Episode 186: Is the IPS Photography Model Manipulative?

Is the IPS (in person sales) photography model manipulative?

I try to show different viewpoints on this podcast, and for the past few weeks, I’ve been really digging in to understand why I left the in person sales model and why it never felt quite right to me. After discovering the podcast Duped: The Dark Side of Online Marketing with Michelle Mazur and Maggie Patterson, I realized that in person sales has potential to be emotionally manipulative toward clients. Buckle up as I dig into my research and share stories to back up these points. I’m also sharing a better way to offer clients the full service, including opportunities to get art into their homes, without manipulation and hard sells.



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Hello, and welcome to the photo fields podcast. This is a solo episode, which I used to do all the time, it’s been a really long time. And I feel like I’m really overdue to just sit down and talk into the microphone and express my own views. Okay, so in the past, in this podcast, I have tried to show different viewpoints. And sometimes I’ve interviewed guests with completely opposite viewpoints to show you that there’s really no single way to do something or anything. So if you look back one example is my series with Jonathan Canlas. On refusing to specialize, he talks about how he will not specialize as a photographer, that’s Episode 30, if you want to find it at photo field, calm. And then I interviewed Alicia Cane, and she talked about why specializing matters as a photographer and why that’s an important part of your business. And that’s episode number 33.

In this case, they had opposite viewpoints. Neither one is right or wrong. It’s all about what works for you and your business. And today, I’m going to talk about a topic that’s maybe a little bit of an oppositional topic in the world of photography, and it might ruffle a few feathers. So we’ll see how this goes. Because usually, I do think I’m, I’m trying to like, not ruffle feathers on this podcast. So I’ve had guests on in the past to talk about how in person sales as a photographer is a really great way to grow your income. And I’ve talked on this podcast about how I personally used in person sales. And then I transitioned away from in person sales, where now I’m giving digital files with my sessions. And then I’m doing virtual online product sales after the fact.

So, okay, so I was a student bear with me here, I was painting our bathroom. We were doing this like little renovation side note, we got like a $25,000 quote, just to do our shower, which I thought was crazy. And so we did this, like mini renovation for like $1,500, where we just glazed our old shower, and we were like, Great, let’s save that money. We’re very much on the path of “Coast FI,” which is putting enough money into investments that we can then make less in the future and laugh that money coast into having enough at retirement to retire comfortably. So I digress. That’s all about like being frugal. But as I was painting, painting the bathroom, I was listening to podcast and my phone was just kind of serving up whatever podcasts were in my library, and ended up giving me an episode of Tyler J. McCall’s Online Business Show. And the episode was called the dark side of business with Maggie Patterson. It’s a two part series, I’ve actually only had a chance to listen to the first part. But Maggie and Tyler talked about how business owners can actually cause harm unintentionally or intentionally, to people to through manipulative, manipulative marketing tactics.

And then Maggie really got me thinking and I ended up checking out her podcast. It’s, it’s called duped the dark side of online business, and it’s with Michelle maser, I think is how you pronounced it. Michelle maser. And I just loved this podcast, I’ve been devouring this podcast, because everything they say, speaks to me and really makes me consider how we as photographers, might actually be, again, intentionally or unintentionally using these manipulative tactics in our own businesses, especially things like high pressure sales and emotional manipulation to get our sales.

And I realized, oh, my gosh, this is why ultimately moved away from in person sales, because there’s nothing inherently wrong with serving our clients through in person sales, like the general concept is good. But in many cases, photographers are actually creating this high pressure sales environment that doesn’t always actually serve our clients. So we tell ourselves that we’re serving them to the highest level that we’re holding their hand through the process. But if you ask most clients, they’d rather not be forced into the high pressure sales situation and then have to make all of these emotional decisions on the spot in front of you. So a few quick stories, just to kind of like illustrate my my thought process around this.

Okay. So I personally have probably told the story before of a client when I was doing in person sales, I would do it with weddings, and I think it was only offering it even just to those who wanted it at the time as I was like experimenting with in person sales. And I had a client who ended up buying a high priced item and I think a few other prints. It was somewhere I can’t remember the exact price somewhere between 1002 $1,000 Was their total. And we spent a couple hours together. I was happy at the end of it that it worked out that way. And then the next day I was going on vacation, and I was I was sitting on the plane I got a message from them and they said, you know, we realize that we made a mistake and we can afford these products? And can we please please cancel this order. And I was, you know, I was annoyed because I had spent a lot of time with them. But I also kind of realized, like, they felt pressured into this sale, they were put on the spot, it was an emotional decision. And ultimately, they regretted the decision. And so I did refund them, and we didn’t force them into anything that they couldn’t afford.

