Segment 3 - How to Get Started Q&A
I think one of the themes that I'm seeing here is again being worried about these other companies on whether you're going to interfere with the bigger companies that may be in your market. Have kind of, ah, contract? I think so, C. J. Bryant asked. How do you How do you get around the school contract in our area? The schools tell the kids that they have to use the school photographer and even threatened her reps with suspension for passing out her information. Have you experienced that? No. Never. So what might you do? No, I never experienced that. I mean, again, my my seniors have to have that yearbook photo, and that is that is I mean, they have to. They could just say, I don't wanna be in the yearbook, of course. But for me, I'm not. I don't feel like I'm overstepping or interfering with their business because they automatically have business. I mean, let's face it, they've got a contract. I know they're gonna photograph however many kids in that class, they probably are in several ...
high schools in the area, and the kids were coming to me for something completely different. So I've never had any trouble with anything like that. I do have models, rips. They do give their their fliers and their rep cards and things like that. Never had any of them say, you know, hey, we weren't allowed to do this, so I haven't personally experienced that. Um, Maybe tell you your reps not to hand them out at school, maybe hand them out in social situations. That way your school is not gonna know the difference, but definitely have your reps tell these other students that it's different. It's not the same. It's not that type of photo shoot. We are giving you something different and structure your business that way Because that way you can say I mean, the whole reason I started senior photography was because I didn't want to be like every other photographer and tail. I wanted to do something different. I didn't want the competition. I don't like competing, so I thought, Well, let me do something nobody else is doing because then I kind of don't compete. Yes, we're all photographers, and we're all trying to do the same thing. But I'm doing something specific. Everybody else is doing this. Therefore, I don't have to feel like I'm competing, so I don't feel like I'm competing with the big companies that are contacted. Now again, it's different in every area, so I'm not familiar with that person's area. But I would just say Do anything you can to work around that and just really emphasize the fact that it's different, absolutely doing the same thing. Absolutely. That education and having the reps educate. All right, well, yeah, and you had to educate your ribs so that they relate information. Correct? Exactly. And we'll be talking all about rep. Program later. Later. Eso way Have a few people that voted on this question. OK, which is have you ever asked to school if you could participate in a college fair night that they might be hosting as a way of marketing your business? I have not asked. But one of my reps, like a two weeks ago, asked me if I thought that would be a good idea. I don't know that it was a college night, but it was some sort of thing at her school, and she was like, Hey, do you Would you be interested? I'm gonna ask for you And so she's trying to find out if I can set up, you know, maybe a table or whatever and kind of do it that way. I think that's a great idea. I think it has to go with your branding, though. So you know what type of business are you Do you won't every single student? Or do you want an ideal client on, you know, coming to you just because you get into high school and there are varying, you know, stages of who these girls are. Some making afford you. Some may not to make sure that whatever you dio, it's like a bridal fair. You know, main like when your wedding photographer and you set up a booth at a bridal failure, you're going to get a lot of people that maybe don't fit your brand, so make sure it fits your brain. If that's something you want to do now, one thing I did dio uh, kind of on the same line as that is I contacted a cheerleading coach and we worked out a an event. We did a Facebook profile party where I took all the cheerleaders face new Facebook profile pictures and then we use those to advertise for this Facebook profile party where anybody from high school could come get there. One photo taken for the Facebook, and then the proceeds went to help the cheerleaders pay for camp. That got me in front of a bunch of people that are now calling me or called me. After that, you know, everybody could come a freshman and sophomore anybody. So all those people now, when they get to be seniors, remember my name? I gave him a card. You know, I even gave him a little discount so that when they call, the book is in your so they could get something in return, a call to action type thing. So that's a way that you could do it as well if you didn't want to necessarily go the booth route, I guess. Um, so just my only advice would be make sure that it fits in with your brand and that you're gonna get something out of it. Um, yeah, and we're gonna be talking more about branding in the Navy. Admit, actually as well as marketing and all of these. There's a lot of questions coming in. Of course, on topics that are gonna be covered over over the entire course. Right. So keep those questions coming. Let's see. Did you have more than you wanted to cover in the segment, or did you want to take more question? I was gonna tum I I wanted to tell us a little bit. I saw your hand go