Category Archives: Business

Perspective

Over the past few hours since I posted the last blog, I have gotten some very wonderful advice on both my website and plans for a new studio. 

I have some more serious revamping to do including moving my boudoir work to a completely different website. And working on my marketing to bring in the amount of clientele I want to justify having studio space. 

It was truly enlightening to gain this perspective. 

Was it what I wanted to hear? No. But sometimes what you want to hear and what you need to hear are completely opposite.

I will not be taking the studio space. 

What I will be doing is implementing the very valuable marketing advice I received to bring in new clients. 

Don’t discount the power of Facebook discussions. Thank you to the people in the business groups I am in for your advice, commentary, and feedback. It made a world of difference!

 I will be posting a new blog with some of my marketing advice next week! Stay tuned!

If you would like to know some of the tips I got or advice I received, leave me some comments below and I’ll gladly answer any questions you have!

New Studio

They say that something will come along that makes you understand why nothing else ever worked out.

I found this to be true with my son. My life took a completely different turn for the better after I had my ray of sunshine.

I found this true again when my husband found me in the least likely of circumstances. He’s my soulmate. 

I’ve been at a crossroads with a career. While I’ve tried dozens of jobs, photography just seems like the most important part of my career path. 

I LOVE showing others their timeless beauty and documenting their life through portraiture. 

I’ve been trying to break into the administrative career path to no avail. No results.

I’ve been stuck in a dead end janitor night job for 3 years. While it does offer some perks, it’s not where I want to be.

I tried going back to school for computer technology programs. And I couldn’t keep my mind off photography.

Recently there was a for rent sign at a local shop. It seemed so tempting that I couldn’t help but to call. I met the owner of said shop and was blown away. It is absolutely perfect for a photography studio. My studio. Where I want to be. Doing what I love to do. For the right price.

No other job has worked out. My efforts to break into a different career have not been successful.

What is stopping me?

Me. My lack of faith in myself to make this work. I crunched the numbers and if I had more faith… I could make this work. I would have to do it full time. And that scares me. Having to rely on my own abilities scares me. The thought of losing that much money and failure…is scary. 

My current marketing efforts haven’t been very successful either and that is very important since I need to have established clients to make it work and I currently do not. I have honestly put photography on the back burner while trying to pursue alternative careers. 

I believe this is my calling.

What would you do? 

Would you take the leap of faith and go for it? Or would you stay on the straight and narrow safe path until a more secure possibility comes along?

Let me know in the comments!

Trial Experiment

I’m thinking of attempting a portrait a day experiment where me and my camera will go to random spots around the Quad Cities and I will do at least one portraiture a day. Feature at least one person. I would want to gain a little info about each random person I meet and blog about them. I’m pretty excited about this experiment but I want to know what you guys think of it first!

What are some things I should have to make this trail experiment legitimate (in the eyes of the public)? I’m already bringing my pro equipment (obviously), business cards, and modeling waivers (special contracts that allow the use of images taken for professional usage). So if a random professional photographer came up to you and asked if you would like your portrait taken with the above stuff, and to be featured in a blog on their website/social media with the answers to some interesting facts about themselves like below, how would you react?

“How would you like people to see you/What would you like to be remembered for? Example: as kind, as a rebel, as a professional, as an athlete, as an artist, etc.”

“What has been/is your favorite part of life?”

“How do you define beauty? What is beautiful to you?”

“If you could do anything with your life without being confined by time, money, etc, what would you do?”

Let me know about your reactions in the comments below or even answer the questions above and attach a portrait of yourself!

Affordable is Subjective.

I am in several Facebook groups that are for online swap sites. Basis is people buy/sell used or like new products. Every so often I see posts for people looking for “Affordable” services. Whether it be lawn care, photography, construction work, auto care, etc, I constantly see them say they want cheap, or “affordable.”

Here’s the thing though…

What you can afford is completely subjective.

For example: With the jobs my husband and I have, we can afford a $70,000 house, Two $20,000 vehicles, and trips overseas. However, because we choose those things to spend our money on, I can not afford to buy the tattoos I want.

Now let’s take a doctor for example: A doctor can afford a $500,000 house, a Maserati, and trips overseas. On top of that they love to travel so much they also bought an RV.

There are also the people who use meager means to fulfill their basic and essential needs like a home, vehicle, etc. However, since they don’t use much of their money on “The basics,” they spend their money on whatever makes them happy.

What do all these people have in common? They’re all the same actually. They buy what they want, and they buy what is important to them.

So you see, “affordable” is based solely upon what is important to you. For some people, that could be their house, others-their cars, or another couple value art.

When you go from service to service, don’t expect all services that are similar in offering to be the same price. Some people value their business differently than others.