Side note on this, the FTC has something that’s called the cooling off rule, I think that’s what it’s called. And it gives customers three days to cancel certain sales that are made at your home. I’m not saying necessarily the in person sales in your home, a line with this rule, but it’s something that you should look into one example, in my world was somebody came to our house to sell gutter guards, and they legally had to disclose to us that we have three days to change our mind, it was a high ticket item, there was some kind of like manipulation going with the way that they were making me make a decision on the spot, we had to make the decision that day. And we did want the product and we did under buying the product. But we kind of walked away feeling just like a little a little icky about the whole process because it was so high pressure, even though we were happy with the product. In the end, we just didn’t like the sales process.

Okay, one more story. Another story. Just this last weekend, my girls are in dance. And so they had their dance photos taken. And I figured that, you know, what do I want to do with these photos that I’m going to purchase of them in their dance costumes, I figured I’ll share the the photos online on social media, I’ll send them to Jeff, my husband, Jeff’s Nana has a digital frame that she keeps in the kitchen. And she loves to see photos of her grandchildren and great grandchildren pop up on this digital frame. So I wanted digital images for that purpose. So we could like automatically have them pop up and surprise her with that and have her be able to see those. I figured I might want to put them into a year end family album where we put all of our other favorite photos from the year.

So what did I really want in this case? I wanted the digital files. And that’s not just because I’m a photographer, I can print my own images. It’s because I had another vision for these photos. And I was willing to pay the appropriate price for the digital files. I’m also kind of a minimalist, so I just don’t want to buy what I don’t need, I want to only by I should say I’m an attempted minimalist, I only want to buy what I need. I don’t like clutter. I like to be very intentional about like not having waste. But the only package that was offered that actually came with or even offered me the ability to add on digital files also came with a bunch of other prints that I really didn’t need or want. And so I ended up buying this package. And I got what I wanted, but I also got a lot of stuff I didn’t want. And so I was like great, I have what I want, but I kind of feel a little about the package because I had to buy stuff I didn’t want.

So I know that packages drive clients to buy what we want them to buy. And we tell ourselves that we’re serving them in that way. But it doesn’t mean that the package is actually serving them in the best way possible. It might just have stuff they don’t actually need in there. And they might not love that. They’re not going to tell you that but they’re just maybe not gonna love that.

Okay, so let’s talk about some of the high pressure sales tactic tactics that might end up working to get the sale, but might unintentionally be using psychological pressure on our clients. So first, I did a ton of research research trying to kind of put my my thoughts into words for this. So I looked at the definition of hard sell on Investopedia and I’ll have the link to that in the show notes. Okay, here’s the definition. A hard sell is designed to get a customer to purchase a good or service in the short term rather than evaluate their options and potentially decide to wait on the purchase. It’s considered a high pressure aggressive technique that has fallen out of favor according to some sales experts. A hard sale is a sales strategy that is direct and pushy. It is designed to get a consumer to purchase a good or service immediately without time to contemplate. hard sell tactics have a negative connotation and are considered unscrupulous a hard sell stands in contrast to a soft sell that is gentle and low pressure. It is considered a counterproductive sales tax it tactic as it typically results in negative feelings and a small chance of repeat business.

All right. So let’s look at a few specific tactics that are common with in person sales. And this is based I mean this is going to change I’m not saying that everyone doing in person sales uses these tactics. This is based very specifically on the trainings that I purchased as online courses and what I was told to do as an in person sales person to maximize my Income. Okay, so false scarcity and extreme urgency. So the sale is only one night, you have to make the decision during that ordering session. And then the customer, oftentimes they won’t have, they’re told that they won’t have another chance to see the images ever again, unless they buy them. And so like, they’re like, Hey, can I just sleep on it? Or can I show this to my grandma? Can I show this to somebody else? A lot of these photographers are like, Nope, you have to make your decision tonight. This is it, this is your ordering session, come prepared to make all decisions.

