Category Archives: Business

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)

Some tips on how to pick your Wedding Photographer

For many people their wedding day is just one day. For others, it lasts several. But one thing is certain, in today’s society almost all weddings cost THOUSANDS of dollars.

In order to address HOW to pick a Wedding Photographer, we need to touch on WHY you would want one.

For myself the answer is simple. Cost. If I were investing THAT much money for a wedding, I would want PHENOMENAL QUALITY photos of it.

But there are other reasons.

You not only put enough money of what can easily be a year’s salary to some people, you also spend months to years (and some plan it for perfection their entire lives), would you really want to trust your special day of photos solely to your guests?

Sure the world of digital cameras, phones, and tablets are so advanced that they often match that of some* pro equipment. But there is something to be said for the countless hours of experience, training, and education in the Wedding Photographer profession.

I believe it’s a good idea to have other cameras at weddings for the moments the Wedding Photographer isn’t hired for, like how your personal family is having a good time at the couples’ event. Couples LOVE to see those photos. Or ones a guest may snag of the couple that the photographer didn’t catch. Those are rarely of the couple during the ceremony, but happen a lot during the reception. I like the unplugged ceremony concept.

Those are just a few reasons WHY to hire a Wedding Photographer.

Here’s some helpful tips in HOW TO PICK a Wedding Photographer.

1) Understanding price is half the battle when coordinating your wedding. And at times, it can be a give and take game if you’re on a slim budget. Let me break down price for your typical Wedding photographer:
~Time
Most of us are there for your entire wedding day: say 8 hours.
What you don’t see is it may take nearly 2 hours or more to prepare, pack, and load our gear for that day. And as many of you have seen, we haul A LOT of gear.
Another time expense you don’t see is editing. This has always been a point of contention between clients and photographers-“why does it take so long to get our photos back?”
Here’s your answer. Say I take 1,000 photos of your wedding day, spend 10 minutes on each. That’s 10,000 minutes=166ish hours. Pretend I spend every minute of a full 8 hour day editing your wedding photos, That’s still a minimum of 20ish days. Now granted, out of 1,000 photos you probably get 200. But I still spend time to see if I can save them. Even at 2-5 minutes you’re still looking at 4-10 days using the same math formula (# of images x # of minutes spent on each image/60 minutes in an hour/8 hours in a day=How many days to get your images back). This formula is relative as you will not spend EVERY minute working on photos.

~Now let’s get back to price.

Say we stick with the 8 hour wedding day and 20-8 hour days of editing. And let’s say we pay a photographer $10 per hour for their time alone. That’s already $1,680. Here, I’ll even low ball the time of the 8 hour wedding and 4-8 hours of editing = $400.

That doesn’t include travel, if we have to rent lenses, lights, stands, ladders, or other expenses to achieve the photos you want.

~Wedding photographers try to make between a $100-500 margin to make up for all the education and other things they had to pay for to get to where they are. And then somewhere in time it will eventually be a profit.

2) So after you understand why Wedding Photographers charge what they do and how you can fit one into your budget, if you’re on a tight budget, consider hiring them for less time or some photographers offer discounts for getting married on Fridays or Sundays.

3) Find a style of Wedding Photography you like. Candid clean edits and shot? Tack sharp close ups? Aerial? Lots of bokeh or sharp backgrounds? Natural light, fill light, fog lighting? Not only do these questions and more determine the equipment a photographer needs to have with them and know how to use regularly but it also helps you not be surprised when the photos come back, and you get exactly what you wanted.

4) View their portfolio!!!!!!!!! Their work speaks leaps and bounds and will determine if the price is worth it!

5) Verbally SPEAK to each photographer you really like! Not just to price hunt. You will weed out a few simply from their phone etiquette and customer service/satisfaction.

Hopefully these lengthy tips have tuned you in to the world of Wedding Photography and can help you find a great quality photographer for a decent price when the time comes.

For more tips stay tuned to Cypresstreemoon Photography’s blog:

https://cypresstreemoonphotography.wordpress.com/

And check out our Wedding Photography on:
http://www.cypresstreemoonphotography.com/weddings#!weddings/cazg

Things I’ve learned about Business.

1) If you are a sole proprietor, under NO circumstances let ANYONE else try to do your job. I have learned that nothing ever good comes out of trying to delegate tasks in a sole proprietary business. If you’re the only person working that business and you have 0 employees, I guarantee you, things will not work out for you to try and let someone else try to do your job without hiring and training them for it. For instance, if you are supposed to deliver something to a customer, DO NOT give it to someone else to do just because you’re all friends or they’re going that way, or they work together, or whatever the point. The fact of the matter is you need to remain professional at all times and follow through on your business endeavors, remember, these are the people that could be referring you to their friends or cutting you down.

2) Find a niche. Nothing is harder in business than competition. In today’s economy there are very few unique ideas, however, once you find what you’re good at, stick with it. You’ll get more business that way. Being a jack of many trades and an ace of none will run you around until you’re dizzy. Once you find your focal point, it also becomes easier to advertise for.

3) Get off your duff and ADVERTISE! Everything you do, everyday, needs to be an advertisement. Every person you meet, find some way to bring up your business (casually) and attempt to give out your card or in some cases product depending on what your business is. It’s always a good investment to buy clothing, accessories-like bags, car clings, and/or other products which daily show new potential clients or customers your name, logo, or other branding. They can also be conversation pieces if you have your products with you.

4) Do NOT be “in your face” about your business. People don’t like pushy salespeople, especially people they JUST meet; find a way to be suave and clever about it. I will post links in future blogs.

5) Do NOT get lazy. One of the biggest hurdles in being a sole proprietor is time management.

6) Be cautious in who you do business with. Do not get yourself affiliated with people who disrespect you OR your work, it’s terrible for your business and do not underestimate the power of “word of mouth.”

7) Don’t fear failure, embrace it. When you fail at something, LEARN from it, write down what made it fail and TRY again. Try a different approach the next time and avoid the costly errors you made the first.

8) Make lists and stick to them! Do the most important tasks on your list first and don’t forget to update them as needed and cross off things you accomplish as you go.

9) Make business connections, it is very important to meet lots of different people doing different things, you never know who could open up your inner circle or gain you a new client or what you could do for them. Don’t just take, GIVE too.

10) “ABLE”: Always Be Looking Employable. Since you should always be a walking advertisement and networking, you should always be looking like someone should hire you! First Impressions are everything. If you’re going to hand out your card to someone at WalMart, you had better not be in sweats!