of gymnastics, a lot of volleyball, but club is really what we, what we’re known for and going for. Matt: [06:32] And so you don’t photograph like high school sports or little league, you kind of avoid that and you’re just focusing more on the club? Rose: [06:41] Yes. Um, we do. We don’t do any little leagues. We have done one or two in the past and I’ve regretted it every time we are not set up because because it’s really important to us to operate as efficient as possible. Between Tim and I, we have a few people that will work contract for us to make an event happen. But most shoots, I mean most shoots I can roll out with myself, my husband and one other girl. So it’s like we shoot, he sells in one girl shows. So we tried to target, you know, athletes and clubs that we can fit that and run as efficiently as possible within our business. And that is keeping it as minimal as staff as we possibly can. Matt: [07:21] So when you go into a club, how many people are you photographing? Sorry, I’m just super interested in this business model. Rose: [07:26] Yeah. Um, it is really unique because there’s not a lot of people that I, I guess educate on club photography. So it’s, it’s been a big eye opener for me. Um, so when we roll out to a club, like for instance, I can do a, like a good size volleyball, I can shoot about 11 teams and an evening from about four to [7:30] and what each team of those is going to have 10 people on that. Samir, anywhere roughly about 120 to 150 kids depend on how many we squished in there and I can do that in a night and we shoot and show and sell that same night. Boom, boom, boom. Right together. Matt: [08:08] That’s so interesting to me because I’ve been looking at doing some more volume stuff and figuring out what that looks like and I think it’s so interesting that you’ve like niche to out and just say, Hey, we do clubs because you’re right, you can do, you can do little leagues, you could do all the high school sports and everywhere in between. You’ve kind of found like, okay, clubs is where it’s at because the parents are invested and they’ve paid extra for the kids to be in there. They probably have a couple uniforms and stuff like that, so there’s already this culture that the money is flowing when you’re in club and I think that’s just super, super smart. Rose: [08:38] Yeah, absolutely. A couple uniforms. It’s definitely true. My son has three different uniforms and he’s forgets them and then we’d get in trouble and all kinds of things. So expensive. I mean. Oh yes. They’re very. And so having them is not something that’s valuable for sure. Absolutely. So Rose Good. Just going back to that, are you the main shooter then for the club events? Yes. I shoot everything. So your husband is just like the male model at the shoe. I mean he has. He has the same job I have where you showed up. It looks good, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. He knows the questions. He is the Schmoozer. He is. It definitely fits into his strengths. He loves connecting with people. He could like make a friend with a wall very easily. He just like, I mean he, he is that person. They asked me about an order or paying a certain price and I’m like, go to Tim. He can, he’ll handle it for you. I don’t want to handle that. I don’t want to hear your story of why you don’t want to order tonight. No, go, go to someone else. Rose: [09:47] You’re such a bleeding heart rose. It just makes me nervous. I’m like, I feel your story and yeah, I want to make do. And he’s just like, no. Yeah, you’re going to order to. You’re going to see him. You’re going to order him tonight. Right now. Duh, Duh, Duh. Like he, he handles that very well. So yes, I do all the photography. That’s awesome. That’s great. So, so rose been in the business for as long as you have and seeing that from, you know, from your mom being a photographer to being in a family business, to now running your own portrait business. Tell us the story of what is working now for you or share one of your greatest ideas that you’ve had today and how you’ve turned that into a success. Either way, I probably can meld the two together, so when we decided after I had my second child, I took a year off and I did a handful of sessions, but I really did not end up thinking I was going to get back into photography. Rose: [10:39] I was just like, what’s working? Really? Yeah. I did not think I was. I got. I did not know that part time job at our church and ministry and very part time and when we had my daughter I was working all the time, obviously working with informed my parents and I was kind of working all day, going home at night, eating, schmoozing, talking, put your kids to bed and I would go right back to work because I lived right behind our commercial. I bought a house right behind our commercial space so I would go back there and I was working till midnight and it was a good year and I mean right before I had her that I was just like, this is like I’m working to death. I’m working all the time and if I was making tons of money then I could kind of justify that like okay, do it for a season, rocket hard, do it hard. Rose: [11:25] But I wasn’t because obviously I was working with my family and we had like four or five employees at that time and I was just like, I’m just, I’m the person that has to say...
On this episode of the podcast, Matt and Kia interview maybe the most popular photographer in the industry right now, Thomas Nguyen. Learn how he has become such a household name in the industry and his mindset to create unique and beautiful photographs. Such a great interview and it is amazing to see the heart of such a great person.
In this episode of from Nothing to Profit, A Photographer’s Podcast, Matt and Kia interview Jamie Swanson, who is really leading the personal brand photography market.  Jamie is actually starting a new podcast about building a personal brand so make sure to listen in. She also has a Facebook group for personal brand photography you should go join now. In the beginning, 2011, Jamie really focused on wedding photography. Then Jamie really focused on Moderntog, helping other photographers grow their businesses, in all genres. Now, Jamie focuses solely on personal brand photography and growing her client’s following, through Moderntog. She offers a 6 week course on how to transition to personal brand photography. Jamie also offers a membership for photographers who have taken her 6 week course. This started because Jamie was looking for an ongoing personal brand photographer for herself and she couldn’t find one. So she decided to train them up. Client’s are willing to invest in their business and they need your work on an ongoing basis. This gives you steady and consistent income as well. Jamie also talks about goal setting, starting with her yearly goals, then breaking them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily steps to reach those goals. Resources: Link to Jamie’s class: or Book: Start with Why – Simon Sinek ( Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.   Speaker 1: [00:01] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Matt: [00:16] Hey everybody. Welcome to from nothing to profit with Matt and Kaya. So today we have a really awesome guest that I’ve, Jamie Swanson, who I’ve been friends with kind of via the Internet for a couple of years now, but we, if you guys listened to some earlier shows and people have referenced Jamie because Jamie’s really leading the personal brand photography movement and I know she believes that that’s the future of the industry. So I’m excited to talk to her about it. But she’s both an online entrepreneur and a photographer and you may know our because she founded modern tog or the modern tog back in 2011. So you may have been part of her community. Um, but you know her, what she kind does is help photographers and you know, live their life of being a, being a photographer. I know Jamie personally because we’re in a facebook group that’s called like photographer blogger group and it’s like, it, it ranges in size, but it’s anywhere from like 40 to 50 people have a bunch of people that put together resources for photographer. So we’ve been in that together for a number of years and you just announced the other day and in that group that you actually have a new podcast coming out as well. So do you want to take a quick second and plug your pro, your new podcast and tell us anything else we need to know about you? Jamie: [01:33] You’re the sweetest thing. Sure. Um, so my new podcast is called the personal brand journey with Jamie m Swanson and basically since 2011 I’ve focused on growing the modern tog brand because I didn’t want to have to be the face of my business. I think a lot of us, you know, don’t want to have to be like the person, but I’m seeing more and more that the way to get ahead is to really build those personal connections. And so it’s basically chronicling my journey of starting a personal brand. So it’s not photography specific, but if there are photographers listening who want to be more of the face of their business, I mean your art, if, if your name is your business then you already are doing that in some respects. But basically I’m just talking about all that I’m doing and the strategy behind it so you can find that. But otherwise I have a personal brand photography group on facebook that’s free that you can find by going to PBP And that’s probably, I’m on instagram to you, Jamie, m swanson, but that’s the best way to find me. Thank you. Matt: [02:33] Yeah. Awesome. So share a little bit about your, like your expertise and what you’re known for and for the people that haven’t come across to you yet in the industry. Jamie: [02:42] Sure. So I started my photography business back in 2008 and I, I started like many people do kind of doing whatever I could get paid to do, but in 2009 we decided to niche down into weddings and to pursue doing photography full time. And so, um, we did, we, we focused in on weddings and we did that a full time starting in 2011. It took us about a year and a half to go from just starting out to completely supporting our family with photography. And then I did that for quite a while and then we moved to Minnesota and had our fifth and sixth children and we had a really hard time finding childcare up here. So since moving up here, we’ve just kind of done a little bit of portraiture on the side, um, and then had focused more on helping other people get clients through the modern tog. Jamie: [03:33] And last year it was about a year ago now I had made this decision to start doing more of the personal brand stuff and was going to focus on instagram originally. And I needed photos. Like, yes, I can take photos, yes, my husband can do some. But I wanted somebody who could come and do these photos for us and we couldn’t find. I mean, we can find thousands of photographers who take beautiful images, but we had a really hard time finding people who really understood what we needed as online entrepreneurs in like to grow the social media following that we wanted and to really not just take a pretty headshot or a perfectly posed photo, but really understood how to capture our story and do it in such a way that it would help strengthen the personal brand that I wanted to grow. And so the light bulbs went off and basically I would the modern tog I had been. Jamie: [04:24] I started that in 2011 and had been teaching pretty much any kind of photographer how to grow their business because I love photography. But I’m even geekier about the business side. Like I love the business side. And I, um, so I was helping wedding photographers and portrait photographers and um, it was pretty generic. And since last December, I’ve niched down and focused all in on the personal brand photography because I realized that I wasn’t the only entrepreneur, an online entrepreneur or influencer who needed images and that there were a ton of other people out there who would want these images on an ongoing basis because if you’re trying to grow on Instagram, you need to post daily and you don’t want to be spending half an hour a day taking selfies that aren’t even going to necessarily strengthen your brand and all that. So yeah, it was really big eyeopener. Jamie: [05:14] But I’ve, I’ve niched out and I really believe that that’s. I know you said that, but that’s where we’re going in the future with, um, the industry and professional like to be profitable as a professional photographer. And so I’ve completely focused on that since it was, I think December 27th was the day that I shared about it with my audience for the first time. And since then it’s been my sole focus because it’s, it’s just made everything easier for my photographers. And it’s, it’s really, I’m seeing so many businesses transformed and I’ve done some shoots since then with that too. I, I love it because it’s kind of like wedding photography, but it’s way less stressful because there’s no, like crazy mother of the brides running around. Right. So anyways. Yeah. So Jamie, since I, Kia: [05:58] since we haven’t ever met in person before, I have heard of modern tog and I’ve heard your name before. I would love to know even back further. So you say you have six children, how old are they? What did you do before you were a photographer and what is your husband involved in the business now or that type of thing? Just to get to know a little bit more about who you are. Jamie: [06:19] Sure. So I’m back in 2008. When I started my photography business, I was working as an actuary for an insurance company full time. At that point I think we had, we had three kids when I started working as an actuary or do we have to know? We had to, when I started my business, we’re about to have our third of my kids right now are 13, 11 and nine and then five, three and two, sorry, we’re, we’re in that stretch of birthday so I have to stop and think about who’s had their birthday yet or not. So we have everything from teenager all the way through toddler and it’s, it’s insane. That’s true. So back when we, when we started the business, it was just me and my husband was still finishing up college and so he was just doing some community classes on the side while working a part time as well. Jamie: [07:13] And when he was done with his classes for that and when he graduated, uh, he decided I made him come with me to a wedding or to, to carry bags. And we got excited by all the really fun, you know, Dslr gear because gear’s fund and um, he, I, you know, like probably like most photographers out there, I’ve been like, look at this photo, look at that. I get so excited. And he had a really great eye for it. So I’m like, well if you’re here you can grab a camera and you know, I basically, we took an afternoon and I taught him the basics of shooting manual and I’m like, just shoot for fun, you know, like, we don’t need any of the images, but he was really, really good at it. And so he did that while he was in college for a little bit with me, just kind of practicing. But then when he left college he did join me in the wedding photography full time and I mean he’s, it wasn’t like he was a second under me by the time he was through with college and we did that full time. He was just as strong of a shooter as I was. And so we did that together until we moved to Minnesota in 2013. And um, so we. What did you want to know about kids? I can’t remember. Kia: [08:23] No, I want to know how old they were and uh, and where you came from. And then. So now I just to, so I understand. So modern tog is what you do for a living, both of you. It’s Jamie: [08:36] the majority, I know he doesn’t do that at all. He’s got a business and the pickleball industry of all things, but um, so I, we do, I mean I do a handful of shoots per year but I get so much more joy out of watching, like helping other photographers get clients and still do some because I want to be relevant. I want to know what’s going on, what’s working and you know, all of that, but the majority of my time is spent helping other people to really grow the businesses they want to have so they can have, they can leave the job they hate or they can finally do photography full time and actually make a living beyond just, you know, minimum wage or less. And so that’s where I focus the majority of my time. Okay. Awesome. And so modern tog what you do with it as help people by blogging and facebook groups for thin view, like you sell products or is it a subscription or how to. Jamie: [09:30] How do people kind of get your, get your expertise? So I’m with the modern tog right now everything I’m doing is personal brand photography based and so I, um, I sell a course that helps photographers pivot into personal brand photography. It’s a six week course. I offered a couple times a year and then before I run the course, I do a challenge because most people, the beauty of personal brand photography is that since clients need this over and over and over again, you can actually book clients that work with you for years at a time every single quarter. Right. And so I, most of the photographers now that I’ve been doing this year only need about 12 ongoing clients, these recurring clients to make a full time living and because it’s commercial in nature, you can charge more for it than regular portraiture. And so it’s really my focus on helping people get these recurring clients. Jamie: [10:27] That’s what the course does. It helps them pivot into it. And then, um, before I run the course, I do this challenge because it sounds too good to be true. Like, you know, only needing 12 clients and not having, you know, once you’re fully booked, you don’t have to worry as much about marketing and all that because you have your clients. Right. And so, um, a lot of people say, well, how do you find these? These people don’t exist. They’ll just do it themselves. Nobody’s going to pay, you know, as much as a wedding or whatever for a single shoot. And so I do this thing called the [inaudible] weekend challenge where I basically, I do it for free and I tell people, Hey, I’m going to be opening my course up, but I know that um, you know, this might sound too good to be true or whatever else. Jamie: [11:03] So let me help you get your client, like get some clients for some portfolio building clients to, you know, to see if they’re out there. Because most people don’t realize how many online entrepreneurs that are because they may have friends that they don’t even realize sell stuff online. Or I’m making a really great living online because they don’t necessarily live any different than them. And you know, people don’t always get it, huh? Well a lot of people are in such a niche group that you don’t, you don’t find them unless you’re looking for them. Totally. And so I basically give them a script in it. I call it the, I think I call it the starter script where they can take it word for word and posted on social media. And the goal is to help them book at least two clients at $500 a piece over a weekend. Jamie: [11:52] And so I give them the script, I give them the process, we walked through it together as a community. It’s really fun. We do this huge event and then, um, we watch what happens and the goal is that they could make at least a thousand dollars over the weekend. That’s why it’s called the [inaudible] weekend. And then if they do decide that they want to continue moving forward with this and really pivot into the personal brand photography, then they’ve already got the money. They need to take the course. So I do that for free. I have the course and then I do have a contract that I created with an intellectual property lawyer because personal brand photography is kind of like a hybrid between traditional commercial photography and portraiture. It’s, it’s a mix between traditional commercial photography and portraiture and so the contract is kind of a hybrid between the two as well. Jamie: [12:42] And we. I had, I had recommended a different commercial contract for a while, but so many people were having to customize so much of it where there are lawyers that I just, I found a lawyer who was willing to work with me and create something that’s specific to this niche. So I have the contract, I have the course, and then for anyone who goes through the course, they get an exclusive invitation to a membership that they can join to work with me on an ongoing basis, but that’s only available to people who have gone through the course and that’s specifically focused on taking it and doing all of the marketing going forward. So that’s, that’s kind of the things. I do have some old products that are still out there that people can buy, but that’s what I focus on. I’m sharing with photographers. Kia: [13:24] I’m really impressed because what you’ve done is found a need for photographers, but not necessarily like it doesn’t sound like it was what you were doing for yourself, but you created you. You’re teaching people how to do it even though you didn’t necessarily do it first. Right. Would that be. Jamie: [13:41] Well, what have to say? What happened was that I. I was my ideal client, like I wanted this and I couldn’t find. I literally went to Google. I searched every term I can think of because there wasn’t a single term that was one of the things I’ve really pushed us using the term personal brand photography and I’ve been using it within my entrepreneurial communities as well to help raise awareness with entrepreneurs so they know what to look for when they’re looking for a photographer for this, but basically I’m like, okay, these people like they. There’s so many photographers who can take beautiful photos, but they don’t get what I need. They don’t understand my mindset behind this. They don’t understand that I’m not going to credit them on a facebook ad because I’m paying to get that out there and I don’t want to have to credit people every time I use a photo because it’s going to hurt my business and the goal is to help my business, right? Jamie: [14:35] Or they don’t necessarily want to give me rights to let a graphic designer edit the photos, which I know makes every photographer bristle. But if I’m going to have a designer creating marketing materials for me, they need to be able to, uh, and I don’t do big editing tweaks, but if, you know, if, uh, if somebody does have a very distinct style on their instagram or something, they need to be able to apply their filters to it and not have the photographer freak out. And so there’s differences in personal brand photography that are very different from traditional portrait shirt. And a lot of them actually, um, are like the opposite of best practices in traditional portraiture that make it very different. And so I basically said, what is it that I need? And then because I wanted a photographer, I could hire on an ongoing basis and I just could not find someone out there that, I mean there was a couple people and I saw the opportunity to help photographers get clients like me who were willing to pay for it even though I could do it myself and I had all the gear who didn’t. Jamie: [15:36] I’m, I’m at a point where I want to grow a...
