Marketing and Promoting Your Niche Family Sessions
So what I want you to do is do a marketing assessment. This will depress you, just so you know, okay? A marketing audit, we do it every year. It helps you see where you're falling short. it helps you see what you're on track with. Okay? In the downloads, the marketing, it's long, it's a big thick packet, okay? And you're gonna answer a lot of the questions and go no I'm not doing that, no I'm not doing that, no I'm not doing that, I'm not doing that either. And you're gonna start to feel George on your shoulder. Okay? It's a good thing. Knowing where you fall short allows you to fix it. Okay? If you don't know what you're doing wrong, how can you fix it? Now, it will overwhelm you. It's like, do I have to do all of this? No, not right away. But you need to be working towards those goals, okay? It's going to cover all kinds of topics. I mean, overwhelm. Right? Overwhelm. Don't let it overwhelm you. What you need to understand is that none of this marketing stuff works if you don't have ...
a few components in place, okay? You cannot market your business if your business is not functional. What do I mean by functional? Got it's mmm together, okay? If there are places where your business is kind of weak or there's cracks in the pavement, there's no sense pushing yourself out to the world because they're gonna see those cracks and then you've done nothing but not gain a repeat client. Okay? So those three components are essentially this. There's Miss Belinda and Brooklyn, aren't they cute? I just love them so dearly, such good people. Service, experience, and quality. We're gonna go through each one of these. What is service? What do you think service is? What do you think service is? When you think of serving a customer, how does that resonate in your head? Well, from the hospitality industry perspective, it's managing client experiences, so they take it with them in a good way. Exactly. They don't have to do much. Right? You take care of everything. I've kind of defined service generally in these areas. First of all, just customer relationship management that impresses them, okay? Service differentiates you from other people because let me tell you, if I've learned anything about being a teacher in this business, 90% of my students suck at service. I don't know why they can't pick up the phone and call a client. I don't know why it takes eight weeks to deliver a product. I don't know why they make their client work for the portrait session, figure out what to do, where to go for location. You should be doing all of that. You're the artist, you're the professional, you're the one they rely on, you have to help them do nothing. They shouldn't have to lift a finger. Lets think about two segments of the population. People who are broke and can't spend money, what do they have a lot of? Time. They have no money but they have lots of time. What about the wealthy segments of the population who can afford the type of artwork that we want to offer?
They have no time but lots of money. So if you save them time, they will spend money. So you have to think, and most of us photographers are not wealthy, I mean we didn't do this to be millionaires, right? We are not our client. Right? But you gotta think like them. Everybody only has 24 hours in a day. Poor, rich, ugly, beautiful, doesn't matter. You all have 24 hours in a day. So if you have lots of money, you're going to increase your hours by making other people do your work, right? It's true. So you have to think about it and switch your brain into that mentality. If I had all the money in the world, I would just pay somebody to go to the grocery store for me. Wouldn't that be awesome? Make a list, here you go. I mean, it kind of sounds really egocentric, but wouldn't that be nice? But seriously, that's what really wealthy people do. They have personal assistants, they have people who save them time. So you as a business, if you save them time and take care of everything for them and offer them the service they expect, your brand level's gonna go up and they're gonna be willing to pay for it. They want you to take care of them. They will pay you lots of money to take care of them. So that's the mentality we need to get into when it comes to targeting that type of client. You have to deliver what you promise. Remember the whole phrase, over-promise, under-deliver, the opposite, under-promise, over-deliver. It's a long day. But really, stay on top of it. Make sure your system is in your business, use software, use an organization system, so that nothing falls through the cracks. Don't drop any balls. Have it so organized and conveyor belted that everybody goes through the same process. You won't miss a thing. Not one client is gonna struggle or suffer because you screwed up, okay? What is experience? What do you think experience means? Second of the three components? How they feel during the session? Yeah. If they're enjoying it. Yeah. Relaxed. Exactly. A lot of people say they assume it's your level of expertise, experience, like how much experience you have. No, not it at all. What matters is what they associate with how working with you was. Did you make it easy on them? Do they feel good about that? Were you remarkable? Were you remarkable? What does that mean to be remarkable? Above and beyond what expectations were. What emotions do they associate with the imagery, the emotions they had at the session? I mean Chelsea watching Ryant today being shot, she's gonna buy a lot. She won't cause she's gonna get them all for free, but if she was a client, I mean like, yes. Because she had an amazing emotion watching her little 2-year-old boy with the things he loves, being happy, having a good time, and she knows we nailed it. Okay? Consistency, the ability to produce professional images under any circumstance. That is a professional. Can you shoot in any lighting situation? Can you shoot? Do you know your camera so well it's like feeling a second hand on you? When it's up on top of you and the exposure's not right, do you know what to do? Immediately, without thinking about it? Can you be thrust into challenging circumstances and still get beautiful imagery? That's a professional, that's consistency, and that's what's gonna provide your client with an experience because you're not worried about what it takes to produce an image. You're worried about providing an experience for your client, okay? What about quality? What does quality mean? Pretty basic, I mean we all kind of know that. How good