The Click Cartel: Photography Business | Getting Clients | Maximizing Revenue
By Christian Grattan: Photographer and Business Strategist
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Christian Grattan from The Click Cartel draws from his 20 years of experience as a professional photographer to share tips and strategies you can use to grow a six-figure photography business. He interviews other successful photographers and gets their step by step techniques that you can apply to your photography business to network for sales, get more clients, and generate the most profit from each of them. Christian’s client list includes Jean Paul Gaultier, Lancôme, Saks Fifth Avenue, YSL, Lacoste, Gucci, Moët et Chandon, Vanity Fair, Glamour, InStyle and WWD. He currently runs a six-figure photography business off of just 20 shoots a year.
||ExplicitEpisode 17: Free Lunch, Elvis & Sports Illustrated, One Photographer’s Crazy Path to Success Featuring Monte Isom||Commercial photographer Monte Isom discusses how to hustle with and without an agent, the benefits of creative improv, and the secret weapon in his photography business: his personality.||2/17/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 16: How to Make a Killing and Make Friends in a Small Market Featuring Makayla Jade||Saratoga Springs-based wedding photographer Makayla Jade discusses competition versus community in small markets and finding balance as a mom and successful entrepreneur.||2/2/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 15: How This Photographer Got 10 Clients on His First Day in Business Featuring Roberto Valenzuela||Award-winning wedding photographer Roberto Valenzuela discusses his methods for picture perfect practice, gaining “subconscious competence,” and the importance of investing in education.||1/27/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 014: How to Travel the World as a Photographer and Get Paid Featuring Laura Grier||This is episode No. 2 of our WPPI special. I’ve partnered with Rangefinders to bring on guests who are speaking at WPPI, and here they’ll share some of their secrets with The Click Cartel listeners. This week is something a little bit different than the wedding and portrait photographers we’ve done in the past. If you have wanderlust and want to make photography your career, then listen up, because Laura Grier has got some great info for you. Name: Laura Grier Location: LA and all over the world Niche: Adventure/travel photography and photojournalism, destination weddings Experience: 17 years professionally, studied photography in college Hustler level: Bond status Bonus for Click Cartel Listeners: 30% off any annual plan from Zenfolio! Be sure to listen for the exclusive promo code Starting out Laura’s stories are the best. She got her foot in the door by staking out a headshots studio in West Hollywood and basically demanding a job when she was 21. After a while, she helped the studio branch into weddings, and eventually started her own business shooting weddings. This led to some destination weddings, and coupled with her own personal experience traveling and shooting friends’ weddings abroad, she started down the road of travel photography. Making money, Bond style Imagine this: You watch a movie, Casino||1/23/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 13: Step by Step-How to Turn an Inquiry into a Client Featuring Jerry Ghionis||Award-winning wedding and portrait photographer and teacher Jerry Ghionis breaks down his sales process and explains why you should never assume someone can’t afford you.||1/16/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 12: How Blogging & Social Media Jumpstarted This Photographer’s Business Featuring Emilia Schoberi||Photographer: Emilia Schoberi Location: Chicago Years in the biz: 6 Niche: Weddings What you can learn from her: How to warm up your social network to get your foot in the door and how to get referrals from people you’ve never met From philosopher to photographer Emilia graduated from college with a degree in philosophy. (What would she rather have learned, you ask? “Literally anything,” she says.) Ditching the idea of going to law school, she ended up in a corporate sales job, but photography had always been a fun hobby for her, so she used it as a creative outlet. Along the way, she picked up many skills that would benefit her craft as a wedding photographer, whether it was shooting in her own backyard, around the Chicago foodie scene or using her friends as her subjects. In fact, her friends were what really kickstarted her career. With a little help from your friends With no formal training or real experience, Emilia wanted to build her portfolio but found herself in the inevitable catch-22 of new photographers: she couldn’t get hired because she didn’t have a portfolio, and she couldn’t build a portfolio because she couldn’t get the jobs. She started following lots of wedding blogs and gave away engagement shoots, hoping that one day a couple would hire her for their wedding. Her first gi||12/20/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 11: The Wow Factor That Keeps This Black-Tie Photographer “In The Black” Featuring Nancy Beale||Want to work with high-end brides? Nancy Beale, a photographer out of Chicago, teaches you how. Her first clients were not the high-end ballroom weddings she’s known for now. So how did she make that transition? She used her creativity to shoot th||11/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 10: Why this Photographer Chose Weddings as her Niche and Never Looked Back Featuring Sara France||Sara France has over 15 years experience as a professional photographer. She shares how she got started and her unique pricing model that helps her maximize her profits.