So I’m not against pricing with a deadline to incentive eight to like incentivize customers to make a decision. Because I do know that left to their own devices. It’s true that a lot of customers will just put off ever making a decision. But I don’t love the tactic, where customers are literally never going to get to see those photos again, or they’re told that they’ll never see those photos again, if they don’t wear them that day, that just puts like undue pressure on them.

The other thing is exhausting our clients. So in person sales meetings can be really physically and emotionally draining for our clients because they have to sit down and they have to make all the decisions at once. Sometimes you put a deadline, like the meeting is only gonna be an hour, you have to make these decisions really quickly. So by the time they make the purchase decision, they’re mentally exhausted. So going back to my client who canceled the sale, they were mentally exhausted, they just ended up buying this thing and they ended up regretting it.

One example of this kind of giving credit where credit’s due coming from the duped podcast, they mentioned Tony Robbins does this a lot in his conferences where he just like wears people down emotionally with these really long days. And then he does the sell once they’re exhausted, so kind of like exhausting our clients into the sale. Okay, now I want to go into again from like doing my digging into what people are saying about in person sales into hard sale, just all my research kind of preparing for this episode, I found a quote on an in person sales Facebook page that someone posted, where they posted an email that they received from a client, where the client basically said, I want to change my order from our meeting, I’m bad at making decisions on the spot, which basically illustrates that some clients feel like they’re being put on the spot in these situations where they’re meeting you face to face and they’re forced to make a decision in a limited amount of time.

And again, packages are forcing those clients often to buy products that they don’t necessarily want they don’t necessarily need. And I think my belief is that if you truly want to serve your clients to the fullest, I think it’s totally cool to offer packages where they can get some savings if they buy it like all together. But please still offer ala carte products because I really think it’s it’s just serving your if you’re truly trying to serve your client to the best of your ability to offer them the ability to buy things ala carte so they don’t have to buy stuff they don’t want in order to get what they do want. That’s how I feel.

Okay, I found a quote on a blog post about in person sales and the quote said something like I knew that I still wanted to offer Digital’s because everyone wants them I just wasn’t going to make them easily accessible at a low price point, digitals are my cow and from that cow I get milk cheese yogurt my products—and I just thought this sounded so ick that you’re using these, digitals that you know people want as a carrot to get them to buy the other things like it just to me, I feel like just charge what you need to charge include your digitals or like include some number of digitals then let them upgrade get more digitals if they want to let them buy their products separately if they want to I just don’t like this idea that you’re like my digitals or the cow or I get my milk like I’m gonna milk my clients for all they’re worth because they’re going to buy all this other stuff they may or may not want in order to get what they truly want. So I didn’t love that.

So the same photographer ended up sharing that her average revenue per session went up. I think she said it was somewhere around $800. That’s total revenue before costs of products sold. I will be fully open that I don’t know what years this was published. I know with inflation, this could be all very different now but she shared at the end that actually her bookings have been much slower. She’s having a hard time booking as an in person sales photographer, which is probably because people don’t want this. They don’t want to be milked for all they’re worth. They want to get what they want to get like they want to just be straightforward and buy things that they want.

So another in person in person sales person in a forum expressed frustration that her clients only wanted digital files because they had found a print product that they really loved that the photographer didn’t offer. So there you know, we know there are a lot of great print products out there. Some clients just want to buy Why would they want to buy and this person was offended by this, that they only want to digital files? Well, again, if you’re trying to serve your client, and your client ultimately knows they love this other product, your best way to serve that client is to is to sell your digitals at a price that makes sense for you, and let them go.

Again, I sell a ton of products, but I also have clients who have products that they purchase themselves, I’m okay with that, as long as I’m guiding them, earning what I need to make, and my client is happy at the end of the day, and you know, likely to come back.

So another, another photographer in the same forum mentioned that it’s either like a flood or a fire had ruined old prints that they had like old family prints. And from that, she saw that there’s extreme value in digital files for clients. So all of these people who are like, oh, never give away, the digital files never even offered the digital files. I just think that’s wrong, I think that we need to have that digital backup for this exact purpose. Like there are so many reasons that our clients deserve to have those digital files, the ability to have at least like their top picks of the digital the digital files. Okay?

