Episode 74: How to Succeed in Photography

succeed in photography

Photo Cred: Amy & Jordan Photography

As photographers, we have a lot of competition. Thanks to digital photography & improving technology, more photographers are coming out of the woodwork than ever before. The truth is, up to 85% of these new photography businesses will fail. Why is that? Well, this week we are trying to figure it out! Our guest Cole is a fantastic resource… he started a photography business almost 10 years ago & is now the creator of Cole’s Classroom, an online resource for photographers. Cole joins us in the studio this week to talk about how to succeed in photography!

Key Takeaways

  1. Ask for advice… but take it or leave it. Cole & Kate started their businesses in the same year, and it was right around the time digital photography was beginning to take over. There was a huge battle going on between up & coming digital photographers & portrait photographers who were struggling to keep their film businesses afloat. This led to a lot of harsh criticism of new photographers. One could argue, that harsh criticism is still there today. It’s always a good idea to ask established photographers for critiques, because they most likely can help improve your photography. However,  know that everything is subjective. Take their advice into consideration, and then decide whether or not you want to take it. Photography is art, and at the end of the day, art is personal. The more time you spend perfecting YOUR art and YOUR style, the better you will succeed in photography!
  2. Be honest with yourself about what it takes. Being a successful photographer is HARD. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and unfortunately it isn’t just taking photos. Many people who fail as photographers do so because they don’t have the work ethic to run a successful business. They could have amazing photography skills, but at the end of the day if they aren’t prepared to put tons of time and effort into their business, it will fail. Ask yourself if you have what it takes to get to where you want to go. Remember, success is different for every person. What does success mean to you?
  3. Check your pricing. We can ramble on about style and consistency and marketing and work ethic for hours, but at the end of the day, if your pricing isn’t correct, you will not succeed in photography. If your prices are too low, you are undervaluing yourself, messing up the market for other photographers (which makes networking awkward), and you’re likely to burn out because eventually the awe of doing photography for a living will wear off, and you’ll be left feeling like you aren’t getting paid what you’re worth. On the flip side, if you’re overcharging, you won’t get booked. Many people talk about finding your ideal client (hello lady who drives a BMW and lives in a mansion overlooking the beach, right?!) but they fail to mention that only works if your work is good enough for that type of client. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your pricing as needed depending on how many shoots you’re booking.

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Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 73: Prioritizing Play over Posing with Erin Brant

candid photography

Isn’t it just the coolest thing ever when you see a peer of yours do amazing things with their business?? We are totally excited to have Erin Brant on the show this week because she is totally doing that and more!! She recently finished her Clickin Moms Breakout (The Happy Now) which was a huge success AND she just announced she’ll be presenting at Click Away 2018!! She joined us this week to chat about FUN! She is a big believer in candid photography… as in, prioritizing play over posing and she’s here to tell us exactly what that means and how she tends to run her shoots!

candid photography

Key Takeaways

  1. Establish expectations with your clients. Clients who are in the market for candid photography can be difficult because sometimes they don’t quite know exactly what they want. They might THINK they want all candid shots but then once the shoot starts it’s clear they’d like some posed shots too. Erin makes sure to outline her expectations of the shoot beforehand. She knows a few shots she wants to get, and once those are done she can let the family play around and hang out. It’s always a great idea to grab some posed shots along with your candid photography, because that gives the client some variety and options.candid photography
  2. Develop a rapport with the kids. Candid photography sessions are the perfect opportunity to chat & laugh with the kids in the family! You can point out cool stuff for them to do (look for shells, build a sand castle, play tag, etc) that helps you grab those candid shots you need. The more you connect with the kids, the more relaxed everyone will be and the better chance you have of getting great candid photos. Don’t be afraid to get some more calm, emotional moments as well. Consider asking kids questions about their family like “what do you love about your mom?” to help this along & help the kids connect with their parents. These shoots are especially great for shy kids, who can totally just cuddle up with their mom or dad and not have to worry about standing still and smiling at the camera for an hour. Ideally, you’ll reach the point where the camera isn’t the focus at all.candid photography
  3. “Don’t miss the great while looking for the perfect.” Ooh isn’t that such a good quote from Erin?? I LOVE IT! We can get so caught up with making sure everything is absolutely perfect that we miss the moments. I know I’ve had times where I’m messing with settings or something & miss a great TRUE candid moment between family members. If you connect with your clients in a real way, you’ll see moments you might otherwise miss. Don’t be afraid to let yourself get really personal with the family. Focus on the experience… if the family had a really great time at the shoot, they’ll reflect that feeling when viewing the images. They won’t care as much about a hair out of place or a crooked shirt… they’ll be thinking of the fun they had as a family that day & the moments that were captured.