||11/13/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEpisode 9: How this Wedding Photographer Doubled Her Profits Without a Hard Sell (hint: it’s a registry for photos instead of||Wedding photographer Jannah Dryden created a tool (Album Registry) that doubled her profit. Learn how you can use it to increase your business today.||10/24/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 8: How a Beginning Photographer Made $50K From 2 Weeks of Family Portraits With Julie Staley||As a pharmaceutical sales rep, Julie wanted to spend more time with her two small kids. She left her job in 2008 and started doing family photo shoots as a hobby. She rocked family portraits and made an exclusive deal with a sunflower farmer to shoot dur||10/12/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 7: The simple networking tricks this interior photographer uses to land giant clients (like Airbnb) with Anne Ruthmann||Photographer: Anne Ruthmann Location: New York City Photography Experience: 10+ Years Niche/Specialty: Architecture and Interiors Target Clientele: Businesses (emerging/startups) Find Her: FB, Website Why we think she rocks: Anne is a fearless networking guru, who’s got some serious upsell game! How she got into the biz Anne got started shooting music and modeling headshots for her friends while in school. From there it’s been a roller coaster of photo styles and markets. From Michigan to Indiana, all the way to Australia and now NYC, Anne is a chameleon when it comes to providing a service to her market. From headshots to weddings, editorial work to finally architecture she has adapted her style as needed. What Anne does now and how it started She typically shoots business and commercial interiors. She started in this style in Australia by taking on an AirBnb contract to shoot for new rental spots. When she got to NYC, Anne continued working with the vacation rental giant, and not because they paid well (which they most certainly do not). She used them to build a network and portfolio. Perks of AirBnb for Anne (definitely not for everyone!) 1. Met about 400 NYC residents. 3 lead to more jobs and 1 lead to a great friendship! 2. Got to see some amazing apartments…like multi-million dollar penthouse amazing! Who wouldn’t like that? 3. AirBnB offers steady work if she ever wants to or needs a job. What’s she really really good at? Here are two things (other than capturing amazing images) that she is great at that you might want to try focusing on in your business: 1. Networking 2. Upselling her product to business clients Network like a bada$$! Here’s some awesome content! This is a piece that Anne does better than most, and a huge part of why she’s on the show! We’ll add some color as we go along to make sure you get the idea. Influence the Influencers This is something a lot of newcomers don’t realize. It’s so much easier to gain trust in a new market if people your clients trust want to work with you. For example, if your target client is interiors, networking with decorators that push you to their clients gives you some street cred in your target market’s eyes so you don’t have to hard sell or track down potential clients. Anne’s Top 3 Networking activities that you can try right now! 1. Hosting Events: Bring together a group of like-minded people with a common goal. Don’t go too small though, first timers feel more comfortable in larger less intimate groups and events. 2. BNI (Business Network International) Groups: Basically breakfast clubs of business people that make it easy to grow your reach and find a great community in your market. This is an awesome venue to refine your pitch and get involved in a win-win c||5/8/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 6: How this portrait photographer raised her rates by 10X and increased her demand with Megan DiPiero||Photographer: Megan DiPiero Location: Fort Myers, Florida Experience: 5 years with current business Niche/Specialty: Beauty portraits and headshots Find her: Her Facebook group, Rise to the Top! With Megan DiPiero [note the exclamation point!] Why she’s a pricing ninja: She raised her prices overnight by 10 times [not 10 percent] and rocked it. All About that Face Megan came to photographing portraits because she’s all about that face—if a person is not in the shot, she’s getting bored with it. She started out photographing her kids, then her friends’ kids. She did the gorgeous golden-hour-at-the-beach family portraits and enjoyed that, but she was always giving herself creative challenges on the side. She started getting a reputation and even awards for shoots she did in makeshift studio setups, which led her to eventually focus on headshots and beauty portraits. Raising Prices to Refine her Market A year after Megan started her brand, she raised her prices. By a lot. From $250 for a disc to $2,500. Overnight! She wanted to focus in on being a high-luxury, low-volume brand. Doing so lost her about 90% of her clients at the beginning, but in the end it has worked out to her advantage, like ripping off a band-aid all at once. In the Closet There is no need for beauty portraits, only a want. It’s not like photos for a Christmas card—many clients don’t even think they want to print the images. So it’s really easy to flake on, and Megan does her best to eliminate all anxieties and doubts. One of the biggest things she does with her clients is the in-person “Style/Concept Session” which takes place at the client’s home. In the closet. Value or Vanity? Megan really gets to build rapport and get to know her clients during the consultations, and the more time they spend