This leads me to my other considerations. People who sell courses on how to do in person sales, are often going to talk about sales averages and how your sales average per session is going to be higher. And that is often true. But I did a search online to look at a few in person sales courses and blog posts and just people talking about it. And a few people that were trying to tout in person sales, were touting it saying because this is a level that you’re getting a higher level of sale, because people are only going to spend this much maybe like one time in their whole life or one to three times in their whole life.

So that means that maybe this is a really good route for someone like a newborn photographer, because that is a rare event to have a newborn. But if you’re a family photographer, and you’re looking to have that reoccurring revenue every single year with returning clients, returning families, you know, you might not be getting those people coming back year after year, because that high price point and forcing them into products is going to limit them from coming back every year. Or they just don’t have space in their home to do like these big wall galleries every single year. So consider your genre and really think about like, is this a fit for what you’re doing? Okay, so a lot of people who talk about in person sales talk about how you’re going to make more per session, but that doesn’t necessarily actually translate into making more per hour.

So in a poll of in person sales photographers, when they were asked what they need, to the most help with, what do they need the most help with in their business, the number one thing that they needed the most help with was finding new clients, they were my assumption is they were struggling to find clients who were willing to work with them on that model. And when they were asked what their biggest fear was in business, they said things like not finding enough clients or raising prices and lose in losing clients.

So I do think a lot of in person salespeople might be struggling to get those returning clients year after year. I also saw a lot of comments about people making the switch. And they said, so far, no one has booked me yet. That’s ever since I made this switch. So I just want you to think about like, you see these glorified stories of in person sales, but you still have to market yourself. So that’s my next topic. Marketing. Just because you switch to in person sales does not mean that your marketing is magically going to attract those high end clients overnight, you are going to still have to get out there and put in the work to find those people. And I find that my time spent bringing in new leads with with what I’m spending, I’d rather sell them those packages that include the digitals so that I’m at least like giving them some number of digital files and some base number per session. Because as in person sales, photographers will tell you, you’re going to have some low sessions, they kind of try to like brush over that. But you do have those sessions where people don’t buy anything, or they buy like one print and you’re just like, wow, that was a lot of time that I just put into that. And they really don’t highlight that that’s a part of the story.

So I prefer to get my bare minimum, which includes some of the digitals or all of the digitals in the package when they book and then offer products separately later without forcing them into any packages that they don’t want. And yes, I’m saying that for me, I’d rather have a business model with higher volume, a little bit higher volume, and a little bit less hands on service. But caveat is I still feel like I’m fully serving my clients because I’m doing things like sending them these in depth guides that are sent automatically as a part of my workflow and the the guides are guiding them through the planning process. Session my favorite hair and makeup artists using the website Style and Select to help pick outfits giving other outfit ideas and just general styling outfit styling advice. A

nd I’m also offering them a ton of guidance on product styling, how to style those products into their home, showing what those products will look like in a styled way with like really great guidance, kind of a magazine style guide online. And then I’m also showing them what their images will look like to scale on their own walls if they want that service. So I’m doing it in a soft sell way, it’s not pushy, and they’re still being fully served. And they’re still often buying products. So I feel like they’re really getting served to the fullest in this case.

Okay. Next, let’s look at the numbers. Let’s look at the math. When I did in person sales, I would guess that I was making a range between like $600 per session and $1,200 per session. So that’s with inflation that was in like 2014 or so. So keep that in mind. But let’s just say for simplicity that a person is doing in person sales, and they’re averaging $1,500 per session. And let’s say that a third of that is going toward the cost of goods sold. So they’re making after they buy the products, they’re making $1,000 per session. And then let’s say for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to assume that they do not have a studio, that they’re doing all their sales in home, there’s no monthly rent that they have to cover.

So they’re making $1,000 on the session. And let’s say they’re spending five hours on that session, because they’re very full service hands on, they do a pre consults to prep their client to set expectations they do their session, they do their editing, they have their ordering session, retouching ordering, packaging, and then getting the product into the hands of the customer and then possibly in some cases even hang those frames on the wall.

So let’s assume that this takes about two evenings. One is the evening of the session and one is for the ordering session. And this could be different. If you have a studio and you’re doing your sessions in the studio, or you’re doing the back to back, you know, that could change. But let’s just say you’re spending five hours $1,000, you’re making about $200 per hour, which is a good rate, you know, we think we would all be happy with $200 per hour. But let’s look at the less hands on and less pushy model. So I usually stack my sessions into the same evening. So let’s say I do two sessions, and I make $1,150 on those two sessions.