Another awesome podcast from SYNC! Matt interviews Dan Frievalt, of Frievalt Photography. He photographs 40 seniors a year these days to make sure he and his clients are getting to do what they want. Listen in to hear how Dan found his sweet spot in terms of session fees, average order, and number of clients. He sat down and really hashed out who he really wanted to work with, down to what movies they like and what athletic endeavors they’re into. Dan is so excited about how many new people are coming into the industry and that it pushes and challenges him. Matt and Dan talk about changing hair/makeup trends and how hs seniors are experts themselves now from YouTube. Don’t miss what Dan recommends you should and shouldn’t spend 1k on. The best advice Dan ever received is “believe in yourself”. Know your client hired you, for you. Your client believes in you. Dan gives great advice about what to do with your “no’s” so make sure you listen til the very end! Internet Resource: Movies/Netflix for creativity Seniors Unlocked FB page ( Dan does webinars to help people just starting like people did for him PPA state organizations Books: Audible Blinkist The Purple Cow – Seth Godin ( Contact Info: @danfrievalt Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. [00:01] Hello, this is Dan free vault and you are listening to the podcast from nothing to profit. [00:06] Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak. We’re each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. [00:23] Hey everybody. So Man Hoagland here, I’m recording another podcast while I’m here at sync and I’m with Dan unfree vault here. And this’ll be a fun podcast cause I was just looking at his website. Dan and I don’t know each other well. I mean we’ve ran in circles and been at sink a couple of times with each other, but I wouldn’t say, you know, we’ve had a lot of beers together. So all this’ll be as informative for me as it is for the audience, which will be really cool. So, um, thanks so much for being, being on here. [00:48] Absolutely. Thanks for having me. We should be cracking beers and we probably should. [00:52] So this, so let me tell you what I do know about you and then you’re going to tell me the real story of what I should know about you. So I know you’re in Wisconsin and I know that you used to be a graphic designer and now you do a lot of senior work and it seems like you kind of blend that graphic design and senior element together. [01:11] Is that say absolutely. Yeah. You hit the nail on the head. I was a graphic designer for 12 years and you know, always did photography but never felt like the visions in my head kind of matched what I could do on film. So then when digital started to get more up and rolling, I already had known Photoshop. It just kind of was a perfect timeframe me to merge the two and take the leap. [01:35] So when you were doing like Photoshop work and to graphic design world, where are you doing stuff on photos or was it more like like layouts for magazines and stuff like that? [01:44] Yeah, that’s a good question. It was, it was completely different. I actually, I called myself a graphic artist, which is like a cool name, right. But really is a, I took a lot of other people’s work and got it ready for printing and it was an offset printing, which is what are cool things like magazines and stuff. Yeah. It where I’m in the Midwest, it was a lot of like a, it’s called flexographic printing, which was like carton design labels for Ketchup and paper plates and things like that. So what was really cool as I knew the tools of Photoshop, but then when I, but I didn’t really work on that many fatigue photographs. Right. So it’s cool to see how Photoshop can be used and like the cm, why k world and then the photography world, it’s two completely different worlds in one software. [02:33] Yeah, it is pretty amazing. And it’s really interesting because you talked to some people and they work, they work in InDesign and different things like that. But it seems like Photoshop is just, it’s so wide spanning that a lot. You can do full design work. I mean, obviously we all do that in our studio as well, but, but then you can actually retouch skin as well. You know, it’s pretty amazing stuff [02:50] and video now. I [02:52] yeah, exactly. It’s all in there. That’s pretty amazing. Um, so yeah. So anything else we need to know? I mean w how’s Wisconsin? It’s [03:00] cold. It’s um, yeah, I talked to him, my wife on the phone this morning. I’m like, well it’s raining but it’s not snowing and I’m in a tee shirt and things are green, so all is good. Awesome. That’s awesome. So I have one question for you about your website and um, and then we’ll jump into some of these questions about like what’s working now in the industry and stuff like that. But on your website, when you click on your session page, let me just click on it real quick and see what it says. It says only accepting 40 seniors to provide the most creative and unique senior session for you. So do you want to talk about that? So, I mean 40 seniors, you know, I mean I was wondering first of all how you did it because your, your work is so amazing. So it’s obviously time intensive and then it’s, I think it’s interesting you to say like, Hey, there’s, I can do 40 so it builds that scarcity and stuff like that. [03:44] And talk a little bit about that. Yeah, absolutely. Part of its scarcity and the other part of it is for many years I photographed everything like we all do when we start off, until we kind of get burnt out or find what are our key focus is and what we really enjoy. And you know, I was photographing hundreds of seniors and it became a production line and that’s kind of why I got out of the graphic design because I was basically, I wasn’t doing creative anymore. It was kind of a production. Like every day I had deadlines, three deadlines a day and this has to get to the printer and this has to be done and this has to be done. And then when I got into photography, as I got busy, it started to be the same feel and I got burnt out. It was just doing so I decided like, okay, I need to change something, so I need to raise my prices. [04:32] I need to add scarcity and like only get the people who really want to invest in it. Yeah. I mean cause I was looking at your session, one of your sessions is $450 and it has a $300 add on. You know, so you’re just session fee wise, you’re looking at $750 so like obviously nobody, not everyone’s just going to jump in and get amazing artwork by you. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, took me years to kind of figure that out too because uh, I used to have a lower session fee. Like let’s get them in because once they see everything, you know, hopefully you’ll be rewarded on the backend what higher sales and in theory that kind of works. But it’s also a business based off of hope as well. It is. Yeah. And that works great for the, for the beginning. But once I became more established, I realized that okay, I needed to start doing minimum orders. [05:20] What? The minute I put minimum orders up, I found my sessions, people weren’t booking me for for whatever reason, that large minimum. And it wasn’t large. It was like $800 minimum. Yeah. And my average at the time was like 1500 so to me it all, it was the same math but they looked at it around at $200 session fee and a $800 minimum and it scared them off. So instead what I found is actually what I did is it started slowly rising. My raising my session fee throughout the year. So you know, June when I want to fill my schedule in a session fee was lower. And then as my schedule started to fill, I started to just naturally raise it cause I’m like I’m getting too many seniors. I can’t keep up. And, and then people just kept booking and it kept booking. So all of a sudden I round up my only have four 50 was my sweet spot. You know, so it wasn’t like one day I just said I’m going to do four or 50 it was like I played with that number and tell people, you know, kind of what I tell people is like, you know, if every person calls in books with you, that’s not necessarily a good yeah. [06:23] Right. Because I know, yeah, yeah. You may want to look at that a little bit. Yeah, it’s a good thing. But you will be very tired at the end of the year. [06:29] Right. So I like, well I’ll just keep raising it until like every third call says no and you know, and, and as long as I’m making enough and booking enough and then that’s my sweets. [06:39] And that’s really good insight because I think a lot of people like, I mean I’m certain we’ll talk to you here at sink and you’ll say, yeah, I just charged $450 for a session and I have a $300 out on. So, and they’ll be like, wow. And they won’t understand that like that that’s market driven. You know, like you figured that out. Like you did less, you did more. He tweaked it until it was like, oh, that for 50 I book is about as many seniors I want and it’s the right type of senior that I want. You know, and that’s the, so they, they, they shouldn’t just w the advice would be that they shouldn’t just go home and charge it for 50, for the session. They should start working. There’s up until they find their sweet spot too. [07:13] Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of people, you know, they feel self conscious like, oh, it’s in print or this is what I have to do. And um, but it’s like, no, you can kind of ebb and flow like maybe a comparison as a restaurant, like when things are in demand or like lobster is market price. So it’s like, okay, certain times a year this is the session fee because it’s, you know, I’m not as busy. I can do a lower session fee or um, you know, as I get more busy, this is prime time. The session fee is going to be more and don’t be so caught up in like, okay, I set my session fee for the year. I have to stick with it because if anyone calls, it’s just like, well that, you know, they had a deal in that month. You know, it’s not like I feel like I’m ripping anyone off by adjusting. [07:58] That makes complete sense. I mean I, it makes me think about the whole idea where like when we book airline tickets, like we’re always like, you know, our days are flexible and then we like sat there and we scan and we were like, okay, we’re going to leave on this day and come back to this day because it saves us a hundred bucks or whatever. So there would be people, you know, that would say, oh, okay, well I want to get my pictures done by you. And they were like, well let’s do it in June. It because it doesn’t matter if we do it in June, July or August, but let’s do in June because it’s a little bit cheaper and we’ll save 100 bucks. You know what I mean? And like, then they get to choose whether they want to save money, but then there’s, you know, it’s just a different mentality. Like they’re saving money but they’re not cheaping out on your services. You know what I mean? Yeah, absolutely. They’re making a choice. So that’s really awesome. Okay, so let’s jump into the questions that we normally do for the podcast. So the first one is just a general question, like what’s working now for you in your business? It can be around your photography or your brand, your business, but what’s working now that you would want to tell our audience about that you think is awesome? [08:56] I just think being unique is like standing out. We’re trying to do something that’s different because like if, if there’s more photographers in the market, you hear that a lot. Like, oh, everyone’s a photographer, everyone’s a photographer. And that may be the case. And sometimes I feel that too, but I feel like, well there’s only one of me and there’s only, I, I’m trying to do things unique and different so that I stand out and like the, again, the, those 40 people who value that and see that, I think that’s why my averages are high as well because there’s somewhat prequalified by this session for your style and my style. Yeah. Instead of, you know, if I’m, if I’m doing the same thing as everyone else, well then I’m just going to go to the cheapest person race to the bottom and it’s becomes a commodity. Yeah. It comes to come out of. Yeah. Yeah. So I think that’s, that’s what’s worked for me always. And I’ve just keep pushing that further and further. [09:48] So do you see like I typically see like, I don’t know, I want to call it composite stuff cause I wouldn’t even say it’s positive. Like you guys should just look at his work online so you can see what I’m talking about. But do you feel like you attract like sports and athletes more? Cause that’s the type of work I see in the industry. That reminds me of a little bit yours or are you attracting all kinds of seniors as well? Cause I look at your website and they’re not all just like hockey players, you know, so like who all is coming to you for your style? [10:16] Yeah, that’s a great question. And um, well one year I sat down in the, in the middle of cold, cold winter month, what I was feeling depressed and started making lists and really like identifying who do I want as my client. Who would that ideal client be? That 40. Yeah. Yeah. And I wrote notes and I just, I guess that things like what movies they would watch, what music they would listen to, like, uh, where they would shop. And because I had already been doing photography at that point, like five, six years, I had a pretty good idea. Um, cause I knew which things I didn’t like to do. Right. Yeah, that was clear. That one pretty easy. If you make this list, there’ll be easy. But yeah. Um, and then the ones like, oh, these sessions were fun and this is what I enjoy doing. [11:02] And so I realize, okay, seniors is really what I, what I enjoy doing. And not only senior, it’s like I realized I didn’t want like the, the, the beautiful drama queen. It could be drama queen and you know, whatever. It’s like I want an athletic female who likes to maybe get clammed up shows and get glammed up that often, but she’s more like a tomboy athlete that can also transition into a cool look. And, and the same thing with guys. I want someone, you know, that one that is, has a hobby or a sport because they are into the session and they’re not just like, okay, mom said I want, you got to get senior pictures done. So I think identifying that really clear. For me it was an athletic, sporty type person. [11:49] Right. And in the end, so interesting because in the marketing world, you know, you hear all the time, got to like really niche down and do something unique and all this stuff and you hear it all the time. And I don’t see a lot of people doing it. And I just feel like you’re really succeeding at those principles that just like we’re marketing, we’ll take care of itself. You know, you just keep putting out the work that you love to do and working with the people that you, that you want to work with and it just builds the next person, you know? So like, you know, when I look at your work, I can’t imagine that you’re probably like running tons of paid ads and stuff like that. And a sense because it just seems like it’s self fulfilling itself. You know, you’re attracting the right person and they love it. [12:23] Yeah. Because they were friends would tell their friends and, and, and, and they’re within the same value or have the same value of towards photography, you know, it’s not just like, oh, they have a lot of money, so come here. No, because as you know, money doesn’t equate, you know, I have people pull up in a, you know, a rusty truck and, and they’re, you know, paying just as much as someone who pulls up in a fancy vehicle. Yeah, exactly. [12:49] About how, how they value it. Um, we talk a lot on this podcast about how our industry, you know, just like you start in photography and you market to your friends and then you run out of friends and family to photograph and then, uh, you, you’re like, well, I guess I just have to go over after rich people. And it’s just so interesting because I don’t think that’s the answer. You know, you just don’t need to chase. I mean, chase affluent people, like that’s not the only answer. Like you can just find people that value work and speak to them and they’ll, they’ll, you know, they’ll reward your art for sure if they value it. So. Absolutely. Okay, cool. So let’s talk about the industry real quick. So the question is, what is one thing that has you fired up about in the, has you fired up about the industry? It could be something that you’re excited about, something that you hold true about the industry. Just when I, when, when we talk about the industry, what do you think about? [13:35] Well. Yeah, and I, that was a tough question and I thought when I, when I read it and I think the what, what really then pop to mind is, and some people might think this isn’t cool, but I love how the technology and the, you know, of course I’m into the composites and the effects and stuff. So I, I enjoy that. But...
In this episode, we talk to Heather Bookout.  She specializes in story themed session experiences.  You may have heard about the Santa experience but she does something similar to it all year long and at a whole other level.  She has a really unique way of making sure she has quality clients as well as quantity, don’t miss it. She also has the most amazing way of dealing with the stories we tell ourselves.  If you have ever told yourself that you are not good enough or struggle with self-doubt when you are not busy, listen up because Heather has got it figured out. She also teaches photographers how to get organized.  Here is a link to a free resources that will get you started:  Top 10 ways to optimize your photography business Internet Resource: Guided Meditations by Summer McStravick – overnight riches: Book: The Big Leap: Conquer your hidden fear… by Gay Hendricks (   Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. Heather: [00:00] This is heather bookout and you’re listening to from nothing to profit. Speaker 2: [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Welcome to from nothing Kia: [00:21] profit. We are so excited today because we are talking with heather bookout from Huntsville, Alabama and she and her husband Ben Own bookout studios and they have been in business for the past 17 years. What I’m so excited about with heather is she’s probably one of the most creative photographers I know and whenever you look on like social media and Instagram, I feel like it’s just like regurgitation over and over and over of the same thing and whenever I see what heather’s doing, it’s just out of the box. Totally different but still so connected to what’s in style and really works with her clients. And so we’re excited to hear what heather has to say about being profitable and I hope that she’ll add in about being creative as well. Matt: [01:10] Yeah and heather, I didn’t know much about you before, you know, Kinda brought you to my attention and you do some really, really amazing stuff. I mean on instagram and stuff like that. And then I, as you and I were talking leading up to this, we’ve talked over the last couple of weeks and I realized like how much of an operation you really have going, like when you guys are doing huge amounts of sales and it’s, it seems like it’s very planned but it’s very high in volume. I don’t even know how to describe it so I’m going to let you describe it, but it seems like you got really an amazing business in Alabama for sure. Heather: [01:41] Thank you so much. We are, I’m so excited to be here. Um, that is something that I love, that I’m super passionate about is being creative and being profitable. So I am excited to talk about both of those things. I think it’s gonna be great. Matt: [01:53] All right. But before we jump, go too far, tell us about your new puppy. Heather: [01:57] Okay. So we just adapted a Beagle, uh, this weekend. Matt: [02:02] So they have a southern, doesn’t have a southern accent yet. Heather: [02:04] Well possibly. And we did name her rosie and we already have another dog that’s a Jack Russel Beagle mix and her name is barley. So we have a barley and rosie now and, and they are just so adorable, like we’re getting our cuteness overload every day. So I don’t know, I think it’s pretty great. We love it. Matt: [02:21] That’s awesome. Alright, so I’m going to jump right in and kind of tell us about your expertise. I mean I, I kind of mentioned it a little bit, but tell us about your expertise and about your stylized and themes, shoots and all that stuff, kind of what you’re known for and what your business looks like. Heather: [02:34] Well, uh, we just love creating really cool story inspired type sessions, so that might be like a mermaid and a pirate. Um, and then so what we try to do is create experiences that will work for both boys and girls and then we create a creek. My husband writes this amazing, beautiful story for it. And then, um, we create like a Disney ride type experience where we take the client that the child through this type of set with a story in mind and our goal is to hopefully sell them that storybook at the end. And it’s been really, really good. People really connected to that in the kids love it really well too because it’s kind of, it’s exciting and it’s fun for them because they’re acting out, pretend it’s like, you know, Hey, I’m a mermaid and this pirates trying to rescue me or, and stuff like that. Heather: [03:19] It’s, it’s really fun. And then, um, another thing we do is we deal a lot of high end designer type sessions for families, um, and that’s where we kind of meet with them like an interior designer and this is so cool because we get to sit down and talk with them and create something custom just for them, which I love. Um, and the clients seem to really love it too, you know, just to kind of get something different that no one else has. And I don’t know, that’s what we do for our photography clients. And then for photographers, we really like to create organized results where we can kind of put together a specialized plans for each photographer so their business thrives according to what they do. So it’s not like replicating my business but it’s specific to what you’re passionate about and we make that a good plan together to support it. So it’s going to work really well and be successful. Matt: [04:09] Awesome. So tell me, tell me a little bit more about the stylist theme session because when I had to do some research about what you guys are doing, my first impression was it was something different but you guys are actually doing like, so you’re, you’re building a plan and then you’re running a bunch of people through it and getting pretty high end sales. Like the one I. The one I think that’s really popular right now is like the Santa Experience, but you guys are like over and over and over all year long. Heather: [04:33] Yes. We do like a fairy tale type experience when we’re not doing Santa. So we just had one called the enchanted oasis and it’s not terribly complicated the set, but the different things that they do in a set up in the, in the experience make it really interesting. So we try to create experiences that no one else would have a we are, you know, when I started the business there was like five photographers in my town and now there’s hundreds. So we’re always trying to think of ways that we can differentiate ourselves from others in our strengths. So my favorite thing in the world to do is design things, whether that be, you know, how the scene’s going to look in a portrait setting or like clothing or like how their hair and makeup is going to be. I just like all of that. And so I just, we try to really work on that and make that happen. Heather: [05:18] So during the session then you coach them through an actual like experience. So rather than sit here on Santa’s lap and look at me and smile, you’re kind of telling a story that they’re living in, is that what you’re saying? Yes, kind of. So there’s the story really comes into play when they get the book and that’s where it all comes together and into life, but it’s super fun. So we have like these little mini vignettes where they’re like, okay, you look like for instance there’s a, there’s a scene that I do where Santa is looking in a book and they’re all looking in the book together and I have a light source coming from that. So we have Santa in the real life say watch what happens when I say your name, and then it’s really fun for the kids and then the light will go off and so. But that’s obviously not in the story. So we try to kind of create a really fun experience in real life. But then when they are, when they get the actual book, then that’s when the story comes to life a little bit more like that. So whatever we do in real life, we tried to make it fun, but sometimes it’s not exactly the same as what the story would be. Matt: [06:23] That’s really interesting. And the way you described it to me is you kind of described it, it’s like a, like a ride at Disney world. So you guys, this is all planned and it’s Ah, that’s so cool. And so how many people do you guys bring through? Heather: [06:38] So experience? So right now for our standard experience that we’re doing right now since it’s November is we have 73 sessions booked so and then we’ll do 10 in one day. We kind of group everything together in one day. So we’re really optimized and you know when you do, I like to group my specific types of appointments at the same time, the same day so I can really get in a really good flow. And we hire hair and makeup team. We hire a greeter to come in just that day. We have, of course Santa and we have a whole kind of well oiled machine from a group of people that we hire just specifically for that type of session. So it’s not something I’m carrying out a big burden for it with a huge staff all year long. But just for when we do those special sessions like this Matt: [07:26] and you guys aren’t getting it, there’s just so people understand this isn’t like the $30 Santa experience Heather: [07:31] as you’re making thousands of dollars per client. Last year our average was 2,204 Santa we’d look course with. We try every year we try to improve. So I’d like to, um, you know, over 73 sessions if we just improve it by 2000 or $200, that’s a lot of money. So just small little increments increasing or averages. I’m really help in doing that. That’s so fun. I love hearing about that. So I know we’ve talked about it a little bit, you know, with the question that we’ve just asked, but can you expand on, like what would you say is the thing that’s working now in your business? Okay. So I think the hardest thing for photographers is getting people in the door that are qualified. You know, we all know about the model calls and that tends to put people in the wrong mindset where they’re like, what can you give me for free? Heather: [08:20] Or they say this horrible phrase and I’m sure you guys have heard it, oh, it’s not what I want, you know, I’m doing this for you. Like they’re almost like they’re doing a favor. Um, and so we tried to create that same sort of way. It works so great about the model calls as people are super interested in doing them. So we tried to think of a way that we could create that same sort of like mass amounts of people interested in it but also be qualified. So we switched to what we call an application process, but we never used the word model that’s super important. And um, what we do is we give them a really good incentive. Like we’ll do something like we’ll waive the session fee. So our session fee is $200, includes hair and, and we have a wide closet full of clothing. Heather: [08:57] Um, so that’s normally what they would pay for, for 200. We waive that. And we also give them a free one image, five by seven. And then what we require of them to do is to pay their minimum order upfront, which is also $200. And in doing that it qualifies them and we had the whole application process that we do. It takes them through, hey, are you okay with paying for your $200 up front? And we have like bulleted questions where they can answer yes I am. Please pick me. No, I don’t want to pay for my pictures or see, I’d love to pay for them, but I don’t have the funds right now. And getting them in that mindset of going, okay, well if I can’t pay for it, I probably can’t do. It. Helps us really weed through people, you know, if they stay any of those two second options, we don’t choose them. Heather: [09:43] And we choose all the people that said yes, I’ll pay for it. And that’s who we call and connect with. Do you have people that fill the whole thing out and say, no, I don’t want to pay for the pictures. Yes. Every now and then. But not normally. Usually the way the process works. Um, so right now I think we got a hundred and 40. No, no, excuse me, 120 applications, um, and for Santa and we booked about half of them. Um, you know, because we did get them from other sources, not just this one promotion that we ran. So, and what were, what were you do is we are always testing, like how can we improve, what can we do to improve our closing ratio on the phone? And one of the key things that we found is to really paint a picture following, like bullet points on a piece of paper and not necessarily a script because you don’t want to sound like a boring person. Heather: [10:30] But just having, I’m like, hey, we need to cover this. And remember when you applied, we said this, that you’re going to have to pay for it upfront after we tell about how awesome it is. So it just doesn’t. You just want to take away all uncertainty. Anything that feels shady or not cool and replace it with excitement. And I cannot wait to do this. I want to come and pay for these pictures and get this awesome experience that’s so fun and different, but I think what you’re doing really works with what people want right now. They’re, they want to be special, they want to be chosen, they want to be famous. So yeah, that’s fantastic. And it’s one of those ideas and sales about pushing back a little bit and not appearing so desperate. When you push back a little bit that you may not be chosen, it tends to create that emotional desire and clients to want to be chosen and it makes them come to you a little bit more. It makes it easier to close the deal in and book the session. Heather: [11:27] So this application live on your website. So no, no. We do this through facebook ads, so we spend every time we put an ad together, usually do one a week and will spend between 300 to $500 on our ad and we boost. It’s a boosted ad. So I know there’s a lot of different ways you can do it, but we do a post on our facebook business page and then we boost it and we boost it to a specific demographic we like to get that are between the ages of 28 and 45. And then there’s a, you know, facebook is always changing how they do things. But what we currently are doing is there’s a place for income and you can do the top 25 percent of people income. So they used to do it like how you can use to be able to do it by their house, which was awesome. Heather: [12:12] But then they took that demographic away. So now we do it by the top income and then we also, when we’re doing Santa sessions or we do a children under 12, so they need to have children under 12. So we do all of those little breakdowns, you know, all the way down to a baby. And that’s Kinda how we really target our ads. And so a lot of people are confused when they first start doing facebook ads. And like, I don’t have a big facebook following, like I only have 500 people that like my page and so you’re putting it on your page but you’re boosting it to others. And so that’s confusing. And that’s one thing I’d love to clear out because I think that that’s something that could be really helpful for people just starting out as you don’t need to have a big following. Heather: [12:50] You can put that money down and show it to thousands of people beyond your actual facebook reach on your normal page. So you’re doing like three to 500 per ad, is that what you’re saying? Yes, yes. Yeah. Well that makes sense. You’re not messing around, you’re making this. Oh yeah. Yeah. And so yeah, and we’re definitely get that we’re getting that return on our investment because this specific um, one, you know, we, you know, we booked, I believe it was 49 sessions in two weeks doing this in the last two weeks with Santa. So, um, you know, 49 times to you $200 is a huge deal. So you know, that’s can definitely can afford it even before you gotten them in for the actual session. Kia: [13:34] Very Fun. All right, so tell us what you’re most fired up about in the industry. What do I mean? It doesn’t. What are you most excited about or what do you think? Yeah, I mean just when you think of the industry in general, what do you think of? Heather: [13:45] So I love the fact that we all can be individuals and like if you want to just take pictures of pets, I feel like that you could do that and you could create a business plan that, that would create success in ut, thrive in it, and you do really well doing that. And then someone else could be super passionate of, you know, taking high school seniors and you could create the same sort of plan. I think what I love the most about our business is that you can really hone on your strengths and your values and what you really love to do and create something that is very successful. That’s fantastic. Kia: [14:16] So our next question for you. It’s so funny, Heather. I knew this was gonna happen to me with your voice, you just sounds so finished your notes and I do this even when we’re just visiting on the phone, but I’ll forget that I’m actually doing the interview and I’m like, oh, this is such a fantastic podcast. And I’m like, it’s my turn. Okay. So Heather, what was holding you back from becoming a photographer when you. Very much Heather: [14:44] so I think that, um, I think all of us struggle with this fear of failure. It’s, um, I sometimes you just, you know, anytime you do something new, if...