There’s also the obvious reasons for price difference, such as different cost of doing business. But perspective of their priorities is a HUGE factor.

THE ORAL CONTRACT | The Nacol Law Firm PC

I recently had a dispute about contracts. This is why I have clients sign contracts. Or all business I take has written proof through payment, email, text, etc. Not only does it protect my business but it also ensures I deliver on my obligations. And I typically can’t remember verbal promises which is why I try not to make them. The gist of this reblog is to show that if you have a written contract, it supersedes any verbal agreements for the same thing.

http://www.nacollawfirmblog.com/business-transactions/the-oral-contract

Blogging: An important lesson

Hey fans!

Sooo today I have learned an important lesson about blogging.

BLOG ABOUT EVERY SESSION YOU DO as a photographer.

I’ve been blogging I think almost as long as I’ve owned my own Photography business.

One thing I never used to do, blog about the sessions I did.

I had held steady with roughly 2-3 Followers of my blog. But now that I have blogged about each of my sessions, my followers are also on a steady increase. Which also means more traffic to my website and social media, which will in turn eventually turn into profits with more exposure as people will finally see these and book.

Thanks to the increased exposure, people are noticing what I have out there.

And I can’t explain how good that makes me feel!

So a lesson learned… Blog about your sessions!

People want to know how well you get to know your clients!

In person sales (IPS)

In person sales are GREAT, for many reasons:

1) You make sure your work is showcased properly.

2) Bigger sales

3) Client retention.

However, based on personal experience, build more than packages. People LOVE options, AND “a la carte.” Clients like to feel like what they’re getting is unique. That’s why they choose an artist vs going to a corporation like JC Penney Portrait Studio. They want art. Make your prices high enough that you profit whether they buy additional products or not.

You need to build a value in what you are selling. Most people will not value your time and talent like you do. It is important to offer products with your session pricing. Throw in some Free 4×6 printed “teasers” or “keepsakes” for their home, and for booking with you as part of their session price. That way they don’t feel like they’re getting “nothing.”

This generation is all about instant gratification. I made wayyyy more money doing IPS vs online or doing shoot and burn. With online sales and CDs, your clients do the, “oh I’ll get to it,” and just never get around to ordering. Or they wait until you have sales. With IPS it persuades people’s impulsive tendencies. Like the junk food in the checkout lanes at the grocery store. LOL

Plus, it gets you in front of your clients again to SHOWCASE how good you made them look so they’ll come back. And once your clients see your art, get their products, they don’t think about sticker shock anymore. It became a decision like buying a new fridge, you needed a new one, you searched high and low for the perfect one, and even though you could have gotten a free one from your cousin who was just going to give theirs away, you wanted a professional touch. You wanted to know EXACTLY what you were getting! Free is good for some things, but when it comes to your photos, choose the professional touch.

For my Quad Cities people.

Below are some statistics about Davenport’s economy. I’ve lived in the QC/Davenport area my whole life. I would say those figures are pretty accurate. I’ve also been planning my wedding for the past 3 months. We’ve been trying to crunch and save but our budget just won’t allow a nice big wedding. I was recently looking through my vendor/client connection groups and came across a statistic that said the average wedding costs nearly $30,000. So given the statics below, how are people paying that?!? Do you just set aside ALL your bills to help pay for your wedding?

My mortgage alone is $7,200 a year (and that’s not even with the average cost of a home, we bought one for nearly $40,000 less than the average)! So by time you factor out your cost of living the REAL typical wedding budget may be more like the other way around (say $10,000).

As a photographer I know all too well the cost of running a successful wedding business. And believe me it isn’t for the $400-600 wedding budget. We probably lose more money than we make doing those. Same with other vendors. But I understand both sides.

So where is the common ground? Under these cost circumstances brides and grooms are left to choose which vendors are more important to them. Pay $2,000 for a skilled Wedding photographer and you may end up having a relative have to do the videography simply because you can’t afford one. I cringe when I see other professionals try to explain high prices and say the wedding budgets are unreasonable. Honestly, they’re not unreasonable. The price gap between clients and vendors is what is unreasonable.

I want change. We need to come up with a way to bridge the gap! I’m looking for ideas…

The median income for a household in the city is $40,378 with families earning $51,445.[77] Males had a median income of $41,853 versus $30,002 for females.[77] The per capita income for the city was $18,828. About 10.5% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those ages 65 or over.

Davenport has a lower cost of living than the national average, in 2010 the average home price was $110,000; Forbes ranked Davenport as the best metropolitan area for cost of living, up from second in 2009.[78][79] CNN Money ranked Davenport as the 16th most affordable housing in the country.[80]
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davenport,_Iowa (Economy section)