On those two sessions, in total, I’m spending four and a half hours, which includes setting up the contract, setting up the automated workflow to send out the prep guides, prep them for the session, shooting the session editing, putting together wall designs if they want them and then setting up the photos to go to the clients. So $1,150 divided by 4.5 hours equals $255 per hour, on one evening of work. So we had $200 per hour on in person sales $255 per hour as a digital only photographer Digital Plus products later photographer. Now obviously this is going to be different for everybody.

My point here is obviously still charge what you need to charge to be profitable, even if you’re giving away digital files. But my other point is, you know, a lot of times in person sales, photographers will tout it as the only way to do it the only way to be profitable. And that’s not necessarily the case. Also, this $255 per hour is before I offer any printed products. So a lot of people who sell trainings courses on in person sales act like it’s very black and white, you either offer full service in person sales, or you’re shoot and burn and you’re not serving your clients.

And that is not the case, I get product sales all the time, even though I give away the digital files and my packages. And that’s because I still serve my clients again through the product styling guide, offering products that they want offering them that wall design idea for inspiration so that they are still getting that in a way that’s not pushy.
So let’s say that I sell like an extra $100 in drops shift prints for each session. After the cost of goods, I’m making about $270 per hour for my work, I get that extra evening back I’m only spending one evening so that actually evening I can either book more sessions or I can just like hang out with my family or my friends. Disclaimer to be totally open and honest here.

In my own experience, I’ve had product sales range anywhere from $0 and that’s okay cuz I’m pricing to where if they don’t buy products, it’s alright with me all the way up to $6,000 per client. And I could tell that $6,000 is like woohoo, let’s let’s be like that’s the best but I will be totally honest. That was a wedding client who bought multiple for the family, and $6,000 sales are not normal. So we’re going to kind of get more into that in just a minute.

But now I can easily bring in more clients per month because the clients will return to me year after year, versus those big ticket in person sales clients who don’t want to spend this amount every single year. And again, don’t have the wall space to support the annual photo sessions. And I know in person sales, people will hate to hear this. But I want to serve the families who put together their own family photo albums every year, I want them to be able to include my photos in the larger album that they’re designing, using, like whatever they want, because that’s what I do with my family. And why would I stop them from having the same thing. But I’m charging appropriately. And honestly, I’m offering that service. Like I’m saying, if you want me to design you an album that includes all your family photos from the year, I will do that this is something I offer. And this is something that I’ve done, but I want them to have that choice.

So since a ton of clients are returning to me every single year, because they’re getting exactly what they want, I end up saving time on marketing, because I don’t have to chase down new clients every year. And as people return marketing gets easier every single year, they’re referring me they’re coming back, I grow my client list every single year. So finally, I think it’s important that we all understand selection bias because it’s used all the time in online courses.

And this is also talked about in Duped. So just definitely go listen to that podcast, it’s very good. Okay, when we’re looking at online courses, let’s say about in person sales, we see sales pages that highlight people who are making these huge sales. And we’re looking at the selection of the best of the best, we’re not looking at the average, we’re not looking at everyone. We’re constantly fed only the success stories. And so we think based on what we see, our brains are like, Oh, everyone is a runaway success after taking this course or everyone’s just like making these huge sales every single time as an in person sales photographer, every single person who’s ever switched in person sales has like changed their lives forever.

And as an example, I could take the story of my $6,000 online product sale. And even though that was like the best of the best for me, I could create a sales page and I could easily share that story about that sale. And I could manipulate it to sound like this is these are like typical results that you’re going to get. But is that ethical? I don’t think it is.

So think about that. Anytime that you look at a course where you’re seeing these like raving results, just remember that that’s this is selection bias, you’re seeing the best of the best. And you should talk to more people about what the results look like and really just in general, talk to their photographers, what’s working for them and
get that full picture. Okay, so with all of this, I am going to talk to you a little bit about how I do my own sales without in person sales. And I’m going to share the resource that I have for you if you’re interested in taking this approach.