Today’s podcast is an interview with Corey Potter. Corey photographed weddings for years and also worked with websites and SEO since he was 15. Once Corey had kids, he and his wife decided 40 weddings a year and homeschooling was too much. Corey says SEO is important but shouldn’t be your only priority. Make sure you have a Google MyBusiness listing and make sure your business name and phone number, etc is consistent across the internet. Listen in to get all of Correy’s tips and tricks for making your website rank well. Corey has a guide on his website you can download and read to get started. Design and aesthetic of your website has far less impact than an offer for your client. It doesn’t need to be pretty or different, it just needs to work. Think outside the box, writing articles for your blog (and others) that provides value to your potential clients. Corey also has an ebook with action items and also a course on learning to do this yourself versus hiring someone else. Home
You don’t want to miss this podcast when Kia and Matt interview Teri Fode (@terifode)! Teri has been a professional photographer for 15 years. She also owns and operates Voice Your Brand. Teri specializes in photographing seniors and their families. What’s working great for Teri now is telling the story of her brand on her Instagram stories and going deeper than just sharing behind the scenes. Teri believes our industry is missing the fact we need to market like influencers. We are the face of our brand. But be intentional about it. What is it in your life that people can connect with? Listen in to see what Teri recommends you purchase to help move your business forward. You also don’t want to miss the best advice Teri ever received and uses to this day. Learn about Teri’s personal habits of focusing on the top 3 things she wants to get done and spending 60 minutes a day moving the needle forward/working “ON” her business. Teri’s Online Recommendations: Book Recommendations: Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller ( Why Simple Wins – Lisa Bodell ( Teri’s Free Branding Resource:   Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. This is Teri Fode and you are listening to from nothing to profit. Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Hi everyone. We are so excited to have terry on the podcast today. Terry, he is someone that I really look up to. She is like one step ahead of me in life and so I’m always watching what she’s doing next. She just had a kid get married and how she approaches everything with wisdom and grace. I love seeing what she does in her personal life, but we have her on here today to also talk about a not she can talk about her personal life if she wants to, but also to talk about photography and the business of photography and Terry has been a professional photographer for 15 years with a really strong consistent marketing strategy and authentic storytelling and she photographs stylized seniors families and personal branding. She’s also the creative, the creator of voice, your brand, which is a brand that teaches photographers how to engage authentically, connect consistently and voice their brand message to the world with style, typically black and white and gold style, I think. Right Terry? Well that’s my style, but that may not be yours to all about color, which I love. That’s fun. So Terry, we’re really excited to have you on here and we’re excited to hear about the different things that you’re doing. And uh, Matt, did you have a one to start off and asked Terry a little bit about herself or do we want her to just do it an intro of what she’s, what she’s about. Terry, just kind of share with us whatever else you know you’re up to or anything else you want to add above what [inaudible] just said about you? Well, uh, I, like she said, I’m, I’m known for photographing seniors and their families, uh, and I’ve been in business for 15 years. I started a, seems like a coon’s age. Now I’m dating myself, but back then we didn’t even have facebook. So that’s been, you know, for those of us who’ve been around a while, we’ve had to learn how to navigate our businesses and grow our businesses on a whole new platform, which personally I can tell you I have loved, although I have had to really roll my sleeves up and learn it. So, um, I, I loved that part of it. I left Corporate America. I love sharing that story with photographers because they know there are so many of them out there that have the dream of being full time in. They’re currently part time. And I’m here to tell you it is possible because I literally, nobody knew this at the time because I was so embarrassed of it. I was so ashamed. I thought this is not a legit photographer, but I was selling out of the trunk of my car. Whatever I can fit my car is what I was selling. And I would go to people’s homes for the initial console, for the presentation, for the sale. I’ve always done in person sales from day one that way. And then all of my sessions were either in their homes, in their backyards. We have a lot of clients that have beautiful homes or on location, so that really has been the story of my business and from there we, we grew it into a beautiful boutique studio and uh, I really had to build that business, what I would say very quickly because I had to replace that income. I was the only income earner and I had to know how to make money with my camera. So in a nutshell, that’s, that’s my story. And from there I’ve just really learned how to grow it in the ever changing world of both photography and marketing. Yeah, that’s really awesome. I think what always drew me to you, Terry, besides, after I got to know you and how amazing of a mom you are and how amazing of a person you are, but that you had, that you did come from corporate America and so like you always kind of had a different spin on stuff. You know, when I was in conversations with you, you would, you would say like, oh, well what about this? Or have you thought about this? And it was like, yeah, that’s really smart. So I always really appreciated that about you. For sure. Yeah, that is I, I will say, um, I, I love the marketing, the business side of photography. I’m one of those photographers that I will tell you I even love that sometimes more than picking up my camera and everyone out there is going. Why? Because we have this vision of, you know, we would do this no matter what. I, I can tell you I am not the photographer that says I would do this even if I wasn’t paid for it because as much as I love creating a beautiful image, if I couldn’t make money doing it, I wouldn’t be doing this. I have to make money doing it. So I am just blessed and I’m fortunate that I found something that I love that I can also make money, but that, that’s been very important. So that really does flow from that business background and marketing background. That’s awesome. All right, well let’s jump right in. So the first question we always ask everybody is like, what’s working now? So if you could tell us a story about what’s working in your business or what you think is working in the industry right now, just to kind of give us a perspective of what is current for you. Absolutely. Well, I will tell you the number one thing for me that is working is, is telling the story of my brands now. I know that that’s kind of a buzzing that’s going on out there, but one of the things that I did kind of you mentioned that you saw my daughter knew that she got married and one of the reasons that you that people know that is because I was literally crafting that message as part of my brand and putting it out there on I believe is the number one platform for photographers or anyone in business. It has an online business to grow their business and that is instagram stories. And I connected with my audience by sharing that story of my daughter’s wedding. And I noticed something really, really intriguing to me and that is that my viewers, when I would share anything about my wedding, the wedding that was happening for my 24 year old daughter, the views out of, I mean they were just, they were out of this world. They were consistent. You can always tell him what you are sharing on instagram stories is engaging with your audience because they’re not falling off. They’re not watching the first story, meaning the first little clip at the end. They are staying engaged through the entire story. And what I noticed with that is everyone was watching the and it was likely couldn’t get enough. And I am. I researched, I was looking at my analytics. It was not just my high school seniors and it was graduated seniors. It was girls. And this is really weird. Guys that had graduated and were following me from three, four, five years ago. Now these are people in their twenties in addition to the moms and many other people that follow me. We’re watching, we’re engaged in a story from beginning to end. And I started testing my thought, you know, why I just started with a little bit and you know, we, I, I think one of the number one things that photographers have I’m wrong right now is that they think that all we need to share the behind the scenes and what our businesses and we don’t. We’re really sharing the story by saying, okay, well let me show you on my computer and Oh, let me show you I’m a packaging this product and we think that we’re sharing what people want to know. But what I have learned in the past year is that we aren’t going deep enough and we can go deeper and that’s what I’ve been doing. That is what’s working for me right now. Yeah. So this is really interesting. I’m trying, I’m scrambling to pull up this article that I downloaded the other day about social media engagement and of course I’m not gonna be able to find it fast enough. But hang on, Matt, you can just say that in just a second. I think what’s interesting when you were saying that, Terry, first of all I did, I watched it all and I’m your friend, but I still was like, I just wanted to know what you were doing and there was a sweetness about it that I think was very engaging to people. Um, you know, just the story itself. But, you know about boys. My daughters are, like I said, they’re a little bit behind your kids and so my daughters are in college and upper high school and the boys that are in their lives are very, like, they’re sweet. They want, they, they want to have that, um, that sweet life, you know, they’re, they’re thinking picket fence and happiness and I feel like this, uh, these young people, right? Really just want to create a, um, memories. It’s really important to them. I, my daughter’s friends and college freshmen in college, they all, boys and girls all gave each other Christmas gifts and I never received Christmas gifts from any of my guy friends in college unless they were dating me. And so, um, I think they’re, they do want to just, you know, see that sweet life experiences and share those with you. He hears something, I think that is more something that we can really say, Oh wow, that’s it. I think it even goes one step deeper and it’s the fact where are these people? My audience are high school seniors and, and I’ve always said we, we market to one person that turns into a family and then professional brand makeover, what I call head shots, what I call professional brand make-over shot. So I market to one person which is the senior, I don’t want to get too far off a tangent here, but to support this story. So her family, so the senior, her family, her siblings and then mom and dad, one of them or both of them have a business and, and more likely than not, they’re also are online. So every scene that walks through my doors with 10 k to me, because we know this, we have, we know that if I market and get one girl in the door or one guy in the door, that’s $10,000. If we treat our clients and what I call create a client for life, so now I have this audience in front of me and that story resonates that this sharing my life and my, my daughter getting married and on my son’s engaged because the girl I have always said my ideal client is girl who has been, you know, imagining and dreaming of her senior portraits, you know, since she was 14, but since she was nine, she’s been dreaming of her wedding and she probably has a secret pinterest board where she’s spending all of her wedding ideas and I know this secret. My 16 year old was like, mom, I’m planning my wedding. And so I was like, okay, I’ll send you instagram post. Yeah, we’re, we’re planning it. No, you know, I speak directly to the moms who were, where I am now at this. Also interest younger moms who have younger kids, but she knows that she is. She is on the cusp of empty nesting and she’s on the cusp of planning this wedding. Now, here’s something that this evolved into is when I realized that my audience was eating this up, I stepped back and said, this is blowing my mind. I will tell you guys, and I mean I get so bored watching my own behind the scenes, it’s like, okay, we’re going through makeup. Okay, we’re going to do the outfits. Okay, we’re going to do this. Now. I am not saying that that is not something that we asked for target for. She continued to show, but what I am saying is that we are dealing with an audience who is being heavily influenced by multibillion dollar industry with a new term and that is called influencer marketing. So we are trying to appeal is already been conditioned. They have been set up for this influencer marketing. So I believe what we’re missing in our industry right now, there’s so many people, a lot of you know, many people are getting this, but most of our industry is missing it and that is we need to act like we are influencers by marketing like influence. Does that mean you have to have 50,000 followers? No, because I made $5,000 in December just with an instagram story desk with an srm straight. Let me repeat that again. I made $5,000 just with an instagram story overnight, but revenue. So is this working? Yes. Are we missing it as an industry? Yes, but I am finding that it’s because we are afraid. We’re gonna lose people by saying, Hey, guess what? My daughter’s getting married. He gets what I just decorated modern living room for Christmas and guess what? My, my living room or it’s going to blow your mind, but I have black and white in my living room just like I do in my brand. So I must have an authentic brand. And then I invite these people into my living room. I decorated my living room. I’m not losing them. What’s happening is they are becoming deeper and deeper connected to me. And you know, most of us can say that we are the face of our brand, right? I mean photographers are, we are the face of our brand in this day and age. And so it’s just blowing my mind that it has to be. You don’t get me wrong, I believe it has to be intentional. You can’t just. Nobody wants to see me making scrambled eggs. We’re going to say, you know, I’m not going to show you. Everything I put out there is just as intentional and just a strategic as when I was just doing my photography business in sharing that with the world. So there is some. Oh, you’re so lucky. So I’ve found what I was looking for. Oh wait, wait, wait. Let’s respond to what Terry to said. I don’t know. I feel like raising my hands and swinging them around or something. Terry, it’s so fun. What I really enjoy about it is I was like, okay, Terry is putting a lot of time and effort into this. Like she must be really excited about her daughter’s wedding. It never crossed my mind and certainly should have never crossed my mind that, uh, that you were doing that as a business reason. I was really new in and you didn’t even know. I know. I’m so. I’m so impressed with a little embarrassed. I’m like, well of course the but magic. The magic is that it can’t be something this robotic, like I believe if you look in your life and you find because every part of our lives influence our, our brand, whether we want to admit that or not, and that is what really the brands out there that really are working right now or the ones that are multifaceted and that’s what people want to see and that’s what you’re choosing. Brands like I am not just picking up a camera, taking a picture and selling you an image. You know, we’ve all said for years that we’re selling an experience, but what this influential, this influencer marketing has done to everyone out there that is, you know, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through instagram feed and watching. Now I believe more stories and the stats are proving it is. They are wanting, they’re getting hooked. It’s why reality TV works so well and now it’s transferred over to social media. I want to know really what you’re all about, Kaya. I want to know if you’re into cooking, like why I recently lost weight, gave for me a goal that I had for a long time and I really didn’t share too much about the journey until after I got to a certain point and I put it out there once and my dsms blew up, blew up. Now these were moms, a lot of, you know, I have a lot of and we all have photographers that follow us and other people and we always want to connect with everyone. And so I was painting these dmzs direct messages that were directly like having to do it, what are you doing? And now I’ve got like this little culture of people that are drinking cutter now these are future clients, past clients. And because you know, those of us who are educators, every photographer is a very, very valued client as well. I mean, you know, we’re peers and, and so I’m connecting deeper with people because I’m drinking water because I’m telling him how I drink a gallon a day. I mean, it’s just my mind, you know. So I asked people, my question is what is it in your life that people really can connect with that you can systematically be putting out there in the format of storytelling on line? And that’s what’s working for me right now. Really. It’s just kind of incredible that you have to save. Got Me totally curious what you found there. There was some data that came out, there was some data that came out that I saw it through some marketing stuff and it was talking about the what marketers post and what consumers actually want to consume on social media, you know, and so it’s a breakdown and it was like this huge report and if I can find the link to it, I’ll link to it in the show notes but I only screen captured like one part of it just to kind of prove my point to my staff. And so it’s interesting that about, and I’m just going to say they do have like 10...
Ready to shake things up? Today, Matt and Kia interview Grant Andrew, Matt’s friend and business coach. Listen in to hear them talk about how important the message is you’re putting out to your ideal client. The person running the business, is the message. Who are you, what do you have to offer, what do you love? Then, who does that work for? Who are you excited to work with and photograph? Grant suggests you try a lot of things, see what works, then do more of that. When you’re first starting out, it’s a discovery process. Recognize when something “sparks joy”. And it’s a living process as you grow and evolve. Be careful who you are accepting advice from to begin with. Seek out voices you resonate with on a bigger plane. “Detect your purpose” – Stephen Covey Ask your employees, family, friends – what do they see you enjoying and also avoiding? Embrace the great exchange. Book Recommendation:  The Greatest Salesman in the World (strange read, but 10 great nuggets in the middle): Reach out to grant: Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. Grant: [00:01] Hey, this is grant Andrew and you’re listening to from nothing to profit. Speaker 2: [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Matt: [00:20] Hey everybody. Welcome to from nothing to profit with Matt in Kenya. So this week we have a really amazing guests. He’s actually one of my friends and he also does some business coaching for me. His name is grant Andrew and the reason grant is on here as Kaiser actually never met him. Kyle just met him like 30 seconds ago when we jumped on this recording but I wanted to meet him because he helps me a ton but we had this really interesting conversation and grant I’ll try to just summarize it real quick and then kyle and I can kinda. You can Kinda, you can tell your version of the story and then Chi and I can kind of ask you additional questions. But grant and our grant, I were having this conversation where he we’re talking about, I’m speaking at a PPA, Boise, well I guess it’s Pdpa Ppa, I Idaho and a couple of weeks and he was asking, well what are you going to talk about? Matt: [01:06] And I said, well, you know, talk about marketing and stuff like that. And then I was making this joke about how every time you go to a marketing seminar they spend like half of their talk talking about like avatars are, who your ideal client is and you know, I said, you know, I’m not going to spend all this time just spending the time making people who figure out who their ideal client is because I feel like, again, joking that everybody in the photography industry thinks their ideal client is people with millions of dollars. And that’s, you know, whenever like who, who’s your ideal client? I don’t know, somebody that’ll spend eight grand with me and you know, they have a billion dollars in grant money. This really interesting comment. And we had a very short conversation. But then I cut them off because I wanted to continue the conversation here at the podcast and he’s in cramped, correct me if I’m wrong, but you basically said that the message you put in front of somebody is more important than the actual avatar of the person because again, I want to see, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you said something along the lines, like, your ideal client can be a millionaire that’s willing to spend $8,000 with you, but if you don’t know how to talk to that person, it’s kind of pointless. Matt: [02:08] Right? Is that where you were kind of saying? Grant: [02:10] Yeah, I mean, I think, um, I’m just, um, I’ve done a lot of work in marketing and, and, and I hear this, you know, these terms come to light. And I, I guess it’s, um, it’s a little bit just like what’s oftentimes I feel like when we, when we start a task, right, we gravitate to like the, the easy part, you know? So it’s sort of our units. I always joke, it’s like the American thing, right? You’re like, I want to get into camping, so you go buy a tent because going to the store and buying something that’s obviously, you know, that’s the easy part of campaign, right? Whatever you’re into, you know, I mean, you know this with fishing, right? You see people all the time or like I want to get a deficient, go spend, you know, $2,000. And then you’re like, well, how’s the fishing? It’s all in the garage. So in some ways, like, you know, when I talked to, when I talked to marketing folks and we talk about personas, we talk about avatars and all that. It, it feels similar, especially we’re talking about small Grant: [03:00] businesses that are run by one person or a couple of people and there’s really a, a personality in the business, right? I mean, when you’re talking about someone who is, um, you know, say a photographer who’s largely working solo, I think that the Avatar can easily become a distraction. And so, you know, in my mind, just a couple of places to go before that. I mean, right, is to actually kind of really understand who you are and what you’re, what you’re able to offer, what you’re, what you’re capable of offering. And one of the things I think gets lost in that avatar conversation is like, you know, like I could be anybody who has money, right? To your point who has $8,000 because whatever they need, that’s what I am and I’m sure we all have stories where that really doesn’t work that way. So I think it’s just important to kind of begin with the first things and not begin with sort of the easy things. And that was, that was kind of our conversation there and just the jumping off point for this larger conversation is, you know, wow, um, how do we, how do we actually do the hard work maybe as opposed to the easy work that gets us started and um, you know, with, with that slight introduction, I’d also like to say thanks for having me on because this is a lot of fun and I’m sure we’re going to push the boundaries of, of a thought process as we often do. Matt: [04:20] Yeah. And in this car, as I was thinking about this conversation coming up to this point, it made me think about, I read a book and I want to, I think, I think it was a Dan Kennedy book, I’d have to, I’ll link it in the show notes, but it talked about how to market to affluence affluent people. And one of the main points I took from the book was like, the average person doesn’t know how to market to an affluent person because you don’t even understand what it’s like for them to spend $40,000 on a coffee table. Right? Like you’re like $40,000 may be all the money you make in a year, you know, and they’re, they’re willing to just go drop it on a coffee table, you know, like, it’s so, like it’s just different conversations. And so sometimes I think a lot of photographers fail because they’re marketing to somebody who they aren’t necessarily as well. Grant: [05:06] Right. And I think ultimately, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, as marketers, we’re trying to project or broadcast a message. And the question is what’s the message? And I think in the case of, um, you know, have a, have a business that’s run by someone, there are the message and so you know, you, you start with who are you and what are you good at and, and where are the places that you really add value and, and who you’re going to talk to and how you’re going to connect with them as all downstream from that. Kia: [05:38] I feel like I’m standing in a club, you know, and like a room and I’m like, look, bouncing back and forth between you guys. And it’s funny because normally I’d be like, all right, I’m out. I’ll talk to you guys later. Find a conversation where I’m the center of the conversation. Just sorry. But so what you’re saying grant is essentially that figuring out your Avatar is easy in your viewpoint, but figuring out who you are is more difficult and something that we typically have Grant: [06:07] void. Well, yeah. I think in a true sense figuring out your Avatar is very difficult. But I think that if you start on that process before you’ve done the internal work, then it’s like, then it’s like, well, who’s my avatar? If I want to sell $8,000 packages, people with $8,000, we’re done. This was easy. Well, it’s got to be something missing here, right? Yeah. Because the real question is, Kia: [06:34] is what are you trying to sell and who are you going to attract? Because that’s a very different person than just the general person out there with a lot of money and the. And the other thing is, is maybe your client isn’t someone with a lot of money, but it’s someone who