Alternative Income in Any Market
So the next thing I want to talk about is diversifying your income. This is all through photography. We're all wanting to be photographers, if we aren't already. For me, when I started the business, the senior thing gave me money as a summer job while I was in college. It was just enough that when I went back to school, I didn't have to work, but when I graduated, it became a full time job. It was do I want to go follow the path of all the other people I graduated with and go find that full time job, or do I want to make what I'm already doing as a summer job into a full time career. For that to actually happen, for you to afford everyday expenses and a be a real adult, you have to figure out how to pay the bills and do all that stuff, so for me it was how can I keep money coming in year round? What can I do to make photography my job so that it's not just a hobby. So what I do on the side, and by on the side I mean outside of senior portraits, is a lot of business portraits, a lot of ...
commercial and editorial work. Some examples of that would be business portraits for banks, hospitals, realtors, law firms. Companies that really use photography. And for me, finding companies that have lots of employees is always good because it's guaranteed income and stable jobs that keep coming back around as more employees get hired and things change, so that's who I target. For commercial and editorial work, I work with marketing and advertising agencies, locally and nationally for different campaigns and things like that. Editorial work is your magazine shoots. Those aren't as much the money maker, but they provide you with more of a creative outlet to show your skills and work with different things and get in situations that you couldn't normally get in to create new work and show, plus, at least for me, getting more commercial work, using that editorial work using shoots that were in magazines, to show other people what I can do on that side, with my own personal touch, can show what I can do for their brand, their corporation, et cetera. So it's kind of a full circle type of deal. Here's a couple samples, these are just basic business portraits. It's using the exact same lighting set ups we used in the studio earlier. This is just a three light set up, one to one ratio, of your big soft source, with a bell above the camera, an accent light on a white background. It's exactly what I do with the seniors, it's just a little different feel, a little different attitude. Something that is the exact same skill set, but I've had days where I've gone in and photographed 60 attorneys at a law firm, spent the whole day. It's not the most exciting thing in the world, but it definitely pays the bills, and you can make a great living doing it. And something like that, I already have the skillset and now a lot of you guys do too. You know what to do, it's just a matter of going out and finding the clients. Every area has companies that need commercial head shots. Between their business cards, their websites, billboard, anything like that, there's tons of photography. And then figuring out how to add to it, so from this same group of photos, came this. None of these people were even in the room at the same time, but it's the exact same lighting. Being able to put it all together, and then that's for the law firm. Again, something as simple as that can help you in the off season of your senior portraits, keep the same skill set and obviously going to those things, setting up those lights and tweaking with all the lights and messing with stuff keeps you sharp and keeps that experience level because things happen in those shoots when I need to adjust and it's always evolving. And just getting more smooth with how everything works and learning little things here and there.