Category Archives: Photography

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

10 Tips I’ve learned about photography.

1) Get the most natural smiles. People like your work, and like you if you relate to them. When you make new clients/customers,  create a conversation with them. Get them talking. The more you can get to know about them, the easier it is to tailor what they want. Doing this will get you what most photographers strive for: candid photography.  When your clients are laughing with you and talking with you like they’ve been your best friend for years, you will get amazing smiles because they trust you.

2) Children need respect too. Even the shyest of little people can come around if you treat them with respect. Many parents don’t talk down to their child. So don’t assume that you need to raise your voice to that high pitched giddy fakeness (leave that for pets-even though some of them can’t tolerate it either-I’ll come back to that in a minute though) Many kids will see right through you and become even less interested in what you want them to do. Your mission is to get this little person to trust you. So, the best way to build trust: be real. Don’t lie, don’t bribe, and talk like you’re talking to anyone else. Make sure you also tell parents (in a polite manner) you’re the professional,  and it’s your job to get this kid to smile the way you want them to. Also remind them not to bribe the kid prior to your session,  this gives the child(ren) a negative vibe like “this session is going to be a terrible experience,  but if you behave, I’ll reward you.” A professional photographer will make the experience fun if given the right chance. Remind parents that is part of what you do, and Do it! Have a mini session ahead of time with parents to explain these things and to set expectations for both parties. As you have some, so do they, this is a good opportunity to find out what they want.

3) That leads me to my next point, ALWAYS pre-plan your sessions. Find out exactly where you’re going, what time frame is available to you, and what you plan to do during the session.  For newborns, this may be a 3 hour session to allow for clothing changes, diaper changes, crying, feeding, etc. For families going to multiple locations, it may be the same depending on drive time and cooperation for the kids to warm up to you. Make sure you have an idea of what poses to do ahead of time to, this significantly cuts down time trying to think of poses and keeps the session flowing and your poses unique.

4) Be fast. Get lots of practice trying to capture certain poses,  get to know your camera and its settings thoroughly. Doing this can be the difference between ok and amazing, or blurry and perfect. It’s ok not to get paid to learn something new. Keep in mind, building a solid portfolio for potential clients can earn you more money than that one session.

5) Know your role, as a photographer,  you have to wear many metaphorical hats. Each one provides different functions. Sometimes you have to be a friend, a clown, serious, saucy,  etc. Try finding which role will get you your desired results for a certain pose. More often than not, distinguishing each role can be used on more than one client.

6) Pets are hard. You need to first learn what gets their attention without making them come to you. I can tell you right now, with almost every pet, whistling makes them come or gives you undesired outcomes. Some squeaky toys will grab their attention without movement. Certain noises can also get what you’re looking for. You WILL at some point have to follow them around so they get comfortable with you taking photos. It is also beneficial if you tell the pet owner not to try and make them look, because like with children,  they will look at the parent and not you.

7) Perfection takes time. I ALWAYS tell this to my clients, if you don’t want to be patient, I’m probably not the photographer for you. You know your photography skill set better than anyone, use it to your advantage. The surest way to get repeat clients and referred is to do things right the first time. We can’t please everyone so be sure you know your time frames and be honest with your clients about them. Before they leave their session, review what you’ve done with them, and make sure that you got everything they expected.

8) Under promise, and OVER deliver. It is important to set standards for both the client and yourself, however, always try to overachieve. Go out of your way for your clients, they’ll appreciate it and it will benefit you in some way.

9) Keep learning. Always explore new ways to better your craft. Because in the field of photography,  there is always going to be someone better, trying to outdo you.

10) Do NOT get discouraged.  Yes, there IS going to always be someone out there better and trying to outdo you, but be true to yourself, you are one person,  and in time, if you try hard enough, you WILL reach your goals. Set small ones at first, the bigger goals will come with experience and time. Believe in yourself because you are your own worst critic.  And good luck!

I hope these tips helped you! Please leave me a comment below and be sure to SHARE this blog if it did help.