values what you do so much that they’re willing to change what they do to make it happen. Grant: [06:56] Yeah, exactly. And once again, how would you know that or how would you find those people? You know? So I guess I guess if I, if I were to sort of lay this out a little bit, I’d say to me that sort of persona avatar idea. Yeah. Grant: [07:08] It’s sorta like the third step, right? So the first thing is you have to know yourself, who are you, what do you have to offer, what do you love? You know, what, what is, uh, what, what, what’s working for you, right? I mean, because here’s the thing, if you’re marketing something or you’re selling something and you’ve chosen a market, uh, so you’ve chosen a really serious market, maybe you’re trying to appeal to business people, you’re trying to talk to, you know, corporate clients or whatever, right? And that’s not you, that’s going to be awful. It’s going to be hard, right? So right away, like people are going to get this sort of like, man, it looks like this guy is really working to do marketing that’s gonna, you know, you’re going to see smoke and you know, here’s your screeching and stuff. Um, so, so you have to know yourself and then you have to know who your approach works for in part of that is going out there and doing a bunch of work and then examining what’s resonating, what, which clients, what, what types of clients or what types of jobs are like easy for me, I just do this stuff. Grant: [08:08] I show up, I do my magic. You do your magic. This works so good for both of us. This is amazing. Now we’re starting to see where this is, right? If we, if we haven’t gotten to that step and done enough work to, to uncover that a bit, then the persona or Avatar is like all aspirational, right? I’d like to sell to people who are 40 to 60 who have a lot of money. Kia: [08:27] Yeah. You know, it’s a really interesting and the photography industry, you see this happen over and over where there’s a superstar who does one thing really well and then so many other photographers, you know, they buy their package or they hear them speak and then all of a sudden they’re using the same language, the same imagery, same type of imagery, the same business model. And like you said, it screeches, you know, it’s like there’s something off here. It’s not, this isn’t quite right because essentially what they’re doing is just trying to replicate what someone else has done instead of figuring out who they are. Matt: [09:03] Mrs Smith’s inauthentic authenticity for sure. Kia: [09:06] [inaudible]. Yeah. Yeah. Matt: [09:08] Well, so here’s how I see the photography. Again, I’m stereotyping to prove a point, but what I see is that a lot of people start, they purchased a camera, they photograph, you know, all of their friends and then when they run out of their friends they go get educated and then the next thing they do is they did make the jump from all their friends who paid them, you know, nickels and pennies, which is, which is fine. And then they go, you know, I only want to sell $3,000 packages and I just think that’s where a lot of people fall down and like I don’t. Then they’re like, oh, well there’s not, there’s too many photographers, you know, trying to go after the exact same person versus like trying to find your own little niche and then just, you know, hustling inside that niche and just kicking butt. Grant: [09:49] Yeah, I think, I think this idea that I love is that this type of this type of work, and this is one of the places I think people get get stuck, right? So, so matt, you know, you guys are, you guys are pretty mature in terms of business models and ways and so you’re at a point of trying to ask a question. Like when you go to build a process or you go to fix something or you go to enter a new market, you’re looking at, is this scalable? Right? Can we do this at size? Can we do this at speed? I think that people start to ask those questions too soon and that creates part of this problem because the work of figuring out who you are and who your thing works for doesn’t have to be scalable. Grant: [10:34] So you say, well, you know, I just ran a general ad and, and you know, in a week I booked five different kinds of jobs and I shot a family and I shot a portrait. Then I and I and I went to a school and I did and there’s no way I could do that at scale. Well, if you’re new, there’s no need to do that at scale. What you’re doing there is actually getting data and the data gathering process is not, doesn’t have to be at scale because we’re not trying to figure out like we’re not trying to make a million dollars a year. We’re trying to figure out where’s the vein that I should go dig down on. And, and when you do that, you do all these little test holes, right? You just go out and you just like, you want to do a pattern that says, okay, last week I did 10 things, which of those 10 things kind of worked for me? And so, so once again, people hear someone like you talk about some of your challenges in business and they’re like, wow, I got to be careful. I don’t do something that doesn’t scale well at this point you just need to do anything. If you’re early in the process you need to do something and then once you start to see what works, finding something that scales is like a later more mature conversation. Matt: [11:35] Right. And grant you and I spent a lot of time talking about like, you know, making sure we’re doing work that is filling our buckets, you know, because you could go and try to be somebody else or you could, you know, go into a niche that just isn’t natural to you and it’ll just wear you out, you know, and they’ll just wear you down. But if you’re working with people that fill your bucket, then it’s like a different process. It’s not like you don’t have to go to work everyday, you know, you just get up and do your job and it’s just fun. Grant: [12:00] Absolutely. But, but to do that, you know, and I think desperation plays a role here as well, right? So, so if we’re underfunded, undercapitalized in business, we’re kind of ahead of the curve, you know, we can, you know, at some level it’s like, you know, you wind up doing anything you can for a dollar, right? Well, once again, people look badly at that, right? So, so even in that example, Matt, I would say, yeah, you want to be doing work that works for you, but give yourself some time to find that, you know, and recognize you’re gonna have to take your lumps on the way to it. Um, you know, and, and, and, and in that sense, when you do something and it doesn’t work, when you do something and it’s difficult when you do something and you say, wow, I can’t do that over and over again, that becomes a filter that helps you find your way. And when you start to find that way really clearly, then you start to look at the other end of the equation and say, okay great, who is this working for? And, and now what do I do? Matt: [12:56] That’s okay, here’s, here’s our proposal I have in a sense, and tell me what you think about this. Because as an industry person, it’ll be interesting to see your point of view. Like with what grant just said, I think. I think there’s an opportunity for photographers out there to say the work that I enjoy and the work that was easy for me and the work that felt good at the end of the day was an $800 sale or a $500 sale and they can scale that versus the versus the industry is trying to convince them they have to have a $3,500 sale every time they turn around. Kia: [13:29] Yeah. You know, this is actually pretty interesting. I just talked to a photographer friend the other day and we were talking about like, you know, I was just asking about his business, how many sessions you did, what was the average was and he said, I think that people killed their businesses, literally killed their businesses by having too high of an expectation for their average sale and then they build their business around it and they just lose clients as they go. And I really, I do think there’s a tolerance in certain, you know, just depends on where you are in that country and where you are in the genre of what you’re photographing. That there’s a certain tolerance that people are like, yes, I’ll be spending a thousand dollars, or yes, I’ll be spending 800 or whatever the number is. That’s just, that is an easy sell and then you, then you go over on the other side of it and it’s a hard sell. And I actually. It’s kind of a funny conversation, but like we are. That’s what I’m literally doing in my business right now is trying to find that sweet spot that’s right below. It becomes a hard sell Matt: [14:35] exactly because it’s just so much more work and I totally agree with the conversation that you had where I see photographers just killing their business and they’re going from photographing families and making nickles to, you know, not trying to find that sweet spot and going straight so well everybody tells if I’m going to be a successful photographer, I have
This week, we talk to Darty Hines, co-owner of SYNC, Senior & Youth National Conference (See Below for a Discount Code).  Both Kia & Matt attended Darty’s classes back when they were first starting their businesses. Darty has been in the industry for 25 years. 15 years ago, he was known for doing cool sets with high school seniors. In more recent years, he’s known for social media marketing education.   What’s working right now for Darty, is listening to his clients. He says we’re quick to jump on a trend, without asking if that’s what our clients want. Darty uses Survey monkey to find one or two things to really make the experience better the next time. Darty and his wife Michelle are fired up about the hope in the industry right now. Listen in to hear the best advice Darty ever got, including “The next person to speak, loses.” and “The last dollar spent is the most important one.” and how he implements this advice. Darty also talks about not getting on FB first thing in the morning and bookmarking groups so you don’t get distracted by your timeline. Darty says to remember to post something uplifting and positive. That is just a few of the tips from this interview.  Listen in for all the knowledge that Darty handed out. Online resources: Instagram scheduler “Later” ( Books: #struggle by Craig Groeschel ( Content Inc – Joe Pulizzi (   Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. Darty: [00:01] This is Darty Heinz and you are listening to from nothing to profit. Speaker 2: [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit photographers podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Welcome everybody. We are so excited today Kia: [00:23] to be interviewing Darty Heinz and Heinz is the co owner of the senior portrait conference sync, which is. Oh Gosh, what is it? Seniors Darty: [00:37] Senior and Youth national conference. Be original player. Okay. Kia: [00:40] So sync. And it was originally senior and youth national conference and it is a actually right now my favorite conference to go to every year. Uh, I love photographing high school seniors and spending time with photographers that have been in it for awhile or are very, uh, are new, but they’re very committed to their photography business and Darty and his wife Michelle run that has a social and media marketing expertise with his multiple businesses and he lives in Pennsylvania and I know Darty from when he won. The senior photographers have senior photographer of the year nationally. Um, I don’t know how many years ago that was, but I was very impressed with him and actually I just thought of this, my first class that I ever attended for photographers to you were there and I wasn’t even a photographer yet at the time. Matt: [01:34] Let me, let me tell my story. Kia: [01:36] Okay, sorry. Sorry. Okay. Matt, you go. Matt: [01:38] So the first class I ever attended and the industry was Darty and Coleen’s a three day jumpstart class before imaging like 11 years ago. So we had just gotten to the industry, we’re in there maybe like three months and using like our startup money to figure out what we’re doing. And we’re like well we need to go to imaging. And I was like, well we should do these econ classes so we can go there as long as possible. And so I signed up for three days with you guys and you were the, you were the first real, like you were the fundamental building block of our business because like you set us on a course and those three days to do what we’re doing now, which is really cool. Darty: [02:15] Oh man, this is a great way to start off my week. Thanks to both of you guys. This is awesome. It’s funny because I was online. They have a big surprise. I was online, I was online on like about a week or so ago and somebody tagged me in a post. They were talking about education and somebody actually said the words that I changed their life forever and I was just like, you know, you don’t really know what kind of impact you have on people when you’re doing, when you’re speaking, when you’re running educational events and you’re doing presentations and things like that. Like you really, you know, you gotta really be careful what you say from a main states because you are really impacting people’s lives and they’re making changes in their businesses that really could impact their life forever. Good or bad. Kia: [03:01] Yeah. That’s the truth. So I’m a Darty. What we want to know from you after we’ve better do up like that is, um, tell us from your vantage point, what is your of expertise or what are you known for? Darty: [03:19] Well, I think, um, I think I’m known for two things. If we go back a few years, you know, I’ve been in this industry for about 25 years, so I’ve kind of seen it all. I’ve seen film to digital to iphones, you know, so kind of been around for a long time. So I think if we go back a few years and we go back maybe 15 years. Um, I think I was known for the guy that did all the really cool sets with the high school seniors. We built really elaborate scenes inside of a studio to, you know, do our, our high school senior photography on. So I think at that point I was known for that. And then I would say in more recent years I’ve kind of switched my focus when it comes to what we’re doing educationally. I spoke last year at imaging USA and I’ve done doing some state conventions recently and it’s been doing more social media marketing, which is, you know, when I taught just a few seconds ago about the girl who tagged me in a post on facebook. That’s exactly why she said she goes, I put in place some of the things that you talked about marketing that really changed my business. I think I prefer to be known that way because I read that because that’s really what I love. I love the, I love social media. I love marketing. I mean those are like two of my favorite things to kind of teach about. So I would say that’s currently where my expertise is, is social media marketing. Kia: [04:35] I forgot you and I just taught a class on social media marketing together. Yeah, exactly. It was a quick, quick little one, but yeah. Darty: [04:44] Yeah. Okay. So tell us right now kind of what you think is working now in our industry or even in your business with your sink conference and stuff like that. What you think is working now that people can implement in their business. Yeah, I think we’re going to talk a little bit more general because um, if you know me or know what I’m doing recently, I’m not really doing photography full time at this point. So I’ve kind of stepped back from that a little bit. I’m not saying that I’m not doing it ever again or I’m not doing it on occasion, I’m just, it’s just not my full time business right now. So I think for me as we do this podcast today, I want to talk a little bit more. It’s going to be more about small business with photography and mine obviously because like I’ve said, I’ve been doing it for 25 years. Darty: [05:28] So kind of what’s working right now for us is really sounds kind of simple, but really just listening to our clients, you know, I think that for business owners, we were really quick to jump in on a trend without really checking in with our clients sometimes and asking them, is this a direction that you would like us to go? It’s not that you have to follow their, you, it’s not that you’re going to say, okay, well that client said no. So I’m not going to do that. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying we need to learn to listen to what they want. Um, I see this a lot where people are saying, you know, well, my clients don’t want prints and a lot of times one of the things I want to ask them is, did you ask your clients if they weren’t prints? Darty: [06:16] You know, my client only wants digital. Does that, what did they tell you they only want digital or have you not educated them to understand what you can do for them as the expertise in your business? You know, a lot of times I think we forget that our clients have hired us because we’re the experts at something and so it’s our job to make sure that as the expert, we’re leading them in the direction that we want a, our clients to go and be. We’re leading them towards our first sales because the bottom line is we’re still trying to get sales from things. So a lot of times we just need to learn to listen a little bit more. Even with sync, you know, we do, we do surveys at the end of the, at the end of the show and all the attendees can give their opinions on things. Darty: [07:03] And you know, and I can’t do anything that your bed was lumpy at the resort that I can’t do anything about, but I can do something about the fact that maybe the print competition, the shipping is really expensive and it costs a lot to do prints and things like that so I can make changes that the majority of people are asking for, you know, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for golden nuggets from when you listened to your clients, you’re looking for golden nuggets that will help you create a better experience for them in the long run. Darty: [07:36] No, that makes complete sense. And I think some of the best years of our best. Yeah, I guess years or quarters in our business is when we had a really good clients that gave us feedback. And so what that tells me is like, okay, if I got really good feedback and that made me a better photographer for, you know, from that point on, I should probably just seek out that advice because not everybody is the personality that’s just going to hand it to you. Correct? Correct. Now as survey, after you do your event and then you read through every response and then think through that or how do you get your feedback that you’re using? Yeah, I actually, I use survey monkey. You can even use that as a small business owner. Like I used the paid version because we get with the free version you can get just um, you can do 100 responses for free, like another word you can get. Darty: [08:31] You can ask her questions and 100 people can reply to that survey and you can get that for free. If you get up more than 100 responses, then you have to go to a paid version. Um, I did a paid version because we always get more than 100 people that respond and I honestly literally read every single survey that comes in. So 400 surveys come in. I will read all 400 of them. I’m going to be completely honest. The majority of them are obviously they’re complimentary, but what happened at the event? But I’m really looking for that one or two things and those and those 400, if I can find two really good ideas to help make our experience, the clients experience better at sink, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m just looking for those one or two really good things. I go, Oh, you know what, I never thought about that. That is perfect. That’s what we should be doing, you know, and it happens is some, uh, definitely happens and people will see that when they come to the event or when they come to do business with us, Bill see that suggestion that they’ve made implemented. And there’s been times even from the stage I’ve said, you know, what, you see this change. This is because of the survey. We’ve done this change because people have requested that. Matt: [09:41] That’s really smart. Okay. So real quick, we’re just, while we’re on the subject, so there’s, some of our listeners are not going to know exactly what sync is. I mean we introduced it but basically it’s a big conference. Not a giant conference, but I’ve really healthy sized conference. But. So it’s like, I’m trying to describe it. So in Sandestin, Florida, and it’s Darty: [09:59] normally like February, March, right? Is when you guys shoot for. Yeah, we were always usually right around that last weekend of February. Sometimes depending on how the year falls, we’d go into that first weekend in March like this for 2019. That will be March one through four. Um, and yeah, it’s a conference. Um, we have classroom education, we do have some small group and some little hands on things that happen in the evenings. I have a really nice trade show. It’s really built to bring together professional portrait photographers who specialize in high school senior portraits. We do have some other programming, whether it’s on other topics or other industry related things like sports or children or teenagers, you know, but the focus of it as high school senior photography people come from all over United States, um, and it’s, you know, three and a half days and you’re in Destin, Florida and it’s really just a really strong community of creative entrepreneurs who have come together that really want to share and help elevate and lift in India the industry. Yet Matt: [10:56] I started going maybe like three, four years ago. Three, yeah, three or four years ago. And at first I was, I got there and I was like kind of intimidated for the first opening night, like get together thing which was, you know, you guys do a really good job with. And I was like, wow man, everybody knows everybody. And I was like, you know, this is really interesting in like within the next day I felt so included. And then now I totally feel like part of the family, you know, like in the facebook group and stuff like that. Like it’s so cool the community that you’ve built, like conferences or cool and education is cool, but the community that you have built is probably one of the best things we have in our industry. Thanks. Appreciate that. Kia: [11:31] Yeah, and I feel like one of the things that when I’m there it’s like, like you said, it’s a pretty safe place. And so I communicate with. I feel like I just get a lot like emotionally, mentally for myself and so, you know, just being somewhere warm somewhere peaceful that time of year I feel like I really always come away with some great new things that I’m going to be doing. Darty: [11:54] Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so Darty. What is one thing that you are most fired up about in the photography industry today? Well, you know, I was talking to Michelle about this the other day. We were out running around and I said, you know, I’m doing a podcast coming up. And she’s like, yeah. She goes, hi, are you ready? I said, I am, but I said that I’m kind of stumped on. One of the questions is what are you fired up about the industry? And she right away said, I think that’s easy. I think what I’m fired up about right now is that the industry has a lot of hopes and when I started thinking about that, I was like, you know what, you are right. You know, that’s the thing a husband should say all the time, right? I say it. And so I, you know, I thought about that a little bit longer and I was like, you know what that is, right? Darty: [12:40] I mean, it is a lot of hope. I think there’s so much doom and gloom and especially when you get into facebook and you get on those facebook groups and there’s a lot of doom and gloom about the industry and people complaining that the business isn’t what it used to be on etc. Etc. And thEy know what you’re right. It’s not the plane and honest truth is that the industry is not what it used to be. It’s completely different. Um, I think that, um, I think it was last. YeAh. Last year, Jason Williams was speaking and he actually put that up on a screen. He said the industry is not dead, the industry is just different and it’s such a simple but kind of a profound statement because he’s right, you know, you’ve got to start thinking a little bit different. And what I am seeing, I mean, what bring me back to my thing that I’m fired up about is hope I’m, I’m seeing that especially in our community a little bit. Darty: [13:31] I don’t. The cool thing, I don’t want it to be a sink, you know, advertisement because that’s definitely not what it is. But the cool thing about it is at stake, I feel like there’s not that doom and gloom. I feel like it’s an uplifting thing and I feel like that people do have hope. I mean even I was talking to david drum from h and h color lab and he was kinda saying the same thing a couple years ago. He was like, you know, one of the things I really enjoy about being here is that people, there’s not that doom and gloom. There is the people that are actually kind of uplifting each other and coming up with new ideas, you know? And that’s the thing too, you know, right now if you want to survive, and especially in the high school portrait industry, if you want to survive and the high school portrait in the industry, you’ve got to be a disruptive, right? Darty: [14:14] Disruptive, right now you’ve got to do something different. You know, when I think about my own social media habits and I scroll down through instagram, you know, I like same picture, same picture, same picture, same picture. It’s like I just feel like it’s the same stuff over and over and every once in awhile you grabbed, you see something completely different and you stop and you take notice of that. And I think for me when I stop, it’s usually because it’s not the same girl laying in a fall leaves with natural light. It’s something, not that there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s different. You know what I’m saying is different. It’s because somebody has done something that I hadn’t seen. And that’s what makes me stop. And I...
In today's episode we cover what Kia is doing in her studio during the Covid 19 virus outbreak. See what she is doing to stay afloat and what plan she has put in place. If you are looking for help during this time this episode is for you.
Today on From nothing to Profit, Matt and Kia interview the mother-daughter team of Marci and Christy. If you are looking for insight into working with family or just all around great advice about the senior portrait industry, this is for you.
In this episode Matt and Kia interview Aubrey Johnson. Aubrey is Kia's studio manager and we get the real scoop of what is happening in the business. When you want to know the secrets to success sometimes you just have to ask the person in charge. Learn how to manage employees and get some inside knowledge.