up when we were talking about what it's like in your area. So if you want to tell us a little bit about do they have to have a yearbook photo, that kind of thing? Um, in the high schools around us, they do have to use the contractor photographer and get their standard your But they also can submit a yearbook at right in the back that features like my photography. And there s O that was the answer to that question. Yeah. Yeah, and it's a great weight and get you in a yearbook without used pain for also, it would be a great marketing tool. Maybe you want to give that as a bonus if they booked by a certain date, absolutely. Get a yearbook at or maybe not the actual ad, but the design right, you know, include the design in the world for free. Be if they book about date or something like that, right. That's important. Yeah. No one no one of your students do that or even educating your students that Hey, that's a cool thing. Todo is awesome. Yeah, a lot of money Do that to you, and then I think your hand without Yeah. So in my county, where most of the schools use my images for their yearbook. But I have one school that is contract ID with another company. And so, like, right now, one of my rep is kind of facing that issue. She's from that school, and she can't seem to bring in the referrals because they're in no hurry. Um so, Well, their contract ID photographer similar. And what, you dio No, no, there. No, they are different. It is more of a draping a yeah, back. And they Yeah, and I guess they tried to push away for the students. Don't want it. So I tried to push away from it, but the school is very adamant about. So then your rep just really needs to educate her friends on the fact that yeah, yeah, yeah. You do have to go get this taken. Right. But you're not gonna have fun. You know, it's gonna look like everybody else. If you want to go to my If you want something different, my photographer offers that it is outside or right, you would shoot on location. I shoot on location. But I'm up here in the Pacific Northwest, so I'm kind of deal were we deal with weather, right? But that's different because I'm not inside is not on the backdrop. I think again it goes back. Teoh the same thing Broken record here but educating your rep to educate now and we'll talk about this a little bit more would get into the red part. But there is only so much a rep can do. You got to give them the tools and then they share them. But you know, there's only so much you can dio. You know, one thing that you could do is maybe offer some incentive for the actual person that's being referred. Right rep, obviously get something if she gets a referral. But what does the student she's referring getting? Yes, that maybe second that will catch their eye like maybe they get free hair makeup they booked. Or maybe they get a free 8 or whatever you want to dio. But that might be an incentive. Yeah, maybe, you know, $20 off session the year. You know, something like that to make them notable may not be a good idea that, you know, a lot of times Oh, it it takes till the end of their senior year there going? Oh, no, I forgot to get my photo taken. So I see a lot of that to milk. Like Deles before they graduate, right? Yeah. They want it like graduations coming. I've got to get this in. So if you're not seeing a lot right off the bat, it's probably still seeping in that it might be a different that might just be on a different time. Yeah. Anything you can offer or educate on. Why? Maybe it's a good idea to do it in the fall, right? Maybe your weather is better in the fall. I don't know, But maybe it is. Maybe you do a vlog post. Really? Get it out there. That Hey, you know, I know that springtime seems great, but the weather is better in the fall. And this is why. And this is why it works great for senior photos. And you know, all that stuff education, education, education. Until you read that, she can tell them that, you know, I mean, yeah, and that's actually Leslie. A question that had come in from Tiffany McCoy and four people had voted on the question as well. How do you get seniors to book you at the beginning of the season? I and not wait until the last minute. That czar Some great idea. Yeah. No. Yeah. And that happens to me, too. And honestly, every year that I do it, Mawr and Mawr start to book early. So it is just a constant education. Ah, Constant. Just getting it out there, letting people know your blog's is a great way. I mean, I know blogging. Sometimes it seems daunting. And people are like, I don't know how to write whatever. Just tell him. Just be honest and say fall is great For this reason, that's a post right there follows Great. For this reason. Book about such and such a date. Do a back to school special. If you book before school starts you get whatever you know all of these things, Airways, that you can start to educate people or get them in in a time that maybe they don't typically book. But again, it does take a little bit of time. Like I say, the first year or two I was doing seniors, they were all in May and I kept thinking, Oh, God, what I do the rest of the year I had to supplement with families, you know, because I couldn't just not photographed every other month of the year, you know? But little by little by little, I start showcasing these sessions that I've done. We'll talk a little bit about social media and how that helps you really get it out there. I mean, post that you're doing a session today in August. You know, post when you're doing it in September, then people go get your photos taken in September. Wow, Great