I wasn’t always able to sell digitals the way I sell products. In fact, the word digital scared me. I had put so much work into learning how to sell products and testing my approaches that I hadn’t even thought about how to sell digitals. Through learning how to sell products, I learned how to build value for the products I was offering. The albums and wall galleries were family heirlooms that served as a valuable daily reminder of what is most important to people. Having something in your home you can look up at every day and feel better about the troubles you’re facing is priceless. I could sell that all day long to my clients because I understood the value of it.
My single greatest business achievement is my return client base. They all are of means, and they stick with me year after year even though they have lots of options and they are informed consumers. Their unwavering support means more to me than anything I could accomplish photographically. New photographers coming up are very talented and competition can be fierce. The fact that my clients stick with me keeps me going. It forces me to level up my craft, my product offerings, my marketing.
In the wedding world, especially, it’s easy to think we’re making a ton of money because we take in a lot of money. The problem is that we need to spend it elsewhere. When was the last time you looked at your cost of sales, cost of business and how much time you spend? We end up making a lot less than we think we do, and there’s no way we’ve set ourselves up for the future.
My wedding career spanned many years. I stuck with it because I made good money. I found myself stuck in a creative rut, searching for who I was as an artist. I did not know where to start, but I knew I was ready for another adventure that would shake things up. That’s when I found “sportraits” and adventure photography—the inspiration and creative outlet that reinvented me as a portrait artist.
Adobe Camera Raw is the solution for nondestructive editing from Lightroom to Photoshop using Smart Objects. This is useful for Lightroom to Photoshop, but what about Photoshop actions into Lightroom? Adobe’s recent improvements give us the ability to create Custom Color Profiles in Camera Raw, so we can flex our creativity with Photoshop actions and Custom Color Profiles by exporting Look Up Tables, or LUTs. This is a massive overhaul for Photoshop that makes our Lightroom workflow even more powerful.
One thing that separates me from the other photographers in my area is the client experience I offer. We go places, plan setups, and use creative and exotic outfits and secret locations. We shoot with cars, horses, pets, guitars, guns, buildings, bridges and friends. But when we sit down with Mom and Dad to order, you know what they buy? Close-ups. The ones that show all of that beauty, the expressions, the smile they invested so much in, the sparkle, uniqueness and joy. This month, I show you how I incorporate close-ups with every outfit and location I shoot.
Is your senior portrait client too cool for school? Or maybe too shy to give a single smile for the camera? Seniors come in every variety, and photographing them brings a variety of challenges. Even if your senior portrait subject is confident and cooperative, she probably isn’t a professional model. She needs your posing expertise. Let’s talk about a few of my go-to posing prompts to make your senior sessions more authentic and fun.
There’s no better way to lay down a foundation of brand building than with a great blog. Sadly, so many of you treat it as an afterthought when it should be part of your core business and planning. Sure, you can have a website and a presence without a blog, but why would you want that? Success in photography today is about relationship building, and a well-done blog can help your target audience get to know you better and build trust. I know I’ve written this before, but your website is about what you sell and your blog is about what’s in your heart. This month I give you tips for building a stronger blog that works together with your website and skillset.
Working with your significant other isn’t easy. But it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you ever have if you figure out a way to make it work for both of you. I’m by no means in any kind of professional position to be dishing out relationship advice. But I’ve been looking at the life Sal and I have built in relation to our business together, and I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me find balance in my work/romantic relationship.
You have probably already figured it out. Gen Z is taking over, and they are not like their millennial predecessors. This is the first generation born with technology. They expect it to be everywhere and to always work. Where does that leave us as photographers and business owners? Welcome to the world of reinvention. Senior portraits are different than they were 20 years ago. Heck, they’re different than they were five years ago. The kids are different, their personalities are different and the final product is different. Below are some ideas for thriving with a new generation of seniors.