Selessa is a senior portrait photographer in Michigan. Want to hear a great laugh? Listen to this podcast! She had her own advertising and design business before going full time photographer. She specializes in senior portraits and has great insight into senior model teams. Selessa is excited about seeing video and fashion inspired sessions in the industry. You’ll want to listen to how Selessa balances keeping things fresh and also photographing something your clients will purchase. You’ll also get the inside scoop on mirrorless cameras. And don’t miss Selessa’s “why” and the best advice she ever received, which will also be some of the best advice you’ve ever received! Don’t miss a great conversation about parents shooting cell phone pics during the session and how to handle that.  @Selessastudio on instagram
On today’s podcast, Matt interviews Christine about her new project, Instalocal. They’ve known eachother for years, via  FB blogger group, in which Matt claims they haven’t been kicked out yet because they behave themselves. Christine had been working as a digital strategist for years and started her own photography business in 2007. She was successful, 6 figures gross, in her first year and people wanted to know how she did it. Don’t miss her story and how she looks at using Instagram. You’ll want to listen in to hear how to get off the content treadmill. Listen to why you should have a personal and a business account and how you should use hashtags. Christine says the more information you put out there, the better. Put out things that connect on an emotional level or educates your potential clients. Christine is also speaking at WPPI 2020 so come see her! Instagram: @ChristineTremoulet Photographers Innercircle
Matt’s pumped to interview Molly of Boudie Shorts with Kia on this episode of, From Nothing to Profit. To make a long story short: Molly started with photographing weddings, had a client request a boudoir session, she fell in love and switched to boudoir photography full time, and now teaches boudoir; referring her client inquiries to her certified students.  Don’t miss how Molly uses Facebook Live! Molly is fired up about attitudes in the (boudoir) industry and practicing what you preach. It’s about empowering women. Listen in to hear how Molly would recommend you spend (or save) that $1k. Routine is something that really contributes to Molly’s success and she “plans tomorrow, today” – you want to hear how to do this! Don’t miss the important conversation about burnout and depression on this podcast episode. And as Molly says, if you want to become the best you can be, quickly, get a mentor to learn from someone who has already done it so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Internet Resources: Subscribe to Molly’s email list while on the blog App: Talkspace (therapist on your phone)   Read Full Transcript [00:01] Hey, this is Molly Kaiser and you’re listening to from nothing to profit. [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kaia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. [00:22] Hey everybody. So welcome to the podcast. I’m really excited today because we have my friend Molly Kaiser and you guys may know her from her Boudreaux work as well as booty shorts, but Molly and I have been friends for years and she’s been on some of my summer nights and I’ve done some work with her and stuff so it’s really excited to actually have this conversation with her. But if you guys don’t know Molly, so Molly, like I said, lives it and the Boudreaux hour, I can’t even say that word correctly. I’m going to fumble it all day long, but that’s okay. Through the associates does all that, you know, by using like appropriate marketing and sales and pricing. And she really focuses on customer experience where she took her business from 81 cents to six figures a year, which is, which is amazing, but like I said, now I know her really well through the fact that she helps other photographers build their business and years just like such an open book to our industry in terms of, you know, your business strategy is you’re shooting your lighting and your pose in your clients’ experience, all that stuff. So, um, thanks so much for being on this. And um, yeah, just tell our audience, you know, a little bit more whatever I missed and go from there. [01:27] Thank you so much for having me on this is, it’s always a blast to talk with you. Uh, so yeah, basically I always loved photography. I’m sure a lot of you listening, you can totally relate to that. You know, the whole young with the camera story. Right. But I remember in high school I would always get like notes to get out of my boring classes. I would call them like science and math because I want it to go play in the dark room. And so I always kind of knew that I wanted to pursue photography full time. I just didn’t always maybe believe that I could make money with a career in photography. So I interned with some photographers. I ended up going to college to study art and photography. And what I’ve kind of learned in college was it was a lot more about, you know, showing an art galleries and things like that. [02:15] There really wasn’t a structured, uh, major, if you will, in the UWU system, at least that, you know, taught me how to be a professional portrait photographer. So I actually told myself, I kind of gave myself an ultimatum, like, if you can book x amount of portraits and weddings, like you can drop out of college to pursue photography. Um, and that’s exactly what I did back in the day. Uh, Craig’s list worked pretty well for me, but not a super good strategy today, Fyi. So, um, yeah, basically I shot weddings and very low priced portraits for a really long time. And until I really came across this, I was doing this engagement session and she was a bride to be and we were doing her engagement photos and she took me aside and she was like, Molly, would you be willing to do duar photos of me to give as a gift to my room and I had no idea to be honest with you guys. [03:10] Like what would work was I, it wasn’t even on my radar at all but I was just like, yeah, when you own a business I think it’s really important to say yes to a lot of things, especially in the beginning. And I’m really glad that I did because what I learned from that session was not only that I love doing good work photography, not only that it’s profitable, but that I can really truly make a really big impact on women’s lives. Like this client in particular, she, she thought she was ugly. She did not like, I didn’t know what she saw in the mirror. She had like no confidence and just from that one photo shoot, like it sounds crazy, but just from the one photo shoot before and after she was a completely different person. Like she was sort of skipping out of the hotel room with confidence and in that moment I was like, this is what I need to do. So over those next couple of years I transitioned out of weddings and interviewed war photography full time, which I did for many years and as of January of this year that are recording the podcast, my fulltime now is on helping my students and actually send any of my inquiries to Mike who are certified students. But um, yeah, I’ve been and I still do photo shoots, just not clients. So I’ve been a photographer for about 14 years now and that’s kind of where I’m at today. [04:27] That’s really cool. I love hearing your story about the dark room in high school because I was very outgoing, so involved in lots of things. Yeah. And the dark room was my favorite place, just to be able to go there and be so quiet and away from everything and be creative with nobody around. So I definitely identify with that. That’s, that’s neat. So you’ve been doing it for 14 years, full time. And does that include your college years or when you built the business afterwards? [04:55] I think that includes about one or two of my college years. Um, pretty much all the years that I was shooting professionally and getting paid. [05:04] Okay. [05:04] And so you and you built this business in Wisconsin and then you just recently moved to Austin, [05:10] correct? That is correct. Yep. I built it in a super small, actually you’d like several small towns in Wisconsin with, you know, people are like super conservative there, so people always thought and told me like who are, will never work full time. Um, but it did an adult. Yeah. [05:26] Yeah. Which is awesome. And I love the watching your, you know, you and I are personal friends on Facebook and watching your journey of you transitioning to Texas. Like, I think you posted the other day, like you were so excited like that spring was already in like in Austin and where all your friends and in Wisconsin are still buried in snow. And like you’re like wandering around like blooming trees and stuff like that. I think it’s hilarious. Like how much you’ve embraced the warm climate of. Awesome. [05:52] Yeah. So it’s just crazy how much my mood has changed. Moving somewhere with sunshine, like every day I look at my husband and I’m like, I just, I just love it here. So I don’t know, this is off topic, but if you’re ever thinking about moving somewhere, you should definitely do it. [06:07] Yeah, Phoenix was amazing. I came back and I was like, we did so much every single day and it was cloudy and rainy when we got back to Kansas. So I definitely understand that. So the next question we have is what is working now? And it sounds like you have transitioned out of full time photography work into teaching, which I think makes you even better for our podcast because you kind of can see an overview of the business. Uh, but what would you say like, or what are you teaching your students is specifically working now? Because you said, you know, Craig’s list, obviously advertising on that isn’t something that works. So what would you, what, what, what do you suggest? Yeah, and [06:47] really quickly too, just for those of you listening, if you’re thinking like, how would she know what works if she’s not taking clients? Which is a totally valid question. So I have several people on my team that are photographers and I test everything with their businesses. So it’s actually really cool. Instead of just testing with my business, I can actually test with several photographers, businesses that live all over the world. So it’s really cool that way. I’m only teaching strategies that are working everywhere. So what we’re seeing right now that works the best, and it’s going to sound really simple, so hopefully you guys liked that. Simple is awesome, right? Uh, building your know, like, and trust factor through Facebook lives. And I know people have been talking about Facebook lives for years, but they still work. And that’s a huge thing is, um, you know, and you don’t always have to be looking for like, what’s new, what’s new, what’s new, you know, you have to find something that works and then stick with that. And for us, that is consistently, so again, keyword consistently doing Facebook lives, uh, to build that know, like, and trust with your clients because especially with boudoir photography, they’re booking more for the trust with you and how comfortable they feel with you. Then your portfolio, which might sting a little bit, but it’s the honest truth. [08:04] So dive a little bit deeper real quick. So kind of explain like what a Facebook live looks like, you know, for, for your students and stuff like that. You know, I mean obviously it makes sense that they’re, you know, you’re doing it so that you build, you know, that trust, but like kind of, you know, just give a little bit of a glimpse of like what it actually looks like. [08:23] Yeah, sure. So first thing is you want to come up with a really eye catching title because people are just scrolling through Facebook. They’re just scrolling through social media and you have literally like less than a second to actually catch the retention, let along get them to push play and like watch that Facebook live. So one just one example of a title would be something that I think would really catch people’s attention would be, you know, uh, why do I photograph women in their underwear for a living? I’m pretty sure people would scroll through. And like, definitely you want to know why you do this for a living, right? And then what you would do in that live is you would simply share what you’re going to share, like a breakdown of the Facebook live. So you would say, okay guys, like today I’m going to tell my story about why I photograph women in their underwear. [09:11] Oh, we’re going to get into the story. And then at the end, you know, if you, if you want to do some kind of fun call to action, you can say like, oh, I’ll be choosing a winner if you want to do a good way. But a basic Facebook live would just be, um, sharing with them. All right, I’m going to tell my story and then I’m going to give you guys a chance to comment below for something really fun. So in the Facebook live itself, you just start out with sharing, you know, this is where I was, this is where I am today. This is why I photograph women in their underwear. And you really want to address any of their concerns throughout the Facebook live. It doesn’t need to be like bullet points scripted. You can read it into your story. But for example, you know, women’s biggest fears with good voir are are they going to look like the people on your website? [09:56] You know, are they gonna know what to wear? You know, are they going to be too nervous? Are they actually going to go through with it? And stuff like that. So you can kind of weave that into your Facebook live so that way you’re catching their interest, they’re getting to know you, you’re answering those false beliefs that they have. And then in the end you can invite them to do some kind of call to action, like common below to get more information. About a shoot or common below to be entered to win x, Y, Z or something like that. But you definitely want them to be commenting and liking you cause that will boost the post up and get more people to see your life. [10:25] Okay. Awesome. That is awesome. So let me ask a couple questions. Is this on your personal profile or on your business? So you definitely want to do, [10:33] do it on all the different avenues. So the, the two biggest ones would be your personal page and your private booed war. A Facebook group if you have one. That’s like a big proponent of our food, our certified program business pages. Okay. I really think this, this page is more for running Facebook ads, but um, you’re going to get seen more in the group and your personal page. [10:57] Okay. And then do you do like, this sounds to me like you’re sitting there talking in front of the, you know, the phone or whatever. Very like casual, like not a behind the scenes, not putting samples of your work in it, but it’s just like you and the, and the person you’re kind of view and the audience. [11:17] Yeah, you can do either one. So for this title that I just named the yeah, no. Why do I photograph reference their underwear that I feel like could be really cool just like sitting in your studio or like on your couch. Just super casual. But you could also do one that’s like, you know what, what would you actually do with good work photos? Cause that’s a big one that people ask. Like what am I actually gonna do with these photos? And then in that you could do like a studio tour, you could show off your albums, you could show off the different products you have. Um, so I think a mix of both would be really good. Yeah. [11:47] But not professional. Like, like live like interactive. Oh yeah, definitely. Like you need like a special camera. Yeah. Just your cell phone. Yeah. That’s so scary. This is like Kyle’s biggest fear. We’ve talked about this. I just cannot handle her face on a computer screen or a camera. Like she just hears it. Don’t get me wrong, I like my face, but I just get nervous. Like what am I going to, I mean, what will I say? Who knows what I would say on a Facebook live, you know, like I can edit things. I just loved the edit process of retouching and editing and finishing things off and so I’m like, oh my goodness. [12:26] Hello is, I mean, think about it this way, like what’s your favorite social media platform? Consuming wise. Instagram. Okay. And like what do you love about Instagram? Like do you like the feed better or the insta stories better? [12:39] I liked the feed and then I specifically choose who I look at on the insta stories. Like I don’t look at every single instance story. Like some people go through just everything. Wow. I haven’t met anyone with that answer, so you kind of threw me off there. That’s okay. Just go look at people who’ve junk. I’m like, I don’t want, this needs to be looked good to me. [12:59] I feel like most people like the stories because they’re real. Yeah. And so like for example, if you’re on a Facebook live and you mess up or like supposedly first of all there’s no way [13:08] I mess up, but let’s say you do something that you think would be a mess up. People love that. [13:15] Like they want to feel like they’re actually in a room with your sitting at a table with you. But just to know like, just so you know, this is super normal. My students, they joined my program, we have them do a Facebook live right away and they all completely freak out. So, um, what I tell them to do this for their first Facebook live, simply just [13:33] take your phone, go lie. And you know, I just have them share in the group like why they’re here. Something simple. So you could go live in a group too. So it doesn’t like not everyone sees it. That’s kind of Nice because it’s like these are the people that you can trust, [13:49] right? Like I would recommend starting, they’re starting small, like a group of your close friends. But yeah, I do think it’s really important to get comfortable with going live because it’s only going to become more right. [13:59] Popular. That’s really interesting. So you, so you do that with the people, like you’re going live, you’re creating people that want to know what you’re doing, essentially. You’re creating a following then. [14:11] Yeah, because like I said, people, you know, they like following wives. But then the important thing is consistency. So even though we’re talking about Facebook live, we can use Instagram as an example. Yeah. If you’re following somebody and you’re watching their stories every single day, and then all of a sudden they just like, [14:27] don’t make stories for a week. You literally like forget about that person. And it’s the same thing with Facebook class. Like I recommend going live every single day and people will start to really look for those lives and be excited for those lives and they really feel like you’re their close friend. Yeah, I believe it. That’s fun. Wow. What a discipline. So like, I’m assuming you do that yourself for your, like you’re selling to photographers business, [14:58] Facebook lives. Yeah. I actually just did one right before we started recording. [15:03] Yeah. And you do it daily? [15:06] I would say maybe not every single day, but I recommend for my students every single day. Yeah. [15:11] Okay. So how do you do it? Do you like, say I’m going to do it every day at 10 do you have a list of things you’re going to talk about? Do you put on makeup first? [15:20] Yeah, so I, I, we actually have a list of different topics that we give to our students and...
On this episode, Matt interviews David Beckham, while they attend and teach at SYNC. David talks about his senior focus and how he wants people to look at his work and ask, how did he light that? David talks about posting his best work, always. David gets fired up and is excited about new photographers wanting to give and meet new people and how fast they’re growing their social media following. Listen in to hear about David wanting to “be good enough” when he was first starting his business. Don’t miss what David would and wouldn’t spend 1k on. And you definitely want to hear what David thinks about his Sony equipment. David also spills about what he’s up to next and you want to be in on that! Askdavid education site – on FB too:   Read Full Transcript David: [00:01] Hey, this is David Beckham and you’re listening to from nothing to profit. Speaker 2: [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit of photographers podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Matt: [00:22] Hey everybody. Matt here. Uh, I have a really awesome guest today, David Beckham. I’m actually here at sync in Florida and we’re actually sitting in my condo and David and I message back and forth and I was like, you got to come over and record a podcast cause if you guys don’t follow him online, you need to, his senior photography is probably some of the best in the industry. And David, we met probably I’d say five years ago, five, six years ago at sea at seniors ignite and we’ve been following each other ever since. So, um, obviously I know you for your senior photography, but share with the audience, you know, kind of what they wouldn’t know about you by following you or you know, where you’re from and stuff like that as well. David: [01:02] I’ve got a studio that I opened in 2009 in Pickerington, Ohio, which is right outside of Columbus, Ohio. Go Bucks. I had to say that when I opened it, I was doing every kind of photography possible cause I was trying to eat. Now I do just seniors and I say Jess seniors and I do some other things, but seniors is all I market. My website, my, my, uh, social media is all seniors. I focus on a fashion styled of senior photography. So it’s kind of cutting edge as far as that goes. And I found that that separated me from the locals and allowed me to be profitable in and have a good time doing it. Matt: [01:46] Yeah. So when I look at your photography, what I think of as I see, uh, like just good lighting. You know, I think your lighting stands out and I think that’s what pushes you above the market. You know, like you said, you know, it may be like a little edgy, I don’t even know if the word the word is edgy or not, but um, you know, definitely the lighting. So that looks, it looks modern and current. Um, and definitely doesn’t look like a mom talk type. David: [02:09] I hate, I hate, uh, too much flash. So I developed even before the high speed sync and the cool technology they have now, I was using alien bees and using them at the lowest power possible with filters on my soft boxes so that I could control the light as low as possible so that I could shoot with a great depth of field a long time ago. And now that the new technologies out there, it makes it even easier. But I want to make all of my photos look like perfect ambient light, not like flat. Matt: [02:45] Yeah. And I can see the flash and your photography because I see the catch light. I see some of the shadows, you know, and how you’re lighting, you’re using loupe light and stuff like that. But I wouldn’t say it looks super flashy at all. David: [02:56] That’s my goal. I don’t, I want people to, how was he doing that? That’s what I want people to think. Yeah. And that’s my number one question from other photographers. How are you doing that? And I always say, just come to my workshop Matt: [03:08] then I’ll show you. Right. Yeah, to the train. I can definitely see it, but it looks really, really good. All right, so let’s jump into the main part of the podcast and what I want you to do is kind of tell the audience what’s working now for you in your business. I mean we talked about how strong your lighting technique is and stuff like that, but when you think about your business or you think about your photography, what does working in now for you? I think, David: [03:31] and I’m, and I’m saying this from my perspective because I know it works. I post great photos on all my social media. I don’t post goofy memes, I don’t post a lot of personal stuff. I post great photos and I think that helps separate me from everyone else. They don’t come to my site and see what my grandkids are doing or what my dogs do and they come to my site and see what I’m doing and who I’m photographing. I think I have a good handle on having my models cause most of the people I post are my reps. So I’ve got 40 people that I post. Mostly I post everyone, all my clients, but mostly I’m posting my reps. So it’s a very fashion forward. It’s different, it’s good lighting. It’s cool. I’ll experiment. Um, on my, especially on Instagram and, and, and my website now my story, I’ll get a little more personal, a little goofy, goofy, but on my main stuff where people are going to see my work, I want to put the best that I got out there every time. Matt: [04:39] And so I think that’s just a really good lesson in terms of branding and general because you’re, you’re making a conscious decision to use Instagram as a, you know, as a place to brand yourself and you’re like, I’m not going to brand myself as a dog owner. I’m not going to brag on myself as the, all these other things. I’m going to brand myself as a good photographer. That Ha that photographs amazing people. And like you said, experiment and stuff like that with so that you’re putting not average stuff out there cause you’re not just posting like average session stuff. Right. I don’t do a lot of behind it. David: [05:11] The scenes, I don’t do that kind of stuff. People can get to know me through other ways, but I’m focusing on my work as my primary primary way of attracting people. Matt: [05:23] That’s awesome. All right, so I love that. So let’s talk, let’s kind of switch gears real quick and just talk about where you kind of see the industry going in general are not necessarily where you see it going, but like what are you fired up about in the industry right now David: [05:37] I, I work with a lot of young photographers that I meet and I go out of my way to meet them. They speak in terms of community, the word community. They use the word community now they’re building their empires through growth, through social media in a way that I’m just learning from them. I like the way that they’re eager to give back and meet other people and do things. I think it’s fresh from the old, how do I get a $4,000 sale? How do I get a $3,000 sale? Now I understand we have to get the $3,000 sales to make a living. But I like, I like the, the new way of approaching photography. Um, I talked to people that have no clue about lighting and they’re producing great things and they’re doing it through post-processing versus getting it right in the camera. Both are equally powerful in the finished image. And, and I like, I like that. Matt: [06:38] Yeah, no, that’s a, that’s refreshing for me. And we taught Kaia and I talk a lot on this podcast about how, where, you know, the industry holds certain things true. And I liked how you said like it can be done multiple ways in different ways because you hear some of these people that have been in the industry for a long time and they’re like, it has to be right out of the camera. It has to be, this has to be that. And I sometimes I just think that’s not necessarily true as long as it’s right for the customer. David: [07:02] I hear people my age complaining about how you know, it’s so hard to do things with all these young people that don’t know what they’re doing. They’re putting out bad product, blah, blah, blah. I’ve had the best year ever this last year. Every single year I’ve been in business I’ve had growth because I’m not listening to the negative. I’m looking at new ways to do new things, to reach new people and if we fall behind because we’re trying to sit on what we’ve done for the last 10 years, they used to be successful. We’re going to keep falling behind. Matt: [07:33] Yeah, and so what I, what I don’t hear a lot of people talking about in our, in our industry then I think you’re, you’re, you’re talking about that I hear a lot like in the marketing industry is when the marketing industry, we talk a lot about how you like the market dictates what is good, what’s bad, what’s successful, what’s not successful. You don’t hear a lot of people in our industry saying that successful because the market says so. They, a lot of people say, yes, that’s good. Yes, that’s bad. Not from the customer standpoint, but from like the industry in like norms. Does that make sense? Like that’s good lighting. That’s bad lighting. That’s good sales. That’s bad sales. That’s a good business model. It’s a bad business model where the truth is good in some aspects. Good lighting is dictated by the market. Like if people are buying that are not bad, lighting is dictated by the market. If if it looks bad to the consumer, then that’s bad. In a sense. It’s bad. We know as professionals what good and bad lighting is, so the light, he may not be the best example, but David: [08:34] let me, let me get her up there. Lighting’s a great example because when kids started taking selfies 10 years ago, they took selfies. Now they all know what lighting is. They all know and they know in my studio, the window lights amazing. So if they’re going to take a Selfie, it’s not going to be in the back. It’s going to be up where they can get the gray window late. They know how to park their car in the right direction to get wind. The right lighting. Lighting matters to kids now and and good lighting in the finished product matters to them now to where 10 years ago when everybody was a photographer shooting and burning or or doing whatever they were doing, lighting didn’t. Now it does. And, and even now with the new iPhone x with their, did you just Boca out my kid or kind of person focus out of focus out a kid, you know, so they all know what Boca means. Yes. You know this, that the 16 and 17 year olds do. Their parents don’t really don’t have a clue and the photographers all do because we all think it’s funny when the ad came out, but, but they get it now. They come into my studio and they see it and they see, I’ve been mastering that for the last 10 years already. Now I’m popular now. I’m what they want because I can get that look with real photos that they can print on the wall or do whatever else they want to. Matt: [09:59] All right. You ready for my million or a million dollar idea? You’re welcome to take this and run with it cause you actually Mike, cause here’s such a go getter. If anybody out there is listening and they still this idea, all I ask is that when you name the product you put like mh like in the, the the name of the product or something like that. So you know, I know it was from me. I don’t need any money unless you make a billion then send me 100,000 but I want to make a backdrop that attaches behind the, you’re like behind you in the car so it just stretches in front of your seats. Like just a black thing that’s just fills in your car. It’s kind of dome shape. It goes right to your shoulders. So that when they, when you do a Selfie, it can be a black or gray or white background and that you don’t see the back of the David: [10:38] calling. You would have to be what, what’s that 17% gray or something. Exactly. Matt: [10:42] Yeah. But I think if you could find one just like the Velcros in the car though, that that would be awesome. So anyways, that’s my, that’s my million idea, that million dollar idea I’ll never execute on. Okay. So, um, let’s jump into the lightning round real quick. I mean, we’re way ahead of time, so we’ve got plenty of time to talk about these. We don’t have to go faster. Um, so tell me again, how long have you been a full time photographer? David: [11:03] Full time since 2009 started my first senior. I did in 2001 but I was doing other things. Okay. Matt: [11:10] So when you think back to those that time, what, what was holding you back from being in a full time photographer? David: [11:16] When I first started, I wanted to be good enough. So that was my goal was to be good enough. So the getting over the hump that I’m good enough was probably holding me back more than anything. Um, Matt: [11:31] and what does that mean for you? When you say good enough? Was it like photography skills or business skills or all the above? David: [11:38] Well, definitely, well first was the photography skills, the business skills. I’m intelligent. I took business classes as I was an engineer before I was anything and I was a youth pastor after that. So I had the people skills, I had business skills. The photography skills is what I needed to learn on. So for me it was making sure I had the photography and then figuring out how to run the business before I went full time. Matt: [12:03] That makes sense. And I, what’s interesting to me and I, I guess just because I’m on the business side and my wife Alison is on the photography side. Like I didn’t have to go through a lot of that. Like are we good in like photography skills are good enough? I just always thought she was good enough. So I pushed her into owning her own business. But yeah, I can see why that would really hold people back. I mean, because yeah, if you, if your confidence is so important in everything in life, but especially in business, David: [12:28] but not just confidence, I had to be able to sell it to make enough money to live off of where when I was an engineer it was easy money, you know, to make a ton of money. It was easy. But then I became a youth pastor, so I learned how to be poor and after being poor, it was easy to go into a visit, learn how to run a business and be poor for a little. Matt: [12:46] All right. That, that makes a lot of sense. That’s hilarious. Um, I could totally see like, yeah, it’s just like a different perspective and you’re like, well, there’s not much more room down than here. You know, I’m, I’m are, I’m already eating saltine crackers. So like if my business doesn’t work out, I’m right where I am. That makes a lot of sense. Okay. So if you had $1,000 right now and so, so we’re at the sink in Florida and you’ve got $1,000 and you were going maybe to the trade show or anything, what would you buy that’s photography later? Like what do you think’s important to buy? So this is kind of advice for other people that may be, you know, spending money or what, what do you think is important for you? David: [13:23] Marketing. Okay, I’ve got all the equipment I need and, and I could get by with good photography for, could shoot with anything. I keep hearing that as I preached Sony and these people that are afraid to, to actually try this new technology. You know, their first comment is, you know, a good photographer can shoot with anything. You must not be a good photographer if it took you Sony to be one or something like that. So for me, I don’t need the equipment. Um, the marketing is what I need to spend my money on because I know the way I marketed it brings me a new client. Matt: [14:04] Yeah. One of the goals, right? You, you spend $1,000 on marketing and it brings you back $10,000 you know, that’s kind of, that’s the ultimate goal. So, um, people can reference it back. I’ll tell you the story. I don’t know if you heard the, the episode that we recorded with Jeff Richardson, but he actually sold all of his Nikon equipment and a switch to Sony and then like shot it for like three weeks. So like imagine this, he sells all of his Nikon equipment for pennies on the dollar switches disowning pays full price for it. She was a for a couple of weeks, couldn’t stand the digital view finder cause you know, he’s been shooting for so long, he couldn’t stand it, sold all of his sone stuff then for pennies on the dollar, went back and bought all new Nikon equipment again. And uh, he’s the only one I’ve ever heard of the actually like made the switch and just could not handle it, you know, and it’s real answers, but everybody else had, seems like they made the switch to Sony. Really loves it. So what were you shooting before, by the way? I shot cannon five d three was my yeah. Matt: [15:14] And everybody says, I said we should not gone. So I don’t know whether, but everybody I talked to that is thinking about leaving Canada to go to Sony talks about just the miss focusing. Yeah. Well and and an icon people. It’s the same. What I’ve heard, what I like about the Sony was I’m a zero right. Cause cause you have eye auto focus. Right. And so it just nails it every tenuous and it’s to the point where I don’t, I took a three, a three step ladder, a three step step ladder everywhere. So if I wanted to change my point of view, I would just climb on that ladder to shoot down at him. Now I just have to raise it up and point it down Adam and flip the little monitor so I can see what I’m shooting. I see the little green square on there. Matt: [15:59] I know I’m going to nail the shot. Yeah. That’s so interesting. It almost like they almost removed a whole element. Like that wasn’t that important to us. And photography, like having a sharp image was important. But it wasn’t part of the creative process. It was like something
Matt and Kia are officially in Season 2 of From Nothing to Profit!! And this episode is with Scott Wyden, who is this podcast’s first repeat guest too! Scott tells us that 35% of websites are powered by wordpress. NextGenPro is Imagely’s plugin for WordPress that now offers auto print fulfillment. What’s so great about this is that your client’s don’t have to leave your site to order their prints. This podcast is not sponsered by Imagely, Matt and Kia just wanted to share this new option because Imagely supports our industry. So check it out!