little That's a little thing you can do again. A block post about fashion in the fall. Why would you know? What would you wear to fall? Session starts, people thinking, Oh, maybe I could get my photo taken in the fall or you know, do a winter concept shoot and showcase how fun it is, Teoh, you know, bundle up and do a shoot in the snow. I mean, you know nothing. There's a girl out there that loves the snow, and that's a good thing. And then somebody will start thinking, Hey, maybe I can do mass in your session in the in the winter. Or here's another idea that I've started doing a little bit. Just dependent on the girl is maybe do a mini session and a mini session. In other words, they can't decide between spring and fall. Maybe you do one session, but you split it into two little mini sessions 20 minute session in the fall so they can get that fall look and they can wear their fall wardrobe and they could do whatever 20 minute session in the spring. So they've got, you know, it's almost like a year in the life of the senior, you know? I mean, you're capturing them at two different times and their senior year. Ah, lot of times I have heard where somebody was a Well, I don't want to do it that early, because maybe I'll change well you probably aren't really gonna change that much, But the way you can go around that and say, Well, why don't we do a mini session here and many session there and then you've got two different looks. You've got a variety as long as you're willing to do that as long as you price it accordingly. I think it's a great idea. My reps especially take advantage of something like that. You know, I have a great relationship. They've worked for me. So I tend to go a little bit more overboard with what I you know. I want to do more for them because they've done a lot for me. So doing two sessions, too many sessions aren't aren't a big deal to me. It doesn't cost me anything, necessarily because it is. I mean, time is money, but it isn't like I'm not paying to do it, you know? So just make sure you think about different ways that you can try to get those bookings earlier rather than later. And then also it's important. Just tell people I book up in April, and they I have booked solid in April May because a lot of people wait till April and May to get their session done. So if you want to make sure you have the date you want fall summer before your senior year, that's the way you can do it. Put out there what dates you have left calls people to see that. Hey, I need to book. So hopefully that answers that question. Yeah, on how you can sort of start to look up. You know, another thing I did was really set my shooting days. So that helps me get booked up. You know, I mean, like, I no longer just say, Oh, I could do any day or, you know, whatever. I have set shooting days and you know what? What are those? What? It for you. For me, it's Sunday and Wednesday. And then if I haven't, you know, when I have busier months, I might throw in a Friday, and there's reasons behind that. Number one. My makeup artist isn't doing weddings on Saturday and Sundays as much of Saturday. So I never book a senior session on Saturday because I don't want to deal with tryingto find another makeup artist, and all makeup artists are busy on Saturdays ever gets married on Saturday. So that's a reason why Sunday is better. A week Day Wednesdays. For me or not days my kids have football, baseball breakfast. I'm not missing anything again. It's figuring out a way toe, you know, build your business for you and for me. It is important that I not be shooting on days that my kids have baseball or football. So, you know, if you don't have kids, you can, of course, do any time. But yeah, during the day or after school after school after school. Yeah, my girls aren't gonna get out school, usually for me Every now and then. You might have somebody that is, thinks it's very important to get a school for, But, you know, depending on the time of the year with daylight savings and all that stuff you can usually she admire. You can shoot into October all the way up until 78 a tonight, you know, remain so. You know, I know a lot of people shooting the golden hour because of the lighting, but me, it's really I mean, the lighting's great, and I do it for that reason, but also do it because they have time to come home from school. They can take a shower, you know, whatever they want to do. You know, wash off the school day, if you will still have time for here makeup and still have time for a shoot. So that works well for me on Ben Friday's Friday's or if you would seniors, especially in the fall, just because football games and things like that. But every now and then, if you know in the busier months, I have to throw in a different day of the week on and I'm not opposed at all to do in some on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays. But that's just those were the days I book up first. And then once I start getting more calls than I will start saying, OK, I'm away the option. Do I really want this? I want to miss this or whatever, so that helps, because then you know, people know these were the days I'm shooting and you got to get booked. You got a book, you know, educating your your clients that even if they want that spring session, they can book now. You know nothing like there's no reason why you have to wait till the month that you want it done. Most likely that months gonna be already full anyway. So book now for later is an important thing. So that answer that question. Absolutely. We have so many questions having. Leslie, do