candid photography

If it isn’t clear yet, Erin is an absolute rockstar when it comes to beautiful, candid photography & capturing deep, meaningful images of her clients! Be sure to download & listen to the full episode… it’s a great one! And check out Erin online below!

candid photography

Relavent Links



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Episode 72: Lifestyle Photography with Chrystal Cienfuegos

lifestyle photography

There have been a lot of trends in the photography world. Some are around for a short time and disappear (thank you selective color), and some stick around for good. We absolutely love the shift from stiff, posed portraits toward lifestyle photography, both in weddings & in family portraits! Chrystal Cienfuegos is an extremely talented birth & family photographer & she is amazing at capturing documentary style, candid photos. We invited her on PhotoSpark this week to chat with us about what lifestyle photography entails & how she achieves such great images!

lifestyle photography

Key Takeaways:

  1. Why lifestyle photography? There are a million reasons why this style of photography is amazing both as a photographer and as a client! First of all, it’s SUPER personal. You’re really getting to know your client on a very intimate basis. You’re likely in their home for at least a few hours & you’re capturing very special family moments. This is a great way to bond with your clients & keep them for life! Also, for clients it’s a LOT easier! They are able to just be in the moment with their family & not stress about everyone’s outfits, hair, shoes, etc like they normally would for family photos. The result is priceless images of their family as they are today, which is such an awesome memory to have!lifestyle photography
  2. How can you market lifestyle photography? Just like any other type of photography, Chrystal suggests portfolio-building. Her first lifestyle shoot was with her best friend, and Chrystal spent the night at their house & started shooting first thing in the morning! She was able to get a ton of authentic, photojournalistic images from that shoot which she used to market to potential clients. She blogged about her portfolio shoots, talked about how much fun they were, and showed off the images. After that, the clients started rolling in!lifestyle photography
  3. What about the Christmas cards?? Something that’s a concern when thinking of moving toward a more photojournalistic approach are Christmas cards! While some families are okay with this style of photos on their cards, others want posed, staring at the camera photos. Chrystal markets specially priced mini sessions at the end of the year for her lifestyle clients, which makes it easy to get both needs met. We also discussed doing lifestyle photography of the family preparing for their photoshoot, and then doing an actual, more traditional shoot afterward. There are tons of ways to incorporate both lifestyle photography and traditional photography into your business!

lifestyle photography

Chrystal is seriously such a rad guest, you guys have to listen to the rest of the episode for more tips & conversations about day in the life sessions & lifestyle photography! Thanks for listening!

Relevant Links:

lifestyle photography



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 71: Work, Life, and Family Balance

balance

Let’s start with an easy statement: Finding balance as a business owner is HARD. Seriously, SERIOUSLY hard. Whether you’re single & trying to find balance between work & time with friends, or you’re married with a bunch of kids & trying to find balance among that, balance is a struggle for most business owners. I know as a new mom, I often find it tough to feel good at the end of the day. Either I spent too much time on work stuff & missed spending time with my kiddo, or I played around with my kiddo all day and neglected some work stuff. It’s really hard to have a perfect day where you feel accomplished in all areas of your life. However, it’s very important that we figure out ways to do this, and to help us with this, we have Cathy Olson on the show this week! Cathy went through a pretty life-changing experience as a new mom and business owner a few years back, and it helped put everything in perspective for her. She’s nailed this work, life, family balance thing & in this episode she gives some tips to help you do the same!