Today Vicki Taufer tells about what is working now in her business. Vicki has been in the industry almost 20 years now. She focuses on artistic portraiture, located in Morton, Illinois (pumpkin capital of the world). Vicki teaches internationally and values work life balance. Work life balance constantly changes and just being aware of trying to be balanced is important. She went from 300 sessions/year, 9 employees, to Vicki being the only full time employee and being more hands on. Now Vicki goes into the client’s home and does design work, producing some of their highest sales over the past 20 years. “I’m working smarter, not harder” Vicki is hopeful about our industry as she’s getting higher sales than ever, offering full service experiences clients aren’t getting elsewhere. Doing things you can’t duplicate with snapshots on phones gives clients things they are willing to pay for. Vicki tells us about what it was like starting their business 20 years ago, and what to do and not do. She received the advice “hire slowly, fire quickly” and highly recommends following that advice. She also talks about how much more profitable in person sales are than online sales and not leaving money on the table as the client doesn’t know what their images will look like large on their walls if you don’t show them. Resources: WHCC Podcast by Jed Taufer “This Conversation” WHCC card editor – WHCC inspiration guides:   Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. Vicki: [00:00] Hey, this is Vicki Taufer and you are listening to from nothing to profit. Speaker 2: [00:05] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Good morning everyone. Kia: [00:22] We are so excited that you are here. It may not be morning where you are, but it is where we are and we are interviewing one of my favorite people in the world today. Her name is Vicky topher and she has been involved in the photography industry for almost 20 years now. She focuses on artistic portraiture and loves to photograph people, pets and she does a lot of commercial shoots as well. She is located in Morton, Illinois right now, although she shoots all over the country and she has a passion for people. Her camera journey has taken her all over the world and if you follow her you’ll see that she’s taught internationally, traveled internationally, and her goal right now is a healthy work life balance and I bet you that that’s something that we’re going to talk quite a bit about. Matt: [01:14] Well, awesome. Welcome Vicky. So tell me a little bit more. So where do you live in Illinois is like more like central Illinois. It’s a suburb of Chicago. Vicki: [01:21] Tell me more. Yeah, yeah, we are in central Illinois and the small or smaller town that both my husband and I grew up in. You know, we’ve moved around a little bit but have ended up back here. It’s about 17,000 people a couple of hours south of Chicago, a couple of hours north of St Louis. Matt: [01:39] Awesome. Yeah, I, when I was in college, my buddy, his parents moved to decatur and so we every break we have, we would drive out to the cater like and like 16 hours on had all the way out there. It was, it was actually a lot of fun, but I probably wouldn’t move to decatur, but it was, it was a cool experience to have in common. Vicki: [01:57] Right. And that’s about an hour from us, but yeah, I mean the communities all in central Illinois there, it’s similar in that it’s a lot of smaller, you know, industry farming communities and then we have the bigger towns have um, like Peoria, Bloomington that I guess you would call us a suburb of. Awesome. Kia: [02:14] Yeah. And you, uh, I think about you during this time of year with Thanksgiving and Halloween with your pumpkin festival too. Vicki: [02:21] Oh yes. We are the, we claim to be the pumpkin capital of the world, so yeah, in September or whole town Kinda gets turned upside down with the festival and parades and pumpkin patches and all kinds of fun stuff. Matt: [02:35] That’s really awesome. Yeah, I think every small town has like a little festival in Durango where I am, we have like a, like a cabin fever festival that’s like in February after it’s been snowing all winter and it’s like this wild week that nobody ever works and it’s just, it’s actually way too much fun. Kia: [02:50] Mardi gras. Matt: [02:51] Alright. Alright. So yeah, let’s, let’s talk, let’s talk about photography. We don’t need to go down too many tangents because we’re, we will be talking about like high memories before we know it. Vicki: [03:00] Oh No, I will not be. Matt: [03:02] Okay. So, um, so I’m just going to jump right into it. So Vicky, one of our main questions we always ask on our podcast is like what’s working now or what’s the story of working? What’s working right now in the industry or for you personally that you could share with our audience? Vicki: [03:16] Yeah, um, I would say, you know, you kind of need to know a little bit of our journey for this to probably make sense, but um, our business being 20 years old, we have run the gamut of, you know, studio in the house, studio in a building, renting a space, buying a building. Um, we’re currently in our studio that we originally rented and bought. Um, we’ve moved back into which is an old bowling alley that we renovated years ago and we’ve had nine employees at times and now we’re down to very scaled back where I’m the only full time employee photographer and then we have a couple part time and contract employees. Um, and the thing that we’re finding that super interesting now is that I am way more hands on with the clients. So before I was more of a volume shooter, maybe I was shooting 300 sessions in a year, but I would shoot. Vicki: [04:11] But then I had employees selling, you know, a lot more overhead, a lot more employees doing a lot of the work, selling and doing everything else. Whereas now the business is smaller, which actually is purposeful. And fits where we are in our life and with our little kids, um, and where I want to be, but I’m way more hands on with the clients start to finish in the consultations in the session, in the ordering appointment. And what I’ve implemented this year is I’m actually going into the client’s homes, maybe not a new concept but not really something I had done a lot of myself. So, um, you know, taking pictures and measurements and giving them suggestions and doing design work of being able to actually digitally show them what wall groupings would look like in their house. And we have actually to date had multiple of our largest sales to date this year, which is really exciting to me because I’m honestly since the adoption of our daughter eight years ago, I really had gone down pretty part time and I feel like put the business we were doing the business, but it was more kind of on hold that kind of just stayed stable. Vicki: [05:14] Did the work that came in. Whereas this year we’ve really tried to amp it up again, um, with our move back from Minnesota to Illinois. Both kids are in school full time, so I have a little more time. So, you know, we, we tried to go about it this way and it’s been really interesting just because I didn’t know, I honestly, I feel like I hadn’t been involved as involved in the industry and I wondered like, man, there’s so many more photographers are people going to value, you know, this extra time I’m spending with them, you know, are we going to have the big sales that we used to have? And like I said, we’ve had multiple sales that have actually surpassed our biggest sales to date in the last 20 years. So that was really exciting for me. That gave me a lot of hope for the industry and where the industry’s headed. Vicki: [05:54] Um, so for me it was more about quality, not quantity. So it’s not that I’m working harder doing more sessions, but I am spending more time giving an experience to those clients that they’re not going to get from most other photographers. You know, like that’s not the same as someone shooting and burning and giving them a disk, you know, like there’s a place for that, but that’s not what I’m offering, so they’re going to spend a lot more money, but they’re also, I’m going to kind of hold their hand throughout that whole process and give them a full experience and guarantee and make sure that the finished product on their wall is exactly what they wanted. You know, when you, when you say that Vicky, it makes me think about you saying other times, like, you know what, what I would do if I wasn’t a photographer I would love to work with like interiors and design. Vicki: [06:39] Do you feel like it’s kind of scratching that itch where you’re kind of doing both for people? Absolutely. I mean it’s funny. I can think back 15 years ago and all the clients who would say to me, just because we put so much effort into redoing our studio, I do have a passion and a love for, you know, decorating and that I’m sort of a thing. So it just naturally happened that my clients even 15 years ago would say, can you just come to my house and tell me what to get or Redo my walls while I was not in a place for that back then? I actually would have loved to, but it’s like, holy cow, no, I’m shooting 300 sessions. I know, have time to go into every client’s home and help them do all these things. And so it is funny to think back now, you know, 15, 20 years later that I’m, I’m actually doing that and it, it is something that I’ve always loved. Vicki: [07:26] I’ve had a passion for not trained in or anything, but I’ve just always, you know, whatever house we’ve lived in and whatever we’ve done, I just, I have a knack for that and, and, and I love it. So it’s fun to be able to do that for my clients. Yeah, you’re so good at creating a space that feels homey but also has like an artistic design to it. Well, ambulant, it’s been funny. I mean, this year what’s happened is, you know, I’m implementing things that aren’t my photography in the work I’m doing with them as well. So I go into their home and honestly by the time I get home, I usually I’m getting texts from clients, hey, you know what? I already got online and ordered those ledges from pottery barn that you told me about this from Ikea or I ran to hobby lobby and picked up this cool sign that we’re going to incorporate with this wall grouping. Vicki: [08:13] Uh, so it’s pretty cool to see, you know, like people just really need that help for me to be able to show them, hey, this is what it would look like. Or giving them that suggestion or making them feel confident in those decisions. You know, people get kind of stuck and worried and not sure what it’s gonna look like or is this the right choice? And so to have somebody that, you know, they’ve hired me as a professional, they want, you know, you get the professional’s opinion and then you just feel more confident making those decisions. Matt: [08:38] And I feel like, you know, a lot of people just don’t know how to shop photography, so that’s really what you’re helping them with. You know, I tell a lot of people like, you know, photography is equivalent of buying a car, but the auto industry spends billions of dollars a year to educate you on how to buy a car. But it’s the same for photography, but they just don’t really have helped. So to have somebody actually hold their hand and give them confidence in their decision I think is huge. A one on one other question. Do you feel like you’ve, you’ve downsized a little bit and obviously I’ve lost overhead. I mean, do you feel like you’re making as much money now? Because I hear a lot of people say, oh, I’m making as much money now as I was when I had nine employees. Or do you know, do you feel like you’re making less money but it’s better choices for you and your family? Vicki: [09:18] I would say right now, I mean you’re, you’re catching me at a time where we haven’t even finished our first season being back home. So. So it’s hard to say, I even honestly, my husband, he’s not as involved in the business anymore. He’ll even ask me that question. I’m like asked me in December, I still have so many, so many clients that we’re still working on their orders that it’s such a big swing between now and the next two months where we’ll end up. But um, for the amount of time being spent and I making more, I’m working smarter, not harder. Does that make sense? So shirt? No, it’s not the same as when I was shooting know 300 sessions because even in those days I was high dollar high volume. It wasn’t low dollar, high volume, but I wasn’t having typically as high, um, of orders as I’m having some of them now, but it’s way less, you know, I might do this year, I’m thinking, you know, I might be on track of shooting 60, 70 sessions now next year. You know, maybe that’ll double. I mean we just moved back last Christmas and spent basically the first half of the year redoing this space and we actually moved into the studio space. We rezoned it and it’s about a 7,000 square foot building. We live in half of it as our home and then we have a couple of renters and then we have the studio has about 2,500 square feet. So we had major things. We were redoing that. We weren’t even really like up and running and shooting again until almost summer. Matt: [10:50] Are you guys going to put a bowling lane back in? What you live there? Vicki: [10:53] No, I’m p. everybody asks what would be so awesome? Wouldn’t be. We do have the lanes and a couple of the pins and stuff that we use as tables, but I’m not actually functioning. No, you guys do a lot of fun things. I don’t know if you have to. You could put in like a bocce ball court or something like that. Uh, we’ve played, we’ve played bags inside my kids roller blade throughout the space. Hey, you know, their friends come up and they do like gymnastics and flips and I mean it’s, you know, the main living space has really tall ceilings. So if they’re having fun with their kids are five and nine and they think it’s great. I’m living here. I mean at some point we might outgrow it a little bit, but it’s working really well right now. So Vicki, our next question for you is, now that you’re really back in with both feet and the photography industry, what are you most fired up or excited about with the photography industry? Vicki: [11:47] Because you said just, uh, you know, recently you said you feel a lot more hope for the industry. So what makes you have that hope? You know, I mean, I think that’s multifaceted. Um, you know, because there are some things that I feel like the industry has definitely changed and it’s shifted. We all know that, you know, there’s a lot more people shooting and burning, which definitely, um, we do sell digital files actually, but they’re at a high dollar price after the clients have placed an order for portraits. So, um, you know, I feel like that’s one of the things that I was nervous about, you know, that made me like, Oh, do I have hope? You know, where this industry’s going, but it’s been cool because I’ve actually feel like what I’ve experienced and coming back, I shot more seniors this year without even trying. Vicki: [12:34] Then I’ve shot in years and it was very shocking to me because I would have always put myself out there as definitely more like children and family photographer and I didn’t see. I’m really a ton of children’s photography, but I definitely it to you and I had a conversation a couple weeks back that this really like a light bulb went off for me. You know, this really came from you confirming what I was seeing, which is, um, I’ve seen tons of value and great orders with my family sessions and I’ve an actual increase with my senior sessions and what I think is interesting about that. And that gives me a lot of hope. Now I need to, I would like to figure out a way to kind of up my game with children sessions because I really do love to do that. But I’ve found that, you know, per our conversation, Kai, and I think you’re correct, is that, you know, it’s a lot easier for people to daily capture images of their children on their phone. Vicki: [13:27] Um, you know, it’s not a replacement of what we do, but that is something that people definitely have lots of images of their kids, but there’s still this like big thing when you’re in high school, senior and like that whole experience that we do with them and all the outfits and going on location that you can’t really duplicate on your phone, um, that people are still willing to come in and do that and do albums, all these things. And then of course we all know what the families, that’s just a whole nother ballgame, you know, like there’s a whole experience on posing and how you’re interacting with people and bringing them together that you cannot just duplicate that with a snapshot on your phone. So I think that embracing the things that you see that you enjoy, but that also you see the industry can still support and there’s a need for and people are willing to pay for. Vicki: [14:13] That’s what I feel like kind of gives me that hope as well as what I mentioned with just being more hands on, like I think that it’s become more important than ever to improve and give an amazing experience to your...
