i started this series on my blog as a way to connect more with my followers, with you. in this world of only sharing on social media the highlight reels, the need to share more on a personal level, the “behind the scenes” if you will is necessary.
last week on Instagram i posted about asking me anything. quite a few sent me some questions, so this week its about talking about what you want to talk about.
also, if you saw, while in Mexico my beautiful friend Elizabeth Zululaga took my photo so……i’m sharing some of those in this post too. HEYO!!!!
Where do you find your clients?
Instagram. i put a lot of time into my feed, my thoughts/words/captions. making it personal as much as i can. tagging my clients & vendors helps reach a broader audience too. referrals are a pretty close second. knowing who your client is and where they hang out/shop helps a lot too. i will post from those places often.
What presets do you use?
VSCO pack 1 is my base. i believe portra 160 is where i started but i tweak & modify it a little pretty much every shoot. i adjust HSL (greens & blues mostly) per location & then temperature. i shoot AWB (I know…..) its just how I’ve done it so each session gets a little love to make it perfect.
How long have you been a photographer?
i started shooting 7 years ago. well, that’s when i got my own DSLR. i had no idea what i was doing, didn’t know about shooting manual or consistency in work. this July it will be 3 years full time. i really feel like about 2.5 years ago i stopped shooting for what i thought others wanted to see or what other photographers were doing & started shooting for me, my style & fine tuning what that meant for me.
Advice to new full time photographers?
1.find other photographers who are also full time. it can be very lonely and having people to plan work days with, bounce ideas off of & support you as you do the same for them will make all the difference in your success! 2. know your numbers and cost of doing business. you may be starting out, but undercutting the industry will not get you to where you need to be to make it. be upfront if you are in portfolio building phase, or new to the industry. for every 5 jobs booked, raise your prices until you are closer to industry average. 3.use your time wisely. shoot everything, shoot often…just don’t show everything you shoot. take this time to fine tune your portfolio and really present your best work and self to your future clients.
How do you stay motivated from working from home?
while i do struggle with this from time to time, the fact that you are home should be removed from your mind. have office hours as much as possible. its easy to tell how my workload is going by the condition of my home. if i was working at an office 9-5 the dishes from the morning would still be there when I got home, so I can’t feel guilty when I didn’t clean the house. I have a job and a business I am running! I can’t clean the house while answering emails, editing and delivering two sessions & phone consultations. if you need to get out and work at a coffee shop to break away from distractions then you should. its harder for me to do this with children, but I have a desk & office space in my home removed from the living area, so its easier to stay focused with today’s tasks and then be done for the day.
How much did you make in 2017?
i did say get personal, but you went right for the throat……..ahem, Hannah! lol
i will be honest. i didn’t know how to answer this. to make a public statement of my annual income felt weird. on one hand, i do feel that the industry should be more honest & its easy to see someone’s “lifestyle” and determine an idea of their income bracket. i am proud of the fact that i do operate a thriving business, my clients can be confident in booking me as i am not going anywhere! i value myself, my time and my business, i don’t work for free, travel for free & the work i post is 99% paid work. i am not trying to make my business appear something that it is not. the thing is, my cost of living is wayyyy different then someone who is living alone or with roommates, or no kids, one kid. my food budget alone for the month is someone’s rent payment. therefore, my cost of business is higher. my break even number could be someone’s high goal for the year. i don’t feel that posting a number, or knowing someone else’s income should be your gauge for your success. you have to know your numbers. how much you need to work vs. want to work and charge accordingly. if this is your full time job, or you want it to be then you need to really look at where you are and where you want to be…not what works for someone else. i am happy to answer this question in private, even tell you how much I charge if you are curious.
What advice to do have for a newly wed couple?
never stop dating. make date nights/date days a priority. put them on the calendar. i have been married for 14 years this July, and i still love getting dressed up & planning dates with my husband.
Whats your trick to booking a client who is on the fence?
there isn’t one. i am myself. i share my passion & the same experience with every couple i talk to. the more i keep this process the same the more confident i can be with the couple’s who do choose me and know that the ones who don’t..well, we just weren’t a good fit. i don’t try to win someone over, or convince them to work with me. i also have never booked someone after chasing them down or emailing followup after followup. I want to save my energy for my clients and the ones who are excited to work with me.
What is your favorite place to shoot and why?
i really love shooting in the city. the ever changing backdrop & light inspires me for the next shot & I get more and more excited as we go.
How do you balance work/mom life?
its hard. i wrote a lot more on this a few posts back. it happens in phases & you just have to be patient and adjust for each season.
Do you feel guilty doing something outside of work when you have shoots to edit?
sometimes. like they are watching me enjoying life wondering why their photos aren’t done. haha. BUT, balance is so needed though, and I never want to rush through a gallery just to “get it done” i communicate with my couples where I am at in the process & try to give sneak peeks. plus, i do quote a time frame in my contract that gives me some room & 99% of the time I deliver weeks before that deadline.
When did you start shooting and how long did it take to get where you are now?
i feel like the tools available to photographers starting out now set them up to go further at a faster pace then when I started. we didn’t even have presets, not a lot of resources online or even groups where you could ask questions to pros. from having a camera for last 7 years, its really only been the last 2 that i felt confident in my skills in all lighting situations, business process and style of shooting.
What is your least favorite thing about photography?
taxes. math/numbers has never been a strength for me and I feel like it changes all the time. hire a pro.
What is your favorite way to build connection with clients?
take them to dinner/drinks. hear them talk about themselves & relationship. then on the day of our shoot, i have a little conversation with them. remind them what this shoot is about & give them something to say to each other to get them settled into the moment & forget about the camera.
How do you keep workflow consistent?
i use a contact management system (17 hats) and use all the tools there. set reminders for myself & keep the process the same for every client. i flag my emails with certain colors (studio, potential lead, client, vendor, etc) this helps keep emails at a manageable level and when and how I need to followup/touch base.
What do you do everyday to stay on track?
check lists, i write everything down! staying on top of emails, social media posts, editing (even if i can only do an hour helps so that i am not scrambling to finish), quick books (self employed) get the app. i track my miles & transactions so i am always up to date.
How would someone who wants to model for styled shoots get started?
reach out to photographers you admire, respond to model calls. keep in mind that styled shoots work off of a mood board and a certain look and you might not be the perfect fit for a particular project. for me, i keep people on my radar, so you don’t have to reach out for every model call. if you are right for a particular project, ill reach out. also, having some experience or a portfolio of images to share from a professional photographer is super helpful. if you are more interested in modeling then invest in some good photos! styled shoot timeframes are limited, so knowing how to pose in front of the camera can save everyone a lot of time and give more variety to the shoot too.
ok, I think i got everyone!~ Thank you to all those who sent in your questions!
Now, a BONUS for you!
here is my workflow playlist. a little down tempo chill to keep you in the groove while you work. enjoy!