balance

Key Takeaways

  1. Get your priorities straight. To start, pick three important things you have to accomplish today. Don’t try to do everything at once. It’s easy (especially as women!) to feel pressure to do it all. However, picking just three things will help you feel accomplished at the end of the day, which will help you feel good about your day! That way, if you get more done, you feel even BETTER, but if you don’t it’s not a big deal. Kate has a strategy where she picks one business thing, one family thing, and one personal thing each day that she has to accomplish. This helps her feel like no area of her life is being neglected.
  2. Streamline your processes. We know we have covered this before but this is KEY to work, life, family balance as a business owner! There are many ways to streamline. Firstly, you can hire someone to take on some of your tasks. Whether this is an in-person office assistant, a virtual assistant to help with emails, or a retouching company, letting go of small tasks can add up to tons of extra time to spend with family or friends. Secondly, you can also make the most of organization apps and studio management software like Ashley & Julie do (whattup ShootQ!). By being efficient in your workflow, you free up time to spend in other areas of your life!
  3. Unplugging works both ways! Not only is it important to unplug from work stuff when you’re with your family or friends, but it’s also crucial to unplug from family & friend stuff when you’re working! Unplugging in either direction will help you be present and in the moment with whatever you’re doing at the moment, therefore helping you make the most of the time you have! Cathy mentions when she’s on a  business trip, she is pretty much unplugged from her family. Not only does this make her a more effective networker, it keeps her in the right mindset because she isn’t worrying about problems going on at home. On the other hand, unplugging from work stuff when spending time with your family is equally as important. Your kids, husband, boyfriend, best friend, etc should have your undivided attention as much as possible when you’re getting quality personal time in.

balance

We hope you guys download this episode to hear more tips from Cathy about work, life, and family balance. This is such an important conversation to have, because so many of us feel like we are failing in these areas! The key to happiness as a business owner is figuring this stuff out, so let’s do it together! Do you have some tips to share about balance? Share them on our Facebook page!

Relevant Links:



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Bonus Videos:

Cathy is an AWESOME web developer & also has some rad videos on her YouTube channel! Here are two bonus videos from Cathy that you guys should watch. They’re great!

Episode 70: Client Gifts with Gaspara Flora

client gifts

Photo Cred: Turtle Julian

Hi everyone! Here at PhotoSpark headquarters, we often discuss ways ourselves and our listeners can go above & beyond in customer service for our clients. We want to have guests on the show that can help us (and you!) learn ways to stand out from the competition. These days, with SO many photographers around, this is a very important part of being successful in business. Nothing helps you stand out better than a perfectly curated client gift! To help us with this topic, we invited the beautiful & charming Ryann Gaspara of Gaspara Flora to join us in studio!!! She chats with us about client gifts and the reasons why you should be giving them out!

client gifts

Key Takeaways:

  1. Echo your brand with your client gifts. This doesn’t mean you have to have your branding all over your gift, but you definitely want to give them something that makes them think of you. So if your brand is soft & feminine, your gifts should echo that so your clients are reminded on their experience with you when they’re using it.
  2. Give a gift that will last. Julie mentions she’s gifted movie gift certificates before as date night type gifts for her clients, but she’s worried by the fact that the minute that gift card is used, her clients won’t really have anything to remember her by. Ryann suggested instead of giving a gift certificate for a movie, consider giving a warm snuggly blanket for a movie night date night at home! Include a card & let your clients know the blanket is for cuddling on the couch and watching a movie together. The blanket will last for a long time, and ideally your clients will think of you every time they use it!
  3. Outsourcing can be your friend! As your business grows, you typically start outsourcing more & more things to professionals. I know when I first started, I attempted my own website, logo, business cards, etc. Now that I’m an established business, I’ve invested money to hire professionals to create all those things for me, because they are far better than it than I ever will be! Client gifts are no different! You can start small by hiring someone to do hand-written thank you notes for you & you can work your way up to a company like Ryann’s (Gaspara Flora) and have them handcraft the perfect gifts for your clients. You can even have them drop shipped straight to your client’s front door without having to do much work at all.

client gifts

Photo Cred: Rochelle Cheever

This was such a fun episode to record… not only is Ryann adorable and easy to talk to, but she came armed with a bottle of Prosecco. You can’t go wrong with that! We hope you enjoyed listening to our episode about client gifts… let us know your favorite gift ideas on our Facebook page!

Relevant Links:



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

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