In Episode 001 we interview Kia Bondurant.  Kia Bondurant has been a full time professional portrait photographer for over 20 years. With her experience of owning a large successful business and recently starting a new portrait studio from scratch, she wants to share HOPE for the photography industry! One of the first things we talk about is what seniors are looking for today.  You may be surprised at what she is seeing. A really neat thing Kia does each year is she has three words for the studio.  This helps guide her in decisions for what she is going to do each year. Listen in to hear what three words she picked for 2018.  This is such a simple task that you can do to grow your business. Next, we talk about why you should and should not copy other photographers.  Tune in to see what Kia thinks is the difference. If you are new to the industry, Kia talks about how new photographers should value their work and time.  Some really great tips here. If you have had a business for a while, listen as Kia talks about what it takes to hire people and why it is important.   Books Kia Recommends: EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey ( E-Myth by Michael Gerber ( Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Cloud and Townsend (   Link Kia’s Giveaway Coming Soon Read Full Transcript TRANSCRIPTION: Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. Intro: [00:00] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Everybody. Welcome to episode one, Matt: [00:17] Kia Bondurant. Today Kia Bondurant has been a full time photographer for 20 years. She has experience in owning a very large studio and recently starting a new brand new portrait studio from scratch and I know from speaking with her in the past that she’s always trying to bring hope to the photography industry and I know she will today. One of the first things we talked about is what are seniors looking for today and I think you’ll be surprised what she’s seen and she has some really great tips if you’re new to the photography business and you want to figure out how to value your work and your time, and she also has some great tips for people that have been around for awhile in terms of hiring new people and why it’s important to have a staff. So let’s jump right in it. Kia: [00:56] Yeah, I thank you Matt for asking me to do this. I have wanted to share more often and in a more structured way, like a podcast for quite a long time and I just was too nervous to make it happen myself. So when you asked and gave me the opportunity, I was super excited. There’s so much that we can give back to the industry and to help make the industry better in the future and so I can’t wait. Can’t wait. Matt: [01:22] Sure, I agree. I mean you’ve been in the industry for 20 years and I’ve been in the industry for 11 years and I just think there’s so many photographers out there that, you know, feel alone and really could use some expertise from people that have kind of been through what they’re going through now and just kind of maybe give them the shortcut or just given us some really solid advice on what they should be doing in their business. So let’s jump right in real quick. So if I were to introduce you to somebody, how would you, what would you say you would be? You’re known for in the industry or you know, what are people, when they think of your brand, what do they think of Kia: [01:54] in the photography industry? I would say that I’m kind of known in two ways. The first definitely is senior portraits and fashion inspired senior portraits and then also family and children. Portraits that are more like fun and playful. More stylized. Matt: [02:12] That definitely resonates with me because I don’t, I think I’ve told you the story, but I should definitely tell guests the story is that, you know, when we first got into the business, my wife and I, Allison, she, uh, she was a huge fan of your work and she was one of your, one of the first people she followed on instagram and all these different things and she loved your working. Anytime we were kind of searching for ideas or we’re rethinking our business or whatever, we always pulled up your website and always lots of inspiration there for sure. So Kia: [02:42] that’s exciting. Matt: [02:43] Well, because you can definitely see the fashion inspired senior portraits in your business and that was just all it was resonant resonated with us for sure. So real quick for the audience, tell, tell us what’s working right now in your business. You know, you’ve had 20 years of experience and you know, as you know, every, every year and every week is a new adventure. What would you say is working right now if you had to give our audience like kind of a little nugget? Kia: [03:08] Well, I think that what’s working right now, our actual microtrends I feel like if we’re going to get like kind of go deep right away and for a little while, senior portraits walking on the street outdoor only was the thing and the only thing that people wanted. Whereas now the seniors are wanting studio, they’re wanting lighting, they’re wanting things that sets. And so uh, if they’re moving away from all of the lifestyle look and wanting things that are a little bit more commercial and portrait and I think that might just be what we’re creating ourselves and that that’s just the, the look that are actual seniors are wanting rather than being a trend overall. But that’s something that’s working specifically right now for us is creating more of a, a styled look within the studio rather than doing something more lifestyle. Matt: [04:04] So how, how do you think about that? Because I think so many times we get stuck in ruts as photographers where we’re like, okay, we’re just going to go stand on a street or an alley again and take, take the stereotypical senior picture. The only thing that changes is whatever the senior kind of brings to the session, whether it’s their own look or their own props and stuff like that. So you know, how are, how are you thinking about it in your studio so that you’re kind of consciously making sure you don’t go back to the the old way if you will, and just given them what you’ve given everybody else for years. Kia: [04:32] Well I think that’s probably one of the keys that make me different than other people. And it just kind of goes back to how I approach each year and the business. So one of the things that growing up I was, I would get in trouble if I ever said I was bored. And, and with my own children, I do the same thing. If they come to me and they’re like, mom, I’m so bored. I’m like, okay, you can do this, this, this, this or this. And I give them options that are work and options that are not work. But being board was kind of the, it was the ultimate. No, no. And so I don’t really allow myself, um, in the, uh, in the work that I do. And so each year I come up with ideas of things that I want to do and I have lists in my head. Kia: [05:14] I find them by, um, obviously instagram is so great because you can kind of curate your experience by who you follow. But I look through physical magazines a lot. Sometimes I’ll get through, go through a patch where I watch a bunch of like music videos, uh, even just watching movies and how they found those. And I get, I just have a list of ideas of things I want to try and new things that I think are going to be interesting. And so I feel like lifestyle was such a huge thing and it still definitely is. I think people have seen that so much that they’re ready for something new. And so that’s really what we’ve done this year is my staff and I have sat down and thought, what can we do that people aren’t seeing? What, what do we do differently, what, what is our brand? And so our three words for our photography brand and you know, kind of are me personally, are vibrant, authentic and inspirational and so keen off the vibrant word. We’ve done a lot of really bright, fun colored backgrounds and playful experiences. And so that’s, I feel is drawing our clients right now. Matt: [06:20] You know, I hear those words and I think you know, obviously those words mean a ton to you and it’s helping you steer. But some of those words of what I was, what I’ve always seen in your work. And so in a sense, you’re staying true to your brand. You know that you’ve always had, so you’re not like taking a 180 degree turn, but at the same time you know you’re interjecting new and fresh ideas so. So you’re not getting bored because I would say you’re a brand has always been authentic and vibrant. You know, that’s what I’ve always noticed. One thing that’s different about ours is you’ve always had a lot of color in your and your brand and your pictures and we don’t do a lot of that. We do a lot more like monochrome or really muted tones and it just kinda depends on what you like. It doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just whatever your how to stay true to your style is what I’m trying to say. Kia: [07:09] Well, and I definitely think there is right and wrong and this and I think what’s wrong is when you straight up copy someone else and try to put that into your business, and I don’t mean that in an accusatory way at all, but in more of a, it’s not going to work for you if it’s not who you are. It’s not going to look authentic, it’s not going to feel real and your clients aren’t going to be drawn to that if that’s not really who you are. And I’ve, I’ve seen a lot of that over the years where, you know, photographers will take what someone else does and just do it exactly that way and then the next you know, trend will come up and they’ll do it exactly that way and then the next trend and so when you look through their work, it’s just a trend after trend after trend or for certain person’s style and it doesn’t reflect who they are. And I think for you to have a really truly enjoyable and rewarding photography career, then you need to develop who you are and find those clients that want what you create. Matt: [08:11] Yeah, I agree. Because otherwise it just feels like you’re reinventing yourself every single year and that can just be exhausting. And then also you don’t necessarily know why you’re down 20 percent or whatever and it could because that trend is kind of the ship is sailing and you gotta reinvent yourself and you know, I think there’s some time at the beginning of your career where you can explore those different looks and try to figure out who you are but eventually kinda stick to exactly. You know, like you said, who you are authentically and that way you just naturally do it and it build, it comes across like this is naturally what my art looks like. I mean allison could never pull off the look that you do everyday in your studio because it’s beautiful and I love it, but it’s just not who we are, what we naturally do every day. Kia: [08:52] Yeah. Because Allison is more of a natural outdoor, the type of person I feel like, and I, I, I think she could do it, but would it be rewarding to her and would it connect to your clients? That’s the key. That’s really the issue I think. Matt: [09:06] Yeah. I think it’d be fun for a couple of weeks or maybe she might be able to pull it off for a year, but then eventually I think it would just become exhausting trying to be somebody that she’s not, you know, it will require work and maybe maybe for a short term that would be fun because it would just be all this creativity flowing into the business, but it wouldn’t. I don’t think it’s sustainable and I think that’s what happens with a lot of photographers and that that’s one way we can tell whether a competition every year it’s going to stay or leave is like how trendy is their stuff and if it’s super trendy where like well they may not make it through the next trend change where other people that kind of. When you, when you look at their work and it feels really authentic, you’re like, oh, they might. They might have some staying power for sure. Yeah, definitely true. Okay, so let me, let me go move on to the next question I want to ask you. When you think about our industry today, like what? What has you excited about it or you know, when you tell people about our industry, what do you, what do you tell people about or what are you watching? Just tell me what, what your mindset is about the industry. Kia: [10:03] Well, I think a couple things. One is if you’ve been in the industry a while, then you’ve seen so many changes and the way you know, because I started out shooting film and then we started shooting digitally and then we started doing things on social media, started selling, you know, digital versus a actual prints. All those things have changed and then, you know, the actual economy has changed so much. And so I feel like people can get into the, the, uh, mindset that what we do isn’t a viable business anymore. That people aren’t actually willing to pay for it. And I feel that’s not true at all. People want beautiful pictures and they are willing to pay for them. Matt: [10:49] What do you think’s going on when people think that somebody doesn’t necessarily want to, that nobody. That nobody wants to purchase a photographs that anymore. Like what? What do, what do you think’s going on there like it? Is it a confidence thing or is it just like, I don’t know. I mean I just don’t know the. I don’t know the mental game. What’s what’s happening for people that are struggling? Kia: [11:08] Well I think then on the other hand, there are the new photographers to the industry and they don’t understand the value of it because they haven’t tried to do it as a business and so when you’re coming in and doing it as a hobby or something as a sideline, then you don’t need to make a certain number of dollars per hour and it more becomes the etsy game where you’re selling something for $10 that takes you 10 hours to create. And so I think that both sides are rubbing against one another. The people who’ve worked in the business for so long and have this idea of how the process should work and then the people who are new in the business and don’t understand what the value should be for what they’re doing and it kind of, you know, they rub and forth and kind of create a negative ideas on both sides. And so I think coming at it from an artist standpoint that what you’re creating is beautiful and has value and if you’re coming at it saying this has value, I think it has value. Here’s how much you need. You would need to pay for it. People are willing to pay you for something that they think is beautiful. Matt: [12:14] No, I agree. And I love how you’re saying value because a lot of times when you go to conferences or you speak to other photographers, all they want to do is talk about your prices and how to in that you have to raise your prices, but it’s not necessarily totally about price. Obviously you need to make a decent wage and you know, but I don’t think there’s a wrong or right answer in terms of business models in terms of price either. And so I like, I like the idea how you said you have to think about it from an artist standpoint where you’re bringing, you know, where you’re bringing your artists value to it and creating something that’s, that’s worth money now what it’s worth, you know, that may change over your career and may change depending on your client, but I think it definitely has some value and has, has a lot of worth, that’s for sure. Kia: [12:55] Well, and when you think back to the old masters and the painters back in the day they were commissioned to create a piece of art and I do think that that’s something that’s changed is we’re no longer creating a commodity where we’re creating a piece of art. I think that how we work, how our business models that photographers really are going to have to change somewhat because we are more like the old masters essentially because not everyone needs a senior portrait. Not everyone is going to get one. Matt: [13:29] No, I totally agree with that because the other thing is is that there’s clients for every price range in every level of value. You know, there are customers out there that want to treat photography like a commodity and they would purchase it like they purchase apples at Walmart, but there’s other people that will purchase it like it’s art and so you just have to figure out who your customer is and what will you do in our businesses. We just break it down. We don’t spend a lot, you know, we say how many, how many sessions do we need to do this year? And we just kinda break it down. When you start thinking about how many you have to do in a year and then how many is that a month and how many is that a week? It’s really not that many. You don’t have to find that many people unless you’re doing a lot of volume and then the model is different, but that’s definitely not the business that you and I have chose. Kia: [14:11] Yeah, absolutely. I think if you want to do it like a commodity, then you need to create the processes and the price points and everything like it as a commodity and that’s totally doable as well from photography. I think there’s, there’s a great business model for that, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. Matt: [14:28] All right, so let’s switch gears real quick....
In this crazy time we wanted to hear what Amanda Holloway is thinking and doing during this time when photographers are not working and bills are still coming in. She has some great insights and as always, a very honest view of the world we live in.
Today’s podcast is with Randy Coleman. Kia and Randy met via Instagram DM and Kia credits Randy with influencing her business in a positive, profitable way this past year. Randy says he’s known as the fun studio. He and his team keep their clients laughing the whole time, while also keeping things high end and professional. His love language is words of affirmation, in case you were wondering. Randy does a brand ambassador program and you don’t want to miss how he runs it! Make sure to listen in to how Randy uses boomerangs on instagram stories. Randy is excited about the push to print these days and says to make the printing/ordering process and easy and fun as possible. Listen in to hear all of Randy’s tips and tricks about selling both prints and digital images.
Today’s podcast is with Melanie Anderson, who is constantly teaching and giving back to the industry. She has a retail studio space that is full service, including portrait work, extreme volume and commercial work. Listen in to hear Melanie talk about re-inventing herself every few years and how important that is for the mentality of creatives. She’s fired up about the leadership in education in our industry right now. You don’t want to miss Melanie talk about the importance of print. Melanie also talks about grace, body rhythm, being the best version of your authentic self and fully understanding the 5 love languages. Melanie talks about starting every day with what she’s grateful for and with the perspective of being open to serve however she’s called. This a podcast you’ll want to listen to over and over again! Resources: Books: The Bible Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There ( The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Chapman ( Connect with Melanie:   Read Full Transcript [00:00:01] Hey everyone, this is Melanie Anderson and you’re listening. Two from nothing [00:00:06] to profit. Welcome to from nothing to profit of photographers podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. [00:00:23] Hey everybody, thanks for joining us again this week. So I have my friend Melanie Anderson this week. Um, Kaya and I have known Melanie for years and years and years and uh, we run cross paths all the time. I’m a nice Melany ass on you some a couple of times this year. I saw you at sink this year. We’re going into each other in North Carolina all over the place. So, um, you’re always doing your best to give back to the industry and travel around and, and just for indoor industry. And so first of all, I want to say thank you for doing that, but I’m also, I’m excited to have you on the podcast because you have a lot to share with our audience for sure. So [00:00:58] yeah, thanks guys. I am so excited for this. So I really appreciate it and it’s a huge honor. So thank you for your time. [00:01:05] So Kaia when was the first time you met Melanie? Do you remember? [00:01:09] Oh goodness, this might not be fair. I what I remember is, uh, your video, you are doing video. So that’s what I remember the most about. Um, we started doing video for sync. So [00:01:21] yeah, I think that’s like when I got to know Melanie as well. [00:01:24] Yes. So that was several years at what, probably about four or five years ago. Uh, through the relationship of sync and dirty. We just sort of said, hey, we need these videotape, we need behind the scenes and we want to create that for you. And that was one of the first things we’d ever done that big of a deal video wise. So that was kind of cool. And like you said, that was an opportunity for us to all meet. [00:01:47] Yeah. That’s awesome. Okay. So then I saw you at North Carolina and you spoke on volume, sports and then I saw you at sync. You did a Miller’s thing alongside of me. And you did a lot about how to like implement ideas from a conference. So you don’t just go home with this list of stuff to do and never accomplish anything, which everybody, everybody loved. And I know you’re like a workbook and all kinds of stuff. So I know you talk about a lot of stuff. So kind of tell me, tell our audience if they don’t know who you are, like you know what you do on the photo side and all everything cause you do so much. [00:02:19] Sure. Um, yeah, that’s a lot. It’s like you almost go, okay, how much time do we have? Because you know, when you like you guys love this industry and have a passion for it. It’s all in. So I have a, a, a retail studio space in western Maryland. It’s about an hour from Washington DC. We have employees and we are full service. So we do all genres of portrait photography. We do extreme volume sports. Uh, so that would be the team and the individuals. We have an incredible banner program and we do a lot of commercial photography and video. Uh, I’m very blessed to be able to travel the world doing motivational programs alongside of photography programs. My specialty is definitely client communication, really connecting with people. And I take that throughout everything that I do from beginning to end in all things. So with relationships in your home life, your family or your marriage, your, your friendships, and then how do you translate that into your clients and to your employees and still have some sanity left at the end of the day. [00:03:23] Wow. I like the word you just used. You said you’re a full service studio. I feel like so many times people think, you know, you have to, you know, do one small thing, one genre or something like that. But it really makes sense that you, you know, as a photographer you do meet all the needs all the way around. [00:03:42] So exactly when I have somebody in our community that says, hey, I need a photographer, I want them thinking, call Melanie Anderson. And I will frequently be tagged in Facebook posts relating to that, even if it’s not my client. I want people thinking that. And so the number one question we ask our clients, every single client that calls communicates with us, and there’ll be asked this probably two or three times throughout their touch points with us. How did you hear about our studio? And the number one answer we get is your everywhere. And we’ve worked really hard to do that and that is what allows us to be able to sustain maybe those slower seasons because portrait photography is year round. If I was only high school senior, that is seasonal. If I was, you know, I don’t do a lot of weddings are weddings I do are going to be higher end or relationship based and the commercial photography is year round and it allows us to have a little bit more stability. Although I’m not going to say we’re not immune to feast or famine at seasons, you know, because we are a small business. But what allows us to stay in business 13 years later is a diversification. That’s really important to me, not only as a creative entrepreneur, but as a business in our community that I can serve whatever your needs are, I’m there. [00:05:07] Yeah, that makes sense. And we’ve expanded our business a lot to cover a lot of things as well, just to get rid of, get rid of that seasonality. Because boy, I tell you what, like if you’re in a seasonal business, the the self doubt and all and kinds of stuff starts creeping in that flow. And like for somebody like me, that’s not a good place to be, you know? So I try to avoid that at all costs. [00:05:26] [inaudible] same and we can definitely go down that road. You know, the, the mentality of creative entrepreneurs. I talk very openly about that and how we must maintain strong mindset. And that is a daily challenge. Every single day you’ve got to wake up and make decisions. Okay, this is where I’m at today and this is how I’m going to behave and be an act and this is how I’m going to serve today. Because otherwise the alternative is it’s fear and it’s anxiety and his depression. And I’ve been down that road many times. So I, I love talking very openly about that. [00:06:02] Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. So let me kind of tell you where I want to go with this. Kind of the main thing of the podcast is like what’s working now. So you can kind of give the audience some nuggets or whatever. So tell us a story about like what’s working now in your business or what you think is working in the industry right now? [00:06:19] Oh Great. So for me, I tried to reinvent myself every two to three years and I’ve noticed a pattern so that it kind of start in that and why I do that. So I started out as a newborn photographer. I’ve photographed probably close to 600 newborn newborns in my career. And then once I knew I mastered that. So I’m, I’m a big believer the, although I diversify, I’ve mastered certain genres one at a time because we can’t, you know, when you’re a new photographer trying to master all of these things, that could be very overwhelming. So I did start in a certain area and then a few years later I went to high school seniors and dominated that in our community. Then I started taking on volume the team and individuals dominated change in the industry, in our community and how the sports are looked at and how we do banners. [00:07:08] And then a few years later after that, it was into commercial photography. Commercial Monogamy’s always been a big part of my business. We’ve got contracts with our hospital, with the chamber, with all kinds of businesses. And what I’m doing now is getting into more of that branding styles. So instead of somebody just sitting in front of my camera and me doing like that passport, headshot, photo kind of going, okay, what more can I do to serve? Am I doing enough? And giving them a little bit more alternative for personality. Because many times the people that come into for me are going to also be small business owners and how we can give them imagery to relate to whatever their branding is. So it’s kind of saying, okay, what more can we do to serve? And that’s kind of been my mindset. So what is working now for me is saying, you know, you kind of come off of a year of laziness when you’ve kind of got, you know, you think in your mind, I don’t know how we are about cussing on this, but when you got your shit together and you’re like, okay, hey, you know it’s going and we’ve got a smooth oiled machine and things are great. [00:08:15] And then all of a sudden you’re like, oh wait a minute. Um, I’ve gotten a little lazy. I need to step it up again and go, okay, back to relationships. So I’m going to take that full circle and say, what’s working for me now is picking up the phone, sending emails, texting clients I’ve had for years that I haven’t maybe seen lately and saying, Hey, you know, what’s going on? What are your needs? How can I serve? And this is some new things that I’m doing. And that would be in the branding, kind of changing the, the vision of our company and really just looking at our and beyond. So I’m now even going, what more can I do that’s maybe an hour away from me and how can I serve clients out there? So that’s really where my, where I’m headed right now and exactly what we’re doing in our studio right now. [00:09:10] Yeah. And like, you know what I like about the way you think about it as like you, so you do newborn photography forever and then you kind of get a well oiled machine out and you kind of get wax on it. Yep. And I think it’s really hard for just to say, Oh crap, we got to lax and just push yourself back into it. So what you’re doing is you’re, you’re, you’re taking that energy and you’re just pivoting in a little bit different. So I think it feels fresh and new and yes. Like it’s self fulfilling. You know, it’s so true because you know, when, when we’ve been doing this for so long, It really is a well oiled machine. And I could do this with my eyes closed. I’m about systems and processes. I don’t overthink things. I dive in and then I just do it. [00:09:48] And then I create a process and a system for that. So on the days maybe you’re not feeling well or you’re not feeling sociable, you just don’t have that high energy. Well, I have a system in place that I can still go through everything that I’m doing to my client. It’s still an amazing experience. So I’ve simplified so much in my business and the other thing that I’m doing is I’m constantly educating myself. I’m always learning. I’m hungry for knowledge. And so what I just did was I just came back from Texas school and the last two years I was there as an educator. This year I went as a student and I said, who can I take? Where can I go? What could I learn that is completely opposite of what I’m doing? And so I dived into a program this last week on fine are portraiture paintings. [00:10:38] I’m going, oh my goodness, this is like so not me. And let’s push myself and go, what can I pull out of that and, and, and put into my business that’s going to create a new product line, a new look, a new feel for clients that may be, I’ve not serviced the super, super high end, the ones that are looking for lifesize wall portraits that are custom framed and have an oil painting to them. And I’m excited to see where I take that. So it’ll be interesting in another six months if we were to have this conversation again, we’ll, I have a whole new product line and a whole New Vision. And I think that’s really important for us as creative entrepreneurs to go, okay, what else can I do and who can I learn from? And really just humble yourself to that and you send somebody else’s class and I’ll tell you, it’s not easy, but, um, it was, I pulled away, you know, several pages of notes of things I’m going to be implementing over the next few weeks. [00:11:40] That’s fantastic. So let me ask you, you know, as you talked about, you know, what, uh, what your teaching yourself the next step in the next step. Um, it’s funny because I’ve actually done the same thing, like started out as a senior [00:11:54] photographer and then I, you know, when I would help with a baby session, I would put the bean in upside down. I didn’t know what I was doing. And so I was like, I need to learn how to do this next. And I, and so I definitely identify that with that. But what happens to your existing, you know, 600 newborns? Are, is someone else photographing them or are you transitioning away from them? Like how do, how do you work that way in your business? No, that’s a super serious, great question. Because what happens is, and I’ll be completely honest, you know, the older we get, I, you know, deal with severe psychotic. And so when you’re doing newborn screening, newborn photographer out there, you know, physically just like, you know, for those that maybe have a hard time photographing weddings, you know, that full day. [00:12:36] And then the physical exhaustion that happens to your body. Well that happens for newborn photographers as well, that the lower back gets to be, you know, so you’ve gotta really be careful in how you photographing, but what had happened or what happens is once you dominate an area in your community, you have a lot of other photographers that come along. And I’m very much an advocate of community over competition. I believe in that. I’m chairman of the board for the state of Maryland Professional Photography Association. So I want, I don’t, I don’t mind, you know, that, that there are others. So what I do is go, okay, how can I step it up again? How can I step it up again and still be of service and a resource. But what happens is, you know, you know, being completely real honest, transparent, and that’s, that’s the way we should be as educators. [00:13:28] That we’re inundated right now with newborn photographers, with senior photographers, with family photographers. And that’s why I pushed myself even more. And so now I’m going, Hey, I have a studio and most photographers don’t. I need to be using this more. Even though I prefer photographing outside, I like light and energy and you know, newborns I can do with my eyes closed. But now I want to push myself differently creatively. So there are plenty of photographers servicing those newborns. I still have newborn displays at hospitals and doctor’s offices and, and if the client is willing to invest because I am a wall portrait photographer, if they’re willing to invest and that’s my client, come on in. If not, you know, I have other areas that I need to invest my time. And so the, I would say I go anywhere, we’re probably photographing, I don’t know, maybe five to 10 newborns now. It’s not nearly, I mean, gosh, I used to have that in a week when I first started back in the film days. But you know, times have changed. And so what are we going to do about it? That’s what I always say, okay, now what are we going to do about it? Yeah. Well that makes complete sense though. So what you’re doing is transitioning away from those genres that you’ve learned how to do. And, and dominated and you feel like those are red waters [00:14:52] where you know all kinds of people are there and moving into areas where you feel like there’s more of a blue ocean for you too. [00:14:59] Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s the only way we will thrive. It’s the only way that myself is going to be able to continue to support my family. And what I’m also doing is being very strategic. Even in the way we’re scheduling. So we’re now going and saying, okay, we’re, we’re going to fill the studio three days a week. That’s it. You know, I, I’m in a season of my life where my children are older now, you know, one is finished college, one is in college, one is in and out of college. And then I have a, a son who’s 17 and in high school. So we have one more year with him. So what I’m doing is being very strategic about that. I will be in the studio Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. If I’m not traveling the other days I am doing whatever the heck I want to do a whatever that means, whether it’s traveling or building the, you know, more on the education. I do a lot of one on one mentorships and masterminds and then allowing me time to breathe and serve and be for my family as needed even more. [00:16:01] Yeah, that sounds great. So Matt, what’s the next question that we want to ask about this? The next question and then we’ll take a break right afterwards is do you want to talk a...