And full disclosure, what I’ve put together for you is a paid resource because it’s like a whole package of every single thing done for you. So you can just pick and choose and develop it yourself. Or you can take what I’ve done and use it. So I have talked about how I automate as much as I can. And I stack my sessions. So a mini session is 30 minutes long. If you book a mini session, you do not choose your photo location, that’s going to be dictated by the location that’s chosen for the longer session in a same evening, I’m going to tell you where it’s going to be. And you can assume it’s going to be somewhere pretty because generally, I’m not going to pick an ugly location. So you have to be okay with that.

And since I photograph a lot of college graduating seniors now, I set a timeframe like during the busiest time where I’m only offering photo sessions on Michigan State’s campus. So if you book a session during that time frame, like that couple of weeks in the spring, you’re only going to book on campus, and then I’m going to stack those up because that season gets really wild. Side note on that. That’s another reason why I offer digital files because graduating seniors really want digital files, they want to put that stuff on Instagram, and they want to share it with their friends and I’m okay with that.

Okay, so I set up 17 hats, and I use 17 hats. You can use whatever tool you want. And 17 Hats automatically on my website displays all of my available session dates. I go in, I look at the sunset for every single day, like in my slow season, and I set session times for each day specifically. So the beginning of each season, I set up all of those times. My clients can come to my website, see my availability, they can book automatically. And then when they book it kicks off a workflow depending on what kind of session they’ve booked.

So I have guides that for each kind of session that will walk them through how to prep for the session, how to choose a session vibe, what to wear, who I recommend for hair and makeup, how to style photos into your home using the products that I offer. I also send them a short questionnaire so I can get to know them a little bit going into the session, I can figure out if they have any areas of concern, like some people are like, please don’t ever photograph my profile, I hate it. If they have kids, they might have kids who respond well to certain things.

And then I bring a few products to the session so that they can see those products in person. So they just come a few minutes early, or at the end, it just pulled them out, show them a few quick products. So they can, like see them, touch them, feel them. And then after the session, when I deliver the photos through an online gallery, they have the option to purchase those products. So they’ve now seen those products in the style guide designed into a home so they know what to do with them. And then they’ve seen those photos, or they’ve seen those products at the session. It’s not high pressure. But they’re still getting this great guidance.

And I feel like I’m serving them really well. There’s like, yeah, there’s no high pressure where I’m hovering over them. And I’m like, Whoa, you’re running out of time, make your decision. So because I’m giving them the agency to decide on their own what they want in their homes, without forcing them into bloated packages, they end up I think, really happy. And again, I’ve said this so many times, but I’m charging accordingly. So I’m happy whether or not they buy products.

But those products sales are a bonus for me. Okay, so I’ve revamped all of these guides that I use the redesigned, and they’re available in my shop at photo fieldnotes.com/shop, you’re going to look for the product called Client prep guides, plus simple product sales system. And I’m going to tell you quickly what’s included here, you’re going to get client prep guides for a general photo session maternity or newborn photo session, it’s kind of like one guide, and wedding prep guide. The session guides include details around choosing your session style, what to wear, hair and makeup. And then the wedding guide includes details around planning family photo groupings ahead of time. All of the prep guides include a styling section with tips around how to style photos into your home—featuring my curated list of popular products.

I also include a product guide so you can share product pricing

All of these guides are Canva templates, so they’re completely customizable and easy to share with clients through an online link

I also include 12 customizable product mock-up images where you can insert your own photos into products like an album and frames—and you can use these both in the guides and also on your website and in social media to get your client excited about products. 

I’m including a 23 page PDF that walks through my online sales system, including”

How to prep your clients to expect products
– How to price your products (plus access to a Google Spreadsheet pricing guide)
– How to create value for your prints
– How to set up your Canva guides
– How to set up your digital tools
– Product sale Checklist
– A little Bonus: How to gather email addresses from wedding guests at the wedding so they have the option to buy products too
– Product fulfillment (how to get products into clients’ hands quickly)

 I’m including my email templates from booking through product delivery to really set you up with an easy workflow for all clients. And these are split into wedding emails and photo session emails, so you can choose what you need.

Episode 41: Bootstrap Your Brand

how to choose brand colors

I’m back after a bit of a hiatus with my very first solo episode of Photo Field Notes! Today I’m talking about how to bootstrap your brand—how to create all of your branding elements (logo, color scheme, fonts, website, packaging, etc.) without spending a fortune and going into debt.