are you? This is where George loves to hang out. You suck. You're not very good, you've only been doing this a year. Who do you think you are, you're not good. Oh, BS. It's not his decision to make, okay? How do you find out if you're good? Peer review. But peers whom you respect, peers whom you know are professionals, peers who are willing and glad to help you in a positive but still critical way. And you better be dang well open to receiving that criticism. No excuses. Take responsibility for where you are at in your career. If you suck, fix it. Right? Learn. Buy more classes on Creative Live, right? No I'm kidding. I'm not kidding, but it's a great resource. Okay? Learn, practice, practice, practice, practice. It's the only way to get better. Look at that little girl playing the violin today, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Was that not the most adorable thing ever? Because she loves it and she practices because she loves it. You love photography, you're passionate about it, so practice. Pick kids off the street. Oh my gosh, your kids gorg, here's a Lookbook Card. You want to come in the studio and we'll shoot ya? Okay, things like that. If you don't have a studio, doesn't matter, you can still shoot studio strobes outside. Do you know that? You can make the outside world your studio. Because flash and aperture is what controls the exposure. You can literally make outside, with high-speed syncing, the technology that's out today, you can literally make it look dark outside in broad daylight and still have a beautifully exposed person with flash. Okay? There are advanced techniques that you can learn in photography where you can take your studio outside. I was at this Vicky Vergara workshop, and this girl was really, we were talking over dinner, we would go out, and she was like, I really want a studio, can't afford it, she couldn't afford it. I mean, I was like, don't do it. You've got medical problems in your family, you're not quite there yet, just be patient. She was like, but I really want to shoot this look in studio, studio light is so pretty. Do it outside. I'd much rather see you invest $2000 in some good outside, you know Profoto B1 equipment that can high-speed sync outside than spend thousands each month on a studio you can't afford. You can make the whole outside your studio, why not? Parking garage is amazing. It has beautiful light, okay? It's about the light. So don't let the limitation that George puts on you kill your dream, all right? Ask yourself if you are different. This is so important, oh my gosh, I wish I could just friggin beat this into your heads, are you different? Or are you a commodity? Does your work look like everyone else's? Are you doing anything to challenge the status quo? Are you doing anything to go outside the box? Are you? Yes, no, maybe so? Trying? Go further, do deeper, go more different. If you're a commodity and you look like everybody else, the client's just gonna demand the best price, okay? Everybody will. What's a common product out there that you can just get anywhere? Tissue paper, box of tissues. They fight so hard between Kleenex and Puffs to, you know, be the brand. Really, they're both $1.49. Oh, one's on sale for $1.29, okay I'll take that one today. They're the same thing. They're just tissues, who cares. There's nothing different. Oh, okay, the box and the logo are different, so big deal, whatever. I mean, yeah, I'm sure there's brand loyalty for different reasons and so forth, but you're not gonna get that incredible differentiation that makes Puffs greater than Kleenex, okay? You have to be different. Do you offer those different products, those different sessions. Do you look expensive? Are you niched? Niching is one of the single best ways to differentiate yourself. It really is. And don't be scared of, but I'm turning away so many other people. You are not, you're attracting them. By niching into something super specific, you appear like an expert. You appear to be the best. Okay? If you, what's the phrase I said before? If you try to be everyone's photographer, you end up being no one's first choice, okay? And you can't market your business on the outside if it's a mess inside. All these things, service, quality, experience, must be top notch. So you have to create systems in place in your business to master these things. Okay? Then once all the brand is together and everything is amazing, you will be remarkable. If you don't, you'll fail at that. And remarkable is what makes you stand out and differentiate from the other businesses in the marketplace. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from photographers, oh my gosh, Suzie Q down the street charges $ and gives all the disk. Oh I'm so tired of that song and dance, get over it. Seriously, get over it. If you're that different from everybody else, you won't care about Suzie Q. So if you care about Suzie Q chances are you're not different enough. Okay? Really, I'm so serious about this. No amount of marketing can save a crap product. So make yourself different, okay?
Portrait Photographer, Julia Kelleher, M. Photog., Cr. CPP, specializes in newborn and family portraits out of her boutique, Bend OR, studio. She offers her clients a photographic style that is organic, textural and artistic, and specializes in creating heirloom albums
I own I think all of Julia's classes. This is probably my favorite. I will say that it's because its exactly the type of photography I have been wanting to focus on. So the information was extremely valuable to me. But I do love all of Julia's classes and you can learn so much from her as a mentor regardless of the type of portraits you shoot. Thanks Julia for a wonderful class I have watched it multiple times!
As always, Julia never disappoints! It has been so awesome to watch her work with such incredible intention, from concept to session to sales. Her energy and strategy are so motivational and very, very creative! This class rocks from start to finish, and is a perfect addition to my Creative Live business arsenal! Five stars all the way!!!!!
My favorite part was seeing how Julia's business evolved over time and transformed into what it is today. Good tips for finding inspiration to develop a niche and practical marketing advice. I'm glad I took this alongside Tamara's business class - the two photographers had very different approaches to their business and shooting family photography in many ways, but it really illustrators how there's no one way to do everything. I learned so much from both of them.