together, the more value it has to them. The idea of this beauty portrait goes from something vain to this sense of empowerment. Being in the client’s house, Megan can start planting seeds of where to display the photos, and she even takes pictures of the walls to demonstrate what certain products would look like in their home. Double-duty Sessions Megan also does what she calls “not so corporate” portraits. A lot of these clients are online consultants who need help with their branding and image. Megan still goes into their closets, gets to know their wants, and oftentimes, she will end up shooting a few personal portraits during that professional shoot. Packaging and Pricing Pointers Consumers are comfortable with packages. Plus, it’s beneficial to you as a photographer when you know your most popular package, how much it sells for, and how many you need to sell to make your year’s salary. As far as prepping people to spend money, Megan likes to give people a price range right up front. She might mention that some people spend $500 to get two images, while others might order several wall portraits and spend $10,000. This way, people can imagine themselves somewhere within that range. If the lower end is too intimidating, they know it’s no||4/19/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 5: How a 22 year-old wedding photographer booked over $30,000 her first year in business with Pepper Nix||Photographer: Pepper Nix Location: Salt Lake City, Utah Professional Experience: 15 years Niche/Specialty: Weddings Find Her: Website, Instagram, 10000headshots.com Why we think she rocks: She took a huge risk by jumping headfirst into wedding photography, has been profitable since her first year, and never stops learning. Plus, she agrees with me often. Specializing is so crucial to building up your reputation and business. So how did Pepper find her niche? The Pivotal Moment on January 3, 2001 As a 22-year-old photography student, Pepper had shot a few weddings with friends. Feeling pressured at school to choose a discipline, something about shooting weddings resonated with her. Pepper looked in the mirror and decided to become the best wedding photographer she could be. For better or for worse, she was all in from day one! First Clients Without knowing much about wedding photography, Pepper went to a bridal fair in Provo, Utah, with a bunch of her friends to scout out the competition. Later, when nobody could remember who the best photographer was, Pepper realized that she really had to stand out from the crowd to make a lasting impression. She went all out and spent most of her budget on an amazing brochure for her first bridal fair. It must have worked—between two bridal fairs that first year, Pepper scored 33 weddings at $1000 a pop, despite the fact that she had only shot three weddings before! Dominating in a Smaller Market Pepper is currently based in Salt Lake City, Utah—not as upscale or sophisticated a market as Orange County, where she worked for a while. Pepper had lots of photographer friends in California and was exposed to so much talent, but in the end it was very difficult. In such a big market, getting people to even acknowledge you can be a challenge. Compare that to Salt Lake City, where you can be known for what you do. You can niche down, and hustle goes a lot further, because people are not overwhelmed with options. If you are good at what you do, you can own that market. Best Life Advice: You heard it here first, people. Pepper Nix says, “Don’t be a dick. Nobody wants to work with a dick, or deal with a dick, on their wedding day.” Seriously, though, shooting weddings is not about you, the photographer. It’s about the couple getting their perfect day and what you can do to help. Biggest Pet Peeve: Jeans (or worse) at a wedding. Dress like a professional. Blend into the scenery. No jeans, no hot pink, no loud jewelry or shoes. Keep it classy in Photo Land! Best Professional Advice: Never stop working on your business. Shoot everything. Keep reading. Never stop learning, and don’t give up! There is no overnight success, and Pepper’s career is no different. She wasn’t lucky and she’s not an anomaly—her successful business is a product of years of cultivating relationships (and not being a dick.) Most Controversial Advice: Don’t get a||3/31/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 4 – How this boudoir photographer turns free photo shoots into $1,400 sales with Kinzie Ferguson||Photographer: Kinzie Ferguson Location: Savannah, Georgia Photography Experience: 4 Years Niche/Specialty: Boudoir Target Clientele: Women Find Her: www.facebook.com/groups/empowermentstudio/ http://www.kinzieferguson.com/ Why we think she rocks Kinzie is shameless in her passion and awesomely driven to help women feel beautiful and empowered. How She Got Started Kinzie got interested in photography while looking for her own wedding photographer. She started to follow a few pros she really loved and saw a DSLR class being offered for beginners. She took the plunge and never looked back! By giving away shoots for free to friends and family, she got to try her hand at several different styles of photography while looking for that thing that moved her. Surprisingly it was a recently single friend that wanted to do a boudoir shoot that really energized her. There was no doubt this was for her, and not for the sex appeal or novelty, but for the feeling she got by helping a woman to feel empowered! Transitioning from Amateur to Pro A few months into giving her services away for free, Kinzie made a point to build a partnership with a lingerie shop in town. A very close partnership…like her studio was in the back room of the shop