To go along with this episode, I’ve put together a one page resource guide with my favorite resources for inexpensive branding elements. You can download it here:

get the free resource guide: bootstrap your brand

Topics From Today’s Show:

  • How I use Pinterest to understand my ideal client
  • How to create a logo for your photography brand without spending a fortune
  • Using fonts in your brand
  • How to find color palettes for your brand
  • Putting together your brand packaging
  • Where to find templates for building your website quickly and inexpensively
  • How to handle tech support for your business website
  • What you choose to wear in front of clients
  • Presenting your brand in social media

Episode 37: Kristy Ryan on Turning Photography Clients into Raving Fans

Kristy Ryan, Blush Photography

Kristy Ryan from went from shooting her first wedding for $200 when she founded Blush Wedding Photography five years ago to being named British Columbia’s top wedding photographer. She now photographs 35 weddings a year—about a quarter of those are destination weddings ranging from Barcelona to Bali.

A few topics from today’s show:

  • How Kristy got started with as a destination wedding photographer
  • Why SEO matters
  • How Kristy builds amazing relationships with her clients
  • Client gifts
  • Entering contests to boost credibility
  • Attracting the clients and work you want

“I think part of why I love photography was…the collaborative nature of it…coming up with an idea and bringing creatives together to make it come to life.” – Kristy Ryan

“One foot in front of the other. Take action. You need to make it happen.” – Kristy Ryan

View a few of Kristy’s photos below, and be sure to follow her on Instagram to keep up on her latest work.

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Episode 30: Jonathan Canlas on Shooting Film & Refusing to Specialize

how to get started as a film photographer - Jonathan Canlas talks about how to start shooting filmJonathan Canlas: Becoming a film wedding photographerJonathan Canlas discovered photography while living in Japan. 20 years later, he’s running a thriving business, and he’s still shooting film.

  • FIND: Families Guide (From Jonathan: “I’m laying out how to shoot a family portrait session in a way that’s fast, fun and profitable.”)
  • FIND: Biz Guide (From Jonathan: “What if a single book could turn your photography business around? Whether you shoot film or digital photography, FIND: Biz covers the nuts and bolts of operating a profitable photography business.”)

A few topics from this show:

  • Why Jonathan never switched to digital photography
  • How shooting film impacts how Jonathan approaches weddings and sessions
  • How many photos he shoots for weddings and sessions, and how many he delivers
  • How Jonathan preps for a wedding
  • Why Jonathan doesn’t work with second photographers
  • Why Jonathan thinks photography specialization is a bad idea
  • Jonathan’s biggest wedding disaster story

Be sure to follow Jonathan’s latest work on his website and Instagram.

Episode 21: How Nick Ulivieri Found a Unique Perspective in Commercial Photography

Nick Uliveri: food and architecture photographer

Not many photographers can call a helicopter a part of their regular photo equipment, but Nick Ulivieri regularly flies high above Chicago as a part of his professional photographic work.

A few topics from today’s show:

  • How Nick made the leap from a full time job to full time self employed photographer.
  • How Nick figured out what to charge for his work.
  • How Nick learned the technical aspects of photography.
  • How Nick finds new clients (including Instagram).
  • How Nick got into ariel photography (and got clients to pay him to fly in helicopters).
  • What does a week in the life look like for Nick?

Check out some of Nick’s amazing photos below. Check out his website and follow him on Instagram to see more.

Nick Uliveri: food and architecture photographer





Episode 15: Justin + Mary Marantz on Creating a Profitable Business

Justin and Mary Marantz blew me away at WPPI back in 2011, so I knew that I had to talk with them for the Field Notes podcast to share their story and words of wisdom. In this interview, learn how Mary Marantz went from Yale Law School to co-owning one of the fastest growing photography studios on the East Coast when she met her now husband, Justin.

“Nobody else in this world is going to give you permission. Nobody is ever going to write you a letter or an email or knock on your door and go, ‘Okay, now you get to go out and chase your dream.’ And nobody did that for us, and when we first decided that we were going to have the business and I was going to turn down the law firm offers, there were a lot of people who said, ‘What are you doing? You can’t be serious’…You have to be the ‘can’ in your own life. You have to be the permission that you give yourself to chase whatever it is that you want to do.” —Mary Marantz

Recommended Reading for Photographers:

A little beauty from this talented team:

Justin and Mary Marantz
Justin and Mary Marantz

Keep up with Justin and Mary on their blog.

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