In this Episode, Matt and Kia tell you a little about why they started the podcast and what to expect. Read Full Transcript TRANSCRIPTION: Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video. Intro: [00:00] Welcome to from nothing to profit, a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. Alright, welcome everybody to episode zero. New Speaker: [00:16] This episode, me and Kia is going to be telling the story about where we come from and why we created this podcast. Kia, real quick, do you want to tell a quick story about where about your story and where you come from and stuff? Kia: [00:27] Yes. I am super excited to do this. I have been a full time professional portrait photographer for over 20 years and I feel like the industry really needs people to inject hope into it and to give people ideas of how to make it a viable business. Matt: [00:44] No, and I completely agree with that. I. That’s exactly why I’m doing this as well. So my wife Allison and I have owned a studio in Durango, Colorado for 10 years, I guess almost 11 years now and doing it full time as well. And I reached out to you about doing this podcast because I just thought, excuse me, I thought you were someone that you know, runs a studio full time that has been on the, you know, through the grind of running a business and could really help me, like you said, it bring hope to the industry as well. So yeah. Why, why me? Why should the audience be listening to us? Kia: [01:16] Well, I think it’s interesting that you talked about why you reached out to me to do this and I would have to say I feel like we bring different things to the table whereas I have the experience and I’m the actual photographer in the business. I feel like you bring the ability to look at things from a technical aspect and figure out how to make it go more smoothly. Matt: [01:39] Yeah. It wasn’t. Just to give a little bit of background on that, my wife Alison does all the shooting. I mean I, I go on a few weddings a year with her, but we’re mostly a senior portrait studio and she does all the shooting. So my job is to get the phone to ring and make sure that the calendar is booked. You’re right. Like while she’s out on a shoot, thinking about lighting and stuff like that, I’m more like figuring out systems to make us run more efficient so we have time off. Kia: [02:01] Yeah. Yeah. And I have been. My roles in the business have definitely included the advertising and the marketing, but I definitely look at the photography business as a, as a whole more so. And I look at it definitely more visually that would, that’s the way that I think is more from a visual aspect. I’m excited because I feel like when you take both of our experience and you bring in the people that we’ve met throughout the years in the industry, I think we’ll be able to bring a lot of great, really practical steps that people can do to make their business better. Matt: [02:35] Right. And that’s exactly what my goal too is like you and I have so many friends in the industry, we, we speak from the same stage very often, you know, like I’ll, I’ll fly into town into. You’ll be able to speak in the morning, I’ll be speaking the afternoon and stuff and we have so many friends that offer so many great things for businesses, but I don’t know if there’s. There’s really a great outlet right now to let people know like those, those little nuggets of what makes your business work right now. So kind of my goal was to bring one of our friends or somebody from the industry, maybe even somebody we don’t know we can reach out to and just say, Hey, can you come on, you know, for 30 minutes to an hour and teach photographers what’s working in your business now? You know, not the fluff, none of that stuff, but like what is actually making your business? What’s making the needle move forward in your business? What’s kind of my goal with this? For sure. Kia: [03:20] Yeah, and when you describe that, it really makes me think of whenever I go to a photography convention or an event, my very favorite thing to do is to sit down with someone and a location that’s quiet enough that I can hear them and ask them specific questions. What is working for you, what are you doing, what is not working for you, what is changing for you? And when I think about, you know, what our plans for our podcast, that’s really what I am hoping that we’re going to be bringing out to people is they’re getting to be a part of that conversation and not necessarily having to leave their computers. Matt: [03:53] Also allow us to like kind of drill these people a little bit in a positive way. But you know, when you go to these conferences and hear somebody speak from stage, they’re just following their powerpoint, but to be able to stop them and say, you know, dig a little deeper right there. Explain exactly what you mean there. I think it’s going to be super valuable for our audience Kia: [04:10] for sure. Well, and you know, one other side of it too is that I feel like there are photographers that gain notoriety, uh, whether it’s, you know, off from the stage or online that are sharing things that don’t necessarily work. And I think because of our experience and what we’ve seen over the years, we can help people sift through what’s going to truly work in their business as well and highlight what’s going to work the best. Matt: [04:37] No, I totally agree with that. Because like you, like you’ve said or implied this. I mean I went to so many conferences and those conferences were so good for us. They’re getting of our career, but there was a lot of things that you, when you finally got to know some of these speakers and you talked to them maybe what they were teaching they were using a couple of years before and it had changed or there, there was more to the story. And I think this podcast allows us to really ask those tough questions of people, you know, in our goal’s not to under any services, not to call out an any speakers or anything like that, but just get the real story so that people can take that, what’s working now nugget and apply it to their business that week. And you know, every week they’re just stepping forward like you and I have done for years and years. It’s just one step after another and just try to move the needle. Kia: [05:17] Yeah. And I think, you know, as photographers, we definitely have a very social business where we’re working with people were photographing them, we’re interacting, but there’s another side of it where we’re alone sitting at the computer, coming up with advertising, retouching, working with files and I think sometimes we feel more alone than we even are because we don’t have that day to day interaction and rubbing against other people in the industry. And we may travel some of them times of the year to go to conferences or something like that. Or we may not. I feel like there are a lot of alone photographers that we can help make you not feel so alone by providing those conversations you wouldn’t normally get. Matt: [05:58] No, and I agree. I mean, Alison and I worked together and you know, we have some staff and you have staff as well, but you still feel alone because you don’t really have somebody outside the business to bounce ideas off and then what makes maybe makes a lot of people feel even more lonely is that the people they would reach out to that. Is there a competition? A lot of times our competition isn’t super friendly. There isn’t like a local community of people to talk to. So that’s just it. It can be very, very lonely and Kia: [06:23] yeah, and also I think when you first brought this up, you said you wanted to do this just as much for your own business as to help other people and I think that that’s a viable and a good selfish option. I feel the same way. I’m so excited because whenever I meet someone, whether they’re someone I haven’t ever talked to before or super old friend, I always have a list of questions in my head. I want to know this, I want to know this. I want to know this and so I’m so excited because I’m going to be able to ask those questions and find them out just for myself and see how they work and putting them into practice in my own business. Matt: [06:56] Yeah. In one in one reason I asked you to co host this too is because you have a different circle of friends that I may have never talked to and I could have made a podcast and brought my. Your buddies. Yeah, my 52 friends online, you know, onto the podcast that I talked to on a regular basis, but I would just get the same story that I’ve already gotten. So I’m, I’m excited to work with you and some of your network just to get fresh ideas. Kia: [07:18] Well, and once we start interacting with our listeners, I think I’m super excited to hear who people want to hear from as well because all of us have such a different circle. If you know, if I grabbed your phone and look through your instagram feed, it would look completely different than my instagram feed. Even though we’re both on instagram and our lives look like that too, so I’m excited to find out who other people want to hear from and learn from that as well. Matt: [07:42] Yeah, I totally agree. Cool. All right, well let’s wrap this up real quick. So guys, here’s the plan. It’s going to be weekly schedule these out. We’ll probably do four interviews at a time, so some of them will be a couple of weeks old, but we’re not going to schedule a year in advance or anything like that, so you’ll hear it. The most recent current information that’s out there and then the plan is to schedule it to go out every Monday, super early so that whenever you wake up Monday morning or anytime during the week, whenever you have time, whether you’re retouching or whatever you’re doing, driving around in the car, that it’s going to be available for you that week to listen to us, interview somebody in the industry and find out exactly what’s working for them. Now, Kia: [08:17] I’m so excited. Welcome to from nothing to profit with Matt Hoaglin and Kia Bonderant. Outro: [08:23] Thank you for listening to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kia. Be sure to subscribe for more business strategy and ideas to help you create a profitable and successful business you’ve always wanted. See you on the next episode of from nothing to profit.
Another incredible podcast from SYNC with Matt and Nate Peterson. Nate is a photographer in Wisconsin, with his home, wife, and french bulldog in the same commercial building as his studio. Nate is also a speaker, teaching about business mostly. You don’t want to miss Nate’s hockey reflection trick. Nate tells us about his all inclusive album collection that works so well with his senior clients. You’ll want to hear his story about how life changing what we do can be. He’s optimistic about the level of professionalism coming back. What held Nate back from becoming a full time photographer was not being certain he could make a living. He’s proof that you can and you’ll want to hear what he recommends you spend that money you’re making on. Stay away from the “as seen on TV” products. Nate highly recommends understanding pricing and not undercutting the market or yourself. Online Resources: Nate is a Convention Junkie Pro Edu: Front Row ( Books: Worth Every Penny – Sarah Petty ( Follow Nate: @npdesignphoto   Read Full Transcript Transcription was done by which means it’s an AI generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.   [00:01] This is Nate Peterson and you are listening to from nothing to profit. [00:04] Welcome to from nothing to profit a photographer’s podcast with Matt and Kayak where each week they talk to photographers about what is working in their business now so you can swipe those ideas and grow your business faster. [00:21] Hey everybody. So this is Matt with another interview from sync and I’m sitting down with Nate Peterson right now and Nate and I actually met at after dark. I know that was like, I don’t know, a year ago. It wasn’t a year ago, it was like a couple months ago. I don’t know, I can’t remember. It all bleeds in all ways to go. We were in Wisconsin in the middle of nowhere and Nate was speaking at after dark and I sat down with them for awhile and talk to him about what he was doing with his sports and volume and all that stuff. And I was really inspired and he has some really amazing stuff going on. So give us a little introduction about who you are and what you do and all that stuff. So, so I don’t butcher it. All right. Well I’m Nate Peterson. I’m a portrait photographer from new Richmond, Wisconsin. [01:03] Um, we specialize in high school seniors and their families. And then as you mentioned, I also do volume sports and then some corporate work as well. And my wife Teresa and I live in our studio. It’s kind of a commercial building that we built an apartment with and we have our French bulldog curly there and that’s awesome. I, so I’ve always wanted an English bulldog, but, um, I would take any bulldog right now to be honest with you. So is there anything in particular that you would want us to know about you? You know, it would be maybe just spent not looking at your website or whatever. Sure. With my clients are in my area, I guess I’m known for Edgy sports images, but I think more so what I’m finding out is we’re really known for telling the story of every senior we work with. [01:47] So we take it to a deep level, not just create pretty pictures of them but kind of put their legacy and do an album. Um, on a business level or on a photographer to photographer level. I’m a big proponent of projection sales and sustainable business practices. So if you’re seeing me speaking somewhere, that’s usually what it’s about. Yeah. That’s awesome. Cause I know you spoke at imaging last year. Well I guess it would whatever a couple of yeah and we can’t keep track of dates now like 14 months ago or whatever. And I heard really good things about that and that’s one of the reasons why I sat down with you. I’m at after dark cause I just want to pick your brain. So I’m going to take you on a tangent real quick cause he does this really cool thing you guys should, maybe the image is on his website. [02:25] So he does. So you live in, in Minnesota, in new Richmond, Wisconsin. But it’s just across the border from southern Minnesota, north of us, north of North America. It feels like. Yes, you do a lot of hockey players and you show this technique, which probably to hockey photographers is really cool. But um, to get the reflection on the ice, you said like that you wet the ice. Yeah. Shoot two 50 gallon pails of water. Is that what they were? Five Gallon Pail, whatever, whatever the big bucket, that bird seed or stuff that comes in five gallon buckets, five gallon. So you uh, you put put them all there and then you just like spray with water and then it reflects pour, pour out the bucket from each side and you’ve got a nice reflection and it looks so good. And I was just blown away and I was like, this guy is about details. [03:08] I liked this guy a lot. And so that’s really, really, actually one of the coaches taught me that. So really that was, that isn’t even a photography tip. That’s uh, the coach told me. Yeah. Cause it’s like you’re like your own Zamboni machine for like small portion of the eyes. You can tell those kids a thousand times, don’t skate out in front of the bench and somebody doesn’t hear it, they go cut it up and yeah. But yeah, that’s kind of a little secret sauce. Yeah. That’s awesome. Okay, so kind of the theme of the podcast is what’s working now. So tell us a little bit of story, like what’s working now for you and what you can share with us. Okay. Well, what brought me to imaging and what brought me to sync is kind of a little, I guess it’s my original idea whether there’s other people out there doing it. [03:48] I, I looked at the wedding industry and came up with, I looked at how they had an all-inclusive album in their package. Like I, I don’t photograph your wedding without giving you an album in the package and therefore my baseline prices are higher to get in the door. Right? So, so we, we took that into the senior market. And so we call that the grand experience. And our base package is every senior gets a three hour session with hair and makeup and then, uh, at minimum 10 spread hardcover album. Yeah, that’s awesome. And so like they’re getting, so I, you’re, they’re getting products are coming to you for that and you know, upfront they’re investing this much was, makes a lot of sense. Yeah. And, and the, the downside, I mean it’s, we call it the grand experience. It’s $1,000. So naturally there’s going to be some phone calls saying how much her senior pictures and when you throw out a number like that, they’re expecting a hundred, 150, something like that. [04:44] And then they have the option to buy whatever. This is just being pretty straightforward that you’re at least going to spend this. And fact is the people that come through the door at that usually spend two to three times more than that. Sure. That makes it, that makes a lot of sense. And so how long, so how long have you been doing that as well? It seemed like a little while. Yeah, we started it. We morphed or uh, what’s my word for that? We moved up from, we had a session like, I think my senior session was a three hour session with hair and makeup for like two 50 and then our album was a little over a thousand and we made like a precommitment bundle, just made it a pre pre offer. So when we were doing the consultation meeting, we would say if you will commit to an album, we’ll knock this certain price off and knock it down to $1,000 plus we’ll give you 20% off everything else. [05:33] So everybody was that, that was very little barrier there. Everybody was in on that right away. So that we did about six, six or seven years ago and two years later we made it mandatory because if you had enough clients that we’re doing it, why not just like this is who we are and this is what we do. Cause that’s outside of your building. That’s probably what they were talking about anyways. Right, right. They’re talking about like, hey you can go, you can go to Nate and get this thing for a grant. And it’s awesome. And so why not just like make it part of your branding? Yeah. Yup. That’s awesome. So let’s talk a little bit about the industry. Um, if there, if there’s nothing else that you want to share about what’s working now, I could go back on one story. Go ahead. [06:10] Go ahead. You one story about this, and this is just kind of where it’s where it was to where it is. Um, a few years ago I had a dad come in with the pre consult meeting. We do, we have the parents and the senior come in and get to know them and we’re going over what we say we’re going to go over goals and pricing and investment and everything. And he picked up the eight inch album and he was shaking it at me yelling at thousand dollars for this. And then he threw it on the coffee table in between us and mom was looking just morbid and angry and she finally, she lashes out at him and says like, you didn’t have a problem spending $1,000 on your speakers or something like that. This is your son. And the message was sent and received. Uh, so we did the whole session. [06:53] Everything went great. He came back two years later with their second son and he entered, when he came back into the meeting, he said, I don’t know if you remember me, but, uh, I, I kind of treated you a little rough last time we were here and, but I just want to thank you for teaching us about experience as a family together and enjoying things together. And it isn’t all material. Um, that changed our whole life. And so holding the line on what you do when, when I say this, like you just said, this is, you know what you do, this is what you do. And on the outside, people know you do it. When you hold the line on that, people can learn to appreciate that and you get known for it. And, but he actually came back and thanked me for changing the way they go on family vacations. [07:34] They do all this stuff now that’s experienced based rather than materialistic. So yeah. And what’s so interesting too is I think sometimes he was obviously having a bad day, right? And you don’t know why her, I had nothing to do with you. If I had nothing to do with thousand dollars, it probably had something that we would never understand. And sometimes I think we make decisions in our business just because somebody came to our business on a bad day and they said something that they didn’t even really mean or they, you know, is escalated way past what they thought it should be. And then you just like start making changes in your business. Like, well this one person mentioned this and then you go somewhere and you should just probably hold true to where you are because either that one person is an outlier or they’re just having a bad day, right? If it’s not for them, it’s not for them. [08:13] And a lot of the time it’s just lack of education or appreciation for it and a little massaging, some salesmanship, and you can get people to, you’re not fooling them into believing it. You’re being authentic about it. And I know that 80 to 100 families a year, love what I do. So they’re not wrong. So one every now and then. Yeah, no, of course you can’t please everybody, you know, and some people truly can’t afford $1,000 and other people, you know, just don’t value photography for you. So you never know why, but you should. You say, this is what I want to do for 80 to 100 families a year and you just stick to it. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So let’s move on and let’s talk about the industry real quick. So the question is like what does one thing that has you fired up about the industry, but maybe fired up isn’t the best word, but like when you think about industry, what do you think about? [08:56] Well, I’ve been, this is my 10th year as a professional in the industry. I did it for about five years on the side before that. Um, but I’m, I’m very optimistic, I think. I think the whole, I think more than 50% of the industry is starting to believe this, but I think we’re past the neighbor with a camera era. I think the appreciation for professionals is back even even when somebody owns, I have a lot of clients that do photography on the side, but they say, but I know this is my son’s senior portraits and I’m coming to the professional for this. And I see that more and more. And in the corporate world as well, the giant photography budgets of the past are probably gone, but I have a lot of clients that the 10 years ago we’re doing things themselves or on the side and now they’re, they’re hiring full rate professionals again. [09:45] Yeah, I think some of it probably is the economy, but also I just think, yeah, our industry has been flattened a little bit and the professional didn’t get pushed out. You know, everybody was worried for a long time as the, as you know, as the industry is getting flattened, all the photographer, the professional’s going to get pushed out and what’s going to be left as these neighbor photographers. And that’s not what happened in the neighborhood. People got pushed out, you know, by professionals and by, you know, iPhone photographers and kind of, um, claps in it. And I just think, yeah, I think it’s back, it feels good. Like peep, peep, images are so relevant in their life now online and stuff like that, that people value what we do again. For sure. Yeah. You know, I think a lot of that too is embracing the new people that are coming into this rather than shunning them away and keeping them as that neighbor photographer, embracing them and helping them rise up to the professional level. [10:31] Um, what’s the line about all ships and tides rising together, but that’s [inaudible] I’m the president of our local guild and the TCPA and we, that is our stern belief that we, we all, we want to be open armed and help everybody rise to a level so that mediocrity doesn’t become the norm. Yeah, exactly. And I think for a while there we were worried that was going to happen. You know, that media rocker, he was going to be the norm. But it doesn’t seem like that. It seems like a lot of people grew out of it. Everyone’s a lot more people using lighting and doing better in sales and stuff like that. And I just think what the economy is getting better and unemployment being like below 4% or whatever it is now to a lot of people that truly didn’t do it because they want to do it for living. [11:09] They just did it for to make, to make, to make money. They went back and got jobs now because there’s just so many jobs that are available. So that, I think that helped helped as well. I think. Let me tell you this real quick. One of the bad parts, I think about consolidation in our industry with people going back to work and leaving our industry. As for a while there we had a lot of photographers and the competition was really fierce, but it also, there was a lot of marketing about photography and so somebody may spend $1,000 to market to a group of people and then they may know you or know of you. So they came to you. So you got to benefit from some of those marketing dollars. So I don’t see as many marketing dollars from photographers out. Right. They’re out there now. [11:46] Um, so I think you’ve got to up up your marketing a little bit, but when people do decide to use photography, it’s nice that there’s not as many people to choose from. Sure. You know, it doesn’t make sense. Awesome. Okay, so the next section is called our lightning round and to just have some quick questions and we can take definitely, you know, a couple of minutes to, uh, um, to talk about these. We don’t have to go through them super fast. So when you were first starting, what was holding you back from being a photographer? Um, I would definitely say because I didn’t come out of school and go into this, I had already had an established career. I worked for a printing company and was kind of the director of technology. So basically an it job, money would be what, what was the belief in what you could make a year in this? [12:29] Was it a starving artist thing or was it a real thing? And you mentioned after dark in 2009 I went to my first after dark, the very first after dark there was, and I remember seeing a guy, I’ll pull up in his range rover and get out and back then he had the uh, the sparkly genes on that nobody had yet. And that was way before everybody was wearing them. And I thought, wait a second, you’re a photographer, you’re an artist. Hold on. I, my whole conception of her perception of, um, artists was, it was a crafty thing you did on weekends and made a little money. But all of the sudden I started hearing about million dollar studios and that you could actually make some money in this industry. And then through whatever fate plan you want to call it, uh, my, my job started to disintegrate. [13:14] So the company I worked for had a very narrow mind and they were not advancing with technology. And eventually we got to a point where they were giving 10% paid the deductions and then 10% hours decreases. And I got down to two days, two full days off a week with 20% less pay plus all that lack of hours. Um, so in all my free time, every night, every weekend, and those two days I built my business to the, to a point where it was a small, rather than taking a big leap of faith, it was just a quick step across a little crick into a new career. So yeah, that’s, that’s really awesome. So there was like kind of a transition. I did something similar. Alison ran our business straight out of college and did it for a while, but when I was, I was teaching when we first built it so we could pay our bills and um, and I was able to go from full time to part time teaching, so I wasn’t asked for a 10 for a 10% decrease in pay and hours like I had made the choice. [14:11] So I actually went from full time and three quarter time to half time, and then I was like, I’m done. And that worked pretty good for us too. So yeah, it’s like, you know, there’s this fear, can you make money? But if
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Podcast Details

Sep 21st, 2018
Latest Episode
Mar 26th, 2020
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Avg. Episode Length
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