you want to take some more? Yeah, let's go ahead and take some more because the next section is all about draining. You don't get started and have to stop. You take a few more questions. But there's a lot of people that are continuing to ask and talk about that. How to get started, how to get started in my area. Also, folks who have ideas that they're passing off four for how to get started. And there was a good one from Nick Lover Liberty livered um, I was offering a suggestion. He's got a studio here, she in Buffalo and New York. We photographed the high school sports teams and then create mailing lists from their order envelopes. Since we shoot freshman through adversity, levels were constantly creating an updated mailing list, and then they actually shoot 300 plus seniors of annually without using reps. So that's a different approach, utterly market and sports teams, cheerleaders, dancers, dance teams. You know, those were great connections because of that reason. I mean, like I say, the very first thing I did was contact a cheer coach at East Side High School when I really wanted to start getting into it, we did that whole Facebook thing. I you know anything you can get involved in, maybe you can sponsor to your team. Maybe you can put an ad in a sports program or whatever, but yeah, anything you can do. And I think I think sports teams or great, yeah, for that reason, because you can start to make a connection with somebody that is that age group so cool to just hear all the different ideas of what people are doing and again specifically in your area, that research, like we've been talking about throughout this segment and then applying yet finding out what works for you, which we're gonna be talking about later to with branding. We have Mojo Don, who doesn't have a brick and mortar store like the last person did, where people can throw in a business card in a fish bowl to grow that email list on Facebook that they have to come like this person's Madonna's page because it would be creepy for me to approach them. How do I How do I get in without a brick and mortar stores to deal? You don't have one? Yeah, I don't have that. I don't have a brick and mortar store. I don't think it's no. I don't think it's necessary. Not at all. I think you know, like I say, just putting myself out there, making connections with people, talking to people that you know, getting your name out there. Hey, this is what I'm doing. I think those are all important things, like the person before her. You know, maybe you get into taking a photo for a sports team on, and that's the way you get out there. You start to show some girls that maybe you've taken photos of than their friends are gonna see you, tag them and use social media to your advantage. Tagged them. Their friends see them, you know, then their friends and their friends. And it just continues to grow that way. So used social media to get out there. There definitely is no reason why you have to have a brick and mortar. Um, I mean, think about the way you would shop for a photographer. Would you drive down the road and see a brick and mortar studio? That's the one. I'm a higher. Or would you talk to your friends? I would talk to my friends. It doesn't matter to me. There's a brick and mortar, not past it. I don't know anything about it because it's gotta sign out front, you know, main. So use your talk to your friends, your name out there. That way, word of mouth is super duper important. Andi. That's how you can start to grow your business and again when you're first starting out, find anybody you king in to do the shoots with so that you can start to show what you've done. I think that is really the key that helped me is finding those girls that would model for me not necessarily in a senior rep model type thing, but just for one shoot type thing so that my portfolio I could constantly post on Instagram or Facebook Or, you know, when I started it was really just Facebook. But posting these photos, tagging these girls in it. All of their friends saw it and started to see. Oh, that's really cool. Oh, maybe when I get to be a senior, I can call her or whatever. I think that's really the most important thing. I think obviously, if you want a studio, I think it's great. But it definitely don't think that's the necessity to get your name out there. I think word of mouth is way more than seeing a studio. Absolutely. And what is really cool about this workshop is later in the program. We're actually gonna be talking to a panel of seniors, and we've never done that here in any of our courses. So actually talking to the seniors and what they are looking for and where they are, what social media they're used exactly. So I know how to leave. Yeah, exactly. Well, here, right from the mouth of who were dig exactly. Yeah, good, Cool. Let's see, I love this idea as well. From MBI 14 65 consider approaching the homeschool community in your area to help expand your business. I don't need it totally. They might be a little more approachable because it's the mom of the, you know, contact the mom. Don't contact the senior. I would contact the mom, but that's different than contacting a school. You know, maybe you could make it and also used Facebook to see if maybe you have a friend in common. The new will seem less creepy. You know, domain. Like the cheer coach that I contacted. I looked on Facebook. I looked her up, and I was like, Oh, I'm mutual friends with this person. So when I e mailed her called her, I said, Hey, you know im Leslie. We have a mutual friend, and Common did it. Well, I automatically seemed a little less creepy that way. You know, the main like, oh, well, she's friends with so and so she's got to be somewhat saying, Maybe not, but yeah, you know, now I have done I have done the approach to a stranger in a model, and that did not go over very well, so I don't really suggest Adami. Maybe you can. I felt creepy doing it and feel creepy doing it. You probably shouldn't do it. There was this girl and I wasn't even in my hometown with somewhere in Indiana. We were doing a shoot out in Indiana and there was this gorgeous girl target. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, You know, have you ever asked her how old she was first? And she was like, I don't know, 19. So she's in the age range. Um, and I was like, Oh, we're doing this better Shoot if you'd ever think about modeling or whatever and she's got looked at me like okay, and I gave her my car. But of course I never heard from her. I don't suggest that. I mean, they are young and they don't want to, you know, they don't want to feel like you're creeping on. So But I think if you confined mutual friendship or common ground or something like that, things book is a great research tool. Look up who, you know that might know them and that that will get you in the door a lot faster for sure, right? That shared friends. It's kind of like linked in using it in a way that is possible, you know, good for you for walking up to that person. You try. Try again. The last thing that I know or never called me, which I have a question from Addy 2 to 4, for my area is lower income and I have a hard time charging what I'm worth because I feel guilty and most people just don't book due to money. How can I build my business and make money in this situation, right? Yeah, pricing is a huge topic, and we will go over that in detail. But just to answer her question, my first thought is, Is there a outer lying area that's not too far from her? That maybe is a little higher income. That would probably be my go to thing is, let me see if there's because it is a luxury. I mean, it is. It's not something that everybody can afford. Even if you are the cheapest photographer out there, there's still somebody that probably can't afford you. So I think that, you know, setting your pricing for what it's worth for you to make a business is important on Ben. Finding that ideal client, which we will talk about in the next segment that fits your brand meaning, can afford you and you know, connects with you and, like, you know, thinks it's important stuff like that. So I would suggest that first of all, second of all, I would tell her, you know, you can't. You have to be paid for what you're worth. So I understand the guilt. I totally dio. But you're also running a business. So you've got at some point to make sure that your pricing is enough to cover your expenses and to make a living or whatever. Your goal. Maybe when doing this, if it's a hobby, they didn't do it. You know, the main, like, have fun and give these girls that session. But if it's a business, then you've got to set your prices and you gotta stick to him and you can't. Well, I mean, you might feel bad about it. I feel bad sometimes, too. You want a book? As many as you can, but there just are some people that aren't going to be your target market. Now, one thing she could do is maybe she could do it. Give away to a deserving senior in that area who might not could afford her that feel good. I mean, you know, but go back to federal an therapy and do something good so that that would lessen her guilt. And she could still give maybe one senior up per year or however many she wants to do and do it that way. So then, at least these these girls or guys who maybe can't afford her could still benefit from it. Have a submission process and say, You know, hey, nominate somebody that's deserving of a free senior session and go that route So there's a two different ways you can do it, that if there is a new area maybe 45 minutes away, there's no reason you can't market to them if that area is a little bit more, has a little bit more disposable income. Exactly. And I really I really appreciate how you made the distinction between between it being a business or hobby and and what is your goal? Right? Because if it is a business and it is your business, a lot of people's business here, right either way is great, But if it is a business and this is something we encounter in every single workshop in terms of valuing yourself and valuing our products and we're gonna be talking about the particular products that you sell, Leslie, and talking about what works for you. But I just I appreciate that kind of separating the two and thinking about how you can give back, because ultimately you do have to get over that way. All do do that. I don't know why it's personal, but it is very personal to charge for you. If you worked for Target, you wouldn't feel bad about charging, you know, $25 for whatever it is. But you know, when it's personal in its you feel like I mean, I get it. Trust me, I get it. I mean, the biggest hurdle, it is the hardest thing to me. That's the hardest part because I would love to be able to give it everybody because I love my girls. And I mean, if I could give it away, I would. But I'm taking time away from my family. So therefore, gotta you know, there's gotta be some reason I'm doing it. You know the name, but again, like you said, if it's a hobby, you go for it. You give them that. It's your passion and you have another income, or maybe your husband or whatever can support you. Then I say Go for it