close! It was perfect; women bought lingerie to feel beautiful and Kinzie helped them show it off and feel empowered with a private shoot. *Pro-tip: Don’t just network with your target clientele; mingle with the people that influence them! From there she was able to build a business and join a few other photographers in renting a private studio space. Seeing as Kinzie only shot a couple of days a week, a shared space was a great choice for her needs. What is Kinzie Really Really Good At? Here are three things (other than capturing amazing images) that she is great at that you might want to try emulating in your business: 1. Creating experiences, not just products 2. Upselling her product 3. Empowering her customers How Kinzie Gets Her Clients It’s pretty straightforward: Hustling. Networking. FB Ads. Model calls. What I want to reiterate is that networking doesn’t mean only with potential clients (women), but also potential influencers of clients (lingerie shop). “The Ferguson Sales Process” Here’s the good stuff! This is the piece that Kinzie does uniquely well…AKA this is why she’s on the show! We’ll add some commentary along the way to give you what you need to enlist it in your own business. 1. FB/Model Calls/Targeted Ads a. Kinzie doesn’t charge much if anything (that comes later) for the shoot. She even offers full hair and make-up, and a pre-shoot clothing consultation. 2. Sets clear expectations and timing a. Kinzie gets real specific with her models. She lets them know how long the shoot will be (about 3 hours), customers can expect a follow-up visit to vie||3/28/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 3 – How to get your clients excited to buy products before you ever touch your camera, with Kelli Wood||Photographer: Kelli Wood Location: Utah Photography Experience: 8 Years Niche/Specialty: Family Portraits Find Her: FB, Website, Email Why we think she rocks: She took something she loved, hustled, and built a lucrative business off of it. How She Got Started Kelli realized how much she loved photography, but didn’t have a category that she was passionate about. She took a class that exposed her to different types of photography: still life, studio, and portrait. After snapping some great moments of her own children for the portrait section of the course she knew what she wanted to do – become a family photographer. Transitioning from Amateur to Pro About 6 months in, Kelli started working with her first “clients” (unpaid shoots for friends and family). From there it was just a few more steps (broken down below) to becoming a pro. The bad news is there’s no magic formula. The good news is you can do it too! Let’s break it down: 1. Kelli found what she was good at and passionate about (family portraits) 2. She started with her own children and then moved on to her extended family and friends. By working with the people close to her, Kelli was able to do two big things; build the skills (both technical and social) she needed to become the photographer she is today and get free marketing by asking her “clients” to give her credit on social media. (This is a great way to become top of mind in your friend circle!) 3. By working consistently and putting herself out there, Kelli gained confidence and saw the impact she could have in the lives of the families she worked with. 4. Once she believed in herself and the value she was providing, she made the jump to actually charging her clients…actual dollars!! 5. After a year, Kelli started to receive inquiries from non-personal connections. To put it simply: Find a passion, be of service to others, people will notice, and money will follow! What Kelli is Really Really Good At My girl is obviously an amazing photographer, but there are a lot of great photographers in the world, and not all of them own a six-figure business. Here are three things that she is great at that you might want to try focusing on in your business: 1. Building relationships with her clients. If your customer doesn’t trust you they won’t love their photos or buy what you’re selling. 2. Tells her customers what they really want. She always visits clients a few weeks before a shoot to discuss various things, including what sort of portraits and pieces she could add to their lives. Normally clients appreciate the help and Kelli gets to prepare for a successful shoot. This is a great way to connect with the client even before the shoot starts. 3. She never leaves money on the table. She’ll lightly pitch her product during the shoot, present a super emotional slideshow to walk the client through, and guides them to the prints they want on their walls. Connection drives Kelli’s sales process and could be important in yours too. How Kelli Gets Her Clients Starting out Kelli was a hustler…like she literally hustled at the grocery store in the early days! Nowadays she gets abou||1/30/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
Every epsiode has a few gems of wisdom that I end up thinking about all day. This is one of those industries that has no clear path for success, but this podcast is making it one step closer!
Great Photography Sales & Marketing Info
Christian is great at digging into the nitty gritty of how photographers make their businesses work. He asks questions that only an experienced industry insider could ask and get people to reveal in the most accessible, concrete, and down to earth way. Listening to Christian's interviews are like overhearing juicy gossip at a cafe- you feel like you're getting insider knowledge you wouldn't have otherwise.
The Click Cartel
Best business podcast for photographers I’ve come across so far!!!
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